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June 8, 2001

* Cheraa Khatami na

In high school, we used to read in our history book that Shah Soltan Hussein was a weak man. People around him told him that Afghans are coming, he said to them "be patient". They told him Afghans are surrounding the palace, he said, I do not see them.

This reminds me of Mr. Khatami ["Cheraa Khatami?"]. Conservatives jailed one of his best men, Mr. Abdulah Noori, and he closed his eyes on it. Students demanded that "Zendaanie siaasi aazaad baayad gardad", he said what political prisoners? Students said: Noori and Ganji Wasn't that obvious to him? Or maybe he thought (he still thinks!!) Ganji and Noori were the bad guys.

Khatami has admitted that he has no power. He has clearly indicated that changing the constitution is "khiaanet be melat" Therefore, Mr. Khatami, who has no power and does not intend to change the law, in order to fulfill his promises, bringing democracy, freedom of speech, and many more, should not deceive Iranian people.

Let Iranians choose whom they think is suitable for them. I do not think Khatami or any of this current system's mollas are the Iranian choice. Mr. Khatami, for once, should tell the truth that he does understand or believe in democracy and human rights.


Javad Chavoshi

* Khatami or Khorsandi?

I saw your web page for the first time just last night. I should express my and my family -- and I can say the majority of real Iranians' -- deep sorrow for seeing such nonsense as Hadi Khorsandi's poem ["Entekhaabaat"].

Why should you discredit yourself for showing us these types of things from some people like this stupid man Hadi Khorsandi? We have glorious examples of literature in our culture who give pride to people who use it.

We -- real Iranians, the majority of Iranians -- like President Khatami and will take part in elections tomorrow and vote in his favor. There is a lot to say about this man whom every Iranian is proud of but I don't want to waste my time to preach for some idiot like Khorsandi.

Just tell us who has honored Iranians during recent years? Mr. Khatami or Khorsandi? It is really necessary for our dear countrymen abroad to be more acquainted with thing happening here to have true judgment about our home.

We wish all glory for our country and success for our people.

Thanks and with respect,

One of your compatriots

* High and mighty

This is in reference to Mr. Sayyad's letter to the Iranians in Diaspora film festival ["Success shmuckcess"].

I am so sick of Parviz Sayaad's diatribe against Iranian Cinema. In 1990, UCLA held an Iranian film festival, where, for the first time I was introduced to the works of Makhalbaf, and saw "Bashu, gharibeye kouchak" . I was enchanted with these works, and remeber the pride I felt for being from the same ilk as these film makers.

At this same festival, Mr. Sayaad held a press conference and denounced the school, the organizers, the film makers, the audience, and likely their mothers.

Mr. Sayaad, where do you get off acting so high and mighty? What has been your contribution to Iranian cinema? Which one of your works counts as political? Did you not make many silly films during the Pahlavi's reign of terror? Were your works not a tacit approval of that regime? What are Iranian filmmakers supposed to do? Curl up and die?

Face it, whatever you think of the regime, life goes on. Art happens. I for one truly appreciate Iranian artists' tireless efforts to make relevant works of art and to cope with whatever they must in order to remain true to their art.

Films like "A time for drunken horses", and the "Taste of cherry" are ground breaking works of art that transcend petty political agendas. The likes of Makhalbaf and Kiarostami and the enormously talented group of young Iranian filmmakers continue to make films because they have something to say.

Those who can make films, do, and those who can't, write letters. Enough already.

Babak Naficy
San Luis Obispo, California

* Thinking Digital?!

It was interesting to see Mr. Parviz Sayyad's latest production, "Success shmuckcess" But once again this latest production shows that Mr. Sayyad has blinds on: It's dark now, and it shall remain dark because I refuse to take my dark glasses for fear of facing the unbearable light.

It's interesting. I read this story for my son tonight about an owl and other birds. The owl stays up at night and can see in the darkness, and all other birds who cannot see at night go to sleep as soon as it starts getting dark. And they've been doing it for so long that they don't even know what night looks like. So the owl uses this knowledge and takes advantage of the other birds in an interesting way that I will not discuss here.

The moral of the story is that it seems Mr. Sayyad has viewed everything through his dark glasses for so long that he has forgotten what light looks like! And he's falling into these traps due to this.

Dear Mr. Sayyad,

It's true that we are living in a digital world. From computers to wireless phones to radio and TV and ... everything is going digital. But I was hoping we, the people, are actually going the other way. We need to go from digital thinking to analog. But perhaps we have been looking at things in black and white for so long that we don't even know there is a gray in between!

