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    March 2000

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


* Iran-U.S.:
- Demonization of Iran
* Pressure cooker:
- Vicious self-loathing
* Hostage:
- No justice

* Fiction:
- Hakim vs. doctor

- Exquisite
- Best novel
* Iran.:
- Iran Air dreams

- Love affair
* Women:
- Get smart
* Radio:
- Love your radio show

Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    This months's index:

* Iran-U.S.:
- Demonization of Iran

- Great disappointment
- Zand: Two and two

- Tired of not getting along
- Bunch of crap
- Iran Air dreams

- Love affair
- Don't deify Khatami
- Hope Khatami is not Khomeini
- Yaar dar khaaneh
- Cheraa roozegaar eentoree kard?
- Nothing has changed
- C U soon
- Have some mercy
- Reply: Not the right time
- Scientology

* America:
- Broken promises

* Language:
- Salty head

* Persident:
- I want justice, or else

- Tears, almost
* Race:
- Knows nothing, obviously

* The Iranian:
- Pro-American:
- Zendeh baad!

- Mordeh baad!

* Hostage:
- No justice

* Women:
- Get smart

- Satan incarnate
- Sikh

- Why wear the hejab?
- Redemption
* Fiction:
- Hakim vs. doctor

- Exquisite
- Best novel
- Love your radio show
- Better Noruz
- Very sad
- Final destination: Democracy!

- Deep emotions
- Passion
- Missing the point

* Diaspora:
- Bombay hostages
- Seven sisters

* Rafsanjani:
- Unreliable

* Green Card:
- Don't give up

- Owe apology
- Implausible

Pressure cooker

By Banafsheh Zand

- Vicious self-loathing
- Two and two
- Dealing with Ali Akbar

- Bring on the future
- Our own worst enemy

March 31, 2000

* Demonization of Iran

In response to Mr. Stewart George's letter ["Iran-U.S. Poll"] I must say that the result of this poll is an honest reflection of twenty years of constant, systematic, and severe demonization of Iran as a country, and Iranians as a culture by the U.S. media. Of course this has been backed and supported by Iran haters, bashers, and their lobbyists >>> FULL TEXT

Masoud Neshat

Go to top

Pressure cooker
* Vicious self-loathing

By Banafsheh Zand

I'm really nauseated by the judgments that Iranian men and women pass on each other. As I've said many times before in my never-ending rants, the fact is that there's something predominantly negative and judgmental about our culture. Women have attitude problems with other women, families have inexplicably contrary dispositions toward each other, and men hold dim views of other men and so on. Somehow we are a culture of suspicious minds AND YET, we seem to bask in the splendor of ourselves!...

I could be wrong but it seems to me that this vicious circle of self-loathing that we espoused generations ago, appears to be the mindset of a culture that's been/felt conquered time and time again. The Mongols rode in and pillaged; the Arabs attacked and imposed their dominion. The British, the Russians, The Americans and now our own turn on us! >>> FULL TEXT

Go to top

March 30, 2000

* No justice

I would like to comment on the issue of Terry Anderson's "judgement" against Iran which was addressed in Bradley Hernlem's article ["Who to blame"]. When the judge announced that the Iranian government must pay Anderson $341 million as compensation for his 7 years of captivity, I wrote a letter to Anderson via email.

Unlike Dr. Hernlem's letter, mine was not very diplomatic. There is no longer any room for diplomacy here. Far be it from the fact that the Iranian government is not directly responsible for his ordeal, since he was held in Lebanon by an Arab resistance group, a U.S. federal court does not even have the jurisdiction to tell a sovereign nation's government what to do. That is obvious. Americans will forever think that the rest of the world should be subordinate to their laws and should do what it tells them to do >>> FULL TEXT

Nariman N.

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* Love your radio show

Regarding Radio Saba in Kansas City ["Broadcasting pioneers"]:

Although I am not Iranian and only know a few words of Farsi, I love listening to your program when I can (usually on Sundays). The music is very nice.

I also really like the sound of Farsi - it reminds me of my best friend back in college days - a guy named Reza Shaikhzadeh from Abadan - and two very special Iranian women I was lucky enough to mee: Shoreh and Shideh.

Iranians are some of the best people you will ever meet, and I am glad to be able to hear you here in Kansas City. Thanks for your radio show!

