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 December 1999 index Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    This months's index:

* Fiction:
- Celebrate creativity

- Chossi aamadan
*
Christmas:
- In Tehran
*
Iranians:
- Our problem

* Thanksgiving:
- Due credit
- Untidy semi-detached house

- Kiss ass
- Thanking Allah for this blessed land
- Top ten
* Discrimination:
- Voter anger
*
Intolerance:
- Stop telling us what we should be

* Politics:
- Lengesh kon!

* Discrimination:
- Course of action

* Memories:
- Just very beautiful
- Unsympathetic

* Khomeini:
- What cause?!
*
Boeing:
- El Al connection

* Hejab:
- Rahebe ye Parandeh

* Census:
- Iranians in the U.S.: political power

* In America:
- Fuggedaboudit
*
Identity:
- Long live Iran
* Nostalgia:
- Dastmal-e Hareer

- Good old days
- Finally separated
- Hezb-e baad

- Murder mystery
*
Culture
- Not the center of the world
*
Zoroastrian:
- Sacred marriage
*
The Iranian:
- Whoever your are

- Persoanl agenda
*
Iran:
- Charming Tajrish
*
Kish:
- Contradictions
*
Names:
- Arabic names

- Removed from reality
- Glen Allen?
*
Soceity:
- What matters is freedom, not history

* Relationships:
- Personal problems
*
Dubai:
- So happy
*
Inspiration:
- Uplifting
*
Discrimination:
- Course of action

* Iranians:
- Hope in future
*
Airport:
- Discrimination not limited


Wednesday
December 29, 1999

* Celebrate creativity

I really enjoy the diversity of features in iranian.com. Ms Afsari's bit on dating was fun to read ["The sixth man"]. Same with Mr. Samiei's moon landing memories ["A moon of our own"]. So it was a bit disapporinting to read letters bashing these creative endavors ["Chossi aamadan", "Unsympathtic"].

Perhaps an unintended function of this web-site is to be an open-laboratory where creative and literary Iranians can post their work, regardless of its "appropriateness" -- whether it is a piece which would ultimately find its "English-media home" in Cosmopolitan or The New York Times.

Let us celebrate Iranian creativity in all its incarnations at home and abroad and offer our opposing thoughts as constructive criticism and fuel for lighting our own creative fires!

Ramin Abhari

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* Dastmal-e Hareer

Referring to the Nostalgia photo on December 27, if this is the same Haleh, who did the commercial for Dastmaal-e Hareer tissues ("Khanooma, Aaaqaayoon, Dastmaal e man Hareere..."), she lives in California.

She used to be a sidekick in Fereydoun Farrokhzad's TV show in California. Then she had her own TV show. At the moment Haleh and her husband run a 24-hour satellite TV company called Pars.

Simin Habibian

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Tuesday
December 28, 1999

NONE.

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Monday
December 27, 1999

* Christmas in Tehran

From a friend in Iran

Just wanted to wish you a wonderful holiday season! I can honestly say that I wish I were in the U.S. to celebrate the holidays with you. The sheer absence of Christmas in Iran, is enough to make me desperately homesick. Though today, I took to the streets and visited an Armenian neighborhood, where I lit some candles in an Orthodox church, listened to a beautiful choir and later bought some Christmas lights and decorations -- just like the ones we had when I was young and lived in Iran :-).

Later today, I will buy a Christmas tree and tonight, I will think of each and everyone of you, as I decorate it. Besides missing my family and friends and feeling occasionally homesick, I am having a nice time in Iran. As many of you know, I am enjoying my work here quite a bit. Again, I have been extremely lucky. I have met some of the most remarkable people here and am enjoying some beautiful and meaningful friendships with them.

This indeed is a gift, for which I feel eternally grateful. In some ways, everyday here has been a Christmas of sorts. A time of reflection, a time of discovery, a time of understanding all that I have left behind and discovering the endless possibilities that await. It has been bittersweet. I know now, more than ever before, that I am two people, with two homes, two families, two sets of friends, two realities. Two halves of one heart, torn eternally apart.

But still, there is a peace in knowing this, that cannot be explained with words alone, for which I have no words.

