>>> Archive
March 2007



Smells like 13 Bedar

Photo essay: Picnic in London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

Price of adventurism
Amir Rostam Begli Beigie

Tony Blair is paying the price for getting rid of an able Foreign Secretary and replacing him with an incompetent yes-woman. If it wasn't for how dangerous the situation has become it would have been comical to watch how the British Oxbridge-educated political elite squirm in the hands of the ex-Islamic Student Society geeks and thugs. The problem facing the British and the West in general is that they have no way of punishing masochists. Instead they seem to be giving vent to their anger which is playing into the hands of Iranian regime >>>

Just say you're sorry

The British sailors were in Iranian waters
Tinoush Moulaei

Things are getting very interesting around the issue of the 15 British sailors arrested by Iran.  The British government (especially criminal-at-large Blair) has after much saber rattling provided the GPS coordinates of its ship along with a map showing maritime boundaries that seem to contradict Iran’s claim.  Unless you have been in a coma for the past five years, or you have a doorknob’s grasp of world history, you should not believe a world that comes out of London.  These people have lied, raped, murdered, and stolen from one end of the globe to the other.  So, what is the truth, or the truth as best as an average Joe or Jane can determine? >>>

Forget about Americans, Iranians get Iranians wrong!
Afshin Afshar

Ms. Gilani’s article titled “No wonder America gets Iran wrong” touches a very sensitive nerve with many of us Iranians living in the US. In her article she has stereotyped our community as Iran-bashers at best and Iran-haters at worst. What Ms. Gilani may not be aware of is that just like any other immigrant community, the Iranian-American community is highly fragmented in its sociopolitical views. In showing her frustration with the behavior of a few, she may have gone overboard and done exactly what an “average redneck in Idaho” does, bundling us into an easily identified group that can be conveniently singled out and disliked by others; in this case Iranian communities outside of US >>>


Zanan and Madaran

Digital graphics
Farhad Nabipour

Strength that amazes men

Iran is run by women in more ways than the world realizes
Jalil Mortazavi

Recently I had the chance to visit Iran for a couple of months. I spent much of my time with females from all walks of life, who work inside as well as outside of their homes. It has dawned on me that if these women decided to quit what they were doing, Iranian society would collapse. Here is what I found out about Iranian women: they come in all shapes and sizes. They drive, they fly, they walk and they run. Iranian women will email to say how much they care. The hearts of these women are what keeps Iran running, bringing joy and hope, compassion and ideals to their society. In the meantime, they also give moral support and love to their families and friends >>>

No wonder America gets Iran wrong

Even the British representative seemed more balanced than Sadjadpour!
Sonia Gilani

Bash Iran as much as you please, I'll even join you at times, but please, do not pretend that the US or the West are innocent. And please, do not try to be more British than the Brits themselves in this latest nonsense international incident with the captured sailors. Just because we don't fancy the Iranian regime doesn't mean we should automatically take sides against Iran. Watching PBS news, I was struck by how much the Iranian analyst in the studio went out of his way to blame the entire incident on Iran. In fact, he did a better job at pinning all the blame on Iran than did the British representative in the studio >>>

Why make things worse?
Ben Madadi

Unfortunately the Iranian regime never stops shaming the Iranian people in front of the civilised world. While the Iranian youth are suffering from drug-addiction and unemployment and many many other social issues, all the Iranian regime is thinking about is to show to other Muslims in the world that Iran is able to confront the US and its allies. However many other non-Iranian Muslims do not know the plight of the Iranians within Iran. And when it comes to confronting the US and Britain, Iran did try to confront the West before and each time the costs were enormous. Not that I agree with US or British policies but we must understand that we do not have a country that can confront them >>>

Daryaa cheh midaanad

On the publication of Mana Aghaee's poetry collection, "Man Issa bin Khodam" ("I am my own Jesus")
Mandana Zandian

Do akhoond e paleed

Satirical poem from early 1960's

Balance would be nice

Why so many Jewish weddings on TV?
Hamid Bakhsheshi

Late night again, can't sleep, running out of things to read on the internet, YouTube has nothing new to offer, and there is no "new" news on TV. While not looking and changing channels, (it's a talent ladies), I look up and see a Jewish wedding. Immidiately started thinking to myself how many times have I seen a Jewish wedding on TV? hmmmm, Jeez, I don't know. Or rather, "Mozee", I don't know. I have never seen a Muslim wedding on TV or movies. Never a Buddhist wedding.  I saw a Korean wedding on M*A*S*H once, it was pretty. I've even been to a Korean wedding.  Chinese weddings are rare; I don't know if they have a ceremony. I'm sure most Americans don't since we get our education through TV and movies >>>


Seven countries in seven days

Photo essay: Paris - St. Petersberg road trip
Nargess Shahmanesh-Banks

I hadn’t quite measured the magnitude of this road trip until we entered the launch party at the L’Automobile Club de France at Place de la Concorde in the heart of chichi Paris earlier that evening. I let the talk wash over me as I scan the room. After all, these people will be my companions for the week >>>

Iranian sailors detained in English Channel

Why are you there in the first place?
Heresh Rezavandi

An Iranian navy boat carrying 15 marines has been detained by the British Navy for entering the English Channel 1.3 miles off course near the Isle of Wight. Teheran claims they were loading pistachios on to an Indian ship in international waters, when they were surrounded by the British navy. The UN is demanding the Iranians explain why they had their navy so close to British waters in the first place. Not suprisingly, the anti-IRI satellite stations in the West are pointing fingers at the Iranian navy, and glorifying the British as angels >>>

Safar-e Samarghand

Tajikistan travel diary
Shahriar Zahedi

It is all us

Introduction & First Chapter from "The Universal Sign"
Siamak Akhavan

My research findings have often left me awestricken and shocked! I am convinced that ancient myths often encode historical events. Events, that occurred before, during, and after global cataclysms. Such catastrophes nearly wiped out all life on Earth on at least two relatively ‘recent’ known occasions. One event ended the last ice age -- about 17,000 years ago-, and the other unleashed the global Biblical Flood -- about 12,500 years ago. And what about the innumerable global myths, unexplainable ancient structures -- like the Giza Pyramids, Nazca lines, and countless others-, gods, “God”, religions, empires, wars, and the real identity of Earth’s historic rulers? To find out more ... you must read what I have concocted! >>>

Yes, your honor

I have an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court, downtown
Layla Khamoushian

The alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m. but of course, I go back to sleep. At 6:55 a.m., I wake up frantically, wear my suite that's just too small for me now that I have gained weight, and run out of the house. Thank God for learning how to program my coffee maker, so at least I can have the automatic brew in the mornings. I have an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court, downtown. I have to technically argue "our" motion, but this other firm in San Diego brought the motion first, before the case was transferred to us, and guess what? they messed up, wrote a bad motion and I already know we have no chance. So today, predicting what the ruling may be, I plan on "submitting" to the court: "Yes, Your Honor", "Thank You, Your Honor", basically, I plan on shutting up, which isn't too easy for me but since I am leaving soon, whatever happens, I don't have to clean up afterwards >>>

Those aren't gifts

Misguided advocates of negotiation with the mullahs, beware
Amil Imani

Iran's mullahs have repeatedly indicated their willingness and ability to help restore order in Iraq, on the condition that the United States packs up and leaves the region. The mullahs have also pledged on their Boy Scout's honor, although they have never been Boy Scouts, that their nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes. As a further gesture of goodwill, these self-appointed custodians of Allah's earth are volunteering to serve as unpaid policemen of the entire Gulf region, protecting vital U.S. interests, just like the Shah did before them. Sounds like a great gift package from the kind-hearted do-gooders of Allah >>>


Loud & clear

Photo essay: Iranians in Amsterdam speak out against war
Babak Andishmand

This is not our way
Tinoush Moulaei

I have always supported and defended Iranian culture and opposed any attack on Iran.  As one who is proud of his heritage, I feel that I should also be the first to criticize Iran’s government on all issues.  Today is yet another day that IRI has dragged our heritage through filth and muck.  I just saw pictures of British sailors being paraded on Iranian TV.  SHAME!  This is not our way.  I don’t know if the British sailors were in Iranian waters or not.  I don’t believe Iran’s claims without proof and I give even less credit to British claims, especially considering the British government’s tradition of lying through their teeth for a piece of gold/barrel of oil!  If Iran has proof of the British trespassing, then the government should provide the proof and then act in accordance with international law >>>

Holy water
Tina Ehrami

The arrest of the 15 British seaman in "Iran's territorial waters" just shows how selective the Islamic Republic of Iran is in matters of International Law . Somehow a UN Security Council resolution can be called a "torn paper" by the president, but as soon as British boats supposedly trespass into Iran's territorial waters, they get arrested! Then International Law suddenly becomes something Iran's politicians take serious! >>>