Mark Rush

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March 29, 2000

* Hakim vs. doctor

Wonderful story ["The Herbalist"]. Enjoyed it very much indeed. Is this part of a book or just a short story? Where on earth did you find out so much detail about a hakim's practices, i.e.

"Then there were scorpion oil, snake's oil, sesame seeds, balsam oil, grey oil, essence of turpentine, Glycerine, dried herbage, white powder and blue liquid, humbled on the lower shelves. And on the bottom shelf were stocky cloth bags, a cast iron scale with brass plates, stone weights and pestles impatiently resting in rock mortars. An oil portrait of Imam Ali adorned the adjacent wall, his daring eyes piercing the air."

I like the touch about his eyes.

My late father who was a French trained doctor used to recount these two stories about Hakims in Iran. Apparently hakims did not like being referred to as "doctor" by patients and used to reproach such a patient by saying "I am not a doctor! A doctor is a man who urinates standing up and facing the qebleh." >>> FULL TEXT

Behzad Djazaeri , F.R.C.S

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* Exquisite

I just wanted to let you know how refreshing it is to read your writings in ["The Herbalist"]. You truly possess great talent and your style is so exquisite. Keep up the great work.

Glayol Banaie

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March 28, 2000

    * Iran Air dreams

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the article about the history of Iran Air and the players involved in building what became one of the best airlines this industry has ever seen ["The evolution of the Iranian airline industry"]. My father worked for Iran Air and most of the names that you mentioned in the article bring back pleasant memories of my father talking about work over dinner those days

    Being part of the Iran Air family, inspired me since age four to become a pilot. Unfortunately, I could not achieve my childhood dream in the cockpit of one of those beautiful Homa birds. I currently fly for United Airlines as a captain and everytime I see an Iran Air picture, it sends chills up my spine and brings back tremendous memories.

    My father passed away on February 19, 2000 in Iran at the young age of fifty and every time we talked on the phone somehow we ended up talking about airplanes and Iran Air. Though I'm sure he was proud of what I have achieved, I know he always dreamed of me flying for Iran Air.

    Well, what would life be without those memories? Thank you so much for the great article and keep up the good work.

    Captain Omid Nekouei

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* Best novel

I am still following every chapter of "Conspiracy in desert one" with great enthusiasm. This is one of the best novels I have read in English in recent years. Thank you for sharing your writings with us.

James W. Young

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March 27, 2000

* Love affair

I read the beautiful story about your sojourn in Iran ["Absence"]. Very well written. It was an adventure for me, one that I will likely never have opportunity to experience myself.

You also demonstrate your intellect and understanding of the good of both countries while remaining honestly objective. Bravo!

And the love affair with your heritage, -- I nearly wept, and yet I have not one drop of Iranian blood in my veins.

Walt Williams

Go to tp

* Get smart

I think the report by Kasra is 95% correct and the woman who used to be a prostitute did change overnight. ["She changed overnight"].

Most Iranian women who migrate to the U.S. have a tendency to be like that these days and I feel sad about the men who fall for these beautiful monsters. I have seen so many cases that I think I can make a fair generalization like this.

I think we men need to grow up and get smart: AVOID MARRYING WOMEN FROM IRAN. IF YOU DO YOU BETTER STAY IN IRAN. DON"T BRING IRANIAN WOMEN TO THE U.S. THEY WILL DESTROY YOUR LIFE. Don't listen to me and experience it for yourself.

Dr Sadeghi

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March 24, 2000

* Satan incarnate

Oh please. You are either blind or unwilling to accept reality here ["Can't just fake it"]. It t is true that we don't know Mr. Kasra's wife's side of this story, if there even is one, but it does not take a psychiatrist to realize that some of these Iranian women -- mainly those that just come over from Iran, are Satan incarnates running around.

It is an undeniable fact that many of these Iranian women change DRASTICALLY once they reach American soil, DRASTICALLY. All of a sudden they have all this freedom and they don't know what to do with it. This often times leads to very unacceptable behavior on their part, and eventually leads to the marriage falling apart.

I have seen it personally TIME AND TIME AGAIN. I don't doubt for a second that what Mr. Kasra says is true ["She changed overnight"]. Because his story is nothing new. There are thousands of Iranian women just like his ex-wife out there. In my opinion, they deserve nothing more than to be sent back to Iran where they belong.

