F

Letters

March 2007

Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3

March 1

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Gheirat

On Shahla Azizi's "Carpet dealer diplomacy":

Dear Shahla,

Are you for real?

Tell me girl where have you been in the past 28 eight years? Do you even take notice of the news or what is happening in the world around you? Do you know any thing about the history of your country far or near? Are you even an Iranian? Is it possible that you only have the memory span of a cold fish and you do not even remember the past two decades?

May I refresh your memory to the 10 years war between Iran and Iraq, if you have even bothered to bring your head out of your American AKHOR and have had a fair look on the history of that war, then you could easily observe that for ten years Iranians people even as young as ten years volunteered to participate in that war and gave their life for their country no hesitation, no preservation and no questions asked

As I remember very well at that time we were fighting not only Iraqis but also all the might and technology of the US and European weapon manufacturers who were supplying the Iraqi army and all the wealth of Saudi Arabia who was paying for those weapons an not to mention the American and European expertise and reconisance assistant that was being given to Saddam's army by the spy plain flying over Iran. But despite all that help in the end they were not able to even hold on to even an inch of our soil.

Iran/Iraq war is only the recent history, now if you want to learn more about Persian bravery and sacrifices that our ancestors have made to preserve this land I suggest to you to go to your nearest library and pick up a few books about our history and heroes

Quite unlike your (Bee-Gheirat) Arab masters who for sixty years failed to even unite and solve their problem with Israel who have humiliated them over and over again.

Nor they could get any of their occupied land back. On the other hand we Iranians have always fought our enemies to the bitter end. We might have many flaws and may be in deference in our opinions and faiths buts when it comes to defending our country against a foreign invader noting can stop us from being united by putting our differences aside and fight for the land of our ancestors.

Furthermore let remind you that all those so called "brave Arabs" (NOT) whose ass you are kissing so hard are being trained by Iranian Revolutionary guards and are the servants of mullahs any way.

From Areio Barzan to Hossein Fahmideh we Iranians have never hesitated to give our lives in order to defend our country.

Now of course thing might be different about you, your family or people like you who abandoned their country and people at the first sign of trouble and fled to the arms of enemy. People who have never felt a sense of duty toward their country and even now are cowardly asking Americans to do their job (Regime change in Iran) for them, regardless of the damage this foreigners might do to our country and the price our people might pay in the process.

The current regime in Iran is our problem and we will deal with the accordingly. We do not ask for nor need the help on any other country. Also to those of us who know a thing or two about the social political and cultural problems it Iran it is very obvious that a regime change on its own could not solve all our problems over night. The social problems in Iran take decades in not a couple of centuries of hard work reform and change of attitude to be addressed. Now if we did not have to fight foreign intrusions or deal with being betrayed by their traitor servants, this can become a much quicker process

So my suggestion to you is: before opening your big fat mouth and insulting the bravery of those who paid with their life over the centuries to defend this land in order to preserve it's borders, sovereignty and culture for the future generations, first educate your self and get to know your history, country and people better.

Further more if you have no love for Iran your are in no position to comment on its faith or pass judgment on its people and for all we care you can rot in exile

Areyo Barzan

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Iranian nation is PROUD and BRAVE

On Shahla Azizi's "Carpet dealer diplomacy":

It was facinating to read your article and to find out that opinions such as yours do actually exist, I personally have never had respect for those who know little about their country and history and tend to put forward opinions that in reality fills pages than have any meanings for example I refer to your comment "Iranians are more talk than anything else" and " Iranians are Carpet dealers than being warriors". Well the answer simply lies in your statements and if you fail to see that then let me elaborate and comment on them.

You may have heard that Iran has a history of over 5000 years discovered and some 10000 years estimated, that history was based on bravery of men and women who left us today's Iran to talk about, the history repeated itself once more as late as 1998, when my country was invaded by Arabs and Iranians fought bravely to defend their country by sacrificing their lives, these events may be far from your understanding of what is going on in Iran simply because you are enjoying your life in United States of America.

