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    June 1999

* Language
- Funny!

- Common root
- Khatami's political priority

- Cogent solutions
- Insightful
- Az cheh guri... ?

- I hope you go to heaven
- We sympathize, but...
- Universal narcissistic tendency
- You belong in hell

- No excuse
- Minds do change
- Genetic link

- Enemy within
- No mercy
- As an Iranian Buddhist
- Lot of making up to do
- We are one

- Iran belongs to all Iranians
- No wonder
- What about Jews who hate Iranians?

- God's chosen people not Iranian
- No man can understand
- Thank you

* The Iranian:
- Best of all things
- You know THE way

* Anyway:
- Mexican actress
* Politics:
- Good vs. Evil
- No Monica
- Iranian Golden Throat

* Shamlu:
- Thank you
Laleh Khalili:
- Mentally trapped
- Do something about it
- Iranian blood not enough

- Not one of us
- Looks/sounds Iranian? It's Iranian
- Let's not get patriotic over him
- Agassi's dad

- Nothing but disdain
- ONLY a good tennis player

- Leave him alone
- Andre beats Cyrus
- Proud Iranian-American

* L.A. wedding:
- Chill out!
- California's Gol Aqa

- Brilliant writing
- Not far from the truth
- We're not superficial
- Sa'di & the Intenet

- I come from...
- Moved

* The Iranian:

June 30, 1999

* Funny!

Funny, funny ["Khiyaar Chambar"]! I loved it, especially the psychology behind the repartee. Ethymologically! I don't know -- has the daughter heard of the Indo-European theory of languages? Even better, coincidence? I love your style of writing and your humor.

Reza Ordoubadian
Professor of English

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* Good vs. Evil

Understandably, we cannot expect Mr. Khatami to talk the talk and walk the walk for us. We are going to have to find a way to emphasize personal responsibility for all our people to contribute to a better tomorrow for our beloved country. We must take a stand and voice our opinion as loudly as we can, chanting for a free society. Only then, the Good shall triumph over Evil and the serenity of freedom and liberty will cover us ... FULL TEXT

Sia M.

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June 29, 1999

* Common root

I enjoyed the great humor and true points of view in the article "Khiyaar Chambar".

Just to help the writer find the rest of the 100 words, here are some other examples like "bad" for 'bad", "no" for "new", "nah" for "no" and "behtar" for "better" and what about "abroo" for "eyebrow"?

However, the reality is, most of these similarities are due to a common root rather than words being adopted from this to that language. A good example is the verb "ast" (or hast) in Farsi which is "ist" in German, "est" in French, "es" in Spanish and "is" in English.

Indeed from linguistic point of view, there are seven or eight main branches of Indo-European languages where Persian is one of the main branches and English is a sub-branch of German.

Arman Sepehri

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* Az cheh guri... ?

Regarding your article "I must be a Jew" ... What a bunch of nonsense! az cheh guri did you guys crawl out of? The title of your article should have been "I MUST BE AN IDIOT".

B. Mortazavi

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June 28, 1999

* Iranian Golden Throat

The Sunday dinner (khoreshe-e Bodemjoon) tasted doubly nice with the divine voice of the Iranian GOLDEN THROAT, the one and only, DELKASH. Thank you for a lovely reportage.

What has amazed me over the years is that Delkash was the FIRST singer to perform a piece in KHARABATI amongst all the singers male or female - she sang the famous "Sagash raa" [sag as in DOG!]. But, nobody has ever dared to either mention it or reproduce it. "Sagash raa" is definitely a milestone in the entirety of Iranian music - for those who understand of course!

I do second to the fact that there are too many "LAGOORIs" around at the moment singing lots of "Naneh Man Gharibam" who are cashing in on the recent events. But you are forgetting that some of us left Home well before any revolutions; the majority of whom still inhale and exhale the good old Persian culture and try to keep it alive by making our children appreciate Delkash, Elaheh, and Marzieh etc despite the fact they don't understand a word of Iranian literature or culture.

I give any thing to hear a piece of KHARABATI by Delkash, Iraj, or the chap who used to play Sarcar Ostovar in SAMAD sitcoms. Are you up to this challenge?

