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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

Nov 16-20, 1998 / Aban 25-29, 1377


* Racism: Stop blaming others
* Alemi: Insightful contributions


* Relationships: Love will re-emerge, in time
* U.S.:
- Mohammad can't become a "real" American
- Give Americans the respect we have earned
* Expats:
- Nothing patrotic about capturing Karbala
- Don't forget the real "boys"
* Politics: Not another Shah, but...

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Nov 20, 1998

* Stop blaming others

I think Khodadad ["Minorities: Not an Iranian problem"] is living in some dream world or fails to see his own country from a broader perspective. For one thing, racism is an issue facing all scoieties. Bias is something that we human beings inherit almost naturally. Secondly, I would like to ask Mr. Khodadad to describe these commonly used Persian words for me : "Arabe Mooshkhor," "Armani Najes," "Turke Khar," "Yaroo Lor-e Lor-e," "Yahoodi Khassis," and "ajnabi."

How about our literature? What do you think of Ferdowsi's poetry: "Arab ra be jaei reseed kar, ke taje kiani konad arezoo?" And How about Anooshiravan Daadgar sending his troops to Yemen with specific orders of killing all those who have curley hair(referring to black people). And how about my relative who forced his son divorce his Black wife in the U.S.? And how about my other relative who has ex-communicated his son, who married a Bahai?

I have met many Afghanis outside Iran who spent some time in Iran. Most don't have any good memories from Iran. In fact, most cannot stand Iranians for the treatment they received. Are all of the above American problems transferred down to this? Or Anooshiravan and Ferdowsi were both part of the Zionist plot and World Arrogance? Accept the realities and stop blaming others.

Jafar Dehghan

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* Insightful contributions

From time to time, I read your articles [Massud Alemi's index of articles] in The Iranian. The variety in styles you have mastered is fascinating. Thank you for your interesting and insightful contributions.

Saba Ghadrboland

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Nov 19, 1998

* Love will re-emerge, in time

The language you use in "Marrying an Iranian woman" is truly beautiful; "love floating in a nation that has been so unfortunate, nothing but a divine gift." And in the case of "the empty smiles" of the West, so tragically real.

However, I felt incredibly sad reading your article. I felt sad because much of what you mentioned is so true. On the one hand the warmth and the love you felt when you went to Iran is alive. I've only been back once since migrating to the West 13 years ago, but felt a similar overwhelming feeling of warmth, from family and friends. At times (quoting you) "gently suffocating" affection. But there was also al ot of hidden agendas and I felt that much of it was purely for surface effect.

There must be a million ways of analyzing or explaining this. In many ways Iran has become a hard nation, its inhabitants sharp, tough, often ruthless (zebr-o-zerang) ... they are survivors. All this is completely essential (or natural) given our recent history. In this new world, the love you talk about, the innocent love is still part of the soul of Iran, but it has changed shape, hiding behind a mask. Through time, when the country is relaxed politically and economically, maybe the old love will re-emerge.

Nargess Shahmanesh

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* Mohammad can't become a "real" American

I read "How to become an American." It's truly clever and thought-provoking.

As an Iranian who grew up in the U.S. and joined the military to constantly prove my love for America, I've learned that no matter how long you live in this country or how much you have done for it -- as long as people know you were born in Iran and your real name is Mohammad -- you will never be a "real" American.

God bless Iran and Iranians

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Nov 18, 1998

* Give Americans the respect we have earned

I agree with the author of the article "How to become an American" that each and every person from a particular country shouldn't be judged by the actions of the people of his/her country of origins. I am an American veteran of Desert Shield/Storm and also lived in Saudi Arabia when the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was stormed. To say the least, Iran as a whole has not been on the top of my well-liked places list. It is hard to meet someone, though, from somewhere that you perceive has done a grevious wrong to your country and not be a bit biased. We almost always judge first, and then figure out the truth later. Unless the person has had a lot of inter- social experiences as I have had. He spoke of reading a Tom Clancy book, 'Executive Orders.' I read Tom Clancy a lot and love his books. But I also realize that they are only fiction, and a plot has to have a bad guy in it. Been that way since the dawn of time. People, even those in Iran I'm sure, like a good guy and a bad guy and love it when the good guy wins. Even if it is a scenario that is relatively impossible. And if Iran could do that action against the U.S., the Great Satan, it would not be out of the realm of possibilities that the government would support it.

