The Iranian Times

Monday March 19, 2001 / Esfand 29 1379, No. 1187


Cover story

Don't say cheese
Paintings by Nemat Lalei

March 19, 2001
The Iranian

Nemat Lalei, born in Rasht in 1952, dropped out of school when he was fifteen. Before turning to painting in 1979, he traveled in Iran as well as in Europe, where he visited museums. He started painting by making copies of works by Picasso, Dega and Braque. Obviously, he doesn't need to any more. He has found his voice. And a powerful one it is >>> GO TO FEATURE


Chicken scratch
In perfecting my English I forgot Farsi

By Mahsa Tousi
March 19, 2001
The Iranian

I never thought I had lost so much of myself until I sat down to write a card to my cousin, whom I haven't seen in 15 years. I wanted to congratulate him on the birth of his first child. I stopped short of writing "Dear Shahrouz" in English.

I slid my hand across the page to the right side and prepared to write in Farsi. I practiced writing his name in the air a couple of times, but >>> GO TO FEATURE


Modernization through reforming the Persian language

By Kamran Talatoff
March 19, 2001
The Iranian

Modern Persian literature emerged during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a secular activity and has since demonstrated close affinity to such diverse ideological paradigms as nationalism, Marxism, Islamism, and feminism >>> GO TO FEATURE


Judiciary leads battle against reform

BBC Persian Service

Iran's judiciary launchd a major offensive against president Khatami's reforms as he started the last year of his term of office as president, with the closure of scores of reformist newspapers. The move continued with the trial of several pro-reform intellectuals. Sadeq Saba in this report reviews the long running battle between the judiciary and reformists: UPDATED March 19 2001 >>> LISTEN

Iran bans more newspapers

(New York, March 19, 2001) - In an open letter sent today to Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khamene'i, Human Rights Watch protested further closure orders against independent newspapers, the closure of an independent political party and the continued detention without access to lawyers or their families of independent political activists >>> FULL TEXT


Noruz gift

This joke is a Noruz gift from one of the loyal readers of It has nothing to do with Noruz itself. But I had a good laugh anyway. Hope you will too:

The madam opened the brothel door to see an elderly man.

His clothes were all disheveled and he looked not so neat. "Can I help you?" the madam asked.

"I vant Natalie," the old man replied >>> FULL TEXT

Thanks to R

More Letters

* Caricature not a treatise

Mahmood Kanani writes: I read the article by Mr. Baniameri about his despair on Valentine's Day ["The hell with romance"] and found it a highly amusing and funny take on some of Iranian men's negative stereotypes.

I was surprised to see the letters by some Iranian women bashing him as a sexist or calling him gay! Where has your sense of humor gone?! Sarcasm, a very great tool in comedic writing, is oozing out of this articles ears. It makes discussion of these difficult issues easier.

It's a caricature not a treatise on what men or women should do. Laugh at it, as I think many of the men and women reading it did, and let it raise a few questions in your mind as I think was the intent of the writer.

* Real artist

Azin writes: I emailed you a few months ago and I was amazed by Saman's art work. He is extremely talented. I was so excited that finally I know someone in the U.S. who is a real artist and a real human being. I used the word "know" because I think I know him through his artwork. Not only is he an artist, but also he has felt something that not many people have felt and that is the way women live in Iran >>> FULL TEXT

* How about someting new?

Babak Behnia writes: I think the cartoons by Sman could improve if he uses more color and variations in the theme. so far all of his cartoons have the same exact looking molla and the same punchline.

His cartoons say the same thing all the time: "mollas and women in chadoor are silly and Iran is hell". Okay, enough of that. We all knoww hat life is like in Iran. How about someting new?

I don't see any other opinions noted in his cartons and the characters too remain the same for the most part. This is just a comment / suggestion. I do admire all artists.

* Most sublimely beautiful

SY writes: I wanted to tell you that Zara Houshmand's poem "Earth and water" is probably the most sublimely beautiful writing I have ever read on

I often visit this website to read poems because it helps me make sense of my own minute dilemmas as an Iranian-American "living in exile". I can't explain it but I often feel as if I am listening to a large group of children yelling and fighting when I read many of the poems on the website.

But your poem moved me deeply and was the first one that I read and reread several times. Thank you for sharing your art with us. I hope you continue to create such wonderful work.

Noruz: U.S. politicians at AIC Noruz event


    Translation of today's poem by Zara Houshmand:

    Came spring, and the garden made me blossom

    And bloomed itself, displayed at my demand.

    When it handed me luck's cup and poured it deep,

    I laid my head down, drunk, and fell asleep.

    * Also see more Rumi translations

    Rumi book

Rumi: The Life Teachings and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi
By Frankin D. Lewis

Copyright © Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form


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The Web


More Noruz cards: Iranmania

Still haven't sent your Noruz greeting card? Iranmania has a nice selection, including animated cards.

Beyond Iran

The Dead Letter Office

You are dead. You don't know how you got to this point, but life as you know it is over. And now you have to chance to write a letter from beyond the grave to the world. That's the premise behind this morbidly entertaining site.

More web sites

Quote Unquote


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out wild bells and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

-- Lord Tennyson
"In Memoriam"

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