Welcome. Khooneh-ye khodetooneh.... consider me a good friend -- or
a kind aunt if you prefer. Tell me what's on your mind. I'll listen carefully
to whatever is bothering you and try to give you some honest advice. Let's
have a chat... email me at email@example.com
This column is updated Monday thru Friday.
October 31, 2001
* I can't love anyone
Salam Kobra Khanom,
Man Ye Moshkel`e Taghriban Bozorg Daram . Man Ashegh Nemisham Hame
Chiz Baram Mamooli Be Nazar Mirese. Kheyli Say Kardam Yeki Ra Doost Dashte
Basham, Vali Natonestam. Ta Inja Ke Mohem Nist , Migzare.
Az Badbakhtiye Man Dokhtari Ahsegh`e Man Shode Va Tebgh`e Mamool Man
Nesbat Be oo Hich Ehsasi Nadaram. Chand Bar Ham Telephoni Ba Ham Sohbat
Karim Va Say Kardam Khodam Ra Yek (Dive Pedar Sookhte) Neshan Bedaham Ama
Hich Asari Nadasht`e.
Chand Bar Ham Doostan`e Nazdikesh Baraye Gavahi Dadan Be Eshgh`e Khanoom
Ba Man Sohbat Kardand (Tel). Man Khar Shodam Va Dar Park ... Ba Khanoom
Gharar Gozashtam.Va Moshkel Akhar Man Shoro Shod. Az Chand Roz`e Pish Alave
Bar Khanoom , Dostan`e Samimiy`e Khanoom Ham Be Asheghan`e Ma Ezafe Shodan.
To Ro Be Khoda Rahi Be Man Neshon Bedid Ta Az Sharre oona Khalas Besham.
Pesar joon, ghorboonet beram, shomaa keh moshkel nadari -- koshgeli!
man nemeedonam chera, vali khanom haaye javan ham az mard beetafaavot, khosheshan
meeayad. nassihate man be shomaa ineh keh khodaa raa shokr konid taa nobate
ashegh shodan shomaa ham bereseh.
dar zemn har cheh zoodtar be aan dokhtar khanom rok va beeshookhi begooid
keh ehssasi doosti baraye oo darid vali na eshghi. be oo befahmanid keh
in bekhater oo neest balkeh shomaa osoolan injoor hasteed. har cheh mehrabantar
baa oo bashid behtar. vali oo raa beeshtar az in vasvasseh nakonid.
be omid inkeh roozi eshgh raa becheshid,
October 30, 2001
* Should I look for my father?
My name is Corrina Ghods-Mofidi and I was fathered by an Iranian father
whom I have never met, and who has hid and neglected to be a father to me
wishing to disown the "love child" he made with my mother, who
never bothered me much.
My mother married an Egyptian man when I was two years old. Monir
my dad (not my biological father), however, has always been great to me,
and I love him as much as if he were my own biological father with my three
I am getting ready to finish my undergraduate work, turning twenty-one
and wishing to start my masters degree etc. I sometimes wonder what my father
is like. My mother always says I look and act exactly like the void who
my mother loved and lost some 21 some odd years ago.
Should I go out of my way to find the Iranian who is my father? Should
I be happy for what I am blessed with and forget about the man who created
me? He did run from my mother every time she would try and find him.
I do know a couple of Iranian cases like yours. It is a real shame that
your father has to miss out on having such a daughter as you. It must be
really hard to grow up wondering what your father is like, who he is?
I, as a mother, can never understand child abandonment and consider it
criminal. I really do not know what to say. Deciding to find him or not
is a very personal decision. If he runs away each time your mother tries
to reach him maybe he will do the same with you. Although if you let him
know that you want no money from him you may find that he runs less. Also,
he is probably older now than when your mother contacted him last so maybe
he will be more open to you.
Whatever you do prepare for the worst so you do not get disappointed.
If I were you I would want to find him just so that it would not nag me
forever. You may find out that you were lucky not to have grown up with
him around. Or he may open up and have a dialogue with you which may be
Just remember that whoever you are and whatever name you bear, you are
you. A citizen of this world. Probably young and full of promise. Keep your
confidence and remember parentage, name and nationality are at some level
just for filling forms. What really counts is mental clarity and inner confidence.
What is more important in the formation of character is what you make of
yourself regardless, and sometimes despite your parentage.
Having said this though I understand how you would have a need to know
this father of yours. Remember that if you hate him you will not get to
know him even if you do find him. So give him the benefit of the doubt if
you do find him. Maybe he will learn from you and you from him.
To your contentment with whatever decision you make,
October 29, 2001
* Soosools and hezbollahis
omidvaram haletan khoob bashad. man ham khoob hastam.
be nazare man shoma hagh nadaryd ke be khoone shahydan tohin konid.
man ro az in hezbollahiha farz nakonid. man kheyly karha mikonam ke hatta
oon bachche soosoolhayi ke shoma bahashoon saro kar daryn be zehneshoon
pedare man dorane sarbazyash dar jang separy shod. kasi oona ro be
zoor nabord. shoma be tanhayi hagh nadaryd be anha tohin konid. aghideye
shoma faslolkhetab nist. momkene aghideye oonhayi ke be zoor bordan dorost
bashe. momken ham hast ke aghideye shoma dorost bashe. kasy ettela nadare.
nazare nahayi ra khoda midahad. man ham mesle shoma az in hokoomat narazy
hastam va mikhaham az an joda shavam va an ra az beyn bebaram vali na ba
rastesh man az in bachche mamaniha ke baraye shoma name midan fogholade
motennafer hastam. oonha maenaye eshgh ro nemifahman. oonha sher mikhoonan
baraye poz. eshgh mibazan baraye poz. oonha fased hastan. tamameshoon albatte
na! vali agar az kheyly az oonha pool ro begiry dyge eshghi barashoon vojood
kobra khanoome azyz! shoma rahnamaye lezzate ye goroohe lezzat talab
shodyd. shoma mehmandare jahhannam hastyd. agar vaghean mikhahyd ke nazaretan
ra be dyde omoom begozaryd ta dygaran nazar bedahand.
nameye mara hamanja too hamoon varaghy ke soosoolha name midan chap
konid. albatte maloom ast ke roobah domash hamishe shahedash hast. man be
nazaryate shoma ehteram migozaram va shoma ra jaye madar ya khahare bozorge
Siavash khan aziz,
man az bahs khosham meeyad chon ensaan saaz ast. tanafor ha ra roo meekonad
va komak meekonad keh anha tabdil shavand be tafavot fekri na tanafor. man
darde shomaa raa meefahmam. amma in bacheh soosool haa keh shomaa beheshoon
tanafor dareed beeaazaar hastand. man ham ba inkeh as taasoobaat mazhabee
faraaree hastam az ahameeyate ziyad beh madiyat ham khosham nemeeayad. va
hamantor az doroogh va mobalegheh ham badam dar meeayad.
