Letters

December 2004
December 4 | December 3 | December 15 | December 16


We need to learn how to build trust

In response to S. Sadeghin's, "Stop bitching":

Please don't take this the wrong way but i do think that this is a very simplistic of approaching this subject. I understand that it all begins by establishing grass-root campaigns, but when you look back at the history of our nation, you will notice that, this is how the islamic rev. started, did it not? I think many of us witnessed the excitment and the exhiliration of the protesting crowd in every street and ally and sadly we can now see the wrong direction that it took and it basically derailed, and that is where we are now.

We must first be able to establish criteria as to hold our potential leaders responsilbe and accountable. Organizing popular polls and picking the individulas should be the least of all worries, compared to setting the standards on honesty and integrity of such people.

Our next big challenge is to find ways to get poeple motivated. You are simply providing a general guideline as to how we should proceed, rather than mentioning specific actions each one of us needs to take in order to implement such movements.

The problems is mainly an internal one. Most of us either don't want to or just don't know how to get along with each other to form a united front, let alone lending a helping hand to our people back home. This has traditionally been the main element and linchpin of the dysfunctionality of all freedom movements.

We need to learn how to build trust amongst each other and refrain from lying and deceiving one another first, and then use that as a building block to create a formidale framework to bring democracy to our country.

'till then, there will be non-stop Bitiching and empty rethorics.

Kyle Saghafi

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I beg to disagree

In response to Roozbeh Shirazi's letter, "We don't all agree":

Hello Roozbeh,

First of all, let me thank you for responding to my note. Evidently, you've been under a barrage of attacks from a number of people, and I'm guessing that was not your initial expectation. Anyway, let me make a few comments. Your response to my letter was far more polite than some of your other writings.

When I finished reading "Tunnel vision," I got the impression that you believe all Iranian Republicans are blindly following the GOP. Okay, maybe as you mention I missed the point. But others have missed your point as well. Either the article was not well-written (which I disagree) or you have mellowed down from the time you wrote that article.

I would not have known the real reason had I not seen some of your responses to others. One who was kind enough to share his correspondence has you saying the following: "I think anyone who voted for Bush is either a greedy corporate sellout asshole (like you and your family, I assume since you want to talk about families), a dumb ass born again Christian, or a jenayatkar."

Hmmm, Mr. Shirazi, those are YOUR words, not mine, and not a so-called Iranicon's.

From what I read in your writings, I see mixed messages. "The article is not against Iranian Republicans." I beg to disagree, sir. As to my initial note to you, yes, I did make some general statements, which is why I said "many Iranians." Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule.

There are Iranian-Americans who are Democratic or Republican for various reasons and then you have Iranians who are apathetic to politics altogether. Therefore, I was criticizing a group of Kerry proponents as you were criticizing a group of Bush sympathizers, albeit I did with less rhetoric. At any rate, I never questioned your patriotism. Perhaps others did.

And I'm sure others will not gang up on you if you leave out words such as "jenayatkar" and "sell-out" from your verbiage.

Mehran Azhar

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We don't all agree

In response to Mehran Azhar's letter, "Seeing America as an outisder":

I usually don't respond to the critical letters I recieve because I have found that too much of the time, the writers of such letters are more interested in insulting or threatening me rather than actually engaging in dialogue.

In this case however, I feel Mr. Azhar is someone to dignify with a proper response, though I disagree with him. He at least signs his words with his own name. I believe he, and some others who contacted me regarding "Tunnel vision" are missing the point.

The article is not against Iranian Republicans. It was not written to bash Iranians who agree with some or all Republican issues, or to convert anyone to the Democratic party (which more and more resembles the Republican party). The article is about Iranians who live in the US who support the idea of US-backed regime change in Iran, and criticizes that position. I critcize regime change because it is an asinine policy and the neo-conservative approach to difficult diplomacy, similar to beating up someone you refuse to communicate with. For the record, several self-identified Republicans who do not wish the US to attack Iran who wrote me to agree with my views.

The article also criticizes Bush--not because he is a Republican, but because of his record, which is indefensible in my view, and many Republicans detest it as well. It criticizes those Iranians who wish to see change in Iran by enlisting the US in the effort, yet turn a blind eye to Bush's record and dishonesty, and become angry when one points it out. Those are the people that the article addresses (democrat or republican).

Finally Mr. Azhar, you make a number of generalizations about Iranians (and their political views) feeling like outsiders. I am Iranian by culture and heritage, American by birth. I feel each side strongly. I understand my citizenship comes with inalienable rights and responsibilities which include protecting those rights and my freedoms give to me by the Constitution, no matter who is currently in office. That is the difference between rule of law and artbitrary rule. I understand that in a democracy, what the people wish (ideally) is the engine that drives the government. We don't all agree about what the governement does on our behalf.

But the belief that dissent, protest, and criticism are un-patriotic or anti-government is simply, un-American. Unfortunately, that belief pervades in a lot of the emails I recieve from those who disagree with my views.

Roozbeh Shirazi

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Seeing America as an outsider

I just read your letter [B. Pezhman's "If Iranians were Americans"] you had sent to iranian.com in response to Roozbeh Shirazi's "Tunnel vision." I could not have agreed more to what you said.

The problem with many Iranians is that they see America as an outsider even though they've lived in this country for over a decade and are naturalized citizens. When talking politics, these Iranians only talk about America's foreign policy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

First of all, I don't understand why Iranians would defend the plight of Iraqis (and Palestinians for that matter) while they staged an eight-year war against us. And that war was not 80 years ago; we still have thousands of crippled veterans and other misfortunes for that unjust war. Are Iranians just the most Samaritan and altruistic of people? I highly doubt that. I believe they fear that "Iran is next on Bush's agenda."

Now, that's fair and respectable if you happen to live in Iran and agree with the values of the Islamic Republic. But these guys live in the US and are enjoying the opportunities and liberties available to them. I live in Chicagoland, a bastion for the Democrats. I see how Iranian students who after living in other Western countries opt to live in the US, yet they take every chance to lambaste the Bush administration and are hoping for US to lose the Iraq war.

