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    August 2000

    Letters are posted here a week after they appear in The Iranian Times.


* Nude:
Hope God guides you (or destroys you)
* Humor:
- Jokes made to protect Reza Shah
* Iran-U.S.:
- American missionaries in Iran
- Not good to ridicule
- Malaagheh
- Man behind Googoosh
* The Iranian:
- Aalbaaloo gilaas
* Politics:
- Rafsanjani, no (fair) chance
- Khatami will win again
* Film:
- Tired of films with poor kids
- Ghoncheh Tazmini?
- Can you dig it?
- Bubble-gum cinema
Film du jour
* dAyi Hamid:
- Clean laughs
Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    This months's index:

* Nude:
Hope God guides you (or destroys you)
* Film:
- Tired of films with poor kids
- Ghoncheh Tazmini?
- Can you dig it?
- Bubble-gum cinema
Film du jour
* Mojahedin:
- Not good to ridicule
- Finally!
* Harassment:
- Seeking justice against sexual harassment
* Iranians:
- Lying is a habit
* Rug:
- Persian rugs with American designs?
* History:
- No documents, no history
* Photos:
- Perfect
* Ancestry:
- Maybe, just maybe
- Persians in China
- I'm not Arab American
* Militia:
- War heroes deserve respect
- Respecting soldiers
- Psychological help
- Punishing horrible crimes
- Don't teach hatred
* Googoosh:
- Touched their lives
- Traveling in times
- Googoosh not for me
* Religion:
- Pahlavis should learn
* Art:
- Inspiring Neshat
- Self-discovery
* The Iranian:
- Aalbaaloo gilaas
- To educate, or entertain?
- Slightly harsh
- Poor judgment
* Sex:
- REAL Iranian culture
- Get a grip, yourself
- It's year 2000
* dAyi Hamid:
- Clean laughs
- Vulgar
- Keep rocking the boat
* Googoosh:
- Malaagheh
- Man behind Googoosh
- Dreams do come true
- Qorbunet beram elaahi!
- Googoosh's teacher
- Good cry
- Best entertainer -- ever
* Abadan:
- Fond memories
* Persian Gulf:
- Taking over the Persian Gulf
* Identity:
- Women are not men, Persians not Arabs
- Wonderful message
- Behkhodaa we're Italian
- True stereotypes
* Humor:
- Nothing wrong with a joke
- Jokes made to protect Reza Shah
- This isn't a joke
- Racist jokes
* Millennium:
- Your wisdom
* Art:
- Inspiring Neshat
- Self-discovery
* Migration:
- American mind, Iranian heart
* Politics:
- Rafsanjani, no (fair) chance
- Khatami will win again
- Final say
- Poosteh kharbozeh
- Logic instead of anger
- Follow China
* Jews:
- Defend Ganji, not Jews
* Shamlou:
- Shamlou no Hafez
- Void left by Shamlou
- No benefit to free enterprise
* Iran-U.S.:
- American missionaries in Iran
Iranian hospitality
- Talk is cheap
* Prostitution:
- Sympathy for prostitutes

September 1, 2000

* Hope God guides you (or destroys you)

I surf your site every day. But this week you had a so-called painting of a naked woman on your front page. Shame on you.

You are not Iranian. Iranians have "hojb o hayaa". You are a disgrace to the Iranian people. I ask God to guide you and if not destroy you!

Mehdi Payravi

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* Tired of films with poor kids

If we really think about movies like "Children of heaven", "Apple", etc. , you see all these miserably poor kids, doing incredible things so that they can buy a god damn "shoe" or "watch". I'm sorry but I can't sit there and watch a movie where all women are covered by a chador all the time and you hardly can see their faces. I'm also getting tired of seeing misery and suicidal people...etc.

It doesn't represent my reality and it doesn't inspire me... it just reminds me how awful things still are in Iran >>> FULL TEXT

Dario Margeli

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* Ghoncheh Tazmini?

I wonder if you can help me. I rented a movie The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas that came out in 1999. At the begining of the movie, there was a brief appearence by a beautiful Iranian woman. Her name was Ghoncheh Tazmini. Could you tell me about her; where she is from and is she a popular actress?

Floyd Gadd

Editor: Never heard of her. But there's a poem by a person by that same name (very uncommon name) in the Iranian women's web size, zan.org.

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* Jokes made to protect Reza Shah

I just want to mention that there is a research that shows that jokes against Turks and Rashtis were part of a strategy to prevent protests against Reza Shah. Unfortunately I have forgotten the reference but I hope if someone knows about it will provide information.

Also I should remind you about the famous poet Ostad Shahriar who said about this subject: Beh rashti kaleh maahi khor, beh turki turke ... gofti

Ali Moradi

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Augus 31, 2000

* Malaagheh

Well I just finished reading your so-called review of the Googoosh concert in New York and I must say I am quite dismayed by what I have read ["Baptized in tears"]. No wonder critics are hated even more than what they criticize. Where do you get off judging all the aspects of Googoosh's show?