Your personal view of a handful of Iranian boy friends who have let you down by talking and not commiting does not apply to the PROUD and BRAVE Iranian nation, and I have no doubt that that there are many who agree with me on that, Please come out of your comfortable shell that you have created for yourself and try to look at what is going on around you with dignity and wisdom.

Kayvan Mobini

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Who were those young men who saved Khoramshahar?

On Shahla Azizi's "Carpet dealer diplomacy":

Iranians are peacefull people and are not sutpid like Arabs who kill in order to go to paradise for 70 Virgins. You have no right to feel sorry for yourself as an Iranian. And if you think you are right in your view then think twice. Who were those young men who saved Khoramshahar from Saddam and that bloody war? Do not support siucide bombers, do not give their action any value. Thier action has no glory or pride. These are stupid young people who have been brain washed by a group of opprotunists who are just thirsty for power and have no feeling for humanity. Shut your mouth.   

Farry B

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All Iranians are not backward

On Shahla Azizi's "Carpet dealer diplomacy":

Dear Shahla,

Secular and cultured Iranians are for equality so I support your fight against inequality in Iran. I agree that the Islamic system is the most barbaric and backward system. As for need of a progressive secular Iran, again I am with you. However, I do not appreciate your stereotype approach to Iranians. Your point for the ruling officials having carpet and bazarre mindset is well taken, but your generalization for all Iranians is as backward as those you abhor.

You need to study history of Iran to understand as how intelligently Iranians claimed to be a powerful and advanced empire for so long. They were respected by Greeks and later by Romans. In their battles with Greeks and Romans for more than 600 years, they eventually became weak and penetrable. Please note that Romans and Persians empires both collapsed. Then, savage Arab Islamists attacked and converted Iranians to Islam by force of swords.

My point is whatever you generalized about Iranians are not true. However, the culture and teaching of Islam have deteriorated many of Iranians to a point of being dealer and wheeler for now. Do we expect anything more from Islam than being a culture of carpet dealer and a caravan mentality? No. Are all Iranians can be put into this mindset? Of course Not. Our history can attest to this fact. Once Islam is defeated in Iran as a political system, we can easily find our lost strengths and build on our true values, ethics, and knowledge.

Recap: our enemy is the ideology of Islam. Iran and Iranians are occupied by savagery of Islamic ideology for so long and we all need smartly pull ourselves out of this barbaric mess. My advice to you is to start elevating and empowering Iranians while getting rid of ideology of Islam for Iran.

Again, I am aware of our powerful Iranian women and I can see the day Iranian females lead our country to be a global player soon. Believe in Iran.

Jeff Omail

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Best Iranian

On Iranian of the day, "Sepeed":

can i say something? this is the best iranian of the day nomination i have seen @least for the longest time if not forever!!!!!!
winning the GCCNA (Ghetto Cat Contest of North America) is an amazing event that not that many people take the pride that it deserves and seeing you gloating is so refreshing that brought smile to my these-days-gloomy face. the pride, honesty and delight in your tone screams your iranian ethnicity and nature. maybe we need to nominate you as the iranian mom of the day!
keep it up

Sheila Dadvar

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Equal rights under the law?

On Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's "Iranian regime is not Europe":

How wonderful to see Ms. Sepahpour-Ulrich rising to the defence this beacon of tolerance, freedom and respect for Human Rights, and not just in the Middle East, but the World, namely the Islamic Republic of Iran

Yes indeed. According to Ms. Sepahpour-Ulrich's erudite analysis and personal experience, the Islamic Republic treats Iranian Jews even better than nasty old Israel, which makes it all the more puzzling why the great majority of the Iranian Jews have fled Iran since 1979! Indeed anyone who questions the quality of life of Iranian Jews under the Islamic Republic, for example trial of some of their members as Israelis spies, should be dismissed as totally ignorant of the wonderful life our Jewish hamvatans lead in Iran.

And of course the Bahais, who should count themselves lucky that they live under a regime, so committed to upholding rights of the religious minorities in Iran and their treatment them as citizens with equal rights under the law.