Nariman N.

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* Tired of not getting along

I am tired of our countries -- the U.S. and Iran -- not getting along. I was very pleased to hear that maybe open trade of Iranian products in the U.S. can occur ["Ball in Iran's court"].

I do not know much about Iran and it's people. Only what I hear on the news on TV . It's time for the blocked doors of both counties to open. I am interested in learning and knowing the people, culture, art, living views of the people.

I would buy Iranian products if they are good products to have in my home. I hope we can start trading and talking. It will not hurt our countries' individuality.

L. Brown

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March 23, 2000

* Great disappointment

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright:

National interest or political expediency overrides any consideration for propriety and loyalty. However, higher standards are expected from a super power. For those Iranians who worked hard and served their country before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, your speech at the American-Iranian Council came as a great disappointment...

The U.S. government, driven by its own national interest and at the prodding of the British, decided to assist the Iranian opposition to Premier Mossadegh who was in clear breach of the Constitution. The role of the CIA in the uprisings of August 1953 has been greatly exaggerated. Do you really believe that it is possible with a budget of "one, or perhaps two, hundred thousand dollars" to have a national uprising and a change of government? Your assessment of the situation is an expedient rewriting of history. Many Iranians who played a part in those events find your remarks objectionable >>> FULL TEXT

Kambiz Atabai

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* Pro-American

Your newsletter seems to be biased in favor of Western (American junk) culture as per articles published herein. I believe the people of the world desrve a more balanced, well researched presentation. Still I'm thankful of your efforts to upgrade eastern media activities. I'm for preserving native cultures and get banged up by junk! In solidarity with the great Iranian people!

rogelio-rustico X

Roger Teves

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March 22, 2000

* Don't deify Khatami

In response to Abdy Hashemi's letter I should add that had the Shah and his supporters "eradicated" their opponents there would have been no revolution. Or at worse, there would have been a civil war.

When Dr Bakhtiar persuaded the Shah to leave Iran "temporarily" in order to find a "political" solution to the crisis he also released the 2,300 so-called political prisoners in the imperial jails (not the 100,000 claimed by Western reporters and the Iranian Confederation of Students and other opponents of the monarchy).

Nevertheless, Dr Bakhtiar had his throat cut under the noses of the French police in Paris and this was ordered by the Ministry of Intelligenece in Tehran. The remaining 158 or more assassinations were part of a plan by Rafsanjani's governmnet to "exterminate" so-called counterrevolutionaries.

Khatami was aware of these atrocities and knew about them. He reminds me less of Ghorbachev and more of Khruschev who tried to save his cronies from blame by turning on the Stalinists a clever deflection. So let us not kid ourselves.

However, Khatami has ushered a significant change and I support anybody who helps our countrymen. But let us not deify him until we see complete freedoms. Will he allows women to unveil themselves in public as they did in the 1920s? That would be a day to celebrate.

Cyrus Kadivar

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* Hope Khatami is not Khomeini

In response to Abdy Hashemi who wrote: "[President Khatami] respects oppositions; always reciting 'long live my opponents' .....Now Khatami, as a true follower of Khomeini, is leading the same people to their final destination - DEMOCRACY!"

Do you see any irony in the above sentences? I do not know if some people recall the past or they forget the past the moment they change from former hostage takers and executioners to modern day reformers, but let it be clear, that you can not be tolarant of your opponent and at the same time be a "true follower" of Khomeini!!!

Ayatollah Khomeini is the same person who executed 100,000 people, who ruined a nation, and whose reign led to the departure of over two million Iranians. Under his reign, which was the darkest hours of our nation, most people did not dare to speak. His reign of terror was so massive that even today many Iranians fear to express their ideas.

There wasn't a day where someone somewhere would get arrested or executed or tortured under his reign for often unfounded accusations and for the simple reason of not believing in his way!

We lost a generation to him and we fell hundreds of years behind as a result of him. I hope to God that whoever Mr Khatami is and will be, his legacy would not resemble that of Mr. Khomeini.

