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September 6, 2003

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* So Nazi SS were, oh, mere thugs?

By Ms. Hakakian's portrayal of SAVAK agents as "mere bureaucrats just doing their jobs," [The sound of words] I suppose we can say the Nazi SS were, oh, mere thugs who were just misunderstood, and the East German Stasi were, oh,  just policemen merely directing traffic.

When innocent (or even un-innocent!) people are systematically killed, tortured, disappear without a trace, unjustly jailed, or in any way frightenend or mutilated -- and yes, even harassed (the only "job" Ms. Hakakian seems to recall) -- such as was the case during all previous repressive regimes mentioned, as it is in the current one, I fail to grasp the exigency of whose will it is that's perpetrating these heinous acts be it God's, the Shah's, or Hitler's.
I have no problem taking the current regime to task for it's abominal human rights record, but not at the expense of whitewashing or palliating the just-as heinous acts of the previous regime.  A life lost or a voice silenced is a despicable act in it's own right, regardless of when or why or under whose watch it occured.  As we are so wont to compare the current and previous regimes, let's not forget what really matters... the act itself.



* I wonder

I found it despicable and shameful how this man, Iranian Jew [Israeli President] Moshe Katsav, held an "emotional" radio address with Iranian listeners [News]. Supposedly, the Iranian listeners reacted very warmly to Katsav and, supposedly, Katsav exchanged emotional stories about his childhood days in Iran with the listeners.

I WONDER - do I ever wonder - how these same listeners would feel once Katsav orders his military to drop bombs on Iran. The Israeli military has repeatedly threatened to bomb Bushehr into oblivion. Why?

It's not just because Jews are paranoid; that we all know. It's because Israel can't stand to see another rival power in the region threatening its military supremacy. Bombing Bushehr would inevitably kill Iranian civilians and release harmful radiation into the atmosphere (not to mention kill 2000 Russian nuclear scientists).

Fuck Katsav; this man is a Traitor Extraordinaire. And those listeners were in all likelihood Iranian Jews. What's funny is that Iranian Jews constantly complain about not being accepted by other Iranians. I wonder WHY?

Iranian Jews should get the fuck out of Iran, because their allegiance to Iran's mortal enemy no. 1 is unacceptable and will one day represent a national security threat.

If Sharon tomorrow orders the IDF to attack Iran and in the process "liberate" Iranian Jews still remaining in Iran, they would flock to Israel, make no mistake about it. Many of them already have and are in the highest positions in the Israeli government. Shaul Mofaz is another example: Head Butcher of the Israeli Defense Forces.



* Not for the weak-hearted

Ms Davaran's first foray into the cut throat world of literary reviews has a familiar ring to it - a very Iranian style negativism. The footprints of anger and envy can be seen all over her first experiment, as a critic, with a significant literary work Dardedel.

Davaran's critique of Dr Parvin's novel [Khoda Hafez Rumi] as well as her reply to Rob Levandoski's praise of the same [A bridge to nowhere] can best be described as puerile, both in style and content. 

Apart from the fact that she has completely missed the real and refreshing message behind Dr Parvin's novel, by being over-pedantic, she shows every sign of a novice critic in need of recognition and yet in awe of her target.

Davaran starts off her first article "Khoda Hafez Rumi" with an advanced apology from the subject of criticism (Dr Parvin) and at the very end of the same piece she cannot hid her pleasure at, as she puts it, having Parvin stung.

In her reply to Levandoski's robust defence of Parvin's novel, Ms Davaran complains of harsh words being used against her while she ignores the less than complimentary attributes she had bestowed on Dr Parvin in her first article - suggesting that he is a comedian, dishonest, and would better do a different job than writing novels.

Ms Davaran's grasp of Persian poetry, or perhaps the lack thereof, is another subject of curious interest. She reprimands Dr Parvin for his alleged sense of self-importance and then consoles him that after all he could be forgiven as Rumi and Hafiz, among other Persian poets, used to praise themselves unabashedly.

