Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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June 14, 2001

* It's embarrassing, really

On Sunday June 10th the news began filtering through the default valve of information of the internet. Princess Leila Pahlavi, 31, had died in a Hotel room in London. I admit, I was saddened at the loss of yet another innocent Iranian.

An almost panic took hold as friend upon friend relayed what they knew and the phone and human conversation overtook the speed of the net as we began to talk about it. Had she died of Anorexia? Or, had she been murdered by the regime? The rumors flew.

It took two days for the news to settle down and for the London Times to report the cause of death as an overdose of pills. Almost simultaneously we began to read the press releases from Farah and Reza who each chimed in (on cue) with their most sorrowful of announcements sounding all too familiar like the royal proclamations of the good old days.

Leila, as it turned out was chronically depressed over the loss of her father, the loss of her family's position as (albeit temporary) rulers of Iran, and was unable to understand the reasoning behind the hatred that the people bore for her father and family.

At almost the same time a recent college graduate closed her books for the last time, checked out of the dorm, threw her bags into her friend's car for the quick hop from San Francisco home to a proudly waiting Maman and Baba Joon in San Diego. On the way they (it's not important how) lost control of their car and were both lost. Just like that.

We won't read about this Iranian princess. In respect I won't even name her for you. Why should I? To us she clearly didn't seem to matter as much as Leila did. Isn't this wrong? Didn't she matter more? After all, she had a life ahead of her, a direction, a point, a plan, a contribution to make >>> FULL TEXT

Omid Ashraf

* Can't erase history

I'd like to thank Jalil for his comment about the Shah's picture on the advertisement ["Don't insult our intelligence"]. I think he's totally off and The Iranian is not supporting any particular group by putting an advertisement that has a picture on it. Let's not forget that picture is not only for the Shah's supporters, but it's a picture that represents some important part of Iran's history!

What makes Jalil or a lot of other closed-minded people think they can erase a part of history they do not like??! The Islamic government has changed all the street names and the important monuments' names making sure the Shah's name does not appear anywhere, thinking that the Shah will be forgotten.

I am not supporting the Shah's regime; I am just saying that it's a part of our history. The history in the world has good and bad chapters but the world doesn't encourage forgetting the bad chapters. Hitler was the ultimate dictator and terrorist, but Germans don't panic and act up when they see his picture as part of history!

So now you are asking why I began my letter by thanking Jalil. It's because his comment actually made me pay attention to that little picture on the screen and I clicked on it. Then I read all the titles and details of the documentaries for sale. After that my curiousity level had gone up and I searched the internet for the Shah and his death.

I hope I don't get fired, but I just spent the last three hours at work reading some very interesting stories about him and his era on some fascinating (mostly universities) websites. I should say I also had tears running down my cheek reading about how he was the king of Iran and did so much for Iran and did not even get to be burried in his homeland.

Every government, king, president, any sort of leader, etc. makes mistakes. The Shah made so many of them, but did enough work for Iran to at least deserve some respect. Like it or not, he, his rise and fall, will always be a very important part of Iran's history. I wish those documentaries would find their way to Iran's national TV for educational purposes. It's sad that as a post-revolution Iranian (bacheye enghelaab), getting educated in Iran, I didn't have a chance to see such documentaries.

The Shah's crowning was a historical event. We need something like "20/20" or "60 Minutes" news shows in Iran to go over these things. They're interesting stories if nothing esle. The Iranian TV shows Khomeini's entrance to Iran at least once a year (when he's coming down the airplane steps), but I was also very curious to see the picture of the Shah leaving Iran's soil with tearful eyes.

Lastly, Mr. Javid, I love your site for having so much variety and that would not be possibe if you would eliminate certain articles, letters, photos, ads, etc.



* Utterly oppose boycott

Dear Mr. Ahmadi,

I have yet to read a more articulate and complete consideration of all the arguments for and against voting ["Rethink and rebuild"]. Though I may not agree with all the points you make, I very much respect your point of view and agree with your ultimate conclusion that the citizens of Iran -those whose future is in Iran- absolutely should vote. I absolutely and utterly disagree with anyone who calls for a vote boycott.

The history of the world is littered with the dashed aspirations of peoples who chose to stay on the sidelines, thinking that their abstinence from engagement would actually change anything/delegitimize anything/say anything. But absence of a vote is only a silence. And as such, I have nothing but respect for those Iranians who chose to vote last week.