Such hypocrisy does not end there. They support the French, German, and Russian stance. Someone needs to tell them how France treated Arab countries such as Algeria and Tunisia when they were the colonial occupier. And with Germany, weren't they the ones with the mustachioed dictator who wanted to expand the Fatherland? As with Russia, they occupied Afghanistan and half of Europe until a dozen years ago. Such great examples for "peace-loving nations."

Unfortunately, as you clearly pointed out, Mr. Shirazi and others like him cannot possibly see that an Iranian could vote Republican because of the tax benefits, belief in strong military and small government, and opposition to affirmative action laws, not to mention moral values such as abortion and death penalty.

I wonder who really has the tunnel vision. If you voted for Kerry because you think his economic agenda was better or if he could handle the wars better, fine. But please don't go around and call people names (i.e. Iranicons). Why don't you call them Americons? Mr. Shirazi's side lost on November 2nd. They'll have another shot in 4 years. It's always okay to lose; they just don't have to be a sore one at that.

Mehran Azhar

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We, real Iranians don't want to be "Americans"

In respose to Farrokh B.'s "G.I. Farrokh":

I just wanted to ask him: If you are so "American" and owe nothing to Iran as you say, then why do you feel the need to come on IRANIAN.com and share your american "patriotism" with us??!! There are thousands of AMERICAN websites, weblogs, chatrooms..etc who would love to hear you and will admire your patriotism and devotion to the U.S!! Why do you have to post your article on Iranian.com??

Are you trying to provoke us? Are you trying to set an example for the rest of us, so other Iranians join the U.S army?? Are you trying to say that you are more American than the rest of us?? If so, good for you, be an american and a "kasseyeh daghtar az aash" if that makes you feel more "accepted" in your redneck community. Heck you can wave a confederation flag all day long for what I care!!!

We, real Iranians don't want to be "Americans".We are proud of being Iranians and we will always be, even during iran's worst times. We will not turn our backs to our nation the second we feel more "comfortable" somewhere else!! We went through hell and back, went through revolutions, executions, wars, tortures, we were gassed by your old buddy (Saddam Hussein)'s chemical weapons, lost arms and legs, had to face the whole world's conspiracies and interferences on numerous occasions, so that an arrogant punk like you does not allow himself to look down on us and insult us, calling our Nation "the land that once was Iran"!!!

I have news for you, Iran is still Iran and will always be and Keep your hands off it Mr American soldier.
PS: change your name to Freddy!!!

Ali N

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Action against National Geographic too late

In respose to Dariush Abadi's letter, "IRI is not pan Arab":

Doh! Mr Abadi is the naive one trying to defend the indefinsible. He clearly doesn't even know the history of IRI.

It was "Sheikh" Khalkhali the Khomeinie sadist psycopathic henchman and deputy of Akhound Kohmeini who during a visit to Dubai, first suggested that Iran was prepared to drop the name of Persian Gulf in favour of an "Islamic Gulf" to the Sheikh of Dubai who could not believe his ears or that anyone would sink that low!

Morever they (IRI) have for twenty odd years made NO attempt, NONE, in Arabic countries to fight the spread of the incorrect name. If anything they have at every opportunity given every signal to Arabic governments in their preparedness to "make a deal". Their readiness to sell anything for recognition and acceptance by Arabs is a matter of record.

Since the revolution was usurped by the vermin akhounds they have nothing but to try and become more Arab than the Arabs in the mistaken belief that was the way to becoming leaders of the Islamic world.

What screwed them up was Saddam Hussein's Arab Nationlism and to survive they reluctantly had to allow some expression of Iranian patriotrism. But even now they won't quite let go, is the writer blind and doen't see the Arab "towel" worn by all the Basijis and revolutionary guards as part of their uniforms? If that is not pan Arab what is? (See this year's basiji parade. Note what the akhound is wearing over his "abaa" and the male Basiji outfits.)

The action against National Geographic coming too late and is an empty and over the top gesture, if anything it is designed to make sure that they never use the name Persian Gulf and drop it completely (Why have they not for years take any action about European cartographers who have completely dropped the name Persian Gulf? Why haven't in the in the past twenty odd years taken any action against numerous stronger more influential abusers despite our pleas to their representatives?). You are talking about people who insist on using terms like "hejaz" instead of Saudi Arabia in their crazy ambition to become more Arab than Arabs.

It is no wonder that the cause of Persian Gulf is lost, it is because of our stupidity and those among us ready to sell Iran for a stupid idealology or monetary gain.

I just could not believe my eyes when I saw this letter. Let me leave you with this: It was only a few years ago that representative of the "Supreme Leader" in London embarrassed the IRI while attending a cultural function about Iranian heritage as he could not speak any Persian and could only converse in Arabic (he was of the Moavedin)!

Amir Rostam

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Same rights for women

In respose to Babak's letter, "Laws of nature":

The idea is that if a man wants to get laid right this minute, now, later, or anytime, anywhere and with anyone they desire, and that it is alright for them to believe and do so and not get labeled for it, then the same rights should be considered for women. That they too have the right to get laid anytime, anywhere, and with anyone they desire without being labeled for doing so. Anyone who considers this right as being applicable only to them is indeed an asshole.

While men of most cultures have traditionally had more sexual freedom, it is mostly the Muslim cultures that consider women's sexuality a property of their male kin, and where for safeguarding the chastity of their women they commit murder. the idea is to consider the same rights for both sexes and to this end screw what has been the tradition so far and screw the"Law of Nature." (In fact this has nothimg to with any law of nature since other animals do not practice what human animals do!)

Shahin Shoar

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It is our civic duty to criticize authority

In respose to Hamid Bakhsheshi's "Happy anniversary?":

Hamid Agha,

I enjoyed your article. Although I am an American, I lived in Iran 5 years from 1974-1979 and I had more or less adopted Iran as my country. I know it sounds strange but I too wept and wept the night before and all the way to the airport the next morning. That last night I was at my closest friends' family home and a constant stream of my Persian friends kept stopping by to say goodbye to me. Even the neighborhood mullah came by to say goodbye and he whispered in my ear that he hoped that I understood that the radicals who had taken over were not representative of all Moslems. I told him I knew that.

You see the much touted political freedoms of America come at a very high price which no one ever tells you about in advance of coming here. The reason we cried is that there was a very great loss in giving up such a rich and meaningful culture and real friends, extended family and community in exchange for what? For this throw away consumer society where no one really knows anyone and there are no common values other than greed?

