The Iranian Features
Jan 11-15, 1999 / Dey 21-25, 1377
* Television: No thanks
* Royal diary: Qebleye Alam
* Photography : Cool 16
* Fiction: Cut from the source
* Cover story:
The blame game
Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday
| Thursday | Friday
January 15, 1998
Changing Persian script would be harmful
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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January 14, 1998
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
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January 13, 1998
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
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January 12, 1998
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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January 11, 1998
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
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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