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June 26, 2001

* Oh please!

I was always told, but now feel it tangibly, that rich and powerful people aren't like us mere mortals. I came to this banal conclusion after reading Farah's heart-wrenching open letter to her daughter in the London Times. I am quite sorry for her loss as a mother, and even feel some sympathy for what obvioulsy must be overwhelming feelings of guilt about having raised a daughter who felt so unloved and abandoned.

However, in this quite sad -- and I am sure soul-searching and tinged with guilt -- letter one passage jumped out at me. Farah says, "We made every effort to spend as much time with you as possible, but we could not be there always -- but this is the same with many working mothers. I could never bear it when your governess took you away from me."

Oh please! How dare she compare herself with other working mothers when in the very next breath she talks about the governess mothering her daughter? In the world I inhabit, working mothers can rarely afford public daycare, much less a dedicated governess. In the world I inhabit -- and it is the world to which billions of other women belong-- poor women carry their children with them to the fields and factories, or else allow the streets to take care of their children, while they clean the toilets of those who underpay their services, ignored and often mistreated.

In the world I inhabit, many a poor mother leaves her own children so she can act as a governess to someone else's, just so she can feed the biological children of hers. In the world I inhabit, middle class women (even in societies where the only validation of their humanity is the ability to bear a son) have to postpone pregnancy and childbirth so that they can save enough money to have proper healthcare or insurance, or even clothes to dress the kid.

In the world I inhabit, a great number of women forego the superficialities of wealth and the seemingly requisite markers of financial success in order to take care of their children at home, barely making the mortgage every month, feeling intellectually unfulfilled and socially ostracized, and yet others are overworked, underpaid, harried, harrassed, and fatigued to the bone, because they are required -- and so many of them resiliently continue -- to act out the multiple roles of breadwinner, mother, wife, housekeeper, tutor, and chauffer for their families.

Mrs. Pahlavi,

With utmost respect for your grief, please don't compare yourself to the rest of us mere mortals. We are not like you. I guess, perhaps, there is one fabulous difference between us ordinary folk and rich people: At least, in my world, I am not followed around by vultures who are "fozul" and sycophantic in equal measures, feasting on my dead, and hoping for some of the stardust of some rich celebrity rub off on me.

Laleh Khalili

* Nausiating

When I firs read an article by Cyrus Kadivar , "Requiem in Cairo", I thought this is a one-time article reflecting one man's infatuation with the royal family and didn't think about a lot. Well, he has done it again with another article, "Crown of lilies". Frankly the details of his article were nauseating, so much so that I could not help myself to write this.

I wonder what Mr. Kadivar is trying to accomplished here. We know that he traveled to Cairo last year on the 20th anniversary of the Shah's death. We know that he sat in the same couch next to Empress Farah and rubbed shoulder with many members of the royal family. We also know that he and his fiancée boarded the Eurostar at London's Waterloo Station and headed for Paris while enjoying the convenience of first class.

These are the facts that we know so far. By know everybody including me, know that Leila Pahlavi died alone, half starved in a London hotel room. I am sorry for the Pahlavi's loss and have sent my condolences to them. It is not a joyous occasion for any one. It is the time when people need most support. I am certain the Pahlavis have received plenty of it.

I will be direct and to the point. I would like to ask Mr. Kadivar, if he ever heard of a million innocent Iranians who lost their life to save our country during the eight years of imposed war by Iraq? If he ever stopped to think for a moment, what would it be like to write in detail about those brave men and women who served on the front? What would it be like to write about those who lost family member (s) in war (not that I have lost one, but I know plenty of people who have)?

To write about those dedicated doctors and nurses who spend months on the front to care for wounded or to write about a million soldiers who lost limbs and are now are living in miserable conditions in Iran? Should I go on??? What these courageous men and women did was for all of us, it was for IRAN. It is because of their ultimate sacrifices that we have a country today.

I happened to spend a year among the proud people of Abadan and Khorramshahr in 1991. I took my academic training here in America to the Abadan Institute of Technology and taught among other Iranian academics who had come from Germany, England, and India. Being there, teaching there, and experiencing life there as it was, is an experience of a life time, to say the least.

Looking back in my mind, I remember vividly an elderly man of around 70 years of age whose face had cracked under the sun while working at the Abadan oil refinery in the middle of the afternoon in July 1991. And I wonder how could Mr. Kadivar go on writing six pages of details about the funeral of Leila Pahlavi, whom, by all accounts, lived the life of a privileged princess.

Abbas Saffari-Fard

* Best analysis

Dear Ms. Setareh Sabety, ["Diana not"]

A friend had kindly forwarded your article to me . Just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your excellent article on the sad and untimely death of Leila Pahlavi. This was the best, most intelligent, most caring and considerate analysis I have ever read about this story. Bravo! I am not sure if we have met before, but I feel I have known you for years after reading this article of yours.

