Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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June 11, 2001

* Are people stupid?

Hamvatn-e-Aziz, Doost-e Geraami,

On Friday I took part in the presidential elections and saw the hopeful faces of our people who waited hours under the hot sun to vote.They DID IT ! If you think the voting figures and popular enthusiasm are all lies from "the regime's media" you are far from the truth. Just take a look at the giant Western media such as CNN, BBC, AP, AFP, Reuters... Are they paid by the regime?!

People voted in favor of Khatami and now they are jubilant. They voted in favor of one who, according to you ["Definitely Khatami!"] has "put more journalists in jail in the past few years than Khorsandi ["Entekhaabaat"], he has closed down more newspapers than Khorsandi, he has broken more promises than Khorsandi, he has put more students in prison than Khorsandi and he has talked more nonsense than anyone including you in the past few years. So you are right, he has done quite a bit."

But if what you say is true, is there something wrong with the Iranian people? Are they all "mercenaries of the regime"? Are they stupid? No, I don't think so!

By the way, all the journalists in jail, all the staff of newspapers which "Khatami has closed", all students "who have been put in jail by Khatami", without exception, and the majority of "people who have been deceived by Khatami" VOTED FOR KHATAMI AGAIN! Why? It is a long story. But maybe -- JUST MAYBE -- he is not as our "friend" says. And the truth is something else.

Maybe we would be much better off to open our eyes to the facts of what if going on here in Iran and be more aware of the situation.


* Open diplomatic doors

I pray that the new President of Iran will in fact try to open diplomatic doors with us in the United States. It could only be beneficial for the people of both countrys.

Thank You,

Jimmy Lee
Concerned citizen of the United States

* Can't figure it out

The thoughts, notes and missives are very interesting, but what is happening in Iran? What are these elections all about? Is there public opinion that can define itself into political action or the potential for it?

What do these elections in which 80% of the eligible voters participate tell us about the present and the future of Iran? Does the Iranian public want to separate religion form the rule of government? Are politics and religion so meshed that they have corrupted each other?

The public conversation seems very lively for an outsider but I can't figure out what is going on in Iran, never having been there and having no connection to this culture.


* Khastegeem dar raft

I am (or was) of the persuasion that translating poetry is at best problematic and at worst absurd! But the translation of Sepehri's poem by Mr. Sadri ["Friend"] has changed my mind.

What a masterful rendition. Give this man some Nima! Better than that, blackmail him to translate at least one poem a month. Khastegeem dar raft!

Ramin Tabib

* Sayyad's principles

As long as the Islamic Republic's apologists such as Sabetys ["Canary in a cage"], Maks ["Hats off to filmmakers"], and Hossienis ["What have you done?"] of this world keep voicing, in no unsubtle terms, their support of this inhuman regime and its various manifestations, there need not be any concern for its continuity.

This time the apologists subject of interest is, as Sayyad suggests, the "film making industry". Sabety's sweet invitation to "unity" reminded me of a Khorsandi's (another target of attack by apologists) reference to the same issue ["Entekhaabaat"]. He famously declared in one his stand-up shows: "Iranians, only once in their 2500-year history, showed a great demonstration of unity -- and they brought Isalmic Republic into power!"

Parviz Sayyad is among the greatest politically-conscious, responsible filmmakers, playwrights and actors Iran has produced in the last century. Those who saw his Samad as only an entertaining comic character must have a shallow view of the films and theatre. Those who still remember his weekly satirical TV series, Octapuss (Okhtaapoos), which examined the behind-the-scene aspects of Iranian politics and was eventually discontinued, can testify to his mastery of satire and suspense.

His most controversial production of "Daayereh Minaa" is another evidence of his political principles and dedication. And all these happend during the Pahlavi era where directors were not summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence (as Kimiai and Beizai were) to be instructed by Saeed Emami as to what they must or must not make.

Sayyad's point about the Islamic Republic's filmmaking industry is but the tip of the iceberg. Their attempts in softening the view of the world has generated a new group of Iranian experts: those whose sudden discovery of "art" has made them, apart from great political analysts, art critics too.

The tragedy of life abroad is that the majority of us have lost links with the past and have started rediscovering Iran and everything associated with it anew. Perhaps they should be reminded that Iran did not begin its existence from 11 February 1979!


* Golaab be rootoon

One of my morning rituals on Saturday mornings is to fix myself a nice cup of coffee and sit behind my computer to catch up with the latest stories and news in my favorite internet sites. One of these sites is The Iranian.

Saturdays are the best time to browse over what's been submitted during the week. I usually start with the Letters section, then move on to photos, Anyway section (because they are a quick read), and then I go to the feature articles, etc.

This morning when I clicked on the Anyway section ["Full count"],which by the way I usually enjoy. I came across a picture of a matador and his amigos having a hard look over his displayed private parts after what seems to be a very close brush with a raging bull. It was disgusting!

I don't need to see that crap first thing in the morning, over my morning coffee (or any other time, for that matter). Was it funny? It can be, in an adolescent, cheap sort of way in a different site. This is the sort of material I expect to get in a forwarded email from a 15-year-old cousin.

I, particularly, wouldn't go out of my way to look for humor like this. It just ain't my bag, that's why I browse sites like The Iranian for the likelihood of reading a piece with some substance. There was (is) a huge debate over Nooneh's stories over whether or not they are of sublime or explicit nature. Granted, there is a lot of room for argument, if one chooses to look at it that way.