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* Our problem

As I was surfing the Net somehow I lost my way into you site. I am not even sure if what I am writing will be seen by anyone, but here it goes: The problem with Iranians is partly due to our upbringing in Iran.

Between 1978 and 1988, the country went through a revolution and war and the impact of Khomeini was worse than a nuclear bomb. I have always had a problem with that.

Reza Saba

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Friday,
December 24, 1999

* Not the center of the world

I truly appreciate Ms. Shashaani's earnest attempt to demonstrate yet another "borrowed idea" taken from good old Persia and enacted in the West ["Borrowed ideas"]. But her idea of Christmas being a borrowed Persian concept is at best questionable.

May I suggest that Persians were not the only ancient civilization that worshipped the sun and celebrated the winter solstice. Most ancient civilizations did! As they worshiped the sun, there was common fear among people that the shorter days during the winter solstice meant that the sun was about to abandon them or punish them with bad harvest....

Ancient Persian civilization was rich in tradition and festivities, but may we all accept that we are not the center of the world and never were >>> FULL TEXT

Ramin Tabib

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* Sacred marriage

I was indeed interested in your summary of Zoroastrian divorce laws ["Zoroastrian divorce"]. I am a Zoroastrian and do believe that marriage is a sacred contract that should not be broken. The majority of times, Zoroastrians do not get divorces, very few. Well, it was great to read your article.

Nikan

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Thursday
December 23, 1999

* Voter anger

I truly appreciate the fact that The Iranian Times is providing a forum for the Iranian community around the world in general, and the United States in particular, to voice their opinion and protect their legitimate interests and rights.

A vivid example is allowing people to learn about and petition regarding the discriminatory practices of finger printing and photographing Iranians upon arrival in the U.S.

Well, let's go back to the origin of this practice. It was enacted in 1995 by the Clinton Administration (and I am non-partisan) when it declared Iran as a country supporting terrorism. In the past seven years the Clinton - Gore Administration has consistently and systematically demonstrated their staunch anti-Iranian stand. Their behavior towards Iranians is unprecedented compared to previous U.S. administrations. Mistreatment of Iranian nationals upon arrival is only the tip of the iceberg.

Well folks, there is an election coming up next year and all of us should remember the manner in which this administration has dealt with Iranian nationals. There are no indications that if Al Gore is elected he will make any changes regarding this racist policy. I believe that the Iranian community living in the U.S. should make it known and absolutely clear that they will not support any politician or administration adhering to this racist and discriminatory practice.

Masoud Neshat

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* Stop telling us what we should be

Your letter "Allah knows best" is the very example of narrow-minded people who live in the past. I and many young Iranian boys and girls who grew up during the revolution feel under pressure from people like you because you want us to be as you think we should be.

Fortunately we have found a very good way to deal with people like you and the fascist hezbollahis: WE IGNORE YOU. But I cannot guarantee what would happen if you loose power in Iran. The gap is wide and the hatred deep.

I left Iran 11 years ago. I used to think Islam meant fascism. But I met other Muslims in France and I realize that you can read and interpret the Koran as you want. If your are intolerant you will be like the Taliban.

The main problem is that you always refer to Islam's golden age that ended centuries ago! Be what you are but stop telling us what we should be!

Amin Naraghi

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Wednesday
December 22, 1999

* Whoever your are

The other night my son who has never been to Iran came home and told me that he had met another Persian guy at work. He was very excited. Then he said to me, "You know dad, I don't know what it is, I have never been to Iran, but whenever I meet another Iranian I feel something special, something different."

I still cry when I repeat that story. And everytime I log on to your site I weep uncontrollably. I don't know why. I don't know you, and I don't know what political philosophies you hold. All I know is that you are from the land that I miss so much. I hate what has been done to my generation and to my son's generation. I hope those responsible are brought to justice one day.

In the meantime, I love what you have done and I am so proud of you, whoever you are. Thank you for keeping my childhood memories alive.

Siamak Masoudi

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* Good old days

Thanks for reminding me of the good old days. Where did you find this photo? I had never seen it myself! Name of the film is AATASH-O- KHAAKESTAR, directed by Khosrow Parvizi who lives in Los Angeles. He could give you lots of unique and first hand information about the film.

