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March 2004

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* Spring as a community of peace

All New Yorkers would appreciate knowing about the holiday described by Kayhan Irani about greeting the New Year in the spring as a community of peace [My new year is yours]. I hope you can forward the article to Mayor Bloomberg to include in NYC's recognition of New Year celebrations in the spring.

My French nephew married an Iranian American whose Muslim father had left Iran and married her part-Jewish mother in Germany before they moved to California and two years ago, to Spain. They merge the celebrations of many cultures in all their holidays.

By the way, I saw Irani's show, "We've Come Undone" when she performed in NYC. The play is itself a celebration of the shared warmth and concerns of New Yorkers from the Middle East, South Asia - and the US. I left the one-woman show feeling as if I had met many New Yorkers, from a litte child from Pakistan to an elderly Seikh woman from India and many others in between. Remarkable performance. Thanks for publishing Irani's article.

Tita Beal


* Price of having the ring in our finger

That was a great experience [My dream coffee with Farah Pahlavi]. For years I  was thinking that was my filling about farah and I have to keep this filling only for my self even when I was living in Belgium I was looking at the queen and the king with a very heavy sad filling every time they use to come to town and they use to get in touch with people I use to get emotional and cry because I was thinking once I had this security in my country but then I lost everything my queen my family my childhood.

and since the day that toufan came to our land very often I wake up in the middle of the night and I am thinking why? specially since I sow the lord of the ring I keep thinking did we act like goulom did we get blind and we paid the price of having the ring in our finger?

I was just checking your sight and I just did click on this part and I felt that I am not lonely not as much as was thinking maybe that was another gift of capitalism to put this in our head that we have to leave individually and think individual gosh I do have so many think to say I don't know from where I should start.

maybe this  being dislocated situation is making me like this specially when it is happening at the age of 13 in my own country then around the world and till this they I am still wondering around the world to find a place to land !!!!!!!!!!

sorry for my poor English I am a dislocated woman in fact single mum who is confuse between 3 deferent culture who dose not show but in a big mess physically  and mentally anyway I am not even a writer like you guys  I just want share this moment with you!!!!!

Maryam Gholamshahi


* Deserves meeting Empress

I just wanted to say that Mr. Bahmani is such a talented writer and I particularily liked his latest piece on his "My dream coffee with Farah Pahlavi", I don't know if he has met the Empress but certainly he deserves to.


* We fudged up

Dear Mr. Arash Kamangir, [Different camps]

There are some interesting points in your article. I particularly liked your recount of the demonstrations in D.C. and the fact that no picture of Khomeini yet existed then. But I was so disappointed to see that you follow the same illogical, undocumented line of conspiracy theory that every cab driver in Iran follows.

The questions you ask are indeed interesting ones. I don't know why "Does anyone wonder how, when all media were so well-controlled in the Shah's regime, such an article, out of nowhere and with no prior cause, would appear in Kayhan?" But in answer to your question, yes. I can tell you confidently that 100% of Iranians have pondered that very question, and that a huge majority of them already agree with you.

On the other hand, whether bringing Khomeini to power was at the top of "West's" interests or not, you shouldn't foget that we, Iranians, manipulated or not, chose him. How can we blame the "West" (a term I don't like to use because it assumes all Western nations follow the same interests) when they were, at worst, following their own national interests? Why don't you agree that we, Proud Iranians, actually screwed up and chose the wrong dudes.

If you believed Mr. Khomeini when he said that he will be returning to his "hozeh", then you were a sap. You were naïve, as were I, and you believed the wrong man. Khomeini was a politician. Wasn't he? Why should we have trusted him to begin with? He was a mullah too. We now know that this bunch cannot be trusted at all. We should HAVE known this back then.

Listen dude, we fudged up. Face it!!!!

P.S. Hey, call yourself what you will. But isn't Arash Kamangir, as heroic a myth as he was, a very old and tired name? Can't we Iranians be a little more creative and not always look for old footspets in everything we do?