R. Khalili

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March 21, 2000

    Pressure cooker
    * Two and two

By Banafsheh Zand

The sad fact is that in 21 years neither Iranians nor Americans have learned ANYTHING. The cavalier American still figures it can bamboozle anyone and the Napoleon-complexed Iranian still begrudgingly placates. If Americans don't stop hustling the world, and Iranians don't realize that they shouldn't be selling themselves short, we'll be back at square one in no time >>> FULL TEXT

Banafsheh Zand

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* Bunch of crap

Excellent observations by Mr. Mirfendereski ["Not so bright"]. Reading on, I recall an incident with the USS Vincennes and an Iran Air carrier not more than a few years ago. You'll recall how much press coverage that little SNAFU (situation normal all f**ked up) got in the US.

Further, about five or six years ago there was a rather small incident in China (Tiananmen Square protests)! You guys remember that, don't you? It had all the human rights agencies screaming bloody murder. However, China gets rewarded with the Most Favored Nation status which essentially means (no tariffs) its goods will compete with local goods. >>> FULL TEXT

Ali S.

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* Why wear the hejab?

Reading your feature on "Why women don't learn Karate" brought back my experience with similar questions as my daughter was growing up...

Nastaran is 13 now and her questioning of the world and its politics has changed. Also she was born in Iran and lived there for nine years which will make it all different from other Iranian children born outside of Iran. When she was very young and was living in Iran it was a question of wanting to wear the hejab as a sign of being an adult. >>> FULL TEXT

Yasaman Mottaghipour

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March 20, 2000

* Better Noruz

Just wanted to thank you (and all the donators) for the photos and info about our past on your page. They really gave me a better Noruz than what I had in my lonely life - presently; THANX!!!

Noruz-e shomaa ham mobaarak,


Go to tp

* Very sad

Your story of Haft Seen ["Noruz in spirit"] was very sad and questionable:

1- When a young girl is determind to make a Haft Seen and fails, it must be because there are obstackles and it is your duty to figure it out and remove those obstacles. It is a serious matter to me.

2- Why are you smoking? It is depressing when your daughter is looking for a "Seen" and comes up with cigarettes.

3- She might miss something that stops the action. Where is your spirit? To me Haft Seen is not important but the understanding of the people and their awareness of the reasons for that particular action is important.

Spring is in the air so they say but you also have to see and feel it . It this year something is wrong, it can be corrected as soon as you are aware of it. When the spirit and feelings come back, one can feel Noruz anytime even in the middle of winter.


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March 17, 2000

* Yaar dar khaaneh

In reply to Gold-Boy:

Naameye ziba va saraasar ehsaase to ra be Iranian khaandam va baraaye tamami e ensanhaye paak va sadeghi ke az zendegi yek donya entezaar va hezaarha aarezoo daarand geristam....

Man ham paj saale pish dorost baa hamaan afkar va ehsaasate to az Iran khaarej shodam va mikham kami az tajrobiate khodam baraat begam. Man injaa baa iraanihaye ziadi barkhord kardam va be jor-at meetoonam begam ke hichkodaam az aanha ehsaase khoshbakhti nemikonnand. Aadam vaghti ke hanooz tooye Irane hameye moshkelaate khodesh ro be vaziate jaame-e nesbat mide, amma vaghti ke vaarede donyaye be-estelaah AZAD mishe taaze halish mishe ke ei baaba faghat ghesmati az oon moshkelaat marboot be ouzae-ejtemaaii boodeh.

To migi tafrih nadaari. Fekr mikoni injaa tafrihe javoona chie? Unhayee ke saalem hastand tafriheshoon Cinema, koohnavardi, safar va injoor chizast ke dar Iran ham gheire momken nist, amma ba kamaale ta-asof bayad begam ke tafrihe kheiliha gozarandane shab taa sobh dar disco, mast kardan va baalaa avordaneh >>> FULL TEXT

Neda X

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March 16, 2000

* Final destination: Democracy!

In an eye-scatching demonstration, on 18 February, the people of Iran elected a new reformist parliament and set aside most of the conservative heavy weights. More than 300 international journalists reported this event which brought recognition from world politicians, including those at the White House.

This fantastic transition to a near-total civilian rule is largely the outcome of President Khatami's policies. He respects oppositions; always reciting "long live my opponents". Unlike the Shah and his puppets who believed in the total eradication of opponents, Khatami encourages criticism but needs support at the same time; after all "Rome was not built in one day". He is steering Iran, in a very charismatic and diplomatic way, towards democracy and is pulling the support of the masses and intellectuals...