Please note that I'm not addressing your specific issues. I don't think it makes any sense to do so. You don't leave any room for discussion on the issues themselves. Your dark glasses are the big obstacle. And as long as you have them on there is no point talking about light!

I used to admire you back in Iran. And I was hoping to continue doing that. But you have continuously disappointed me by clinging to your Samad year after year. In fact your name just came up in a party this past weekend. According to my friend you have responded to criticism about your Samad works by saying that you have to earn your living some way (perhaps because people haven't appreciated your other works as much).

But even here I think you have lived with your Samad for so long that you have forgotten there is life beyond Samad. If you truly believe in Samad, then you should in fact go on with it. But if you don't, for your own sake, I hope you come out of this trap and figure out there is a big world out there once you've buried Samad!

Ali Moayedian

* Disrespecting Iranian flag

As you definitely know, I communicate with Kobra Khnom almost every week and I love it. The reason I'm sending you this letter is to object and strongly protest the picture of Mr Parviz Sayyed who is standing on our flag in ["Success shmuckcess"]

The flag is symbol of our natinality regardless of our feeling about the present government of Iran. Even during the Shah's time, none of the anti-Shah opponents showed such disrespect to our flag.

Here is my question to you. If Mr Sayyad supplied you with the picture, why did you put it in your site? (When I send a letter to Kobra Khanom you change it the way you want and you make it like "jeghare Zolaykhaa"). You could have refused to publish that particular picture.

My emails to Kobra Khanom is not the issue. Don't you think that picture is a direct insult to all Iranians as well as yourself?


Mehdi Monajemi

EDITOR'S REPLY: Mr. Sayyad did not supply this photograph. I designed it. I don't think the flag was disrespected.

* Enough mutual guilt

I would like to comment on Mr/Ms Donald's opinion on the US embassy hostage crisis of 1979 in Tehran ["Compensation for hostage taking"]. Although we all condemn the act, still the facts of the matter remain under the shadow of fiction. I have only used the standard references available to public mostly through searching the net.

As far as personal compensation for the hostages, after the hostage taking, the American government filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Iran stating that the government of Iran was responsible for acting contrary to the Vienna Convention on the protection of diplomatic rights. It added that Tehran had acted against the Treaty of Friendship signed in 1955 with Washington about economic and consular relations between Iran and the United States. The Iranian government replied to the ICJ claiming that the hostages had been held by the "students following the Imam's line". Iran did not attend the court and the ICJ eventually condemned Iran and took it responsible for the hostage taking. It acknowledged that U.S. embassy in Iran was not seized by the Iranian government however, since the government had endorsed the action and had not taken action to keep the embassy and its staff immune from anarchy it was responsible and should pay damages to Washington. The amount of the damage was made subject to the agreement of the two sides. Should the two sides fail to reach agreement, then the Tribunal would make its own assessment in the next stages and decide the amount.

With the beginning of the negotiation on freeing the hostages, Iran made it clear that the first condition to return the hostages was that Washington should cease to claim any damages in the future. All these conditions have been cited in Paragraph 11 of the General Statement in the Algiers Declaration and Washington committed itself to withdraw its petition from ICJ simultaneously with the release of the hostages and that later on Washington or American citizens should not demand any damages against seizure of the former U.S. embassy and the hostage taking. The U.S. government agreed to prevent any claim raised in that connection. Meanwhile the U.S. government set a special commission and satisfactorily paid damages to the hostages and their families >>> FULL TEXT


* Verbal jabs

I was surprised at Mr. Mirfendereski's response ["The Ostrich Syndrome"] to Ms. Sohrabi's article ["Where do you start?"]. She took great pains in pointing out that her objections were to the use of words such as "genocide" and "apartheid" - and the images they conveyed - not their dictionary definitions.

She wrote: "When you use 'apartheid' you are no longer using the dictionary-definition of the word. It is used because it has historical connotations. Those connotations should be evoked sparingly in order to not dilute what has happened in the history of humankind."

However, in his own defense Mr. Mirfendereski did exactly that - and pulled out the dictionary. This might be an academic response, but seems to miss the point. The issue isn't whether "machete-wielding Hutus killing Tutsis" can fall under the same dictionary definition as "Article 64" (where minorities in Iran vote for their own deputies in the Majlis). The issue is whether these two actions carry the same legal and moral weight.