The only aspect that you were right about was our oneness - being one people from one place and that is IRAN! Too bad that you decided to leave that as an unimportant thing in the last paragraph of your so called: "MAGHAALEH". Well to me, it was more of a "MALAAGHEH"! If you get my meaning!>>> FULL TEXT

Abbas M. Zadeh

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* American missionaries in Iran

Comments on Blood & Oil: Memoirs of a Persian prince by Manucher and Roxane Farmanfarmaian: Dear Ms. Farmanfarmaian, I just finished reading the book "Blood & Oil" and I found it fascinating! I had been giving credit to your father for the bulk of the writing, but in the Web heading with your name I see that you should get the credit for most of the writing. Congratulations!

Part of the reason I found the book so fascinating is that I grew up in Persia/Iran. About the time your father was sent to England for school, I was born to Presbyterian missionary parents in Rezaiyeh (Urumia) in Azerbaijan. Except for furlough years (basically 1928 and school year 1937-1938) I lived in Iran. I can picture many of the places that are mentioned, though I saw them from quite a different perspective than your father. My parents were stationed first in Rezaiyeh, second in Tehran 1934-37 and finally in Resht (Rasht) where my father died and is buried in the Armenian cemetery. One sister died and is buried at Seir just outside Rezaiyeh. My mother retired in 1957 and died in 1974. But there are many memories. I left in 1944 after D-Day opened up a way to get back to the USA via the Atlantic >>> FULL TEXT

Myrtle (Browning) Fulton

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August 30, 2000

* Not good to ridicule

In response to dAtyi Hamid's ["Hamvatanaan-e araaqi": I read your satire piece about the "Mojafeqin". I don't condone what they are doing as an organisation but believe many who joined their ranks believe genuinely that this is the only way. Just because you and I don't agree with their methods and strategies it doesn't justify our blatant and mindless attack on their beliefs >>> FULL TEXT


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* Man behind Googoosh

I feel our people don't give credit to Shahyar Ghanbari as he is the one behind Googoosh's success. It was his poems that touched our souls.

Of course Googoosh is also a very talented artist but look at the history of the hit songs: Do Mahi, Harf, Safar, Jomeh..."Baa soghouteh dastaayeh to dar tanam chizi forou rikht..." These were all written by Ghanbari.


Nicole Radmand

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* Aalbaaloo gilaas

First of all thanks a lot for the good job and for creating such a wonderful forum for all of us. Second, CHERAA CHESHMAATOON AALBAALOO GILAAS MICHINEH?!

Lately the links on The Iranian Times have sometimes been mixed up. For example the link which was supposed to go to the article about Persia in Hollywood films ended up in a story about pistachios!

Bbut you know what? I think even these small mistakes are fun and make The Iranian more unique.


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August 29, 2000

* Rafsanjani, no (fair) chance

I think you are mistaken in your assumptions about Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ["Man in the shadows"]. I doubt, if by the time of the next presidential elections in a years time, Rafsanjani can win a fair and free election against Khatami, given the present images of the candidates in the public mind...

Now, if he were to stand against somebody like Abdollah Nouri or Mohsen Kadivar, that might be a different matter, and he might even lose. But no such chance exists against the candidates of the conservative right like Ali Akbar Velayati or Ahmad Janati or Rafsanjani >>> FULL TEXT

Behzad Djazaeri
M.ch , F.R.C.S

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* Khatami will win again

I read the first part of the article with great interest. It's an interesting theory and definitely plausible ["Man in the shadows"]. However, in the second half of the article, Mr. Sajjadi claims that Mr. Rafsanjani has some hopes of becoming the next president of Iran.

Everyone who has visited Iran in the last three years is shocked with the popular support for Mr. Khatami. His efforts to relax the strict rules of women's dress cover and other daily behaviors has brought tremendous support for him.

The economic situation although very harsh, does not seem to affect people's judgment when comparing Mr. Khatami with the alternatives. If Iran continues to have free and untainted elections, my guess is that, Mr. Khatami will definitely win another term in the office.

Bardia Saeedi

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* Can you dig it?

In regards to ancient Persia being represented in film ["Persia?"], we can't overlook the overt reference in Walter Hill's cult classic "The Warriors": New York, the turbulent late 1970s-- disunity and factional conflict erupts between rival gangs out of the confusion and rage provoked by the shooting of the ecumenically-minded underworld overlord Cyrus... "Can you dig it?"

Cyrus Samii

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August 28, 2000

* Bubble-gum cinema

Finally someone with enough guts to put into words what many of us have felt all along about the new invasion of Iranian cinema ["Not THAT good"]...

What is of concern is that once this fascination ends, what is remembered of this era of Iranian cinema is one epitomized by a simplistic, bubble-gum-humanistic view of Iran and Iranian culture which trivializes the complexity of we know the real Iran to be >>> FULL TEXT

Ramin Tabib

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* Film du jour

I read with great interest Naghmeh Sohrabi's critical piece "Not THAT good". She is right to be criticizing the critical unquestioning of Iranian cinema.

I live in England and unfortunately the same applies here, if not worse. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have fallen into pointless heated arguments with Qestern intellectuals on this issue. It is as if they are forbidden to make negative comments >>> FULL TEXT

Nargess Shahmanesh

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* Clean laughs

I just wanted to tell dAyi Hamid that it was so refreshing to see things like this ["Zan gereftan"]! We Iranians really could use some clean laughs while getting a taste of our culture.

