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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

February 21-25, 2000 / Esfand 2-6, 1378


* Elections:
- Question those in power

* Identity:
- Changing Persians


* Race:
- Iranians not European
- Take a risk for Iran

- Insightful
- Airy
- Jumping the gun
* Book:
- Ridle
- He will be missed
- Not worth it

- Is there a solution?
* Gina Nahai:
- Enjoyed Moonlight

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February 25, 2000

* Question those in power

In reply to Mehdi Kianpour's letter:

I received several letters regarding the one I wrote to President Khatami ["Dialogue among ourselves"], but I wish to respond personally to you because you raise very interesting points, present a chance to respond openly to someone in Iran, and allow me to go more in-depth on something I feel very strongly for.

I think your argument is best summed up in "why don't you accept the risk?" I entirely agree with you. In some ways, it is a risk I would be ready to take today, if I had a plane ticket.

However, my friend, for many reasons, the decision is not entirely mine. I am NOT afraid to go to Iran, I am not worried about what may happen and ultimately I know someday I will be in Iran, and hopefully not only as a tourist -- I wish to help build something there. Going to Iran to me is as inevitable as dying -- one day it will happen. The question is when and under what conditions?...

Why don't I accept the risk and just go? Risking is not abandoning reason -- it is a calculated decision one makes aware of factors affecting the outcome of that decision. I have done my research and have determined right now something indeed will happen if I go. Don't question my judgment, question the ones who run Iran and why such policies remain in place and why no official assurances are given. That is exactly why I wrote to the president, because I want to put this issue on the table >>> FULL TEXT

Roozbeh Shirazi

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* Changing Persians

Ms. Ghadrboland's points about identity in lieu of Ms. Hosseini's commentary is a very valid counter-argument to the position brought up originally about the very complex issue of identity.

A person being of a mixed-European/Iranian/Asian/Jewish/African or what ever-hyphenated "American" has many positive and conversely negative elements to it, as she pointed out. However the definitions of "citizenship" versus "nationality" as opposed to "ethnicity" seems to denote more clear definitions of belonging to one group simply based on birth or parentage or ancestral origin. Whereas the issue of "culture" being an outgrowth of "environmental history" including ancestry is more or less fluid.

What was considered an "accultured" person of a particular ethnic group, such as Persians, has continued to change definitions right before our eyes in this past century. For instance, my experience as essentially an American visiting family & friends in Iran was very unique in that I was able to see many facets of that culture being treated as a part of the country, essentially as an "ovrseas Iranian" which hardly any non-Iranian foreigner would have been able to >>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Raafat

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February 24, 2000

* Take a risk for Iran

Reading Rooabeh Shirazi's letter to our dear President Khatami ["Dialogue among ourselves"], first I thought why someone who has such great emotions toward Iran can not come here and see his motherland. Reading forward I realized that there is no official limitation for entering Iran and the main reason they don't try to come is that simply they fear from difficulties they may face in Iran. This is not only appear from Mr. Shirazi's letter but also from many other emails and letters I've seen in The Iranian Times...

I partly understand them saying we feel unsafe and I know they think they may face some difficulties in Iran because Iran's future is still vague and unknown to them. But I have just a simple request from you all; and it's that if you really love Iran, if you want to walk the streets of Iran, if you want to meet your family face to face, accept the risk of coming to Iran >>> FULL TEXT

Mehdi Kianpour
Sharif University student

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* Iranians not European

In reply to Michael Chessman's note to The Iranian:

This morning I had occassion to paruse your website; though concise and somewhat informative in an Anglophile fashion, I find your racial "concerns," shall we say, racist?

Iranians are by no means European, sir, nor do I personally as an Iranian wish to be. I'm a pure Aryan; the product of the silk route and proud of it. I am the quintessential fruit of all the cultures of the east and then some.

Sir, the Iranian people have had a rough time of it in the last 20 years; we've experienced harsh and acrimonious treatment througout the world. In other words we've tasted racism first hand. And speaking for myself, I don't see how you feel it appropriate to "sell" your wares here!

Banafsheh Zand

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February 23, 2000

* Insightful

I wish to congratulate the The Iranian for publishing the articles by Laleh Khalili and Rasool Nafisi, who offered two equally insightful pieces on the Islamic Republic's parliamentary elections.

Ms. Khalili's comparison of Iran's majlis race and the U.S. Republican primary in South Carolina is elegantly written and witty ["So alike"]. Although I think that she overstates the point that "we are all the same," I applaud her for underscoring our common humanity and long for more authors with the courage to stake out such bold positions.