Before his triumphant return to Iran Ayatollah Khomeini was pictured in Paris waving to his followers. Time magazine printed this on its front cover with the caption "The hand that shakes the throne". Now Khatami, as a true follower of Khomeini, is leading the same people to their final destination - DEMOCRACY! >>> FULL TEXT

Abdy Hashemi

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* Cheraa roozegaar eentoree kard?

man yeh javoon-e Irani hastam. chand kalameh harf daashtam. meekhaam begam keh cheraa roozegaar eentoree kard baa maa? cheraa tafreeh nadaareem? cheraa maa hameh khasteh shodeem? cheraa hamash hamin chizaaee hast keh too TV neshoon meedan? ["Breaking the rules"]

aahaay kasee keh een email ro meekhooneh: een harfaa dard-e del-e tamaam-e javoonaast. hamamoon yaad gerefteem sobh paasheem bereem sar-e kaar, berim daaneshgaah, nemidooneem chee meekhaaeem. aslan cheh kaar baayad bekoneem? faqat taa cheshm baaz kardeem joz badbakhtee cheez-e degehee nadeedeem.

baabaab maa ham aarezoo daareem beh khodaa. aarezoom een hast keh yeh rooz az Iran beram valee cheh kaar konam? nemeetoonam. chon poolesh ro nadaaram.

omidvaaram keh yeh rooz Iran az shar-e een aakhoondaa raahat sheh.

Gold Boy

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March 15, 2000

* Nothing has changed

Like many concerned Iranians in the United States, I have been paying close attention to developments in Iran for years now. This is partially why I do not find the recent parliamentary elections to be a surprise. Everyone from CNN's Christianne Amanpour to the fellow expatriate next door have heralded this election as the dawn of a "new" Iran ["High hopes"].

I suggest Mrs. Amanpour and Iranians in general (especially Iranian-Americans) wake up. The political system set up 20 years ago has not changed at all. Many critics of the Islamic Revolution (or any revolution in Iran) have always stressed on the shortcomings of the promises of the revolution.

It is ironic how quickly we all forget the fact that Iran was in a war for eight years during which the nation's very integrity was threatened. This does not leave much time for social introspection or many "domestic" issues when you have Mr. Hussein attempting to annex Khuzistan.

In addition to the Iraqi-Imposed War, Iran has suffered from the economic aftermath of the war (that we are still witnessing) and the rapid inflation and destruction of the infastructure of the economy.

Khatami was elected under the system set up after the Islamic Revolution. The new parliament has also been elected under that same system. Nothing has changed in Iran.

When the country is no longer at war and is now recovering from the economic impact of that war, the Iranian people can concentrate on reforms. This includes the purging of opportunists in a democratic government (ex. Mr. Rafsanjani).

I have always had faith in democracy, Islam, and the Iranian people and know that, eventually, the major problems that are present in the country will be solved through the existing democratic Islamic government.

Arya Abedin

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* C U soon

"Dialogue among ourselves", a letter to President Khatami, from Roozbeh Shirazi was traslated into Farsi and published in "Mosharekat" newspaper (Thursday, 19th of Esfand. Page 6 : "Javaan" page), one of the most important Iranian dailies.

C U here in Iran, soon. =)

nEgAr Mortazavi

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March 14, 2000

* Have some mercy

In the editorial intro to "Breaking the rules" you wrote: "Yesterday's assassination attempt against Saeed Hajjarian, a pro-Khatami newspaper publisher, was a shocking reminder that Iran's conservative hardliners will resort to any means to try to stop the movement toward a more open and liberal society. But, as this feature clearly shows, Iranian society is going through fundamental changes, regardless of what the extremists expect the Islamic Republic to be."

I think all regular readers of the forum you publish (=The Iranian) are already quite familiar with the domain of concerns of Ms. Fassihian through her lengthy articles ["Breaking the rules"]. I myself were once tempted (you can read "fooled") and took time and responded to one of her early articles, although I later realized that it probably wasn't worth the effort. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm getting used to the very narrow sense of the word "freedom" that she and other people like her advertise and advocate, either out of ignorance or deliberately pursuing some purposes. (Take CNN's Christianne Amanpour's so-called "Revolutionary Journey", for example.)

