September 2005

A rose for the martyrs

Short story
Afsan Azadi

The year was 2031. The uncontrollable population explosion had reached beyond the city limits of Tehran. Finding housing for a population that had reached nearly 30 million seemed unrealistic and had become a huge task for the government. The new mayor of Tehran had proposed a new recommendation, which had approved the authority of the city to explore any area of the city, inside or outside, to expand its housing plans. For this purpose, they had designated a remote area on the outskirts of Tehran for development.


Rice paper
Seyed Alavi

Relative nature

Ramin Jamalpour

Uncontainable laughter

Precious moments

Persia's poetic past

In memory of my father, who taught me to be proud of my heritage
Amir Nasseri


Saeed Siadat

Amaan az een zamaaneye Farhad kosh

Reply to a critic
Abdolkarim Soroush

Kolaah sharee

IRI's no-nukes Fatwa
Khodayar Afam

Zire pole Bahmanshir

Under Bahmanshir Bridge
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

Fahimeh & Marzieh can play

Photo essay
Iranian women football players

Why not us

The question an increasing number of ordinary people in Tehran are asking about the West's opposition to Iran's nuclear program
Meir Javedanfar

As far as the Iranian government is concerned, the daggers are out. Iran in its own way tried to reason with the West, as much as it could. Its new President Mahmud Ahmadinejad travelled all the way to the US and declared Iran's peaceful nuclear intentions in front of the whole world. Ahmadinejad even agreed to be interviewed by an unveiled reporter (CNN presenter Christian Amanpour who is also Iranian) so that the other half of the world who do not watch the UN hear Iran's reasoning which to him is simple.

Pajooheshgar yaa kaargozaare regime?

On the IWSF women's conference in Vienna
Shadi Amin

Labor of lab

What if the giving of lip-kiss “lab dadan” and receiving of it “lab ghereftan” served the religiosity of some distant time by covering the true desire of the participants -- to engage in carnal relations?
Guive Mirfendereski

I went into the Labor Day weekend with a nagging question in mind: Could there be a connection between the Persian lab (lip) and English/Latin labiapudendi meaning “the lips of the female pudendum, the folds on either side of the vulva.” If so, then the most significant etymological discovery of our time would be at hand – love equals vagina! By the time I came out of Labor Day weekend, I had my answer, but not without the inspiring contribution of Lake Habeeb to my thinking process. Once there, I let my filthy imagination run wild with lab and labia. It is obvious to most that a woman’s horizontal lips in the penthouse resembles the vertically oriented lips located at the foyer.

Dasti miyaane deshneh o del neest

In memory of Hamid Hajizadeh, "the smallest victim" of the chain murders in Iran
Massoud Noghrekar

Pissed off Persian

What you can control, over time, is your own reactions to the world around you
Shokooh Miry

A reader writes: I am writing you to talk about something that is really beginning to hurt my life. I am very angry. All the time. And it seems to be getting worse. The smallest things upsets me and sets me off... dealing with my boss, waiting in line at the movies or watching the news. I feel enraged all the time and I don’t know what to do. I am not violent, I haven’t done anything stupid like hit anyone, but I just feel so hostile all the time and I verbally explode at the smallest thing. Can this be helped or am I just stuck being angry?

Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 6
Homayoun Abghari

Brushes in bondage

Mohed Omrani

Half & half

The crisis created by the election does not seem to be immediately solved and it can push Germany into a long political impasse with no immediate exit
Jahanshah Rashidian

With the combined Green/Social Democrat vote less than 44 percent or their rivals, the CDU/FDP less than 47 percent of the total; it is unclear how a government can get a majority in the Parliament. All other options of coalition seem to be difficult, the loner Linksparty stresses on the topic of social justice, minimum wage, a good national health service open to all and some other traits of welfare system of the ex- East Germany, which all these are sinful ideas in the language of political parties rooted in the West and repeated permanently by German media.


I'm in love with this music... check out the latest offerings
Thanks to Parviz Mehrofarin

Pragmatic with patriarchy

Policing of the IWSF women's conference
Samira Mohyeddin

I am writing to you with regards to some of the comments that I have read over the summer regarding the IWSF conference in Vienna, and the so-called "rude" behaviour of some of its participants. I wanted to add my voice to this debate because the majority of responses have alluded to the younger generation of feminists, both inside and outside of Iran, who might be put off from attending this conference because of such behaviour. I want to weigh in on this notion because I believe that this is quite a distorted representation of the younger generation of Iranian feminists, particularly those in the diaspora who are sick and tired of wishy-washy academics that do not address the reality of Iran's theocratic system of governance.

Dangerous adventure

An attack cannot be ruled out. However, even this U.S. administration must realise the dangers of embarking on such an adventure
Yassamine Mather

The Iranian president's speech to the UN general assembly on Saturday September 17 and the reaction of Western powers was predictable. In a year when Iran has seen most of its long-term protégés, including Prime Minister Jaafari, President Talebani and their respective militias (SCIRI, Badr Army, PUK ...) coming to power in Iraq on the back of the US-UK invasion and at a time when US forces are facing fierce resistance from sunni Iraqis, Iran's Shia leadership can show the kind of bravado we heard from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even if the European Union and United States refer Iran to the Security Council, it is unlikely that  neo-conservatives in the US would initiate an all out attack on Iran - despite similarities with the scenario we witnessed before the Iraq war.

Butterflies in Berkeley

Photo essay: The cast of "Shaparak Khanoom"
Mansour Taeed

You're welcome

People in the West deserve to know more about civilizations whose effects on their own were more than incidental
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

Open Letter to Guardian Unlimited in response to "The Evil Empire" by Jonathan Jones: Most people in the West seem to share the belief that Persian rule over Greeks ended with Xerxes’ defeat at Athens, whereas in fact it was only the beginning. The majority of Greek cities lay in Asia Minor and were thus under Persian rule for some two centuries. Nor was their rule all that negative for the Greeks, who, like other subjects of the empire, were allowed to maintain their language, their beliefs and their art. The terms ‘despot’ and ‘tyrant’ were first applied to the Greek rulers of some of those city-states, not to the Persians who brought them stability (mentioned by Mr. Jones).

Update your ancient sources

The importance of the Achaemenid empire has not been highlighted simply because they were not victorious in the war against Greece
Evangelos Venetis

In response to "The Evil Empire" by Jonathan Jones: Undoubtedly, the Achaemenids and later on the Sasanians have not been credited with what they really deserve. The importance of the Achaemenid empire has not been highlighted simply because they were not victorious in the war against Greece. Moreover, available written sources are in favour of the victorious side and our knowledge about ancient Iran depends on these sources. Herodotus wrote history and, as many of his Greek contemporaries and others after him, he devoted his work mainly to the knowledge of the Other, the superpower Achaemenid Iran. The Greeks were interested in learning about the Iranians because of the highly sophisticated cultural level of the Achaemenids.

Taxation or racketeering?

Give citizens the right to dictate to the government how to spend their money
Reza Fiyouzat

Imagine a new system of taxation is instituted, whereby the citizens dictate to the government how to spend their money. This way, a stop will have been put to the political machinations by the fat cat Senators and Representatives, who are way too chummy with billionaire company owners who have them on pay roll to make sure all kinds of friendly legislation is passed to line their collective pockets ever so deeply. Likewise gone will be the impotence of the people. They will have a say (in a major way) in determining the political conditions of their lives. Their collective priorities, taken together, will determine the general shape of social policies. Further, the citizenry will become more involved in the political process in a much more conscious and intelligent manner.

Revolutionary illusions

“Nobody can tell me I’m less Iranian than a mullah who looted this land,” he said. “Nobody.”
Afshin Molavi

A few days before my pilgrimage to the Mohammad Mossadegh shrine, I went to the offices of Ahmad M, the son of a Mossadegh aide. I was told by friends that Mr. M. would be a good conduit into the world of men and women who knew and revered the late Prime Minister unjustly overthrown in a 1953 CIA-supported coup d’etat. He was also, I was told, among the best of his generation of technocrats who graduated from U.S. universities in the 1970s. Mr. M opposed the Shah and cheered the revolution, he told me, though he turned against it fairly quickly. Like many men of his generation and class, he felt The Shah’s rule was stifling and demanded more open political spaces.

