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June 27, 2001

* Mind & heart


I read your letter in response to Farah's open letter ["Different worlds"]. It doesn't make sense to compare her financial status to yours or the ordinary people around you. She mentioned "like all the other working women" in the sense of not having time to spend with their children, not in the sense of having money to get them a governess or not.

What you and a lot of readers don't seem to grasp about Princess Leila's situation is the idea of mind and heart versus money and the material world. I respect you and your articles... didn't expect such logic from you!

By the way, in the world I inhabit, people are not as miserable as you said! Don't exaggerate. (See reply below)


* Beyond compare

Thank you for commenting on my email as politely as you have ["Mind & heart"]. Some of the emails I have received have not been as polite as this. Please do accept my response below as a continuation of a conversation:

First off, I don't so easily separate matters of finances and the ability to earn a living from "matters of mind and heart" , nor do I give one priority over the other. In fact, part of my letter pointed to the very fact that a lot of women actually choose to forsake all signifiers of financial success only to give personal (loving) care to their children.

Additionally, the world out there has some 3 billion women in it, and only because you and I (and I include myself firmly among those who don't toil as much as the most) are fortunate enough not to have to worry about our daily bread every waking hour of our days, it doesn't mean that the majority of those other women (in all continents) are living a life of leisure. If anything, in order to not sensationalize my letter, I understated the suffering of the great majority of the women who live in our world.

Finally, I am not sure how to take it when you state you didn't "expect" a critique of material disparities between the well-off and the poor (or even the moderately well-off) on top of my aversion to a pretense populism (equating herself with all the rest of the world's working women) on the part of Farah. Why? Because I have written about longing and exile? But I guess I haven't been able to show that the rest of humanity experiences exile diffrentially as well, and on the basis of their access to social, political, cultural and -- yes -- economic amenities.

Someone like me who can publish an article in the mass media, who can go back to Iran occasionally, and who works in the academia experiences exile very differently than the immigrant who works for less than the minimum wage, has no insurance and is in constant fear of racist attacks on the one hand, and from a princess who could afford multi-thousand dollar hotel rooms and yet found no solace, no love, and no companionship in her gilded cage, on the other hand.

I suspect that while the princess and I have all the time in the world to worry about loss and longing, the women who cleans the toilets in some nameless sky-scraper worries about wheather she can even afford to take a day off to take care of her sick child. I find it offensive that a former queen compares herself with this latter woman.

I am only too disappointed that what I have written so far could not better display my interest in these differences.

All the best

Laleh Khalili

* Before or after?

Laleh Khalili's letter was funny ["Different worlds"]. In the world she inhabits, mothers take their kids to fields and factories? Is that before or after she was in love in the orange fields of Cordoba? ["Loving a farangi"]

Ferdos Karimkhani

* Don't belittle our feelings

I read with interest the letter headed "Nausiating" relating to the suffering of other people in relation to Leila Pahlavi. I am surprsied that so many of my fellow Iranians have such a one dimentional way of thinking.

To grieve for Leila's death does not mean that you don't give a damn about all the other suffering around us. Sympathy with one does not have to be at the expence of the other. One feels sorry on different levels and for different reasons.

I can love more than one person for different reasons. equally therefore I can feel grief and sorrow for different people for different reasons.

Please stop this nonesense of trying to portray anyone who sympathises with the Pahlavis as cold hearted people who are unaware of the suffering of other Iranians. Please don't belittle our feelings because we dare feel sorry for a Princess who in your minds may be less deserving than someone else.


* First class

It is interesting that the author ["Crown of lilies"] so explicitly denotes the class of service he uses on the train. One can not help wondering whether "First Class" is what he merely buys.

Aref Erfani

* Mossad agent?

After sending a letter to the Iranian last week defending the Pahalvis, I have been sent a few private emails calling me an Israeli Mossad agent amongst other things. It is a sad state of affairs where even outside Iran and after 22 years of living in democaracies in Europe and the US, there are still those believing in such caricatures.

If I believe in monarchy or speak favourably of the Pahlavis then I must be a Mossad agent, my father must be a CIA agent, my uncles must have worked for Savak, my aunt must be a Bahai, my cousin must be a Jew and needless to say, we must all be multi-millionaires. Right ?!


* Pseudo-intellectually superficial

I was very surprised when I first read's motto ("Nothing is sacred). I found it disturbing -- and quite pseudo-intellectually superficial.

I appreciate Ali Kazemi's opinion ["Cucumber is green"], and am grateful for his ability to articulate and share my thoughts.

Roshan Houshmand

* Hall of fame

What a truly wonderful response ["Absolute sophist"]. This letter should go in the's Letters Hall of Fame. Splendid!

Ramin Tabib

* How to show Iranian films

I am the performing arts coordinator at The University of Montana Productions. I would like very much to organize a week-end of Iranian movies at the end of September in the University Center's theatre. Could you help me with that ? Do you have the rights for public projection ?

I am thinking of projecting 5 movies ( 2 Friday, 2 Saturday and one Sunday ) one projection each. Please contact me if you would like to work with me on this. My coordinates are:

Theodor-Cristian Popescu
Performing Arts Coordinator
UM Productions
UC Suite 104
University of Montana Missoula
Montana 59812
Phone: 406-243-4984
Fax: 406-243-4905

* Filmmaking school

I am writing from Pakistan. I am deeply interested in learning filmmaking. Can I get some information about the film schools in Iran? how can I apply to them?

Thank you,


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June 2001
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