If I were you I wouldn't spend any guilt on not having participated in the ten year "Silent War." Iran and Iraq were just being used like pawns by the super powers and the G7 countries were all making money selling both sides weapons. It was the US which sold Iraq the biological and chemical weapons by the way. Saddam was a CIA appointee to begin with just as is Osama Ben Laden and El Qeda and the former Taliban.

It was the US administration which urged Saddam to make war on Iran. The US administrations are very poor losers who never forget or get over being kicked out of a country i.e. witness US policy towards Cuba. So I am afraid that all the patriotism is misplaced and that the real enemy was not Iraq... .I can remember when I was working in Iran in the old days that there was actually an agency for economic cooperation between Iraq and Iran.

Some of my critics feel that I have no right to criticize America. On the contrary if we are to remain a democracy here which is becoming questionable, it is our duty to bite the hand that feeds us, it is our civic duty to criticize authority especially when it challenges our very Constitution with its policies. Some 3000 people died in the World Trade Centers on 911. How many civilians have died in Afghanistan and Iraq now in misplaced retaliation? And all of these bombardments and invasions which have made the US an open aggressor for the first time in our history have not made the world a safer place but a more dangerous one.

The arms race is back on track. The militarists and the defense contractors are happy while the rest of us wage slaves suffer for want of health care, affordable housing and decent public education and a clean environment. It is an artistry to say that the US is in a war against terrorism. You see every intellectual dissident becomes a target just like in the Mc Carthy era. Meanwhile the war on terrorism was the handy smoke screen for the US administration to secure Iraqi oil and Afghanistan for the advent of the Unocal gas pipeline from Uzbekistan. So before anyone talks about dying for their perspective country, let us make sure we know who the real enemy is... otherwise we are just cannon fodder for the big money capitalists of this world.

Brian Appleton

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Why trash and ridicule?

I read Farrokh's article [G.I. Farrokh] after I read some of the letters that had been written in response to him [Deployed to Iran?]. I was quite disappointed at the plethora of obscenity that had been thrown at him. Then I read another letter [You sir, are a patriot!!!] by the American veteran who is married to an Iranian woman and I thought good I don't have to write a letter, some one decided to write a nice one. But I was really disappointed after reading that letter, too.

Why is it that some of us have to resort to ridiculing and trashing the people who write for the Iranian. No Iranian has the right to trash Farrokh as some people did and no American has a right to call Iranians (I'm paraphrasing here) ass-shaking kabob suckers. What gives any of us the right to be so dismissive of and disrespectful to each other?

Would the Iranians who wrote those nasty letters to Farrokh have the stomach and the "roo" to say what they said to the face of the parents of that first Iranian American kid who got killed in Iraq? I am not going to argue about the war and whether it was right or wrong, all I am saying is that all of us no matter what our thoughts or beliefs are deserve respect.

For example the Iranian Kurd guy who wrote a letter [Despise Arabs] and trashed Leila Farjami's poem, I mean, was that really necessary? The point of the poem wasn't that she wants to be an Arab at all, but that's not even important. What's important is that some people feel free to go ahead and use all the profanities they know to express their dislike for and disagreement with others.

I'm sure many of you would agree that people are not in general respected by the government in Iran. And it's not just the government, it's prevalent every where, at the local Baghali or Sabziforooshi or by the Basiji and Ansar. One thing that I have learned after living in the US for 10 years is that here people give each other respect, they may not like each other, but they don't go out of their way to trash each other either.

I'm sure the people who wrote those nasty letters to Farrokh wouldn't like to receive a letter like that if they ever wrote some thing for the Iranian. If you feel passionate about some thing, write a letter and explain why you disagree with the point of view that has been presented, you may even be able to change some one's mind, why do you have to go and attack the character and the humanity of the person who wrote the article.

I've seen these types of responses to every thing from Siamak Baniamiri's STORIES, to people's poems, to articles written on political topics and I just don't understand how some people can bring themselves to such a low level. We are all human beings and deserve to be heard and to be respected. They don't treat us that way in our own motherland, let us treat each other with the dignity we all deserve.

I challenge every one who decides to write to the Iranian to think before they hit the send button and see if they would be offended if the letter they wrote was sent to themselves. I challenge and invite every one to treat others the way they would want to be treated. I'm sure all of us are capable of that.

N Azadeh

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Alternative names

For 2500 Years, the body of water that separates the Iranians from the Arabs has been called the Persian Gulf. Every single person in history, no matter of their origin, who visited this beautiful gulf, has called it that name for centuries. From Alexander, to Marco Polo, even the brutal Arab and Mongol invaders called this gulf the Persian Gulf and not the Arabian Gulf.

The newest Atlas of the World by the National Geographic however undermines this historically valuable name and has placed the name of Arabian Gulf in parenthesis under the name Persian Gulf. It is interesting to note that in most World Atlases, Persia is written in parenthesis under the name Iran, and it should be so when in fact the country was known to the world as Persia until 1935.

Representing the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf in parenthesis is suggesting that this Gulf has sometime in the past or in any scientific record has been referred to as the Arabian Gulf, when in fact it has never been so. This type of representation of incorrect information confuses the readers and makes them believe that they can in fact use the name Arabian Gulf if they wish to do so, going against all historical records, scientific publications, and UN regulations.

Since the National Geographic has decided to go ignore science, history and international agreements and move away from its scientific roots and beliefs and join the political arena, I have some other alternative name suggestions for them. By using the names I have stated below they will complete their unilateral renaming of geographic locations. I believe they should place the following names in parenthesis under their original names.

* The English Channel (the French Channel) - Since the body of water separates England and France and it would be unfair to the French for it to be called the English Channel

* The Atlantic Ocean (Euro-American Ocean) - There is no longer a place called Atlantis, therefore the body of water that separates Europe and America should be called the Euro-American Ocean.

* Gulf of Mexico (Gulf of America)

* Indian Ocean (South Asian Ocean)

* Sea of Oman (Sea of Southern Middle East)

* Panama Canal (Atlanto-Pacific Canal)

As Iranians, we have seen many of our rights be trampled upon throughout history. Our beautiful land has been the victim of many barbaric actions and invasions. In the modern era, we have been misrepresented throughout the world due to our unique culture and values. This fact has scarred us throughout our existence, so when it comes to changing the name of something that all Iranians are proud to call Persian, we are reminded of all our losses through our long history. In order to stop these actions taken against us, we have to unite and make our voices heard by showing the world our true identity and things we believe in.