It would be nice to see a track from Davood Maghami, Ali Nazari and other kucheh baazaari singers. Did you know that they (apparently) had more followers than Mahasty an so on? However, I know that it was socio-politically correct to deny their existence - [what a bunch of hypocrite WE used to be!!!] by pretending that we liked FARHAD, but clapped with SUSAN!

Rise to the challenge an send me "Sagash raa" and I will be indebted to you for the rest of my life - ie the true meaning of ''Mokhles", "Chaaker" or more upmarket "Eraadatmand"

Saeid Saba

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* No Monica

I enjoyed your site very much, which is why I urge you to remove Monika Lewinski's picture ["Monica & Bill"]. A site like yours should not be spoiled by the picture of a famous American slut. Her picture is hanging in the Oval Office. That is enough.


June 25, 1999

* Do something about it

What really disturbed me about mr Sia M's article ["Son, don't ever do that again"] isn't the poor state of health care in Iran Now and in the past, but his sense of anguish or detachment.

If you look logically, at least nowadays, everyone knows the dire straight position of Iranian economy, so much more than criticism is needed. We need people with vision, funds and the commitment to make a difference, and not tape recorders taping the misery we all know that exists.

Wouldn't it be better if every privileged Iranian (whether in Iran or America or any where in the world) contributed somehow to set up or at least help these hospitals deal with the poor better?

I am sure constructive criticism can help, but not the kind of hopelessness that lots of Iranians tend to chat about.

It all comes down to believing that EACH and EVERY one of us CAN make a DIFFERENCE. And collectively, who knows how many lives and how many jobs we can save and create without the need to wait (forever) until a great government comes about.

S. Marvasti

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* I hope you go to heaven

Dear Sholom,

I was very impressed by your letter ["You belong in hell"], it proudly displays your open mind and impressive level of intellectual sophistication. Thank you very much for eloquently describing how all 60-something million of us think and act alike.

From your letter I infer that all the Jews think the same, all the Christians feel similarly about everything, and all the Hindus believe in one thing, .....oh, I almost forgot, all the Americans are ignorant bastards, all the Germans are Jew-killing Nazis, all Britons are colonialists, and all the Israelis are ultraorthodox radicals...

I hope you go to heaven, because I hope God (mine and yours are one and the same, like it or not) forgives you, and all the bigoted idiots like you, whether they are Muslim, Jew, Christian, or whatever.

A civilized Iranian
Hamid Salamipour, M.D.,

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June 24, 1999

* We sympathize, but...

Dear Sholom,

We sympathize with those protesting against the arrest of 13 Jews by Iran's government on espionage charges. We, too, seek justice: If they're innocent, free them and apologize. If not, imprison them and throw the key away.

Your letter indicates that you don't enjoy a high level of education or tactfulness. Your remarkable depth of ignorance about Iranians and their struggle against a despot government in Iran has probably led your underdeveloped mind to stereotype all the Iranian individuals -- an action that I would never commit toward my best friends, who happen to be Jews (Abraham and Shalom), by mixing their actions with many unfair policies committed by the Israeli government toward Christian Israeli's or Muslims living in Israel.

As an Iranian-American, I pray for your enlightenment. Well, at this stage of your mental development, a simple improvement in culture and sophistication will do. Practical advice: Cut back on using the sensational news on TV and/or trashy magazines as the source of your insignificant information. Instead, visit your public library more often.


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* Universal narcissistic tendency

I am afraid that there has been and will be for the fore-seeable future a malignant strain of anti-Judaism in Iran ["I must be a Jew"].

Those of us who have experienced the deep religious (and other kinds of) bigotry displayed by the typical Muslim Iranian, would likely attest to its universal hostility against non-Muslims including Christians, Bahais, Zoroastrians and so on.

My own feeling is that there is a universal narcissistic tendency in human beings to try to enhance their own standing by denigrating others; "Even though I am a (X) beggar, I am still superior to that rich (Y)."

I recall Israeli Jews telling me how all dirty words in Hebrew have come from Arabic since "Hebrew has been such a pure language" etc. I also recall my sister being denied Hebrew instruction on the grounds that only Jews should learn the Judaic language.