Keep up the good work DAyi Hamid.

R. Habibi

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* Baamazeh

dAyi Hamid khasteh nabaashi! maghaaleh-haatoon kheili jaaleb hastand va man az khoondaneshoon kheili lezzat mibaram ["Zan gereftan"]. Omidvaaram keh hamisheh movafagh bashid va baaz ham baa nevashtan naameh haaye baamazzatoon maa raa mostafiz konin.

Sheila Mohabbati

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August 25, 2000

* Finally!

Congratulations! Just thought I would let you know that The Iranian is now among the many sites that cannot be accessed in Iran through Neda Rayaneh (and possibly other Internet service providers). I guess you too are officially censored now. When you try to access it, it says "You are not allowed to connect to the requested site."


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* Vulgar

I am flabbergasted and ashamed, to find yet another feature story with no substance: "Zan gereftan". This parody, it maybe funny, but very offensive to not only to women but to all of us. The feature is vulgar and chauvinistic.

Some of the words the author used are not appropriate for the general audience. Is Iranian.com becoming a tabloid? This is not an attack on freedom of speech, it is merely to point out responsible journalism.

Morteza Loghmani

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* Nothing wrong with a joke

In response to "Racist jokes": I was born in Tabriz to Esfahani parents and was raised in Tehran. I have lived in both the U.S. Deep South and the Yankee North. Because of the number of years I have lived in the aforementioned venues, I imitate the local accents quite fluently and get a kick out of making facetious remarks about each drawl.

I personally don't think telling a Rashti joke or speaking with a Jewish accent makes one racist. Indeed, there are people who don't appreciate this sort of amusement, but they are in the clear minority. Stereotypes begin in the first place because they are all somewhat true.

I don't think an Azeri was ever denied entrance to a university or an Esfahani to a bank due to their ethnic heritage. If anything, Iran is one of the few countries in the world where the capital has moved from one corner to the next; most Tehranis today are, in fact, descendants of people from the other provinces.

About your comment with regard to the Shahanshah starting this "racism," if you mean the late Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, then I suggest you do more research on this matter. Moreover, if you find jokestan.com full of bigotry, then stop reading it. Why should the thousands of other readers of The Iranian be denied the most jocular Iranian site on the Web?

Mehran Azhar

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August 24, 2000

* Taking over the Persian Gulf

I'm a Kuwaiti citizen. That means we are very close to each other yet my root is very Arabic and I'm Sunni .

I'd like to know do you really think that you should take over the Gulf area and rule there ["Snake island"]? What is happening in my country is that a lot of Iranians cross the border as illegal immigrants and most of them smuggle drugs.

No offense, but don't you think since the revulotion pepole miss the freedom and the luxury? Anyhow these are my thoughts and I would like to hear your answer .

Amani al-Omani

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* Maybe, just maybe

In response to Sheri Zandi, "Behkhodaa we're Italian": I think you must have had Iranian ancestors since Zandi is a very prominent Persian last name. One of the dynasties that governed Iran about three hundred years ago was called the Zand dynasty and its founder was called Karim Khan Zand. So maybe, just maybe, you have an Iranian ancestor in your distant past.

You can investigate your genealogical tree. After all Persia and Rome where once powerful empires and neighbours and came quite often into contact with each other. Even your first name is very Persian. Sheri is the abbreviation for the Persian female name "Shirin". Shirin in Iranian literature has the same meaning as Juliet in English literature because of Romeo and Juliet.

Actually there are many Persian names which have found their way into Western hemisphere like Cyrus, Darius, Roxana, Shervin, Shaheen etc.

Mohammad Yamini

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August 23, 2000

* Smiles at the CIA

I came across the article by Mr. Ashraf ["Conspiracy theories"] while going through The Iranian. Although this might be a late contribution to this topic, I felt it might be of some help to Mr. Ashraf's research intersts.

First things first. I noted how carefully Mr. Ashraf has avoided the use of the word Iran and replaced it with Persia. It is beyond the scope of this note to enter into this debate. However, I wished Mr. Ashraf were equally mindful of the use of the word "theory".

I suggest he should look up the word and then compare it with that of the word "hypothesis". To make it easier for him, might I suggest that "theory" is used when a "hypotheis" is established by proof. I found it a little ironical that our great scholar chose to ignor this subtle difference while religiously adhered to the use of the word Persia for Iran!

Secondly, Mr. Ashraf's simplistic account of the word conspiracy and its ramifications (adopted from a psychology text book) should bring some smile on the faces of those working in the offices in Langley-Virginia, Vauxhall Bridge-London, and Red Square-Moscow. After all, the idea of their corresponding governments spending billions of dollars on a bunch of people to delude other people, thousands of miles elsewhere, sounds ludicrous!


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* Fond memories of Abadan

As a 19-year-old in 1977, sent out from England to help in the language lab department of Abadab Institute of Technology (AIT), I recognise many of the photographs here ["Abadan"]. I have several hundred similar!

I have many fond memories of the people, and the places I visited during the six months I was there and would welcome any contacts with anyone who was at AIT at the same time.

James Alden

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August 22, 2000

* Seeking justice against sexual harassment

I am an Iranian medical doctor. I began practicing as an MD in 1985 in Iran. Then I left and came to the U.S., where my problem began. I am writing for help from Iranians who can assist me.