What bothers me, however, is how you could be so ... [Forgive me, but I yet have to find the right word to fill in there. "Cruel", maybe? or "narrow-minded"? I'll let you know as soon as I come up with something fit.] to connect the sad assassination of Hajjarian to the content of "Breaking the rules".

It reminds me of Amanpour's recent (purposely?) misleading report where they show student rallies right after whinings of some soosool losers about how hard it is to party there, as if the students were beaten by police just because they were not allowed to party. Oh please!

Honestly, isn't that because you needed to rationalize publishing such an article at a time when the "local Iranians" (as Ms Fassihian uses the word) are concerned about those who are fighting for the true meaning of the (much abused) word "freedom", and thus paying such high prices? Please open your eyes, and have some mercy for those who fought for you.

Ataollah Togha

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* Reply: Not the right time

In reply to Ataollah Togha:

I also expressed to the editor that I didn't think it was the right time to publish "Breaking the rules" because of the tragic incident regarding Mr. Hajjarian. So I appreciate this particular concern. It was the editor's decision, with my hesitation, to publish it with a section on top about Hajjarian.

This article was a simple piece on how young Iranians in Iran spend their free time and where to dine in Tehran. And so the remainder of your criticisms are irrelevant, vague and unintelligible.

Sorry, but just because you have chosen to not appreciate a group's point of view - -in this case the majority of Iranian youth -- does not invalidate their beliefs and feelings. It seems you are the one who is narrow-minded and intolerant, not to mention highly disrespectful.

Dokhi Fassihian

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March 13, 2000

* Sikh

Thanks for the pictures of the women's protests ["Right to choose"]... "mu beh taneh aadam sikh misheh".

Zahra Mahloudji

Go to tp

* Passion

Just read a note on "Shoor-e Zendegi". A reader's opinion, yours and someone else's that you had asked.

"Shoor" under the context used (shoor-e zendegi) would be more appropriate to be translated as "passion": Passion for/of life. Don't know the intent for this issue that you discussed with that reader, but if it's for something of importance/ to be shown, I would give more thought and would possibly go for the word "passion".


Go to tp

* Missing the point

You are missing the point. The "shoor" in SHOOR-E ZENDEGI is not felt by taste-buds. Here it means, as Neda X wrote, fervor and enthusiasm - a completely different meaning for the same word. A third (and somehow related to the second meaning) is the name for one of the Persian classical musical dastgah.

Hossein Bagher Zadeh

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March 10, 2000

* Deep emotions

I, too, stayed up all night searching for news about the elections of the Majlis ["Misplaced"]. Shadi Mokhtari captures the deep emotions of quite a few more people than she might realize. And she does this with an even-handedness, compassion, intelligence, and honesty that is simply beautiful.

Behzad Sadeghi

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* Salty head

In your Photo of the Day (March 9), you translated SHOORE ZENDEGI as salt of life! Just for your information I must say that SHOOR does not mean salt. The word SHOOR is one of the most beautiful Persian words which means sensation, emotion, passion, fervor and enthusiasm. By your translation, the song EMSHAB DAR SAR SHOORI DAARAM, EMSHAB DAR DEL NOORI DAARAM ..... must be translated as, "Tonight, I have lots of salt in my head!" :-)

Neda X

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March 9, 2000

* Unreliable

Mr. Fisk's piece ["Revealed: Role of a president in the murder of his people"] has a few factual errors which make the whole article unreliable.

He maintains that Rafsanjani was the first to disclose the Iran-Contra affair. Anyone familiar with Iranian politics knows how impossible that could be. In fact the first to blow the whistle on the affair was Mehdi Hashemi, Ayatalloah Montazeri's son in law who leaked it to a Lebanese journal (he was summarily executed, and initiated the rift between Montazeri and Ayatollah Khomeini).

Fisk also claims unequivocally that both Saidi Sirjani and Said Emami were murdered by potassium injection. The official announcement is that they died by heart attack and swallowing hair removing paste respectively. Does Mr. Fisk have any new information to confirm they were murdered? He has not made such a claim in the article and no source has been mentioned.

Lastly, Mr. Fisk writes that Rafsanjani did not gain more than 25 percent of the votes in Tehran, but he did. Calculate the number of voters divided by the number of votes for Rafsanjani and see.