I empathize with those Jews who would like to have their history and their contribution to Iran acknowledged. But they have to take a number since the main contours of Iranian history is still largely unwritten, let alone such interesting eddies as the Jews of Iran.

The most important thing, however, in my opinion, is not whether the two religious communities like each other or don't like each other. The most important thing is whether a Jew can live his life in peace; going about his own business?

Can a Jew trust the state to protect his life, his family, and his property? With the exception of the forced conversion of the Mashhadi Jews in the 19th century; this question must be answered in the affirmative as far as Iran is concerned.

As I said before, I do not want to minimize the general bigotry of the Iranian Muslims against non-Muslims (they were still restrained in expressing their hostility by their religious beliefs, in my opinion.)

I personally believe that Islam may be viewed as Judaism for Gentiles; the second surah of the Qoran is a recapitulation of Jewish Haggadah. I also believe that there is a place within Islamic Iran for various religious minority with full citizenship rights.

As the panelists observed, Jews have a long history in Iran and in Islam. At the moment; the world Jewry has its faith in West. It is useful, in my opinion, for Jews to keep their ancient ties to Iran; in spite of the present difficulties. History has been full of unpleasant surprises.

Babak Makkinejad

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June 23, 1999

* You belong in hell

I cannot believe how you Iranians can be such a barbaric, anti-Semitic, hate-mongering, blood-loving people. To take 13 innocent Jews and cook up a false story of espionage, and then have thousands of people demonstrating and shouting "Hang the Jews!", just goes to show that the place where you Iranians belong is to rot in hell forever and ever. (Also see follow up apology)

Sholom Din

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* Khatami's political priority

I read your article with interest on the Iranian economy ["Sleep-walking economy"]. You make good observations and make some very valid points. I was in Iran just a few weeks ago (after 13 years). The economic situation is not very good and people don't have the feeling that the government is doing much to fix anything. These are general observations from talking to various people.

It also seems to me that Mr. Khatami's theory is that before the economy can be fixed, political and social freedom must be expanded. While some may disagree, my observance of his presidency leads me to believe that this is exactly where he is placing his bets.

Also, I couldn't quite follow your argument on hard currency and why more of it would not alleviate some problems. For example, one reason that U.S. dollar exchange rate is high is that there simply is not enough of it.

Thanks and again, your article was done very well. I look forward to reading many more pieces.

Piroz Mohseni

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June 22, 1999

* No excuse

Enjoyed reading "I must be a Jew" in The Iranian. I agree with the assessment that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the U.S., although not as overt as say anti-Iranian, anti-Arab or anti-Black sentiments.

This of course does not excuse those of us in the Iranian community who express their hatred towards Jews. This is simply wrong and if enough people stood up and complained it would go away, at least in the way that it is currently being expressed.

I do however reserve my dislike for Zionism, because it is an ethnocentric and racist movement which a lot of Israelis and some American Jews subscribe to.

Shahram Mostarshed

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* Thank you

Thank you for reminding us about our poets and literary figures - this time Shamlu. I hope we appreciate their contribution to our heritage.

Farhad Ghassemi

June 21, 1999

* Mentally trapped

This morning I read Laleh Khalili's account of her trip to Abadan and Khorramshahr ["Palm groves survive"]. It was very well written. Of course the things she is describing are awesome, but there was also the style and the economy and precision that served the telling.

Twice I broke down reading that part where she tells of the veterans taking off their shoes to observe heart-felt respect they feel for those killing fields when they visit their baked salty dusts. Compare this purity with the mercenary posture and utterances of the vacuous "intellectuals" and despicable "poets" etc.

Mentally trapped in a world of spent customs and habits, we are, all of us, sleepwalking on a tight rope, that is also worn out, when we think and talk about our society, its politics and culture.

Parviz Kuhkan

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* Iranian blood not enough

I visited the Iranian web site and I saw Andre Agassi's pictures ["Andre the great"]. They are really nice pictures. However, I don't ever recall Agassi talking or mentioning anything about his Iranian background. As a matter of fact, I don't think he has ever acknowledged that.

Keeping that in mind, my question is why should we, as Iranians, try to relate him to ourselves. In my opinion, to being Iranian has nothing to do with having Iranian blood, but it has everything to do with one's love and interest toward Iran, its people, its culture and its history.