No matter what the National Geographic or some Arab States call this body of water, it was, it is, and it will always be known to the world as the Persian Gulf.

Radman Rabii

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Think of everything you have now

In respose to Hamid Bakhsheshi's "Happy anniversary?":

Hamid jan,

Yes, you should be thankful for everything you have and have accomplished!

I know what you mean about the questions in our head about coming here and all that. I have thoughts like that, as I'm sure other immigrants do. But looking at our peers back home and where they are and what most of them have done, answers that question quickly.

Except in rare exceptional cases and if not martyred in the war or rotting in prison, a person in our age and belonging to a middle or upper middle class family in Iran would have ended up with family and kids of his own and having to work 2 or 3 jobs in Tehran to make ends meet. I see examples of that every time I go back to Iran.

Don't get me wrong, we have missed out on quite a bit by not being back home for all these years, but it's not like we would have make much of a difference had we been there. Our presence believe it or not would have been of no consequence (as I said earlier, except in rare cases, like if you or I were to end up being a president or revolutionary figure that would have made a big difference!)

Think of everything you have now and have become that would not have been if you had stayed in Iran!

BB

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Good or bad, that's how we are

In respose to Tuff Wild Chick's "Iranian guys suck":

News flash Miss "thang". All men are the same, all. Even your Dad and/or your brother. Your future husband, if there is one, will be exactly the same. This has nothing to do with nationality.

Now, there are certain qualities or specifications you will find in Iranian men vs. others, but generally, men are this way.

As an Iranian "guy" I'm insulted by your blanket statement of, if not all, "most" Iranian guys. Have you met most Iranian guys? There are perhaps a good 20 million of us and at least 100,000 of us in United States. You've been with all 100,000? Who's the slut now?

Can't make judgments like this just because you've been burned abjee, cannot. Iranian men are hard working, goal orientated, focused, very successful, and loyal. Now, their loyalty may not leak into their marriage or relationships as much as you like, but we're good catch.

If we're not good enough for you, there are hundreds more that are waiting.

Broaden your horizons a bit more, please. Go out with a few American, Hispanic, Asian, and some European guys. Hell we, Iranian Guys, don't mind. Do it for the sake of understanding men a bit more. You have a very restricted view of men.
More likely, your Father cheated on your Mom, you've been cheated on or screwed and left, or close friend just found out... you get the point.

Get out there and find out what men are really like. Good or bad, that's how we are. If you can't accept it, relationships between two women are totally acceptable these days, we, men, definitely don't mind that.

Hamid Bakhsheshi

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All about money, stupid

Related aritcles, Setareh Sabety's "The anti-shah" and Ghassem Namazi's "No friend":

Below was written a while ago, just after Arafat's passing away. The story of the Palestinian funds is now slowly rising to the surface so it is particulary apt. Only today the Citibank has reported a number of accounts holding hundreds of millions of dollars in Arafat's name:

We Iranians seem to have an infinite capacity for crass sentimentalism and love of mourning. You only need to browse the Internet and read the messages written by Irianians from inside and outside Iran about Yasser Arafat, wallowing in a sticky sickly sentimental outpouring of emotion.

We are but Ostriches with our heads in the sand or as we say in Persian like partridges with their heads buried in the snow (and asses up in the air!), it seems that we never lose the knack for falling for the worst type of demagogue corrupt charlatan politician, and as we seem to have conventiently forgotten that he was essentially an Arab Nationalist and when it came to it always sided with enemies of Iran.

Have we so easliy forgotten his support for Iraq and enimity towards our country? We seem to be happy to turn a blind eye to it in our concern about the plight of the Palestinian people which given the state of our own country would be comical if it was not so tragic. Should we not put our people first and worry about the plight of the thousands of homeless children or the fate of women in our banana republic?

This is the man who would not let go of control over the huge funds the Arab countries had put at his disposal. What do you think that comic tiff during the last stages of his life, between his wife and the Palestinian leadership was about? They nearly gave us a glimpse of what it was all about by washing their dirty linen in public but I guess somehow she was bought off and made to shut up. It was ALL ABOUT WHO CONTROLS THE MONEY, stupid!

I leave you with an example of his deeds so perhaps you better understand the man you are eulogizing. And it does not come out of Israeli propaganda machine but is a matter of Palestianian history.

When Jawid Al Ghussein his friend and "brother" since the earliest days in Cairo (1950‚s) who was later entrusted for years with Palestinian finances, after the Oslo accord tried to consolidate these funds into one treasury and called for accountability and transparency in their financial affairs, "Abu-Ammar" through his cronies first tried to discredit him by accusing him of misappropirating the funds, when that would not make that stick, "Abu-Ammar" had his henchmen kidnap him from Abu Dhabi and illegally take him to the occupied territories. He then kept him imprisoned in his compound for years and threatening Jawid‚s family in the West that he would be harmed if they spoke out.

Despite two revolution inside a century we are still not mature enough to shed the need for hero making and then we wonder why we are in this predicament.

Amir Rostam

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As an Iranian Kurd I despise Arabs

In respose to Leila Farjami's "Fil-e pelaastiki":

First of all Leila, your poem was horrible, in every sense of the word. If hatred of Arabs bothering you so much that you rather be an Arab, more power to you. I don't think it would bother any body.

As an Iranian Kurd I despise Arabs. I have no problem sending every filthy one of them to hell. So fuck you very much for your stupid and nonsense poem. I guess it makes you feel like an intellect to be on their side, even though Arabs have occupied my country for over 1400 years. They are not going to leave either, as a mater of fact they are in more control than ever.

Iranians are supposed to bend over 5 times a day towards Saudi Arabia and now before their masters while Arabic Azan is being played from Arabic mosques. We have named our sons GHOLAMREZA (slave of Reza) and you worry they are being victims by our prejudice?

A few of their handy work [crimes] are attached with this email. Have fun celebrating their work you bitch.

Afshin

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Zoroastrian Republic of Iran? No.