Happy ending

Want to fight terrorism? Legalize prostitution.
Siamack Baniameri

A few weeks back I was contacted by a think-tank organization in Washington DC to share my thoughts on ways to combat global terrorism. This well-respected nonpartisan organization, which is comprised of Harvard educated political scientists, has taken a proactive approach in identifying practical solutions to end global terrorism by engaging people from the Middle East in productive discussions. The lady exclaimed on the phone that by reading a few of my articles on a "progressive Arab Islamic website", the organization had decided that my input might be valuable, even educational. She added that the idea is to gather honest and edifying contribution from prominent Middle Eastern scholars on ways to stop religious violence without military action.

We remember

On this day we honor the fighting nation of Iran
Pouya Alimagham

This is the first war in nearly 200 years of Iranian history in which Iran did not lose an inch of its territory, even though Iran was facing insurmountable odds much greater than any war waged against the historic nation in several hundred years. And thus, the resilience of the Iranian nation to persevere through such a monumental and lethal predicament can be attributed to those Iranians who sacrificed themselves for the sake of defending Iran from Saddam's invasion on September 22, 1980.


Simin Meykadeh

Picking a fight

Ahmadinejad goes to New York
Setareh Sabety

Amanpour asked Ahmadinejad four or five times if he really meant it when he said that Iran would not stop enriching Uranium, which would surely have the case end up in the U.N Security Council and lead to some UN sanctions or even war with the U.S and Europe.  He looked back with a smirk and repeatedly answered yes.  She even told him that his tone was rather confrontational and would give a bellicose signal but he kept his, I know what I am saying but I am saying it anyway -- look.  It reminded me of a schoolboy picking a fight.  That is the attitude of Ahmadinejad and the regime.  They are like children sticking their tongue out at the whole world.  But there is nothing childish in their intentions. 

Dipped in silky water

Visiting Sareyn hot springs
Sara Nobari

Fereshteh paid the man standing guard the entrance fee and we passed through curtains into the inner sanctum. It was as if I had discovered the secret gathering place of Iranian women. There were about fifteen of them in the small square pool, and they were all naked -- withered grandmothers and plump mothers, shapeless girls and supple teenagers. The imperfect bodies sagged here and there, puckered at the hips and stretched around the stomachs; breasts hung freely. I had never seen so lovely a sight. The women were completely relaxed with each other. There were no covert glances, no snide asides; everyone was at ease. 

Ahmadinejad challenges the big boys

There is nothing better than standing up to a giant to make you feel like one
Kouross Esmaeli

Last week’s UN meeting of heads of state was yet another attempt at balancing -- or pretending -- multilateral diplomacy in a world where America is recognized-yet-resented as the biggest bully on the block.  The very visible presence of the Iranian delegation was one of the main news items from the proceedings of the summit, with most of the coverage centering around President Ahmadinejad’s pronouncement that Iran is willing to share its nuclear capability with other countries. Considering the fact that this was the precise excuse that Bush used to justify his invasion of Iraq, the comment seemed like a diplomatic faux pas and the American media, dutifully, drummed up the hysteria.  But there is a logic behind this comment from the Iranian President which came through later on in the week .

Man was born free, somebody chained him!

Let's break those chains, free the man!
Iqbal Latif

Afghanistan's democratic ballot, along with Iraq's a few months back, is a turning point in the annals of regional geopolitics. The elections in these two nations are seen not only as a test of President Bush's foreign policy but the ability of the United States to institute peaceful democracy in formerly tyrannical states. The pressures are from fundamentalists, who abhor the free vote, and the liberal left, who fail to appreciate the free ballot as a victory of human values. Democracy by nature is a chaotic process whereas tyranny is structured and rather serene on the exterior. Dissent is bulldozed without any recourse to law or tradition. In Afghanistan, edicts were based on archaic ideological concepts which ultimately rule the land. In the case of Iraq, a 'Baathists' totalitarian and oppressive regime conducted a hunt of its citizens for five nearly decades in which thousands perished in secularly led 'ideological battles'.


Photo essay: Sacrificing sheep
Aidin Fathalizadeh

The World of Ancient Persia: British Museum
Peyvand Khorsandi writes: Forgotten Empire is an apt name for an exhibition of ancient Iranian artifacts sponsored by BP, which started life as The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the most prominent symbol of British imperial interest in Iran. Anglo-Iranian’s successor, the National Petrochemical Company is backing the event, along with Bank Melli and Iran’s Cultural Heritage & Tourism Organisation, all under the umbrella of London’s Iran Heritage Foundation. Still, it is a fascinating exhibition, if in a cramped space, especially if you want to transmit notions of Persian historical grandeur to your children and ensure that they grow up knowing their ancient royals had some serious tupperware. (In an age when the Queen Elizabeth takes breakfast from plastic containers that's no small thing.) One of the most memorable exhibits, however, is in fact Greek: a goblet shaped like the head of a bearded Persian man. It is also a wonder to learn that the famous Cyrus cylinder is barely bigger than a bar of soap. Visitors to the event were largely non-Iranian. Needless to say, the Iranians there tolerated them and accepted their practices.

Los Angeles booye kabob meedahad (2)

City of Angeles smells like kabob
Leila Farjami

Sooner or later

Why the Islamic Republic needs nuclear power?
Omid Habibinia

While Tehran insists it is improving atomic facilities to generate electricity, emerging evidence and purchases of uranium enrichment equipment all point to the construction of an atomic bomb, which in strategic equations can destabilize the region. Meanwhile, Iran, currently the world's second largest producer of oil, is fast running out of natural resources and needs to have nuclear technology. At present there is not enough fuel for conventional power stations. With the urban population at 80 percent, having increased by 40 percent over the last quarter century, an alternative source of energy is inevitable.

Seeing the future in their eyes

Excerpt from "The Soul of Iran: A Nation's Journey to Freedom"
Afshin Molavi

This book is a chronicle of an important moment in Iran’s quest for freedom. In these pages, I tried to remain neutral, dispassionate, and objective, but it wasn’t easy. I’ve met too many bright, young, and democratic-minded Iranians to be pessimistic. In their eyes, I’ve seen the future of Iran. But I’m not naive. I’ve also seen up close the eyes of violence and reaction: hard-liners who want to force the chick back into the egg, government agents who intimidate journalists, judges who sentence writers and professors to death, thugs who beat prodemocracy students. Authoritarian states rarely go quietly, and the Islamic Republic will be no exception.

Model of love

Sexuality and marriage: What heterosexuals may be picking up from homosexuals
Hamid Karimianpour

It took about two millenniums before the foundation of marriage was rocked yet again. Sex had been developing increasingly in the direction of formalization and ritualization. The transformations of the twentieth century in the West reversed for the first time this development. The sexual liberalization and the liberation of women liberated not only sexuality (arguably only to a lesser extent), but also human worth from the bondage of sexual oppression and prejudice. Humans were now acknowledged valuable regardless of their sexual orientation. Humanity regained its autonomy and respect. Sex became an expression of freedom, but what about marriage?

Naghd-e "Bahaiat dar Iran"

A review of a book published on the history of the Bahai faith in Iran
Kavian Sadeghzadeh Milani


Selected works
Bahram Dabiri

Where have the men gone?

(All names in this article are fictitious)
Kambiz Naficy

When I returned home after twenty-six-years, the land was covered black with women -- millions of them -- seven to every one boy. No men. The boys in Tehran walk poodles these days while the men shuffling the doe celebrate this grandest of all victories. One of my students, a pedicurist, tells me that many of the boys sit poised in beauty salons on their wedding nights, while Parvin picks their eyebrows thinner, and even puts eye-shadow in the well of their eyes.