Rasool Nafisi

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* Don't give up

In reply to Kasra's article "She changed overnight":

Dear Friend : I know exactly how you feel and I was as naive as you are and experienced a simmilar situation and ended up having a child as well. We aredivorced now.

If I am not wrong, according to immigration rules, her Green Card becomes valid two years after she has received it and only if you are still married and only if you still are willing to petition for her. Therefore, if the same rule still exists, the ball is in your court and you may void her Green Card.

Truthfully, I think you got lucky that you got to know her BEFORE you ended up having kids. This way she can go her way and you never have to see her again.

Get on with your life and leave this ugly memory behind you. But don't give up on beautifull Iranian girls, they are the best. Next time PLEASE do your homework and marry someone with a clear background.

Ahmad from Atlanta

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March 8, 2000

* Scientology

You think the Anthony Robbins thing is bad? I was working for a professional translation company and those guys put me in touch with this F R E A K who calls me asking me if I would translate L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics" -- the Scientology Bible -- into Persian!

I told the guy... Boro Aghaa khejaalat bekesh ... Irooniaa beh andaaze-ye kaafee pedareshoon az dasteh deen dar oomadeh.

The guy then tells me that that is exactly the reason they need Scientology back in Iran -- to free themselves of Islam. So I said, you know, sorry I'm a heathen and don't believe in replacing one addiction with another.

Ban Ban

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* Broken promises

My coming to America was a dream. I once thought I was lucky to a country with lots of hope. My mother didn't want me to leave. She had raised me single-handedly for twelve years under harsh war-timeconditions. She raised me without my father, without the help of a single family member or friends. She dreamed that some day I would become somebody -- somebody who could make her proud.

The sad part is that I was tempted -- tempted to see, to know, and to experience what was happening on the other side of the world. I chose the U.S. over my mother, my loved one, and the only person who could understand me. I left her only because of money, greed, and lack of family.

God, I miss those days when I would wake up in the morning and ask my mother to give me 10 tomans, so I could go to the noonvaii and by two barbaris. God I miss the days I came back from school and there was always delicious food waiting for me, and my mother was waiting for me at the door to greet me and say " azizam chetory, madreseh chetor bood?"

Well, I made a choice. I left Iran to experience something new. However, no matter how amazing those experiences were, to me the experience of being with my mother was the best. I was just a victim of promises.

Mehrdad S.

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March 7, 2000

* Redemption

It's tragic enough to be young, energetic, enthusiastic, bright and intelligent individual in Iran; just image being all that and a woman. Imagine your day to day life of restrictions, a constant reminder of being a second rate citizen in your own home. It's no wonder how Iranian girls are dying to get out of the country at any price. Marrying a strange man half way a cross the world is a ticket for FREEDOM! It's not necessarily about marriage; it's about recovering from a lifetime of destitute and faded dreams. It's about gaining their basic rights as human beings first, not as married wives. It's about redemption! >>> FULL TEXT

Saghi Zarinkalk

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* Bombay hostages

How about this for a story: Because of a dispute between Iran, Britain, and Afghanistan (the siege of Kabul), a whole bunch of Iranian businessmen and merchants were taken hostage and shipped to Bombay sometime in 1850s. By the time the ship got there, the dispute was over, so they freed the hostages in Bombay.

My great great grandfather was one of them. There was no such thing as POW exchange, etc. So, many of them stayed there and that's how my dad's family ended up in Burma. I'm taking dad to Burma next week. He hasn't been there in 58 years!

We found the street he lived on in the city map. I'm going to find out more about the history of the Iranian community there. Dad is very excited, so am I.

Shirin Bazleh

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March 6, 2000

* Seven sisters

A new phase of "Dowom e khordad" is unfolding, which is a calculated attack on the "Bonyads" or various charity fundations supported by the state's annual budget. Recently President Khatami asked Bonyad e Mostazafan to start a "self critique." A deputy of the Behzisti Organization also criticized openly the Bonyad e Emdad e Emam Khomeini >>> FULL TEXT

Rasool Nafisi

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* Owe apology

First off, bravo! for the excellent work! I am a devout fan : ) However, I am writing in regards to the story "She changed overnight." I am writing not in regards to the author or story, despite the apparant flaws of both.