That said, I did not vote in the most recent elections, though I could have. The reason: it has nothing to do with the specific content of Mr. Khatami's program, or the nature of the Islamic Republic. Further, I do have a valid Iranian passport and updated shenasnameh, enabling me to vote. The reason I chose not to vote is my aversion towards long-distance nationalism: I live outside Iran and -- even more importantly -- will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I will not suffer the consequences of my vote. When I vote, I vote for how millions of others on the other side of the world live, affecting my life only marginally. It seems to me unethical to have the choice to dictate a particular political result, when I am immune from the short-comings or benefits of that choice. That is why I didn't vote >>> FULL TEXT


* Women feeling more like exiles

Dear Ben Bagheri, ["You're no exile"]

I too really enjoyed Ms. Khalili's essay on her fiance ["Loving a farangi"]. I too refer to myself as an exile even though I can travel back. Here is why. As a woman I do not feel that the exigencies of the Islamic Republic really give me a "choice" to live there. I feel like the government of Iran would not want me to live according to my secular beliefs. I may hide who I really am and return for a trip to see family and country but I can not live there as a free woman.

Also, I looked up "exile" in my Oxford Reference Dictionary (Clarendon Press, 1986). As for all words there is happily more than one definition for exile: "1. Being expelled from one's native country; long absence abroad." I think a lot of us qualify for the second part of that definition.

Another point I have to make is that if an author or writer feels that they are an "exile" then what is really gained by nitpicking on questions of semantics? A lot of us feel like we are in exile here because if we had a tolerable halfway egalitarian government we would be there at home. So if Ms. Khalili feels like an exile it is because she, like many of us, feels like her country has rejected her as a modern non-hejab wearing woman.

Maybe this feeling is more prevalent amongst women because we have to physically transform ourselves every time we walk out that airplane. That is a very tangible reminder that our government does not want us the way we really are. In this way we are all exiles and can only visit as not ourselves but as a masked version of who we are.

So our return in disguise is not a real return but a compromise -- much like watching a peep show is not the same as having sex but only a substitute!

Setareh Sabety

* Parents should read it

I really liked your piece "Break the cycle". I read it just now on Have you sent any translated versions of this to publications that today's Iranian-American parents would read? If not, I think it, and other similar articles, would be of great benefit to them. Afterall, the same things you mention float around in the minds of our young people all the time; but it's not effective until the parents who shape our households hear these points.

However, may I suggest that you tone down the sinicism regarding our young men. Most of your piece is objective and easy to read because it's true -- but, you alienate the male audience, I think, when you take on a sinister tone toward them. For example, "an Iranian man without his ego is like a chicken without its head" and "[no Iranian girl] will put up with her egomaniac, weak son."

Overall, I truly think your message is a very important and timely one that has to be heard by most of our Iranian-American parents. And, I hope you consider my editing suggestion because, however true and well written your article is, it will be left only half-read by many readers if it sounds like you're not keeping an objective tone throughout it.

Thanks for your time,

Arash David Matian

* Just to be able to get married

My comment on Filip Sparkin's reply toVahid's call for help ["Love dosen't cost anything"]

Dear Filip,

As you say, there are a lot of people in Iran with a lot of serious problems, including your own family. Vahid is also one of those people, with a real problem. He's not asking for a fancy car where most can't afford a taxi ride, nor he's asking for a mansion where paying rent for most people is more than what they normally make in a month. He's not asking for anything outrages and out of ordinarily. He just wants to be able to get married. What's wrong with that?

He seems to have done whatever he can to make it, and I'm sure he's going through the same tough road most fellow Iranians do. We have to realize that the concept of marriage for a young people in Iran, besides all the moral and religious importance, is quite different from what we may experience here.

Without going into too many details and lengthy reasoning, simply, getting married for young men and women in Iran is matter of necessity, while for most of us living outside Iran may only be an option. Look at the world from where Vahid's sitting; someone who's struggling to make it while holding on to a dream. He's not "worry about" getting married, he wants to get married! But he can't.

By the way, I don't think he bereaves "Iranians in America are swimming in money." He's just asking for some help.

Ray Irani

* Driving me crazy!

Thanks so far for sending me these Iranian Times emails but they are getting so many in such small period, it's driving me crazy! Please give me a break and take me off your list.

M. Kazemi

* Home away from home

I am an Iranian from my mother's side, and from my father's side I am a Pakistani national. I deliberately used the word nationality because I am a Pakistani only by the virtue of my passport, and am proud to be a part of the rich, diverse and a very historic Iranian culture.

I just wanted to congratulate you on the good work that you are doing by making them closer to their homeland and not making them forget their culture and history.

I just wanted to express my thanks and gratitude to all you people at to make us feel at home , even away from home. Well done and keep it up.

Take care

Zaki Abbas (MCSE)

* Kharazmi elementary school

I used to live in Gheitarieh Shemiran going to Kharazmi School and Motahari school. I am looking for my friends: Morad Mehdi Nejad, Sharam Negahban, Ali Gharavi, Shervin, Shahaab (from Kharazmi elementary school )

My Email is


* Ali Tahbaz

I had an old high school friend by the name of Ali Tahbaz. We graduated in 1967 from Hadaf High. I look forward to reaching him and renew lost times.

M. Feyz (Feyz-Mahdavi)

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