Hit & miss

A review of Googoosh's new album, "Manifest"
Dario Margeli

"Ay Mardom Mordam" is a CLASSIC and absolutely perfect. The chorus and melody are absolutely brilliant, memorable, original and fit Googoosh's voice like a glove. The use of a real drummer gives the song the added strength that its lyrics demand! The lyrics are very important and up to date, in line with the realities of Iranian women today.

Stop the politics of labeling

The only way to protect it is to open our minds and the doors of the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation conferences
Halleh Ghorashi

Being part of the last Iranian Women's Studies Foundation (IWSF) conference in Vienna, experiencing the clash of ideas and positions there, and explaining it over and over again to my friends and relatives gave me the idea to write about the event. However, this idea remained in my mind because of the complexity of the events: there is just so much to analyze and to say. The recent discussions on the Net have not given me the chance or time to postpone my idea. Let me start by writing about the way I experienced the clashes.

Wish there was more time

Perhaps all of us can also hope that the date for the Sivand Dam flooding can be postponed beyond this coming spring -- and that at least one more round of rescue excavations can take place
David Stronach

The Sivand Dam project is not intended to flood the precious site of Pasargadae (which thanks to the efforts of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization was named as a World Heritage Site just over a year ago) nor will it flood the extremely important site of Persepolis, which lies over 35 km downstream from the dam. If archaeologists could have their way all dams would be situated in remote areas with no cultural significance whatsoever. But since the distribution of water and the distribution of human settlement have always been inseparable, perhaps especially in Iran, hydrological priorities and archaeological priorities are always likely to clash to some extent.

Song & dance

Video clips: Solano Stroll street fair
Jahanshah Javid

Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 5
Homayoun Abghari

Back to Moorish times

Photo essay: Portugal's Silves festival
Azadeh Azad
Added >>> Castle pix

Cyrus can rest in peace

Pasargadae and rumors about the dangers of Sivand Dam
Ali Mousavi

Recently a rumor has been spread among Iranians, especially those who live outside Iran, that the World Heritage site of Pasargadae and even Persepolis will be drowned after Sivand dam in Fras is put into service next year. The 160-hectar site of Pasargadae, the first capital of the Achaemenid empire, was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in June 2004, and has been since a World Heritage site. As the person who prepared and compiled the World Heritage file for Pasargadae under the supervision of Dr. Chahryar Adle in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran, I had to visit and record all the ancient remains in the plain of Murqab -- where the site is located – including the 18-kilometer Tang-e Bulaqi that stretches like a canyon between Pasargadae and Sivand.

So much for Mr. Jones

Where does such deep antagonism toward the Persian Empire originate from?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Enjoying a peaceful last quarter of my life, it now takes a lot to make me angry. Having graduated from London University and familiar with the crafty ways of a few Brits, I should have known that if anyone could make my blood boil, it would be one of them! I am referring to a shameless article by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian, The Evil Empire, dated September 8. Considering that half the world refers to the Brits that way, I wanted to know who had dared to insult a power that, despite its small country, continues to manipulate the world.

Seeking truth in Egypt

Photo essay
Hooman Tavakolian

God without force

A brief encounter with Seyed Doctor Professor Ayatollah Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad (Ahmad Abadi)
Nizam B. Missaghi

By virtue of working at a university hospital, I often receive email forwards about events occurring on the academic campus. While most do not peak my interest or happen to fall outside of the eighty-hour work week as mandated federally for all physicians-in-training, I occasionally get to walk over in my green hospital scrubs to enrich that side of me that I reluctantly buried as my undergraduate studies ended in 1998. But I digress...  On September 6, an email forward came through the Persian Cultural Society stating that there will be a talk the following day at the Law School given on Islam and women's rights, religious discrimination, and racial issues. The speaker was a professor of jurisprudence and Islamic law at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Dr. Mohaghegh Damad.

His name is Ali

This is a story of two friends
Farzad Fadai

From time to time, memories of Ali come and go and I still remember him like it was yesterday. How can I not? At one point, he was a big part of my life, and those memories are somehow tattooed deep in my mind. This is a story about friendship, struggle, survival, loneliness, laughter and sadness. It's about a relationship of two Iranian teenagers who find themselves fighting for their dreams in a cold, foreign land. This is a story of two friends. It all began in the spring of 1985, in Montreal, Canada. This is when and where I first met him.


Correcting President Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech

United nation

Photo essay: Monarchists & Mojaheds protest outside UN
Spenta Mazda

Harvesting the light

Your soul’s my home, your eyes my windows
Dara S. Esfandiary

Baazi 9

Yek eybe bozorg
Aram Gharib

The trap

(for the victis of Katrina)
Baharak Sedigh


I pased through that alley again
Fereydoun Moshiri
Translated by Omid Ghaemmaghami

Civil society in Iran

Politics of motherhood and the public sphere
Elham Gheytanchi

Civil society and the public sphere are based on historically specific moral discourse. Social movements such as the women's movement emerge out of the internal contradictions of the dominant moral discourse at any historical juncture. The article explore how the women's movement emerged in post-revolutionary Iranian society, as represented in one major women's publication, Zanan. In post-revolutionary Iranian society, Muslim women activists broaden the boundaries of civil society by translating their highly-praised status as mothers to active nd morally recognized citizens.

The Saka nomenclature

A Persian appraisal
Guive Mirfendereski

Like a hot wind of the high hills... he cometh up as clouds... his chariots ... as the whirlwind, his horses ... swifter than eagles. -- Thus prophesized Jeremiah of Judea around 627 BC. In about 625 BC the horsemen known to the Assyrians as Iskhuzai and Greeks as Skythos or Skutai (Scythian) invaded Syria and Judea and would press as far south as Egypt. This essay examines the nomenclature of the nation known to Darius I the Great (r. 522-486 BC) as Saka and it is based primarily on the words and images contained in Darius' records. Where there is need for extrinsic evidence or material to illustrate a point, I shall rely on other Achaemenian records and on Herodotus.

Oppression Olympics

The peaceful exchange of ideas is the soil in which the very best periods, movements, and aspects of human civilization have historically taken root
Maziar Shirazi

While these 'progressives' preach tolerance and radical thinking, they end up being just like any other group of dogmatic people: aggressive, ignorant, and prejudiced or patronizing towards the whole world. They cannot be questioned, their views cannot evolve, and they don't have time for people who they view as less informed and naive, namely everybody else. In fact, they're so much better and smarter than everyone that should you try to put your own perspective out there, they don't believe that you have the right to finish what you are saying if they disagree. They actually have the right to interrupt you, to call you names, to associate you with the enemy's end of the ideological spectrum, because being able to silence and ostracize others when you disagree with them is how they construe what true freedom means.

No way

Photo essay: Opponents and supporters of sharia Islamic law in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

Other dimensions

3D pictures
Dariush Radpour

Come together

Doesn’t our very own beloved prophet Zartosht (Zoroaster) teach us this lesson to be on the side of light and not the darkness?
Matt Bina

Is Iran tired? I think so. Are we as Iranians tired? I think so. We are an old nation that has seen many years of difficulties that placed us in the midst of huge turbulences. But can we succeed once and for all to change the turbulent river of those external forces and by building a dam so that we can harness the potential energy of our country and of our people? Can we see the safety of calm waters and the shores by pushing ourselves harder for the good of our nation once and for all?

Guardian of rights and liberties?

Is John Roberts the right man to lead the Supreme Court?
Afshin Pishevar

Senate confirmation hearings are the only thing separating John G. Roberts from dominating the highest court of the land as Chief justice for the next 30-40 years.  It appears that Mr. Roberts has the resume to qualify him to be on the Supreme Court.  The prevailing question is does he have the heart?  Apparently he had dedicated his entire legal career to protecting the wealthy and the powerful rather than the fundamental rights of the American People. A quick look at the history of the Court will reveal the most important question that must be asked of Roberts during the upcoming confirmation hearings.

