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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

October 4-8, 1999 / Mehr 12-16, 1378


* Iranians:
- Love Iran with its warts

- The truth gives us strength


* Extremism:
- Unromantic view of politics
- I long for the day
- Baseh digeh
Work habits:
- Wrong, wrong, wrong
- Sayonara, my lazy nation

* Relationships:
- Open your eyes

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October 8, 1999

* Love Iran with its warts

Regarding your letter, "Baseh digeh", I just want to write you a few words to clarify a couple of things. I don't much care to respond to your personal attacks. They say nothing about me; they say volumes about you ...

I don't have an inferiority complex about Iran. I don't have to sweep its realities under the carpet, hide its dirty laundry to love its people. I don't sentimentalize the country, I love it with all its warts. Can you say the same thing? I am proud enough of my heritage, of my memories, of my extended 66 million-strong family there that I don't feel insulted or diminished when a farangi asks me whether Iranians burp after their meal to show it is good. That shows their ignorance about Iran; it says nothing about Iran. Nor do I have some warped notion of nationalism, which considers sitting silently and singing Iran's praises, ignoring the destruction, the death, the constant degradation there, just because it is or was "my vatan." Finally, Mr. Fathi-Rad, if I wanted to do "khod-shirni in front of the foreigner at the expense of our culture", I would have found another forum to do it in. I wouldn't have written in a place called "The Iranian."... FULL TEXT

Laleh Khalili

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* The truth gives us strength

In reference to the letter "Baseh digeh", I feel compelled to state a few words. Let me start by saying that I received a lot of feedback supporting my article ["Khodeti"]. While it may be a trivial matter to some, stigmatizing Iranian single girls is a problem that exists in our communities abroad.

I feel that Ali's opinion about my article is biased for several reasons. Here's a brief explanation: I am sorry if my article offended some, especially my fellow, hamshahris from Tabriz. I admire Ali's patriotic feelings toward Iran and its rich history. But please keep in mind that we all care for Iran one way or another. I wrote the article because I care for the image of Iranian girls abroad (they are Iranians after all!). Is it not so Iranian of me to defend fellow Iranians?

Like Ali, I am also very proud of my mother. But unfortunately your family and mine do not represent the attitude that exists in our communities abroad. My family life does not represent my article or my way of thinking about our social issues. Like many people, my writings are based on my personal observations, knowledge and experience based on varied sources. Why should we always bring up our families? In my opinion, that's small thinking. Let's look at the "big picture" instead.

I am sorry if some of us feel that CNN and others have ruined what's left of our damaged reputation. That's a different story all by itself. I believe in revealing the truth no matter how unpleasant it may seem. In the U.S., it is not forbidden to state the truth; I see it on the news every day: The truth about political games, violence in the cities, family issues, drug abuse and much more. The truth does not weaken a nation, but covering it up will!

Saghie Zarinkalk

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Octrober 7, 1999

* Unromantic view of politics

After a rather lengthy break from The Iranian, I was able to create the time and have a good brows through its recent issues. I was not disappointed to find a collection of diverse and interesting material. But what affected me most was the note from the young girl from Hamadan about Haj Abbas ["Hamadan's Brad Pitt"]. I was moved, lifted and saddened by the content of the note and its description of life when one's most basic rights are so continuously ignored and infringed upon.

This is not new nor out of norm. The events of recent months at Tehran University and other higher education institutes and the treatment of students by the forces of the conservative alliance depict a grim picture. However, I, like so many of my compatriots, take heart from the resilience and resolve of the young Iranians who are determined to receive recognition for their basic rights. This is a new generation of Iranian who does not wish to march under the banner of this or that political organization in order to attain a political identity. Nor does this generation have a romantic view of political activism ... FULL TEXT

M. Emadi-Moghadam

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* I long for the day

Fury overwhelms me at such stories ["Hamadan's Brad Pitt"]. I am a 21- year-old Iranian male living in the U.S. My uncle forwarded the Haj Abbas story to me, and frankly I found it quite offensive. I find offence in my self for being an Iranian, and letting such atrocities go unchallenged in my country.

It has been 20 years since the revolution destroyed what hope we had to gain our independence from the world. Like young fools the poor voted with there lives, the rich ran, and the dogs stayed. I swear on my great grandfathers grave, if I ever get the chance I will personally dispose of ever last ravenous dog that walks the streets of my homeland.

I use to get very angry when I listened to the Prince of Iran [Reza Pahlavi]. I could not understand how this young man with such vitality could be such a cowered. They destroyed his father, and he makes speeches. They finally killed Dr. Bakhtiar, and he still makes speeches. We here stories of grave injustices an carelessness for life, HE STILL MAKES SPEECHES.

I am a poor programmer. struggling to make something of myself. But as of late I see myself struggling with what I love (programming) and what I must do (help my people). I can only hope that some day God will give me the means to fight these ignorant fools who call then selves followers of God. They know nothing of God. They know not his passion, love and care, for life, for freedom, for choice of will.

Some day I will find a way to rid my country of ever last one of them, and on that day vengeance will belong to the Lord All Mighty. Tears rip my young heart apart, so I long for the day I can return.

Shaheen M. Bakhtiar

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Octrober 6, 1999

* Work is a curse

Soooooooooooo well put! Seems like you took the words right out of our mouths ["Persian work ethics"]. And it's not that before the revolution it was significantly better... some people (like your father) were hard working but most others were not. Working in Iran is not an honor, it is a curse. Thanks for putting it all so well.

Goli Ameri

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* Bad breath

I really liked the letter by Mr. Fathi-Rad. Sometimes I think the caliber of letters to The Iranian in response to the articles surpass that of the stories themselves.