In respose to Persia Lover's "Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds":

Why is it that when people disparage Zoroastrianism they always bring up the Sassanians? The Sassanian dynasty existed one and a half thousand years after the time of Zoroaster. It was a time of decadence brought on by the establishment of a priesthood with temporal power (something Zoroaster himself vehemently opposed). It was also the time of Scheherazade of the Hezaro Yekshab (the Thousand and One Nights). If you look at the Hezaro Yekshab, it becomes obvious that it is a plea to end the mistreatment of women. Throughout the tales of Scheherazade, women are continually saving men from male folly.

No one is advocating a Zoroastrian Republic of Iran to replace the Islamic Republic of Iran. Those of us who are infatuated with the Magian faith (which is every bit as monotheistic as the God of Abraham religions) ask only that Zoroastrianism, as the only religion to have actually originated in Iran, be allowed to make its contribution to the spiritual uplifting of the Iranian people and that its message be offered to the rest of the world.

Like every religious group, the classical Zoroastrians (descendents of Sassanian royalty) have their liberals and their conservatives. I myself am critical of the conservative elements of the classical Zoroastrian community because they have, through fourteen centuries of intramarriage, transformed Zoroastrianism into an ethnic religion, something it was never meant to be, something not found in the Gathas, the Songs of Zoroaster. It is time for the classical Zoroastrians to break out of their narrow ethnic bounds and open up to the wave of converts, especially to those Iranians disillusioned with Islam.

It is easy for the disparagers of Zoroastrianism to find examples of Sassanian "religious" writings that are absurd and nauseating. The writings of the Sassanian priest Adra Viraf, who wrote Heaven and Hell, are particularly repulsive. But the writings of Adra Viraf have nothing to do with Zoroastrianism, no more so than the writings of the insane Nietzsche in his Thus Spake Zarathustra. Do we judge Christianity by the writings of Dante?

I challenge those disparagers of the Magian faith to find fault with the original Gathas, the Songs of Zoroaster. The Gathas provide a solid moral foundation for leading a virtuous and productive life. I have found quotations in the Bible, the Testament, and the Koran that could easily be used to disparage the God of Abraham religions, but so far in my readings I have not found a single quotation from the Gathas (written at a time when people worshipped devils and sacrificed virgins to make crops grow) that is not beautiful and inspirational.

Sincerely,

Eric Jerpe,
author of Beckoning Star and The Return of Scheherazade

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Help independent women's library

Dear friends.

I have taken the liberty of writing to you for a good cause. The WCC in Tehran have started their women's library. After a long deliberation, they rented a place and turned down money from abroad to buy one -- and thank god for that, given the present circumstances.

The library not only needs operating money, which they hope to raise from classes and other possible donations from their members, but more urgently they need equipment like computers, scanners, and above all a very good copy machine.

We have donated all we could to help with the down payment for rent and other furnishing stuff, but good computers and copiers are very expensive. CAN YOU HELP PLEASE to set up an independent women's library for scholars?

Syma

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Emerging Zarathustra

In response to Paul Kriwaczek's "In Search of Zarathustra":

I enjoyed very much reading the excerpt that you provided from the book "In serach of Zarathistra". It seems that more and more Western intellectuals are turning their back on Nietzsche's famous proclamation ("God is dead"). Further, they are dissatisfied with the moral principles of judeo-christianism and look to the East for salvation.

Zarathustra is slowly emerging as a "pole" for many, in the West and in Iran itself, who have started to question the relevance of traditional monotheistic religions (Isalm, Christianism, Judaism).

I would like to recommend another book which explores in some depth the philosophical aspects of Zarathustra's message and its reverberations within Shi'ite Islam. It was written by the famous French iranologue, Henry Corbin: "Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, From Mazdean Iran to Shi'ite Iran" (Princeton University Press, 1977).

Afshin Afshari
Montreal (Canada)

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Not compatible with Iranian culture

In respose to Parkhash's "Left overs":

'Left overs" by Parkhash is totally absurd. What does the fine details of a television show in Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution have to do with the whole picture?

The majority of Iranians voted to abolish the Iranian Monarchy forever. That is a fact. Everyone knows that Iranian cinema and television did not win as many awards world wide as did movies and television shows after the Revolution. The Revolution was a combined effort of the Iranian masses to abolish a barbaric system that did not work.

The Bush administration has said many times that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a democracy and that Iranians masses vote for their representatives.

The only fact that Parkhash states that makes any sense is that the left's ideology is not compatible with Iranian culture. And that is why the Iranian people decided on an Islamic Republic.

Parkhash should just wake up. He is being delusional and irrational.

Jacob Cohen

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Who cares what others think?

In respose to Arash Emamzadeh's "A simple question":

Dear Aghaye Emamzadeh,

I am ethnically only half-Persian. I was born in the United States. I come from a family where my father is the foreigner and my mother is the Iranian. All my life my mother forced me and my sister to learn to read and write her language (Parsi...not Farsi). I am a teenager now and for most of my life I felt neither "Iranian-enough" for Iranians nor "American-enough" for Americans.

I felt very confused about my identity. My Iranian cousins thought I was a foreigner and so did my American cousins. Well, after writing a story about feeling "less-than" that appeared on iranian.com last year, I got a flood of warm and loving emails from Iranians everywhere around the world that said I was one of them.

I only got one email from a lady who told me that it "took two Iranians to make a real Iranian product (I guess she was talking about babies and not cars)." The point is who cares what other people think! All we can do in life is try to treat others black, white, Iranian or non-Iranian the best we can. If we do that then everyone will accept us.

I may have a non-Iranian family name, but I have been to see my dear baba borzorg and maman borzorg in Tehran many, many times. I love Iran. Some people want to think of me as a foreigner because my Passport is blue, that doesn't bother me at all...they can think what they like. If Iran allowed my mother to pass her nationality to me she would have done it in a heartbeat and I have would accepted it, but as things stand now, only Iranian fathers can pass their nationality on to their kids. So that leaves people like my sister and I always having to defend our claim to our country from people who want to strip of us of our cultural birthright.

