Sehaty Foreign Exchange


  Write for The Iranian
Editorial policy

June 18, 2001

* Forgive all our sins

A letter written by some Mr. Ashraf to Iranians and the old stories about the past really made me sick ["It's embarrassing, really"]. I think the main problem we Iranians have and have always had since ancient times is the fact that we never forgive and forget and thus will never be forgiven.

The news of Leila Pahlavi's death hit me on wednesday ["Leila's last ride"]. Her body was found in a London hotel. I cried. I am sure there were tears in my eyes. It was quite strange. The last time I cried, ... I don't remember. I didn't know this child much. I had not seen her new photos and I had lost contact with her family for 22 years.

The ambiguity lies in the fact that I am an ex-revolutionary. I was 18-years old at the time of the 1979 revolution (or I'd better call it the greatest mutiny of the millennum). I was one of those millions of Iranians who took to the streets and overthrew Leila's father and yet I cried for her demise. I am one of those people who back in 1979 chanted slogans like "Shah faraari shodeh / savaareh gaari shodeh". I along with thousands of other people captured Jamshidieh Barracks and SAVAK headquarters in Saltanatabad, and... And yet I cried for the lonliness of this little princess who had nothing but her share of deprivations in her glass palace and crystal slippers.

Actually I didn't cry for Leila, or Pahlavis or the like. I cried for myself. For all the sins I committed and for which I can never forgive myself. I cried for everything we had during Pahlavis and we are now craving after. For security, employment, dignity, education, wealth, HAPPINESS ...

I cried for the fact that if it was not for me and millions like me the executions and bloody war would never have occured. We may have had a better living condition and thousands of Iranians would not have left their country and this child may have died in her motherland. It is not only my personal feelings but I see the same sentiments in the streets everywhere. Mr. Ashraf do you know that people here in Iran refer to the Shah as "oon khodaa biyaamorz"? Do you know how many times I tried to hide my revolutionary past from my children?

As for the charity fuss, if you had a good fortune, would you REALY give it away to charity? I don't believe in Robin Hood and Haatam Taeei. They are just good for kids' story books. If this lost child had given her money to charity, people like you would have found other things to complain about. For example the Pahalavis are trying to "gain popularity by these theatrics", or ...

And as for the wealth of Pahlavis, I don't care how much money they have stashed away. As an ex-revolutionary, a present businessman who is ashamed of his past, and an Iranian citizen who prefers that to live in this hell than anywhere else, I can only say NOOSHE JOONESHOON. I have had so much of this crap that it is really revolting to mention them all over again.

Sleep little princess in your dark and wet grave. At least you won't suffer any more. Sleep well my child, God knows you didn't choose to be a princess. Rest baby, there won't be anybody to harm you anymore. God bless your innocent soul and forgive all our sins.


* Made of flesh and blood

When I started to read Mr. Ashraf's letter ["It's embarrassing, really"], I was interested, but very quickly my interest turned into confusion. What EXACTLY is Mr. Ashraf so embarrassed about? His letter doesn't give any impression of embarrasment. Resentment, envy, prejudice, and bitterness? Yes. Embarrassment? Hardly.

Is he resentful that the unfortunate death of his Iranian friend was not given exposure in the London Times? That's about as absurd as an englishman being resentful that his unknown friend's death wasn't given the exposure that Princess Diana's death was given by the BBC, or an american resenting JFK Jr's post-accident media exposure on CNN. ["Leila's last ride"]

Was Mr. Ashraf as incensed when Princess Diana (who's life arguably was more priviliged and "aimless" than Princess Leila's) got more press coverage than Mother Theresa, who poetically passed on within days of the Princess and yet the recognition of her death was comparitively nothing more than a blip on the media's radar screen, despite having worked for endless years in the slums of Calcutta?

Is he envious and resentful of the Pahlavi's wealth? From his bitter comments such as: "Spoiled by the meaninglessness of a $6,000 a week hotel suite she was staying in when she took her life, she floundered from cocktail party to ball looking wistfully back to the days when at age 9 she had her own apartment", it most certainly appears so. Could the grapes be any more sour?

Whatever Leila Pahlavi was lamenting, I hardly think it was something so silly as an apartment. Certainly, wanting for material goods was not a cause for her concern. Mr Ashraf's indignation at Farah Pahlavi's humble request that people donate money to charity instead of wasting it on something as ephemeral as flowers, is both bizarre and bewildering. How could anyone take umbrage at such a request? How could anyone see donating to charity as "dirty and disrespectful"?

Equally bewildering is Mr. Ashraf's belief that Leila's brother's announcement was "informing us regally" of her death. Is he using the word "regally" as a euphemism for "arrogantly"? How on earth could anything in her brother's announcement be construed as regal or arrogant? This speaks volumes of Mr. Ashraf's political inclinations and clearly indicates a mind clouded by prejudice.

