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The Iranian Features
August 31-September 4, 1998 / Shahrivar 9-13, 1377


* Women: Missing the point?


* Fiction: My long tresses I shall cut
* Cover Story: Iran's American martyr

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Sept 4, 1998


    Missing the point?
    Another look at Iraj Mirza's famous poem on the chador

    September 4, 1998
    The Iranian

    When I bought "The Complete Poems of Iraj Mirza" from Iranbooks in Bethesda, just outside Washington DC, I went straight to the poem I had heard so much about over the years -- the one about his views on the chador, which was written some 50 years ago.

    I had already read or heard parts of it before. But I had never read it in its entirety. As I was waiting for a friend in the car, I read it all with great enthusiasm. What courage and wisdom, I thought. Iraj Mirza had made a strong argument false chastity, but with great sense of humor and imagination. And he used adult language in a way rarely seen in Iranian literature, even outside Iran.

    When my friend got into the car, I asked her to give me a moment of her time. But before I finished the first page, she asked, "Isn't this the one about rape?"... go to feature


August 27, 1998


    My long tresses I shall cut
    Young girls in a fictional Persian village

    By Dorit Rabinyan

    Flora was also made to sing the sad song that had been composed especially for such troubles of the heart. The old women drew their cracked lips into the dark caverns of their mouths and agreed with Sabiya Mansour that even husbands who sailed beyond the Caspian Sea to the end of the world could hear this song plainly, and the sadness of its bitter melody brought them back to their wives. That was the song that Gulistan had sung to her lover, Horshid, the women chorused squeakily, their eyes moist, their souls yearning, and their flesh astir.

    Gulistan was the beloved of Horshid, the royal sculptor. He had carved her form in snowy, purple-veined marble like her skin, and set it in the middle of a gushing fountain in the palace court. When Horshid heard that Gulistan had been betrothed to the son of Reza Shah, he thrust the heavy chisel into his forehead and died. The following day Gulistan found his body floating in the palace fountain, the goldfish swimming in the caverns of his ears. But when she sang him this song and told him that the story of her betrothal was a lie spread by the prince to alienate her sculptor lover, Horshid revived and the fractures in his skull healed immediately with a fine purple scar. ... go to feature

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Sept 2, 1998

There was no feature today because of technical difficulties.

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Sept 1, 1998

There was no feature today because of technical difficulties.

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August 31, 1998

Cover Story

Iran's American martyr
Howard Baskerville was killed by royalists nearly 90 years ago

By Robert D. Burgener

Iranians are great storytellers. As an American storyteller trying to stay focused on collecting anecdotes about the Allied involvement in Iran during the World War II, the other stories about this ancient land were a fascinating temptation. When I would ask Iranians about what contacts their country had with Americans before 1940, two names always came up: Morgan Shuster, an advisor to Reza Shah in the 1910's, and Howard Baskerville, a missionary killed in Tabriz in 1909.

Based on the stories both older and younger Iranians told me about "the American missionary" -- most couldn't remember his name -- this guy was going to be much more interesting. First, because as with most stories coming out of Iran, there is an element of conspiracy. The American had been shot by a sniper - but which side was the sniper on? Was he a "Royalist" supporting the despot Shah in Tehran who had abolished the Iranian constitution or was this sniper on the side of Sattar Khan and the "Constitutionalists" who were trying to gain advantage through intervention of European powers by creating a martyr? ... go to feature

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 Cover Story

Iran's American martyr

 Gol Aqa



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