In-tune with the times

I haven't stopped playing Namjoo over and over again

Mohsen Namjoo's "Zolf Bar Baad" is more than a song. It's a breakthrough. I'm probably wrong, or exaggerating its importance, but one day we may look back at this song as an inflection point in Persian music. For starters it benefits from one Hafez's masterpiece poems; but one that is exceedingly difficult to vocalize in song (try vocalizing it at home. You'll see.). For another, the song is stunningly original in style and intonations. In effect, it frees the poem from the cages of dusty books and classical music and brings it into the 21st century in style and renewed passion. It's impact is truly jarring and makes one wonder about future possibilities >>>

Soltan-e Norooz

Iranian roots of Albania's spring celebrations
Shahrouz Falahatpisheh


I was there

Photo essay: New York's Persian parade
Tannaz Ebadollahi

Now that spring is here

Season me in your scent
Sheema Kalbasi

I want to die and wake up in your writings. I want to be frozen yet my eyes watch the path you walk in eternity. Add me to your moves. That is how I want to move. Encourage me to leave. That is how I want to leave yet live near you. I rise, I fall, and I fly to be touched by you for a second. I want to impregnate chili on my lips, on my nipples so when you lick me your mouth will burn together with my skin. Season me in your scent, school me in your words, I am risking, giving, daring, I am always awaiting you. You are my ritual. I bow to the manner in which you write. You are the energy and the evidence that the world tilts >>>

Independence is inevitable

How long should Southern Kurdistani people wait?
Kamal H. Artin

For the past year many Kurds have been reminding the leadership in Southern Kurdistan to declare independence. Some have argued that it is better to wait until all parts of Kurdistan are ready to create one united Kurdish state. Even I, as a dreamer consider such a hope impractical. While there are multiple Turkish, Arabic, and Persian states, why should we shy away from having a few Kurdish states starting with Southern Kurdistan? How long should Southern Kurdistani people wait until all citizens of Dyarbekir, Qanmishli, and Kermashan have an access to an education in their language as the foundation for a healthy identity and development? >>>

British aircraft sold to Iran
Dean Ghobadi

This is a brief summary reporting on our recent sale of a Britten Norman Islander aircraft and half million US dollar inventory of spare parts, to the Iranian government. My company, www.paaviation.com recently brokered a deal which resulted in the sale of a Britten Norman Islander aircraft, to the Iranian government. This is officially the first brand new "Western" made aircraft sold to Iran, since the Islamic revolution of 1979. As one of our main business activities, we exclusively represent a number of British and European companies in Iran >>>

I still remember...

I can't hear the word war without losing my hands, my legs, my eyes, without decomposing into pieces
Azarin A. Sadegh

I still remember the first night of the war. Everyone was supposed to go to their basement, if they had one, or to the public shelter, though these weren't yet built. They also advised people to take a shovel with them, in the case they were trapped under the ruins. I chose to stay in my room. Police and Islamic Pasdars guarding the streets would screamed threats to shoot at any windows with lights on. Everyone rushed to stores to buy foil papers to cover their windows. I chose not to because I wanted the light to come in. I loved the dawn >>>


Beautiful Persians

Photo essay: New York's Persian parade
Javad Fakharzadeh


Salute to Spring

Photo essay
Azadeh Azad

Talks or tanks?

Is it time for war or peace in the Middle East?
Abbas Bakhtiar

I believe that in every war, truth is the first casualty; and as such is usually reported long after the war is finished, and even then only as a foot note. Churchill once said that “men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”  Although others and I have repeatedly written about the reasons behind the Iraq invasion, people tend to forget. And people who forget tend to repeat the same mistake over and over again. The invasion of Iraq was not because of WMDs. It was about oil and Israel. Today the US is on the verge of starting another war again, this time with Iran, for exactly the same reasons >>>

The retreat of democracy

A decade after the great expansion of the right to vote
Siavash Davoodi

The end of the World War I saw a great deal of democratic expansion in terms of suffrage. Prior to the breakout of the War, the right to vote without distinction as to race, sex, belief, intelligence, or economic and social status was only given to the citizens of four nations in the world. This number would grow to 23 within the first ten years after the end of the War. It seemed for a brief moment that democracy had come out as a victor over dictatorship, capitalism and even imperialism. With the fall of the Austria-Hungary, Russian, German and Ottoman Empires, the road was paved for the spread and growth of global democracy >>>

Prisoners of "love"

Evin, Part 6: Poverty, violence, ignorance, and misogynous laws
Azadeh Azad

The purpose of our visits to Evin in summer of 1993 was to do a research on the condition of female offenders of Greater Tehran. My research team and I completed the interviews with the prisoners, but no research paper was ever written based on these interviews and observations. The reason? All the filled questionnaires and written papers belonging to my research team at the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies were confiscated by the fundamentalist director of the Institute, Mehdi Golshani, in January 1995. Therefore, it is not possible for me to provide an analysis of the situation of female offenders of Greater Tehran in that year. Yet, I still have my journal entries of the 3 months of visits to Evin and my memory of the 22 women inmates I personally interviewed >>>


New York, New Year

Photo essay: New York's Persian parade
Ali Afshar

UN security or gang rape?

UN Security Council passes resolution to take Iran's defenses away
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

As I watched Iran being hauled in front of the United Nations ‘Security’ Council, a vivid picture conjured up in my mind – my native country Iran, a vulnerable and defenseless beauty being prepared for violation by brutal savages. As she struggles to defend her honor, no one is prepared to come to her aid, save a few. Even her own children, those raised on her soil hope she will be brutally raped. With lust-filled eyes, they hope to fulfill their ambitions on her ravaged ruins, her broken pride. Who are these beasts, and what has transformed this United body to such a menace? >>>

Doughi terrorists

The thick white liquid flowed heavenward out of the bottle and onto the heads and faces of the American family sitting at the next table
Nazy Kaviani

On a Saturday in 1983, when we were still students, I was sitting at the table paying my bills, listening to the Iranian program on television.  I heard them advertise a new Iranian restaurant, located in the Town and Country Village in Palo Alto, letting us know that they have the “Best Chelo Kabab In The Area.”  I called my sister and a few other friends, and they all agreed to go there for lunch.  Starving students on a tight budget, we were going to splurge and eat the “Best Chelo Kabab In The Area.”  All nine of us piled into a beat-up Chevrolet Impala station wagon, and started the long journey from Berkeley to Palo Alto.  On the way, we were singing “Sepideh dam oomad o vaghte raftan...” on top of our lungs, laughing and feeling generally happy >>>

Go see it anyway

If you like freedom and glory this is “the” movie you must see
Mohsen Tabari

Let’s say you decide to hurt the USA entertainment Empire where it hurts the most, financially, and make your own chos’a fil at home and with your sharik’e zendegi (partner in crime) manage to hide it in your overcoats and her oversized purse along with some ice packed soda cans and M&M’s when you go to the movies. Do you really think this would be the same experience as making salt from ocean? I don’t think so.  These assorted items when bought expensively at the movie theatres enhance the movie watching experience, and the more expensive they are the better. I once paid almost three dollars for a pack of king-size M&M’s, which caused me to give the worst review of the movie Home Alone.  Do you know why?  Because the more money you spend at the movies the more it highlights your pain of seeing the movie >>>

Enough already

Don't think the world revolves around you or Iran
Faramarz Fateh

One of the reasons the Jews are so successful in what they do is the fact that they have good sense of humor. There are more Jewish stand up comedians, comedy actors/actresses, comedy writers etc than any other ethnicity. Thats right, being Jewish is not only about one's religion; its also about one's culture/ethnicity. For some reason, us Iranians not only have limited sense of humor, we also are very sensitive about Iran and being Iranian. Our sense of humor is limited to jokes abouts torks, rashtees and Ghazvinis. We generally don't make fun of our culture; we complain about it a lot, but when someone says "balaye cheshet abroost" we get offended. "How dare you insult my culture"?! "my culture is over 2,500 years old" us Persians are this, we are that >>>


Iranians lack respect and tolerance when faced with disagreement
Naz Ghassemian

While I can hardly say I suffered because of ignorant things a few people said about my opinions and who I am because I have them, I think Iranians could have taken a note from our friend Sting when thinking about '300'. To see thousands of Iranians expecting historical accuracy from a graphic novel or a movie, especially when such projects are produced in an environment known for its exploitation of fantasy is quite silly. Their demands are especially silly when I realize that these same Iranians are demanding respect for their opinion. Imagine if Hollywood shouted back that these Iranians ought to "Shut the f*ck up." That wouldn't be very nice, and I'm sure it would legitimize the demands of these Iranians >>>



Photo essay
Shahireh Sharif


Sound of peace

Photo essay: "Musicians for March" anti-war ralley in Austin, Texas,
Shaghayegh Rezaei


Blind man

Video: The opposite of love is not hatred; it's indifference
Hossein Fazeli (Naanaam)

Mind the map

When baldness occurs in the shape of somewhere that might be bombed
Peyvand Khorsandi

The bald patch on the back of my head resembles the shape of Iran. It's a patriotic patch, I tell my doctor, that reflects my worries over the prospect of war. She’s not convinced.
"Am I going to die?" I say. I want her to say “no” but she doesn’t.
"Death", she mumbles, "our final adventure."
In my head I make funeral plans – the hospitality will be such that the guests will forget they have buried me. I’ll go totally bald if they bomb Iran >>>

Baazgashte khoonin beh ejtehaad

Evoloution of ijtihad
Esmail Nooriala

Rishehaaye khoshoonat

Islam and the true roots of violence
Hossein Mirmobiny



Mohsen Namjoo's music is nothing short of phenomenal


Chicken should be eaten with hands

Video blog: Me having lunch
Siamack Salari


Happy day

Photo essay: Santa Monica College Norooz event, Southern Califoirnia
Mohamad Navab

No fuel for YOU!