I find it laughable that Mr. Ashraf expounds loftily on the notions of "truth and reconciliation" in one breath with statements such as: "we are all simply human, with all the weaknesses and rough edges given to us" and in the next incongruous breath proceeds to spew ridiculous political vitriol such as "The Pahlavis are actually worth less than the average Iranian...they have done nothing with their power except to indulge as never before".

As I proceeded to read Mr. Ashraf's letter, it quickly became very apparent that he was using this tragic event to get on his angry soap box and vent his sour grapes, dragging out the old tired clichés such as the Pahlavi's stealing "the people's money". Huh? How is any of this remotely relevant to Leila Pahlavi's death?

We don't choose our parents. One man is born a prince, another a pauper. Like us, princes and princesses are made of flesh and blood, but for whatever reason, their tragedies resonate in a way that most other's don't. That is not to say that their lives have any more value than ours. Leila Pahlavi, though to a lesser degree than other Pahlavi's, had a public persona and was treated accordingly by the media. One could argue that had the Pahlavi's lives been a tragic play, it couldn't have been written more perfectly.

Certainly, one would be hard pressed to find a modern day family that has been shadowed by more tumult, tragedy, and notoriety on life's stage. Yes, people die every day. Conceivably, hundreds of people died unrecognized by the media all over the globe on the same day Leila Pahlavi did. Is it fair or right that their death's received no media recognition? No, but life rarely is fair (just as it's not fair that one man is born a prince and another a pauper). Does this mean they matter any less? Well, from the media's perspective, yes. Unknowns don't sell newspapers, princesses do. Embarrassing or not, Mr. Ashraf, that is the cold hard truth.

It is riduculous for us to speculate about what Leila Pahlavi had going on in her private life, her dreams, her passions, her sorrows. We did not know her and we should not presume as such. Mr Ashraf's implication that Leila Pahlavi's family somehow played an active and negative role in her demise is nothing short of apalling. To outsiders it appears that people of privilege shouldn't have a care in the world or a complaint or sorrow. There's an urge to sarcastically say: "Poor little rich girl!", but to use another well worn cliché:

You shouldn't judge a man (or a princess) unless you've walked a mile in his shoes. If Mr. Ashraf simply wanted to use this site as a forum to vent about the Pahlavi's or how unfair the media can be, he should have just said so frankly (after all, he is the one who is such a proponent of "truth"). Veiling his politics and his obviously deep rooted bitterness behind such mindless gibberish about the human condition is both disingenuous and embarrassing, REALLY.


A. Javadi

* Sympathy, disgust

While I have the utmost sympathy for those suffering depression ["Leila's last ride"]; I have no sympathy for the words of Farah Pahlavi regarding the death of her daughter as being the result of the dramatic circumstance of the family's flight from Iran.

The Pahlavis did nothing for Iran and the Iranian people -- without their own gain in mind. Their lifestyle was despotic to say the very least. If Leila Pahlavi died from deprivation of a despotic lifestyle, then she was a very useless creature indeed.

If her death was the result of aimlessness and loneliness through lack of purpose in life, then my whole heart goes out to her suffering while my head views her her family with disgust.


* I feel for her

I read some articles in as my time allows. The recent news about sudden death of Leila Pahlavi ["Leila's last ride"] was quite a shock, like any other celebrities. And I read these petty comments about who she was and why she died and about her family and so on.

Did any of us ask the same questions when Princess Diana of England passed away? Or did we shed tears for her as the rest of the word did? Was she a saint or did she lack personality?

No matter who she really was, we felt sorrow. Because Leila Pahlavi was a mother; because she was young and full of hope, because she reminded us of our own losses. I hear Leila's death and it reminds me of so many young souls who lost their life in this change of history and that is our link of sympathy.

Farah Pahlavi is not a super hero. But she is a woman who lost her mother and her daughter within few months and I feel for her. Flowers are beautiful and nobody rejects them. But I saw a waste in the case of Princess Diana and I appreciate the Pahlavis for asking people to send money for children instead.


* Grateful, and loyal

Once again we are witnessing another sad chapter in Iran's royal family ["Leila's last ride"] . I did not personally know the late Princess Leila Pahlavi, nor do I personally know the other royals. With her passing, perhaps it is time to tell all why -- at least this Iranian -- is grateful and remains loyal to her father.

I am grateful to her father because my generation had more freedom than any other Iranian ever had. I refer all scholars of Iran to the beginning of the 20th century when our country's society and future was as bleak as our sister country, Afghanistan, is today. Forget all the hateful propaganda and trust me in saying that no other generation of Iranians ever had as much freedom.