I think what I'm trying to say is, that many countries have accomplished some pretty heinous crimes, but their expatriates shouldn't be held responsible. Should I hold all Japanese today responsible for the bombing of Pearl Harbor? That was totally unprovoked and at a time of day to ensure we couldn't respond very well at all. Were our people in the Embassy in Tehran asking to be held hostage and their lives threatened? But was the author at fault for it, since he was born there only? These are criminal actions, to say the very least. But the U.S. has accomplished similar things in its history, especially to the Native Americans. We have been worse to them than can be imagined. Only a few other countries have treated their people worse (Germany and Russia come to mind). But the world judges all Americans in the same way, as a people to be hated, yet they want to come here. We have stood up for what is right more times than not. We are not always right in our actions, but generally the world is better off with the U.S. than without it.

When I was in Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield/Storm, I saw what the other Middle Eastern countries were doing. I was heartened to see countries like Syria supporting the cause of liberating Kuwait. Granted, the US was not there to just free Kuwait, but Americans did die in the liberation effort. That can only be seen as a noble act. What did the other Middle Eastern countries do to help Kuwait be freed? What did Iran do? Supported the Iraqi Air Force. I would not be proud of myself at all for that if I was an Iranian citizen. How can Iran's actions be sanctioned? I am not against any Iranian citizen who is not supportive of those actions. I hope that most of the citizens would not be supportive of it.

I consider Andrew Jackson, the president featured on one of our dollar bills, one of our worst leaders of all time, but I am still proud to be an American. But we have a serious responsibility, too. We must think first, then act second, and take responsibility for those actions. We have a duty to be knowledgeable of the world, since we are a global country. We have a duty to try to understand other peoples, and understand they have a right to their own cultures. And those cultures are just as valid as ours is. These are just some of our responsiblities. On the other hand, we have a right to be respected by other peoples for our sacrifices that we have made for the rest of the world. Or would everyone else like it if Hitler and Tojo had gotten their own ways? Give Americans the respect we have earned. If we don't return it, then give some more, maybe we'll learn by example. And if Iran ever needs my help to defend herself, just let her ask for it and it will be there.

Christopher Peck

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November 17, 1998

* Nothing patrotic about capturing Karbala

In response to Aroosi-e-Khooban's response to my article "Farewell cherry tree," I have the following to say: The Iran-Iraq war for the most part was a pointless war that should and could have ended much earlier. Patriotism does not mean mindlessly following the directions of a leader for no obvious reason. There is nothing patrotic about capturing Karbala. Nor is there anything patriotic about capturing Qods.

At some point a person has to question whether they are doing something right or not. Grabbing a gun, shooting down a couple of Iraqis and in the process getting killed because some fanatic wants to capture Karbala and spread his revolution is not patriotic.

We have been down this road way too long. The intention of my article was to show another set of damages that a nonesense war inflicted upon our nation. My point is that in the future, before we create more enemies like the Talebans or whomever, we should spend a few minutes thinking about the consequences.

A million people were killed and twice as many left Iran during the war and the exodus still continues because of a senseless war that destroyed our land. Most of that could have been prevented had Iran accepted the ceasefire with Iraq earlier. Acting upon feelings is not good, and those who participated in the latter end of the war which benefited none but the weapons manufacturers and the two governments which solidifed their status through it, committed a rather blind act.

We are still suffering the consequences of that war. After so long, it's not a bad idea to look back, realize what it was all about.

Ali Khalili

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Nov 16, 1998

* Don't forget the real "boys"

Ali Khalili's "Farewell cherry tree" is a tale only too well known to most of us Iranian expatriates. I too suffered mildly in a London high school as an Iranian while the war went on back home.