What happened to me at the University of Nebraska Medical Center was an obvious case of gross discrimination against me as a woman and as an Iranian. The program director took sexual advantage of me.

Many people, when they hear about sexual harassment, automatically think, "Oh, she's just trying to make money." I swear to everything I believe in that I don't want any money. All I want is justice >>> FULL TEXT


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* Dreams do come true

Googoosh's concert in Los Angeles started at nine o'clock with the band entering the stage. They started with "Talaagh" which is one of my all time favorites. Who can forget her in that white dress with Farah Fawcett's hair-do in the original video? The band played the tune and the crowed screamed. Then there was a moment of silence. The lights went out. Five seconds later there was a beam of light and Googoosh was standing in the middle of the stage with her head down.

Bigger than life. That's the only way to describe Googoosh. God; is it real? Please tell me the good old days will return soon. Oh wait it's too soon for that; let's just enjoy the show. The crowd went absolutely nuts. They screamed and cried and clapped and cheered and she stayed silent and still for about a minute. Maybe she was saying a prayer, maybe she was thanking about God, or maybe this was just part of the show. I don't know but whatever it was, it was just right >>> FULL TEXT

Shahin Rezai

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August 21, 2000

* Lying is a habit

Two years ago I was vacationing with my family in Cyprus. One day as we were riding in a taxi the Greek driver began to make unwelcome advances toward one of my mother's friends. As she was attempting to evade his proposed date later that evening, the taxi driver said "I am not Iranian, I do not lie." Later, he explained nonchalantly to me "Almost every Iranian I have met has lied."

Shahriar Zahedi in "We must lie" wrote, "it is safe to assume that there once existed among the Persians, a certain preoccupation with honesty and truthfulness..."

Well, my reply to this statement is an unequivocal no. There are two reasons why the famous Herodotus excerpt about Persian youth being taught to "ride, shoot and tell the truth" is misinterpreted >>> FULL TEXT

Farsheed Khosmood

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* Qorbunet beram elaahi!

Just got back from Googoosh concert in Los Angeles. We had great seats, thanks to my friend Kambiz's generous birthday present! It really was wonderful. Especially the interaction with the crowd. In the midst of a beautiful Turkish song she was singing, a middle aged tie-wearing man in the $500-ticket section screamed: "Qorbunet beram elaahi!"

Shirin Bazleh

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August 18, 2000

* This isn't a joke

In response to Mr. Hossein Tabrizi's letter, "Racist jokes", we are very happy to know that there are people with your point of view out there. Your criticism towards Jokestan.com opens doors to a vast spectrum of social problems/crisis within the Iranian society. Frankly, it is hard to find a starting point for this issue.

We think you would agree with us that many jokes have roots in ethnicity and this is not restricted to Iran. English jokes against French and vice versa, Polish jokes, Red Neck (Southerner) jokes, Mexican jokes, Italians, Jewish, etc. are all examples of ethnic humor and reflection of the fact that no matter why, humor is related to ethnicity. Interestingly enough, a good portion of these jokes are created by people belonging to the very same ethnic background.

In Iran, ethnic jokes have a long history and was not invented by Shahanshah . These anecdotes go back at least 700 years to Obeyd-Zakani jokes. The subject of these jokes are Ghazvinis, Turks, Esfahanis, Khorasanis, Turkmans, Arabs, and even Coptics! Believe it or not, Obeyd's work should be considered as one of the more recent works of Iranians on the subject of humor. Definitely there are older sources that are not available to us for reference.

Ethnic jokes are everywhere. Apparently, people take pleasure in teasing and making fun of each other. But, to what extreme? Why have Iranians pushed the limit so far?>>> FULL TEXT

Jokestan's Self Appointed Board of Directors!

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* Iranian hospitality

I really enjoyed your article "Amazed" by Doug Biesecker and "One planet, one people" by Alan Hale in your August 17, 2000 issue.

It made me very proud to see once again, the hospitality of our people in Iran, from small towns to the big cities despite of all the hardship of day to day life in today's Iranian society still impresses our guests.

Iran is a country filled with rich culture and history and it is a shame that non-Iranians would only see and remember the horrific images of hostages and protesters. In their mind men and women are running around in black chadors and turbans attacking locals and visitors in the streets and it is not a safe place to go for your hard earned vacation or research! >>> FULL TEXT


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August 17, 2000

* Racist jokes

I want to express appreciation for all your effort in creating this excellent Iranian site. There are links provided to most of the available Iranian media, and I appreciate your effort to enabling me to access them.

However, there are many sites full of discrimination and racist materials. It is true that the owner of the site has all rights to create a page and fill it with what he/she wants, but I think we have to decide if we are in the same level as they are.

The web page, "Jokestan" that you have provided a link to is one of these sites. I do not think that you yourself have checked it to read its stupid jokes. This page has nothing to read and enjoy except stupid jokes against Rashtis, Esfahanis, Azarbijanis and other people of our country.

I think it is the time to put an end to such discrimination and racism that was invented by Shahanshah by abandoning them, and providing reasons for such activities.