Unfortunately, I can't see this interest in Andre Agassi despite the fact that his father is an Iranian and, if I am not mistaken, served in Iran's national boxing team. I think he is a great tennis player, but I just can't picture him as an Iranian.

Cyrous Jame

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June 18, 1999

* Sa'di & the Internet

Hi Don,

I read your letter to The Iranian. You wondered what we would react to an email from so far away. I think you have missed the point. What you are wondering is the whole beauty of the Internet.

The World Wide Web has turned the world into a village. It has eroded distances, and as one of our famous poets (Sa'di) said almost a thousand years ago, reshaped the human race into a single body.

Mahvash shahegh
Maryland, U.S.A

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* I come from ...

Dear Don,

My name is Ali but friends call me Farhad and I come from the land of Allah, that is ayatollahs or (Iran). It's very nice to hear from someone in Whangarie (New Zealand), that ever wonderful place with nice people, climate and beaches and the magical scenery....

Compared to the Majestic Whangarie, Iran's northern Caspian region is a favorite of mine. It's like a combination of your Tikipunga and Whangarei. To the south of Iran there is also the Persian Gulf, full of warships of all kind. It is hot and dry. During rush hour this particular waterway reminds me of the streets of Manhattan (very crazy). For example, you can be flying in the sky on board a passenger plane one minute and be blasted to the smithereens the next! ... FULL TEXT

Ali Pourshariati
New York City

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June 17, 1999

* Chill out!

I'd like to once again remind my fellow compatriots to chill out and stop taking themselves so darned seriously.

Farhad's uptight letter regarding the brilliantly funny and poignant article "L.A. wedding" is truly proof of our on-going and exhausting humorlessness vis a vis ourselves.

CHILL OUT! No one's trying to put you down!

Banafsheh Zand

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* Moved

Bita Binazeer' "I'm no infidel" moved me. I know exactly what she went through. Although , I'm not a Bahai, I'm also a member of an Iranian minority group which suffers from discrimination.

My father had several good friends who were Bahais. There is still a Bahai family near my home in northern Iran and I visit them whenever I go to Iran. Bahais are most honest and gentle, and they mind their onw business.

Fereidoon Delfanian

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June 16, 1999

* Cogent solutions

Thank you for an incisive analysis of Iran's economic ills ["Sleep-walking economy"]. I hope someone would translate this article and publish it on this website to enlighten more Iranians who are not fluent in English.

The solutions you have presented in the form of 13 questions are equally cogent. It gladdens my heart to read such eloquent articles by Iranian experts who make most Western experts look like a bunch of impostor wimps.

A very young Iranian once commented that the current so-called Middle East experts, who often appear on TV programs, are the old Russian experts recycled after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The Iranian Times has made it possible for Iranians to offer their talents, their knowledge, their wisdom, and their nostalgia. The personal stories I have read rekindle in me the heart-warming memories of my years in Iran.

Thank you for everything I hope Iranians of talent will continue to feed this fire and warm our heart and spirit.

Morteza Anvari

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* Not one of us

I have been an occasional visitor to your site, and have been very impressed by the quality and contents of the articles. It is always great to see a place that can be a hub for Iranian culture and unity.

I was a little surprised to see a picture of Andre Agassi on the cover of an Iranian magazine ["Andre the great"]. It is true that his father is of Iranian origin, but this guy has openly put Iran down on a few occasions. He was once asked about how he feels about the fact that his father is from Iran, and his reply was that "it is his problem."

We have many things that we can be proud of, and Andre Agassi is not one of them. As far as I am concerned, it is a privilege to be an Iranian, and if someone is not happy about their own heritage, that is their choice. If Andre does not like the fact that his father was born in Iran, that is fine and certainly within his rights.

I also believe that we should not go out of our way to include him in our extended family. There are many other sports heroes who are Iranian and proud of their heritage, and I think that they would be more suited to be on the cover.

Kambiz Roshan
Potomac, Maryland

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* Thank you

Thank you for publishing Yasmine Rafii's thoughts and pictures ["Talking pictures"].