It is ironic that the current youth movement is seeking the same rights that we lost. We were free to wear what we want, travel as we pleased, believe (or not) in god in our own way, study what we want, listen to any music, have long, short or no hair at all and other personnel freedoms that most people desire today.

I am grateful to him because my mother and sister had more rights than any other Iranian women ever had before. They did not have to wear the black coffin that Iranian women were forced to wear. Our women became among the most educated women in our part of the world, served the public in all levels of our society and were able to drive and fly across Iran without any fear.

I am grateful because my generation can identify many Iranian women who are well known worldwide and no other generation of Iranians can claim the same. I am grateful because her father created an army that provided peace and security for my generation during his reign. During my youth we did not even know what a gunshot sounded like and were at peace with all nations. His people were respected and welcomed among all nations.

I don't care one bit what others say about her father because I was there and mighty proud of it, too. Her father's foes are so full of hatred that they will deny all the achievements to their hell. Perhaps all people should know that at least this Iranian is proud to be loyal and grateful to her father and shameful for not defending him with force when he needed it the most. After all, he was my monarch.

Rest in peace my princess.

K. Moniri

* Spoiled or not

I'm sorry you feel so embarrassed ["It's embarrassing, really"]. Leila Pahlavi was a person known to all Iranians. Whether she was spoiled or not, she died at a very early age. No, I'm not a monarchist, actually not at all, but I also felt very sorry to hear about her death.

And no, she wasn't more important than your friend in San Diego, but we don't know your friend and we knew Leila Pahlavi. She was the youngest daughter of a family a lot of Iranians still respect.

Farah Pahlavi is first and foremost a mother who has just lost her daughter. I think the least we can do is stop criticizing her for the moment.

Whether you want to send flowers or donate money or do nothing at all, that's your business. But please respect the fact that a young woman has just lost her life and her family is mourning her.

Saghar Mostofi

* Unable to contain hatred

In agreement with the letter entitled "Let her rest in peace", I must also reiterate the words of Omid Ashraf and assert that "It's embarrassing, really" that there are still some Iranians around (such a Ashraf himself) who are unable to contain their hatred of a political system even when a completely innocent and unrelated death occurs.

Why some of us Iranians have to bring ourselves down to such lowest depths of humanity? Why can't we show a minimum measure decency by just saying nothing at the time of the passing of an innocent human being with whose father's policies we may disagree? Why do we have to prove that we are still a bunch of treacherous, inhuman and deeply callous characters?

The point that Ashraf is inacapable of grasping is that Princess Leila died from a deep longing for returning to her lost country. The other princess that Ashraf is talking about might or mightn't have had such a longing, but she certainly didn't die from it. And this is the most moving aspect of the death of Princess Leila: she was yet another victim of the the so-called Islamic regime in Tehran.

And talking about Islam, and in relation to the behavior of certain people such as Ashraf, who take advantage of others vulnerabilities and attack them at their weakest moments, I am reminded of one of the much famously quoated words of Imam Hossein on the day of Ashura. It is immaterial if you are a practising Moslem or not, or if you believe in the Shia version of Islam or even if you a complete atheist. The message of this story is what should be a lesson to learn.

In his dying moments as he is supposed to have received fatal wounds and fallen from his horse, Hossein saw a group of the enemy soldiers, breaking away from the rest of the enemy army, storming and setting fire to the tents where his family members, including women, children and the elderly, were stationed and now had lost their protector. Hossein, while half-risen from the ground shouts at the invading soldiers: "You may not be of the believers, but be of the freemen."


* Rich little brat

Mr. Pahlavi,

Have you been keeping up with the news regarding your sister's death or not? Maybe you haven't. So let me fill you in on all the details from the foreign press. BBC reported that your sister "Princess of Iran died of drug overdose". Although neither you or your mother would admit to that. You would love to have your phoney press people say that "she died of depression because of her beloved Iran" or "the injustice and the dramatic conditions of her departure... She could not stand living far from Iran and shared wholeheartedly the suffering of her countrymen."

Am I right for not believing any of this BS? Injustices and suffering of her countrymen? She was so upset by the suffering of her countrymen that she had to party all over the world in the richest capitals.

Let's face it, Mr. Pahlavi, she died the same way so many other rich little brats who have been pampered all of their lives die. By overdosing on drugs. And for that she gets a flag-draped casket burial. Isn't that a shame? The honor of being buried in a flag draped casket is USUALLY reserved for people who have died in defense of their country or have accomplished some GREAT task for the benefit of their country. NOT for someone who NEVER did anything to enrich the life of her people; not for someone who died of drug overdose; not for someone who never held a job for a single day of her life and certainly last but not least not for someone who was staying at such an expensive hotel "regularly" with a questionable source of income.