But this picture of the exposed matador, to be in The Iranian, was just too OFF. I am not saying "Oh no, they published a picture with a man's private parts in it" - not exactly. I am talking about the humorous value of it and it's obvious contrast in the this site in general. Is this the type of cheap humor you want to be known for? There are plenty of other sites in the net that carry pictures like this, but they are not The Iranian. They don't have the intellectual content or the weight of The Iranian, which is pretty hard to match.

My question goes to the editor: why and how can you let yourself risk cheapening this site that you and the readers have worked so hard to build to what it is become today by publishing material like this? Maybe you're agenda is to get a rise out of the readers and improve the number of hits on the site. It is a pretty good strategy for the short-run. Will you win over the reader's hearts in the long-run? That's a different question.

In a different perspective, I would like to add that some of your feature articles come from the most educated people we have. These people are university professors, best-selling authors, or experts in their fields, and they contribute a piece of their work, opinion, and research to this site. I am not speaking on their behalf. But if I were any of them, I probably wouldn't want my article to be published next to (or in the same page as) a matador's family jewels in the weekend edition of The Iranian. Golaab be rootoon!


* If I was a guy

This letter is in response to a letter from Noosh ["One voice among many"]. This young lady who is talking up for Nooneh, and who has mentioned my name. ["Ahh ahh"]

Firstly, I never said that Iranian women/girls should hide their sexuality and be covered. I myself have been living outside of Iran for 15 years now. I am merely saying that an Iranian girl is respected for her cleanliness and virginity.

I mean seriously , if you were a guy would you rather be with someone who has slept with every guy she has had a relationship with or would you rather she remained a virgin? I know if I was a guy I would opt for the second option. That goes for guys as well. I'm not saying that only girls should refrain from such acts, but guys too.

These stories written by Nooneh, have no meaning. They are all a load of rubbish, as another letter writer by the name of Nariman Nayshapouri wrote "She claims that it helps her 'heal and understand'. How? In what way does talking about your sex life in an open, public forum help one heal and understand?"

Therefore no one respects this Nooneh's stories, and for those who do like Noosh Khanoom, you must be in the same boat as her, and I feel sorry for any man that is going to get into a relationship with you. And if you're trying to find a decent Iranian man to marry, well good luck to you!


* Real literature

There is nothing strange about an Iranian writing about Iranian lives, no matter where they may be -- New York, Los Angeles or Tehran. But it becomes more challenging when the writer enters other worlds, diffrent from his or hers. Things from the brave new world just come toward the Persian soul... embrace it... touch it... or scratch it with brutality... This is real litrature. Thanks to Nooneh, for her beautiful "June".


* Nooneh is all of us

I have been reading Nooneh's stories. I am very surprised to see so many letters criticizing her and more surprised to see that almost all of them focus on sex. Doesn't she point out anything else besides sex?

It would be fair to say that we Iranians or so deprived of natural behaviors, such as sex, that we fail to pay attention to anything around it. To me, Nooneh has so much to say besides sex. See how she (as an author) is confused when it comes to love. See how love and lust are presented as one and how love despairs in the shadow of lust.

See how she, wrongly in my judgment, looks at how lovers break up. See how she argues that breaking up is natural. Is it natural, I ask? See how beautifully she writes. To me the style of her writing and the binding between the events in her stories are admirable.

I think Nooneh is all of us. I think we need to update our mentality towards the issues she raises. I think we need to accept and admit that sex is as natural as we are human and there is nothing so TABOO about it and the more we understand it the better we will be as human beings. What we learn or not from Nooneh's stories is how it is presented.

I think Nooneh's stories are about relationships, where sex plays a part. I think Nooneh's stories are encouraging us to "re-look" again what human relations ought to be, is about, or is not about. She forces us to compare the values she offers, when it comes to relationships, with what, for example, Yasaman offers in "The key" .

Nooneh's stories teach many healthy and unhealthy thoughts other than sex. We need to read between the lines. Between the lines, there is so much to talk about. Don't let sex fool you.

Javad Chavaoshi
Washington College of Law

* Culinary historian baashi

Dear Ashpaz Baashi,

Thank you for all the wonderful historic insights into our favorite dishes. You should be called "culinary historian baashi."

For many years I carried with me the question of why or who is "olivier" of salad fame. And Polombiere is one of those wonderfully delicious sounding desserts that lives up to its name. It's very musical name conjures up memories of childhood sneaks into the kitchen, late at night, when my parents had parties. Thank you for reviving old memories.

S. Sabety

* Gifted astrologer

Dear Mitra Faalgir,

I have been reading horoscopes since you started writing them in I think you really are gifted because my horoscope prediction is very close to my real life. I was wondering if you give any personal feedbacks?


* Persian interpreters in New York


my name is Joan Banta, I am a co-owner of Banta Translation Services in New Jersey. We are in need of Farsi/Persian interpreters in the New York area. We deal with all legal matters, including depositions, hearings, court trials, immigration, etc. It has been extremely hard in finding interpreters and I wondered if you can help. We pay hourly and offer a three hour minimum to all our interpreters. If you have any information, please contact me.


Joan Banta

* American School of Isfahan


I am Alireza Ayough, driver and purchaser at the former American School of Isfahan (ASI), during the 70's. I am looking for anyone who may know me and could give any information about people who used to work there.

Thank you very much,

A. Ayough

* Torang Rahimi


My name is Behnam. I'm looking for my friend Torang Rahimi who lives somewhere in Canada.

Behnam V

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June 2001
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