Vida Ghahremani

Note: Vida Ghahremani also has a web site where she offers jewelry and greeting cards. Thanks to Ramin Tabib.

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Tuesday
December 21, 1999

* Due credit

I often read the letters section of The Iranian with great interest and amusement. No letter has provoked such a reaction as "Semi-detached house". The author describes the Untied States as a "non-cultural" society which seems to have no culture in relation to Iran. This portrayal misses the point.

First, Iranian culture is not particularly unique. Many advanced, creative cultures developed contemporaneously or shortly after Iranian culture. The cultures of China, India and some parts of the Arab Peninsula would argue with the unique position of ancient Iranian culture.

Second, U.S. culture is strongly rooted in the Western and English tradition. The literary heritage of such poets as Shakespeare and Milton, still have a dramatic impact on American culture. On an independent basis, the U.S. has developed a rather complex layer of cultural makers. Literature by Poe, Irving, Anderson, Cather, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck and Tom Wolfe sell widely world wide and have been recognized with Nobel prizes.

The poetry of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost are great. Political philosophy as developed by Jefferson and Madison are accepted worldwide. The drive of invention from Edison to Bill Gates is internationally recognized. All of these accomplishments have common philosophic threads of personal responsibility and initiative, equality, mobility and honesty.

You may not agree with some of the results, but American culture has produced an economic powerhouse, superior technological position and an unrivaled military. Credit must be given when due.

Macco

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* Way to go

Loved the poem ["Sipping lattes in diaspora"]. Way to go Shafagh Moeel.

Calpac

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* Charming Tajrish

I used to live in Tajrish for so many years ["Maydoon-e Tajrish"]. I loved every piece and corner of it. I still do. It had a charm and beauty of its own in the evenings of summers. Could I be fortunate enough to see those streets and "koucheh haa" one more time? I don't know, but I'm hoping. And I say it with the sincierest feeling that we all can travel or stay there in confidence.

Kumar Sahadpour

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Monday
December 20, 1999

* Kish contradictions

I have just got back from Kish island in the Persian gulf. It had been many years since I last visited and I was keen to see the changes. I went there for a few days with 14 other colleagues from various nationalities. We stayed in the Shyan Hotel that was built in mid 70's. The decoration, carpets, curtains and everything else apart from few small items were all in the 70's style. But they have not been maintained. I was told that the hotel was closed for 10 years during the war. You could see that the building has many sad stories to tell.

The whole island looks like one big building site. There is a huge development by a private investor by the name of Sabet who is constructing a theme park. I was allowed to see it; he has good ideas. Like all Iran there are few foreign tourists that are prepared to wear the scarf and tolorate other difficulties and travel to Iran. Kish was no exception. But most Iranians go there to buy duty free goods. In the hotel most were carrying goods: TVs, computers, radios, cosmetics, etc. In a beautiful island with a crystal clear sea and corol reef; there's hardly anyone on the beach. It almost look deserted; no swimmers in site, not even with the Islamic dress! >>> FULL TEXT

Reza Mousoli

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* Arabic names

I don't have any problem with "pure" Iranian names and I mostly agree with your article ["No plain Jane"].

BUT what about those Arabic names that got into our history and culture forcefully? Why do we have ABDOLHAMID or AHMAD? Even your last name is MOHAMMADZADEH. Does it not sound strange? Do you find it acceptable? Why is anything that sounds Western so strange to you?

I named my son Cameron but I was criticized by my friends and even relatives. They said why not Kamran!? I think it's just prejudice. Remember: Persian is Indo-European and NOT Semitic like Arabic!

Adanzan

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Friday,
December 17, 1999

* What matters is freedom, not history

In reference to Mr. Hashemi's letter, "Untidy semi-detached house", there's no doubt that Iran's history is far more affluent than the United States', but the sexual liberation movement encompasses most of the world, not just the U.S.

Besides, comparing the two countries' history does not elevate one's present conditions as being better or worst. Le'ts not forget why we all moved to the U.S., Europe and other countries. It certainly wasn't for their rich history, but their freedom. And let's not undermine the desperate urge of our fellow Iranians to get out of Iran NOW and in the past two decades.