Am I right for not shedding a tear for this woman or do you want to tell me some more lies? What a pity that you and your followers have fooled so many Iranians. Don't any of these followers ever bother to snap out of La-La Land and ask you some serious questions? Are you the best we Iranians can hope for? For Iran's sake I hope not.


* Really do not give a damn

I am not sure why I am writing you ["Nooneh"]. I am not even certain that, as self-absorbed as you sound in your stories, you would give a crap about what a reader thinks. I read some of your other pieces and sent you a commentary on "Bahram" -- or maybe it was another one. I liked the first few pieces.

We tend to categorize and label people and things in an attempt to create safety and understanding in our own minds. I categorized you as a post-feminist melancholic woman writer. Some self-examination is also always good for a writer, but sticking to such narrow obsessions gets boring for an intelligent reader after a couple of pieces -- unless titillation alone is worth your time and effort or you are targeting teenagers!

So you got laid -- or sorry, your fictional characters got laid -- a thousand different ways. What is new about this? I see piece after piece of self-indulgence and inward exploration. Do you ever write about variation of "other"? You forget your audience are not "Iranians" and so the raised flag of "I am a woman writer and this is a new voice" sounds as boring as watching Jeopardy alone.

At best they are hyphenated in some fashion or another: Iranian-American, or as the case may be, an even smaller sub-category like Armenian-American. They (we )-- past the first couple of doses -- really do not give a damn.

And the real "Iranians"? They have more pressing concerns. Just one example? I read about this kid, who is a student at Tehran university. He has been in jail since last August after the dormitory was attacked by the mercenaries of the Molla Gestapo. He has been beaten, tortured, humiliated and broken, just because he held up a bloody shirt of another student who was killed the same day. He was photographed and found his way to fame in an involuntary manner. He is held under a death sentence. He is not even 25. Ask yourself -- if you care -- how concerned I am about the skillful tongue of that blonde and how well she can perform cunnilingus!

Farzin F.

* Nail on the head

" Most of my readers are shocked because they've never been exposed to it. They too have access to porn/erotica online and elsewhere in the West. But they consider it part of Western culture, not their own. And therefore it's foreign to them. But when Nooneh -- one of "us people" -- comes out and talks about these things, it becomes interesting, or at least worth listening too." ["Yes & no"]

Well said.

You just hit the nail on the head.


* Winds of change

1. This chat was a good example of going nowhere in talking but it was important that at last we heard Mr. Javid comments ["Yes & no"] on Nooneh's stories.

2. As Jahanshah has written in this chat, there is a big lack of erotica in Persian litrature, specially modern litrature (because of censorship). They -- writers -- just have to put sex in an obscure, hardly understandable in theme as well as form.

3. As a member of this young generation -- or whatever the hell you want to call it -- who still lives in Iran and is intrested in litrature, I accept Nooneh's works because of the reasons I've explained in a letter before. But I think a lot of letters of complaint which receives about her stories are from middle-age Iranians inside/outside Iran.

It's been a long long time since sex became a big taboo in Iranian culture and social morals. But I feel the winds of change. Iraninan kids today knows more than ever about sex and they become informed as young teenagers. Porn is available via videos, satellite channels or the internet and it's cheaper than in any Western country. So what now? They know what's happening out there, they are growning up globaly. But the awful fact remains. Their images of sex in their mind is something cheap, worthless in real life and even deviant.

Nobody can do anything about the media. But I've found Nooneh's works very good in idea and in implenetation. So, for anybody out there who got shocked with her writing there is a question: "What will we lose in these stories? Sharm, Hayaa, Ergheh-Melli? What? Ever checked statistics of prostitution, pre-teen sex and rape in Iran?" It seems that we have no belief in sex as a matter of human nature with all its pros and cons.

4. I ask Jahanshah for a public poll about these stories. I myslef am ready to enter the discussion.


* By far

I would like to express my pleasure and satisfaction concerning your online magazine.

It would not be an exaggeration to state that is, by far, one of the best Persian sites available . The articles are insightful and the stories are fascinating .

Thanks for the hard work directed towards producing a valuable site for the Iranian community.

Javad Dehaghani

* Maryam Maali

Looking for MARYAM MAALI, from Iran, where she attended Tatbighi High School in Teheran until the end of Grade 10; aged now about 23.

She is then thought to have gone to high school in France, possibly Paris, in the early 1990s. Maryam may have studied law but this is not certain. If you can help in any way please contact me.

Peter Jeans

* Homayoon Pourat

I was wondering if you can help me out. I am looking for a lawyer. His name is Homayoon Pourat. He is in California, but I do not know where exactly. Can you please direct me to a site or if you can possibly find him for me? I will be grateful.

Warm regards, and many thanks,


Comment for The Iranian letters section


June 2001
Archived letters

Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

Email us

Flower delivery in Iran
Copyright © All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact:
Web design by BTC Consultants
Internet server Global Publishing Group