With best wishes,

Nayereh Tohidi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Women's Studies Department
California State University, Northridge

* Let them be!

In response to Ms. Sabety's article "Diana not", she wrote:

I picked up the pen in the hopes that her death -- by turning our attention to depression, and eating disorders amongst our women -- might help other young girls and women who might find themselves in her predicament.

There was not a single note in this article that talked about overcoming depression and eating disorders.

Whatever the cause of Leila Pahlavi's death she was no Princess Diana. We never heard of her engaging in charitable works or kissing an aids victim or traveling the world to walk on mine fields or -- more relevant here -- we never heard her publicly confess her problems. Diana did.

For goodness sakes, she is dead!!! Let her be! If someone wants to compare her death and the circumstances of her untimely death to princess Di then let them! >>> FULL TEXT

Hedieh Farahmandi

* Mordeh parasty

Salam Khanome Sabety, ["Diana not"]

Ba sepas baraye maghaleh-i ke neveshtid. Ba nazare shooma movafegh hastam. Albateh faramoosh nakonim ke Diana ra ham bozorg kardan ke press azash pool dar biareh. Ehtemalan sohbat haye an-chenanie Diana ba adjudan shoharesh ke telefonesh ro zabt kardeh boodan az khatere shooma ham narafteh.

Man bishtar be kolle shakhsiate afrad negah mikonam na be oon ghesmaty ke public misheh va baraye man o shooma neshoon midan. Moghayeseh kardane Leila ba Diana vase Irania kare kheyli tabi-i va sadeh-i hastesh. Ma aslan ostade in kar hastim. Ma dar zAtemoon mordeh parasty vojood dareh. Tarikhe ma por ast az nemoonehaye moshabeh. Dar inke in khandan hanooz fekr mikonan range khooneshoon Abi hast shaki nabayd moondeh bashe.

Ba vojoode servaty ke inha az Iran kharej kardan "nafe-shoon be kesi nemireseh". Kesi ham ke nafe-sh (manavi ya mali) be digaran nareseh, boodan va naboodanesh farghy nemikoneh!! Bishtar az in vaghtetoon ro nemigiram.

Rooz khosh


* What did she miss?

The death of a young innocent human being is always sad. Leila Pahlavi's death as such is a tragedy for her family and many Iranians. But when you take into consideration the fact that she belonged to a family hated by most Iranians, and for good reasons too, it makes it difficult to sympathize with her mother and family. A corrupt family who mainly focused on looting the country and had no concern or respect for the ordinary Iranians at all.

Of course now 22 years after the overthrow of the Shah we all know that what followed is a thousand times worse, but it still does not exonerate the Pahlavis and all their lackeys from the crimes they committed against the iranians. A vindictive person might even think: good they deserve it, let them taste some of their own medicine, let them know how loosing a loved one feels, this is part of their punishment for all the things they have done.

Personally Leila's death meant nothing to me except to think that she was also a victim of Pahlavis and their way of life. This so-called "princess", a descendant of Reza Gholdor, who had everything and at the same time nothing, could have put her phoney title and stolen wealth to some good use and for instance campaigned on behalf of millions of Iranian women who are suffering under the ayatollahs' rule.

According to some reports propagated by her delusional family, Leila never got over having forced to leave Iran. What rubbish. Eeven when they were in Iran they weren't in Iran and it is hard for me to imagine a 7-8 year old at the time of their escape remembered any thing about Iran. If she missed her family and childhood friends, they all left Iran too. If she missed mingling with the people of Iran, well, no need to say she never did that. If she missed walking in the streets of Iran, which she did not do either, she was able to walk in the streets of where the air quality was probably much better.

So tell me what was it exactly that she missed about Iran? Or was it the fact that she missed being a "princess". She had heard stories, probably from her mother or that drug dealer Aunt Ashraf, of how they were held and treated as gods back home and could do anything they wanted without having to answer to anybody.

Outside Iran she was seen as a rich girl whose family were once the dictators of a Third World country and escaped that country with billions of dollars. Maybe this is what really bothered her; she did not want to be a person who was loved for her money. For all I know she never received any love from her so-called royal family either because they were too busy trying to deliver the Iranians from the claws of the mollas.

No matter how many emotional articles are written about the funeral or dignified reception at Leila's great aunt's apartmen, ["Crown of lilies"] they can not make me feel sorry for the Pahlavis. Pahlavis are irrelevant to present-day Iran.


* Beautiful Yazd

Thanks a lot for publishing so many beautiful photographs from Yazd ["Return to Yazd"]. A superb job.