Rich history or not, freedom comes first. Iranians in Iran want freedom like everyone else in the world. Some of them want to look at women some want better education or some want both. Nobody can choose for them, it's their personal preference. We have all chosen freedom over our past.

Personal freedom is a choice: it's matter of opinion. Except a few religious countries, all others allow personal freedom to some extent, definitely more so than in the Islamic countries like Iran! More countries are becoming less conservative due to the fact that they see personal freedom advancing into a new level, a new evolution. It's not about putting up a sex show, it's about change. With freedom we can think further and build better economies and technologies.

That's not to say rape or criminal activities should be allowed. That's not freedom -- that's busing the system. Unfortunately, with all respect to its rich history, Iran does not have a low number of sexual or other kinds of crimes either.

Past history can not relieve one's poor economy, but freedom can, one way or another.

Saghi Zarinkalk

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* Personal problems

This is in response to Ms. Zarinkalk's article ["Khodeti"] and others by Laleh Khalili ["Not their fault"]. Okay, what you are trying to say is that Iranian culture is dominated by wife-beating males who want nothing but submission from their wives.

But to Ms. Zarinkalk and others I have to say that your problems are personal, and you have to solve them with yourselves. I just want to say "Khodaa pedar-e in aamrikaa ro biyaamorzeh keh shomaahaa ro beh aazaadi va tamaddon resoond!

Khodadad Rezakhani

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Thursday
December 16, 1999

* So happy

Last night I went to see a film called "Mard-e Avazee" (Mistaken Man) at the Iranian Club in Dubai. The club is the largest in Dubai with a huge restaurant, sports facilities, a 10,000-seate fooball pitch and a cinema for about 500 people.

The land was donated by Sheikh Rashed to the late Shah and it is a property of Iran. In recent years it has been redecorated and it is a lovely place for Iranian family outings.

Coming back to the film, it was a good comedy and a definite sign of change in the mainland. For start, wearing ties and cravat are now quite fashionable in the movies, even actresses wear ordinary dressed with small roosarees!

The film was imaginitive and had a particular local flavor to it, certainly a family entertainment. Men with beards, women with chadors, manteaus and ordinary dresses, children with their grandmothers ... in short, a cross section of the Iranian society was there to see the film. They all looked so happy that they had just seen an Iranian comedy.

Reza Mousoli

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* Uplifting

Thank you for the words of Mother Theresa sent by Soroush Motahari. They are quite uplifting and my tearful eyes are a testmony to that!!!

Mahmoud Etemadi
Bolivia

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* Finally separated

Regarding the Nostalgia magazine clip from 1978, Saeed Raad and Nooshafarin finally did marry each other. They remained married until a couple of years ago. As the writer predicted in that article 20 years ago, they finally separated. But this time it was a divorce.

Pedram Missaghi
Webmaster, Iran Media

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Wednesday
December 15, 1999

* Chossi aamadan

I do think that Ms. Afsari's story ["The sixth man"] would be well suited in some chatroom but not as a feature. These so-called "chossi aamadan-haa" disturbs the image of your otherwise excellent web site.

K. Ghazi Wakili

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* Hezb-e baad

First of all I was very happy to find an old issue of Zan-e Rooz ["Miss Iran, 1978"] issue, and I dearly thank the people who have made this possible.

In 1978 I got tickets to see the Miss Iran event and I enjoyed the whole show. At the time I was 17-years old, so I was really into these events.

Few years later, when all the universities were open again -- after the cultural revolution -- everybody had to wear the hejab. One day I noticed one of the Miss Iran finalists Ms. Azita Takin in the university corridors wearing a huge maghnaeh, no hair was showing and she was always hanging out with pro-revolution and very religous groups. Of course , I could,nt beleive my eyes. But, I never said anything.

A year later, one day I was watching a science program on TV and guess who was the presenter? You guessed it, Ms Takin with her big hejab. This was about 15 years ago. And that was the last time I saw her. She is the most vivid example of "ozv-e hezb-e baad".