As for those Iranians who have committed the cardinal sin of converting to another religion, e.g. Christianity, and suffered the consequence, well they deserved whatever came their way. They should've been lucky enough to have been born Christians, which would've meant they would "never be prosecuted, would have their own schools funded by government, celebrate Xmas etc, have representative in congress, could possess and drink alcohol, attend churches, never felt ill-treated" just like Ms. Sepahpour-Ulrich.

Ms. Sepahpour-Ulrich, may I as a concluding note thank you for your balanced, accurate and impartial report of the treatment of religious minorities in Iran? Your thoughts on this issue only serves to highlight the validity and quality of your numerous other articles on iranian.com.

Keep up the good work and keep hitting that bottle in praise of our wonderful Islamic Republic.

RC

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Great man

On Fariba Amini's "Twenty eight years later":

Great story from a great man.  My father who worked at Abadan refinery shares the same hero as Mr. Amini.

May God Bless you. Wish I could visit him one day.

Gholam Bastani

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I've been waiting a long time for this

On Hamid Naficy's "Coleman Barks and Rumi's Donkey":

I am finally relieved that someone has called this to people's attention. I've been waiting a long time for this.

G.M.Burnett

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See the great err in both regimes

On Abbas Bakhtiar's "House of shame":

I found "Saudi Arabia: House of shame" to be informative, elaborating on stories I've heard from Saudi friends growing up, but I didn't especially find that great a difference between those stories told by Iranian friends I've also known.

The House of Saud doesn't allow Christian Churches or Shia Mosques.

Well, the Mullahs don't allow Christian or Sunni Mosques.

Saudi Arabia abuses foreigners, minorities, and women and so does Iran except the foreigners are mostly Afghans, and the minorities are Sunnis, Kurds, and Baluchs.

The Saudis oppress their people with unjust lies and so do the Mullahs.

The Saudis are propped up by their alliances with the West (US) and the Mullahs, up until their recent departure into the abyss, have been propped up by Russia, China, and European Trade Guarantees.

And on and on...

As an article that vents frustration against inability of the Arab media to self-criticize, I agree.

But although the Khatami and Rafsanjani years in Iran did see greater press freedoms, that has all but dissolved now with only state run or semi state run publications within Iran that now only criticize the president because the UN sanctions have come down upon them.

Why can't you simply take the stance that the House of Saud is corrupt and so are the Mullahs and that they both, one way or another (hopefully peacefully), need to be removed to allow their people to finally be free?

If you can't see the great err in both regimes, then how are you any different than Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, laying blame with others while turning a deaf, dumb, and blind look on his own soil?

Mike N.

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And what was the big deal?

On Roozbeh Shirazi's "Incident on the PATH train":

Dear Roozbeh,

I ride the Path train and the NYC subway system everyday and witness occasional incidents of misunderstandings and craziness, what do you expect when a large system like that?

Reading your story, I would say, 1) the incident is completely insignificant and you're making way too much out of it. Are we supposed to feel bad for you when there is hunger in the world, genocide in Sudan and oppression in Iran, our place of origin; 2) you're at least partly responsible for the incident. You surely provoked the conductor. The conductor was doing a commendable job of trying to separate two people who were clearly and for whatever reason at odds with each other. It is usually customary in these cases to ask the male to move. You and your girlfriend arrogantly and stubbornly didn't help the situation; 3) No body profiled you but you indeed profiled white people when you said: "I am being racially profiled because some crazy White woman is uncomfortable standing next to me." I didn't read anywhere in your story anyone verbally making an issue of your ethnicity; 4) Don't you have anything better to do than demand an apology because you didn't want to move?

If you're that desperate for a good cause then I suggest you familiarize yourself with the situation of Iran's Baha'is and other religious minorities and freedom activists, Google Ahamd Batebi so you know about civil rights violation in other countries and then tell us if your Path train "incident" is worth anyone's time. I respectfully advice you stop being so self-consumer and stop crying "victim."

As an Iranian-American, I am tempted to write a letter to the New York/New Jersey Port Authority to apologize for your behavior and possible racism.