Thanks again,


* Yin and Yang

The Yin and Yang of Yazd ["Return to Yazd"] and wonderous beauty make it delicious enough to stay forever.

Bakhtiari Rose

* Iran or Afghanistan?

I have received many emails about a letter I wrote about the Afghanistan in ["Way to help"]. Most of the emails were positive and some have made me to rethink and evaluate what I have written. Here is one of the emails I received from Rana Bahar:

"May I ask you be kind enough about people of Iran as well and ask your local MP or representative to do something about the poor and starving Iranian children and adults, and the fact that 70% or people of working age in Iran are unemployed?" ["Evidence"]

I wish not to think that Rana Bahar and the like want me to choose between Iran and Afghanistan, something I have refused to do over and over. Ms. Bahar and the like have forgotten the fact that there are a million or so (if I am not mistaken) Iranians living in the U.S. With all of us active, couldn't and shouldn't we be the voice of Iran by now?

A month a go there was a conference at the American University under the tittle of "Human Rights and Pinochet". There were many lawyers and human rights representatives from all over the world who, one after the other, talked strongly about how to prevent another Pinochet.

I told one of the German lawyers that there are hundreds of Pinochet around the world and one, worse than him, lives in Iran. What do we do, what should be done about him? How can we, Iranians, bring him to justice, as Chilean people did?

His responds was that although his wife is Iranian, he has not seen many Iranians who are willing to do what the Chilean did. But why? With that many Iranians living in U.S., couldn't we have a very strong lobby in Congress? As strong as the Israeli Lobby?

The Iranian problem, I think, is not poverty, for Iran is one of the riches countries in the Mideast. The Afghanistan problem is POVERTY, among other problems, of course. What Iran lacks is a system in which people have choices. What Afghanistan needs right now is our attention, Yes, even our attention. Caring is a human value and we should not put any attachments on it. Not even nationality.

Javad Chavoshi
Washington College of Law

* Affiliated with nobody


As I reported to IIC board members a week ago, I am traveling during the summer and do not have access to my emails at all times so I could not write this letter earlier. I was surprised to see that my picture was posted at without my permission. The information posted is highly offensive to me and to our organization and is incorrect.

The IIC does not have any association with this site and we do not know what organization or who sponsors it. Our membership and many visitors to know that we are a non-political, non-religious, and non-profit organization. We are not affiliated with any government and we do not receive any financial or other support from any government or organization. (We have received small and few voluntary financial donations from our members.) We are taking time away from our families and profession to devote to Iranian issues.

We do not need to explain who we are and what we do to those who have good intentions about Iranians and Iran. Making statements about IIC and its leadership which are not true will hurt our community. We challenge members and visitors to our website to present facts or face consequence of defamation. It seems to us, a few individuals are abusing their freedom of expression with untruths and altering a picture to express their feelings.

It is not clear to us what is the real intention behind for falsifying information. We have requested the owner/administrator to remove the offensive comments. Freedom of expression is not about lying. We at IIC believe in peaceful and democratic ways of expressing our opinions. At IIC we have asked for lifting of ILSA (Iran and Libya Sanctions Act), because of the majority of Iranians who have suffered as the result of sanctions. It is an act of humanitarian. We encourage visitors to our site to engage in open dialogue based on the truth.

Attacking organizations such as IIC, PWC, Iran-Heritage without offering any evidence and facts is harmful to many people. Intentionally stating false information and placing people in a false light is wrong. We will continue our voluntary and democratic efforts to bring positive changes to our communities both inside and outside of Iran.

Mohammad Ala,
IIC President

* Absolute sophist

Dear Mr. Kazemi,

Sir, you are a dunce and an "absolute" sophist ["Cucumber is green"]. You have, however, picked up a few books in your days and have projected your psychological needs and shortcomings onto them. But I am writing all this with a smile on my face, so you don't need to get defensive, that's okay, we all came here on a jumbo-jet I had a window seat. Kept thinking, how did these bastards fly a piece of metal so large

I am mainly writing this, because I have to deal with your sort on the daily basis. I guess that's why I have decided to respond to you and not the sweethearts who critique literary output and wage the age old art or pornography debate; or those who measure their own pain whether they are for or against a ridiculously retro revolution-with-a-twist, in terms of a suicide blond on the run in a West End dive-Bar-for-Exiles-and-Writers, a young princes of a mythical Kingdom, the Leila of our dreams, whatever you want to call: that rich brat! Either puking or choking up. But I digress So, I see you have taken apart sentences and shown the absurdity of language through your own writings. Hurrah!

So, welcome to the era of philosophical nonsense about a century too late! The party is over man. Your cute little logical discoveries in terms that you define for us, with exact number of their dictionary meanings, have been bombed away and the remnants are filling up the supermarket paperbacks, Dr. Discovery >>> FULL TEXT


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