Bijan

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Tuesday
December 14, 1999

* Course of action

The matter of fingerprinting Iranians at U.S. airports has come up many times in the past, but it seems that this issue has not been fully appreciated by many Iranians. Sometime ago the well known Iranian film director Dariyoush Mehrjooi was fingerprinted. Mehrjooi is a former graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. A number of invited Iranian athletes were also fingerprinted. These two events and a few others have been publicized in the press, but routine fingerprinting of ordinary Iranian civilians have gone unnoticed.

This policy is a deliberate attempt by U.S. authorities to humiliate, insult, and degrade innocent Iranians and label them as terrorists. In fact it may be illegal within the U.S. on the grounds of discrimination ... I suggest the following course of action ... FULL TEXT

Jamshid Naghizadeh

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* Removed from reality

In reference to "No plain Jane", the author is fortunate that his life circumstances have been so far removed from our every day reality that he reduces our reasoning for changing names to easy assimilation in the work place. A job has to be there first, I believe, before you can begin to assimilate.

Plain Jane

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Monday
December 13, 1999

* Just very beautiful

Poopak jan, did you say ["Unsympathtic"] you do not understand the function of Hossein Samiei's essay ["A moon of our own"]? If I may write on behalf of Mr. Samiei, I don't think his essay was looking to serve a function. Still he has provoked two people to think and respond to his piece. I would think that is a very good result for a functionless essay, no?

Mr. Samiei is just sharing a historical moment of his life with us. Historical both on a personal and global level. The essay made me think where I was when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and also when was the first time I ever fell in love. It does not matter what his background is. You do not have to be a part of his social class to be able to understand the feelings he is describing. I wish I could express my feelings with the same honesty and beauty.

Yes, It might look self absorbed but they are his feelings. The same way that your response to him is based on your observations and your social background, right? Does that make you guilty of the same crime? No. I enjoyed your thoughts on the essay. I respect them and you also made me think about other things.

I think the best way is to read this essay and try not to analyze it. It is just a very beautiful innocent piece of writing. There is a poetic flow to it. Not everything in life is supposed to have a logical function. Love is not a logical act don't you agree?

Sepideh Golesorkhi

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* Glen Allen?

Regarding the article "No plain Jane", a friend of mine has changed his name from GHO-LAAM-ALI to "Glen Allen". We always laugh at him and even he says it's funny ... :-)

Mohammad Ali

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Friday,
December 10, 1999

* Untidy semi-detached house

To some people ("Top ten" and "More thankful than Americans") freedom means "going out in T-shirts & shorts", or being able to take advantage of sexual liberties by "looking at hundreds of beautiful women of all ages". Such behavior is rife in societies such as America, but banned in others such as Iran.

America has a very short history and an even shorter cultural span. Iran, in contrast, has several thousand years of history and a cultural diversity and identity that is unique in the world. The moral and cultural values governing every day life in the Iranian society are much too rich to accept the above definition of "freedom".

However, in a non-cultural society like America the above definition is easily acceptable and there is no evidence of respect for human decency. This is supported by America's own statistics where 800,000 people are raped each year (according to USA Today) and school children carry out massacres.

I think it's great that people, such as "new" Americans, are thankful for their "new home"; I just can't understand why they have to compare it with our "old home". It's like comparing a noisy, dirty and untidy semi-detached house with a gloriously majestic old castle.

A. Hashemi

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* What cause?!

I read your recent article dated about the conservatives in Iran ["It's over"]. I agree with almost everything you said. They are losing ground and popular support and the youth want change. Correct. However, your statement that "Khomeini did all that for a cause he believed in", strikes me as a severely blind observation ... I absolutely cannot comprehend anyone seeing him as someone who wanted to bring good to Iran ...