Rather, I would like to respond to the editorial comment "sadly, it is not uncommon" which ran as a header over the story. So, this type of thing happens all the time, does it? It is "not uncommon" for Iranian men to travel back to the homeland and marry part time prostitutes and drug abusers? It is "not uncommon" for Iranian women to behave in such a depraved fashion?

I believe in freedom of speech and have no problem with the printing of this article, despite my disgust for the author and his wife. However, I hold your editors responsible for the offensive header. The vast majority of Iranian women are neither drug abusers nor part time prosititutes. Frankly, you owe us an apology.

Shokooh Miry

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March 3, 2000

* I want justice, or else

[After the victory of the reformists in the Majlis elections] Mr. Khatami has NO EXCUSES when people such as I and my family press for justice:

Mr. Khatami, I want those responsible for the murder of Dr. Abdolrahman Boroumand arrested, prosecuted, and punished according to the Shari'a. Mr. Khatami, I want those responsible for stealing and selling-off my family's properties and assets arrested, prosecuted, and punished according to the Shari'a... and I want compensation -- in full -- for the damages my family has suffered. Mr. Khatami, I want a public apology for the manner in which my family, and many other Iranian families, have been treated over the past twenty years.

Mr. Khatami, I assure you that if this minimum of action is not instituted, you and your reform movement will find the Iranian people pointing you in the same direction as your predecessors- the direction of the garbage bin. I also assure you that I will NOT remove the pressure from you until justice has been served. Reform is not a slogan; it is a very real commitment to change.

I also want to take this opportunity to very publicly say: Mr. Khomeini (and everything that has followed since) has been the very worst thing to have ever afflicted Iran's recent history. The people of Iran could have arrived at this same point twenty years ago without pain and injustice, if it weren't for the misguided selfishness of that old man. The truth must be said, even if it hurts.

Hamid Boroumand

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* Implausible

I am sending you this email in regards to "She changed overnight". Kasra claimst an Iranian woman married him supposedly for Green Card and then changed overnight after she got ot.

The story has several implausible premises. But the most obvious and amazingly stupid flaw of the story is the claim that his bride got her Green Card less than a year after marriage! Well, unless he and the rest of the non-immigrant population of America are dealing with two different INS, this claim does not even qualify as a good lie.

I am not saying that a lot of Iranians do not run into trouble when they marry virtual strangers half a world away and try to make a life with them. But publishing an email like Mr. Kasra's does not generate any sympathy for this group.

I guess the moral of his story is do not marry part-time prostitutes (his words , not mine) and expect a wholesome harmonious relationship.

Brian Mottaghi

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March 2, 2000

* Zendeh baad!

I just wanted to render my unconditional BRAVO again for a wonderfully professional job, week in and week out! I've really enjoyed your coverage of Iran's recent elections and the related pieces you have presented.

Ben Bagheri

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* Mordeh baad!

Recently I sent you an article about the accomplishments of my nephew which was not only in the newspapers, but it got him interviews with Voice of America, ANT, the Today Show and more.

But unfortunately our own people didn't even acknowledge his accomplishments to show the Iranian readers that there are many Iranian children who are academically successful.

You are a shame not only to Iranians but to the country of Iran.

Nana Farshad

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March 1, 2000

* Knows nothing, obviously

In reply to Michael Chessman's note to The Iranian:

I must first and foremost repudiate the basic point you try to argue. Iranians are NOT European, they NEVER have been European, and they MOST CERTAINLY will never be European. Iranians are descendants of the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, who migrated south and settled on the present -- day Iranian plateau 7,000-10,000 years ago. These people were known as the Aryans.

There was another group of Aryans who split off and migrated westward toward Europe, and so it can be argued that Iranians share common ancestors with some modern-day Europeans.

But so what?

Frankly way too much has been made of the whole bit about Aryan ancestry. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. But to claim that Iranians actually descended from some blood line originating in Europe is absolute rubbish. It's obvious that this guy knows nothing whatsoever about history. He's just making arguments based on racist underpinnings.

Nariman N.

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* Tears, almost

Reading Roozbeh's moving letter to Khatami ["Dialogue among ourselves"] almost brought tears to my eyes, especially because I find this kind of compassion towards their homeland quite rare among second generation Iranians.

I hope our beloved president hear Roozbeh's voice and he and his parents can visit iran soon.

Ataollah Togha

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