Bushehr is back on the U.S. target list
Nader Bagherzadeh

Once again Russians have reneged on their commitment to supply more than 200 tons of low enriched uranium (LEU) for the Bushehr nuclear power plant reactor. Based on numerous discussions between officials from Moscow and Tehran in the past several months, it was believed that by the end of March 2007 the necessary LEU fuel would be shipped to the southern Iranian city of Bushehr in order to meet one of the critical milestones for this highly overdue project. But contrary to what Iranian officials had expected, Russians dragged their feet once again, as they had done repeatedly in the past 8 years >>>

Past & present "Persians"
Farid Parsa

One thing Iranians living in the West do not perhaps realize is that people who lived in the land that is called Iran today, whether the Sassanid, or Parthian or the Achamenians, had hardly anything in common with the present Iranians. They had totally different set of values to most Iranians living today. They followed a different religion that gave them a strong sense of identity and their role in the world, not just as conquerors but keepers and protectors. They wrote and spoke differently and knew exactly what their cultural, and religious boundaries were. And if they were alive today, for many good reasons, they would dissociate themselves from the people who happen to live in Iran (or Iranians living outside) who call themselves Iranians or 'Persians' >>>

Forced to choose sides
Mehdi Kamarei

Let me first start by stating that I'm not a political activist but the possibility of Iran being the next target of missiles and bombs bothers me. Don't wait for an anti-war rally after the bombings have started. The key is to educate your iranian and non-iranian friends on the global matters that are influencing these acts and decisions. Do it now and prevent war and destruction. Don't let your country turn into the rubble images you see of Iraq and Lebanon.  Use the internet and emails to spread the word. Pass along informative emails to all of your friends, acquaintances, and colleagues >>>


You could also draw the conclusion that the Spartans are meant to be the terrorists, always using violence to get their way
Bruce Bahmani

Recently there's been a lot of pressure telling us how insulted we're supposed to be at the surprisingly gloriously delicious depiction of ancient Persia by large American film artists. That combined with the recent anti-war peace rallies held to commemorate the 5th year of the US/Iraq war, makes at least me ponder the relationship between the two. Because these are two somewhat relevant issues that affect Iranians in some way. I have now seen 300 twice. Albeit the second time at matinee prices, so as not to reward the producers too much. Not that my frugality will have any effect, make no mistake, this is a blockbuster. Both times, while trying to carefully observe and record the depictions we've all become way too sensitized to, I also listened to the audience >>>


Angry anniversary

Photo essay: Anti-war rally in Hollywood
Shahla Bebe


Norooz in Shanghai

Photo essay: What we found was as pleasant to our eyes as it was to our hearts
Sandra Nunez & Sina Farzaneh

I woke up by the sound of a voice telling me Eid Mubarak! It was 8:07 am, the start of a new day, the first day of spring, the official time for Norooz in China. A week ago we had jumped over the fire,giving our yellowness away and hoping for the goodness of the red to come into our lives and hearts. Today we were celebrating the new start we had been preparing ourselves for: Norooz had finally arrived >>>

Truly comical

It is simply unnecessary to dedicate this much attention to a fictional movie, created for the sole purpose of entertainment
Parsa Pezeshki

This is not a review of the movie 300. This is a review of certain reactions to it. A multi-sentence account of the movie is unnecessary given its widespread popularity. 300 is set in the war-crazed ancient world, where the Spartans resist Persian intruders. Perhaps it is the androgynous Persian king, Xerxes, in the movie, or the arrant exaggeration of the size of the Persian army, or the implicit conviction of the current Eastern world versus the gallant West; whatever it is, it’s gotten the Persians -- contemporary Iranians -- pissed off. As a Persian, I must say, I can sympathize with the damaged pride of my compatriots, loyal to their nationalistic credos. I cannot, however, bring myself to react similarly, which is nothing short of overreaction. What I call overreaction is a storm of fierce complaints in the form of press coverage, petitions, letters, blogs, online forum discussions, and, overall, excessive debating >>>

Do not take it out on Leonidas!

We suffer from a severe case of identity crisis!
Afshin Afshar

I have not seen the movie “300” yet, so I can not comment on its details. However, I have seen a documentary on the History Channel about the making of the movie. I do intend to see the movie at some point only because I want to see first hand what all the controversy is about. I am not going to take your time by detailing the “historical inaccuracies” of the movie, because the last thing this movie should be perceived as is a “historical” remake of the ancient battle at Thermopylae. Instead I want to talk about a very well concealed problem in Iranian community abroad. I stress “abroad” because I have lived abroad for almost 30 years, and that is the Iranian community with which I am more familiar, however, I dare suggest that what I am about to say may also apply to Iranians as a whole >>>


Interview with a disillusioned Upper Tehran vampire
Heresh Rezavandi

After going to Iran two summers ago, I decided to do some research for my doctorate. Me: "Hi, I was wondering whether I could take up 2 minutes of your time?" Disillusioned Upper Tehran Vampire: "Why? What for?" Me: "I'm writing my thesis on social and political awareness in Iran. I'm Iranian but I've been living in the UK since I was 2, I currently doing my doctorate and I'm interested in hearing the opinion of the Iranians living in Iran." Disillusioned Upper Tehran Vampire looks at me suspiciously >>>


C'est le Norooz

Photo essay: My friend's haft-seen in Paris
Nahal Zamani

Golkoocheek on the beach
Al Sefati

Ever wondered why Brazilian soccer players are so good? The answer is because they learned their soccer on the beach. Great players such as Ronaldo, Ronladino, and pretty much most of Brazilian squad used to play soccer on the beach. Beach soccer is taking the soccer world by storm. Played on a sand field on the beach, it focuses on some of the most spectacular aspects of modern soccer such as skill, agility, and above all goals >>>

Misdirected anger

It's high time we learned a thing or two from AIPAC
Abtin Assadi

300 (the movie) has generated so much anger in our community. If only we had the mechanisms and the organizations capable of channeling this unity of purpose into positive actions where it really mattered, perhaps in the United State foreign policy toward Iran. We should learn from the masters. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has translated their anger toward Ahmadinejad and his idiotic pronouncements into a record number of members. AIPAC membership has grown by 40% since Mr. Ahmadinejad was elected to office. People who follow these things know that AIPAC was not exactly a feeble lobbying force before Ahmadinejad >>>

Crocuses and Daffodils

They know they shall abloom
Tina Ehrami

Baraaye "Niv..."

Raining on Norooz candles
Mandana Zandian

My Noruz

Higher and brighter
Nezam Dean Marachi



Latest collection will be showcased
in San Francisco this weekend


Green day

Photo essay: St. Patrick's Day golf tournament
Farah Ravon

Feminizme maa bee norooz ast

In memory of Forough Farrokhzad
Mahasti Shahrokhi

Meeting Comrade Dabashi

A relentless effort to cut down “inorganic” intellectuals
Fariba Amini

Malicious, pestiferous, horrid, pathological, mendacious, and especially useless, are some of the adjectives repeatedly used by Professor Hamid Dabashi in his new book titled Iran: A People Interrupted, an ill-tempered and self-indulgent work written in a mixture of Stalinist hectoring with post-colonial gibberish. The footnotes -- a treasure trove of invective -- contain an array of criticism of a wide variety of Iran scholars, Iranian and Western alike, most of whom are either “useless Lipstick Jihadists,” or work in the service neo-con cronies >>>

Do us a favor

Open letter to Farah Diba
Azadeh Forghani

Note from the translators Niki Akhavan and Sima Shakhsari: Azadeh Forghani is one of the women’s rights activists who was arrested for peaceful protest on March 4th 2007 in front of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The following open letter titled "Kindly Come and Do Us a Favor, Oh Lady" was addressed to Farah Pahlavi, the empress of Iran during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Forghani critiques the cooptation of the Iranian women’s rights movement by Farah Pahlavi and opportunistic opposition groups >>>

A communiqué

You will be MY prey the moment you begin to feel your confidence drain
Cameron Batmanghlich

I will let your hands keep its grip on my throat until the very end ... and I will lock my eyes into yours until the end ... the very end. We shall see how long you can keep going on and how long I can hold on. We shall see if it is me who will give up my last breath before the force in your muscles begin to weaken to finally disappear, or it is you who will show exhaustion and kneel in front of me >>>


Tehran today

Photo essay: Norooz shoppers in Tajrish
Kiomars Ehdaivand


Just around the corner

Photo essay: Expecting spring in London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam


Primal events

Roshan Houshmand

Come on baby light my fire!