man momken ast keh nassihat konam keh lezat bad neest vali hamisheh saay
meekonam keh zed doroogh va tazahor sohbat konam. man baraye kessani keh
baraye hefz mamlekat jang kardehand khaili ehteram ghael hastam vali as
anaan keh bachehaa raa be jang meeferestand -- be onvane yek madar -- monzjer
hastam. vali baa anhaa ham jangi nadaram.
man faghat az anha va shomaa meeporsam keh aya be azadeye andisheh aghideh
dareed? aya yek ensaan be ghole shomaa fased bayad zendani shavad ya sangsar?
aya in dorost ast keh soosoolha raa shalagh mizananad? aya inhameh tanafor
baraye yek mamlekat ghabele hazm ast? cheghadr tool meekeshad taa az tanafor
tikeh tikeh shavad?
har kessi ravesh zendegiye khodash raa bayad hagh dashteh bashad entekhab
konad. va az kessi na tarssad. man ham injaa bayad hagh in raa daashteh
baasham keh ba shomaa mashverat ya bahs konam. in ast maaneeye jaameye madani.
man heechvaght nesbat beh shomaa ya hezbollahiha tanafor nadaram. shomaa
raa pesar va baradar khodam meedanam. maa hameh az yek khak o havaeem shomaa
mazhabi hasteed man neestam vali in tafavot beyn maa na man ra ghool bee
dom meekonad na shomaa raa. anhaee keh az ma azady khahan ghool meesazand
az azadi tars va vahemeh darand.
kari keh kassi dar takhtekhabash meekonad be kassi rabti nadarad. be
nazare man fessad moghehyee ast keh be deegari zarar beresanad. massalan
mashroob khordan bad neest vali agar dar hale masstee kassi raa bezaneed
an vaght ast keh bayad ghanoon dekhalat konad. sex beyn do zoje ballegh
gonah neest vali shohar daadane dokhtare 12 saleh keh khodash ghoveh-ye
tassmim geeree nadarad gonah ast.
baz ham omidvaram keh in bahs raa yek roozi dar azadi kamel dar vatan
azizam Iran dashteh basheem, irani keh dar aan ham baraye man jayee bashad
ham baraye shomaa.
az sameem ghalb baraye shomaa arezooye movafagheeyat daram,
October 26, 2001
* Barely have any time
Dear Kobra Khanom,
I am a 21-year-old young man, finishing up my undergraduate education.
Recently, I have noticed that many of my friends, and even my own family,
have been critical of me, because I do not take any time of my schedule
to experience "haal" and "eshgh", specifically spending
time with girls.
Let me just come out and say that I am a red-blooded heterosexual.
Anyway, they say to me that if I don't spend some time with the opposite
sex and enjoy life fuller, then I will slowly ostricize myself from the
social world around me.
As I mentioned earlier, I am finishing up my undergraduate education,
and I have atleast four more years of medical education ahead of me, starting
next fall. I am a very serious student and spend almost all of my time and
energy on my studies, and as a result, I barely have any time left for the
"pleasures" of life.
I want to ask you, one who is an objective and keen observer of all
such matters, whether this apparent "obliviousness" on my part,
which everyone has been commenting on, will really hurt me in the long run.
I am not asking for anyone's pity, nor am I trying to gather attention onto
myself. Your kind attention is greatly appreciated.
Dear bee haal,
Haal which could be interpreted as joi de vivre or joy for life is a
loaded term. What gives you haal or joy may be your studies and the prospect
of being to help others get over diseases in the near future. So tell your
critics that infact you are baa haal -- only not their type of haal.
Now I do think that you should always take seriously criticism that comes
from people who love you and know you because as we say in Farsi people
do not say many things if there is not a little to be said -- aagar nabashad
cheezi mardom nagooyand cheezhaa. So maybe there is a little truth in their
Maybe you should try to loosen up and see if you can enjoy their type
of haal. As a doctor you need to empathize with your patients and the best
way to do that is to experience as many different kinds of pleasure,as long
as it is not harmful to anyone, as possible. The more you know about the
intricacies of life the better a doctor you will eventually be.
So force yourself to have light hearted fun sometimes in the long run
it will pay off and you may even like it. So do not label yourself and be
open to the possibilities that life puts in your way.
be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,
October 25, 2001
* Too fast
esme man n ast. 15 mahe pish ezdevaj kardam ba mardi 23 sale. az hame
nazar khob ast vali yek moshkele bozorg daram. vagti ke mikhahim sex dashte
bashim oon sari bedone hich moghaddeme shoro mikonad ,zood dakhel va tolombe
mizanad va hodode yek dagige tamam mikonad vali baraye man besyar bad ast
chon ta mikhaham ehsase sex bekonam oo joda mishavad.
man tajrobe sex ghablan dashtam va an nafar hodode nim saat tamas
dashtin bad sex ra shoro mikard va baraye man kheli lezzat bakhsh bood.
har che be shoharam migoyam ghbl az in kar kami belaasim migoyad intor behtar
ast. oo khodash kheili keif mikonad vali man na.
chetor mitavanam oo ra razi konam? man bayad chekar konam?
az rahnemaee shoma merci.
shomaa dobareh saaye konid keh oo raa raazi konid keh onjoor keh shomaa
meekhjahid baa shomaa eshgh baazi konad. be oo begooid keh fargh beyn maa
ensanhaa va heyvanat in ast keh maa meetavaaneem raabeteye jensiye do jaanebeh
daashteh baasheem. agar een massalehye zood tamaam kardan edaameh peydaa
kard meetavaanad az doktor komak begeerad.
be har haal oo baayad befamhamd keh shomaa raa ham baayad raazi konad
-- cheh ghabl, cheh ba'ad az khodash. agar ghabool nakard shomaa be oo ejaazeye
ham khaabi nadahid. ba'd az chandi teshnegi raazi khaahad shod keh be ehtiaaj
shomaa ham beresad.
agar be heech vaj haazer nashod, taa haameleh nashodid az oo jodaa shavid.
mardi keh nakhaahad be zanash lezat bedahad do zaar nemeearzad. pass be
oo begooid yaa shomaa raa raazi konad yaa khodaahaafez!
be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,
October 24, 2001
* Waiting for hunter
Dear Kobra Khanom jan,
I confess, I occasionally play along with "games", but what
self-respecting and enlightened woman wouldn't? Is it our fault that men
are evolutionarily pre-disposed to like the hunt? I deplore the uncertainty
and powerlessness involved in waiting for the guy to make the first serious
move, but it seems like even the best of them wouldn't have it any other
I know that everyone, including women, find the unobtainable to be
attractive, and yet it seems that men are particularly plagued with this
problem. My father once told me that if a man is not chasing after a woman,
he probably won't treat her well in the relationship.
I am a great catch so why give myself away and let myself be taken
for granted? I'm looking for a guy who really cares about me and is not
afraid to express his feelings. Unfortunately, it seems that waiting for
the guy to do the initial ground work (while giving him big hints) may be
an important step in finding a loving, giving, and respectful man, or at
least weeding out the guys who aren't serious about you.
What is your take on these matters?