Bruce Takata

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June 15, 1999

* Minds do change

In response to Nariman Neyshapouri's recent comments on Mansoureh Haqshenas and Kourosh Bayat's "I must be a Jew," and in light of recent arrests of Jews in Iran on espionage charges, I'd like to offer an Ashkenazi (non-Iranian) Jew's view on relations among our peoples.

Neyshapouri rightly notes that no ethnic group can monopolize bigotry -- namely, many American Jews harbor distrust, prejudice and even hatred toward Iranians (among others). These attitudes are, of course, born largely of ignorance -- and, as such, they can often be changed.

Last summer I spent 3 weeks in Iran on a scientific expedition.... During my stay, I ... heard occasional anti-Arab and anti-Jewish comments -- one guy blatantly told me he liked all foreigners "except Jews of course," not realizing that the guy whose tea glass he'd refilled for half an hour was a Jew. He was flustered to learn it, and could give me no reason for his feelings save political concerns about Israel ... FULL TEXT

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* Insightful

I appreciated your insightful and very well-articulated piece on the Iranian economy ["Sleep-walking economy"].

Farshad Zarrabian

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* Proud Iranian-American

If you are looking for a successful Iranian who is also proud of his Iranian heritage, don't need to go too far -- he is right around the corner: Shar Pourdanesh , the only Iranian player in the Washington Redskins football team.

Shar is 28-years old and has been playing professionally with the Redskins for four years. He is very popular in the American community . There was an article about him on the first page of the Washington Times on Saturday June 12. According to this article: "Pourdanesh is perhaps the most honest and emotional Redskins player."

Shar is a very humble and down-to-earth person. He speaks Farsi and is married to an American girl. They have two sons and are expecting another child. He is very funny and once a month he comes on a local radio talk show called "Sports Junkies".

His father told me that Shar does not need to promote himself among Iranians, but in order to stay Iranian he needs more support from the Iranian community, especially the media and wished that the Iranian community would recognize his success and appreciate him as the American do.

Simin Habibian

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June 14, 1999

* Childhood memories

What a delectable account of memorable childhood experiences ["Those summer days"]! No wonder I have never heard an Iranian say he/she would never go back to visit.

We all have stories to live with and to reminisce. Only a few of us are eloquent enough to put it in words.

Thanks to xAle for sharing her love story with us. And thank you for providing the medium.

Morteza Anvari

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* California's Gol Aqa

Hamid Taghavi's article "L.A. wedding" was humorous and to the point! I think his style is similar to Gol Aqa writers or Ebrahim Nabavi in Iran -- of course with the Californian flavor. Interesting enough, it gets the same reaction from the hard-liners in that part of the world! Thank you for writing.

Yasaman Mottaghipour

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June 4, 1999

* Genetic link

As a person involved in medical research, I have something to mention which may be helpful in the big arguement over the article "I must be a Jew".

According to a gentical study done by scientists at Harvard University (published in Human Immunology, September 15, 1997, Volume 57, pages 62 -67), it is very possible that non-Jewish Iranians and all Jews have a common ancestral origin. Does this help?

Arman Sepehri

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* Looks/sounds Iranian? It's Iranian

About a year or so ago, Agassi's now estranged wife, Brook Shields was asked by Jay Leno on the Tonight Show about Agassi's origin. She said he considers himself Armenian ["Andre the great"].

As for why he does not connect with Iran and Iranians? The answer may be in his father's story of coming to America and the disdain which he may have brought with him. Besides, given the anti-Iranianism of the late to mid-eighties, very little would have been gained by this person as a public moneymaker to be wrapping himself in a flag which was not very much appreciated. Remember the Iron Sheikh, the punching bag in professional wrestling and myriad of other subtle and not so subtle anti-Iranian sentiment?

Here is something else: I do not recall Pete Sampras ever making much of his Greek heritage. Why do people root for him? For the same reason that when the credits roll at the end of the movie, I look for Iranian sounding or looking names. Call it a perverse way of vicariously experiencing assimilation.

Guive Mirfendereski

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* Mexican actress

Who is Iran Castillo [Anyway section, June 10]? She is a Mexican singer and soap opera actress. She was born in Veracruz and you can see her on Univision in a telenovela called "preciosa".

There is another Mexican actress with the first name Iran. She is Iran Eory and who was born in Tehran.