H. Michael Jalili

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Move on

In response to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's "No more encores":

Come on lady! I think the readers of the Iranian.com are getting tired of your intellectually-challenged rants claiming that the ‘end’ is near. The only thing that is coming to an end is the Islamic Republic of Doom.

Based on your writings, it is quite evident that you are in deep preparation for that ever-evasive Mahdi to make a cameo appearance in the very near future. You need to understand the mere fact that the US will not attack Iran and they have learned from their mistakes in Iraq. Your tirades simply seek to create an atmosphere of disorder with the sole aim of attempting to mask the real issues at hand, namely the complete and utter failures of the Islamic Republic as an institution.

One last thing, 1953 was 54 years ago. Move on.

B Kalhor

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Happening to most of us Iranians on daily basis

In response to Majid Borumand's " Can we trust you?":

Mr. Borumand,

I am very sorry to hear what has happend to you. But that is a true story and it is happening to most of us Iranians on daily basis. I am going through the same thing currently at Edward Jones.

I am trying to let the Iranians know that they need to become more politically and socially involved in their communities at the local or state level. See www.cincyiranianculturalsociety.org

we need a lobby group to rotect our rights.

Alex Nasiri

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Let's not glorify what the US says or does

In response to Tina Ehrami's "Star Wars 2":

It appears that most of the world forgets that US and allied play double standards to gain what they look for, not to forget that 90% of the United nation's expenditure is paid for by the US treasury and therefore, the United Nations along with the Security Council lie happily in US pocket for manipulation whenever they want, so let's not glorify what the US says or does and let's play Iranians...

Kayvan

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You left us in suspense

In response to Shahriar Zahedi's "Riviera memories":

interesting memoir . How is it going now? What is up ? You left us in suspense.

Javad Dehghani

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National reconciliation of sorts

In response to Khodadad Rezakhani's "Why do we care":

Even though Mr. Rezakhani touched on the crux of the issue when it comes with dealing with the Arab invasion he omitted to explicitly say that it is not a historical issue but a psychological one. Iranians are too traumatized because of past and present events that they cannot move on without a proper national debate and discussion to bring closure for want of a better term, and indeed that closure may never be achieved. The reasons for what he calls the Iranian inferiority complex are many. They are perhaps too complex and I am happy to admit as Mr. Rezakahni beyond the capabilities of a single academic discipline to explain but as it usual with humans it is easier to trivialize issues when they become too complex. It is not particularly an Iranian problem though.

There are many examples of other nations not recovering from historical episodes causing a collective psyche I can only describe as national trauma (in the case of Iran this was very well argued in the article Psychology of Fear published long ago). It would be fair to say that the Spanish for instance still cannot deal with their Civil War. Until recently all the histories of the conflict were recorded by foreigners as a result of their collective inability to deal with their past (last such history which won an award was by Antony Beavor - a highly readable account).

Spain checked the Arab invasion in the West and still suffers an 'inferiority complex' of sorts as Mr. Rezakhani describes the condition. Their reaction by the way will not be different to the gheriati Iranians to hear it described that way. In spite of its unsuitable climate the Spanish have made the cured ham into a national symbol of their difference with the Arabs and Christianity (silly as that sounds, yes, eating pork became one sure way of proving your Spanish credentials, yet they retain Arabic terms like Baleh in their language, their collective madness not dissimilar to us Iranians who unknowingly insist that our kids do not use the Persian term Ari but use Arabic Baleh). No matter who the invader, the desire to preserve your identity is not particularly an Iranian issue but given our history and geography it is not really surprising that it has got out of hand in our case.

And then there are cases that the national trauma is self inflicted as in the case of Germany (and post-revolution events in Iran). Germans are split over the Nazi era and cannot yet properly face that period in their history (or Hitler as a historical figure). Similarly Iranians don't seem to be able to deal with how the revolution was usurped by the clergy and as a result escape reality instead of facing reality and more importantly accepting responsibility ourselves. Mr. Rezakhani is right when it comes to the purely historical issue by saying that truth probably lies in the middle (Islamic Iranians' wishful thinking and Iranian nationalists escapism) and it is in itself not a big deal but psychologically it is (very hard to accept responsibility). Iranian historical failure had probably as much to do with adoption of Zoroastrianism as a state religion (power corrupts and it was probably the source of corruption of the priestly caste cited by Mr. Rezakhani) but it is hard to take responsibility be it in the past or present.