Hossein Tabrizi

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* Keep rocking the boat

dAyi Hamid! Damet Garm! I enjoyed your article in The Iranian ["Leila ham bad neest"]. You are the only guy who has the balls to write in a "vagheeh" manner and get away with it.

Anyhow with your command of the Iranian community in Los Angeles, I am shocked to see how you can manage being away in Switzerland.

Keep on rocking the boat.


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* Final say

I applaud your fight for freedom in your native country ["No brainer"].

Best wishes for the establishment of a democratic government which is not run by an unelected 'supreme leader' who has final say over everything. Rather, the people of Iran should have the final say over everything, through the medium of lawful elections.

David F Mayer, PhD

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August 16, 2000

* To educate, or entertain?

I have been an avid reader of your news magazine for last two years. Lately, I have noticed a disturbing trend in your feature stories. Some features are informative, educational and some leave the reader with void and wondering what is the point?

As you know The Iranian has become a medium for the diaspora community across the globe. Has Iranian.com become an entertainment magazine? Or are you dedicated to inform and educate the readers about Iran.

The younger Iranians are at risk of becoming shallow-minded and superficial.

Morteza Loghmani

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* Women are not men, Persians not Arabs

What a beautiful letter written by a young son of this old country. There is obviously nothing wrong with being Arab and I personally have a lot of Arab friends whom I am really happy to get the chance to meet with and I honestly respect them for who and what they are.

However, there is an issue called identity. If you are not an Arab you are not and if you are, you are. This is like being a woman or a man, there is nothing wrong with being one of each but if you are a woman you don't wanna be called Mr. --- and vise versa >>> FULL TEXT


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* Persian rugs with American designs?

After reading the article on rug merchants in Tehran, I was deeply saddened to learn how some merchants who obviously are not thinking of anything else except their own profit, are so naively and superficially ruining one of the most precious aspect of Iranian heritage and culture which has been manifested in carpet weaving , by trying to find out what the Americans want or like and changing the carpet industry in Iran by implementing those "American" designs >>> FULL TEXT>>> FULL TEXT


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August 15, 2000

* No documents, no history

I just read Khodadad Rezakhani's article "Not too deep", and would like to add a few of my own thoughts on why there seems to be no in-depth study of Iranian history in today's academia.

One very important fact to remember is that in order to get a detailed insight and understanding into the hearts and minds of Iranians in the past, you need to have access to the written records of the period. I've only recently begun to study Iranian history on my own, but I quickly learned that in some cases Iranians may have been their own worst enemies in preserving a written record for posterity >>> FULL TEXT

Parviz Ghavamian

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* Googoosh's teacher

Dear Googoosh:

Welcome to America! I am so proud that an Iranian has brought her talent to this height and that everyone knows her. I hope to be at your concert in Washington D.C. and that there would be an opportunity for me to hug and kiss you.

Your middle school teacher,

Gitty Shahidi

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* Wonderful message

I just read "Vacationing American style" by Bahar M. Jaberi . I found her story by accident but am glad I did. I enjoyed reading it and the wonderful message it contained.

Russell Burgess

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* Behkhodaa we're Italian

This is in reference to the emails that my family has been recieving from you. I have no idea who you are or what you are. I am offeneded that you assume that we are Iranian because of our last name. We are Italian and have no Iranian relatives whatsoever.

Sheri Zandi

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August 14, 2000

* War heroes deserve respect

Najmeh Fakhraie's latest scribbling ["At war with your people"] leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, for the very reason that her mocking tone should not go unchallenged.

Unlike some readers, I do not dismiss her writings as childish rants, because they open a helpful window into the mind of young Iranians inside Iran, who have the country's destiny in their hands.

But her tendency to heap scorn on the memory of the revolution and the war are insulting for anyone, like my family, who lost loved ones, giving them often willingly, to preserve the sovereignty of Iran >>> FULL TEXT

K. Husseini

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* Perfect

I very much appreciate your great online magazine. I will appreciate it even more if you tell Javad Montazeri that his photos were perfect ["Cheers & fears"]. They show that he is a real photojournalist. Can we see more of his work?


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* True stereotypes

While reading your article "Get real real", I realized that most of my STEREOTYPICAL friends would not read it at all. Unfortunately Iranians are one of the nations that nagative stereotyping about them is absoulutely true. I can not give you reasons, but everyone knows it.

The last extreme transformations in our society, specially among youngsters in Iran, are the fruits of this negative stereotyping. You may see fewer dAyi Hamids among them and more Poopak Taatis because negative things force them to study their unpleasant situations and cope with them (that was a joke :-)

Mandana Asadi Tadayon

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August 11, 2000

* Respecting soldiers

I read "At war with your people" and thought to myself we should respect our soldiers and volunteers who sacrifice their lives for our nation and our county.

We may not agree on the war itself or how long it took. But, we should not forget that there were more than a million men and women throughout the war who did the sacrifice and they should not be mistaken with bunch of thugs many of whom never have seen the battlegrounds.

The people you're talking about are bunch of young impressionable patsies. They are basically used by a group of power hungry who have a lot to lose if things are to change.


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* Psychological help

I want to compliment the writer of the article on the soldiers who can't let the war go ["At war with your people"]. It's time for them to get some psychological help, so they can stop bullying their countrymen and countrywomen. Let the old wounds heal and let the country move into the 21st century.