The creation of a new Adam

Is it a global renaissance or an impending tragedy?
Iqbal Latif

We need to appreciate that all of it is a harbinger of major change. A new global renaissance is taking place and people of the world are recognizing the ills of bigotry and benefits of an open society. The good thing about this new global connective renaissance is that we are all part of it without realizing that we are. We sometimes wonder as to where we are heading, when in actuality we are all in it together, it is a coming together of sorts. The common issue of pain struck me yesterday when on BBC an American in New Orleans, standing in queue for food and water was asked about his needs. His concerns were no different from any inhabitant of a third world country hit by a calamity, rather, it seemed to me, the lesser the baggage of life, the merrier one can be. Maybe we could think of enjoyment with some minimalism in our standards of living.

Shame on me, America

Katrina has blown through our homes with its secrets that we have hidden in our closets for so long and we are left standing naked to the world
Babak Morvarid

Hurricane Katrina has in its wake, uncovered the fact that our present day American lacks leadership, sound judgment and foresight, lacks compassion for its poor and that often times in our country, the racial divide and the economic divide go hand in hand. The fact that in the modern world, in the United States of America, its wealth and power unmatched in the history of man, 28% of the people of the great city of New Orleans should live below the poverty level and that over 80% of those poorest are black is a shocking and perhaps a more shameful fact than the devastation of the hurricane, or its size and magnitude.

Feelings in color

Hessam Abrishami

A peace march

It deserved to be in the history books as much as a day of war
Siamak Vossoughi

There had been all kinds of protests before the war and just as the war had started, and on his way to attending them, he had felt like a man of the world, full of feeling for the place halfway around the world where the war was intended for, wanting to show to the people there that they were not forgotten about, that their lives waking up in the morning and walking in their streets and going home were not forgotten about, and giving dignity to their lives like that, he was able to see it all around him as well. And he had not thought that being a man of the world would stop a war, but there had been so much peace created along the way that it was still a surprise to wake up one morning and think: war. It was still a surprise on the two-year anniversary of the war, a day when there was a protest scheduled.

The nature of money

The idea that capitalism is natural and inevitable, like death and taxes, is part of American folk-wisdom
Pantea Javidan

I can’t remember who the first person was that I ever... heard say that capitalism is the result of thousands of years of economic evolution, or, that capitalism is simply “nature.”  But I’ve definitely read it.  I’m sure that some partygoer somewhere has passionately harangued the point after a couple of Tequila shots. (If you’re not already disappointed that this article is not about hip-hop, or a human-interest story on the secret life of an anonymous call girl, please read on. The rest may actually interest you.)

When did I become so detached?

I’m sick of trying to sift through what is offered in the name of ancient tradition in order to find a fragment of my culture
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

My father used to say, “When you hear a conversation that’s way over your head, just listen and nod.” Now when people discuss religion, I nod wisely as if to agree. That’s being polite. Deep down I don’t agree with most of what I hear. I’m just being careful not to offend anybody. I do the same when it comes to tradition, there too, I may not like most of what I see, but mindful of other’s feelings, I smile and nod. It’s hard to admit these facts. It’s much more acceptable to talk about the grandeur of our old traditions, how we need to be the keepers of what used to be so that we can pass it on to the next generation.  As for religion, people still respect you more if you are a believer and agree that all mankind needs religion. Also, they want you to say you’re all for keeping tradition, but what tradition are we talking about?

Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 4
Homayoun Abghari

New Orleans, 1989

Remembering our short trip to New Orleans back in 1989
Farah Ravon

Nuts about fruits

What fruits and nuts to eat in ancient Persia?
Touraj Daryaee

If you are Persian there is a 99.9% chance that at least once or probably many times you have heard these sayings: "Eat some fruit..." "Should I peel a cucumber for you?" "Have some pistachios..." In this brief essay I would like to go back in time and see what fruits were eaten in ancient Persia and look at the way in which the Persians looked at fruits and how they classified them in antiquity. I believe these matters often are neglected in Persian Studies and need to be elucidated from the fragmentary evidence that exists for the period to better shed light on the culture of Persia.

Sensationalism vs. Rationalism

The Sivand Dam: political sensationalism vs. archaeological rationalism
Kamyar Abdi

I must stress that hundreds of archaeological sites are being destroyed every day as a result of construction work or illicit excavations, not in Iran alone, but all around the world. In the past quarter of century, thousands of archaeological sites have been lost in Iran alone. For instance, eight years of war with Iraq took a heavy toll on archaeological sites in western Iran, a major loss that very few people noticed or paid attention to. Even right now, many other dams are being built all over Iran, but most of them either lack a salvage archaeology component, or it is meager compared to that of the Sivand dam. The Sivand dam and Tang-e Bolaghi is a case that gained exposure, exactly for the opposite reason, because it was one of the handful of examples that has been given a chance through salvage excavations and airtime in media.

Faaje'eyeh melli

The Sivand dam project is a national disaster
Shokooh Mirzadegi & Esmail Nooriala


The austere atmosphere is periodically interupted by a bizzare electronic melody of someone's cell phone

I watched on TV the candidate for the ministry of "Etelaa-aat" (Internal Security) address the parliment and thought "this is not someone who will be rejected". The cleric delivered a concise, self-confident oration promising among other things to preserve the sanctity of peoples homes and "space" from arbitrary initiatives by the state. TV is bizzare and interesting. Of course so is just about everything else. During my first trip back last year things appeared so much as I remembered them. This time however, I find myself more of a stranger, more remvoed in contrast to our friends who think that things have now become normal for me.

The plague

Are we a hopeless, hapless nation indeed? I hope and believe not. But I wonder how much longer it will be before our national consciousness awakens from a centuries-old slumber

Maybe I am being a pessimist after all. Maybe my two months in Iran and the extent of the utter backwardness (I've always cringed at using that word -- but no longer!) I've seen has colored my judegement with new, darker-shade glasses. May be my recent visit to Dubai [photos: Old & new], my first, and the contrast of what is possible and what we have has unduely influenced my opinion. Maybe recent articles have reaffirmed the worst I always feared. Maybe the entangled, devoid character of the Tehrangeles community -- who live in the prime of convenience and liberty -- and yet, by and large, have embraced its basest values, has finally taken its toll.


Thirteen more songs from north of the border
Parviz Mehrofarin

Shabe yekom

First night
Leila Farjami

Missing mother
I have a friend, Mrs Simonian, who fosters young refugee children in the UK and she has a young Iranian boy aged about 15 from Shiraz living with her since November last year. He is ill and very sad because he lost his mother somewhere en route from Iran past Turkey but he doesn’t know which country because it was dark and they were all running away as some people began to shoot at them.  He dived into the back of a lorry which he thought his mother had gone into to take them to England. His mother's name is Sakineh Nejati and his name is Mehdi. He is pining for his mother and if anyone knows her whereabouts please do contact me by email and I will pass on the message. Many thanks -- Dianne Mahboubi

Leaving their mark

At 23 months, Siavash and Kourosh are as mischievous as two spider monkeys
Siamack Salari

I could see a two-year old walking around the kitchen with a permanent black marker in his hand. I could see the picture on wall was slightly crooked but there was no one to straighten it while I watched to make sure it had been squared. Roughly 2 minutes after seeing Kourosh with the magic marker, a few warning lights went off in my head. This, I should have known, was a nightmare waiting to happen. Instead, I turned back to the marrow fritters I was cooking and carefully turned them over one by one. What happened next took my breath away. Kourosh, marker in hand, was making large squiggles on our new oak kitchen floor. Siavash, his twin brother was watching him thoughtfully. “Naaaaaaa!” I bellowed.