Yes Spanish helps, even if it is helping with little things of not much importance!

Thank god you have the Anyway section.

Malihe Evans

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June 3, 1999

* Enemy within

When you talk about Iranian people and their hatefulness and lack of compassion towards other nationalities, races and religions, you should take a moment and try to remember who you are ["I must be a Jew"]. The people of Iran consist of us. You and I and others like us and if it so happens that some uneducated and ill-informed individual, makes certain ignorant remark about certain creed or belief, it must not be interpreted as a widespread preconceived notion, which Iranians have been passing on through generations...

I would only like to inform you that you are very much mistaken when you say "Jews are being perceived by Iranians as evil, cunning and greedy creatures" and being "trashed" by them. What is being detested and scorned by our people is not the nation of Israel, it is the state of Israel that was brought to power and established by the West (Britain) to be "a strong fortress of civilization and to defend it from all those savages and barbarians who were surrounding it, at any cost." ... FULL TEXT

Sara O.

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* Let's not get patriotic over him

Am I the only one who doesn't understand all the Iranian hype surrounding Agassi? ["Andre the great"] His father was an Iranian but that's as far as it goes. As far as I know he's never mentioned it himself and doesn't take particular pride in being born of an Iranian parent. Has he ever been to Iran? Does he speak the language? Does he have any knowledge of the country's past and present? Does he even care?

Although I always find myself rooting for him each time I see him play, I don't see why we should claim him as one of our own. He is a great tennis player and has an eccentric personality. But let's not get all patriotic over him. I am curious whether he has ever been interviewed about all this, or does he answer questions about these issues. Maybe an Iranian should actually interview him so that we can see what this guy is really all about.

Payman Adjamian

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June 9, 1999

* Agassi's dad

Agassi's hatred of Iran and Iranians is a documented fact ["Andre the great"].

With that in mind, I wonder what is the great one giving his [Iranian] dad on Fathers Day?

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* Nothing but disdain

I look forward, on a daily basis, to reading and viewing The Iranian. As one who is utterly proud of his Persian heritage, one who adamantly believes that we (the Persians) have been the crown jewels of human civilization for three millennia; I was insulted upon viewing your frivolous piece about Andre Agassi. ["Andre the great"]

By attempting to implicitly glorify this individual as somewhat of an Iranian athletic success, while knowing that he has had nothing but disdain for his half-assed Iranian link, is tantamount to injustice against all of our true champions, past and present. I urge you, as a fellow compatriot, to introspect further prior to dissemination of an article.

Farshad Zarrabian

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June 8, 1999

* ONLY a good tennis player

My intention in this letter is to merely ask, why would The Iranian feature an article about anyone with an Iranian background who condemns, critisizes and puts down Iranians, Iranian culture, the nation of Iran itself, and has even gone as far to say that one of the things he most regrets in life is being half Iranian?! Could someone please explain that to me? ["Andre the great"]

What the hell do Iranians need Andre Agassi for? Agassi is an incredible tennis player; end of story. If people want to read about his game and achievements, then they can read Tennis magazine. However, I read The Iranian to learn more about Iran and Iranian culture. I do not read this magazine to learn more about an Iranian who has no appreciation of what it means to be Iranian.

Although Agassi might be one of the best tennis players of all time, he is a poor role model for Iranian-Americans out there. If you want to write about great Iranians in the global community, then I suggest you NOT turn to one who spurns and belittles Iranian culture. There are just too many good, decent, hardworking Iranians out there for that.


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* Leave him alone

Andre Aghasi does not like to be an Iranian ["Andre the great"]. He openly discussed this matter a couple of times. This is his personal life and his own business. To be more definite, he was born from a non-Iranian mother in the U.S. and has never been in Iran in his whole life.

If someone is not interested enough to be an Iranian, leave him alone. We have plenty of people in our past and present with remarkable role in the history and today's life to be proud of. However, photographs by Mr. Javid were great (artistically and technically speaking).

Hopefully we read more about IRANIANs in the IRANIAN.

Pedraam Parsian

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* Andre beats Cyrus

The title "The Great" used to be so expesive in's neighborhood . Even someone like Cyrus couldn't buy it. See the article "Cyrus the (not so) Great" published in The Iranian a couple of years ago where the writer believed Cyrus is not that great because of this and that reason.