And for the record, I intend to marry the girl I date. Yeah, she is Iranian. And she is well-adjusted enough not to blame her own problems and shortcomings on Iranian men. That kind of attitude drives any self-respecting man away, quicker than does bad breath on a first date.

N. Behzad Fazel
New York

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* Looking for Fereshteh

Having seen your inquiries on the Miss Iran (1978) finalists, I remembered that I used to know one of them: Fereshteh Shirzad. I would very much like to know where she is. I would very much appreciate it if you ran the same inquiry on her so that someone might update me.

Kasra Ebrahimi

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Octrober 5, 1999

* Wrong, wrong, wrong

I just read your front page article in The Iranian Times called "Persian work ethics" and frankly it just hits me the wrong way:

The writer apparently in an extended period of bad mood, decides to write a two-page article and attack every Iranian characteristic or behavior he can come up with. He tangles issues ranging from our cultural interpretation of zerangi, to politics, work habits, oil (of all things), productivity and women's role in our society. Of course in every case, the so-called Iranian way of dealing with these issues is wrong. Let's talk about some of these issues:

Zerangi: I have tried to come up with a translation of this word in English and the closest I can come with is "opportunistic". I think everybody agrees that the masters of this technique are Americans; not that there is anything wrong with it. After all, America is known as the land of opportunity and they are proud of it. Majority of Americans don't believe that by being Mr. Nice Guy and waiting for your turn in every situation, one will be successful. I think if we look back at our cultural history, we will discover that the concept of zerangi didn't really flourish in Iran until we became more familiar with Western culture. So let's not give all the credit to Iranians; this is just a sign of our times ... FULL TEXT

Mohamad Dilmagani

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* Open your eyes

I just finished reading your article ["Khodeti"] and I feel so moved. What you said is so true. I am the girl you are writing about. I'm single, 28, and living on my own. My parents live in Germany and for the past seven years, I have put myself through school. I have a great job, support myself and live my own life.

Sad part is, nobody seems to recognize me for what I have achieved; they only see me as a single girl, living without her parents. I have to constantly worry about what people (who don't mean anything to me by the way), are saying about me. God forbid, if I decide to go to an Iranian function with someone. All of a sudden I am that "dokhtareh tanhaa".

When I meet someone I like and want to get to know better, I want to see how he acts around people I know. But I can't do that unless we are engaged or the whole family in Iran, Europe and U.S. are involved. It is so frustrating. Why are we like that? Why can't we give people the benefit of the doubt? Why can't we have a "saalem" life style and still be single? Is that so hard to believe?

I like to get married too one day and I won't accept anything but an Iranian man, but I have to prove so much sometimes that it is easier to just give up and stay single. I wished Iranians, specially Iranian women, wouldn't be so judgmental about single women. WE do like to have a family and settle down but our options are so limited, because we don't have the luxury of living with our parents.

Please try to open your eyes. You don't have to live at home to be "najib"; that should be in your blood. Thanks for bringing up this very important issue.

Golboo Matinkhou

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Octrober 4, 1999

* Baseh digeh

As if it is not bad enough hearing people put down your culture and ethnicity all day long on the CNN, BBC, CBS, NBC; as if it is not enough to see Diane Sawyer willfully try to misrepresent the facts and portray the Middle Easterners as a bunch of wife beating savages; as if movies like Not Without My Daughter are not enough; as if the whole of Western propaganda machinery is not geared towards demonizing the Middle East, and Iran in particular; I have to bear these stabs in the back from the likes of Laleh Khalili ["To live or to be alive"] and this taazeh beh doraan resideh Saghie Zarinkalk ["Khodeti"] ...

For you, Laleh Khalili, Iran has become something which you abuse to gain self esteem. And interestingly enough, this is quite obvious from your tone: "I am something else, perhaps unbecomingly unfeminine, dangerous perhaps, unknowingly so". How you make me laugh. Romanticizing that you are different from these barbarians, a "dangerous" revolutionary to their backward ways. A female Che Guevara, are you? Yes, you ARE "something else". Good for you. It takes no genius to point out Iran's social ills, or those of the Third World, for that matter... FULL TEXT

Ali Fathi-Rad

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* Sayonara, my lazy nation

I enjoyed reading ["Persian work ethics"]. To be honest I think as a nation we are sick to our stomach. The very few symptoms that you have mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg.

Unless we Iranians abroad -- of course after adopting the current modern life style and its related civilization (modernism, democracy and pluralism) -- do something for our nation and support its REAL REFORMS then nothing -- absolutely nothing -- will stop the destructive evolutionary force of history against our Persian tamddon. There is no guarantee or special privilege attached to our backward civilization to protect it from the thunder of fast CHANGES.

There are tens of other civilizations and nations that have been forced off the stage of history to make room for more deserving ones. I'm not talking about marhoom-e USSR. But look at today's Russia! My prediction for Iran as a nation-state is this: DOOOOOOOM...!!! I hope I'll be proven wrong in the near future but as you follow current world trends and Iran's awful and stupid current regime there seems to be NO way out of our eternal misery.

By all accounts, Iran has failed many tests in modernization in nearly 200 years. It's time to say: " SAYONARA my LAZY NATION ...!" You did not deserve the chances of institutional evolution; you are not selected to be a symbol of anything but backwardness.

I'd just love to hear from all those short-tempered, gheirati, Iranians who are screaming and shouting at my comments now. I have an arsenal of sound and historical arguments in my possession to silence them all; well almost! To put it in Farsi: aaghaayaan maa keh balaanesbat az kooneh aasemoon nayoftaadim, aakheh khod-faribi taa chand bharn!?

Saeed Derhami
Chiba, Japan

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