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    Septembert 7, 1999

Traveler of tomorrow

Dear JJ (Jahanshah Javid),

Congratulations on the anniversary of your electronic magazine.

Although you have created this doubt in my mind that you may not have enough time to read the rest of this letter, I will continue my words, knowing that the jest is reflected in the first line of this letter and you have read it already!

You appreciate that, as a reader and admirer, my heart and mind, out here, have been with you all along this hectic and creative adventure. There are times that I do not like what you write but I always have liked the wayt you do your job.

To be honest with you, I see a reflection of my younger days in what you do. I am now 57 years old. (I cannot believe it but it is true.) And you remind me of my days when I was 22. When was that? A good 35 years ago. How old are you? Were you born then?

I and a few friends of mine -- a bunch of students at Tehran University, people like Bahram Beizaie, Mohammad Ali Sepanlou, Ahmad Reza Ahmadi, Nader Ebrahimi, Nasser Shahinpar, Akbar Radi, Dariush Ashuri -- had decided to publish our own periodical. Like yours, it was a self-imposed crusade. We had decided that our periodical should be called "Torfeh" meaning "new". Selecting a name reflects the necessities of the time as you conceive them.

And what came out of that venture a few years later? The "New Wave Poetry" (Mowj e No) was born, the new cinema of Iran was established, the modern Iranian theatre was enhanced and the new ways of Farsi novel-writing was experienced.

I was responsible for the publication of this periodical. I remember the first day when I and Ahmad Reza went to the bazaar to buy paper. We had to carry it on our shoulders to the printing house situated under the minaret of a mosque!

The letter-setting was slow and full of surprises. The letter-setters were our first literary and artistic critics. They thought our poetry was strange and our stories meaningless. And at another table they were type-setting a book by a grand Ayatollah.

The printing house has always been hailed as the cradle of intellectualism, and the position of this one, right under the minaret of a mosque, could conveniently symbolize the clashes between my generation and the traditional one. But how should we interpret the Ayatollah's book? Here, I do not wish to give away my own reading of this symbolic situation but I could not help mentioning it to you.

Within the span of the last 35 years so much has happened in our country and in the world. I see the name of my friends, e.g., Bahram Beizaie, in your magazine and remember his young and hopeful face half a century ago, when we were high school friends. Now, those young men have turned into elderly personalities of the Iranian art and literature.

I write this to make you aware of a future that is not far from us. What will you and your readers will think about these present days? Who will remember you and appreciate what you did? I am sure your endeavors will be a part of the history of our life in exile.

You live in today but you are a traveler of tomorrow. That is why what you do in every hour of your present life will be weighed by the people of another day, when you are turning into an old man and your computers are no more considered to be the most advanced means of communication.

When you get to that age, remember me and my generation, wrapped in the mist of time, and present only in words and memory

Good luck,

Esmail Nooriala

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