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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

September 20-24, 1999 / Shahrivar 29-2 Mehr, 1378


* Homosexuals:
- Homophobia?!

* Identity
- Don't take it personally


* Khalili:
- Derrida-wannabe

- Mortifying
- Deep down: Neanderthals
- Head spinner
- Genuine debate
- New Dark Ages

* Identity
- I am shocked!

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September 24, 1999

* Homophobia?!

Yet another typical article regurgitating the same old tired leftist rhetoric about gay rights ["Acceptance"]. In this and in all the other cases, it is never quite clear what exactly the author WANTS from the Iranian community at large. He rails against this so-called "homophobia" and heterosexism among Iranians but on the other hand he never defines exactly what "homophobia" refers to, and what Iranians should do instead.

I mean, what IS homophobia anyway? Does it refer to gay bashing and violence towards gays and lesbians? If so then Iranians are definitely not guilty of this. Does it refer to a general aversion to the idea of gay sex? Well, that is of course natural when one is heterosexual, just like the idea of sex with animals is repulsive to the average heterosexual.

Or is homophobia a label placed on people who do not wish to march down the street in "gay pride" parades and who have no desire to be activists for this issue? If that's the case, the by all means yes, Iranians are homophobic. But I don't see anything wrong with that.

The point is, I don't think the average Iranian cares greatly about the issue. I think they are satisfied that what people do in private is just that -- private. And it should be kept so. Just like what heterosexuals do in private is a private matter. Beyond that, there should be no problem.

But of course there still is a problem according to gay rights activists like this author, who want to force their ideologies onto everyone else. This borders on fascism. There is absolutely NO reason why Iranians should "support the lifestyle" of Iranian gays and lesbians (as a corollary they shouldn't preach to them either). The very idea is inane and ridiculous.

Nariman Neishabouri

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* Don't take it personally

Why can't some poor slob ever write a story, an item, an article that is a "sharhe haal" without getting shafted by the readers of this web site? I don't get it. Okay, so all you people who disagree with Alemi's "I was once an Iranian", disagree with him. I don't see the guy telling you that YOU TOO, god forbid, have "sold out."

Who's threatening the lot of you or telling you to be un-Iranian? Can't anyone take it NOT PERSONALLY? He's describing HIS feelings about HIS life and times. Why does everything ALWAYS have to be about EVERYONE. Why do we all think that things are either black or white? Isn't there a happy medium, a gray area, a balance to strike in this life? Our culture centricity will be our ultimate downfall...mark my words.

Banafsheh Zand

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September 23, 1999

* Derrida wannabe

We have another Derrida wannabe [Sohrab Mahdavi in "Lamentations of Laleh Khalili"] who has decided to write by way of aphorisms ... And he is arrogant enough to construct every sentence as if it were truth as opposed to mere conjectures on his parts...

It is ... the habit of every new generation to call the fight against or for modernity its own (Gandhi seems ancient history now, doesn't he?). Let's have a little more respect for history and not force it down every little intellectual canal we find lying around ... FULL TEXT

Ramin Tabbib

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* Mortifying

The article "Lamentations of Laleh Khalili" is mortifying because it strives to be so. It perpetuates itself through gyrations from "Messianic" time to Modern, from identity to an identity-in-absence. It is very much emblematic of the writer's desire to conquer both worlds in a single sweep, to go beyond "both" and "with" at once. In fact, Mahdavi thinks himself post-everything, nationalism, modernism, tradition, capitalism, Print, King ...

There is no need for high-flown language whose sole aim is to expose foundations, only to surpass itself in the act of doing so. This is a small community. Even if there are those who appreciate the tone and language, the majority doesn't get beyond so much as the first few lines of Mahdavi's verbiage. Lets forget who we are or who we have been, as Mahdavi would have us, but let us not forget how little we are. Man has left the realm of gods to gods, but he still finds himself subject to a predicament that can, and all-too-often-does, inspire him with awe ... FULL TEXT


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September 22, 1999

* I am shocked!

I think Mr. Salaradini is a bit unkind to Mr. Alami ["I was once an Iranian"] ; I can't see Mr. Alami toasting the Queen anytime soon, nor do I see self-hatred as Mr. Alardini has implicitly suggested. I do agree that some of Alami's remarks are naïve and inaccurate...

Example of mishmash: To call into question literary exploration of the Iranian literary cannon as evidence of some kind of reactionary tendency. I am shocked! An educated person such as Mr. Alami is surly aware of mountains of work annually amassed on such medieval stalwarts as Chaucer, Boccacio, Marlow and so forth. Entire cultural industries are erected in Western universities around obscure literary figures in Twelfth century Wales. So what is then Mr. Alami that is wrong with study of Hafez? ... FULL TEXT

Asghar Massombagi

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* Deep down: Neanderthals

This is an old article ["Real Iranian girls?"]. I found it just as repulsive then as I find it now. It saddens me that it is being re-circulated again. It makes me wonder that no matter how sophisticated, or intellectual some of us pretend to be, deep down we are just the bigoted, sexiest, Neanderthals which our sick backward religious or otherwise beliefs have so well created ... FULL TEXT

Mehrdad Erfani

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September 21, 1999

* Genuine debate

After reading Mr. Tavakoli's letter about the treatment of homosexuals in Iran, I felt so sad being an Iranian. How can this government of so-called holy men be so cruel upon our people? : - (

I think the issue of Iranian gays and lesbians most definitely is one that will grow. This is mainly due to the openness of the cultures where the Iranian diaspora live. In addition, the increasing mass-popularity and availability of the internet has opened up many possibilities among all people, even within Iran.

Gay and lesbian Iranians living in Iran now, are starting to realize that they are not alone and so-called freaks of nature and that there is a whole world of people like themselves. This was not possible a few years ago.

I think that a genuine debate on this issue is needed especially since many Iranians think they are progressive and open-minded until they are faced with gay and lesbian issues.

I have many gay and lesbian friends, and they are great people who have done no harm to anyone. Most of them tell me that they did not choose their homosexuality. In the face of such hatred and cruelty, why would they?


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* Head spinner

My head is spinning. I just got done reading another one of Laleh Khalili's rambling reviews; her ostensible critique of fast paced modernization in her article "New is good". Wieuuuuh!

What is it about her writing? Reading it has the same effect as popping high-powered speed pills. No introduction. No main theme or body. No conclusion. Just an endless, rapid fired, breakneck speed stream of harsh, ideologically laced opinions and observations. Like a diesel locomotive raging ahead with no breaks.

And to what end this stringing together of multisylabic sixteen inch words? Hard to say! But then again, modern writing is often characterized by its schizophrenic qualities!

Amir Sadri

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September 20, 1999

* New Dark Ages

This is a letter in response to YekIrani's recent article "Acceptance". Same-sex relationships are currently outlawed in 26 Islamic countries... Of the Islamic states that ban lesbian and gay sex, Iran is the most zealously homophobic. Since 1980, when the fundamentalists came to power under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed, according to estimates by the exiled Iranian homosexual rights group, Homan.... FULL TEXT

H. Tavakoli,

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