The iranian.com benefit dinner/concert at the Luxor Restaurant (Chelokababi Nayeb) in South San Francisco Saturday (April 19) was out of this world… so much fun, so many friendly faces, so beautifully organized… jaatoon vaagha’n khaalee bood. [Photos by Faranak Ravon] Here’s the speech i mumbled that night. i wrote it just before the event started… I did my best deegeh!
During the past week several people have asked me about tonight’s event and how I feel about it. They all thought — more or less — that I was close to having a nervous breakdown. But, surprisingly, I’ve had almost no worries at all, not about this fundraiser at least. Everything — from the smallest to the biggest task — was carried out by a group of friends and all I did was listen to their deliberations in our weekly conference calls. I loved it! I didn’t have to do a thing!
So let me first introduce to you all the wonderful people who made my life very easy for the past two months and made tonight happen: Please give them a nice round of applause. Lale Shahparaki Welsh and Amir Salamat from Beyond Persia, Maryam Majidy and Nazy Kaviani, and Bruce Bahmani and Wayne Willis.
I am very grateful for what you have done.
And thank you for the wonderful artists who donated their magnificent work for our silent auction. I’m truly very grateful. Those who know me are aware of what a soft spot I have for artists.
The rest of my talk is going to have the same theme: To say thanks and acknowledge all those who have had a part in making iranian.com what it is today.
First and foremost I should thank my parents Manoochehr Javid and Shirin Bakhtiar. My father was head of public relations at the Abadan oil refinery and my mother published the oil company newsletter in English. Both of them contributed articles to national newspapers, including Kayhan International.
Our house was always full of newspapers and magazines, Iranian and foreign. I used to cut and paste newspaper articles and pictures in a scrap book — which is pretty much the same thing I do today. I take what people give me and publish them. Only difference is that this scrap book is not mine, it belongs to all of us. It’s a reflection of who we are — the good, the great, the awesome!
When I decided to start iranian.com in the summer of 1995, I bought 8 or 9 thousand dollars worth of computer equipment on my mother’s credit card. And for the first ten years until her death, she sent me $500 every month even though she herself had very little to live on. She was my biggest supporter and one of the early believers in iranian.com. So mom, I know you’re still around, thank you and I love you.
A close second, has been my dear sisters Iran and Soraya. I can’t even add up how much they have spent on keeping me and iranian afloat. A whole lot. Thousands of dollars + unending love and support, even though I have not been a good brother to them. I’m barely there for the — not even. Iran was very gracious to come all the way from Chihuahua, Mexico, to be with us tonight. Thank you Iran Joon! Love you! And i’ll call you soon for more cash :o)
My sister Soraya and her husband Fathali could not be hear tonight but are represented by their lovely daughter, my sweet niece Shahrzad Ghahremani, who took time off from USC Film school to be here.
Meanwhile I have also had the love and support of my Pesar Ammeh Nersi Ramazan-nia and his lovely wife Bella Warda. They opened the door to their home when I had no where else to go. Their home is still my second home. Thank you azizaanam! Also a big hug and thank you to my uncle Bahram — you may know him as Dr Bahram Javid, senior professor at Pacifica Dental College in San Francisco — for his substantial financial backing in my time of need.
Next i would like to acknowledge my cousin Karim Ardalan (so far… iranian.com has been a family affair it seems!). He had just started MIS, Inc, one of the first Internet design companies in New Mexico. For the first year or so, I would email articles and photographs to Karim and he and his team would publish them for me. Slowly I learned enough html to do the work myself, but Karim’s initial hard work and vision was really instrumental in the launching of iranian.com.
Also i would like to thank Anoosh Hosseini from Global Publishing Group who, I believe is here tonight with his lovely wife. Anoosh was the first to host the site on his server and actually register iranian.com for me. For some reason i didn’t think it was that important at the time. That’s how much of an idiot I am. If it wasn’t for Anoosh, iranian.com would probably have been called something very different, BeyondAbadan.com, or… Thank you Anoosh for NOT listening to me and registering iranian.com anyway! Also I will never forget your kind generosity when you didn’t charge me for carrying iranian.com because you knew I was in a bind. Thank you my friend.
I want to thank my good friend, my buddy, my loving aachaar faraanseh! Bruce Bahmani! (You may know him as the creative mind behind the Rostam/Shahnameh caroon books) I want to thank him not just for the wonderful presentation tonight but for far more importantly all the times I called in total panic because my Mac or some important software was not working. He was always there and he always had a solution. He has been one of the earliest, best and most prolific writers on iranian.com. I love him to death… my friend Bruce Bahmani… thank you!
And thank you my dear friend and tennis partner Shahrokh Mortazavi for buying the very first ad space in iranian.com and lending thousands more dollars for me to survive. I just hope you haven’t come all the way from Seattle to collect your debt! Love you man! Thank you for being here!
And a special thanks to a man I have come to love and respect a great deal for the past couple of years. A true brother in every sense. Kayvan Alikhani brought together a group of Iranian and American investors in order to bring about the most important changes to iranian.com since its inception. Thanks to his initial vision and efforts, iranian.com has become a modern, lively and a lot more interactive site.
Kayvan and I, along with our business manager and partner Wayne Willis, as well as chief technical officer Foaad Khosmood are working hard to move the site in a direction that would strengthen the sense of community and the ability to express ourselves in a free environment. Their efforts and the input from our other partners, including Asieh Mansour and Farzad Khabiri and our newest partner Siamack Salari (who has come along with his charming wive Varinder, all the way from Belgium to be with us tonight) have all had a crucial role in putting the site on the right path.
But my biggest thanks goes to each and every one of you — and the readers, writers and contributors of iranian.com. The internet is just a tool like any other. Yes it is the most powerful means of communication human kind has ever created. But we, all of us, embraced it with great enthusiasm, and for good reason.
The reason is we come from a country and a conservative culture where free speech has no real meaning. Iran, except for very brief period’s in its long history, has never experienced freedom in any meaningful way. The internet has allowed us to break out of our shell and express ourselves in unprecedented ways. That’s what iranian.com is: an outlet for all your aspirations without fear of any government or religion.
Thank you for being a part of this revolution — a revolution of the heart and mind. You are the true instigators for change — the non-violent kind, the most effective kind.
Now, at the end of my very boring speech, I would like to introduce to you a group of great musicians: Kiosk with Arash Sobhani, Babak Khiavchi, Anoosh Khazeni, Ardalan Payvar, and Hamed Nikpay with Farin Foroud, and mezo suprano Raeeka Shahabi-Yaghmaie… (just a couple of weeks ago she
had a great performance with the Oakland Symphony Orchastra)…
You have no idea how honored I am that these guys (and gals) — among the very best musicians of this generation — are playing here tonight.
Thank you for making this an unforgettable evening!
Enjoy… [Photos by Faranak Ravon]