BBC: Story of the revolution

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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

November 15-19, 1999 / Aban 24-28, 1378


* Identity:
- Antipodean air!

- Essalat!


* Politics:
- Nature of the beast

* Identity:
- Whine fest
- Erotic literature not rare

- Humiliating chadoris
- Delighted

* Rights:
- Bahai concern
- Reverse situation

- How confused we were

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November 19, 1999

* Antipodean air!

To listen to Roozbeh find his way and Iran and the United States in Chile is wildly exhilarating ["The search"]. He writes beautifully, expansively, with heart, and the person and place that he paints are full, multi-dimensional, unexpected, interesting and irreducible.

The kind of people who change the world start off like Roozbeh, not accepting anything at face value. I say, breathe in some more Antipodean air! It does you - and us - great good.

Laleh Khalili

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* Essalat!

Kudos to Mr. Shirazi ["The search"]! This is another great article on this topic. I'm just waiting for the cynics to blast him with their negative peanut-gallery-type commentary on their "essalat" and hisr socio-cultural bankruptcy!

Banafsheh Zand

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November 18, 1999

* Nature of the beast

The Iranian Students"in the line of the Imam" were responsible for imprisonment and murder of thousands of students and opposition group members. Calling them democratic now, would be deceiving the people.

Two factions of the Islamic government are at each other's throats. The Islamic goeverment is in crisis, and now is the best chance for the people to voice their demands, but at the same time we should know the true nature of the beast, and avoid depending on either factions.


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* Whine fest

Ms Darznik,

I read some of your articles in The Iranian. I usually do not read the social commentaries on the site but my serendipitous and fortunate find provided ample interest and amusement. Your frankness is disarming and contrasts strongly with the attitudes of the older Iranians who are obsessed with keeping up appearances. (I exclude my parents from this simplification because they have been ahead of their time) ...

Your experience of being an outsider within a society of outsiders was incomprehensible to me. How could such a mixed race as ours have such a palpable discomfort with regards to differences. To call you half-anything I think is rude. Iranian racial purity is a myth. Being Iranian is a state of mind. An obsession, a pleasant mental disease akin to mania, a sweet pain and a worthwhile challenge. I think in this day and age, when being an Iranian is a serious disadvantage to one's career advancement, whosoever thinks they are Iranian could not possibly be anything but genuine ...

The ashamed Iranians appall me. You talked about the man who refuses to speak Persian. I know of someone who has the same attitude. First time I met him, I recognized his name as being Iranian and greeted him pleasantly. He said: "Sorry I do not speak Persian!" (To which my undiplomatic response was " You do not speak much English either. A regular Hellen Keller you are.") He recently rediscovered his Persian identity and decided to ask all to no longer call him by his previous preference. He has reverted to his real name now ... FULL TEXT

Arash Salardini

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November 17, 1999

* Erotic literature not rare

In respect to your piece "Let's not talk about sex," I like to say that portraiture of actual sexuality in Persian literature is not rare: Sadi has a section on "hazliyat". Obayd is well known, and Iraj Mirza's erotic poetry is excellent.

But this genre of artistic expression was not popular with Iranians because of their sophisticated and sublime taste in poetry -- and maybe sex. Peter Chelkowski, the Nezami scholar, has extensively discussed sexuality in the works of Nezami. Chelkowski argues that portrayal of sexuality in Nezami is unmatched in world literature...

Talking of Obayd, to my estimation, his references to acts of sex are not just for the sake of talking about sex. In fact, you find tremendous social consciousness in his works. His satire targets the hypocrisy and absurdity of the people in power, religious authority in particular. His works may be evaluated along the lines of Chaucer, and of course Obayd is more fun and more poignant ... FULL TEXT

Rasool Nafisi
Strayer University

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* Humiliating chadoris

I think Iraj Mirza not only humiliated chadori women, but instead of looking at women in general, chose an individual and judged others accordingly. Not only that, it is obvious that he has absolutely no idea about the teachings of the Quran or the Prophet or even most basic principles of Islam which highlights the fact that the hejab saves lives and families.

The hejab is an important rule of Islam. But it means more than covering the hair. There's the hejab of the body, mind and eye. If he had any idea about Islam he would have known that the chador is only the hejab of the hair and body. A mohajaba is a woman who also has the hejab of the mind and eye to resist temptation. Unlike old times people are more open minded about these things. They know that it is okay to show your face to a naamahram. Therefore, chadors don't cover the face, but only the hair and the body.

This poem ridicules mohajabas, even though we all know that the majority of mohajabas are very civilized and educated . The world will not be complete with women, but experience has shown us that no man would like other men to have any feelings towards his woman. So the hejab makes life easier for men too. No sensible human being should judge a group of people over something that a single individual has done (if she really did it and if it wasn't rape) and so this poem shows me that the poet is not a very sensible man and does not know anything about religion.

Bushra Abbasi

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November 16, 1999

* Delighted

Just wanted to write to confirm Laleh Khalili's sentiments regarding Chineh Internet cafe in Tehran ["Chai, shirini & the Internet"]. I was recently in Iran for a month and desparate to be able to check my email.

I was delighted to find that the opportunity existed to connect with the rest of the world at Chineh, which is not far from where I live in Kamranieh. The atmosphere is wonderful and the staff very friendly. I have no doubt that in the future we will see more such places in Iran.

Peyman Adjamian

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* Bahai concern

Mr. Sohrabi wrote in The Iranian ["Cyrus meets Lincoln"]: "As a United States Senator what I hope to achieve for Americans of Iranians descent is straightforward: end the demonizing and stereotyping of Iran and Iranians. In fact, my first act as an elected official will be demand a public apology from Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat from California) for calling the Iranian nation 'terrorist' in her interview with CNN last February."

I hope you also work with the governments foreign human rights committee especially with regards to the situation of the Bahai community in Iran. Recently, the UN Commission on Human Rights again expressed concern for Iran's Bahais.

Fereidoun Abbasi

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November 15, 1999

* Reverse situation

Mr. Hosseini's essay ["Go Big Red!"] brings back memories of my first days in U.S. What a time and what a place alive! Those of us who came to the U.S right during the revolution must have had at least some similar experiences like those of Mr. Hosseini's. Even where I was in California, the sentiments ran as deep and as fast as they did in Nebraska.

As Westernized and as Americanized I have become in the past twenty some odd years, I will never forget the feelings expressed to me and my other Iranian friends by many (not all) American students. The students' parents were much more understanding. Heck, some of them even empathized with our situation. It was the students we saw every day though who cared about their parents. Ugly days and some ugly memories.

Although, I have to admit that if the situation was reversed (Iranians taken hostages in the U.S. by radical students after a revolution) Americans in Iran would've forgotten the meaning of Iranian hospitality and ta'arof faster than a NY minute!

Ali S.

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* How confused we were

As I read the story ["Go Big Red!"] I remebered those days. I also witnessed different views and situations. I remembered how confused, tender and sensetive we were toward this historic event.

It also made me feel older, but am I not glad we passed through thoses horrible times? The days when we were young and should have been proud and a lot happier?


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