Pale Orange Revolution

Life in Ukraine 9 months after the bloodless revolution
Kia Kashani

Ukraine is a paradise for alcoholics. Good beer and vodka are really cheap here. You can buy beer every 10 meters in streets, and of course you are permitted to drink it in public. There is a law that sipping vodka in public is prohibited but nothing can stop Ukrainians from drinking vodka in parks or similar places. What is interesting to me is how much they drink they do not shout or disturb women in streets (very unlike what is going on in Iran). Women easily can walk late night without any fear. Ukraine is a matriarchal country. The founder of Kiev was a woman and her two brothers. Maybe this is one of the reasons women are more active than men. Women feel more responsible about the economics of family and their children. They think Ukrainian men can not be trusted because most of them drink too much and are lazy.

Strange times, my dear

Video clips: Nahid Mozaffari and Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak at a book reading in Cody's Booksore in Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

Hollow harmony

The real constitution is already written in the minds of the Iraqis
Mahin Bahrami

The dream of a united Shiite/Sunni/Kurdish Iraq living in harmony in the near future is highly improbable, given the distinct differences in the respective cultures and religions. On the other hand, the possibility of a dissolved Iraq where the three groups live completely independent of each other as in the pre-Faisal (1921) days is also highly unlikely. Therefore and probably, the most reasonable option is a federal Iraq where each ethnic group enjoys conditional autonomy within the boundaries of Iraq.  The exact balance between their respective unity and autonomy is the key to a stable Iraq.  Otherwise the killing and the carnage will continue until their oil runs out.  And that’s not a short time.

Two gardens

Photos essay: Japanese and Chinese gardens
Roshanak Keyghobadi

I recently visited two exquisite gardens; the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon and the Chinese Garden of Vancouver, Canada. In both gardens the arrangement of walkways, plants, water, stones and rocks along with the architecture created a sense of harmony, balance and tranquility which fascinated me. They were safe shelter from the busy contemporary life and were places to stop, look, listen and meditate.

My little girl's orange dress

A short story
Afsan Azadi

It was a cold day in autumn. Javad had woken up early in the morning, as he always did, and after performing his early day prayer, he sat down for breakfast. Fatemeh, his wife, had gotten up at the same time. She always woke up with him, and sometimes even earlier, to prepare his breakfast, which always consisted of the modest dish of bread, feta cheese and a cup of hot tea. That was the usual breakfast in their household since that was usually all they could afford. The family consisted of five people, which included the couple, their two children and Javad's mother, who was living with them after the passing of his father.

Music to our ears

The digital future of music is here!
Babak Khiavchi

This is it. This is the digital future of music we are now literally holding in the palm of our hands. Technology has brought computers, telecommunications, entertainment, and music together into one device formerly known as the cellphone, now the most commonly used electronic device in the world. It started in November 2000 when Sprint began selling the Samsung Uproar as the first cell phone with a built-in MP3 music player. Now there are currently about 70 wireless phones or mobile devices on the market that are capable of playing digital music using Windows Mobile or Windows Media software.

Sharing the same anxiety

From a veteran archaeologist
Hamed Vahdati Nasab
Persian text

In response to Touraj Daryaee's "Safe & sound" and "Drowning in noise": I am a former Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO) official and currently a fellow at the Institute of Human Origins in Arizona State University. I just read your response to Ms. Mirzadegi and Dr. Nooriala about Pasargad. While I am receiving some news from ICHO which support your opinion about Pasargad, there are some very worrying issues about the 100 prehistoric and historic sites at Tange-Belaghi. As you have mentioned since the revolution this is the first collaborative rescue effort to save archaeological sites at this area. I am familiar with your research and there is no question in my mind that you are an expert archaeologist, knowing all dimensions of surveying archy sites. Could you please be more specific that how this “rescue effort” is going to take place? Is it by just recording the sites? Or by moving them to another location?

Talk of Venice

Interview with Ramin Bahrani who's film "Man Push Cart" has generated quite a buzz at the Venice Film Festival
Poopak Taati

In front of me, at an outdoor café near Venice Days Office, I see Ramin Bahrani, the film maker. Lots of critics in Venice have been talking about his film, "Man Push Cart" [clip] which brilliantly captures the heart of New York. Comments have varied from "This is the kind of film I wish I had made" to "This is a movie only students of Kiarostami can make." Looking at him close up, Ramin is a tall, bright, and impressive young man who is articulate with his views, is observant, and has a kind and generous way of answering questions.

God as serial killer

If we had only behaved differently God would not have unleashed that volcano, earthquake, flood, tsunami, hurricane, plague, etc., on us, so they say
A.S. Mostafanejad

God usually kills alone as in Ancient Egypt, Pompeii, Krakatoa , San Francisco, or New Orleans but some times he is too busy killing or preoccupied with other matters and needs agents or accomplices to act on his behalf. Here a Fatwa from a Khomeini to the faithful that “God wants Rushdie dead, so get busy”, or an edict from a Robertson for the offing of President Chavez, is needed. These agents are simply saving God all that work and worry needed in judging these miscreants. Sometimes it is not enough to pray for the demise of the enemies of God. This is where a suicide mission in London, Baghdad or Bali, or a well placed bomb in Atlanta, Madrid or at an abortion clinic will drive God’s point home and bring his agent rewards in heaven.

Farshid Fani

Selected tracks
Blues, rock

Dreaming of lentils and porriage

i imagine the surface to be pebbled and crisp, toasted flour barely clinging to the dark edges, sandy to the touch, smelling of secret recipes

my mom has been telling me these mouth-watering stories of iranian breakfasts. after i had a traditional week-day breakfast of warm pita bread, salty feta cheese and sweet dark tea, she told me the bread story: our driver or someone from the household would wake up early in the morning to buy the bread. bread is not made at home, we leave that to the bakers. and they take it out of the ovens and place it into the driver's waiting hands, hot from the stones and coals on which it was baked.

Road to Hamadan

It always happens that I fall in love with a place just as I have to leave it
Sara Nobari

"Where are you from?" she asked.
"America," I answered. "San Diego. Do you live here?" I motioned around me.
"Yes." There was a moment's pause. "I don't like it here," she burst out. "Iran is not good." She motioned to her scarf and coat and then to mine, with a show of repugnance. We burst out laughing.
"I like Iran," I said. "The country is beautiful." I motioned again to the land around us. 
She smiled but motioned again to my coat. "Iran is not good for girls," she said. She shook her head sorrowfully and ran off.

Divided we stand

Take your Arab and Islamic Iraq, give us a free Kurdistan
Kamal H. Artin

Division could solve many of Iraq's unresolved issues and lead to equality, which is a prerequisites for a more advanced voluntary union. It will give the opportunity to Shiites in the region to fulfill their unresolved conflict of having a second state to have a bigger share of power among many Sunni states. It will give Sunnis Arabs an opportunity to learn what it means to be a minority either under the Sunni Kurds or under the Shiites Arabs or a majority on their own as a small country without oil. It will fulfill the ultimate objective of the Kurds of having an independent Kurdistan at least in one part of their homeland.

School? Not again!

On a larger scale, our own planet rotates once a day and revolves around the sun once a year, producing day and night, and four seasons, over and over again
Arash Emamzadeh

Last week I overheard my friend's son utter "Not again!" as he stumbled across a bubbly back-to-school commercial while scanning the TV channels.  I guess he did not relish the prospect of spending his free time, starting in September, "shackled" to his desk, memorizing page after page of esoteric content, and having to come face to face with the procrastination monster within him.  I can not blame him. I think it is human nature to avoid repetitive and dull tasks whenever possible.  Schoolwork does not exactly get anyone's adrenaline pumping.  One spends hours motionless listening to the teacher go on and on about some obscure Shakespearean passage or mathematical principle, writes quizzes, exams, and essays, and several months later, the cycle repeats itself. Yawn.

Sister cities

Photo essay: Isfahan-Freiburg

On our visit to the beautiful city of Freiburg this summer, I came across this tiles mosaic on the pavement (see picture 8). Apparently Freiburg has several sister-cities throughout the world and the latest one is Isfahan.