Nowrooz and The Doors in 4 episodes
Nazy Kaviani

I am cleaning our apartment like a maniac.  Picking up, sorting, cleaning, dusting, washing, vacuuming, all the while complaining about the fact that there is too much work and not enough time to finish my summary khooneh takooni, set the Haft-Sin, and do all that I must also do this weekend, in anticipation of the arrival of the New Year on Tuesday.  My young adult children are not home.  So, I’m talking to myself, or the broom, really.  I’m thinking whether Nowrooz is yet another thing that only matters to me in this household?  I wonder whether my children’s hearts are also leaping out, thinking about Tuesday?  Are they filled with the hope and optimism I tend to project at this time of the year?  Do they feel this change of the old year into the new, as I feel, as though I am carrying a gene thousands of years old?  Do they even care? >>>

Eid again

On this day she felt like she had a piece of her son with her
Mersedeh Mehrtash

She inserted the old key in the lock and turned it to the left, releasing the bolt and swinging the heavy wooden door open.  Taking one step inside the warm, cozy apartment, the plastic grocery bags rolled off her red swollen fingers, settling on the floor.  She took off her shoes still wet from the fresh snow off the streets.  After closing the door and locking it, she moved towards the kitchen, carrying the groceries with her.  Moving unconsciously, she filled the kettle with water and set it on the stove to boil for her tea, something she had done countless times in her life.  A task she could do with no thought, even in her sleep.  Come to think of it, she had spent the last 3 months living inside a haze >>>

“Welcome, Norooz! Welcome!”

At the precise second of balance
Azin Arefi

Baaz bahaar shod

Here comes spring again
Homayoun Abghari

Miraasse Norooze maa

Dar een diyaare dur
Alireza Tarighian

Saale no mobaarak

Happy new year
Hamid Izadi


Yes and No

Photo essay: Anti-war rally in San Francisco
Omid Memarian


Beyond politics

Photo essay: Beyond Persia art show
Jahanshah Javid

Lilies growing in a dark lagoon

There is a world out there that has not experienced the magic of Norooz
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

As vernal equinox draws near, once again I let hope enter my heart, fill me with its warmth, and prepare to welcome Norooz and all its dazzling colors. Just for this brief instant, I wish to forget the malice around the world, the injustice, and the sorrow. Through the optimism of this time-old moment, I shall draw enough new energy to face what may come. I set the haft seen, water my purple hyacinths, and once again fully expect the universe to take a good turn and make everyone happy. I place the sour orange in a bowl of water and, forgetting the disappointment of decades, believe the old promise that it will twirl at the exact moment of the New Day’s arrival. Will the gold fish flip inside his glass bowl to signify life’s turn for the better? Perhaps this time the sweet taste of Norooz will last longer and maybe its magic is going to linger for some time >>>

What is nature trying to tell us?
Tina Ehrami

We are approaching the Persian year 1386. The 21st of March, officially and according to all laws of nature, the beginning of a new cycle of life, is signed as the moment all Iranians around the world celebrate their new year. This year, nature has a hard time understanding itself though. Global warming caused Spring to start early in The Netherlands. It was only the 2nd of February when I noticed the chirping of a group of exotic birds in our street. The unnaturally high temperature in February caused these birds to settle here, all together, in my street. Every morning, I had the feeling as if I intruded in a scene of Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds" >>>

I hope none of this will matter
Maziar Behrooz

Regarding Israeli attack on Iran, the IRI seems to have upgraded its defenses in the past few years. When added to its other military assets, the IRI seem to have a degree of deterrence against Israel which make an Israeli attack on Iran less likely. I would be glad to hear from list members on the IRI's assets and options. Here they are: The IRI's air-defense had been upgraded to include Russian made long range S-300 and short range TOR-M1. It is my understanding that both of these two systems are operational. Baztab reports that a flying object was shut down during night over the city of Arak and attributes the incident to air-defense exercise. If true, this means that the IRI must have improved its radar capabilities as well >>>

Black is white
Ari Siletz

In one scene of this movie two women can be seen openly kissing each other in the court of Xerxes, the Persian monarch. A few cuts later, a man with a disability is welcomed into the Persian court by the great king himself. Even though Persians are a race of white Indo-Europeans, their chosen king, as well as most of the high level functionaries, appear to be of African descent. In the movie 300 we get to see what 500 BC would look like if liberals ran the Persian Empire. The neo-cons in this allegory are the Spartans >>>


Wherever you are

PowerPoint: Happy New Year


Happy *O#%!@ Norooz!



WMDs in San Jose!

Photo essay: Annual Charshanbeh Soori event at our house
Nader Jahanfard


Keeping traditions

Photo essay: Charshanbeh Soori in Plymouth, UK
Ramin Ordibehesht

The boys on the bus

It is very hard when you love both Iran and America
Abbas Rajabi

In a short while I found myself in the company of about 40 freshman boys from a high school in Iran - a world apart from my day-to-day life. Nostalgia had kicked in and I was excited to see their faces, and their interactions. They reminded me of my freshman year in high school some forty-four years ago. I was deep in my thoughts when Agha Nassi made an announcement to the students: "Gentlemen! Boys! My uncle has just arrived from America. He is an engineer and has four children in universities in America. Take this occasion and ask him anything you want about America and universities." All of a sudden everyone raised their hands to show that they all had questions, "Sir? Me, here, sir, sir." A boy wearing a blue ski jacket in the second row by the window was louder than the rest trying to get my attention. He asked, "Do you think America is going to attack us?" >>>


Fishy Norooz

Norooz in Belgium: I went to buy goldfish and instead...
Siamack Salari

What are you going to do about it?
Siamack Baniameri

I thought, instead of boycotting the movie, we Persians should leave the BMWs and Benzes in the garage, get the beasts out of the closets, put the chains and body piercing back on, sharpen the swords and spears, and with our best homosexual attire, attack the movie theaters that play the movie. Or maybe we should just boycott the movie. That's so much easier. Kidding aside, there is one thing we all can do: we can help get Cyrus Kar's project off the ground. Put your money where your mouth is. Donate money to SpentaProductions.com and help get this project out to the public. He only needs $500K to finish his project >>>


Here's to spring

Works of art
Majid Fadaeian


A short film
Peyvand Khorsandi

King Khamenei (for it is he): I hear the Greeks have made a film.
Ahmadinejad: Tis true Sire. Apparently, it depicts us as a bunk of dark-skinned savages.
King Khamenei: How objectionable. I am not dark-skinned. Nor was Ayatollah Khomeini or Khatami.
Ahmadinejad: Yes, Sire.
Khamenei: You are though.
Ahmadinejad: Yes, Sire. Shall we bomb Israel?
Khamenei: Why?
Ahmadinejad: Er, because they’re Jews.
Khamenei: No, let’s start a petition >>>

The power of film

The truth behind "300"
Cyrus Kar

For many Iranians the cinematic movie ‘300’ may come as a shocking revelation.  But to those of us who came up through America’s school system, the ‘Battle of Thermopylae,’ which is what the movie ‘300’ is based on, is as familiar as George Washington’s fabled “cherry tree” incident. What is so distressing about this movie is the realization of the tremendous power Hollywood wields in determining a people’s identity.  It is the same nightmare Native Americans endured during the whole ‘cowboy-movie’ genre.  Perhaps the movie ‘300’ was a necessary wake up call.  But Persia bashing will never disappear on its own.  It is the main villain in the Western saga.  The only way it will change is through the power of film >>>

Ummm… it’s a movie man

On Touraj Daryaee's "Go tell the Spartans": Ummm…it’s a movie man. Seriously though, I understand your position on this. I somehow forget that this movie is marketed to a public who elected the lying warmongerer twice. However, as an independently minded human being I do not draw the same conclusions from the movie as you do. I saw it as a fictionalized version of an ancient battle, more meant to portray the "freedom isn't free" mantra than "obey the idiot president" one. No one can say that the war in Iraq or any of the latest actions of President Bush have been heroic, justified, or legendary. Neither can anyone say that the terrorists who hate Americans are an "overwhelming horde". I realize Bush would like to keep us in terror of a nonexistent threat to our lives and freedom, but attack him and his kind, not the movie >>>

Persian artists unite!
Pendar Yousefi

Dear Artists, We have started a massive collaborative project - Project 300 - to bring together Persian/Iranian artists from around the world and use art to portray our history and our culture as we see it ourselves. The depiction of Persians/Iranians and our history in today's media is often created by people who don't always have a good understanding of our culture and don't come from a Persian background. As a result, most of these depictions are ill-researched, inaccurate, and at times offensive. The movie 300, is only the latest example. We believe that the only solution is to get involved ourselves. After all, who knows our history and culture better than ourselves? >>>


300 Persians... in Berkeley

Photo essay: Persian Center's annual event gets bigger and bigger every year
Talieh Shahrokhi