Dr. Nafisi's essay ["Road to vicotry"] also resonates with me, for -- even at the risk of appearing cynical -- he reminds readers that President Khatami and his newly elected pro-reform allies in the parliament have a long road to hoe before Iranians can enjoy both the method and substance of democracy.

Another lucid piece that cautions readers not to become swept up by the appearance of change because the reality of enacting reforms requires the citizenry's patience and participation.

Haleh Vaziri

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* Airy

Laleh Khalili's piece ["So alike"] was a bit airy, but points well-taken.

Richard Sinkfield

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* Not worth it

I read your artical on "Persian work ethics" in Iran, and I agree with it completely. But one thing that has always made me mad as hell is the idea that we're lazy in Iran but work hard here in America, Canada, England or any other foreign country.

I've seen that in so many places, that Iranians who might work 10 hours a day somewhere else are all lazy bums here. Because they think "this damned country isn't worth it". Go Figure.


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February 22, 2000

* Jumping the gun

It's true that recent events in Iran bring some sense of optimism, but to say that "democracy has finally arrived", is in my humble opinion premature and naive ["The ballot box"].

While 1,500 students still are in prisons and the people who threw them off the third floor of their dorms are running around free, while no one has yet truly been implicated for the serial murders of 1998 with the exception of some imaginary dude, Said Emami, while it was only weeks ago when we had a German guy in prison for the crime of having sex with somebody, while ancient allegations and rhetoric of CIA and FBI's relationships with Saeed Emami and his wife can be publicly mentioned by government officials, while those responsible for mass executions of thousands of Iranians and the destruction of Iranian economy still walk around freely, it's hard to truly speak about democracy.

Democracy's first rule, is a pluralistic government. Did anyone who officially rejected the notion of Velayate Faghih participate in this election? Did any party with the exception of those within the framework of Islamic Republic participate in this election? does democracy in Iran mean working within the frameworks of IRI? Isn't there anyone out there who could represent thousands of Iranians who are not per se religious? >>> FULL TEXT

Jafar D.

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* Ridle

Having just finnished reading The Physician, I wholeheartedly agree with Bruce Bahmani's review ["Adventures in old Persia"]. I also would highly recommend this book to those that have no fear for the truth. An ancient proverb states: "When the truth is inconvenient, Ignorance is considered a licence to sack, pillage & rape the community".

My recommendation of this book to a Jewish friend was framed as mystic referrence to page 600. I told her that if a Jewish Rabbi were to first read this page, then read the whole novel, a massive riddle would pop in their face.

After I read the book, I went back to page 600. From the text, I visualized a "Pet Octopus" named "Panda" -- dropped it into my mind to go fishing. When "Panda" rattled my cage to come out, I said: "OK Panda! Spit your ink out on the page! Let's see what you have to say: "A Riddle, 3 by 3 ..." was the distillation from this novel.

It should be understood that riddles have a very serious and profound purpose: To reason, not only on the short terms of a generation, but also on God's timeline. For we are their children! If you would like to recieve a copy of this riddle please respond by email.

James M. King, Jr.

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February 21, 2000

* He will be missed

We wanted to inform you of the recent death of Nader Naderpour, a well-known comtemporary poet and writer. Mr. Naderpour was a well-known member of our community and held many poetry sessions at UCLA. His poetry and words have touched us all and have served as true inspiration for many.

His work covered many subjects making him admirable to a wide audience of Iranians and non-Iranians. His will truly be missed and his work will continue to serve educational and inspirational purposes to all who encounter any of his pieces. We give our condolences to his family and wish them all the best.

Sanam Ansari and
Parasto Saadat

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* Is there a solution?

I am a sixteen year old student in Seattle, Washington. And, "beh omid khoda", I will go to college next year in New York or Washington D.C.

My family and I have visited Iran eight or nine times since we first came here in 1985. Until this past summer, Iran was heaven to me. All my cousins and family would surround me when I visited. We would go to Shomaal and eat balaal kabaab shodeh by the Caspian or play takhteh in my uncle's comfortable villa. And of course, my girl cousins and I would go on our daily pesar-bazai adventures : )

But this year, I experienced a different side of Iran. My cousins and a couple of our friends were walking in the street when we were confronted by the Komiteh. They harrassed us for almost an hour, threatening that the minibus was on its way to take us to the Kalantaari. At one point, I started crying, which was even more humiliating >>> FULL TEXT

Kianoush N.

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* Enjoyed Moonlight

I enjoyed reading [Gina Nahai's "Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith"]. I would like to know more about the author's interest in Magical Realism.


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