Saeed Ganji


* We WEREN'T better off

I agree with Arash Kamangir that the people who fought to topple the despositic, dictatorial and barbaric government of the lunatic cancer ridden Mohammed Reza Pahlavi were not from one particular political thought. [Different camps] I too in my youth was one of the students that took part in the Washington DC protests against the Shah prior to the Revolution. In my view the Shah and monarchy was wrong for Iran. Iran, a 3rd world country can not support a parasite system known as the monarchy.

Poverty is as was then prevelant in Iran. Iran's economy is backed by the sale of Oil. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi knew that as well as the 2 leaders (Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khameinei) who followed him in Tehran. One thing good about the clergy in Iran they do not alienate themselves from the masses. The Clergy wears the same clothes every day. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi wore a new suit every day! Prior to the revolution people were selling their blood to get a meal in order to prevent starvation. 

I hate the argument that "We were better during the Monarchy". No we weren't. [Hindsight] There are different levels of crap. crap and crappier. Why do you people (those who do argue this) accept the bare minimum? Don't you want freedom and economic stability? One man rule by monarch or clergy is not freedom. A constitutional monarch is giving a person free income for doing nothing. Why are you people so stupid? Feed the poor, the homeless, the widows. Where is Chivalry? 

Why don't you people just go and drop dead!

New York City   


* There was no alternative course

If there was no revolution there would have been no war with Iraq? Perhaps [Hindsight]. But if there was no 1952, there would have been no revolution. And what if the Shah of Khwarzemian had not murdered the Mongol messengers, perhaps the there would have been no Mongol invasion?

Who knows, but one can play what-if games forever. And yes many died during the revolution and subsequent war, but they didn't place their lives on the line for for the sake of the Shah or Farah so lets not insult their memory by portraying the Shah or Farah as their potential saviours or protectors. The ultimate reason why there was a revolution which was so violent is because there was no alternative courses of political development permitted under the Shah.

Even Farah herself has now admitted in an interview I heard on NPR, and apparently in her book too, that the Shah was wrong in not opening up the system in Iran (I guess she has apparently given up on the conspiracy theory which blamed the oil companies for ejecting her husband from power, which was the theory in her first book, and can now just barely admit that "some mistakes were made". How nice for her.) How long do you think that system could have lasted anyway even if there was no Khomeini? And what makes you think Iran would have been better off today - it could just as easily be like Turkmenistan, with days of the week named after Farah. Lord save us from those who swing too and too easily from one side of a pendulum to the other!

John Mohammadi


* No one but ourselves to blame

Enjoyed reading your article. I want to congratulate you on your insightfulness. [Different camps] Mundane, rudimentary, basic, commonplace, and oft asked are some adjectives I would use to describe questions you've raised.  I concur and am amazed that we Iranians, claiming to be more cultured and smarter than "others", have been unable to provide an answer. Or perhaps we have chosen to ignore these altogether!

The gist of your article appears in one sentence: "IT IS BETTER TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE DEVIL YOU KNOW THAN THE ONE YOU DO NOT KNOW".  I draw your attention to those turbulent days back in 1953 when our only truly democratically elected Iranian leader, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, was betrayed by ayatollah Kashani representing the mullahs in Mossadegh's coalition.

It is true and verifiable that Kashani was "BOUGHT" by that CIA thug Kermit Roosevelt and suddenly changed his allegiance to monarchists. By bribing Kashani Americans and the British ensured continuation of their interests in Iran. He was the devil they already knew!

Khomeini and his cohorts were no different. Generally speaking what distinguishes and separates the mullahs from rest of us is their non-stop thirst for money and power. Events in 1979 were nothing but history repeating itself. It would be easy for us to blame "others" for today's mess. Truth of the matter is we have no one but ourselves to blame. As a cultured, worldly and smart society Iranians should have learned a valuable lesson from history and prevented the ensuing disaster.

Kamran Ramyar  


* Maybe he had a point

I recently read your article "Hindsight". I commend you for being honest about how and why your political loyalties changed in relation to the monarchy and the legacy of the revolution. Yes, looking at things from afar can change the initial perspective, many young people esp (students), in the 1970's (compared to today) were radical idealists and wanted to halt imperialism, and many believed in revolution as a way of getting rid of injustice and the old order.