From Haft-Seen to SpringTree
Maryam K. Sagheb

We celebrate Norooz at our house but I feel the struggle to keep my children engaged and interested in the Norooz celebrations.  So do many of my friends with young children. So, I decided to revise the Norooz celebrations and in particular the Haft-seen setting in order to revitalize my children's interest in this beautiful and meaningful festival. Since Norooz is a celebration of life marking the beginning of Spring, a time when trees and flowers come into bloom as all of nature awakens, what more appropriate than to have a “SpringTree” upon which to place the Haft-Seen objects in an ornamental, decorative manner >>>

Go tell the Spartans

How "300" misrepresents Persians in history
Touraj Daryaee

What do you get when you take all the “misfits” that inhabit the collective psyche of the white American establishment and put them together in the form of a cartoonish invading army from the East coming to take your freedom away? Then add a horde of  Black people, deformed humans who are the quintessential opposite of the fashion journal images, a bunch of veiled towel-heads who remind us of Iraqi insurgents, a group of  black cloaked Ninja-esque warriors who look like Taliban trainees, and men and women with body and facial piercings who are either angry, irrational, or sexually deviant. All this headed by a homosexual king (Xerxes) who leads this motley but vast group of “slaves” known as the Persian army against the 300 handsomely sculpted men of Sparta who appear to have been going to LA (or Montreal) gyms devotedly, who fight for freedom and their way of life, and who at times look like the Marine Corps advertisements on TV? You get the movie “300.” >>>

Out of all places in the world...

No wonder we call Ahmadinejad, "Raees Jomhoor"

Prisoners of "love"

Evin, Part 5: The Accused & the judicial system
Azadeh Azad

Prison guards and social workers looked at the accused who constituted about one third of the prison population as being already convicted. In fact, the application of the judicial system was defective and unjust. An inmate described her bitterness in these terms: "I've suffered a lot in the hands of the courts and prison. They treat us like slaves. They are just not open to hearing the truth." Another prisoner shook her head in frustration: "Inspectors believe that basically the accused lies. They constantly bark, "Don't lie!" They typically don't listen to what is being said by the defendant and simply look into the file to see what is written there." >>>


Jumping ahead

Photo essay: Charshanbe Souri In New Jersy
Alireza Tarighian


Over fire

Charshanbeh Soori at Bendad and Wendy's
Jahanshah Javid

Generation of the enlightened

New forms of relationships
Hamid Reza Karimianpour

One interesting feature of our modern culture is that people are increasingly willing to take risks and experiment with new sexual practices. Partner swapping or swinging is a new sexual behavior, which is emerging in many parts of the world. Currently, the concept is being practiced in most European countries, North-America, East-Asia, South-Africa, and Australia. In my view, the contemporary sexual morality will inevitably change in the future. Nothing has ever remained static, and there is no good reason to believe that we have reached the end of the human history. We have moved from the idea that sex is exclusively for the purposes of procreation to the view that sex is fun and a private matter. It shall not surprise us, if the twenty-first century‚s sexual revolution takes us to new heights of liberation with more radical transformations in our sexual behavior >>>

If not for my kid
Faramarz Fateh

I am a married middle aged man with two teenage kids. Having been married close to 20 years, I really don't have any illusions about life and happiness. I am pretty sure its not mid-life crisis that has made me re-think life because I am not into fast cars or fast women; my wife is more than enough for me; sexually and otherwise. So what's making me unhappy?! I am thinking it's lilfe in the U.S. But how can someone with steady a steady income, a healthy 401K plan, an almost paid for home in West LA, a vacation home in Palm Springs, kids with 3.8 GPAs and most importantly a good wife who complains less than most men I know be unhappy?! Anyone else out there feels like me? >>>

What's wrong with this picture?

We have spent countless hours debating, arguing and writing about absurd and silly subjects
Lance Raheem

While we like to brag on ourselves as being the most highly educated, privileged and prosperous of the many distinct overseas-Iranians communities, sometimes it seems that we waste our time and talents on relatively meaningless and inconsequential matters, such as all the words which have been wasted on the movie 300 while far too few words were used to condemn those who once again brutalized our sisters in Tehran last week. I don't know why I should be surprised or shocked though. We, in the North American Iranian communities, may be well educated and we may like to slap ourselves on the back for having "made it" in western society, but in my humble estimation, collectively, many of us can't see the forest for the trees >>>

Bad history, worse timing

Warner Brothers could not have found a worse time in history to release movie like "300"
Hamed Vahdati Nasab

As an archaeologist and as the author of one of the petitions against the movie 300, I would like to shed some light on some of the aspects of the movie 300. At the time of this publication the petition that started on March 4th, 2007 has exceeded 38,000 signatures. Briefly, the movie portrays the famous battle of Thermopylae between the Persians and the Greeks that occurred in 480 B.C. During that battle, the Persian Imperial army had to cross a narrow gorge in order to reach the Greek mainland. The gorge was held by almost 300 Spartans backed by 4000-7000 Greek soldiers, and they managed to hold Persian army for few days >>>


Axis of art and culture, too

Over-due ‘cultural upgrade’ for ourselves
Lale’ Welsh Shahparaki

At a time when the President of the United States solicits support for another war against another “Axis of Evil” he needs to appeal to hate, fear and ignorance to get it. There’s only one real way to counter that, and it’s with exposure to our art, our culture and a dignified self-image >>>

Love in Persian literature

The profile of women in the poetry of Ahmad Shamlu
Majid Naficy

In order to examine the profile of women in the poetry of one of the most influential modern Persian poets, Ahmad Shamlu (1925-2000) it is necessary to see him in relation to his predecessors. In our classical literature, woman has an absent presence, and perhaps the best way to see her figure is to demystify the mystical meaning of "love". Rumi (1207-73) divides "love into two mutually-exclusive parts: spiritual and carnal. A mystic man should cleanse himself from bodily pleasures and led by his master fills his heart with the love of God. In Rumi's poetry, Woman represents carnal infatuation or animal ego and a mystic man should kill his temptations for this kind of deadly love: "Choose and love the living one who is eternal". On the contrary, in his lyrics Hafiz (born 1320) glorifies love for earthly beloved and uses "mystical love" only as a garnish >>>

People vs. "Persians"

Unlike the warriors in "300", women are not computer generated graphics
Nazy Kaviani

I can’t help but be amazed at the amount of energy and dedicated emotion our fellow countrymen, almost all men, are showing a movie these days.  Everywhere I go on the internet there is an article, a dialogue, or a sign of major attention to the movie, 300.  At first glance, I say well-done Gentlemen!  I appreciate the passion both for and against the issue.  Thank you for speaking up, letting us know your opinion in a democratic way. While obviously the release of this movie and the topic it portrays is a very important event in some people’s minds, it is, unfortunately, not the most atrocious thing happening to Iranians, Persians, their image, and their history these days >>>

Pouran Bazargan

One of the first women involved in the politics of the New radical Left in Iran
Yassamine Mather

Pouran Bazargan who died after a year long illness on the 6th of March 2007 was truly a symbol of resistance for the Iranian socialist feminist movement. Her political activities started in a religious organisation oppose to the Shah in the 1960s, (she a was founding member of the Organisation of Iranian Peoples Mojahedin) . However Pouran was amongst the many members and cadres of OIPM who left the organisation in 1974 to set up a Marxist Leninist organisation, OIPM (ML) later known as Peykar. During the 1970s she spent some time in exile and as a representative of the Organisation Peykar Baraye Azadi Tabaghe Kargar (Struggle for the emancipation of the working class) in Middle Eastern countries including South Yemen, Iraq ... and  with Palestinian organisations >>>


British Bazaar

Photo essay: London's Portobello Road Market
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

War & women

There are no systems more patriarchal than imperialistic wars
Shirin Saeidi

From February 16th through March 11th, New Hall College, in collaboration with Cambridge City Council at the University of Cambridge, is hosting an exhibition of film and photography by Iranian women.  The Film Guilaneh, which depicts the lives of Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war, was shown to an audience of 60, an equal mix of Iranians and Brits.  Following the film, the director, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and a few Iranian students attended a private gathering where we continued to discuss the film.  The heavy weight of the current U.S. agenda against Iran was on our minds, and the collective anger we felt culminated into a tension which weighed on the air in the auditorium.  Having been born in Iran and raised in the West, I always knew that the Iran-Iraq war was central to the formation of my political identity >>>

Crossing the line
Tina Ehrami

Hollywood released the long expected movie called 300 a few days ago in the US. As much as fiction tells us that the story is made up, it gives us a certain feeling. Conspiracy theories already swirl through the net about the positioning and timing of this movie. Could it be that this movie has some kind of political intention? Some even believe that this sense of revolt that is shown throughout the movie against the "evil Persians" is a prelude to what the US intends to do with Iran within a short period of time. To have the support of the dumb and easily- influenced people who see this movie and have no notion of historical facts what so ever, this movie would be the perfect mood maker to destroy whatever is Persian- resulting in a military attack on Iran >>>