R. Mehdipour

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* Punishing horrible crimes

In his reply to Najmieh Fakhraei's "At war with your people", Mr Navab writes: "In any event I wish Ms. Fakhraei would come to the point to agree that the individuals she has written about are victims of our society and they need treatment. Insulting is a very old approach. I liked it when Mr. Khachatourian, in the recent Saturday gathering in front of the Federal Building sent a message to these victims: we will forgive you, we won't try you in our courts when we win."

I very much disagree with him . There should be fair and open trials for individuals who have been responsible for all sorts of horrible acts during the last 20 years, whatever many years we have to wait until true democracy prevails in Iran. Mr Khachatourian , whoever he is,"az kiseh-ye khalifeh mibakhshand". If anyone has been just a "victim" let that be proven in a lawful and open court.

Bahar Bonyan

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* Self-discovery

I wish to thank The Iranian for featuring Nina Habibi's "Many me". I appreciate her sharing a creative form of self-discovery and expression, and I will now await her next set of thematically organized images. Her work colorfully remind us that each one of us is indeed "many" images integrated into a whole. We simply choose which image(s) to show the world and which ones to conceal.

Haleh Vaziri

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August 10, 2000

* Persians in China

This is a wonderful website. I enjoyed reading it. There is no mention of Persian Zoroastrian immigrants to China. I am Chinese from China. My family lives in Xuajiulan county, about 28 miles west of Xian (formerly Chang'an) city. Chang'an was the capital of many Chinese dynasties in the past. Many foreigners once lived there, especially from Iran. Some came as merchants, entertainers and religious missionaries.

In 651 A.D., King Yazdgerd III was captured by Muslim Arabs in today's Turkmenistan and beheaded. His son, Pirooz survived and fled east to China. He gathered and assembled other powerful Iranian clans: Garen, Suren, Spabad, Varazpor, etc.

They all passed through the snowy Pamir mountains in today's Tajikistan and made it into China to seek the emperor's help. The Chinese king had a wife who was the sister of Pirooz. So, the court of Pirooz was allowed to set up in exile in western China. Many villages today in northwestern China (Xinjiang, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan provinces) bear marks of Persian ancestry or influence >>> FULL TEXT

Frank Wong

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* Your wisdom

To Fereydoun Hoveyda: I rarely have the chance to read The Iranian Times due to my very busy schedule at work. This morning I got tempted! Your article ["Still an optimist"] was a joy to read.

I wish that you could inject a little of your wisdom and ability into the minds of others like my father and others who refuse to understand and adapt/adjust.

It would be wonderful if you could translate and publish your article in Farsi, especially in NY and LA Persian papers or even appear on TV or radio.


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* Touched their lives

I read the article by Ms. Termeh Rassi and must say that I truely agree with her ["Like Holding my pillow"]. I too went a long way to see Googoosh in Toronto from San Jose, California, and my friends and family were also in total astonishment of why I would do such a thing.

Surrounding me were people holding cellular phones for their friends and loved ones at home. Every song bringing back memories and every song causing someone to break down and cry. remembering, forgiving, forgeting, but mostly reliving a piece of their history that touched their lives >>> FULL TEXT

Bob Danielzadeh

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August 9, 2000

* Traveling in time

If anyone was to ask me to describe Googoosh's concert in Toronoto I would have to refer them to Louis Armstrong's "One of Those Things".

We all experienced her in our own way. But the one common experience (one that perhaps Googoosh shared as well) was traveling in time. We went back 20 years to the days we associate with comfort and home, but we also went ahead twenty years with a dosage of hope and optimism >>> FULL TEXT

Sara Atrvash

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* American mind, Iranian heart

Our peaple never experienced leaving their homeland to find another land to settle down. At least not during the last four or five centuries.

Propably the last mass migration was during the bloody invasion of Mongols. After that most migrations were sporadic and for political reasons (members of Toudeh Party during and after the 1953 coup) and other political activists during the Pahlavi government.

Our generation is now experiencing migration with all the bittersweet complications, such as nostalgic thoughts and homesickness. Crying for Googoosh and Shamlou are symptoms.

Let's be honest: we have AMERICAN brains but our heart is still IRANIAN. We love our culture; our real artists.God bless us and keep our minds sharp and our hearts pure.


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* REAL Iranian culture

In response to Al-Amin's response "Get a grip, yourself", it is so ironic in this day and age, when the Iranian people are struggling so hard to achieve true democracy, to find people with perceptions such as yours!

Does REAL IRANIAN CULTURE mean to put women down and taking their rights away from them? Doesn't REAL IRANIAN CULTURE support mail chauvinism? Does it pay any attention at all to the issues of women?

Why can't we take the good parts of our culture and throw away the old fashioned and backward parts? What's wrong with being progressive thinkers? What's wrong with changing the angle that you perceive life, so perhaps you can comprehend at a deeper level?

And as for the West, even if it does have cultural problems, it treats women the same as men and doesn't deprive them of their civil and sexual rights.


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August 8, 2000

* Poosteh kharbozeh

The maximum leader, the exalted Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, daaamat barakaatoh, finally documented what he has been saying and doing all along, namely that he knows better than the rest of the nation ["No brainer"].