Personally, I think that anyone...no matter where they were born, no matter who their father or mother was, no matter the color of their Passport, no matter if they speak Parsi or not...is an IRANIAN if they love Iran, its people, its culture, its literature, its food, its rich, rich heritage and if they think of themselves as IRANIANS. It doesn't matter what other people think or say....it only matters what your heart tells you. If it tells you that you're Iranian with each and every beat, then you can be sure that you are, indeed, Iranian.

I think our people would be far better served if we joined hands together to become strong instead of nit-picking each other to death and trying to build pyramids of who is more Iranian than whom. The only way our country will ever be free is to stop all the bitching, infighting and destructive competition that exists between different groups and factions of Iranians.

Until we do this, if ever, you can be sure that only those Iranians who are really Arabs at heart....those who have strangled and enslaved our country and murdered God knows how many thousands or even millions of innocent people during the past quarter of a century will be the only Iranians that count!!!

God bless you and Iran,

Lance Raheem
(only thirteen- but 100% Iranian until the day I die)

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Lost penguins

In response to Quiz question "Show girls":

They are actors in a new play by Bahram Beyzaie about a bunch of penguins lost in big city and their adventures.:-)

KM

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I had to change my pants

In response to ThePerser.com's "Persian dance lesson":

Just wanted to let you know I had to change my pants after watching this video, this is one of the funniest thing I have seen in a long time.

Bahram 9821

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This will take time

In response to Behshad Hastibakhsh's "Theocracy to Democracy":

Great piece that deserves reading by everyone. You have made yet another in a long line of excellent arguments as to WHAT needs to be done. Now if we can only figure out HOW? The problem has never been in the WHAT, that has been relatively obvious. The problem has always been in the HOW.

1. HOW do we go about retiring "...the old guard of Iranian politics with gratitude, and entrust a new breed of Iranians technocrats with leadership."? The old guard refuses to acknowledge the relevance of the young. Our "Rostam and Sohrab complex" ensures we kill off our own young before they have a chance to replace us as guardians of the land.

2. HOW do we go about "converging hundreds of political groups into a handful of moderate parties." Each group suffers from the "Pahlavan" syndrome (sorry for another Shahnameh reference!), thinking it is their solemn and sole duty to "Save Iran".

3. HOW do you achieve solidarity or coalition of political parties. More importantly, WHO will be drawing up the realignments? The degree of mistrust and paranoia amongst us is high.

4. HOW do you achieve social trust when there is currently social mistrust?

5. HOW do you overcome "historic differences"? There is very real bad blood between the various sections, I mean real blood, people who have had relatives executed brutally and wrongly (on both sides) who cannot forgive or forget.

6. HOW do to create a "coalition government in exile" when doing so is completely illegal and unwarranted in the eyes of the IRI. Additionally currently, the various groups each accuse each other of being "Agents of the IRI" at any sign of seeming capitulation or moderation towards the slightest dialogue.

7. HOW do you convince the financially starved media, half of whom receive direct funding from Iran now, to bite the hand feeding them. Additionally almost all of the stations newspapers and magazines are ego-based, meaning they are fed by the egos of their editors. Each with the Pahlavan syndrome.

8. Again, HOW? Any form of disobedience is confronted with such brutality and overwhelming force, you cannot outsmart it. Protest is met with coldly efficient and the swiftest concealment. The large middle class in Iran is once again silent.

9. HOW can you "...bring the ruling theocracy to it's knees"? By their own statements, they have over $40B stashed away as an insurance policy against any form of takeover. And they have a plan too. ANY form of takeover will likely result in a backlash by the IRI in the form of a long period of bitter terror driven civil war.

10. Referendum? The IRI in 1979 somewhat determined that the people of Iran do not want a monarchy. Granted it was a coerced referendum, but I think the idea of anything other than a purely ceremonial, unifying symbol, historically appropriate, but completely powerless monarchy is unrealistic.

Based on my interpretation of the facts and history of our country, we are not realistically going to see a rapid change in Iran anytime soon. There is too much at stake for those in power, and not enough courage for those who are not.

Be that as it may, and given the tight and procedurally irreversible grip the velayateh-faghih has on Iran today, we will likely not see any self-directed change in Iran until the current VF leadership dies off, or self moderates. As is the ongoing case in China.

This will take time.

I fear that any other form of fast change would cost real blood which at this time, no one is willing to give.

JAFI

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Why 85% are dumb

In response to Mr. Talmoud's letter, "How could 98.2% of Iranians be so dumb?"

Mr. Talmoud,

I enjoyed your sarcastic response to the posting on Iranian.com. As you may know, Iranian.com took poll a while ago as to the Iranian-American's party affiliation (you can find it in their "polls archive"). It is amazing to see that only 15% of them are Republicans (and perhaps only 5% of the female segment).

I am not saying that if you are not a Republican you are dumb. But if you really dig into why 85% are Bush-haters, you begin to wonder why they adore Clinton, who did nothing positive for U.S Iranians in 8 years, while they hate Bush so much. I think the root of it is that those 85% see the Republicans as threat to them because they feel that they are not Americans and Bush is out to get them. Now that is what I call "Dumb".

Personally I do not think that Bush will and should invade Iran, such as Iraq's case. But he had the balls to point directly to the Iranian "government" (not its "people" as the 85% of dumb U.S Iranian's think) and say it like it is. The ruthless, useless, corrupt, fascist, and bloodsucking Mullahs are nothing but "evil". All of a sudden this 85% segment of Iranians that live in the U.S are more pro Iraq than pro U.S. Have they forgotten how Saddam Hussein killed and disfigured about 1 million poor Iranians. And can't they see that if Iraq is democratized (if Iran and Syria stop funding the insurgency), the poor oppressed people of Iraq will be much better off? Guess not. That is why they are dumb.

B. Pezhman

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Hollywood's practice of historical revisionism

In respose to Titra Parsi's "Miserably lousy":

Jenbabe Doctor Parsi damet garm!
Zadi too khalesh ba in tahlilet! Right on!

Good job, though I remain an Oliver Stone fan, in his style and technique of film making!

I agree with your assessment on Hollywood's practice of historical revisionism and the bias in their social views and Oliver Stone didn't start it; it's been and will be practiced widely and deeply in Hollywood!