Beauty and the beast

Snyder’s 300 breaks new ground in using domestic racial and sexual stereotypes to demonize the enemy
Ahmad Sadri

I saw Zack Snyder’s 300 at a sleepy suburban movie theatre near Chicago.  The lady behind me was telling her husband that she did not expect to like the movie because “it sounds too violent!”  Those who came for that exact reason got their fill of digital gore.  There were other dark premonitions.  Hours before the movie  I opened a forwarded Internet petition singed by some 10,000 bewildered Iranians who were shocked that their Persian identity could be just as savagely demonized as their “Muslim” heritage.  I didn’t sign.  It is after all, a comic book movie made by a director whose last masterpiece was a remake of  the “Dawn of the Dead.” Protests should be preserved for threatening preemptive invasions not fantasy flicks – even when they bang on the drums of jingoism >>>

Wake-up call
Lale' Welsh

I saw 300 Saturday night at Universal Studios and it rocked! As a film (and I speak as a former film student) it was exactly what it should be; visually pleasing, well acted, and persuasive (if visceral and somewhat homo-erotic) story telling. As a history lesson (And I speak as an Iranian) it was inaccurate from our perspective; Xerxes was not back, French or Gay (to my knowledge). But this just serves to point up Ms. Ghassemian's argument in "Fiction doesn't deserve a petition". It's highly stylized fiction based on a comic book! BUT the trouble is that Hollywood's timely green-lighting and release of this movie is based on what they always base their decisions on (and I Speak as a former Paramount employee) it's based on social alleogry which guarantees box office dollars >>>

Darius, the miracle
Trita Parsi

We are delighted and proud to let you know that Darius Shams Oden Parsi-Semlali was born on March 5, at 1605 EST. Weighing 3.2 kg and measuring 48.5 cm, he has given life a whole new meaning to us. Both Amina and Darius are doing well, enjoying the miracle of life - and the miracle of rest! It took Amina and I months come to an agreement on a name. But once we saw our son, and his decisively Persian nose, it became much easier. We decided to name him after Darius the Great, son of Hyastaspes, the Zoroastrian Achaemenid king who ruled 549 BC– 486 BC. Darius, or “He Who Holds Firm the Good,” was a great statesman and organizer >>>


Tavalod, tavalod...

Photo essay: Grandpa's 90th birthday
Mehdi Naeemi

A journey

I am the arrow from the bow that Arash released
Niloofar Nafici

Crimson red

I am worthy of my place
Baharak Sedigh


Magical realism

Naghmeh Sharifi

Twice every morning

You live and I roll over your footsteps after you to hold the memory of your feet with my body forever whenever you leave
Sheema Kalbasi

Long ago when I was about five years old and with my parents was driving through the holy city of Qom on the way to another state we stopped to buy Persian Sohan (a candy made with honey, butter, saffron, wheat sprouts, sugar, and nuts). My father took me to the bazaar where women and men all dressed in black loose clothing were coming at me or so I felt. I had expected the city to be white, the people to be dressed in white, and everyone look skyward and angel like. I had heard the city is holy after all but it wasn't. It was the year the revolution was starting and everyone was soon to see Ayatollah Khomeini's portrait on the moon! A woman approached us and in a cruelly cold voice asked me why I hadn't covered my hair. I was shocked. I was a shy girl whose lips started to draw down on both corners >>>

Pure fantasy
Daniel M Pourkesali

Being an Iranian and having heard of all the many negative remarks, petitions, and other complaints, I decided to see the movie "300" for myself while fully prepared to be totally offended.   But after stomaching two hours of the most gruesome graphic scenes, I walked out feeling sorrier for the Greeks. The viewer must be forewarned that the movie, although loosely connected to Battle of Thermopylae, an event that took place in 480BC,  is entirely based on Frank Miller's fictional comic of the same name and judging from what I saw, it is a faithful rework of that novel. Persian King Xerxes, for example, is not as the bearded figure perched on his throne as depicted on the walls of Persepolis, but a bald man with pierced nose and ears wearing jewels and displaying somewhat ambiguous sexuality >>>

Comedy special
Maz Jobrani

It's finally happening. The Axis of Evil Comedy Special is airing Saturday March 10th on Comedy Central. I personally can't believe it since we've been at this thing for about 7 years. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (or the Middle Eastern version which would be blood, sweat and cologne) to get this thing on the air. I think when we first started I was still using Drakar Noir, now I'm on my eighteenth bottle of Armani -yes, people, that's how I tell time. Anyway, tonight we will become the first Middle Eastern/American comedy show to ever air on American television (I actually didn't research this fact, but am going with the flow because it sounds good and I‚m about 99.9% sure it's true - let's just say based on the intelligence I‚ve received there could be a strong connection between the Middle East, comedy and this being the first of its kind. Now I'm starting to sound like Dick Cheney. Doh!) >>>

Federaalizme modern

Federalism vs. tribalism
Esmail Nooriala


"To Kojaee"

From Kiosk's new album "Eshghe Sorat"
Afshean Hessam, Ardalan Payvar and Shadi Yousefian

Baazi: Gomraah, Payaambar

The Game: The misled, the prophet
Leila Farjami

A people, interrupted
Goudarz Eghtedari

I interviewed Professor Hamid Dabashi on March 8th, 2007 by phone as part of my KBOO 90.7 FM program “Voices of the Middle East.” The main occasion for the interview was the recent release of his book “Iran, a people interrupted” (New Press, 2007). Dr. Dabashi is at the center of recent controversial criticism of American Neo-Conservatives and their Iranian counterparts.  His passionate responses to my questions about this issue came after a more detailed inquiry of his critique of the Fukuyama’s notion of the “End of History”.  We started with philosophical bases of his book such as the struggle between Modernity and Tradition and concluded with the US tragedies in the Middle East and his solution to end that catastrophe.  I am offering this recording to the young-generation-Iranians living in the US and Europe as well as those who find access to the Internet elsewhere in response to Dr. Dabashi’s specific interest to outreach to them >>>

Fiction doesn't deserve a petition

Let us focus on the people and issues that truly matter
Naz Ghassemian

Iranians, especially those with "political" motivations and Zoroastrian ideals, ought to have far greater priorities than drafting petitions against 300. The fact that this movie has gathered their attention only indicates the lack of proper priorities and power these "groups" possess.. The fact that this movie has gathered their attention only indicates the lack of proper priorities and power these "groups" possess. If 300 was touted as an actual historical portrayal, the outrage indicated by this petition would be valid. However, it is based on a comic book. It is the creative fantasy of a comic book genius. The mere connection drawn by Tinoush and others only emphasizes the trouble with Iranians when it comes to the arts and literature: these are separate creative spheres that exist independently of politics and politicians! >>>


Koorosh the Great

Interviewing my other 3-year-old son
Siamack Salari

The pussyfication of Iranian men
Siamack Baniameri

Watching Iranian women, in the last few days, taking on the government of Iran, being assaulted, injured, tortured and imprisoned made me realize that my soccer buddies and me were right all along. As we Iranian men become more and more of a pussy, somehow in the last thirty years, Iranian women have grown balls. And the pussification process completed on the day that we -- men -- stayed on the sidelines and watched our women insulted, beaten and shoved in a bus, and we didn't dare to say a word. There is only one thing left to say: we Iranian men have been pussified >>>

An eye of gold

I have no choice but to turn to illusions of magic priestesses with golden powers
Tala Dowlatshahi

I find it ironic timing-the recent archaeological discovery of a six-foot tall Persian woman born over 5,000 years ago. The woman with the golden eye was found in the ancient necropolis of Shahr-i-Sokhta on the Iran-Afghan border. She is believed to have possessed supernatural powers and no ordinary soul could master her. Iran is going to need a historic force like this golden eye, beyond this material world, to protect the country from a foreseeable future of war. Believed to be the skeleton of a fortune-teller dating back to 2800 BC, the female habitant of this "Burnt City" as it was then called- a bustling, prosperous metropolis and trading post at the crossroads of East and West, was able to predict its fate--four stages of civilization and three times burnt down >>>

Khooneh takooni
Layla Khamoushian

It's that time of the year again, when you are supposed to "Shake Your House". Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. I like the phrase "Khooneh Takooni" much better than the simple English version of Spring Cleaning because Khooneh Takooni, by definition, implies more than just the normal and routine cleaning. It's more powerful and more dramatic, of course given our all time dramatic culture. This time of the year signifies a great concept: the earth renews itself, the birds travel back, the days are longer, and the children stay outside till 8 p.m. This time of the year is sacred >>>


Iranians of the day

Honoring women's rights activists on International Women's Day
Photos by Arash Ashoorinia

Make a fuss

We need to be offended when an offense is targeted at us
Tinoush Moulaei

After watching a clip of the movie "300" and reading the petition against it, which is a bit too hyper-Persian for my taste, I decided to put my name on it for a simple reason. We need it. Let me elaborate. We, as in Iranians, need to stand up more, especially with the current political climate. We need to be sticklers about little things so as to insure that we don’t lose on the big things. It’s true that the Persian Empire did not expand “organically”. But, considering the standards of that era, the Persian Army was a love-machine! And, we need to say that as loud as we can >>>