For the life of me I don't see how one can argue that the above two actions are the same in the eyes of the law or in the framework of our current moral standards - any law, any moral standard: American, International, Iranian, Islamic. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that here in California, first degree murder carries a death sentence, while vote tampering - even with intent to keep a minority group from voting - doesn't.

The treatment of Bahais in Iran is clearly one area in which I would agree with Mr. Mirfendereski. No self-respecting Iranian would deny what has happened to the Bahais - and frankly I've met very few Iranians that would. I believe Ms. Sohrabi also made the same point.

As a side note, I have to admit that I found the condescending paragraph about the ostrich surprising and not becoming of someone who is trying to be taken seriously. Verbal jabs such as these only make the author appear uncomfortable with public criticism and diminishes his arguments if not his character.

Sassan Behzadi
Los Angeles

* Majority rules?

There is a soccer (football) site that has royally pissed the Iranian community by their arrogance and lack of compassion by calling the PERSIAN GULF the ARABIAN GULF on their website. So dozens of other Iranians including myself have sent them emails asking them to correct this mistake.

To our amazement they replied with the following message (see below). Please read the message and see if this sort of arrogance and illogical reasoning does not just make your blood boil with anger.

I would greatly appreciate if you could publish this letter on your site and let the Iranian visitors that visit this wonderful site make their feeling be known to those that are in charge of website. It is about time that Iranians step up their efforts to protect our integrity and pride.

Let's show the world and each other that we are united and when it comes to our beloved Iran, regardless of our personal views regarding politics, religions or ... I thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon.


Kambiz Roshan

Here is the email that I sent to the folks at and their response:


I was looking at your site to get more information regarding upcoming Asian qualifications and was troubled to see a huge error. It seems that on your main page you have chosen to use Arabian Gulf instead of PERSIAN GULF.

Now I don't know if this is a mistake or someone trying to play a bad joke on the rest of us. If it is a mistake, then I can understand, because of a simple fact that THERE IS NO SUCH BODY OF WATER AS THE ARABIAN GULF, so please correct the mistake.


Kambiz Roshan

Here is their response

Dear visitor,

Thank you for your email regarding the Arabian Gulf. We will not be changing the name of the 'Arabian Gulf' to the 'Persian Gulf' for the following reasons:

1) The predominant language which is spoken in this area is Arabic.

2) Out of the total population of the region, 83.5% of them are of direct Arab origin - meaning of the Arabian Peninsula.

3) Iran is the only non-Arab country surrounding the Arabian Gulf. Hence, the majority rules.

We have had numerous requests from our Arab visitors to sub-divide headings on our website to include Arab nations in that part of the world and the term 'Arabian Gulf' was nominated by many.

Please realize that this is a heading to describe countries of a region, not a thought-provoking move intended to upset our Iranian visitors. Thank you for taking the time to voice your opinion, it is much appreciated.

Have a nice day.

Warmest regards,

Ms Senaka Kimura
Media Manager

* Inspiration

Amir Fallah's paintings ["Persian graffiti"] are proof that people like Shirin Neshat are wrong when they make comments like "What more can be done or what is so important about painting when everything has already been done."

Amir's work is so fresh that makes one think,"there is definitely more to be done". Inspiration and ideas are endless.what goes on Amir's mind is a proof of that. thanks amir I had a nice boost looking at your art in the morning.

Hamid Ageorlo

* Talk to Taliban

I just could not help wondering at a time like this when Moslems are being massacred through out the world, there is a talk of further conflict between two Moslem states. There has always been differences of opinion in the religious arena. I wonder if Iran benefits in any way, by fighting with an impoverished country like Afghanistan.

I suppose at the end, one of the two countries will end up appeasing current material master like United States. It's my opinion that Iran should engage in dialogue with the present ruling group -- the Taliban of Afghanistan -- secretly to avoid deteriorating situation in the region. Otherwise, there will be another seven-years of war and it will benefit none but the supplier of weapons at the expense of two divided group of people.

They should overlook differences and build common ground.


Mohamed Jalal

* Reza Parsa

I am trying to find a man named Reza Parsa who lived in the US for many years until last spring. He is originally from Shiraz. My name is Cammie. I really miss him, and a lot has happened. I wish so much to speak to him and to know that he is well.

If anyone can help me find my dear friend, you will have earned my everlasting gratitude. I should have appreciated him more, and now he is lost.

Cammie McGinty

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June 2001
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