Ben Bagheri
Dallas, Texas

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Northern European superiority is just a facade

In respose to Titra Parsi's "Miserably lousy":

Trita Parsi writes: "In proud Hollywood tradition, Stone uses blond Scandinavians to depict heroic ancient Greeks, while modern-day Greeks are left to portray slaves and extras. At first glance, such a casting policy may appear to be of little importance, but it belies a deeper, racist mindset that is brought to the surface through Stone's portrayal of the Greek view of Persia and the East..."

Mr. Parsi continues, very eloquently, to make other points in his article.

An observation: Black doll - White doll: In the 1960's sociologist agreed that Black kids in America preferred playing with white dolls. Why? Is it because they hated their own skin? What kind of social conditioning had penetrated the mind of an innocent African American child? With the dominant Northern European mentality, is it possible to ever make an African American child prefer the brown doll?

Almost all movies/TV shows/COMMERCIALS made in the West have the mind-set of Northern European superiority. Shouldn't we, as immigrants from the third-world living in the West, be at least aware of this twisted world view? Think about non-Northern European kids who grow up in the West. Shouldn't non-white kids have an understanding of this twisted world view? These kids should at least realize that the Northern European world-view is just a facade.

Overcoming the inferiority complex (as illustrated in the case of Black children preferring white dolls) among non-white children is quite a challenge. Without the proper tools and education (and an alternative world-view that does not focus on dominance), kids, who are not of Northern-European ancestry growing up in the West, may never prefer dolls that are not white. Tools and education needed to reverse this inferiority complex go against the dominant European-based world-view and will never be fully accepted by the West.

Recognize the Northern European World-View for what it really is: a facade to overcome the West's own insecurity.

vvvv llll

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I laughed very hard

In respose to Farhad Radmehrian's "Pahlavi pizza":

Absolutely loved this article. Very witty, funny and no trace of hatefulness (I hate that family and can not hide my feelings and I do not apologize). I laghed very hard.

I am thrilled to see there are other intelligent Iranians who are observant and know what goes on. I can always tell by one's writings or pictures posted at the site what message is being conveyed.

Job well done and message understood. Let the suckers be known!

Azam Nemati

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You sir, are a patriot!!!

In respose to Farrokh B.'s "G.I. Farrokh":

Dear Farrokh Agha,

Salaam. I wasn't going to write you in the beginning (when your article first appeared) because I disagreed with you on the fate of the fellow who deserted to North Korea. I feel as I have earned the right to disagree with your views because, like you, I too am a veteran. My war was Desert Storm and while that part of my life is well behind me, I believe that soldiering is a noble profession.

The reason I decided to write to you now was the shock and utter disgust I felt when reading the nasty, hateful, hurtful responses that were sent to the Letters section in response to your article. Who are these people? What absolute ingrates they are to demean, belittle and dishonor not only you, but the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of Americans who have shed their blood and lost their lives in our nations history to insure that these rabid dogs have the freedom to hurl insults at you and the nation that took them in when the Ayatollahs took over.

Who are these peices of pig shit that never took a stand for anything? It shouldn't surprise anyone that they hide behind freedoms walls to hurl their filth. How could anyone expect them to love America enough to stand tall for her when they won't even stand up for their own native land. Instead of risking life and limb to liberate their own country, they crawl like scum sucking snakes on their bellies in America berating fine and proud Iranian-Americas like you who chose to stand for something in life. God bless you sir!!!

I am not Iranian...never have been and, unless the laws of nature change, I never will be one, but my children are half Iranian and I have shared 25 years of my life with an Abadani girl who supported me fully when I was sent to war. While these Iranians who crucify you with words were stuffing kabobs down thier face hole, and shaking their asses at discotechs, my then young wife had to worry about the very real possiblity of being a single parent and widow for many long, lonely and agonizing months when I was deployed.

Did any of these ass-shaking kabob suckers ever once thank her for the suffering she endured so they could live a life of leisure? Hell no!!! She suffered in silence and she stood stronger than a mountain, never once hearing a kind or supportive word from her Iranian "countrymen". I'm sure you will agree with me that it is the woman who stands behind every soldier that is is source of strength. If these pieces of human garbage are incapable of honoring the sacrifices of those proud Iranian woman who have stood behind soldiers like us, how can we expect them to understand something so basic as the concepts of duty, honor, country. These people would not even fight for their beloved Iran, how can you expect them to understand the love and devotion you have demonstrated for your adopted home.

Do not be disheartened by the rantings of cowards and those who believe in standing for nothing except themselves. These Iranians who criticise you so harshly are not Americans at all and they never will be. It is one thing to disagree with the political policies of our country's leaders and another entirely to dishonor those who protect our freedoms day and night, even at great risk of peril to themselves.

These are people who cling to their American Passport, but criticise everything America stands for except their right to suck it dry and fill up their banks accounts. These are people who make sport of watching other people's sons and daughters die while calling those brave youngsters every vile name imaginable. Even though they've lived amongst us for 25 years these people are not Americans. They are foreigners who grasp their American Passports tightyly, while sucking our country dry like piglets on the teats of a sow.

They have benefited and prospered from the bounty of America. It is the very protection that you and so many others have given them that insures their freedom to spew and write such filty, vile and hypocritical shit while continuing to enrich themselves in this land they hate so much.

You sir, are a patriot!!! I am proud to call you and Iranians like you my countrymen and women. While there are many ways to give something back to this great country you, Farrokh Agha, have given back in the most meaningful way possible that any immigrant or native born citizen can. You are risking life and limb for OUR county, our freedoms and our people. There is nothing more noble than this....NOTHING.

I salute you, I thank you, and I will never forget why I am proud that Iranian blood flows in the veins of my two children. It is because of people like you.

God Bless You, God Bless America and God Bless Iran.

Khoda Nagah-dar,

Jim S.

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See good and the good comes to you

In respose to Tuff Wild Chick's" Iranian guys suck":

Dear Lady,

I take you are very upset and someone hurt you real bad. Your image of Iranian men is great but it represents males in general not just Iranians. I've been away from home for 35 years. Seldom associated with Iranians and have more western characters at this time. I've only partnered with non-Iranians including my husband. A relationship is much easier with a non Iranian for me, but trust me there are little things that you miss when cultures are different. During the past 7 year, I've been drawn to Iranian guys. I also believe sex is a very important part of a relationship for both sides.