But let us not forget the real "boys," the men of Iran's armed forces: conscripts, volunteer forces or otherwise; the army, navy and the air force, who defended our land at a very critical juncture in our history, sometimes with bare fists and often with weaponry much inferior to that of the foe. An enemy that had the financial backing of the Arab petro-dollars and the political and technical blessings of all the great powers. The men who liberated Khormashahar and Khuzestan against all odds, the elite forces that captured Faw and endured aerial bombardment beyond imagination and suffered from Iraqi chemical and nerve agents, one of whom, I was honored to visit in a London hospital, whose body was covered with large blisters and ould not speak of the untold stories as a result of sever breathing problems.

Let us also not forget the many pilots and air force personnel who should be credited least of all for keeping this force operational during the war despite international sanctions, and managed to mount a brilliant response to Iraq's ever growing air power. Politics aside, let us remember Hossain Fahmideh, the 13 year old, and his likes, who lost their lives while desperately attempting to stop the march of Iraqi tanks and heavy armor into our cities.

It was Veterans Day in the U.S. the other day: let us at least learn from our American hosts, and honor these men of great integrity who fell in great numbers amid superior Iraqi fir power and defended Iran inch by inch to the last man. Let us also remember the thousands of the war disabled, men with physical and mental scars resulting from the ugly scenes of the war, who under tremendous economic hardships have difficulty making ends meet in today's Iran. And let us build our very own Tomb of the Unknown Solider in our hearts, for there are many of them, with their families still waiting by the door to welcome them home.

Whatever the causes of war and its prolongation, we have to stop ignoring and ridiculing these men for the sake of political correctness and start honoring them and give them credit where credit has long been overdue: for staying behind, for risking their lives, and fighting for the homeland and their beliefs. Thank God, and many thanks to these brave souls, Iran's map is in exactly the same shape and size that I remember from my primary school times.

Khashayar Lessan

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* Not another Shah, but...

I just read one of your letters called "Another Shahanshah? No thank you," and I must express my shame in being Iranian and my outrage of how closed-minded some people can be. I am no Shah lover, or molla lover for that matter. I personally believe in a free society. I am sure this person's bad experience with the SAVAK has left him/her with terrible memories and of course for people like him/her they blame the Shah's regime.

But we all know that Iranians in general have to blame everything on someone else. They are never at fault. In every society/government there is always one category of people who benefit more than the rest. I was very little when I left Tehran back in 1976 for England where I have been ever since and I remember the way Iran was. But let's face it even the United Kingdom is not what it used to be during that time.

True. Iran had it's SAVAK, censorship and political prisoners during the Shah's time but what does Iran have now? A bunch who call themselves mollas and God's representatives, whose only contribution to Iran has been making people poorer than poor. Men have been forced to take 2nd jobs to become either pimps or drug dealers, women are forced to take a 2nd job as prostitutes, children are all suffering from malnutrition.

Llife expectancy in Tehran has dropped to 50 in the last few years due to so much stress, whereby during the Shah's time as you put it was 65 and people lived in a very moderate way but not desperate like now. During my visit to Iran last year, on behalf of the U.N., I watched in horror the suffering each family had to endure in Tehran.

As for political prisoners, well let me tell you something else after visiting Evin prison. Most of the prisoners did not belong in those filthy disgusting cells whereby instead of four people there were 12 in one room with four beds! All imprisoned because of their beliefs and for being brave enough to stand up to their government.

And as for censorship goes, well come on now. About 80% of everything is censored in Iran so what are you talking about! Just go and look around Beheshteh Zahra, look at all those young men who died for our bloody Islamic Revolution not for protecting Iran but for helping the mollas stay in power longer. Where is the justice in all this?

I don't think Iran needs another Shah, I agree. But the Islamic Revolution of Iran also does not belong in Iran, it belongs to ... well I will leave that to your own imagination.

S. Mahlouji

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