You brought up many good points in your article, but it sounds like to me that you used to be one of the people who wanted Khomeini in power. Iranians, especially in Iran, are blinded by the fact that they think everything is the fault of the West and the British. Iranians always want to put the blame on others and not take responsibility for their own stupid actions and decisions. The Shah's monarchy had many holes, and he was far from perfect. But he dragged Iran into the 20th century, unlike the clerics who want to drag it back to the days of Mohammad. The Shah was progressive and educated, unlike Khomeini, who was the most incompetent ruler in history ... FULL TEXT

Soheil

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Thursday
December 9, 1999

* Hope in future

The Iranian has an interesting collection of letters on its homepage right now - but one I keep coming back to is the passionate letter by 14-year-old Rahill Jamalifard called "Long Live Iran". I remember being 14, I remember the hope that springs at that age for the future and for full involvement in that future. It is like waking up from the dream of childhood and becoming aware of one's surroundings as if for the first time. It is hopefully also a protected awakening. For the future of Iran - it is that fresh, proud hope that we must all protect.

I have sympathy for the views expressed by Mr. Shahri in his letter "Kiss ass" - it is hard to live in a country that is so wealthy and so oblivious to the deprivation suffered in the developing world and at the same time to feel truly thankful for partaking in that wealth. We enjoy our wealth made in America from a system that rests on the backs of millions who will never share even a measure of our good fortune. Iran is a country filled with those people and most of them are young and still hopeful like Rahill Jamalifard ... FULL TEXT

Minou Aghamiri

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* Discrimination not limited

I am sure you are aware that the discrimination mentioned is not limited to Lufthansa or at San Francisco Airport. Every time I travel to Iran from Washington-Dulles Airport, I get the same bad treatment.

On September 10, 1999, I traveled from Washingtoin to Tehran with British Airways and my luggage and an older lady's traveling with me were seached. They said they had to do this because we were traveling to Iran and it was for our own safety. I was carrying both Iranian and American passport. The lady traveling with me had a green card. Singling out only Iranians is absolutely discriminatory and must be stopped.

Max Rofougar

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Wednesday
December 8, 1999

* Fuggedaboudit

I strongly disagree with the assertion that Iranians need and should become involved in the US political process and that this will somehow improve the state of things in Iran ["Iranians in the U.S.: political power" - "Cyrus meets Lincoln"]. One of the biggest reasons why Iranians have been so successful in this country is because we haven't wasted our time with lobbying, politics, and pressure groups.

It has always been the case that those ethnic groups who focus their attention on education, entrepreneurship, and hard work always always surpass those that put their faith in politics. Iranians and Indians are prime examples of this. I need not even mention those groups that are on the other side of that coin.

Secondly no so-called Iranian lobby group will be able to reverse the passionate anti-Iran sentiment and bigotry that exists in Congress. Fuggedaboudit. Not only would you have to go up against the Mujahedeen, but against AIPAC and all the other Israeli lobby groups. These people will do anything in their power (and they have a lot of it) to prevent better relations with Iran and an end to sanctions.

The best we can do is just continue doing what we're doing and hope that American politicians one day overcome their stupidity and prejudices.

And finally I hardly think I would want to rely on Congress to better the conditions in Iran. As an Iranian I would just rather (and will rest assured when I'm in the position to do so) GO BACK and render my services - build schools, hospitals, clinics, etc.

Nariman Neyshapouri

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* Kiss ass

In response to "More thankful than Americans"

The fact that our homeland, along with countless other Third World countries, remain in a state that forces its people to go into exile is LARGELY due to the foreign policies of the land of milk and honey [USA} over the course of last fifty years.

To count yourself as lucky and remain thankful for being given the quasi-freedom to consume (without a care in the world) is not by any stretch of imagination a valid justification to preach that all of us will have to kiss the bloody hand of the true incarcerater of freedom and democracy.

"B" and persons of his ilk will do well to remember that any country in the history of the world that became something achieved their status not through deserters-com-cheerleaders (A Bud in one hand clutching a baseball cap in the other and eager to kiss ass) but by men and women of substance who weren't self-centered and audaciously selfish.

Much as I hate cliches, but one has got to ask these people: ask not what your country has done for you! Ask what have you done for your country! (and please leave your uncles, fathers, and mothers out of your excuses- Just YOU).