Iranian history is chuck full of these kind of leaders who at the pinnacle of their power lose sight of the uncompromising judgment of history. The aphrodisiac of power has such an intoxicating effect on them that only the sound of Gabrielle' bugle brings back some belated semblance of sobriety and a smidgen of sanity >>> FULL TEXT

Shahriar Zangeneh

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* Logic instead of anger

The attitude implied by the editorial entitled "No brainer" is dangerous in its ability to undermine the reform process -- perhaps as dangerous as the actions taken by the conservative clerical elite. Indeed, the situation demands all the "brain" available to counter the equally threatening potentials for either a furthering of the conservative clampdown, or a chaotic upheaval.

Further interconnectedness and transparency are steps toward a situation of relative integrated peace. Only in such a situation will pragmatic reform be allowed to flourish in Iran, and such pragmatism inevitably seeks to undermine the inefficient, ad hoc nature of the conservative clerical elite, with no excuses for them to cling. This is what is meant by the triumph of logic and reason, as advocated by Khatami >>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Samii
New York City

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* Follow China

I was surprised that Mr. Kadivar thinks the system has made progress by not killing opponents. He must have forgotten the recent attempt on Hajjarian's life, and the previous serial murders.

But I agree with him that any change will be slow in coming. The so-called reformers will do themselves a favor not to get carried away into extremist reactions; which will give the rulers the excuse to do what they did in 1983. They should focus on economic reform, i.e. follow Communist China's model for change.


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* Googoosh not for me

I am not, particularly, a big Googoosh fan. I am the only Iranian I know of who is not. Every member of my family and Iranian friends are asking me if I want tickets to the Googoosh Concert, but I decline.

I fail to see the "artistry" behind Googoosh. Behind all the glamour of Googoosh, there lies nothing more than a Pop icon, incomparable to the contemporary Iranian musicians and artists.

The second part that compromises the "mirage" that we know as Googoosh is the obsession of the expatriate society with all that is pre-revolutionary. This is not just musical nostalgia, this is the personification of an era. Googoosh is the symbol of all that was the later Pahlavi Era in Iran.

For those who want to see a Pop music icon, should quickly acquire tickets to the next Googoosh concert. However, for those who want to see true Iranian music as the art form that it is, this concert is not for you (and I).

Arya Abedin

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August 7, 2000

* Don't teach hatred

Reading the piece by Najmieh Fakhraei surprised me ["At war with your own people"]. It reminded me of the type of insults and disrespect that is used by the not so respectable elements of our society. I am surprised that you approved the publication of this writing.

Modern and progressive understanding considers those individuals that Ms. Fakhraei writes about as social victims. We live in a time that we don't get our frustration and hatred out by bad mouthing >>> FULL TEXT

Mohamad Navab

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* I'm not Arab American

Where I grew up, there were an abundance of Arab Americans, and as I was beginning to meet new friends( Americans) when they started to ignore me. I was wondering what was going on because the Arab Americans started to group together and the other kids were hesitant to talk to me.

Then a few other actions occurred. The American students began asking me why I won't sit with the Arab American students during lunch. I told them that I wasn't an Arab American, and they looked at me with a state of confusion. I told them that I am an Iranian American >>> FULL TEXT

Alex Hooman Gorjidooz

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* Slightly harsh

This picture is taken where they kill chickens before selling them to customers. Considering the fact that most of us eat chicken or beef, the whole idea of killing a bird or an animal for the purpose of eating sounds understandable.

I still agree there is something slightly harsh in picturing it in a photograph and I strongly believe in animals rights too.

Faramarz Kaviani

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August 4, 2000

* Talk is cheap

Gary Sick's long expose on the pearls of wisdom spewed by Dick Cheny in various stages of political undress fails to show how this man, if elected, will fulfill the promise of "Better for Business." Whose business? Just like Gary Sick, Dick Cheney speaks with a forked tongue depending on the make-up of the audience...

Where his fudiciary responsibility to his shareholders dictates Cheney speaks against the Iran sanctions in order to secure for his company a favorable future legal position. And when approached just this week at the RNC in Philadephia, his people seemed to indicate, among other things, that the concern over the "Iran 10" and other issues stand in the way of any removal of sanctions, end of discussion.

The same bunch also referred to Yasser Arafat as a "terrorist" because of the failed Camp David talks.Talk is cheap and Cheney delivers it as well as anyone >>> FULL TEXT

Guive Mirfendereski

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* Pahlavis should learn

I am so sad about the death of Shamlou. As a teenage girl I used to recite his poem "Paria" and loved it. I still do as a woman.

What is interesting is that according to the email no Islamic jargon was recited at his funeral ["Only ey Iran"]. The Pahlavi family should learn from this. So when they go for the Shah's yearly memorial they should not recite the Koran and Fatehe.

I am proud that Iranian people are finally getting freed from the years of Islamic domination and oppression.

Parvin Darabi

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* Inspiring Neshat

I just saw Shirin Neshat's film in Donostia. At the museum I also saw "The Gun and the Gaze" for the first time, and both the film and the book, made a great impression on me, although I didn't get the time to see if there was any translations of the text on the photographs. As a revolutionary in this little country called Norway, this book, as well as the whole exhibition, inspired me a lot.