Andre Agassi is being called "The Great" because he won the French Open ["Andre the great"]. Probably if he had caught a cold the day before and lost he would not have been that great.

How much of an Iranian Andre Agassi is is another debate.

(I hope people in The Iranian have the dignity to publish this critical opinion.)

Arman Sepehri

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June 7, 1999

* No man can understand

I read today's cover story, "The woman we wanted to be" with interest. Laleh Khalili is a thoughtful, thought-provoking writer whose imagery is lovely and easily grasped. As a regular reader of your magazine, who just happens to be a zan-e aamrikaie married to one of your countrymen, what I can say is that the angst expressed by Ms. Khalili's essay is more the angst of Woman -- not just the Iranian woman.

Her longings are the longings of women in general -- just the names are changed. Only a woman can understand the tides that rush in and cover the shore and then draw the sand back out into deep ocean as they go diving back to sea; these are the desires of Woman. No man can understand what it is to be a woman and sacrifice self to the extent that a woman does (particularly if she is a mother). No man can understand -- completely -- the war of desires within a woman ... FULL TEXT

Nancy Elami

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* Best of all things

Like many other Americans, I've had a lengthy love affair with Persian art & culture, Persian history , and... if it's Persian, I'm reading about it. I also had Persian friends I treasured for years, and your ezine is something of the best of all these things. Thanks for doing it, it's appreciated.

Bear Rowell

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June 4, 1999

* Brilliant writing

I can not resist the urge to tell you how magnificent was the piece on the wedding ["L. A. wedding"]. It could have impressed as a piece of slick sarcasm, or just funny, but to me it was one of the best pieces of writing by a contemporary Iranian, dead or alive.

It was hilarious and it was sad and above all it was an incisive, dissecting, revealing work, a brilliant picture of a distorted living space reflected in a polished, spotless mirror, leaving the observant wonder where do we go from here, now.

It also tells you, a little indirectly why we are here now. It is also a pity that if the writer had written it in his mother tongue the force of habit and tradition would have prevented him to present such a flowing, almost athletic style.

Get copies of this and send it to the thousands of pretending-writers and self promoting "professors", all wriggling in their kind of Persian language and self-inflicted stupor.

I would like to congratulate the writer. It is a pity that your effort and pieces like this (very rare, next to non-existent) do not get known to the vast number of those who live in Iran, and are not understood by those who are scattered around in U.S.

Parviz Koohkan

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* No mercy

I am a young Iranian man trying to survive within one of the most Jewish populated areas within Western Europe: North London. In an environment where my accountant is Jewish, my lawyer & broker are Jewish and so on. My analyst is about the only one who isn't. I also compete in a line of business which is strongly controlled by the Jews. So you can say that I am completely at their mercy.

However, in connection to your little scenario ["I must be a Jew"] I must say that in my entire connection and dealings with them I have found that most of the generalizations about them appear to be true and that because you are an Iranian or a Muslim they will never trust you, will try to exploit you as much as possible and would put the knife in the minute you turn your back.

Of course this is just my view. And believe me, I would absolutely adore an idealistic world were everyone is happily getting along together, like any Iranian. Who is the victim?

Korosh N.

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June 3, 1999

* As an Iranian Buddhist...

Salaam! I'd like to thank The Iranian Times for promoting a discussion (albeit sometimes bloody) about the controversial topic of the attitude of many Iranians toward Jews ["I must be a Jew"].

I sympathize wholeheartedly with the suffering that Jews collectively have experienced throughout the years. Part ignorance, part jealousy have led some people to react to Jews in such inhumane way. However, Jewish "hezbollah," like Mr. (Ms) Geytanch, as well as other intolerant individuals, regardless of their religious affiliation, are part of the problem, as well.

As an Iranian Buddhist, I love Iran despite its imperfections. I pray every day for the renewal of her strength. The richness of language and the depth of genuine friendship one experiences by being an Iranian are extraordinarily unique. Khosh behaal-e maa!

K. Khadivi

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* You know THE way

I have been aware of for quite a while and visit frequently to read the articles on the site. Almost always, after reading an article I merely decide what I thought of the article. Mostly I don't feel the need to react to any of the letters by writing an email to the author or in this case to the Iranian itself.