Normally I empathize with most problems. But with all this crap about
anthrax and a big deadline looming over my head, I am afraid I do not know
what to tell you. This is the way I see it. Life is too short. Do what gives
you pleasure. Be sincere and honest, first, with yourself, then, with others.
And hope for a little luck.
Now, as to letting the guy to take the first steps or not -- it depends
on what you consider the first step. In a way just by asking me and pondering
the matter, you, yourself have taken the first step.
But as to the nuances of flirtation and coquetry (the French have a better
language for all this kind of talk). I think that if you are confident you
will not be too eager. This will, in turn, make you be more subtle which
is the first ingredient to good and efficacious flirtation. So try wanting
If you want the guy or the idea of him less then you will exude cool
and a certain detachment that I think is the best way to attract any mate.
Regardless of gender. I think women too, at least initially, are more attracted
to he who does not need them than he who does.
Be omide khoshbakhtiye shomaa,
October 23, 2001
* Don't know how to do it
man 23 sale hastam, darsam dar daneshgah dar hale tamom shodan ast.
man dar omram tagriban ba hich dokhtari rabete hata sohbate mamoli nadashtam.
albate ehsase niaz mikardam. ta inke parsal khanevadeam dokhtari ra baraye
namzadi pishnehad kardand va bad az masaeli dar aban mah aghd kardim.
dar barkhordhaye aval aslan harf zadan baram moshkel bod. ta chand
mah ke ba rafto amad ashnatar shodim. didare ma bishtar dar khane anhast,
gahi baraye kharid ya ghadam zadan biron miravim. ma beham besyar alaghemandim.
hodode 2 mahe ghabl ke samimitar shodim ta hala tanha rabete ma belehaze
jensi dast dadan va chand bar bosidan ast. na inke nakhastam vali aslan
room nashod va hamchenin nemidonestam chetor rabete ra bishtar konam.
ba tozihate bala motevajje shodid ke man ba kheili az hamsenhaye khodam
fargh daram. oonha in masael barayeshon khili addi ast. man hata roye sohbat
dar in mored ra ba doostan va ya familha nadaram. chizi ke fekre mara sakht
mashghol karde inast ke bayad yek mahe dighar arosi konam. lahazate bad
az arosi baraye man ajib ast.
midanam ke bayad masaeli anjam shavad vali vaghean nemidonam bayad
az koja shoro konam chon shenidam an lahazat bekhosos baraye zan besyar
mohem ast. room nemishe az kasi tozih bekhaham. in mara kheili ranj mide.
albate bazi az aksha ro dar internet didam vali shenidam inkarha ra nemishavad
ba yek zane mamoli anjam dad.
az shoma 2 komak mikhaham: 1- aghar momken bashe tozihati baram befrestid.
2- aya matlabe farsi ya filme amozeshi dar in zamine mitonid baraye man
email konid? ya har komaki ke betonid bekonid mamnoon khaham bood chon fekre
avalin rabete nazdiki mara az inke kare nadorosti bekonam baese narahati
khod va hamsare besyar azizam shavad mara ranj midahad.
Agha ye N. aziz,
Shomaa bedaneed keh agar ba mehrabooni va sameemeeyat ba aroose khod
raftar konid hameh cheez dorost meesheh. Az oo natarseed va oo ra mesl yek
doost bebineed. As oo beporsid be shomaa komak konad taa badane hamdigar
Khejalat nakeshid. Najib boodan nangi neest. Vali agar bekhahid darbareye
ravabete jensi bishtar bedaneed az doctor ya pedar ya bozorg tari soal konid.
khejalat nakesheed, anha ham dar gozashteh mesl shomaa boodan. shomaa ham
shance in ra dashteed keh al hamdollelah ba eshghetan namzad konid. Man
esm ketabi ya filmi be farsi nemeedanam keh beh shomaa bedaham vali ketab
Kama Sutra mesl yek farhange sex az Hendustan ast keh momken ast be shomaa
In ra bedaneed keh behtareen rah razi kardane yek zan in ast keh be khasteye
badane oo goosh konid va ba oo sohbat konid.
Be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,
October 22, 2001
* Iranian arrogance
Dear Kobra Khanom,
I read your letters on Iranian.com and usually agree with what you
have to say, with a few exceptions. I think I have heard it all now! I can
not believe the arrogance of some Iranians and now I have to include YOU!
Your reply to Hurting that insinuated that
Iranians are better parents and better children is almost laughable if you
were not being so serious! It's almost as funny as your reply to a woman
that Iranian men are more romantic that their American counterparts! (PLEASE!
I've been married to an Iranian man for almost twenty years . He doesn't
even begin to know what the word means.)
I don't know why Iranians such as yourself think that we have a certain
age that we have to leave the house. Most of us leave at the time to go
away to university and after obtaining a job upon graduation we may be located
hundreds of miles away from our parents. Also we are reared to be INDEPENDENT,
not reliant on anyone, especially our parents when we are ADULTS!
AS for American parents , sorry to say that I am an American mother,
and I love my children JUST as much as Iranian mothers, but I do rear them
with the same hope that my parents did, and that is to be a RESPONSIBLE,
CARING, INDIVIDUAL, who contributes something good to the world!
SHAME on you and you arrogance Kobra Khanom!
I normally do not answer criticism, it takes too much of my time and
since I do this as a free service, I only try to answer those who need or
want my humble opinion . But coming to some sort of understanding between
you and myself, like that of our two nations, is now more important than
ever. So I am going to respond to you as if it is my duty as an Iranian
to engage with you in a dialogue. If we can argue in a civil way, so maybe
can our nations. You, having been married to an Iranian for some twenty
plus years, seemed so very angry that I felt I should try to hold up a mirror
that you may see better your own anger. In that way my answer to you hopes
to be pastoral rather than argumentative.
So I will begin by apologizing for having offended you. I did not mean
to pass judgment but merely to point out a cultural difference. I, also,
was hoping to quell some of the reader's anger. You may want to look at
your interpretation of my comments and my mother culture and see that maybe
your own particular experience with your husband (and not some innate Iranian
national flaw) may have something to do with it.
In fact what I said about Iranian parents/children could be said about
Italians as well. If you do not agree, I understand, but to call us all
arrogant is especially revealing of your own problems with your husband
and his background. I suggest that you take a closer look at that before
you get all angry with me and all Iranians. As I remember I advised the
American woman in question to stick to her decision which I believed was
right. So your claim really sounds more like anger at something other than
my perceived arrogance.
I hopes you resolve your anger towards us, and more importantly, your
allegedly unromantic husband. It is very difficult to hope for a dialogue
of civilizations when we can not even have it in the marital bedroom! So
here is what I suggest. Take a deep breath and ask yourself why are you
so angry with Iranians in general? And your husband in particular? Then
send your husband an email like the one you sent me telling him what you
think is wrong with his behavior. Then maybe you can engage him in a dialogue
that may be constructive just like you have done with me.