NOT-so-thankful,

J. Shahri (Mr.)

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Tuesday
December 7, 1999

* El Al connection

After months of gut-wrenching deliberation, the U.S. is allowing the Boeing Co. to sell a limited number of 747 engine pod modification kits to Iran Air [news]. Washington reassures everyone that the waiver on trade restrictions with Iran involves only seven aircraft and that none of the high-tech tools required to carry out the alterations will fall into the hands of the Iranians. Nor will Iran Air's cargo planes benefit from such modifications as, according to U.S. officials, the airline's non-passenger fleet may have been used for "nefarious" military purposes.

Ironically, the reason for the modification stems from the 1992 crash of an Israeli El Al 747 cargo aircraft in Amsterdam that devasted a large apartment block, killing more than 50 residents and injuring many others. Seven years after the disaster, hundreds of people living in the vicinity of the crash site, and who continue to suffer damage to their nervous systems, are blaming the Dutch government for having failed to divulge the true nature of the Israeli aircraft's payload. El Al and Dutch officials had for years maintained the fiction that the plane was carrying fresh flowers.

After the cover-up was exposed, it emerged the airline was in fact ferrying chemicals to be used in the production of the nerve gas Sarin at a secret chemical weapons eastablishment in Israel. This is the same nerve gas that was developed by the Germans towards the end of WWII and most recently used to deadly effect by Saddam Hussein's forces during the Iran-Iraq war. This time, it appears, the U.S. authorities may have got their airlines crossed.

Kewmars Bozorgmehr

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* Rahebe ye Parandeh

Thanks to satellite communication, you can subscribe to as many as 50-60 channels in Dubai, which include local stations like Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, MBC (Lebanon), Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan, India, CNN, MTV, SKY Sports and of course the Iranian channels.

Iranian TV, like any other channel, shows spotrs, news, shows, etc., but with a distinctive difference: All the female presenters have hejabs similar to orthodox nuns -- and often black.

What was wrong with our own Iranian roosaree? No Arab female presenter wears the maghnaeh! It reminds me of the American TV series "Rahebe ye Parandeh" (The Flying Nun). I do not know if any of you remember it.

Anyhow there is nothing wrong with variety particularly in the global village, but even Sudanese TV stations have more entertainment with women singers. Yes! A women singer called Samira! Why can't Iran have a woman singer on TV? Sudan is Moslem country too!

Reza Mousoli

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Monday
December 6, 1999

* Unsympathetic

I read Hossein Samiei's "A moon of our own". I asked myself A) What function does this essay have for Hossein? B) What is the point of this essay? And C) How could it affect others and their lives?

Let me first explain that the story left me very confused. Because although on the surface it appealed to me as beautiful, moving, and very engaging, on a deeper level it left me empty and sad and unsympathetic. I think, unconsciously, I was noticing a rather self-serving attitude that the story had portrayed of the boy in question ... FULL TEXT

Poopak Taati

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* Murder mystery

In response to, "Where are Miss Iran 1978 finalists now?"

Roya Aqaie resides in Los Angeles. She was married, has children ( I think 3 ). Her husband was murdered last year. She was arrested as a suspect in the case. I don't believe she is guilty, but the legal system in this country works in peculiar ways. Her parents and only brother also live in Los Angeles.

[email protected]

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Friday,
December 3, 1999

* Long live Iran

I believe very strongly in where I'm from. Iran. And even though I'm an American citizen influenced by many American views, that does not affect my beliefs. I have one hundred percent Iranian blood!

As a fourteen-year-old I have spent four of my summers there. And my expierence cannot be put into words. It was all just so beautiful; the people, the places, the food. I know that the love of my country is more than the love Shakspeare had for writng. And that this bond is here to stay until the end of life.

What I do not understand is why my country is always being ridiculed, and why I see so many Iranians hide their true identity. That's the worst part. It hurts me so much to see the one thing I am so proud of, so cowardly hidden by other Iranians.

I believe that these people, mostly teenagers, some adults, are afraid. Afraid of not being what other people want them to be. But it is themselves they should be afraid of. They can go through life pleasing everyone, letting them hear what they want, and see what they want to see. But if they can't look back into the eyes of the person in the mirror then they are no one, they are a puppet, with no heart or feelings.

And another thing: Long live Iran!

Rahill Jamalifard

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* Thanking Allah for this blessed land

In response to, "What are you thankful for?"