Although I am not Iranian, I am a historian and take great interest in analysing causes of revolutions and consequences thereof , i.e Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. I do sympathise with your conclusion that in perspective and all we have seen in the last 25 years (the islamic revolution was an anachronistic throwback), the monarchy - Shah would have been better. 

I think if by today the Shah or the Bakthiar government had been in power and the monarchy would have been changed into a constitutional one, Iran would have been quite industrialised, quite stable and far more democratic . Probably the ordinary population would have been much more secular in outlook, and disregarded the mullahs as their saviour.  (I think the ayatollahs are big hypocrytes, they exploit religion - probably drink alcohol themselves, enforce the hijab to control women and deprive them of their former rights, they are millionaires and have foundations, so aren't they just a self enriching religious replacement of the Shah's elite.)

Mind you though, I am still very aware of the shortcomings if not failures of the late Palavi regime, and if it had not been for the corruption, uncontrolled-widening income - wealth disparities, the growing dependence on the USA for advice & assistance (maybe even mental wellbeing of the Shah), the Shah's elitism and drive for moderrnisation - westernisation at high speed, political exclusion, SAVAK, ordinary (esp traditional minded) Iranians would not have even thought about revolution.

Never the less,the Shah said 2 days before his death in July 1980 in Egyptian exile, some quite  remarkable statements, showing that he already sensed what would happen after his - monarchy's demise:

"I can't believe what has happened to my country, it is very sad. We were at the peak of prosperity and  I tried to realise Iran's great civilisation, but the people decided otherwise and wanted to have their revolution. So they shall have it, but not in a so long time from now people will realise that they have committed collective suicide on a national scale. But then it will be far too late. "

If a revolution at least a progressive one, Shah:

"I would have preferred if the people had at least chosen a communist - red revolution, at least these people are secular and educated. Those who now have power, the black reactionaries, will turn back the clock with grave consequences, and darkness will descend upon Iran."

Another insightful statement of the Shah was on democracy made sometime in early 1970s during an interview with BBC:

"The majority of Iranian people are not educated yet. Democracy in a country where extremely few people can read or write and where only a few have PhD degrees, doesn't make sense."

Maybe he had a point.

One can only hope that the Iranian people, haven't grown too cynical in the meantime, and will eventually topple one of the worst of totalitarian regimes that ever existed in modern times. Unlike the Shah, I think it is not too late yet, if they, the  young people (having talked to some in Iran , I sense there is still some nostalgic feeling even among them for the Shah and support for a future monarchy) and everyone else in Iran disobey - sabotage the regime, it will collapse.

Walter Onubogu


* Ploy to bring back chained dogs of forieng powers

I think your story is uninformed at best [Hindsight]. It is no secret that your story like most that are printed here are political jinglings in the service to the cronies of the foriegn powers like Farah. I wonder if you consider the fact that had Shah stayed we would run out of oil by now and would have no industry and education for our people.

I am disappointed and stonished that media and story telling are used as a ploy in this site to help bring back the chained dogs of forieng powers. I am glad that likes of you do not live in Iran no more.

Your political jingling is dispicable at best.

Your story is just another nail in the coffin of our indepence in news and story telling. Its translated like many others by the translators of Linguistic Development Program of some forieng power intelligence office that you are probably in the bed of.

Hess Aletaha


* If only one had a crystal ball

Dear Jahanshah, [Hindsight]

I read your thoughts on where your potential political sympathies would have lied during the past 100 years of iranian history with great interest.

I don't think you belong to "hezbeh baad" as you refer to it. It sounds like throughout Iran's 100 year history you would have liked to belong to democratic movements of the time.

If only one had a crystal ball to predict the future, then I am sure most Iranians would have chosen a different path in 1979. Perhaps one day we will see true democracy, as we know it in the West, in Iran.

Mahta Jahanshahi


* Iranians will experience pleasures of freedom

Thank you very much for still caring to write and think about your people's fate! [Hindsight] Although you're still 'not' publishing my other 'philosophical' essay about human desire for endlessness, I am not that mad not to comment about your article. Just kidding ;) I have so often thought about democracy and all types of governments and regimes that may fit our country. But one thing is for sure. We have to do it ourselves.