Do please take my response to you as a sign of friendship even if it
does sound argumentative. And remember that sometimes conviction comes out
sounding like arrogance. Ask yourself what the intentions are behind people's
words. If we do not talk of our differences we can never hope to reach an
understanding. And that is today more important than anything. I, like your
husband, have spent my life trying to understand you, your country, and
your wonderful language. It would be unfair of you to accuse us of a lack
of understanding and tolerance. I can only hope that you or will do have
done the same,
October 19, 2001
* Argument: Traveling to Iran?
Dear Kobra Khanom,
I wonder if you have some advice for me. I am an American woman, mostly
happily, until recently, married to an Iranian for several years. My husband
is kind, affectionate and supportive. However, there are times where I feel
like I do not know him at all.
My husband has wanted our family (my husband, myself and 2 1/2-year-old
son) to go to Iran to visit his family. This is quite understandable, as
I know he misses them. Things are complicated by the fact that his father
has cancer, although he is still quite healthy right now.
Let me make it clear that his parents were here with us for seven
months last year. So, in the wake of all the terrorisism and threats of
more terrorism, I told my husband no, I don't think it's a good time for
us to be traveling especially with our little son.
To further complicate things, my husband has more time off and wants
to take our son to Iran two weeks ahead of me. I didn't feel comfortable
with this from the beginning but my husband kept on badgering me, so I finally
got tired and said okay. Then the terrorism started so I said I don't feel
comfortable about any of us making a trip at all right now, and also said
I don't think it's fair to make a mother worry about her son so far away
at a time like this.
My usually sweet husband exploded with fury and told me that I am
selfish. He refused to speak with me until the following day and only grudgingly
after I had spoken to him. This hurt me deeply. To make matters worse, he
went behind my back to my mother to try to get her to convince me to go.
She simply responded that she couldn't get in the middle of things but of
course she told me about the conversation.
Now, not only do I feel bullied but I also feel manipulated. This
idea of going behind my back to get others to try to change my mind is unacceptable
to me. It is very confusing how somebody who is otherwise such a good person
could behave so badly. How could seeing his family be more important than
the safety of his wife and son? Why should we spend thousands of dollars
for a trip and not truly enjoy it because of fear?
This whole thing has seriously compromised my trust for him. Honestly,
how could anyone think it's acceptable to pressure someone to travel in
these dangerous times if they don't feel comfortable. I realize he is worried
about his dad. But his dad's health is fine right now. However, I also don't
think we should put our own safety or our son's safety at risk to please
somebody else, especially when we have already given thousands of dollars
in financial support and paid for their most recent trip here.
This whole thing is enough to make me re-evaulate my whole marriage.
I'd rather be alone than with somebody who I can't trust. Any advice? Thank
you so much.
I understand your apprehensions about travling right now. Though Iran
is probably a safer place to be right now than Capital Hill. You should
stick to you decision not to go and not to let your two year old son go
either. He is too young to travel without his mom especially if you do not
wish it. But do let your husband go if he really is worried about his father
and needs to go home.
Remember part of your problem is the cultural difference between your
two cultures. We Iranians are brought up to believe that it is our duty
to serve our parents no matter how difficult that may be. They in turn do
more for us than your average Western parents. They too feel obligated to
take care of us if we cannot get up on our own feet. There is no age at
which you have to leave the parental home in Iran. In return for this love
and kindness we in turn feel more obligated to our parents than the American's
As to your husband's precieved manipulativeness and bullying ways you
must realize that he too is going through difficult times only he shows
it in a bad way. I do not think you should think him dishonest. He may just
not know how to handle being an American and an Iranian and a dad and a
husband and a son after 9/11 tragedy. It is a hard time for all.
So stick to your decision. Tell him that your son is too young not to
travel with you,but empathize with his need to go home and allow him to
do so. But do not budge from your position. Smile, be kind and understanding
but firm. Do not even bring up your mom because this will make him distrust
her as well. Just be kind and stand firm.
In the hopes of easier passages between our cultures and countries,
October 18, 2001
* Study & marriage?
Dear Kobra khanom,
I have an international business college diploma (two year program)
which could be transferred as one year credit to good universities (I can
go to the second year of any business program in university).
In terms of my work I have worked in trading companies and international
business consulting firms. I can get jobs with 30 to 40k with my current
qualifications mainly in trade and international business field. In short,
what i want to know is:
1 ) Whether I should stick to my study and work on my education or
get into the work force and eventually do an MBA base on experience and
2) Will marriage be a big obstacle for my success in education or
on the contrary will help me out of loneliness?
Your advice and feed back is appreciated.
Your answer really depends on whether or not you can afford to stay in
school or not. I would certainly not marry until I was better settled. It
will just add to your worries.
Anyway you should never marry just to avoid loneliness. Believe me life
can feel even more lonely with the wrong partner than with no partner at
all. If I had the money I would finish the B.A, then get a job and after
a few years go for the M.B.A. But do not stop your schooling if you have
not received your B.A.
The marriage should take place whenever you meet someone you want to
spend the rest of your life with and only then.
Be omide khoshbakhteeye shomaa,
October 17, 2001
* Need a mate?
If this Iran Lover is a male, single and looking
for a mate to help him accomplish his task in Iran please let me know. I
have had it in my hear to go back to Iran since I went to visit in 1994.
I am a female and know that I would serve my purpose better if I tagged
along with a male with the same heart and passion (unfortunately)!
Dear Iran Parast,
It is nice to see so many young Iranians who are both idealistic and
ready to act on their principles and help their mother country. I do not
know if Iran Lover is a man or woman. Something tells me that it is a woman.
I will post your letter so that maybe he/she will respond. Or maybe some
one else will. Khodaa raa cheh deedee.
I do believe that you can find ways to help by working with charities
or organizations here that help Iran. You should try to find out what NGOs
are in Iran and see if they need volunteers or interns.
Remember you do not need to tag behind a man to be able to help Iran
or to be comfortable in Iran. If you have relatives there you can stay with
them and that will be the best way to go back. There will be plenty of like
minded young men for you to meet when you get there!
Be omide khoshbakhteeye shomaa,
October 16, 2001
* Overcoming loneliness
Dearest Kobra Kanoom,
I was just sitting here thinking how, a strong minded, intellectual,
feminist, and humane individual such as you happened to meet the love of
her life? Did you have hard time just like the rest of us prior to meeting
your soul mate? Did the loneliness bother you as well? How was it for you
I can conquer anything, but when it comes to loneliness, it sure is
the hardest thing to cope with! Especially during this time of disaster,
it lurks in my heart more than ever. es, although I am very busy with my
wonderful job, good frinds and caring family; even though I have many hobbies
-- reading, writing, working out, playing music -- at the end I am so lonely!
How can I overcome it when I know having somebody is the most natural
and wonderful thing?
You have a too high an opinion of me that I really do not feel is deserved.
But to the answer your question, I have, ever since I left Iran, some twenty
years ago, often felt incredibly lonely. The loneliness that I feel now
is more a homesickness that has become such a part of who I am that with
out it I would be missing something. It has become an old friend whom I
cherish and no longer run away from. It is the source of any creativity
or depth of thought that I may, or may think, I have.
I think one way of dealing with difficult feelings and emotions is to
stop running away from them: stop, turn around, and face your problems.
