The Iranian Times

Tuesday, December 1, 1998 / Azar 10, 1377, No. 616

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Shahin & Sepehr

    Baba Taher


Oil, mean people, dark skin, terrorism
Mental images of the Middle East influence relationships

By Yahya R. Kamalipour

"What images come to your mind when you think of the Middle East, Muslims, Arabs, Iranians, and Israelis?" This was a question that I posed to nearly 500 high school students in five cities throughout northern Indiana, during a 1997 world affairs conference for which I was the principal speaker. Using an assessment method called "word-association," I asked them to write, without censoring themselves, whatever images came to their minds immediately after hearing certain terms. Although space limitation does not allow me to outline and discuss the disappointing results, the following responses, compiled in no particular order, should reveal their perceptions of the Middle East, Arabs, Muslims, Iranians, and Israelis:

The Middle East: Terrorism, war, dangerous, Muslims, oil, desert, hot, camels, sand, Saddam Hussein, the Gulf war, PLO, fanatics, radical, destruction, oppression, dark skin, dress funny, black veils, cab drivers, oppressed women, OPEC, always in the news... GO TO FEATURE


Where will it all lead to?

Columnist Mohammad Javad Hojjati Kermani on the murder of the Forouhars and the attack on the bus carrying American visitors:


From Ettela'at newspaper November 26, 1998

Forwarded by Payman Arabshahi


"This domain may be available for your project! is an interactivity company which is involved in several Internet projects. This domain was acquired for a project, but is now available for the right partnership opportunity or offer to purchase..."

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* Money talks, Iranians listen

Farshad Kazemzadeh writes: As far as being money hungry, name a country where its people turn money down! This is the 90's and it's how people in the west tend to justify every peculiar behavior. Being money hungry is no exception! "Money talks" as they say and most Iranian immigrants have caught on little quicker than the rest. That does not make them evil, just smarter ... FULL TEXT

* Art: Gallery Ovissi: First specializing in Iranian art

Press release:

Maryam Ovissi and Daryl Pendleton are proud to announce the opening of Gallery Ovissi in Emeryville, California. The Gallery will feature unique exhibitions and events that share the works of contemporary Iranian and Middle Eastern artists in the United States.

Iranian-born Maryam Ovissi, the daughter of internationally renown Iranian artist Nasser Ovissi, has been a part of the art world since birth. Her experience and expertise in art has allowed her to curate annual exhibitions for Iranian and Arab artists throughout the United States... FULL TEXT

Book of the Week

The Assassin Legends : Myths of the Isma'Ilis

By Farhad Daftary

Since the twelfth century fantastical tales of the Assassins, their mysterious leader and their remote mountain strongholds in Syria and northern Iran have captured the European imagination. These legends first emerged when European Crusaders in the Levant came into contact with the Syrian branch of the Nizari Ismailis, who at the behest of their leader were sent on dangerous missions to kill their enemies. Elaborated over the years, the legends culminated in Marco Polo's account according to which the Nizari leader, described as the 'Old Man of the Mountain', was said to have controlled the behaviour of his devotees through the use of hashish and a secret garden of paradise.

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More news

Asian Games: Iran 2 - Kazakhstan 0

BANGKOK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - In their opening Asian Games on Tuesday Iran, a medals contender a participant in this year's World Cup in France, battled to a 2-0 victory in a closely fought game with Kazakhstan.

New law could slash Iran gasoline use-oil minister

TEHRAN, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Iran's oil minister said on Tuesday that a bill before parliament aims to slash domestic gasoline consumption, and could involve scrapping subsidies. The official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Bijan Zanganeh as saying local gasoline consumption is expected to rise to 32 million litres (8.5 million gallons) a day in the Iranian year which starts on March 21, 1999... FULL TEXT

Must read: Recent events & Khatami's reactions

Tehran, (Hamshahri) - An analysis of President Khatami's reactions to the murder of the Forouhars and the attack on the American visitors ... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Students gathering leads to violence

Tehran, (Hamshahri) - A moderate/leftist student gathering calling for an end to the "militarization" of college campuses and political violence leads to clashes ... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

The plight of the Persian carpet

TEHRAN, Dec 1 (AFP) - Ali Bidani sits disconsolately in his corner shop in a passage in Tehran's sprawling old bazaar, surrounded by piles of luxurious hand-woven carpets he says he cannot afford to sell. After almost two decades running a business that has been in his family for generations, Bidani is considering joining some of his fellow Iranian carpet merchants and simply shutting up shop... FULL TEXT

Kharrazi hail relations with Italy

TURIN, Italy, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Tuesday described relations between Iran and Italy as ``exemplary'' and said the two nations could jointly play an important role in the Middle East. On the first day of an official visit to Italy, Kharrazi said Iran did not need a rapport with the United States, ``which is not ready for relations based on equality and mutual respect'' and sought to ``eliminate Iran's liberty and independence.'' ... FULL TEXT

US official talks Iran deal compensation in Ukraine

KIEV, Dec 1 (Reuters) - A top U.S. aid official visiting Ukraine this week will discuss compensation to firms affected by Ukraine's agreement not to participate in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant project, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. ``There will be talks about some compensation for those Ukrainian companies which declined to take part in the Bushehr project,'' First Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Bersheda told a news briefing... FULL TEXT

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Quote Unquote

Big blob

I distributed a map of the Middle East and asked [high school students in Indiana] to point out any distinction, in terms of culture,language, geography, history, or politics, between the countries of the Middle East. [But] they generally appeared to think of the Middle East as a "big blob" devoid of any geographical variation or cultural diversity.

Yahya R. Kamalipour
"Oil, mean people, dark skin, terrorism"
The Iranian
December 1, 1998

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