Time is going by

We are afraid to defend our rights
Sasan Seifikar

March 8th
Sheema Kalbasi

Your image casts no shadow on my heart but clearly free verse is not an issue when the thuggees follow my traveling footsteps next to the Ganga, when my feet burn to reach you yet the wounds on them aren't mending too fast, when the season denies the one day to the Iranian women who demonstrate on Women's Day, and are, therefore, behind bars for asking for their rights, the rights they seek with all their flexibility toward a regime that captures them like little hunts. In all these things I know I can find peace in your writings when everything seems too centralized to hope for a democracy in Iran. It is your delicate words that wash the pain off my body, and heal the scars on my feet. I know I can narrate my images with you. You are after all the one who holds me with all my nakedness, clear, without any shadow peering >>>

You cannot imprison thoughts

For International Women's Day
Azadeh Azad


Whispers of the East

Photo essay
Sadegh Tirafkan


Soft brush

Alireza Masoumi

Dynamic war

Personality of leaders and domestic conditions in international conflict
Steven M. Goldstein

Richard Rosecrance's Action and Reaction in World Politics suggests that elite foreign policy making is determined by internal factors. Hoffman's In The State of War addresses whether it is a country’s stability or instability which provokes war. Keeping in mind the above theorists we can apply our two theories to the last century’s longest, if not bloodiest, conflict: the Iran-Iraq war. First, we can examine how personality of leaders influenced the war and then proceed to explain the war through the domestic affairs in each country >>>

Rational alternative

Initiating a process of rapprochement with it before it is too late
Ardeshir Ommani

In the Middle East, U.S. interests go far beyond Iran’s nuclear issue and the U.S. desire to limit nuclear weapons proliferation. The real question to be asked is what right does the U.S. have to go eight thousand miles from its shores wanting to undermine a sovereign nation? The objective of the containment is to prevent Iran from influencing the development of the national liberation movements in the region, while Britain and the U.S. have, for longer than a century, dominated the economic and political affairs of the countries in the region to serve the interests of their corporations and military dominance >>>

Free Our Women.  Free Asieh.
Nazy Kaviani

I wonder where I would be if I was still living in Tehran.  Would I have been brave enough to have followed the others to the peaceful protest of this week?  Would I have been arrested abruptly and violently, dragged through the city, and shoved into a crowded holding cell, only to be transferred blindfolded to Block 209 of a horrible jail?  I don’t know. I do know that my heart weeps for the plight of Iranian women, caught in the hands of barbaric laws which not only don’t protect them, but at every turn take away something from their freedom, their dignity, their individuality, and their humanity, degrading them to second class citizens, devoid of rights to custody of their own children, rights to a fair marriage, rights to choose their own clothing, and many other basic human rights.  It is true that no human being in Iran is treated with dignity, but it is particularly horrible for women >>>

The ridiculous truth
Nema Milaninia

This is one of the most ridiculous petitions I have every seen in my entire life and the fact that a “Dr.” drafted it and that over 2,500 people signed it is even more ridiculous. The petitioned is drafted as an attack against the movie 300 for its “inaccurate” portrayal of the “Persians.”  Actually, its more a petition that states “Persians are the best, we conquered the world but of course we would never kill people to do it.” First of all, who ever said that 300 is intended in any way to be a documentary of historical events. I saw ogres, freaks, rhino’s being ridden, and other supernatural creatures.  You would have to be brain-dead to actually think that a genius like Frank Miller intended to reflect real-life events, than simply create a stylish battle movie >>>

Don't come back

I always wondered about "Imam Zaman". This guy has been trapped in a well for hundreds of years somewhere outside Tehran. Ok I understand that back then there was no technology nor the means to bring him up, but how about now? If he is down there and getting money from everyone and saving their souls and granting their wishes, why isn't anyone bringing him up? What is he doing down there? Maybe he's saving money to hire troops and fight with Mr. Ahmadinejad's nukes against Jesus as he's descending from Heaven with his army of Crusaders and Western allies? It will be a sight to see >>>


Let's go shopping

Photo essay: Stores & markets in Tehran
Bahram Maravandi


Diary of a UK asylum speaker
Peyvand Khorsandi

I drop on my bed with my work clothes. Vowed never to do that, here I am, soaked in grease and kebabs. The blacks give us a hard time downstairs, I thought they were good people but they are arrogant and rude. In Iran we learned blacks are an oppressed people, that the Europeans treated them badly. Morteza says “It’s nothing to do with skin colour, it’s poverty, even if you went to a white area it would be the same – in fact you would be black.” I’m tired of them ordering me about and sucking their teeth and counting on the fact that I’m afraid of them because they’re black. I’m not. If I hesitate in responding it’s because my English is not good, in fact it’s terrible >>>

First love

Part 2: When we had time to talk, we realized how big the breach was between us
Rosi Canales

It was an unusually cold morning in January 2000, (we had survived the turn of the century, lol) when my phone rang, and a familiar voice said my name, I was speechless for what seemed a long time, and then I could only murmur words, my ex-boyfriend was at the other end of the phone, at the other end of the world, telling me, that he was going to be visiting Miami in a week or so, and that he will call me, to see if we could see each other, it felt surreal, I was able to recognize his voice after well over 20 years, and my knees were shaking, exactly the same way they always did, when I heard his deep voice and his lovely accent. Another cold morning later, another phone call, this time he was here, we were feeling the same weather, we were in the same geographical point, once again, in this lifetime >>>

My Persian summer

What made me belong in Iran was the intense, unexplainable connection that I felt to every tree, flower, breeze, drop of water, mountain top, and this list could go on forever

It was 10 pm. Back at home, I would have been just about to get ready to peacefully end my day, but here in Tehran, the Persian sunset announced the beginning of the outpour of people onto the streets. Namely, the Bazaar e Golestan was the place to be if you were young, hip and among the rebellious oppressed. Sitting in the courtyard of the bazaar, I couldn’t help but notice all the teenagers grouped up in every corner, near every bench, ice cream in hand and checking out the opposite sex. The girls wore wonderfully colored scarves that matched with their outrageously nice form-fitting outfits and were topped off with heavily made-up faces. On the other side, the young men looked like a Tommy Hilfiger advertisement with their overly-gelled hair and excessively tight shirts. Sounds somewhat familiar…and yet it’s another world all together >>>

Some modesty wouldn't hurt

Arrogance has cost us Iranians dear and it is still doing so
Ben Madadi

This apparently glorious history of Iran that was discovered by the West came just as a curse, which is still upon the Iranian nation. The history made a backward illiterate Muslim country of the Middle East into a backward illiterate arrogant Muslim country of the Middle East. That arrogance has cost us Iranians dear and it is still doing so. Turkey did a better job in cutting the relationship between modern Turkey and the Ottoman Empire (Osmanli Turkleri). Turkish politicians even spread rumours that the Ottomans were Iranians! Iran however went as far as it could and claimed most the history of the Middle East for itself. That was, and still is, quite a burden. Iran is still being crushed under that burden >>>

And suddenly the woman said: “Leopard!”

Short story
Ezzat Goushegir
Translated by Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

Standing at the window facing the forest, the woman was singing the lyrics to the Cupid and Psyche opera.  Exactly at the point when Psyche, curious and care-ridden, holds the candle up to Cupid’s face to examine her complexion in the dark, as a drop of molten wax drips on Cupid’s body, suddenly a spark, much like lightning emitted from a pair of eyes, penetrated her eyelids; stopping her tongue on the word drop.  Drop, drop, that hot drop. Suddenly she saw the leopard seated in the dark, half-hidden in the folds of the turning leaves and twisted twigs; with a fingertip she wiped off the crystal drop of tear flowing along her cheeks >>>

Intelligent life form?
Tina Ehrami

It is the year 2007. Mankind has reached breakthroughs in science and technology. We have found cures to illnesses, ways to recreate human cells, figured out what life form there exists on planet Mars, defeated dictatorial regimes and have produced robots that look more human than humans do. With all this positive and constructive brainpower raging through the planet, mankind would surely have reason to be proud about its own specie. There is one day every year that I don't share this sense of pride. That is on International Women's Day on the 8th of March >>>


Personal Airlines

Photo essay: Two flying trips in Iran
Dariush Zand

Conveying complexities

Humanizing a nation by reading its literature
Persis Karim

At a time when Iran appears in the daily headlines and tensions between the US and Iran are at an all-time high, it’s a good time to start compiling reading lists for your friends and family—both American and Iranian. One of the most compelling ways to understand a culture and its complexities are through its art and literature. Iran’s recent rich literary output offers a vehicle for understanding those contradictions and the changes Iran has undergone in the last decade and a half. Strange Times, My Dear provides an excellent sampling of literature that has been written and published since the revolution both inside and outside of Iran >>>

Nazy Kaviani

Professor Lotfi Zadeh is a legend in his own time.  He is the inventor of “Fuzzy Logic,” a theory now widely used in many disciplines and environments, particularly as it pertains to development and manufacturing of computer hardware, software, and robotics.  Those who know this theory know that it is much to do with math, technology, and, well, logic.  In my non-technical state, the best way for me to describe Fuzzy Logic is to say that it revolves around not the black and white areas of “absolute” in matters, but around the thousand shades of grey in between, and how to describe, quantify, and utilize them.  No wonder even students of philosophy are among those doing research on his theory >>>

Who knew?