The worse way to deal with loneliness is to try to avoid it or ignore it.
Strife, difficult times, longing, these are all good ingredients for a growing
soul. They are necessities of life. To be happy all the time is to be ignorant.
I myself know that if I was not lonely a good part of my life I would have
achieved even less than I have accomplished.
As to how I met my wonderful husband, sometimes I really feel like I
was just lucky. I was doing research on my PhD.dissertation (still not finished
by the way, largely because I was not as lonely as I should have been in
order to finish it!) in Paris and he was there on business and we met in
a kosher way at my cousins.
We both loved tennis and he was kind and handsome and a great lover.
I fell in love immediately as I often was prone to do in my youth. I think
I was always in love with one person or another through out my teens and
twenties. It was exhausting. This time the difference was that my husband
too was in love with me and ready for marriage. I was twenty nine and wanted
children more than anything (now, there are those moments where I wonder
why? Only for a quickly deleted moment) and so I got married after only
a couple of months of dating!
I do not think that marriage or finding a life partner makes you necessarily
less lonely. In fact marriage sometimes makes you feel more alone because
it never lives up to your expectations of mutuality and reciprocity. It
becomes apparent early on that a perfect melting of two souls is impossible.
That realization is a very lonely feeling. Having said that, it is nice
to have another body around even if it is dead asleep and snoring!
What brought me forever out of a sense of aloneness was not the marriage
but having children. It is such an incredibly heavy, emotionally laden,
experience that no amount of worldliness or bookish knowledge prepares you
for it. I remember from the first night my son was born I had this feeling,
scary at times, that my happiness, my very existence as a human being, depended
on that little guy sleeping in the transparent hospital cot.
I knew instinctively that, from that moment of my first encounter with
my first born, I would never ever feel the same loneliness as I did before.
I also knew that with the happy loss of that aloneness I had also lost my
freedom in the most essential way. No mother is really free because her
happiness depends so totally on the wellbeing and happiness of her offspring.
It is a freedom that I have gladly given up because it gives my life meaning
and my person an identity that makes all other identifiers and justifiers
I am sure of being a mother in a way that I could never be of being an
Iranian or an American or a wife or a teacher or Kobra Khanom. It has become
my most important point of departure in life, my essence really. From that
moment everything I do, everything I say, everything I am is in some way
because I am the Naneh of M and J. Nothing more nothing less.
I cannot tell you how empowering it is this feeling of motherhood. It
has given me more insight into life more humility and more sense of connectedness
than all my other experiences combined.
So here is what I think you should do to come out of your feelings of
loneliness until you too enshallah become a mother if you wish. Stop feeling
bad about it. Go out more and be a little more aggressive about meeting
people. Travel, my mother says if I had stayed in Boston and not traveled
to Paris I would never have found a husband! I think it helps to change
your surroundings in order to be exposed to more people.
Do not appear desperate or needy. I am sure if my husband had known from
the beginning how much I wanted him he would have ran away. If everything
fails and your biological clock is running too fast and you just cannot
find a man then maybe you should consider what I tell my nearing forty single
friends: if you have a means of supporting yourself and your child then
just go ahead and have a baby.
Now I know that I am going to get the iranian.com mollas on my back but
this is how I think about it. No one should miss out on motherhood simply
for lack of a husband! I think no husband in the household is better for
the growth of a child than a bad husband. I do not think a male presence
is so important to the overall wellbeing of the child. It is nice to have
a family with both parents present but not essential.
Hopefully you are still young and you will someday meet a good man. But
if you don't then you have my advice to consider. Remember loneliness is
productive and character building, do not fight it cherish it. A mate will
come to you if you do not appear like you need him too badly.
Be omide khoshbakhteeye shomaa,
October 15, 2001
* Should I tell them I'm gay?
I'm an Iranian boy. I've been living in The Netherlands for more than
two years and I'm studying here on my own. I'm completely alone and my family
are all in Iran. I was checking some gay Iranian web pages and I came to
your advice to people.
Yes, I'm gay. As I told you before I came here on my own and now I
have had a boyfriend for about three months and we are really happy with
I had the same feelings as many gay people in the world. I remember
that when I was younger like 6 or 7, I always liked to have make up on and
I always had fights with my sisters about my mother's cloths and I always
tried to wear my mother's scarves and things like that. I think I still
have some pictures while playing with dolls or wearing scarves.
By the way I'm now 22-years old. I'm planning to get a house and start
a serious life and I can call it a long-term relationship with my boyfriend
who is Dutch. Of course he also had some problems when explaining to his
family that he wants to spend the rest of his life with a gay foreigner.
In the beginning they didn't like it at all that he wants to be gay and
also to be with a foreigner like me. But anyway now they have seen me and
we don't have any problem regarding that.
The only problem is my family in Iran. I wanted to ask you if you
could advise me on how to tell my mother and father. Sometimes I think it
can be a disaster if I go to Iran and sit in front of my father and my mother
and tell them. "Hey mom I'm gay and I want to sleep with a boy for
the rest of my life." I'm wondering how they are going to react. I'm
very scared about it.
Dear S Khan Aziz,
I am very happy for you to have found a mate who you seem to be in love
with and want to settle down. In times like these, the stability and safety
that monogamy provides is the best option.
I am also happy that you have reconciled with the parents of your boyfriend.
The Dutch are an incredebily tolerant and open-minded people. I think as
a gay couple there, you can enjoy most benefits that hetero couples have,
and that is great. I wish more nations were like the Dutch.
I also think you are lucky to be living near so much maginificent art
and beauty. Ver Meer is a personal favourite. So, for a gay compatriot I
think you have landed in the right place and you can be thankful for that.
Now how to tell your parents? My answer to you is: don't. Because unless
they are incredibly enlightened and open-minded, which I really doubt, they
will not take it well. I think all this in-your-face attitude is incredibly
narcissistic and cruel. I mean if you were living with them and they were
pestering you all the time, I would understand. But they live far from you
and telling them will only make them unhappy and not really make you feel
I understand the whole argument for coming out as a sort of self-affirmation
but I think you are out where you are anyway, and having your folks in Iran
know will not really make you feel any better about being gay.
If you are under pressure from your boyfriend and friends in Holland,
just tell them to respect the cultural differences between their parents
and yours. A forced outing is not really a coming out. What, may I ask,
will you gain from it? If you are confident enough about who you are you
can pick and choose who you come out to and who you don't.
The fuss that you would create if you told them would make it very uncomfortable
for both them and you. I would not tell you this if you did not sound like
you have enough of a support system and you are happy with your situation.
So just enjoy your life where you are and do not force your parents to swallow
it whole. They probably suspect something already and will eventually find
out when you show no interest in all the girls they find for you. But confronting
them is not the way to deal with it. It would be selfish if you did it.
If some day they move to Holland or you move back to Iran then you can
rethink your position.
Be omide khoshbakhteeye shomaa,
October 12, 2001
* Lover's immigration problem
Dear Kobra Khanom,
I have been reading Iranian.com for a while now and your site as well.