The Iranian 'mass' will not awake to the realities those of us who have experienced the Western societies' freedoms can understand, unless everyone who does understand takes the charge and gets involved to some degree. Taking the charge does not mean militancy. In Iran whoever has ever come to power has sought revenge and has often been drawn by hatred. And this has always set the path for further injustice and hatred because no-one can judge and make justice evoking and applying personal or even public hatred.

Time has to come, sooner or later, when the Iranians will personally experience the pleasures of freedom not just for their selves but also for the others. No society can be strong and self-sustained unless there is a common sense of brotherhood, trust and some sort of equitability. To start to build such a society we must first start recognising our own faults, depicted in our past and guilty for our present and probably future dismays, and then try to avoid repeating them ever again. I am very optimistic, as I have always been. I believe that time is needed and reconciliation is one of the greatest step-stones.

Ben Madadi


* Dismayed and -- alarmed!

Saw your nostalgic, almost apologetic, article about the Shah's regime following Farah's appearance on 20/20. [Hindsight] And I just have one word for you: marriage has truly gone to your head!!

But the almost blind nostalgia is nothing I haven't encountered before. Only I am encountering it more and more. First in Iran, primarily amongst the younger, post-revolution kids, and now smack in the heart of open-minded intellectual liberals such as yourself. (That's my labeling of you - you don't have to agree with it!) And frankly I am dismayed, disappointed and -- most importantly -- alarmed!

Alarmed that you equate the present regime's failings and shortcomings -- even atrocious conduct -- with praise for the previous regime. One does not infer the other. Perhaps superficially, comparing the pomp and glamour of the previous regime with the drab, dreary uniformity of turbans, chadors, and unshaven chins, might one feel a longing for the past. But only by digging beneath the surface do we recognize the ails that plagued both regimes.

And while post-revolution kids blinded by the constricted environment of present-day Iran, and constantly bombarded with images of glitter and glow of former pompous times, may be excused for seeing only the surface, the same clemency cannot -- CANNOT! -- be afforded those of us who straddled both epochs with a clear head and without an endearing attachment to either. Thence, my disappointment.

Finally, what dismays me most is the prevailing sentiment that we have only two choices: live with the present regime or will the previous regime back. Nothing could be further from the plain truth. We have a better choice, many better choices.

Ones that address the ails of both regimes (learning from our collective mistakes) while espousing genuine concerns for human and individual rights, basic freedoms (of religion, speech, press, association, etc.), fair judicial practice and oversight, socio-economic equity, equal opportunity for advancement for all, checks and balances of power and political influence, genuine sovereignty and self-determination, integral checks on corruption and malfeasance and the like. Even a cursory (yet fair and balanced) study of both epochs reveals major shortcomings in most of these basic principles in both regimes.

So, the choice is not one of present or the previous regime. Rather it is a choice between failed practices and malformed priorities on the one hand, and genuine social, political, judicial, economic -- even cultural -- redress on the other. Pomp and spectacle, nor blind allegiance to man and method (be it monarchy or theocracy), simply do not play a part. Let us not barter these cherished principles we've fought for for so long for seemingly happier, glittery times.

Here's to hoping we keep our minds sharp and our eyes open during these formative times and forget not the old adage "beware of Greeks bearing gifts."



* Most share your sentiments

I am actually very glad to see that you are starting to 'repent' for your past support of the IR [Hindsight]. I think most of the people whom favoured the 'insurrection of 1979' with the belief that they would have greater freedoms, only to be squashed under the name of religion, share your sentiments.

If only people would have given the Monarchy a little more time, and things would have been much different - I am confident of this belief! 

Well, as a 'Bacheh Darbari' (for lack of a better word), I have been, and will continue to always be, a Monarchist. However, my views are based on a Constitutional Monarchy, based on history & tradition. Just take a glance at Spain - HIM Juan Carlos serves as a symbolic figurehead that bridges the past with today. Just my humble opinion on this rainy Tuesday in NYC...

Babak Kalhor


* Regret and blame are irrelevant

I just wanted to express my opinion about time and places of events that constantly happens [Hindsight]. What we do at a moment in time is justified by our logic and intelligence. The outcome is the result of that judgment and logic.