I met an Iranian man. I loved him dearly. He was in love with me as well. I know that for a fact. He received everything he wanted from a woman and I received everything that I want from a man. For whatever reason, the "fear of failure", and "what people say" caused a problem committing to a partnership.

After a 3-year relationship, my boyfriend that supposedly is madly in love with me, said I slept with him on my "second date". The funny part is when he feels good, he is happy I slept with on the second date, but when he does not feel good, I am a whore. Both comments are made by the same guy.

I do not tolerate weakness, nor do I tolerate disrespect, so I left. It's his loss! He could not handle to have it all; a partner and a lover in the same package. Even though I was hurt, I still want an Iranian man to be my partner for life.

It is not good to generalize but if I had to, I would say Iranian men have low selfesteam which causes weakness and therefore difficult to commit. They also end up being controlling, to gain power, and overcome their weakness. This also creates an unfair relationship where they do not accept equality. What's good for them is not good for you.

On the other hand, Iranian men do have some good qualities that are seldom found in the Western world. They are more romantic ;-) and we women are a sucker for that!

You also must look at the typical Iranian women as well. Let's face it, Iranian woman are not the best choice either. At least from what I see. They all want to be a queen. I find them phony, jealous, and selfish. It seems they are always in competition with their best friend on "who has what" at all times.

My suggestion to you is focus on yourself; forgive yourself and your partner so you can be a healthier person for the right man when he comes along. They are all kind of people in every nationality. Look what is important to you and choose your partner based on that.

See good and the good comes to you. Good luck!

"In life devote yourself to Joy and Love...
... Live as if you are already in the heavens above."
-- OMAR KHAYYAM

Shamlou

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Makes you look spiteful

In respose to Parkhash's "Left overs":

Wow. Someone needs Anger Management! Parkhash, you are angry at the Iranian Left. This is obvious from your ranting in your piece. Not liking people is ok, last time I checked. But not liking someone and slandering and lying about them to prove your point are two different things.

My mom is American and my dad is Iranian, and he was involved in and sympathetic to leftist politics back in the 70s and 80s. Never was there any Cuban or Libyan or Iraqi connections mentioned by him or his friends. Maybe he missed the Savak show on TV...

I am not super political, but I believe in having the freedom to think and act as one pleases. My dad cares very much about Iran and has given me so much by raising me to be Iranian as well as American. Investing in your culture means you care about it, right? How dare you imply people who are leftists do not love their culture? Can your kids even speak and read Farsi?

You can't make sweeping generalizations about a group of people you don't like -- I guess you can, but that makes you prejudiced and a bigot. Hitler also made sweeping judgments about people (Jews, Gypsies, gays, and communists) as well. Are you a Nazi and Facist too?

Finally, you have no right to say what political causes are and aren't Iranian. Please. Who died and made you king?

People have the freedom to choose what they believe in. This is what makes a democracy work. My dad has his views, but tolerates the views of others even if he doesn't agree with them.

We don't all have to agree, but you shouldn't attack and lie about people who think different from you, especially for a mistake as little as messing up a TV show's name. It makes people think you are spiteful and don't have anything else to do. Wake up! Dividing people won't win your cause...but maybe you don't have one.

Alison

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Flashback

In respose to iranian.com flashback "July/August 1996":

I love that flashback to the old site. It looks like a Google search result for something like "Kabul Museum lost items" or "Budapest birth registry" etc.

Well you've come a long way, it gives one hope.

Alidad Vassigh

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Tall and proud future

In respose to Arash Sayedi's "Thought, character and destiny":

Dear Arash,

I really enjoyed your article. You have certainly done a good job organizing your thoughts, and you should never call when you put pen to paper 'dribble', because your writing is excellent. You express thoughts that many of us cannot articulate but most certainly agree with; they make sense.

You are so correct when you write that our destiny is in our own hands; we ourselves must weave the path to a future where we can stand tall and proud.

Good luck and best wishes,

Shahla Samii
(New York)

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Just give them time and power

In respose to Persia Lover's "Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds":

Well, sir, what religion you know that did not go bad eventually in the hands of priest hood!? Buddhist Monks in Tibet had enslaved a quarter of population just before Chinese invasion fourty years ago. You can not find more gentle, high ideals than Buddhism! But that is the way it is! No fault of Sidhartha Buddha or Zarathustra!

This is the way it works "humans corrupt everything" just give them time and power. some of it has nothing to do with concept of religion but Cast system, India stood and eventually beat back Moslems and kept the archaic cast system which still practiced by millions in India. what made Iran a looser of phenomenal consequences are so complicated we can not even begin to discuss here! it was not zoroater,s Gathas believe me. for some people like me not having any religion is OK! but allots of our countrymen need something to hang on to in this "ghorbat" ! they never could use it to build a colt of Jihadis like Alqadeda, eastern Aryan based religions are not suited for Jihad.

Persevan

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Alexander the Terrible!

In respose to M.A.R.'s "The best -- misrepresentation of history":

Thank you for your review of the movie Alexander the Terrible! I was so eager to see the movie and find out how the Persians were portrayed, I could hardly wait for the movie to come out! Now, I am not going to watch it! Too bad! May be the $14 that I saved by not buying the tickets and popcorns, I should send it to the site that is fighting the Persian gulf name change! Well, may be our kids some day would make a movie "Cyrus the Great!"

Jon Goldust



EXACTLY what you're worth

In respose to Tuff Wild Chick's" Iranian guys suck":

i tell you why iranian men act this way toward iranian women. because that's EXACTLY what you're worth. iranian women are nothing but a bunch of gold-digging, superficial, arrogant, rude, condescending UNDER-ACHIEVERS who think that all they need is a pretty face and a vagina to get ahead in life. while we iranian MEN get our MD's, PhD, MBA's, and JD's and rapidly rise in the corporate and professional world, you iranian women lounge around putting on your make-up while waiting for Dr. Right to show up. and when he does show up, you're off to Macy's with our platinum cards. and you wonder WHY we treat you like this??? ha! iranian women need take a cue from Indian and Asian women: put down the make-up and open a goddamn book.

iranian men are among the most romantic men around. i know, i am one. they will without a doubt go out of their way to make a girl happy if they think the girl is worth it. sorry to burst your bubble, honey, but most iranian women are simply NOT worth it.

SD

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