I really enjoy reading your advice and the variety of questions readers
seem comfortable asking you. Your knowledge and help you share with these
people seems fair, sensible, open minded, and most importantly caring and
full of love.
Two years ago I met a man. Not until a few months later did I discover
that this was the most unique, special, and loving man that I have ever
met, and I am afraid will ever meet. I am an American and he is an Iranian,
he has lived here for 15 years. I love this man with every part of my being
and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I have learned so much about
myself through him -- he knows me better than I know myself. I want to build
a family and life with him. Never did I believe that there could be such
a strong, all encompassing love like this. I believed it to only be in fairytales.
Sorry I digress from my problem.
During the time he has been in America, he has not gotten his citizenship.
The paperwork is started but just never finished. So now with all the chaos
going on in this country, I am scared to death that if worse comes to worse
they will make him leave the country. He is also scared, which makes me
even more scared. I am a total wreck and don't know how to deal with this.
I don't think I can handle losing him, actually I know I cant--he is my
life, my love. I guess maybe you cant really help my problem, I just needed
to share it with someone.
Thank you for your time,
I do not see what your problem is? I mean you seem to genuinely love
this man and he loves you then why not get married and not worry about hims
ever getting deported? It seems to me that unless he objects then that is
the best solution. If worse comes to worse or not.
In the hopes of happiness for you both,
October 11, 2001
* Taghviate hormone
kobra khanoome aziz...
amir hastam. vaghti fahmidam ke shoma dar internet hastid va mitavaanam
soale khodam ra az shoma beporsam besiar khoshhal shodam.bebakhshid ke man
engilisi balad nistam.in ra ham begam ke shoma akharin omide man hastid
chon in masale ra ke be shoma migooyam be hich kas nagoftam va nakhaham
man dar sene 8 ya 9 salegi boodam.dar halike deraz keshide boodam
aan haalat be man dast dad. man ke khoda nemidanestam ke che etefaghee baraiam
oftade. fardaie aanrooz ham bedonbale aan boodam ke bebinam chegoone aan
halat be man dast dade. in kare zesht ra har rooz anjaam dadam.
ta inke dar sene16 salegi yek rooz yeki az doostanam ke be khaniee
ma amade bood va moaleme dini anha dar barie in masale sohbat karde bood,
hamaan chizha ra be man goft va taze an vaght bood ke man fahmidam ke che
karee badi ra anjaam midadam. hamaan rooz bood ke man tobeh kardam va shoroo
be namaz khaandan kardam.
aknoon 19 saale hastam va man az in masale negaraan shodam ke chera
hichgoone asari az boloogh va mardaanegi dar man be cheshm nemikhorad (mesle
bachehaie digar). vaghean az in mitarsam ke hormonhaiee jensi zaeef shode
bashad va dar salhaie aaiande niz dashtane bache ra tahte tasir gharaar
hala mikhastam az shoma beporsam ke chegoone baiad hormonhaie jensi
ra taghviat konam va mesle digaran shavam. albate in ra ham begooiam ke
nemitavaanam be motakhases morajea konam. tanha omide man be shomaast.
omidvaram hamishee movafagh bashid.
shomaa in raa bedaaneed keh baa khod baazi karadan heech aybi nadaarad.
elate bolooghe deere shomaa cheezeh deegari meetavaanad baashad. shomaa
baayad har joor keh shodeh baa yek doctor sohbat konid. man ham naameye
shomaa raa chaap meekonam taa shaayad doktori injaa javaab dahad. dar zemn
az doktori ham keh meeshenasam khaham porseed va mojadadan be shomaa khaaham
amaa shomaa baayad doktor bebeeneed. cheraa nemeetavaanid? in raa bedaaneed
keh sene boloogh beyn aadamhaaye mokhtalef khaili fargh meekonad va negaraan
nabaashid. vali hatman harjoor keh shodeh az nazde doctor beraveed.
be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,
October 10, 2001
* No big fish
Okay I don't like the people that write an essay to explain their
problem so I'm gonna go right down to the point.... I'm 18 only, been with
1 guy so far which I loved at the time. When we broke up my mates told me
"there are BIGGERE & BETTER fish out there so I was really good
through the whole thing knowing that as my mates said there must be something
better out there.
Now it's been a year I've kept my self busy, achieved a lot, but I
always felt bored deep down, even though I'm always so busy with work and
study. No matter what I'm doing my mind always wonders off and I think alot
of boring things.
So now I feel like "funny I never bump into this big fish"
dont feel like I'm gonna bump into any fish any time soon and that bores
me even more. Maybe I don't even need a relationship but I just hate being
bored and as far as I remember the only time I wasn't bored was when I was
in a reltionship. At least then I was amused... entertained? Both...
So anyway plz don't tell me there are plenty more fish out there.
Also don't get me wrong, I'm quite busy and I do socialize. So there you
go Kobra Khanom...
I hear you about there not being as many fish in the sea as you were
told. I would not take literally any one-line advice. I also hear how you
may be bored. I remember when I was young and at home I kept complaining
to my mother about being bored and she always told me to pick up a book
and read. I used to get annoyed at this mantra of hers but now I thank her
profusely because I eventually did listen and reading has often saved me.
You have to take a more active role when it comes to guys these days.
Waiting to bump into a fish is not going to do it. So maybe you should act
a little less bored because a person who looks and feels bored does not
really attract mates. Find something to do that is challenging. Some project
or charity work or other interesting and fulfilling endeavor. You will see
that people will be more interested in you when you look and exude less
The whole world is shaken and war is looming and you are bored? I am
glad that youth will be youth and complain in the midst of all this horror
of boredom! But remember to be honest with yourself do not confuse boredom
with loneliness. I think whatever our problem, we take a big step towards
solving it when we label it correctly.
Anyway if it is really boredom that is bothering you then you are lucky
because of all the problems I can think of it is the less harmful and most
immediately correctable. If you like to read do that or become a movie buff.
Take a theme like 19th century novel and read everything you can on the
subject. You will see that when your leisurely activities and hobbies are
given some structure you will be able to delve deeply into a phenomena or
subject -- that to me is the best way to fight boredom.
Remember the great philosopher Emmanuel Kant never left his little village
in Germany. All you need to avoid boredom is a good mind. Or you can pick
to watch all of a certain directors movies. In this way you become some
what expert in some areas and that will be both rewarding and time filling.
Soon as you grow you will start making connections between history and film
and literature and your own life and you will see so many patterns and connections
that life will never be boring because you have a full head with you to
amuse you at all times.
Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,
October 9, 2001
* Secret password
Dear Kobra khanoom,
My problem like many other people is about my relationship... I have
been invloved with a gentleman for almost 3 years now. Our relationship
is very serious and we do talk about the future a lot...
Now, from the beginning of our relationship, I didn't show this guy
a lot of trust...for the simple reason that I am very "shakak".
Now you will probably think that there is something wrong with me! Absolutely
not!!! I am beautiful, smart, attend university, and have a very good job.
What bothers me the most is that this guy does not give me his passwords
to the internet or his cell phone! I tell him that there is probably something
he is hiding. He says "No, I just need to learn to have faith in someone!!!"