Jaja Fortress

Photos essay: Seljuk era remains outside Isfahan
Abbas Soltani

These are photos of the Jaja Fortress which is in the village of Jaja which is also locally known as Chaja. It is located about 100 kms outside of Isfahan past Najababad and Tiran. This fortress, from what I heard, dates back to the Seljuk era (11th to 13th century). It's in pretty bad shape as the roof has collapsed and caved in so you really are walking on the roof.

New Orleans eyne Baghdad shod

Siah poostaane siah roozegaar, gorosneh, azaaadaar dar rahgozaar
Hadi Khorsandi

Khayyaat dare koozeh

The political life of Reza Zavarehie
Hassan Behgar

Brigaade ghazzaagh

A review of of Ervand Abrahamian's Iran Between Two Revolutions
Ali Shahandeh

Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 3
Homayoun Abghari

More, please

Mehregan conference in San Diego left us with an even greater thirst for knowledge than the one that drove us there to begin with
Mersedeh Mehrtash

Iranian Identity as a topic is one that spans across so many fields and is dependent on so many variables, that it is difficult for anyone to offer a universal answer or explanation. Iranian Identity in Farsi, is referred to as “Hoveyat-e Irani”. I am embarrassed to say that before this conference, I did not know what “hoveyat” meant, nor had I really thought about my own identity in the same way that I started to when I left this seminar. In fact ever since I left the seminar last night, I have been preoccupied with processing all that I absorbed in the previous 3 days.

Exile, Part II

Vive la France! Vive la Republique!
Setareh Sabety

So now I have decided to stay here in Nice... This small city, here since the time of the ancient Greeks, has a history of welcoming exiles and foreigners from all over the world. I feel at home here. Here, I do not have roots but I have freedom. I know that no one will chastise or punish me for what I think or write or what I do in my bedroom or what I wear in the street. Here, I know that I am considered equal to a man in the eyes of the law. Here, in the land of Montesquieu, Danton and De Beauvoir, I know that I walk safe down a path of life paved on the foundations of civil liberty and respect for the individual.

Drowning in noise

Iranian experts say Pasargadae will not be drowned. But what do they know? The British know better!
Touraj Daryaee

Unfortunately, everything that is done in Persian Studies has taken a political dimension. Fear of reprisals is making it difficult to say what seems to be the truth in research. It would have been easy for me to get on the bandwagon and rise up my banner (alam) and say “Oh people our beloved tomb of Cyrus is in danger.” If it was the case, I would not scream from abroad. I would go down to Pasargadae and defend it with my life and they would have to kill me before they flood the place. But my scientific obligation tells me to judge based on facts and the facts say that it will not be flooded.

Not expendable

Pasargad "safe and sound"? You must be joking!
Shokooh Mirzadegi & Esmail Nooriala

It seems very strange to us that these gentlemen have decided to emphatically shoulder the flag of defending IRI’s irresponsible action of building this dam without any prior planning for offsetting the dangers posed by it to our historical heritage. They are employing old tricks - such as referring to fake archeological stories - to degrade the present debate, calling it a politically motivated and sensationalist action. We actually wonder if their own position and stand in this letter is void of such labels. In fact, by bluntly refuting the possibility of any future damage to Pasargad site by the lake that will eventually take shape behind the Sivand Dam, they are now partners in crime with the Islamic republic, in whatever that happens in the future.

Safe & sound

Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargadae
Touraj Daryaee & Kamyar Abdi

Not only the Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargadae, but it has proven to be the first opportunity for Iranian and foreign archaeologists to collaborate on a salvage project since the 1979 Revolution, discovering valuable and important information relevant to Achaemenid and other periods of occupation in the region. Unfortunately, those who do not know about these matters and only have political agendas have rallied the people to an ill-informed cause. This reminds us of the finding of the so-called MUMIFIED PERSIAN QUEEN" Rhodogoune" which appeared to be a fake from the beginning, except to those how wanted to make it a political issue or create sensationalism.


Photo essay: Between Isfahan and Naeen
Ben Bagheri

I went to Iran late July and spent a couple of weeks, mainly in Tehran and a couple of days in the birthplace of my parents between Isfahan and Naeen. My parents' roots are in and around Toudeshk and Toudeskhachou (little Toudeshk), on the outer edges of Iran's central deserts. These two villages have now expanded and merged into a township named after the bigger of the two, Toudeshk. The newly municipalized Toudeshk has a brand new city hall and a mayor!

Serious drama

Most Asian performances, including the Ta’ziyeh, have been introduced to the Western world as if they were merely antiques, and not as the live and passionate performances that they actually are
Jamshid Malekpour

The Islamic Drama of Iran is known as Ta’ziyeh or Shabih. It is a religious drama, enacting the suffering and the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet of Islam. In 680 AD he was massacred along with his family in the plain of Karbala near Baghdad by the soldiers of Yazid, the Caliph. This drama was described by Peter Brook, the distinguished director of theatre, as “a very powerful form of theatre” when he first saw a Ta’ziyeh performance in 1970 in a village in north of Iran. Many theatre critics like David Williams claim that it was the Ta’ziyeh which “had fired his (Brook’s) imagination” for future experimental productions such as Orghast and Conference of Birds.

A hospital story

Walking in hospitals always has me trying to swallow this incredible lump in my throat
Najmeh Fakhraie

The hospital is a funny, paradoxical place. Within its confined walls, mothers give birth; the dying take their departure there. It is a place for life's greatest turning points -- if only they added in a chapel and a graduation ceremony, it would be one compact "life" in a box. It is a place where hot shot doctors with huge diamond rings and truck loads of medical text books under their belts work along side crippled men with torn shoes washing the floor. And although the doctor seems to have the most responsibility, a small mistake either makes can have fatal consequences.


Sharm Avar
Benyamin Asadipour-Farsani

This is PERSIAN. My real name is Benyamin Asadipour-Farsani, however im called PERSIAN by my friends and prefere it in the music business. I was born in IRAN in Semptember 4th 1988 (13 Aabaan 1367) and moved to United Kingdom at the age of 13 with my parents. I got inspired and introduced to the world of rap music by my friend Rymz at school.


Ten tracks fom "Kavire Del" CD (mid '70s)
Javaneh Javid

Let's save a life

How many thousands of us are in the United States? Is it too much to ask that 1,000 of us to $20.00 each toward freeing this woman?
Azam Nemati

About two weeks ago, I saw the link in Zanane Iran featuring information about a woman by the name of M.A who sits on death row and will be executed unless she can pay “blood money” to the family of the man she killed. My first reaction was of sorrow and anger (not for the man at all). I ended up contacting Sanam Dolatshahi the contact person for Zanane Iran in the United States so I could get information to put the minds of the skeptics at ease. I was inspired to share what I feel and envision with all of you hoping that some of you will be inspired to help this cause.

TIM RUSSERT (Meet the Press):  And we are back. Jefferson Parish President Broussard, let me start with you.  You just heard the director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week.  What is your reaction?...
MR. BROUSSARD:  I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...
MR. RUSSERT:  All right.
MR. BROUSSARD:  ...that have worked 24/7.  They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses.  And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me.  The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything.  His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son?  Is somebody coming?"  And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you.  Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Friday."  And she drowned Friday night.  She drowned Friday night.
MR. RUSSERT:  Mr. President...
MR. BROUSSARD:  Nobody's coming to get us.  Nobody's coming to get us.  The secretary has promised.  Everybody's promised.  They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences.  For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody >>> Read

That same old wind just keeps on blowin'

The truth is, the visuals between the floods in Mozambique and Katrina's disaster are relatively the same
Tala Dowlatshahi

The visuals we see in Louisiana reflect the lawlessness and anger that come with being treated as animals in a society that prides itself as the "Great Savior." It took President Bush nearly fice days to go and meet with families. He did, to his credit, do a "fly-by" on day two of the disaster. Nevertheless, as this tragedy unfolded, the American people began to take note of his lack of contact with "Real Americans" as his campaign team had so often pledged. Real Americans, Mr. Bush, are the African-Americans who broke their backs building this country during slave years, and now they are stuck in an institutionalized slave system that has no regard for their well-being and survival. 

Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 1 & 2
Homayoun Abghari

This novel was completed in 2002 when it was submitted to the Ershad, Ministry of Culture in Iran, for permission to go to print. Over 82 pages of the book were deemed unfit for publication. I was not about to voluntarily censor my work and therefore decided to temporarily -- probably as long as the Islamic Republic is there -- give up its publication in book form.

Take back America

New Orleans is a giant mirror that reflected the ever present heart of darkness whose reverberating beat echoes in the back of our consciousness
S. Pishevar

New Orleans is a wake up call for anyone who considers him or herself a true American. America has been usurped by those who do not truly believe in its highest and lofty ideals... Our moral fortitude at home has now been exposed for what it is - a house without walls. The levy's that protected America's famed moral compass broke long ago at some undefined and imprecise moment in our history and we have been blindly drowning in the ensuing flooding. It is us, the true patriots, to recover and repatch our moral fiber and commit to heal our country of the long festering wounds we have too long chosen to ignore.

They were our friends

Families gather to remember victims of 1988 prison massacres
Photos essay

Prevent greater catastrophe

I am privileged to have been able to give first-hand help. Now is the time to help "with great power, comes great responsibility."
Yousef Zarbalian

LOUISANA: These are hard times for my home state of Louisiana. I live in Baton Rouge, one hour away from New Orleans, where the hurricane hit so hard that the levee on enormous Lake Pontchartrain broke allowing a rush of water into the city.  The needs of the people of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast cannot be met by state and federal governments alone. It is a time for individual action!   My parents have started by welcoming friends from New Orleans at our home. Because most people tried to beat the evacuation rush, they left before full information about the storm's trajectory was known and they were then unable to return to retrieve valuables before the storm hit. Our friends believe that their homes are flooded beyond repair and most of the city is like them.

How does it smell?

I felt a unique and extra ordinary high after hearing that word "Iran"
Farzad Fadai

I said to myself, this is great. I can sit here and listen to their conversation and enjoy the whole thing as much as I want. After a few minutes, one of them asked the other one, "So, how was your trip to Iran?" When I heard that word I felt my blood rush through my veins... It was like he was just there and left to come to gym half an hour ago. He talked about food, love, places, people, family, friends, streets, houses, parties, cars, girls, boys, etc, etc. and I was there digesting it as a total stranger.

Sweet Farsi

It is any Farsi-speaking person’s god-given right to call his or her language Farsi in any language
Guive Mirfendereski

I honestly do not give a flying fuck what a foreigner thinks of how I choose to refer to my mother tongue, the state language (lingua franca) of my birthland, as we all refer to it among ourselves, regardless of what language I express myself in. Last time I checked we all learned and still do learn Farsi, we sat or sit through interminable Farsi classes and not once anyone said or says that we should be doing some "pershan" today. To ask me to do otherwise is like asking me to call a khiyar Cucumis sativas when I write about mast-o-khyar for an English-reading audience.

Last trip

Photos essay: Kashan

Lungs of the earth - Oh beloved forests

Environmental issues in Iran have to be taken as the most serious and urgent problem to be tackled
Vida Kashizadeh

Whatever happened to that cool basement room of my aunt's old house in Dezashib with turquoise blue tiled little pond (hoes), Summer afternoons with watermelons in the little pond to make it cool, and my uncle having a siesta before going back to work? And where is the reflection of that beautiful and mysterious Berkeh-e Niloofar -- Water lilies Pond near Kermanshah is ever to be found? That pond which has been destroyed to build roads and houses and the air pollution to match?

Up & down Iran

Photo essay: While spending this summer in Iran I convinced my cousin Reza that we should take a road trip
Sharven Taghavi

Vaapassin naamehaa

Parting words written by political prisoners before their execution: Remembering 17th anniversary of mass executions
Massoud Noghrekar


IRI generates nuclear crisis to put more limits on freedoms and silences demands for democracy
Hassan Behgar

Can you help?

Katrina's victims are desperate for shelter
Afshin P. Pishevar

It's been reported that hundreds or perhaps thousands have lost their lives to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and surrounding areas. A tragic situation with new fears more will die as deadly water borne illnesses brew around survivors wading through the filthy waters that now fill their beloved neighborhoods. Their homes lost, no shelter, weary from the storm there seems to be no relief in sight for those who survived Katrina's blow. Is there any hope for a warm meal, shower and a place to recover from the tragedy anytime soon?

Another try

Responding to critics of "Soroushism"
Sudabeh Siavashan

What you walk on

Photos essay: Kerman carpet weavers
Mansour Nasiri

Lovely word

Next time when I say “I love you” to an English-speaking person I will do so with the reminder that the word “love” is of Persian origin
Guive Mirfendereski

This summer, I learned about the origin of the word “love.” It is an Indo-Iranian word. I would think that in Old Persian luvu or lubu would have existed as a word for love or desire. In the Slavic language of southern Russia, which was influenced by the Median and Scythian (Saka) languages, the word for love is lubov. The word lobat in contemporary Farsi applies to a beautiful woman and, despite the Arabicization of its orthography, could have derived from libet of Old Aryan/Old Persian. I wonder also if the word lavat (love between two men, sodomy) too belongs to this group of Sanskrit/Old Aryan leubh family of words.

Admirable, but sloppy

On petition to save Pasargad and other historical sites threatened by Sivand Dam:
I have seen your petition linked on iranian.com. Although it is admirable in its intent, the petition leaves itself open to derision. Signatures such as "Ali - Iran - free" (no.115) or "Foad - Iran - free" (no.124) or "CYRUS THE GREAT - Pasargad - Rest" (no.139) tends to drive a critic to call the whole thing as a fabrication. Secondly, some attention should be paid to the English of the petition. It is Persepolis and not Persepolice, it is the Achaemenian Empire and not the Archimedean Empire (which would make it Greek!) >>> Full text


Pooste shir

Smoke from Oshnoo cigarettes filled the air as the ceiling fan hovered quietly
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

Rules of desire

The interminable question of hijab
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When I arrived in Tehran in early July, it was shortly after the presidential elections. There was a great deal of apprehension about what the election results would translate into, especially as far as cultural space, civil liberties, public norms, and similar issues were concerned. Understandably, among all the women I visited, Islamicly-oriented or secular, how the practical rules of hijab and female-male socializing in public would change were topics of agitated concern and speculation. But what I found most fascinating was the working of the rules of hijab in private homes.


Shahin & Gustavo's colorful rhythms
Javaneh Javid

One false flinch and there goes Isfahan

There's noth’n “hollow” about President W.
Afshin P. Pishevar

Fareed Zakaria has held himself out as an expert on Iran. I rise to point out some of the factually and logically flawed theories espoused by Zakaria in his op-ed piece of August 16, 2005. His basic premise is that President George W. Bush’s tough remarks against Iran on the nuclear question are nothing but “hollow threats.” I agree that war is not the answer, but it is this writer’s opinion that the “solutions” he forwards will inevitably lead to armed confrontation. I challenge Zakaria to point to analogous examples of where his thesis has come to fruition. Neither can wishful thinking nor his anecdotal guess-work make it come true.

Golforooshe Khavaran

Cry of freedom beyond the graves
Mahmoud Khalili

Taghdeem baa eshgh

To the most beautiful Shohreh Solati
Reza Kohansal

Excellent question

From Akbar Ganji to California real estate
Hamid Boroumand

No one anywhere, in their right minds, wants to have a bunch of unelected, unaccountable, and irresponsible "loonies" with suspect agendas (and I am not talking about any one specific country or system in the world, but the world at large) being in a position to upset world peace and stability. At the same time, I really don't think there is a calculated hegemonic conspiracy to deny developing countries access to progress and technology (otherwise, Korea and Taiwan and Malaysia and... wouldn't be where they are today).