So Iranians being human take the shortcut by trying to revise the past similar to others to deal with the trauma, it is not desirable but understandable. What Mr. Rezakhani should consider is the Iranian dilema of how to deal with resurgency of Arab Nationalism. Having contributed to the Internationalisation of Islam, Iranians have had to face in more recent times a resurgence of Arab Nationalism and like other Middle Eastern nations they have to deal with importation of nationlist ideas, mainly through German influence of Turkish and Arab nationalism. The easy way of dealing with this has been to bring quick reforms and deal fire with fire by coming up with Iranian nationalist ideals. It has some would argue backfired and contributing to the revolution in 79. The longer route would be education but that is never politically suffeiciently expedient.

For Iranians to move as desired by Mr. Rezakhani on we need something that's been touched on before, namely a national reconciliation of sorts and open discussion about Islam, and how to resolved the conflicts between it as a national Arab movement and being Iranian. However given the fanatic nature of Islam that may not be possible so every other generation or so we are doomed to have the same debate over again, much like Ground Hog Day without it ever resolving itself. This is not a new debate, it is an unfinished one and perhaps one that cannot be finished until we have calmed our national madness. Unfortunately given the geopolitical position of the country, the foreign interference makes the job even more difficult.

Amir Rostam

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Natural charm

On Siamack Salari's "THAT's how cold it is":

Siamack has a natural charm which makes his videos sweet enough to watch, regardless of the content . It was nice to met his lovely twins. KHODA HEFZESHOON KONEH.

Abdy Sadri

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The guy seems very pleased with himself!

On Siamack Salari's "THAT's how cold it is":

They guy is a nut case. Ask him to venture a bit more. Where has been all his life before now. People start to go skiing from the age 4 and experience temperatures below 20C or more. The guy seems very pleased with himself! Is'nt he?

Jan

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Who's the 17-year-old?

On Jeesh Daram's "Zereshk":

I enjoyed your article very much but I couldn't figure out who was the 17-year old you kept referring to!

Misagh

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Chayee ghand pahloo or Starbucks?

On Jeesh Daram's "Zereshk":

I laughed outloud as I read your article, but I was wondering if you're willing to wear "pijameh" to these demonstrations with one hand holding your ghalyoon and the chayee ghand pahloo instead of your starbucks coffee?

Saba Mokry

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Macy Gray is not Iranian

On Music section:

Salam, my name is Farhad. Man Farsi hastam...

I was wondering why you have Macy Gray and other random crap people on the list of Iranian singers. It makes it harder for me to find good singers. I saw a song on the T.V. one day with 3 Iranian men, singing an Afghani song. I could never find out who they were... I really liked that song though, it reminds me of my uncles and my dad when they were young and they were in sarbazi. Anyways, i wanted to let you know that Macy Gray is not Iranian and that If u can help me find that song I would appreciate it. Thanks! Good job with the website! If your hiring let me know, i need a job..hehe...Khodahafes.

Farhad

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Dignity & disgrace

On Roozbeh Shirazi's "Incident on the PATH train":

I remember some years ago I read an article about such an incident in a British Airways flight which goes as follow: This is a true story. A White woman, about 50 years old, was seated next to a Black man. Obviously disturbed by this, she called the air Hostess.

"Madam, what is the matter," the Hostess asked.

"You obviously do not see it then?" she responded.

"You placed me next to a Black man. I do not agree to sit next to someone from such a repugnant group. Give me an alternative seat."

"Be calm please," the Hostess replied.

"Almost all the places on this flight are taken. I will go to see if another seat is available."

The Hostess went away and then came back a few minutes later.

"Madam, just as I thought, there are no other available seats in the Economy class. I spoke to the Captain and he informed me that there is also no seats in the Business class. All the same, we still have one seat in the First class."