"What am I thankful for?" the thought came to my mind as I went through my pile of daily email on Thansgiving day. I couldn't help remembering the collage of self-pity, searching-for-self-and-identity crap I had read in the The Iranian Times in the past.

So we all found our way to North America at one time or other. Some of us were young teens when we called our old country "home", and some were old and needy. But the fact remains that we did end up here. And the fact remains that we all chose to live here.

I found myself in south Florida this Thanksgiving. I had to be away from my tribe and away from our annual Thanksgiving gathering north of San Luis Obispo, California, this year. South Florida has very few Iranians but all kinds of people from other cultures. Its culture is one step ahead of the Third World and not quite America yet. Its people are almost as diverse as San Francisco's East Bay and its climate is worse than what I remember of the Abadan of my childhood.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with an American Jewish and Catholic family. There were people fresh off the boat with a lesbian couple from New York, an aging cross-dressing couple, a retired US army captain, a few long-haired people stuck in the 60s, bunch of kids and I - the Iranian guy from California. We ate turkey and stuffing, partied and drank. I taught them to say "Beh salaamati " and I said "Lekha'im" every other time we raised our glasses.

All of us newcomers came here for various reasons and this great country accepted us with open arms and treated us like its own children. Thanksgiving to me is all about thanking Allah for this blessed land.

Kamran Behzadian

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Thursday
December 2, 1999

* Iranians in the U.S.: political power

As Iranian-Americans - according to US government there are more than a million of us - we have to begin concentrating on our identity and status here, in our new home! On the eve of the 2000 US presidential elections and the upcoming Census 2000, we have to make a concerted and aggressive effort to declare our significant existence to the political establishment.

We must begin developing our political power base in whatever party we happen to lean towards. We should also prepare for Census 2000 and plan to provide the type of racial information that will put Iranians on the map as a legitimate and significant minority. This census will be our best chance for being counted (for more information search for Census 2000 on the Web) ... FULL TEXT

Ben Bagheri

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* Personal agenda

You know, Jahanshah, if you weren't such a fucking asshole who puts his own personal agenda and views ahead of journalistic integrity and impartiality, I (and I'm sure others as well) would actually feel comfortable writing a letter or two to your magazine in response to something, knowing that you'd post it. But NO, instead we must resort to writing individual letters to people, which is fine. But I (as an ex-journalist myself) just wanted to tell you what I think of you.

Sina Dadfarmay

Jahanshah Javid replies: I can and will have a personal agenda. I think my track record proves I'm fair towards everybody. I LIKE being fair. You don't think I'm fair enough, don't read it.

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Wednesday
December 1 1999

* Lengesh kon!

Mr. Qezelbash's commentary on recent events in Iran ["It's over"] is very valid and lands a bull's eye! What a shame for the rest of us to sit back here in the comfort of our new found homes and criticize the snapper-head hard-liners in Iran. I have to admit that I am indeed one of those folks.

I continually wish for a better Iran for the Iranians who live there and can't get out. I continuously wish for a better Iran for the rest of us Iranians living abroad and have never been back to Iran since the revolution. I continuously wish for a better Iran for me to return, visit and come to a closure. I continuously wish to do something to make things the way they were.

But, hey, what the heck, I'm the one living outside and saying "lengesh kon!"

Alireza S.

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* Top ten

In response to, "What are you thankful for?"

I am thankful to be in the U.S. for the following reasons:

1. It saved me from seeing Ayatollahs on the TV everyday
2. I was not killed in the war, or arrested and tortured, or killed by Emami
3. I can get together with friends and family and celebrate Thanksgiving, etc.
4. I can drive in straight lines (mostly)
5. Officials are not rude to me; they don't call me "to" instead of "shoma"
6. I can live by myself, being divorced, and not perceived as weird
7. I am not awakened by the wonderfully loud call to prayer in the morning
8. I don't have to believe in a logic that has not advanced beyond the thirteenth century
9. I can go out in T-shirt and shorts
10. I can watch movies undubbed...

If you need more reasons let me know and I'll send you another ten reasons immediately.

Mohtaj e Doaa

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