Compare it to buying stocks (provided studying the company's performance and forecasts), lottery tickets (for those that have a SYSTEM and utilizing the laws of statistics).
The phrase "IF I" and the feelings of regret and blame are irrelevant.

Naghi Rahmani


* Why do you hate the Pahlavis?

Why do you hate Pahlavi family so much. [Hindsight] Are you doing it for getting more attention? You are representing the and must have a little more passion / understanding toward your own people. We must have the ability to forget the past and continue going forward with hope and love for others.

Bob Farahmand

REPLY: I do not hate them. I believe no individual, no cleric, no family has the natural or god-given right to assume the guardianship of an entire nation forever. So whether it's Pahlavi or Qajar or Khomeini or Khamenei or... it doesn't matter to me. They are all un-elected and in my eyes illegitimate. -- Jahanshah Javid


* Great idea


Just saw your 96 pictures of Farah's interview I would like to make a suggestion [Hindsight]. I think should buy you a 46-inche Plasma TV so in future you can give us better and bigger pictures. I think you might be able to deduct it on your next year taxes as business purchase LOOL.

Bahram 9821


* Islamic Norooz

In response to quiz question "Ripple effect":

Religious people think that at the Norooz saal tahvil time
the fish turn towards "ghebleh" (Mecca).



* aka Shirin Neshat

In response to quiz question "Who is she":

She is hungry.

Solmaz Ziad


More letters (March 2004)
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7

All past letters

By subject
March 2004

* Community of peace
* Islamic Norooz
* IRI's Haft-Seen
* New Seen: Sirish
* Return the dead
* Racial reasons
* Chateau Margaux
* 8th Seen: Condom
9/11 reaction
* Free Javid Naghani!
Sheikh Yassin
* Clerical nazis
* Clear message
Iranian of the year
* Loser of the year
* For better or worse
Nelson Mandela
* Mind own business

* We fudged up
* We WEREN'T better off
* No alternative course
* Pleasures of freedom
* Dismayed -- alarmed!
* Most share sentiments
* Regret  irrelevant
* Only ourselves to blame
* Why hate Pahlavis?
* Great idea
* Ring in our finger
* Deserves a meeting
* Maybe he had a point
* Chained dogs
* If only a crystal ball

* You filthy bullies!

* Loser of the year
* The money. From?
* Gut feelings
* I still agree
"Guys are stupid"
* He's not stupid|
* Not all so "bisharm"
* Aussie education
* Sexy garbage
* Deserved dickhead
* This is what happens
* Grow up first
* It aint right
* Complete opposite
* Lots in common
* Acting dumb
Women of the year
* Forgot Shadi Sadr
Tissa Hami
* Surprisingly bothered
* Live your life
* We have a problem
* Only one race
* Pride kept Iranians
* Not center of universe
* Only problem we have
* Life without a country
Fereydoun Hoveyda
* Too premature
* Enjoyable

* Read with enthusiasm
* Beyond categories
* ... trying to say?
* Quit the queer
* Straight judgement
* Set to be gay
* Honest column
Goli Ameri
* Fascinating and...
* To Ameri's opponent
* More redneck than...
* I do not have to...
* Priority: Iranians
Majlis elections
* Made up stats
Letter to Powell
* Help me understand...
* Piled high & deep
* Your letter is a shame
Inner donkey
* ... with Jamalzadeh
* Still smiling
Hamid Boroumand
* Esfehooni Boroumands

"Amazing history"
* Bee-hadaf
* Coolest since...

* Too much charand

* Observation

Simple pleasures

* Afghan singer


* They are so nice
* They are real
* Truly amazing
* Little has changed!
* Zar, zoor, tazvir

* Little has changed!
* We have to undo...
* See the big picture
* "... khiz" is Chilean
* Revolutionary song?
* Missing Zoya
* Listened every afternoon
* Moved with Yahaghi
* You are my favorite

Child bride
* I'd like to help
* aka Shirin Neshat
* You get the point
* Islamic Norooz
Foreign or...?
* I know of some cases

* From Iran?

* Insulting to all women
* Respect Iranians
* What I should expect
* Mr. "Fitile Peech"
* I speak Al-Arabiyah?

* Respect Iranians
* Chained dogs
* Thank you!


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