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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

October 18-22, 1999 / Mehr 26-30, 1378


* Religion:
- Intolerance

* Nostalgia:
- Miss kick ass
- Worst weakness


* Inlaws:
- I'm scared

* The Iranian:
- Love The Times
- Tasteless defense of Islam
- Muslim first

* Work habits:
- Doesn't hold water

- Beechaareh Pakistanis
* Relationships:
- Nothing wrong

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October 22, 1999

* Intolerance

In respose to the letter, "Muslims first": You, as one who knows so much about Islam and Persia, should know that, first of all, pre-Islamic Iran had a plethora of religions and was much more tolerant of them than what is shown today... I certainly do not consider the indiscriminate persecution of Bahais in Iran "religious freedom", nor the forced exile of some one million able and smart Iranians from their country because of their political beliefs ...

I am not here to bash Islam. I may not like the religion's impact or its history, but I have no problem with anyone who chooses to follow the belief, as long as they don't impose it on others, as you and your hezbollah brothers do. You sit there and advertise Islam as some magical product that changed everything for the better. Look at Iran today. Look at all countries with Islam as their prominent religion. Most of them haven't even reached the point where you could call them "developing," much less progressive ... FULL TEXT

Maziar Shirazi

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* Miss kick ass

I used to be [Miss Iran finalist, 1978] Fereshteh Shirzad's student back home. As far as I remember Fereshteh was a good Karate player. Once she kicked around a few pasdars in Haft-Hoz. That is all I can say about her.

No name

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* Worst weakness

I love your Nostalgia section. But I also love this Omar Sharif line from one his movies: "The exile's worst weakness is nostalgia for what is lost..."

Majid Ghoddusi

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Octrober 21, 1999

* I'm scared

I am an Iranian girl who grew up in United States, from the age of 12. I love my Iranian heritage and culture. I met my husband four years ago and we have been happily married for three years.

In the next few months, I'll be meeting my mother in law for the first time. So far we have had great phone conversations, but other sources (not my husband of course) tell me she is EVIL! Call me insecure, but I am scared. I have seen way too many Iranian marriages suffering from inlaw interferences in their lives. So many marriages break up or turn sour because of the mother-in-laws. This has been an awful tradition of ours for many years.

As an Iranian woman, I understand the root of this mother-in-law complex. But for now, I can not resolve this deep social defeciency of ours. I come from a very peaceful family and hate senseless conflicts. What disturbes me the most is the double standardness of this issue. By that I mean; it's always the aroos (the bride) that has to endure the mother-in-law's difficulties. From inaws' precpectives, rearly have I heard a son-in-law being in trouble unless if he killed someone in an accident or did something else alike.

Although some arooses have the upper-hand due to their degree of income or degree of education (like MDs and such). Not that I don't consider myself intelligent, it's the superficiality of it. Has anyone ever been able to prevent the inevitable problems with their mother in law? Is there a quick fix? Please help!

Azita B.

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* Love The Times

I really love your newsletter. I spend three years in Iran (1995 to 1998) and I had a wonderful time over there. Right now I live in the Republic of Korea but I truly miss the friendly people, the beautiful country and the never-stopping life in Tehran. Wish I could go back soon again!

In the meantime I really love scrolling through The Iranian Times and absorbing whatever I can from your daily offer. Many thanks!

Brunold Peter

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Octrober 20, 1999

* Doesn't hold water

In his recent article "Disillusioned", Moghadam sails through the uncharted waters of the Iranian social psychology. He has decided, though arbitrarily, that the Iranian work ethic lacks substance, and in need of serious evaluation. He, skillfully, has taken time to take a look at the historic aspects of the Iranian behavior, declaring that centuries of invasions, and living under different rulers has impacted the content of our character, and thus social normalcy.

Although, I support his empirical analysis of Iranian history, however, I must say that part of his critique does not hold water. Here is a case in point. He says: "We know that merits and personal efforts plays little in our advancement in the society, and its the link and networks to which one belongs that determines one's progress". Well, making a blanket statement like this, is incorrect, and inappropriate. Additionally, this is not something new. Is it?

Despite this strong assertion, I do know hundreds of friends who came from disadvantaged families, and had nobody in the hierarchy of the political, educational, or financial establishment, and due to personal resiliency, boot strap, hard work, and honesty have achieved the highest level of personal, social,spiritual, and economic prosperity.

However, I do agree that there were, and there will be people who get to places with the help of connections. For instance go to any American institution and you will find plenty of examples of people working in various positions due to the fact that they knew someone in the organization. So, it is not necessarily an Iranian phenomenon.

I work and live in the heart of Silicon Valley, and I do know individuals who got their jobs not just because they were the cream of crop, or graduated from Stanford, but they got it because they knew someone inside.

Moghadam, to an extent is right for his critical views regarding our social behavior, but we need to stop bashing ourselves in the head. We need to embark on a new identity. As Americans, we are here to work hard, live,and enjoy life. Yes, as an Iranian American we will help our people to get to their highest human potential. We have no choice. I am sorounded by great numbers of diverse ethnicities. I see that they elevate their people to important jobs in their organization. Why not us?