Before the woman could say anything, the Hostess continued: "It is not usual for our company to permit someone from the Economy class to sit in the First class. However, given the circumstances, the Captain feels that it would be scandalous to make someone sit next to someone so disgusting."

She turned to the Black guy, and said, "Therefore, Sir, if you would like to, please collect your hand luggage, a seat awaits you in First class."

At that moment, the other passengers who were shocked by what they had just witnessed stood up and applauded.

It is a good example how different people can act differently, some with dignity and some with disgrace. I think we shouldn't let this kind of incidents go by without resistance. Roozbeh, I for one support you and will spread the word. Good Luck.

Asghar

P.S.: I read this article here.

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Get over it

On Roozbeh Shirazi's "Incident on the PATH train":

This whole letter is ridicules. It's embarrassing. Like I wrote to Shirazi today, you're way too touchy feely. Get over it. You were probably standing next to a looney tune anyway. Stop with the "I'm Iranian they're giving me looks" and all that crap. Iranians need to do a better job of assimilating, and this nonsense would not be happening. When my dad came here in the 50's he assimilated and spoke English.

The real problem is rooted in the early 1980's when Iranians where here in the U.S and demonstrating against the U.S. gov't. Not a good move especially since the Iranian gov't held our U.S. hostages. Not to bright. Then you have the current retarded Iranian gov't acting on it's own accord outside of world opinion. You have the first Iranian female astronaut, then the gov't takes 10 steps backwards. That's how it's been for the last 27 years. Forward, backwards. Yeah we have a great history, but it's just that, history. A couple thousand years ago. We all remember the bad longer then the good. It's American Iranians like me that have to break the stereotype everyday when I meet new people.

Ali Bashar

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I don't blame the conductor

On Roozbeh Shirazi's "Incident on the PATH train":

In my humble opinion, once you obediently followed the order of the train conductor and moved away, you already forfeited your rights at that time. You should've stayed your ground right there and there, and demanded reasonable explanation as to why you should move before doing so. Having said that, and with all due respect, I have found myself to increasingly lose respect for you and your lot for always playing the damn "race" card to compensate for your lack of self-esteem and dignity. I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who think the world is divided between "them" and "us", as evident in your letter, by referring to that woman as "White". What color are you? Brown? Yellow? Magenta?

It is, unfortunately, the symptom of our plight as "immigrants" that get perpetuated by our sense of inferiority and lack of self-confidence. Look around you and see how commonly Iranian women changing their hair color, left and right and Iranian men calling themselves Mike (instead of Mohammad) and Sunny (Mohsen?) ... and all of us -- all of a sudden -- becoming Persians. Then we let a black man (I assume the conductor was black based on you quoting him) push you around like a second-class citizen.

I don't blame the conductor and that "white" woman or the "system" for that matter, but us to allow such misperception. This country belongs to you and me as much as it belongs to any average American, regardless of where you're from or what "color" you are. Remember to walk tall, speak softly and carry a big stick. Don't get me wrong. I don't advocate violence or even aggressive response, but preserve your dignity through asserting your rights. If you don't know what I mean, then take my advice and look around you. Observe an average "white" citizen and learn how he lives his life in this society, and then follow his lead.

I have lived in this country too long to even see the difference. Since the first day I arrived here, my view of your so-called "white" people was shaped by the words the late Shah of Iran (P.B.U.H), used to describe these people: blue-eyed red-necks.

So my friend, stand your ground and stick to your guns and spare the rest of us Iranians much embarrassments.

Rey

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You are in denial of the world around you

On Rey's "I don't blame the conductor":

Dear Sir/Maam,

I think it is very easy to speak from a position from of inexperience and convenience on this matter. You do so anonymously, without signing your name to your words, and you want to pass judgment on how I handled the situation. I don't know how you allow yourself to analyze a situation which you were not party to, especially in such a confrontational manner. "In my humble opinion" such claims are worthless, and cowardly. I did not write of my experience to gain your respect--I don't know you and if I had the misfortune of meeting you, I doubt it would be a long conversation. I wrote because these incidents have occurred to many people who are Middle Eastern, Muslim, etc. And too often these incidents go unreported. I wrote to draw attention to something too many people, yourself included, would rather sweep under the rug or do not know how to handle. And I did so very publicly, signing my names to my own words. I am following up with the authorities, and I guarantee you that in the future that conductor will think twice about harassing someone again--because my actions and those of my girlfriend show that there are people who aren't going to take it and stand up for themselves.