In Rumi's case, I would be interested to see even one example of his poetry that can be described as self-aggrandising. He often praised, in most glorifying terms, his beloved Shams but never himself, who used the uncomplimentary nom de plume, khamush, meaning silent.

As for Hafiz, for every self-glorifying verse, which often appears at the end of his ghazals, there can at least two self-effacing examples be cited. Hafiz, by nature, had a loathing for name and fame.

Well, Ms Davaran, you might be annoyed at the way you were judged for your pedantry by Rob Levandoski, but as the adage goes, those who live in glass houses do not throw stones at others. The lesson is that if you want to go into battle against Goliath, you should be a David. Reviewing works of great originality, such as Dr Parvin's Dardedel, is not for the weak-hearted.



* Like parents naming favorite child

Please excuse me for my "jesaarat", but I think this poll on Iranian poets is not a very meaningful because there is no such thing as "the greatest poet", Iranian or otherwise. Each one of these poets that you have put on your list are different poets with poems in different genres each with greatness of their own.

How can you say which is better, the mystical poems of Attar and Rumi or the epic poems of Ferdowsi or the lyrics of Hafez? They are each a genre of their own with their own characteristics and beauty. It is like saying to a parent which one of your children do you like better?  

It would be more meaninful if you have a poll asking people which do you think is the greatest epic poet: Ferdowsi, Homer, Milton, etc. etc. or which do you think is the greatest Sufi poet, Rumi, Attar, Abu Sa'id, etc., or romantic poet "ghazal sara", Sa'di, Hafez, etc. That would make more sense.

N. Shafiei


* Iranian clippings back in USSR

Regarding Soviet archives and Iranian communists, [It's really him] Khosro Shokrai who is a specialist on the revolutionary period of Iran and the Caucasus has some film clippings including of Zinoviev's famous speech at the Baku Conference of 1920 or 1921. He showed them at a lecture he gave in London. I used to see him more many years ago and know that he was collecting a lot of documentations.

Fatema Soudavar FF


* Feeling of those forced to live in exile

Your piece on Iranian poet Lahooti was interesting [It's really him] and I thought it would have been nice to have a few of his poems available for your readers unfamiliar with his poetry. I know of these two web sites that you can refer to here and here.

I like the first poem on this last link called "Nemidaanad" as it seems to express the feeling of those Iranians forced to live in exile.

Nader Moave


* Lahooti Street

There is a street in Tashkent bearing Lahooti's name. [It's really him]

Mona Lisa


* Promotion at the expense of Iranians

I found the comment you quoted from your anonymous (and possibly made-up) sociologist friend (last paragraph of your aptly titled piece "Hate this movie") offensive.

While I sympathize with you as a young inexperienced film director who needs to be supported, I don't think promoting your movie (I had the chance to see it myself -- quite mediocre in my humble opinion) at the expense of Iranians is the right strategy.

I don't know about the Iranians you hang out with, but where I live (metropolitan Washington, DC) screening of Iranian movies attracts large crowds, and so does Iranian music and poetry.

Ataollah Togha


* So true

This piece [Same crowd, same people] was SO true :-(

That's why I gave up going to such conferences/conventions just to meet a wife - now I only go if I like the theme/topic/speakers. And I always try to make friends with people who seem to be NOT in the "trendy-in-crowd".



* Go deeper

I find it astonishing that all ABS [Same crowd, same people] learned in several days of the conference was that "people who knew each other stuck together", especially after having come from as far away as Australia. 

The writer has acknowledged being born in a Bahai family but not practicing the Faith. He has already stated that together with the cousins their aim was primarily to seek mates and secondarily to learn more of the Faith. He then chooses a few interactions and generalizes this to the spirit and content of the whole conference.

ABS is perhaps not familiar with the Bahai Faith due to the non practicing family in which ABS was raised.  A deeper familiarity would have made ABS aware that this Faith has spread to all over the world from a handful of persecuted followers because of individuals that were and are ready to go anywhere and mix with anyone. 