He dug a deep tunnel to the heart of each and every one of us
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

The glass doors of the animal hospital close behind me, and I’m conscious of having left one of the best segments of my life behind. There on the cart they so carelessly transferred him to, lies the gentlest being I know, our loving golden retriever. Who knew he would leave his soul inside of me and take a good portion of mine with him? Who knew I would not be able to let go of a beast that I had feared as a child? His name is Pelé; the god of fire, the best a soccer ball ever saw, and my loyal companion of four-and-a-half years. When he came into my life, he was a small fur ball that could easily fit into my big pocket. It’s as if it was just days ago when he could hide under the kitchen cabinet. When did he grow to a size that the four of us could not lift his blood-covered body from the middle of the road to put him in my car? >>>

Prisoners of "love"

Evin, Part 4: Female inmates’ abysmal living conditions
Azadeh Azad

Women prisoners were treated brutally and their abysmal living conditions were in violation of their Human Rights. If one prisoner committed an offence such as starting a fight inside a ward, the prison guards would punish all prisoners of that ward by depriving them of something significant such as telephone calls or visitations - the social workers simply turning a blind eye to this practice. Excessive amount of camphor was poured into prisoners’ meals and drinks – breakfast and lunch and supper, even into their bread and tea – in order to supposedly suppress their sexual drives. Too much camphor was causing side-effects such as swollen eyelids and faces, hoarse and choked voices, appearance of spots on hands and arms in women >>>

Until all are free

The life of Iranian women's rights activists is in danger
Ramin Ahmadi

On Sunday more than fifty women's rights activists were violently beaten and arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of expression. These courageous activists had gathered in front of one of Tehran's courthouses to protest the unfair trial of five other women who were leading their struggle against inequality and legal discrimination. The illegal mass arrest could prove to be an important turning point for their difficult fight for equal rights. They had recently initiated a "One Million Signatures: demanding changes to discriminatory laws" campaign, aimed at fighting legal discrimination against women in Iran. The first law that had become a target of this campaign was the punishment of stoning for women found guilty of adultery >>>


Interview with a 3 year-old

Some questions I put to my son Siavash
Siamack Salari


Haghe mosallam
Hamid Izadi

Beh yaade Iran

Man aan aahooye darbandam

Shrieks! Greeks!

This is what the Persian Wars were for
Jam Hamidi


To the point where I cannotn breathe or swallow
Setareh Sabety

From one story to another

(For Maya)
Arash Daneshzadeh

Kaablhaaye ertebaati

Lines of communication
Parisa Movahed


This land is not holy
Hedieh Sajadi


Living under the Sun
Amir A


I have always been proud of you
Hamid Bakhsheshi

And here it is, I can finally write about you Baba... There is nothing so heart ranching as hearing a widow talk to a freshly laid grave stone... "what will I do without you, who will read poetry to me now?" Mom uttered those words as if she was singing. The familiar way she "sang" her thoughts out loud for all those who had left her. She rubbed the tomb stone over Baba's picture, cried as hard as I have ever heard her cry, and talked to Baba. They got married 49 years ago. They had three kids, me in the middle, a younger sister and an older sister. We lived in a nice house in a new suburb of Tehran for the most of our lives. The house stood until two years ago, when it was torn down to an upgraded apartment complex >>>

Jange 72 mellat

Inter-religious wars
Esmail Nooriala

Traajediye khalaaghiyat

The link between creativity and personal tragedy
Massoud Noghrekar


Lost in space

Vajihe Parizangeneh

Reading Postel on Tehran

Iranian people are left alone to face their repressive regime because the left feels uncomfortable about siding with Washington
Ramin Ahmadi

As I was reading Postel about the progressive American attitude toward Iran, I tried to remember my liberal colleagues in the 80’s and think hard about their objections to the Regan policies. Were they opposed to the constructive engagement with a regime that practiced Apartheid or did they oppose Ronald Regan as the embodiment of anti-communist and imperialist values? Why did they object to the hidden negotiations with Mullahs and the arms for hostage deal? Did they find dealing with a terrorist regime in Tehran objectionable? Or was it the hidden nature of the transaction? Did they hate it because the proceedings were spent on battling Sandinistas or would they condemn any such deals with a terrorist state regardless of how the profit is squandered? Did they find the regime in Tehran objectionable after all? >>>

Terrorizing Iranians

How Iranian-Americans can block an attack on Iran
Dokhi Fassihian

The United States and Iran are closer to war than they have ever been at any time in their tumultuous history.  Due to a lethal combination of US policy failures in the Middle East and entrenched political and economic interests at home, the Bush Administration is reportedly preparing to carry out a massive bombing campaign against Iran to set back its nuclear program and degrade its military capabilities. In a January 10 speech to the nation, Bush defied the elite bi-partisan Iraq Study Group and the American public by putting in place a policy to escalate the war and provoke Iran into a military conflict. It is essential that Iranian Americans directly contact their members of Congress - in both the House and Senate - and ask them to support binding legislation that prohibits a US attack on Iran >>>

WAR :o)
The brave blogger
Peyvand Khorsandi

If the Martians attack Iran I will go back and fight. Please don’t applaud -- it is my duty. I don’t care who is in power, it is my country, and I will stick up for it. When the war is over, if I am alive, then, I will engage the government. Of course, our ruling clerics are not so bad. The MEDIA exaggerate. In Iran young people have many drugs you can’t buy in the West. We also have MORE SEX than young people in West. And our HIV-infection rate is truly world-class. Yes. If you are unwilling to lay your life down for our Supreme Leader you are a PUSSY. I am going back. I’m tired of all these NEGATIVE IMAGES of Iran. It’s the media. The Leader is not such a bad guy -- have you ever given him a chance? >>>

A moment of letting go

My body is lagging behind my passion
Cameron Batmanghlich

I see nothing just rays of light, penetrating through the canapé of her hair, surrounding my face, limiting my vision.  I hear an ‘Elegy’ ... yes ... the rhythm has changed ... calm ... the sound of sky ... I hear ... I hear the Bandoneon ... Piazzolla’s ‘Los Suenos’ ... the base line ... constant ... solid ... just the way we are connected and glued together ... and the melody line ... ‘Placido Cantabile’ ... just the way she is rocking on me as a boat on the waves of the ocean. She is now looking into my eyes ... a smile breaks upon her lips ... the blood is gone ... I have sucked it all.  Her nipples are hard and aroused ... as if she is ready to give milk ... time stands still ... in that metronomic motion on top of me ... she loses control and gains perfect sense of time... and breaks time’s continuity >>>


Bed time

The twins refuse to go to bed and it's late
Siamack Salari


On Shahla Azizi's "Carpet dealer diplomacy": Dear Shahla, Are you for real? Tell me girl where have you been in the past 28 eight years? Do you even take notice of the news or what is happening in the world around you? Do you know any thing about the history of your country far or near? Are you even an Iranian? Is it possible that you only have the memory span of a cold fish and you do not even remember the past two decades? May I refresh your memory to the 10 years war between Iran and Iraq, if you have even bothered to bring your head out of your American AKHOR and have had a fair look on the history of that war, then you could easily observe that for ten years Iranians people even as young as ten years volunteered to participate in that war and gave their life for their country no hesitation, no preservation and no questions asked >>>
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Wagging tail

Photo essay: Taleghan
Fatemeh Farajmandi

Khaaneye kolangi

Condemned home
Shahireh Sharif

The case for fish

A meditation
Peyvand Khorsandi

I had to kill my own cow to make a burger. In a lucid dream the cow, Minnie, shared with me the reasons it looked so grumpy, and complained it was not getting on with its therapist. We had managed to bond even though we both knew it would end up as my burger. Then I had to stick the knife in, not proverbially but literally, and breach our unwritten contract of friendship. Minnie accepted its fate with dignity. It did not resist, it let me slaughter it, or at least attempt to, and was patient when I couldn’t dislodge the machete from its neck >>>

Now even is not even

With you the ethical bridges are in flame
Sheema Kalbasi

In 1972, on November twentieth I was born on the third floor of Tehran's Hashtroudian Maternity Hospital. On its east wing faces were expressive to my heartbeat, and I cried: I am here. How so much of it has changed, that eastern country, wings of good memories jacket me warm only now and then. With the revolution of 1979 the dark night expanded over the country, over Iran, and men and women fell on the ground and the fall continues to this day. I am not there to see the falling of the fireballs firsthand but I don't live on the green mountains yet not say a word of the threes that are chopped, the fields, the grains that burn, that die. Now I sit where the earth tilts hours apart from my place of birth >>>

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