You on the other hand do not have such clear motives. What is the point of your angry email to me? Your retarded advice (not complying with the conductor's directions) would land someone in jail, and does not solve a damn thing. You obviously are not a subway rider or familiar with the degree to which someone can be persecuted legally for not following the directions of a conductor. Therefore, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Your conclusions show how poorly you understand the magnitude of what happened to me that night on the train. My speaking out on this issue is a way to assert my rights, and the rights of those who have experienced similar incidents. I do not divide the word into 'us' and 'them'; that binary logic is what the conductor relied upon. You seem to be more upset about the skin color of the conductor than by what actually happened. In my book, that makes you a racist too.

What I don't understand is this: I have received dozens of letters of support from many different people; white, black, Arab, Iranian, etc. They write me to thank me for daring to speak out on a prevalent, but invisible issue. They commend me for having the courage to do what few others have done on behalf of a very large and heterogeneous community. This is not an Iranian issue, a solely Arab issues, or a Muslim issue--yet all these people are currently in the crosshairs of legal authorities. The letters I have received that attack me or are critical are exclusively from Iranians such as yourself, racist and/or aspiring to be white. Why don't you stop the self-hatred and denial of very clear realities of discrimination against you. It says a lot about the state of the Iranian community in the US that so many of us turn around and tear down those who attempt to draw attention to such incidents. Are you embarrassed to be included in the same category as others who have been discriminated against? Does that challenge YOUR self-esteem and dignity? It certainly appears so. You are in denial of the world around you--and an armchair advocate. I can only hope that if such a thing happens to you in the future, you have the courage to speak up about it as publicly as I have. In the meantime, keep the armchair advocacy to yourself.

Roozbeh Shirazi

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Core problem: Belief in divinity of Islam

On Esmail Nooriala's "Kodaam doshmani?":

Dear Mr. Nooriala

I enjoy reading your articles on this site. Nevertheless, I like to develop the following points:

Some Muslim “intellectuals” contemporarily attempt to employ critical methods to interpret the Koran or some historic events related to Islam, however arriving at the same conclusions that Islam remains in the field of divinity. The whole idea offers a framework for understanding their work and responses to their audiences that Islam is not a social phenomenon, but a God’s message through “Prophet” Muhammad.

Terms like “Nabowat” (prphedhood), “Khatam al nabyeen” (finality of Muhammad’s prophedhood) are their common conviction, characterised by direct engagement with the word of God.

Muslim thinkers, whose importance is historical trends and glorious Golden Age of Islam, invite people to believe in these terms. Their critics on inadaptability of Islam never reach to the question of divinity. They embrace an intellectual interpretation of “divine” Islam in the context of an increasingly globalised world. They use the fact that our secular intellectuals rarely discuss about the core of problem or the belief in divinity of Islam.

Another point that probably embraces you is your sense of a present nationalism in your writings which, in my opinion, cannot be a fair alternative to pan-Islamism. Your colourful nationalism in the field of literature or history can be controversial, but in the field of politic, this is an alarm. According to all national and international experiences, if nationalism turns into a political practice, it will not be less harmful than today’s Islamism.

It is great to heir such a great civilisation that we had, but it should never be inspired as the patterns for our today’s models. We need more trend to adapt our country to the new civilisation and this point is absent in your writings. The glory of some Persian kings or arts belong to the history or at best to our museums. What we need today cannot be copied from their thoughts, glory, or culture, but must be derived from models which prove progress and democracy. If we are proud of our past and believe in the evolution of our society, this is great, but not the contrary!

Jahanshah Rashidian

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