If you were me, what would you think? If it means, we are going to
share our life together, then there shouldn't be any secrets, right? I know
he is not sleeping around or anything... but there must be something. RIGHT?
Please give me some advice.... maa chejoori baayad baa in mardaa raah biyaaym???
Khanoome Shakaak :-)
Dear Khamom Shakak,
It is funny how being shakak or suspicious seems to be an Iranian characteristic
that crosses gender lines. It is a tragic national flaw. Maybe living in
close quarters of a tribal and darbaari/royal or bazaari/mosque society
was more conducive to byzantine backstabbing and mutual surveillance and
mistrust that flourishes to this day in our poor country. So even when we
live in relative freedom, we carry with us that ingrained mistrust that
was perhaps a survival tool in that society, but which seems out of place
with our modern lives here.
You should never ask your partner for his password or cell phone message
code. Your intentions were wrong so his response is not even usable evidence.
I do not care what his refusal says about him. But I do care what your demand
says about you. You are insecure. You should forget about it and go about
as though you never asked and he never refused.
It is utterly unacceptable to be so petty. If I where him I would be
very insulted. You either trust the man or you don't. Looking for proof
of your mistrust makes you seem incedibly insecure and obsessive -- though
not at all out of the ordinary. You can have ten university degrees, be
as beautiful as Penelope Cruz, but if you let yourself go to the point that
you need to check your mate's messages and emails you are certainly not
Now here is what I recommend. I too was a jealous, suspious Iranian woman
in my youth. I would completely trust the guy until he does something wrong.
Do not even bring it up again. You will make him run away. Instead work
on your self-esteem. Because there is no way you can be a hundered percent
sure of anyone and keep an eye on them all the time. But you can believe
in yourself enough so that you do not worry about losing anyone.
You need to realize that you are precious and unique and if anyone should
be stupid enough to betray you it is their loss. Only with this kind of
confidence -- not to be mistaken with vanity or arrogance -- will you be
happy. So start with looking inward and trying to work on your hang-ups.
Stop worrying about losing him and start keeping a mental list of why you
think he or anyone else should not want to lose you. Start believing in
yourself. It may take a while but only with real inner confidence will you
be free of pettiness.
Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,
October 8, 2001
* Strict parents
Salam Kobra Khanome aziz
Many of my fellow Persians suffer from this problem and some have
already asked u questions about it. Yes it's about strict parents. They
won't let me have a boyfriend and having relationship with a guy seems like
the worst sin to them.
There is this guy at my school that I'm getting attention from lately
and I know soon he'll ask me out. I like him a lot but it's just impossible
for me with this old-fashioned family to be with him.
I'm really upset and don't want say no to him. After all this is the
U.S. not Iran and I'm 18. What should I do?
Dear Sara khamoon,
You are right. Your problem is not uncommon amongst Iranians in the West,
especially, and disproportionately the women. The parents come from another
culture usually to give their children a chance to live in a place with
more oppertuinties. But once here they cannot give up their old prejuidices
and oppressive religious precepts.
You should try to exlain that here, if you do not date, you are out of
the norm. If no amount of logical discourse works then here is what I would
do. I would go out with the boy and and tell my parents that at eighteen
I can pretty much do what I want to do. Of course, if you openly rebel you
should be ready for terrible reactions. But maybe it won't get to that.
Sit them down and explain that going out with a school mate, which is
all you want to do, is much less dangerous than if you ended up being dishonest
with them. Tell them that because you are honest you want to have their
blessing but that if they do not give it you, as an adult, you have every
right to disobey them.
Tell them while disobedience towards parents is wrong, it is not as bad
as dishonesty because lying to them will start you on a career of lying.
Tell them that if they look at all religious figures from Mohammad to Jesus,
they will find that honesty is their most common denominator. Tell them
that in all religions, honesty is revered but rebellion is not condemned.
So you are acting, in fact, in character with the great prophets in choosing
rebellion over dishonesty.
But remember when you are this candid about your disagreements with those
who support you morally and financially, you should be ready, to do without
their backing, before you venture to confront them. So take your time, read
some hadith or whatever examples from whatever religion your parents hold,
to show them that it is better to be honest than obedient.
Tell them that their choice is between having a disobedient or a dishonest
daughter, because you firmly believe that dating has nothing to do with
your spiritual or physical well being (remember if you choose to engage
in sex you should practice safe sex -- go to your local Planned Parenthood
for help and information about adult sexualtiy and safety.)
Tell them that you cannot change what you hold to be true. Therefore
you are being a good Muslim or whatever you may be, by choosing honesty
Remember that rebellion is a lonely place. Make sure you believe in what
you are standing up for before you risk losing your parents' support over
it. Also make sure you are working toward your eventual financial independence.
Because true spiritual and intellectual freedom only comes on the heals
of financial independence.
Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,va as the French say, bon courage,
October 5, 2001
* Playing games
Thanks for your wisdom. I need some advice. I am an Iranian guy living
in the US. I am 28. My relationships thus far have been with European and
American women. Recently I met an Iranian woman with whom I felt for the
first time a new sense of closeness which I cannot describe - even though
she does not live in the same city. I know that she has the same feelings
as me as we share some similarities in our background.
However, it has been anything but a normal friendship/relationship
and I am so confused. She has basically interogated me about my life, etc
- which I can understand, every woman wants to know who she is getting involved
with. I apparently passed that test! She has also made a strategic visit
to see me in my transitory living circumstances of graduate school.
She plays games with me. I have made the mistake of acting so naive
and pure about it all. All of this strategizing can take its toll - its
hard to feel close to anyone when you feel that they are sizing you up all
the time. I let out my feelings to her, but she has not - even though I
can sense that deep down, she feels the same. I don't know how to deal with
this. I am not used to the twisted, mind-bending techniques of this woman.
There was a period when we spoke regularly, then a long pause followed
of no conversations - recently it has picked up again. Obviously she is
unstable, but I have been hooked. I am in the process of moving forward
in my life and desire someone sincere. I am no longer in the age bracket
to play pity mindless games. What is the correct protocol to follow in this
Gorbaneh shoma, AMN
First of all let me tell you there is no age bracket for playing games
in a relationship. You are probably faced with a woman who has been told
that the only way to win a man's heart is to play these games. I hear you
about how difficult it must be. You seem to be speaking in two different
courtship languages. Now the best way to make her talk in your language
is to tell her. Tell her that you do not have time for games and you want
it a la American -- laid on the table. Maybe if she realizes that her behavior
is a real turn off for you she would switch to your language.
All this can be done in a flirtatious fun way. You do not need to confront
her but do tell her that you need more friendship=honesty and take it from
there. If she refuses and you think she is just manipulative for sport,
then you should try to distance yourself from this woman who will not be
good for you in the long run.
But I think it is just a matter of changing the language in which you
interact with each other to accomodate a more sincere relationship. Sometimes
women use this kind of game playing as a way of protecting themselves from
hurt and humiliation. Once you assure them of your good intentions and pure
heart they will be happy to stop. Although old habits die hard I think this
is the best way for you to deal with this situation.