That this Faith does not have Rabis, priests or mullas because it is the duty of every believer to be educated, learn the Faith, live the Faith and teach the Faith. Since it is representative of all humanity it will contain a variety of personalities none of whom are solely representative of the whole.

Mr M.


* Not for meeting people

A fringe benefit of any large gathering such as a conference is meeting people; new or otherwise [Same crowd, same people].

The purpose of the ABS (Association of Bahai Studies) Conference is sharing of ideas regarding spiritual, social and economic development of the world community from a Bahai perspective.

Personally, I do not believe that the ABS conference is a venue for meeting people, socializing or networking, although all these activities do and should happen in any large gathering of people, specially people with same religion, goals, ideals etc.

Unity of mankind, one of the primary teachings of the Bahai faith will happen irregardless of what goes on at a regional conference.

Carlsbad, CA


* Persian eyebrows

Dear Linda, [Eyebrow nation]

I read your article about Iranian eyebrows a while ago and enjoyed it very much. Then today I read the letter section and as always found Azam Nemati's letter [Mysterious eyes...] disturbing. I usually try not to read her stuff but sometimes I read the letters one after another before I know the author.

Anyway, I wanted to say that you wrote a nice article and I agree with you. If nobody ever complemented Azam khanoom on her eyebrows that's probably because she doesn't have nice ones.  But most Iranians especially women do have the most beautiful eyebrows. 

I work with an American who studies and researches Persian dances, costumes, and facial features in history and she always talks about Persian eyebrows. They're most noticeable in our miniature paintings.  She makes us all paint our eyebrows before Persian performances to make them thicker and longer to look more authentic. 

Azam khanoom, they never say nice chehsm. It's almost always a pair of nice cheshm-o-abroo that gets complements. Why denying?

They don't know how to make eyebrows here in America as well as in Iran because they don't have eyebrows that are shapable.  They're also not so important because they're never the best feature of a face.

Thanks again for your nice article. I especially liked the reference to Khorsheed Khanoom.

Proud of my dark Persian cheshm-o-abroo,



* Air force heroism: Accurate
I received "Battle of Persia" from a friend and thought to share it with you.  As mentioned below, Iranian Air Force pilots were vigilantly engaged in defending our airspace against Iraqi's fighters and bombers and regardless of political situation, Air Force pilots played a great role in protecting Iranian airspace against Iraqi's potential thread.
In a short period of time, Air Force requested Iran Air pilots to help them due to the shortage of pilots for KC-135, refueling tanker which is equivalent to civilian Boeing 707. As an Iran Air pilot in that period, I participated in air refueling cap in deep south of Iran for a short period of time and witnessed highly skilled F-14 and F-4 pilots of Iranian Air Force during very sophisticated maneuvers for air refueling. 
Although the article below is written by an unknown Iranian, based on my own experience in Iranian Air Force, I endorse the article.

Amir Kasravi


More letters (September 6, 2003)
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All past letters

By subject
September 6, 2003

US invasion of Iran
* Selling your soil
* Can't imagine
* Treacherous monster
* Our job, not Americans!
* To stop conquerors
Israel's Iranian president
* I wonder
* We are in danger
* Toiling for greater good
* Books for Iranian youth
* Nazi SS mere thugs?
Iranians & Arabs
* Unaware or an Arab
* Mixing many issues
* Leave me out

* Blaming America
* Arabs & Aliabad
* Ms "Al-Akhavan"
* Absolute idiot
* Anti-Semitic garbage
Air force & war
* Heroism: Accurate
Book critic
* Not for the weak-hearted
Poetry poll
* Like naming favorite child
Lahooti in USSR
* Iranian clippings
* Forced to live in exile

* Lahooti Street
Film: "Maryam"
* At the expense of Iranians
Bahai Conference Romance
* So true
* Not for meeting people
* Go deeper
* Persian eyebrows
* Reza Shah's daughter?


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