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The Iranian Features
Jan 11-15, 1999 / Dey 21-25, 1377

Today

* Television: No thanks

Recent

* Royal diary: Qebleye Alam
* Photography : Cool 16
* Fiction: Cut from the source
* Cover story: Dear Googoosh
* Commentary: The blame game


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Friday,
January 15, 1998

    Language

No thanks
Changing Persian script would be harmful

Saba Ghadrboland

    Among some Persian speakers, there is a negative attitude concerning the Arabic-Islamic invasions, which contributes to the opinion that the Arabic+4 script should be changed. The script is deemed a foreign invasion of the language brought by barbaric peoples. Whatever one's opinion of the invasions, the Pahlavi-Sassanid alphabet, was, fortunately or unfortunately, lost to the Arabic script, because this language and its alphabet were used in the Qur'an, the Islamic holy book. Not only did the invasions bring a change in script, but also added some Arabic words and structures (especially in the singular-plural distinction of nouns) to modern Persian. These historical facts do not constitute solid reasoning to change the alphabet. While these advocates of a Latin script claim to reject a script brought by foreigners, they invite that of another group just as foreign. The purge of one foreign element and the acceptance of another, such as a script imported from Europe, is not an accurate removal of that which is foreign. ... GO TO FEATURE

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Thursday
January 14, 1998

    Royal diary

    Qebleye Alam
    From Nasseredin Shah's European travel diary

    Reading the diaries of Nasseredin Shah (1848 - 1896) is pure entertainment. The man, who is very comfortable with his title as Qebleye Alam (divine center of the world, more or less), writes about the most vain and bizarre events that frequently invite chuckles.

    But the following pages (in Persian) reprinted in Par magazine (Dey 1377 / January 1999) also say a lot not just about Nasseredin Shah but our rulers in general. How in the world do they reach the top and stay on top? And what does that say about us in the bottom? ... GO TO FEATURE

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Wednesday
January 13, 1998

Photography

Cool 16
Young artist shows great promise

Reyhaneh Jami's package arrived from London this week. She had nine photographs from a recent art project carefully placed between orange and yellow hard paper.

Reyhaneh is only 16. But it's already obvious she has the eye ... GO TO FEATURE

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Tuesday
January 12, 1998

Fiction

Cut from the source
The Shah seeks advice from intellectuals, but it's too late

Excerpt from Saideh Pakravan's "The Arrest of Hoveyda" (Blind Owl Press, 1998). The following is a fictional account from Ebrahim Moradi (playwright; died in Paris a few years after the revolution). It is one of five accounts loosely based on events and characters surrounding the events which led to the fall of the Pahlavi monarchy in 1979.

I had just been released from jail when I was blackmailed into taking part in these meetings. In fact, I was told it was that or else. I don't think the Shah was aware of that, or even knew I had recently been in jail. He knew of my existence -- I was well-known -- and I thought he wanted to add legitimacy to the newly-granted freedoms by having someone like me participate in his sessions.

I soon realized, though, that they were not held for propaganda purposes and were not to be publicized but, on the contrary, to remain quite private, almost secret. Actually, he wanted to hear the views of an intellectual. That I should live to see the day! God knows he had tried hard enough to stifle us. He had even coined a word for us, or had it attributed to him, a play on the first syllable of the word intellectual. In Persian, it's pronounced an, which means shit. He substituted a synonym, goh, and called us gohtellectuals. Nice. Gives you a sense of the man's way of thinking ... GO TO FEATURE

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Monday
January 11, 1998

Cover story

Dear Googoosh
Letters to the most-loved Iranian alive

You may have always doubted Googoosh's talents as an entertainer. You may think she is a false idol whose influence on pop culture died with the 1979 revolution. You are in a very small minority.

Googoosh has not perfomed in 20 years. She chose to remain in Iran after 1979 and has kept a low profile. Yet she sells more CDs and tapes than any other Iranian artist. Hikers sing her songs on Tehran's mountain trails. Children who were born after she stopped singing, listen to her tapes on Walkmans at school. And she is practically worshipped in Tajikistan, where many speak Persian. She is, without a doubt, the most-loved Iranian alive.

The following are letters written to her on the googoosh.com website: ... GO TO FEATURE

Commentary

The blame game
Iranians are masters of finger pointing

By Guive Mirfendereski

According to reports by the Associated Press, on Friday, January 8, 1999, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, placed the blame for the murder and disappearance of a number of prominent writers and political activists on foreign intelligence services such as the CIA, Britain's MI5 and MI6 and Israel's Mossad.``You will be shocked to learn about the scope of the crimes, assassinations, bombings and intimidations committed by these intelligence services," he said.

However, it is doubtful that any foreign intelligence agency was behind the recent events. What seems to be at play here is the art of distraction, finger pointing, blame assigning, and misdirection, to each of which Iranians may well have a legitimate claim of exclusive ownership. The art of misdirection has been a national sport in Iranian political culture for some time. It is always somebody else's fault ... GO TO FEATURE

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 Cover Story

Dear Googoosh
Letters to the most-loved Iranian alive

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