If she refuses to change then she will be too much of a handfull for
you to handle and it will be best to move on.
Be omide movafagheyate shomaa,
October 4, 2001
* Nightclubs & prayers
Dear Kobra Khanoom,
I am a 24-year-old Iranian woman, who lives and studies in the UK.
I was brought up in the Middle East, under the strict, religious and traditional
beliefs of my parents. Consequently, I have a similar, but moderated mentality
However, at this point in my life I face a constant dilemma, shared
by many of my young, Iranian, female friends and acquaintances; it is a
conflict of cultures, traditions and beliefs. The dilemma is one of living
our lives the way the society at large intends us to versus the relentless
path that the generation before us has dictated, of premarital sex versus
abstinance, of being mindful of the gossip within the small Iranian society
(including family and friends) versus ignoring the continuous scandals.
Although I conduct my personal life according to the suffocating rules
that have been imposed on us (out of the great love and respect I have for
my father, a very Islamic man), I deal with criticisims from my fellow compatriots
(needless to say they are all men) on an occasional basis. The most recent
one involves the mere fact that I go to nightclubs, but conduct my daily
prayers at the same time. "Your behaviour is hypocritical", they
remark , shocked.
My reply to those people is as follows: Iranians, who have a double
standard, one for men, and the other for the doomed women are hypocrites.
Here, I would like to remark that this is a cultural bias against womankind
and not a religious one, for the Quran preaches equality between men and
women regarding their social conduct.Vali khob, dar darvazaro mishe bast
vali dar dahan mardomo nemishe bast.
Iranian men of our generation, claim to be liberated, but regrettably,
this is not the case amongst the majority of them. The point is where do
we draw the line. When do we stop being 'virtuous' Iranian women and start
conducting our lives deemed immodest by our fellow compatriots? It seems
strange that at this point in my life, I should have this internal conflict.
One should think that a person, who is educated and free-spirited should
have overcome these issues, and yet, the dilemma continues.
Would you give us some advice? And in using the pronoun 'we', I am
most certain that my sentiments are shared by many Iranian women all around
Here is what I feel about this. I think that a woman can go to nightclubs
often and still be virtuous. In fact going to nightclubs is to virtue, like
going fishing is to doing well in a Math exam -- simply irrelevant. Virtue
is in purity of heart and individual courage.
I do not think however, that your dilemma is unusual. It is a very natural
upshot of being young and from two very different cultures. Your respect
for your father is sweet. Too much in your face honesty never really works
and makes everyone uncomfortable. (It only works when you do not care too
much about the person whom you target.)
Now, if you do think that his morality is suffocating, as you mention,
you should not feel like you have to swallow it whole. You have your own
mind -- use your common sense and logic. Read some philosophers views on
ethics(get hold of a good professors syllabus for ethics 101 or a survey
or text book that includes different points of view and approaches make
sure you read the philosophers in their own words-I would start with the
Greeks.) Try to get a broad view and come up with your own morality, your
An ethical world view that does not reject your father outright, but
that helps you feel like you are breathing your own air. Because a morality
and world view that is suffocating is not supportable for long. It has very
little lasting power.
Let me tell you what came to my mind as I was reading your letter. It
reminded me of how when I was visiting the shrine of Imam Reza in my native
Mashad. I prayed with sincere tears rolling down my eyes for many things
and when I ran out of serious wishes, I asked for Imam Reza to let there
be nightclubs that flourish in Mashad again. Now I did this really more
in a symbolic way remembering starstudded evenings in Kooh Sangi when I
was very young dancing to music. No one then, when I was a teenager, would
have thought it strange to dance in a disco and do the namaz.
People have different ways to make sense of the world and bring order
to their lives and minds (there is a great poem in the Masnavi of Rumi in
which Moses comes to a Sheppard who is praying to God in a too familiar
a fashion -- you should definitely find it and read it.) Those who would
come between an individual and her way of worship are only one thing: witch
hunters. So if you want to stand by your own morality. Your own Islam.
You should be strong. Because it is not easy to improvise and a bit lonely
as well. But god knows we need people like you to bring the world together
by making cultures more compatible and less mutually exclusive. That is
more important than what anyone says about you. If you care too much about
what people say you will be forever living in their prison. Remember you
need to be strong and sure of yourself before you go confronting them. Remember
that it is a lonely place rebellion.
Remember that you can change inside and still reveal that change in the
gentlest of ways. Bluntness and confrontation only reveals insecurity inside.
If you know you are right you should act with tenderness and not arrogance.
Wishing for a world or should I say an Iran were you can, like I did, sitting
on the deck of Bebek Hoteli on the Bosphorous some years ago, sip on a martini
and listen to the azaan.
Also remember that going to clubs too often is not sinful but not necessarily
the best way to spend your time. Too much of it makes you tired and stupid.
October 3, 2001
* Going back to Iran
Salam, On my first trip to iran I couldn't help notice the beggars,
pollution, and poverty in some parts of Tehran. It really bothred me. After
returning home I coulnt' help to avoid the fire that was ignited in my soul.
I wanted to know everything about iran so I decided to read up on subjects
my parents avoided telling me about.
With a better understanding of Iran I returned after four years. I
went back not to just have fun and see my loving relatives but to know how
I could get involved more in depth with helping Iran in some way shape or
form. I couldn't believe my eyes when I drove around the north it was so
much much more developed and Westenized then the last timea dn nicer too.
But on this trip I saw a lot more beggars everywhere I went, poverty
in some more places, filthy air, and a higher amount of unemployment. I
started to ask people how I could get involved to help but I got nothing
more than answers like "Don't waste your time" and "Stay
I love Iran with all of my heart and I would rather live there than
here. As crazy as it may seem to some, I'm moving back soon. But I still
have no clue about where I should go what I should do and such to go about
my business... I may be asking the wrong person but do you think you could
help me figure out what to do?
Dear Iran lover,
Your letter brought tears to my eyes. I hope that all young Iranians
here cultivate your love and interest for our mother country. I congratulate
your parents for instilling the sensibility in you that has made you want
to connect to your ancestral home. It is always sad to hear about conditions
I also believe that it is very noble of you to want to go back home and
help. I believe that there is much to do in our country which, as you have
seen yourself, seems to be taking two steps forward three steps backwards
till your heart is sick.
As to what to do to help, I think you should volunteer with some aid
agency like the U.N. and take it from there. I think just going there and
becoming a thinking part of the work force is itself a worthy cause. But
be careful. Poverty and repression in a society often make a good part of
the people opportunistic and dishonest. Also if you are a woman you will
hit a glass ceiling much earlier than you would here. You will have to quickly
learn how to cope with all these realities once your are there.
Only if you are not wide-eyed and overly optimistic about how much you
can contribute will you last enough to make a difference. One of the privileges
of youth is hope. Thank you for reminding me that it still actually exists
amongst our youth. Bon courage to you and remember that the hope for a secular
future for Iran lies with young people like you.
Be omide movafaghiyate shomaa,