Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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June 6, 2001

* God damn it, he's not addictive

For centuries we have been under the influence of dictators. And for the most part, we've loved them. We've respected and adorned them. We've crowned them and hanged their pictures on our walls. And for the most part, they took advantage. ["Cheraa Khatami?"]

A hundred years ago during the constitutional movement and later with the help of Dr. Mossadegh, we finally realized that we're addicted to abuse, that dictators raised us and we seek dictators. We've been trying to quit ever sinse.

In 1979, we tried to break the tradition and go cold turkey without any more abuse. But we didn't quite; we just changed our drug of choice! Which is quite common among drug users and addicts. What do we do? How do we quit? Do we take drastic measures one more time and hope for better results? Or do we take some time off and go under treatment?

Living away from Iran, I've heard many say horrible and negative things about Khatami: "He's a molla like all the others", "He's part of the system", "He won't do anything", "It's all just a big puppet show", "He says he believes in Valee Faghih, what do you mean he's in favor of democracy?"

Yeah well maybe he is "one of them", but he is not addictive. He holds a democratic position in the government and by signing up for re-election he knows that he is putting his faith in our hands -- and not the other way around. He is Iran's NICORETTE (yaas -- jasmine -- flavor).

He may feel and taste like the other drugs but, god damn it, he's not addictive! We've taken the "cold turkey" approach to our problems before. This time let's get it right.



* Third term?!

Dr Farhad Behbahani ["Cheraa Khatami?"] in his presentation respecting why Iranians inside Iran should vote for Khatami, has thrown in the idea that Mr Khatami may be suitable to be elected for a third term in office as well.

Does he not know that according to the Iranian constitution one person can only be elected twice as the president? Or have Iranian intellectuals like Dr Behbahani taken it upon themselves to alter the Islamic Republic's constitution according to their whims and likings and by doing so created a new idol out of Khatami for Iranians inside Iran?

Why should a doctor think that there is only one man amongst 60 million Iranians who can be as good as Khatami? Why should our intellectuals, academics, think-tanks not know that too much power invested in any one person would necessarily lead to corruption, absence of democracy and authoritarianism inside Iran? Pluralism is the answer to the Iranian problem not a new brand of absolutism which will have the support of Iranian intellectuals and academics.

Let me assure Dr Behbahani and his likes that by doing what they are doing now, i.e. ignoring IR's constitution (violating it really) which states clearly that no one person can be elected to the office of IR's presidency more than two terms, they are either knowingly or unwittingly contributing to the re-establishment of fascism and dictatorship inside Iran >>> FULL TEXT

Rana Bahar

* Similar but different

I just wanted to drop a note and ask Mr. Mirfendereski ["Article 64"] to tackle his important problem with a little more rigor. First of all, Ms. Sohrabi ["Where do you start"] quite clearly agrees that the case of Bahai's falls into what Mirfendereski loosely calls genocide. Despite Mirfendereski's insistence, I don't think they disagree here.

Apartheid has a clear legal notion -- it implies systematic and sanctioned segregation and prejudice. So Mirfendereski will have to show us that the legal system systematically, and I would add, universally, segregates those it deems non-Muslims. (Here it is not enough to point out there exists SOME laws that differentiate -- after all states differentiate among segments of the population, e.g. women do not do military service in most countries, the wealthy do not get income support. etc.)

If he can show us that along the various spectrums of rights (political, economic, and social) Armenians, Zoroastrians, and Jews are treated differently, then he can build an argument. (Please note that non-Muslims do vote for the president and can vote for parliamentary representatives.)

As far as genocide, again we have to ask if there is systematic intention on the part of the state. In his article he did not do this and it MUST be addressed seriously. I think this case will be harder to do. After all, let's at least acknowledge that Iran still has the second highest number of Jews in the Middle East (second only to Israel).

This is an important debate, but it must be taken seriously and rigorously -- both for an understanding of the situation of Iranian minorities and those who have suffered from systematic and conscious discrimination and violence. We must look both for the similarities among cases and the critical differences.

The Islamic republic of Iran will have similarities with South Africa, Israel, and the southern USA, but there will important differences.

Arang Keshavarzian

* Not far enough

I don't really understand what Naghmeh Sohrabi ["Where do you start"] is complaining about and what she intends to conclude. If anything Mr. Mirfendereski ["Article 64"] does not go far enough. The Islamic Republic like any other fascist regime has several classes, like in South Africa they had White, Coloured and then Blacks.

In Iran the definitions are not so clear. Mollas and Hezbollahis are first class citizens and can get away with murder. Khamenei has just pardoned the murderers of Forouhars and journalists. Non Hezbollahis do not qualify for any important post, just like Blacks in South Africa.

If you don't believe me, look at the selection process for the the presidential elections. Other men are second class citizens. Women are definitely not equal to men, so they must be third class citizens!

But the plight of religious minorities are worse. Bahais, the largest religious minority, have no rights in the mollas' constitution. Somewhere similar to Jews in Nazi Germany. They can not go to schools and universities and can not get any government job. The only reason that the mollas have not put them in a concentration camp yet, is because they are afraid of outside reactions and human rights organisations.

Regarding other religious minorities, they let them have a member in the parliament for their window dressing. There is nothing wrong with a bit of affirmative action for the religious minorities. But under this regime everything is a joke. What happens for example if a Jewish or Christian man marries a Moslem woman? Remember Hoffer the German guy who was accused of having sex with a Moslem woman? The murderous mollas wanted to execute him. They eventually let him go under German and European pressure.

An Iranian Christian or Jew may not be so lucky. Only recently Khamenei has decreed that in a Zoroastrian family where one of the children has converted to Islam, the Moslem child is the sole inheritor from the parent, even though the parents died as Zoroastrians, and hence depriving the rest of the children from their rights because they are infidels.

