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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

Dec 21-24, 1998 / Azar 28-Dey 4, 1377


* Rights:
- More by saying less
- Totally nonsense


* Yalda: Inaccurate heresies
* Rights:
- Canonizing martyred writers
- Cold and cheated
- Double standard
* Iraj Mirza : Absolute genius

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December 24, 1998

* More by saying less

Sometimes one's right to remain silent can better inform the public, or allow them to understand the situation in a more accurate way ["Freedom not to react"]. This is perhaps relevant in the case of the recent murders in Iran. In my view, any expression of shock in reaction to these murders can only undermine the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran has continually committed similar or worse crimes in the past.

The current Iranian regime and its administrators have a 20-year history of murders, mass killings; they have set forth policies that have resulted in the migration of millions of people. To highlight Forouhar's tragedy as a shocking and brutal act would only help the regime to erase the history of crimes under the Islamic Republic and create an illusion about the existence of freedom and security in the past.

Also, elevating Forouhar and the murdered writers to national heroes and people's martyrs obscure the fact that most of these individuals had in the past somehow put their stamp of approval on the Islamic Republic and its crimes. Mr Forouhar was an IRI minister when hundreds of monarchists were being executed in Iran for no reason other than opposing the revolution. Mr Mokhtari, as a staunch supporter of Fadaiyan Aksariyat organization supported the wave of violent oppression that started in 1981. Unlike hundreds of other intellectuals who took their lives to safety, these individuals chose to stay in Iran and risk their lives under an authoritarian regime that cannot tolerate wisdom and freedom.

Lately, especially since the election of Khatami to the presidential office and the outpouring of support of the Western media in favor of the new president, silent elements in Iran's social and political circles started to get active, under the assumption that there is rule of law and civil society in Iran. These murders only prove this tactic to be wrong and harmful to the very same people who advocate them.

In fact Mr and Mrs Forouhar, along with the assassinated writers, are the victim of their own miscalculations. This in no way should suggest that they deserved to be killed. As a matter of fact these killings have caused a deep sense of grief among thousands of Iranians inside and outside of Iran. Yet this pain and anger unfortunately does not qualify the murdered victims as heroes or people's martyrs.

When reality is complicated and one simply does not hold all the pieces to the puzzle, the freedom to remain silent can be more informative than repeating whatever other people and groups are saying about these murders. I myself would have remained silent on this topic, if Mr Roshanvaran's letter ["Where are the strategic thinkers?"] had not asked for a public debate about this issue!

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* Totally nonsense

The response of Mr. Mirfendereski ["Freedom not to react"] to Roshanravan's letter ["Where are the strategic thinkers?"] is totally nonsense. He could not give a proper response because he doesn't have a proper response to this very credible question. My suggestion to him is, you have the freedom to keep quite, but we know you very well, in other words, you can be a good KHAR RANG KON, but who is the KHAR?

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December 23, 1998

* Inaccurate heresies

It is a pity that people least knowledgeable about the Iranian heritage, allow themselves to publish so many inaccurate heresies. Your piece on Yalda [by the French news agency (AFP)] is a point in mind. Please note the following:

1- Zoroastrianism is not a "sect", but the forebearer of all religions. The first to recognize the "Unity" of God, long before the Jews. Would AFP refer to the Jewish religion as a "Sect"?

2- All religions are "dualists" in the sense that there is a good and an evil. In fact the concepts of "Reward and Punishment," "Heaven and Hell," and "Ahuramazda and Ahriman" are all doctrines, first postulated by the Zoroastrians, and later adopted by Judaism, which later inspired the Christianity and Islam.

3- "Yalda" is an ancient Iranian word for "birth." The Arabic derivatives "yalad", "yoolad", "tavalod", etc. are some extension of the word.

4- Yalda in fact refers to the birth of Mitra, the real ancient Iranian deity "Sun God," -- remember from this day on, the sun reappears longer and longer in each passing day). Mitra's teachings, until the the year 376 A.D. (so-called), were the basis of the official religion of the Roman Empire, and Yalda, was celebrated by the populace. On this year, and after the occupation of the last Mitraeum ( the name for places of worship by Mitraist, like synagogues for the Jews, Church for the Christians and Mosques for the Moslems), in Rome, Pope Leo decreed that Jesus was borne on December 25th. and the people, then, were required to celebrate this day as Christmas. (If you visit Rome, you should insist on visiting this Mitraeum, which is directly below the basilica in the Vatican.)

5- The lighting of a Christmas tree is also an Iranian tradition of old times ["Merry Mitra"]. On Yalda, they would decorate a sarve (cypress) , "Rocket Juniper." This genus of the pine, which was much more abundant in Iran, plus its upright beauty, shooting straight up towards the stars, was a much better candidate for decoration.

In Europe, alas, the sarve was not plentiful, and in Germany where the custom of Christmas tree was initiated by Luther, the abundant pine became the popular choice. In Iran, the custom of the tree decoration, even today, can be found in less frequented villages where the hopefuls decorate any tree, locally available, with colorful ribbons in the hope that their wishes are gratified. Go and decorate a sarve.

Happy Mitra Yalda or as some have suggested, Happy Mitramass.

Hashem Farhang

P.S. I am not a Zoroastrian but certainly an Iranian.

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December 22, 1998

* Canonizing martyred writers

Iranians, like all other human beings, too easily forget the events of the recent past ["In the name of the pen"]. I think it is important that a "List of Martyrs for A Civil Society" be kept on The Iranian for those who have died in the IRI since Khordad of 1997. People can then go and see that Iran's struggle toward "civil society" is real, painful, tragic, and embarrassing.

Someone owes it to the people who have been killed, to not allow their lives be swept under the rug. To me it is ironic that the country which gave birth to and claims Hafez, Sa'adi, Khayyam, Rumi, Ferdosi, Attar, Nezami, Sohrevardi, Dehkhoda, Bahar, and on and on is now systematically allowing its next generation of greats be buried without a pause or gasp or shreak.

For Iranians this is right down our alley: a list of martyrs, writers no less. It's tragic that we do not cherish people while they are with us, instead they have to become Shahids for us to pay our respects. Well, let's do our part; let's pay respect to our Shahid Writers.

I know this is a sensitive subject... but someone's cloth has to be tough enough to weather the storm and (electronically) canonize these poor souls.

Arazoo Dorosti

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* Cold and cheated

It was nice to see that you had a photo of the late Mohammad Mokhtari ["In the name of the pen"]. You also had him as the "feature," meaning that there would be articles about him, his work, what he said, life story... something!

Instead you have links to other media announcements form various sites. Which is okay, and I found information that I had not found before, but you are mislabeling your front-page.

I felt a bit cold and cheated. I expected a lot more out of your website.

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December 21, 1998

* Absolute genius

I first read this poem ["Iraj Mirza: "Missing the point"] in 8th grade (eight years ago). Government censorship and a teenager's curiosity had made it that much more interesting to read. It was actually this poem, which I believe is called "Aref NAmeh" and not "ChAdor", that introduced me to Iraj Mirza's other works.

To me he is an absolute genious. His poems are simple yet so expressive and clear, and the fact that he was a "Shahzadeh" gave him the freedom and immunity to openly create poems, no one had attempted before in Iran.

Iraj describes the ignorance and vulgar culture of Iran with uttermost talent. The fact that his poems relate so closely to today's Iran shows how backward we have been moving for the past twenty years.

Attached is one of my favorite Iraj poems. Hope you like it too.

Farhad Jahromi

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December 25, 1998

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