Freedom is a commodity

So we decided to sell it in cubic feet at first
Natalie Esfandiari

They love us to death

Western/Northern/First World academia studying us, preparing, isolating us...
Reza Faze

* Az faaseleh taa barg
* Peydaa
* Bonbast

Selections from "Az Ghoncheh taa Adad-e-Khaak"
Habib Shokati

Bottom of the pot

Bruce Bahmani

Poetry that is life

A new translation of Ahmad Shamloo's timeless “Sh’ri keh zendegist”
Translated by Omid Ghaemmaghami

Khaaneye pedari

Eestgaah pedari
Touradj Parsi


Khare moraad...
Morteza Mirbaghian

Humanity deserves a pat on the back

We have come a long way since the Neanderthal
Goli Farrell

Dar soog-e pedar

Yateem shodam
Jahangir Sedaghatfar

Of loss

Give me the tongues of those silenced necks hanging like fruit
Arash Daneshzadeh

Traveling in an armored Humvee

I wrote it for one of my soccer buddies from Sonoma, California wine country, who is in Iraq right now

Sabz, Sepeed, Sorkh

For my homeland
Massoud Vatankhahi

Akse esteaareh

Ey dokhtare lokhte Irani...
Bejan Baran


Sakht arezoomande abrhaaye eshtiyaaghe koodakiam
Alireza Tarighian

Playground in Iraq?

Let me tell you we Indians also think about, love, freedom, democracy as you...
Aashish Ameya

Welcome to Hotel Ahmadinejad

Such a lovely place, such a lovely face
Jalal Mousavi

When a storm falls

The pointless, empty worries and concerns of today and yesterday
Have been wiped from the scene

Lee Howard Hodges


Falak deltangam az tanhaaeeye khod, rahaayam kon beh tadbiri keh daani
Saeed Sheikholeslami Kordestani

Everlasting witness land

In my green hands / the people of love / in little baskets of mournful wishes
Farah Afshari

In remembrance

She speaks to what lies beneath the stone
Kimya Sarayloo

Oh... I am a woman

So tired of being a woman
Hedieh Sajadi


Not to hope for

We will show them

My friend, give me your hand
Siavash Emamzadeh


Poem of the Week
Shoja Adel

Thus speaks Zarathustra

We cannot deem ourselves as slaves
Mehrdad Sanandaji

Look of love

Smile, darling, as you pass Him on the sidewalk
Shayan Ghajar

Anam beh rishat

Gar zendeh nashod, anam beh rishat
Gar shod, ane to beh rishe bandeh

Iraj Mirza

My own grandpa

My daughter was my mother ‘cause she was my father's wife
Kamran Seyed Moussavi

Will the storm pass?

(for Antje)
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

An exercise in truth by consensus

There is a city behind the seas

Mr. Ganji’s ‘treasure’

Akbar Ganji should go free, but what he's advocating has long been thrown out of currency
Reza Bayegan

Akbar Ganji's case represents the vast and irreconcilable contradictions within a system that on the one hand makes a tremendous fanfare in the international arena over ostentatious ideas such as ‘A Dialogue among Civilizations’, and on the other hand cannot tolerate the writings and revelations of a second-rate journalist. Akbar Ganji also epitomizes why we are where we are today in this benighted and degrading squalor in our national history. His mental confusion typifies how the so-called educated class of our nation has made a mess of its political judgments and has failed to discriminate between woolly thinking and genuine thought.

Everywhere all the time

Of course too much information is better than no information but information glut has its own hazards
Asghar Massombagi

Going to the movies is not what it used to be. I remember when I became old enough to venture out of the old neighbourhood on my own and go to the Baharestan district in central Tehran. Baharestan was an exotic area, with its herbal stores and Armenian-operated coffee shops and fabulous bakeries that served far-out goodies like meat and jelly piroshky doughnuts (souvenirs of contact with the Caucuses). Not far from Baharestan, Lalehzar was the old theater district in Tehran (I'm writing strictly from memory but I think the geography is accurate). By the time it became my stumping ground, live theater was long gone from Lalehzar, and the mostly derelict buildings were converted to second and third run movie houses.

Peaceful dialogue

The United States and the Islamic World: Challenges and prospects
Ali Akbar Mahdi

The Muslim world's negative perception of America has been a consistent challenge for the US foreign policy since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in March 2003. The 2004 reports of instances of abuse and torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay have simply magnified this negative image. What does this negative image imply for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the continued occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, and the future of nuclear standoff with Iran? The 2005 Sagan National Colloquium at Ohio Wesleyan University has invited distinguished policy and academic experts, prominent politicians involved with the Middle East, and Muslim scholars to reflect upon the above issues.

Being bilingual isn’t enough

Understanding cultural nuances in a language is the key to a good translation
Fatima Farideh Nejat

Following one of the Curriculum Development Department’s quarterly presentations titled “Translation: How does it fit into a curriculum for an intensive basic language course,” I thought of a humorous letter to send to the speaker to confirm what he had explained. The speaker had stated that according to the American Translators Association, “Being bilingual isn’t enough to make a [professiona] translator or interpreter.” You need additional training. The Speech Act theory in linguistics emphatically describes the role of understanding sociolinguistics in learning a second language.

Shahr-e Ashoub

Short story
P. Shabrang

Marzieh or Delkash? Gina or Sophia?

This issue was so serious that if anyone liked both, would never admit it openly for the fear that they would be perceived as an outsider (which seems to be a swear word for some Iranians)
Vida Kashizadeh

I have experienced this phenomenon in the UK only when it comes to pet lovers. Here it is very rare to see a cat and a dog in the same household. People here usually either like cats OR dogs. And during a conversation about pets if you say that you like both cats AND dogs, there is usually a pause and depending on what kind of people you are talking to, you either get ignored (by the more stupid) or given extra attention (by the enlightened ones).

Famous beauty

Photo essay: Iran
Pendar Yousefi

I've just returned from a short vacation in Iran. During the few weeks I took a lot of photos. Most of them will be the ones I took during the two days that I was in Isfahan, a central Iranian city famous for its architectural beauty. I hope you find this series as exciting as I do.

Beer with a bang

A classic Canadian beer story
Laleh Behjat

I have come from Revolution Street in Tehran, to King Street in Canada ... such a wonderful journey. Now I’ll be able to wear what I want to wear, drink what I want to drink, watch all those great Hollywood movies and walk with whomever I want to. I’ll even be free to fall in love. I’m going to celebrate, buy myself a drink, make a toast, drink the poison and go to hell.


Or lack of intellectual integrity: The old story of Islam and democracy
Sudabeh Siavashan


Heart of gold

Afshin Pishevar writes
: There was a miracle at our house this morning. I recently cooked an eggplant dish ("khoresh-e bademjaan"). Because my wife Maria is away on a trip, I used a bit of garlic in the dish. She can not stand the smell of garlic and onion. Well, last evening, I came home and started warming up the leftover eggplant. I placed the empty container from the eggplant in the sink.

The sombols had bloomed and I was suddenly taken by the flowers' strong perfume. I turned to look at my small haft-seen arrangement for "Norooz" (the Persian New Year).To my dismay, in the center of the arrangement, I saw one of the goldfish floating feebly in the bowl. On its side, motionless. I fished it out with my hand. He was stiff. I grieved a few seconds and dropped him in the sink. I went on with my evening.

The dirty dishes were in the sink all night. Waking up in the morning, I was drawn to the sink. I sensed a strange need to do the dishes. As I cleaned each dish, the sink became more and more empty. I finally arrived at the container which had the residue of the eggplant dish. Water had collected in it. The water was murky with the eggplant khoresh.

I paused a moment, with no particular purpose. My eyes were out of focus. In the faraway haze of my thoughtlessness, a vague motion slowly began to stir. My eyes awoke from their lethargy. I began to gather focus on the container. A simple sensation of white-hot pure joy collected in my chest. There was a new dawn. A second chance. My little red and black friend was alive!

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