Mollas consider even the Sunni moslems as kafar and najes! let alone the Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Bahais. The Islamic Republic is the bottom of the pit in all respects, a fascist, murderous and anti-human regime. The presidential elections in this regime, like Article 64, is just for show and should be boycotted by Iranian people. Iranian people should have nothing to do with this election, just like the Blacks in Aparthied South Africa.


* Not our war

As I was reading the "Inequities in Palestine", I saw the need to address this issue further more to clarify a lot of blury issues. As a network engineer and a (Jewish one of course), I served in the Israeli Army for six months in Haifa and Ramat Hasharon.

By seeing the real situaton with my own eyes, I came to the conclusion that neither Arabs are responsible for this bloody history nor the Jews. If you do a walk-thru in the refugee camps by the Lebenon borders, you will see Russian tanks and machine-guns all around the camps. But if you turn around and audit the Israeli Army you'll see nothing but American supplies. By knowing the budget of both sides, one can clearly dig out the truth.

This is not our war or your war, this "their war" and we are all just puppets. If you read the "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato, you will clearly understand the point of shadows (us) and puppets (middle men) and finally the directors.

When an Arab teenager blows up a disco in Tel Aviv, it shouldn't be a surprise to any of us. He saw most of his family get killed by Iaraeli gun fire. And when a kid gets shot in the street right by his father ["Crossfire"], I wouldn't go nuts since I saw the terrorist stations right in schools and hospitals with an Iranian flag on their roofs.

So let's take God's word for it and not fight for this land. Let's see if we can run our own shows from now on, not some Western strangers.

New York

* Ahh ahh

This letter is in respone to Nooneh's story, "June".

First of all Nooneh khanoom, it's not June, its Joon, okay? We are not talking about months of the year for God's sake.

Second of all do u have any shame? Khejaalat nemikeshi az in daastaanhaaye maskharehee keh minevisi? behtare beri vaase Playboy daastaan benevisi. daastaanhaat faghat be darde hamoon Playboy mikhoran!

I hope these stories are not related to your own experiences otherwise I feel sorry for you, dokhtare iraani hasti, in harfaa chie mizani? ey baabaa, to fekr mikoni keh oon baalaa minevisi, "adults only", ye bacheye 13 saale nemitoone bere ino bekhoone, ahh ahh, aaberooye harchi dokhtar irooni bood bordi baabaa. hayaa nadaari? khejaalat bekesh.


* Mumbo-jumbo

I've just checked out Katayoon Zandvakili's photos ["A trip"] taken on her trip to Iran. I should admit this point that she has a keen photographic eye. But this collection is a mumbo-jumbo . She just picked up the camera and click-click-click. Her photos can be categorized as

1. Photos which are artsy and show us some good things. There are just a few of these and those show a slow decay upon our cultural heritage (Perspolis photos with nice shadow lines).

2. Photos with some irony about Iran (wall-written slogans, women in bikini, etc)

3. Photos with a sense of melodrama about Iran and all the places she just came back to after a long or short period of time (like that photo from the hotel and car in tunnel)

4. Family Photos.

5. Pictures which can be taken by any tourist.

In spite of those good photos my problem with the whole collection as a cover story remains. Why are some family photos are pute alongside good and real examples of photography? And more important than this: Do Iranians who live abroad see Iran like tourists in their travels to the old country after years?

Shervin Afshar

* Amazing what love does

The article by Laleh Khalili was so beautiful ["Loving a farangi"]. Thank you The Iranian for publishing such an eloquent piece of writing, both in it's content and form.

I am so happy fo Laleh for having found love. I only wish that one day I can experience what she has. She should write more! It is amazing what love does for our creativity.

Roshanak Vahdani

* Review or...?

Is Javid Djalili rating the movies according to who he wants to have lunch with or their actual value? We all know that Nicole Kidman cannot sing or act. But, on second thought, since she is so thin she wouldn´t be any good at lunch either.

Please think a little bit more about your anaars before you give them away.

Bakhtiairi Rose

* Bridging cultures

You are certainly qualified to be the kind of writer who can build the bridge we need between our original culture and the one we live in; where our heart is and where our body is ["Under the shade"].

With your fathers's attributes and the transfer of those attributes to you and possibly your siblings, you must celebrate life. The combination fo Scotch and Fateheh is as unique as your writing style.

I look for more of your writings.


Ali Parsa

* Why can't we sleep around?

I want to talk about virginity cause in this new millennium men, especially Persians, discriminate against non-virgin women. This issue is very important because there are many women that because of various circumstances are not virgins and this does not give men the right to think that non-virgins, are not good woman.

Virgins and non-virgins are the same -- there are good ones and bad ones. You can get married to a virgin or a non-virgin and find the best housewife, best partner, best friend and best mothers. Men have to stop this thinking that is so cold , and wrong. If men sleep around before marriage, why can't we?

My call is to those Persian men to stop thinking that way and focus on the inside not the outside of the person -- the person who knows you. She who is next to you may be the best wife and your soul mate, but you don't want to realize it.


* Mohammed Jafadaki

I would really appreciate if you would help me locate a very dear friend of mine whose name is Mohammed Jafadaki. Mohammed is a genuine nice guy and a typical warm blooded "Baacheye Khormashahr".

We used to work together in Banadar Shahpour during 1972-1975. I then moved to England in 1975 and shortly after that he moved to Germany. While he was in Germany, he married an Iranian girl named Sara and I know they have a daughter called Sahar, who must be a young lady in her early 20's.

We kept in touch till early 1980's and I am afraid it is about 20 years that we have stopped communicating.

Dear Mohamme, please send me an email and let me know that you are okay and well.

Ahmad Poudratchi
Florida, USA.

* Torang Rahimi

My name is Behnam V. 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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