However, after reading one particular letter I could not contain myself from responding. The letter in question is titled "Why so blatantly biased?" The commanding and demanding tone of the author through out his letter , labeling every one and calling them names reminded me very much of the attitude of hezbullahis in the early years of revolution. Still I did not feel that I had to respond. However the last sentence did it! "If this letter is not published I would like a reason."

At that moment I thought "What if the letter was not published and no reason was given? What are you going to do? Are you going to wait out at the car park until some employee gets out late into the night, and then haalish mikoni keh baa ki tarafeh? Why can't you be and let be? You can't, can you? It has to be you, your kind, your ideas, your poetry, your culture and your religion. You can't tolerate variety. Heck, you don't even see it as variety. You know THE way and all else is a waste (or may be sins). Now you tell me: Who's bloody biased?

Kamran Dianat

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June 2, 1999

* Lot of making up to do

I recently saw an Israeli documentary at the French Institute in New York. The film's title was "A Persian Story", and was being shown as part of the Sephardic Film Festival. In it the lives of several Iranian families who had immigrated to Israel were shown. After hearing their stories, I think Iranian Jews like Mr. Gheytanch are very much within their rights to have whatever negative or ambivalent feelings they may have towards Iran ["I must be a Jew"].

Among the stories I heard were the one about the little Jewish boy who one hot day in the summer drank from a glass shared by other neighborhood kids his age, and for that got beat up, because he was supposedly "najes" (rituallly unclean). His mother rushed out and begged people to stop hitting the boy. As an adult living in Israel, this is a childhood memory of his.

Then there was the story of the Jews from Mashhad, who according to the documentary were forced to convert and they practiced Judaism secretly for years. When a group of Jews came to Tehran in the 1950's in order to prepare for leaving for Israel, the only place they were allowed to stay while in Tehran was at the Jewish cemetery (interestingly named "Beheshtiyeh").

In spite of all these, it seemed that cultural and emotional ties to Iran were not totally severed, even decades after leaving Iran. In fact this seems to be true of Iranians Jews anywhere outside Iran. Let's face it folks: we got a lot of making up to do.

And to those who think Muslims are any more Iranian than others (whatever that means): remember that the ancestry of Jews in Iran goes back several thousand years. I wish I could say that about myself.

N. Behzad Fazel

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* Not far from the truth

I just read "L. A. wedding". I live in Montreal, Canada, but when I visited my family in Los Angeles ...well, your article almost doesn't exaggerate the atmosphere.

Pooneh Yousefi-Tehrani

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* We're not superficial

Is this article BEEMAZEH or what?It's obviously fiction ["L. A. wedding"]. And we're tired of everyone grouping the LA Persians together as snobbish, superficial people.


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June 1, 1999

* We are one

I am a young Jewish Iranian woman who read the, "I must be a Jew" piece as well as all of the controversial follow ups. As a Los Angeles resident for fourteen years I am well aware of the tension between Iranian Jews and Iranian Muslims...

Whether Jewish or Muslim, Bahai or Christian, we are one. We should hold each other up instead of continuously trying to put the other down. We came from the same history, and we speak the same language both in words and in feelings. Only an Iranian understands what love went into a pot of steaming kalleh-paacheh. Only we can appreciate all the dimensions of, JOON... FULL TEXT


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* Iran belongs to all Iranians

I very quickly got over the fact that A. Gheytanch is a racist zionist, for the author is very amusing ["I must be a Jew"].

Gheytanch asserts: "For the rest of us living outside of Iran , we shoud forget about Iran and hang on to our glorious Jewish identity and culture, and above all the love and support for the state of Israel, our REAL homeland." Well, then what the hell are you doing reading The Iranian? Is The Jerusalem Post web site down? LOL!

Iran belongs to all Iranians. No matter what your enthic or religious background, this is your land. Even if you are a self-hating Iranian.

Siamak Namazi

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* No wonder

No wonder Jewish people are not treated with the respect they claim to deserve. Mr. A. Gheytanch has said it all. You do not deserve to call yourself Iranian ["I must be a Jew"].

Asghar Tahdighi

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