Stig Gunnar Ringen

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August 3, 2000

* Shamlou no Hafez

I came across a letter about Shamlou and was saddened. Altough I can't deny that Shamlou was a notable poetic figure in the contemporary Iranian poetry scene, to suggest that he is the ranks of Hafez, Rumi or Saadi, only shows the depth of ignorance about these three stalwarts of Persian literature.

Those three masters together with others like Ferdowsi (who was the subject of Mr. Shamlou's meglomaniac rantings) have defined what we call the correct form and structure of our Farsi language.

Mr. Shamlou's lasting memory is his alliance with the Iranian loony left who remain his loyal fans and he is only "great" in their circles and by their definitions >>> FULL TEXT

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* Get a grip, yourself

In reply to Babak, first let me thank you for your sympathy and feeling sorry for my inability to comprehend such complex matters that intellects like you can.

I must say I don't know where you live but even in all Western countries, GOOD-cultured people carry a lot of principles similar to Iranian culture, and if you get someone to show you the real Iranian culture you may understand its roots and values.

As for you, it's because of people like you that the West has so many cultural problems and also a lot of youngsters (particularly in Iran) forget their origins and fall in love with something they don't even understand.

So while we are entering the 20th century I suggest you (and the likes of you) get a grip on yourself and understand what your real culture says (and also the culture of other countries).

As for the "DAMET GARM", well... you're free to GARM anybody's DAM.

Al Amin

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* Poor judgment

Looking at this picture on the cover of The Iranian may be okay once. Leaving it as your banner for a week or so is a very poor judgment.

I could never look at a sheep or any animal being slaughtered in front of me for some old or superstitious custom.

Sacrificing an animal is not going to add or take away anything from anybody. It is time that we learn from our old tradition and update our own way of thinking to the new 21st century.

Iraj Roozbeh

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August 2, 2000

* Sympathy for prostitutes

In response to the man who is/was so outraged at the prostitution link. Yes - it may be sensationalistic - but both you and I have joined the ranks of those writing about it and reading it. Who do you seek to blame if a Jasmine-paragraph achieves thousands of hits? These are after all, your precious and "refined" Iranians...

What do you make of women who wear large, ridiculous, and aesthetically uninspiring cliches on their wedding fingers as a prize or expression of self-worth? Are these accepted bougeoisie ways of living among the sexes (although they are generalized and being reformed in most communities) a form of "prostitution" ?

My intent here is not to insult mainstream women, but to point out some similarities in lifestyle that will hopefully enable you to understand or feel sympathetic for prostitutes themselves >>> FULL TEXT

Leyla Momeny

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* It's year 2000

In response to Al-Amin's letter "Complete outrage", it's because of people like you that we have such a backward and outdated culture. I truly feel sorry for you. It's year 2000, why don't you wake up and get a grip.

Don't insult others if you don't have the slightest ability to comprehend.

I give this guy Mostafa Saber a lot of credit for writing "Aazaadi-ye jensi va as-haab-e kahf". Damesh garm!!!!


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* Defend Ganji, not Jews

I think Israel and U.S. and Europe are enough to defend the Jews' rights ["Let's face it"]. There are people whom nobody in the world cares about. Nobody knows and cares where they are buried.

So, let us take the "shame" and care about the latter group. Let us take the "shame" and care about brave people (e.g., Akbar Ganji) in Iran who go trough the tough time and defend people's rights.

Bottom line:

- You want to defend Jews. Go ahead, specially, if it helps you for your political career.
- You would like to ask other people to support you for that. That is good.
- You don't like somebody supporting Ganji. This is none of your business.


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August 1, 2000

* Void left by Shamlou

I want to share my feelings with each one of you regarding Shamlou's sad departure ["Prophet of light"]. There are times when we feel the need to express ourselves, times when a voice rising from within cannot be ignored any longer, when an event hits too close to home!

Since Shamlou's death I have felt such a void. A passionate voice in me echoes in the language of love, of his poetry. A longing, a sense of loss, an anxiety that evades detection and leaves farther and farther out is lingering in my mind. That's why I feel compelled to write these few words>>> FULL TEXT

H. Vandad
Denver Colorado

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* No benefit to free enterprise

I noticed that none of the U.S. media even mentioned Shamlou's death , even in passing, except the Washington Post with a few lines in the obituaries! Maybe because his death does nothing to advance the cause of free enterprise.


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* Good cry

Thanks so much for writing about Googoosh ["Standing ovation"]. I read it all over again and enjoyed it. Even though I couldn't go to her concert to have a good cry, I cried reading your article. I missed her so much. I wish she would come to Montréal, too.


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* Best entertainer -- ever

Like Termeh ["Like holding my pillow"], my wife and I made the trip from Washington to see Googoosh in Toronto. Even though I had to drive 10 hours the night before the concert and 10 hours the day after, I am not a bit sorry.

As the matter of fact if the driving was twice as much I would have still done it. I got home 3 o'clock in the morning and had to be at work at 8. I made it and I was not a bit tired.

Googoosh is for sure the best entertainer Iran has ever produced. I just wished I could meet her to tell her how grateful I was to her for bringing back all the memories.

Max Rofougar

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