Reza Azarmi

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* Tasteless defense of Islam

Your letter "Moslem first" is based on so many fallacies which I don't know how and why one wanted to bother to comment. All your thoughts regarding Arabic language and its distinguished miraculous features are just as nonsense, as is your bad reading of the Quran. The Quran has never mentioned any superiority of Arabic or any other languages to reveal the message of God. In fact the Quran says God could have revealed messages in any other language as good and effective as Arabic. The only reason the Quran was revealed and then written in Arabic was that Mohammad was an Arab...

Your tasteless defense of Islam is worse than Communists attacking religions as a source of all human misery. Islam or any other religion have been indispensable for the quality of life we have today. But they are not without their tradeoffs; mankind paid dearly for it. Again all humans paid a great price for religions -- no doubt about that; a point often keep being ignored or covered under the carpet by over zealous religious agents like you. How many people lost their rights, belongings and lives in the name of religion? ... FULL TEXT

Saeed Derhami

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Octrober 19, 1999

* All you need is free speech

I think the article by our Iranian friend is wonderful ["Persian work ethics"]. While the criticism is just and the analysis well supported by facts presented, one must also take the next step and think of a resolution that will remedy the problem. While the article is very candid, it is also true that not all Iranians are lazy. On the contrary, once the opportunity is given, they can work as hard as others.

I believe that it is the loss of hope that kills the desire to work hard and excel. If people believe that their government is corrupt, they will have no reason to be good, or to play good guy. I think the secret to success is freedom of speech. If people have complete freedom of speech and expression, things will fall into their right places.

By nature, we all want good things in life. Only in societies where there is freedom of speech and expression, you will see that people control their government and make the government work for them. So the people will police the government and the government will govern the society with guidelines handed by the people. In such societies, workers will be heard, they know that they are counted on and accounted for. Thus there will be hope and incentive to work. So we all need to push for freedom of speech, expression and press.

This also means that we will need to be more tolerant, because reasonable people can have different opinions. I don't think there is anything wrong with our Iranian friends in Iran. It is just that they need leadership and guidance toward democracy. Iranians have a lot to offer to the world; you just need to free them.

Al Mohajerian

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* Blow below the gut

In response to the author of "Khodeti", I believe the derogatory remarks about successful, independent, women stem mostly from jealousy. Since the person making the remark would find it a challenge to attack the woman (women) at an intellectual or intelligent level, (s)he decides to go for a blow below the gut so to speak (Excuse the double entendre). It is much easier to make speculations on a woman's social life than it is to question her qualification and career.

Regarding men opting for marriageable women from Iran, each to his own. As the English saying goes: "You can take the boy out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the boy." I believe the Persian equivalent is: "Aaghebat gorg zadeh gorg shavad, gar cheh baa aadami bozorg shavad'!

Nasim Bagheri

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Octrober 18, 1999

* Muslim first

In response to Maziar Shirazi's "Shah let people hold hands," the foremost thing that is completely wrong is the notion that Arabs gave "their God" to Iranians... ISLAM WAS NEVER AN ARAB RELIGION. IT IS A UNIVERSAL ONE ...

There is an abudance of evidence that Islam DID NOT flatten cities and force conversions, yet the people who claim that it did happen present absolutely NO evidence that it did. Islam ENRICHES Iran. Despite the political and idiologial differences in Iran today, look at our education. The CIA has named Iran as being in the top 40 educational systems in the world in 2 categories: math and science. No other modern Muslim country has done this.

And why shouldn't I be a Muslim first and a Persian second? All of us will face and I. I will tell Allah I am Muslim. Why? Because when death befalls me my nationality, money, weapons, and friends will not help me when I stand before Allah. Only my deeds matter. Iran can't help me them ... FULL TEXT

Kazem Mansouri

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* Beechaareh Pakistanis

In response to Shar Zori's "We're not lazy", first of all, beechaareh Pakistanis and Indians. And I hope your words don't reach their ears because they are notorious for getting back!

Secondly, here are some of the English equivalents of Persian words you thought did not exist:

mohabat: kindness, compassion, sympathy
vafaa: faithfulness, loyalty, devotion
doosti: friendship, camaraderie
erfaan: transcendentalism
mardaanegi: altruism, selflessness

Ramin Tabib

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* Nothing wrong

In response to Saghie Zarinkalk "Khodeti", even though you are totally entitled to your opinions, you can not say that Iranian men who go back to get married in Iran are doing anything wrong. They have the right to choose who they want to get married to just like you do.

I have seen many Iranian women who marry White, Black, etc. and even though I wouldn't personally do that, it is none of my business. I will never judge them because of who they decided to marry. You cannot say every Iranian man getting married in Iran will end up paying for it, just like I don't say every Iranian woman marrying an African American male will end up the same.

UC Berkeley

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