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Diary: Absence
* From the heart
* Makes me think
* Brilliant pen
* Eloquent
* Well done
* Powerful writer
* No complaints

Airport security
* Take high road

* In defense
* Mighty Satan

Iranian v. Arab
* Offering friendship
* Last thing we need
* Strong bias
* Azarbayjanis

Jews in Iran
* Down playing

Cover photos
* Noses & toes

* ... NOT Iranian

* Classy choice

* The (happy) Googoosh era
* Man tarjih midam
* Googoosh is ALIVE!
* Dast marizaad
* Modern traditional music
* Great melody

Politics & religion
* Absence of pluralism

Abdolkarim Soroush
* Soroush, instigator

Iranian character
* We're very nicee

Makes me think

Laleh Khalili, with her article about traveling to Iran after twelve years ("Absence") does two things.:She gives me flight, she makes me think.

Amir N. Fayaz

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From the heart

Laleh Khalili's recent tale of return to Iran after many years was deeply touching ("Absence").

Her writing is not just from the heart, it is written straight from the soul of so many of us Iranians abroad who share her yearning and confusion.

I commend her for her courage, for facing up to her fears, and for the power of her pen. Bravo Laleh!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You definately carry the heart of a true Shirazi!

Siamak Namazi

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Dast marizaad

Regarding the latest three tracks from Googoosh, I hadn't heard them for so long. Thanks and "dast marizaad".

A. R. Nezami
Faculty of Computer Science
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton/NB, Canada

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Nudity NOT Iranian

[In response to those who think the recent painting of a nude on the cover of THE IRANIAN was okay:]

As you Iranians who have been exposed (and in some cases, in a quite pathetic way, "forced to be exposed") to the West for some time, have lost a real sense of what being Iranian is like, and just enjoy your own fantasies of almost everything about Iran, including what Iranian upbringing, culture, and psyche is, I find little use in trying to argue with you.

Mr. Javid says Sa'di and Hafez would also have painted nude pictures if they happened to be painters, because there are countless reference in their poems to physical pleasure! But I wonder why there were no painter of nude pictures in Iran for centuries. Has it just been because of the "Islamic tyrants"? I seriously doubt it.

All I'm saying is that it is NOT Iranian. You can't find that many houses in Iran in which a nude picture is posted. But you keep saying that it IS Iranian, because it should be, because we are born in Iran and we approve it! I would suggest Mr. Javid, in order to enhance his colection of Iranian literature in his celebrated magazine, also publish Iraj Mirza's infamous poem. That'd be interesting...

Iranians abroad, as I have already come to realize, are in desparate lack of identity. They have nothing common to stick to. They even haven't inherited a religion from their ancestors. They are totally "bi-hoviyyat". They think _and how pathetically so_ that being Iranian means celebrating "chaarshanbe-suri" and "sizdah-bedar".

They are confused. They suffer a bimarginality. They are neither Iranian nor American. And, sadly enough, in the long long way between being Iranian (the way our fathers were) and being American, each group of them has picked a different position to settle, not to mention that many are still bewildering around.

They very easily "lose" their second generation, because they have no standard set of values. "Is there anything in the world which can be properly labeled as "Iranian culture"?, I sometimes wonder.

These are facts of life, you know. You can't "hide your head under snow"! The story of Iranian immigrants is a really tragic one. They are condemned to suspension forever, to a perpetual confusion, to a painful destiny.


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Man tarjih midam

Doroste Googoosh dar toole in 20 saal hich ahangi nakhoonde, va Iran ro ham tark nakarde, vali man be onvane yek dokhtare Irani, oo ro be onvaane khaanandei bozorg midoonam.

Man hamin tarke nakardane Iran ro ham baraaye oo az vijegihaaye bozorgesh midoonam. Nemidoonam elatesh chi boode, vali ino midoonam ke hatman mitooneste mesle baghie az Iran bere va hatman az mogheiate besyaaaar aali ham mitoonest oonjaa barkhordaar baashe.

Vali dar har haal, baa inke dar in 20 saal nakhoonde, hargez faraamoosh nashode va oon ham be khaatere aahanghaaye besyaar zibaaiie ke baa oon sedaye delneshino ehsaase ghashang 20 saale pish khoonde va hanooz khode man oonaaro be kheili az aahangaaye digeye jadid tarjih midam.

Mesle Googoosh nadarimo shaayad nakhaahim daasht, gar che besyaarand kesaani ke mikhaan mesle oo baashand! So, it's good that "THE IRANIAN puts so much emphasis on Googoosh and her music."

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Classy choice

Just a little note to thank you very much for two Towfiq reprints [1947 editorial, satire.]

These classic articles are definitely contributing positively to the growth of The IRANIAN into a "classy" publication.

Amir N. Fayaz

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No complaints

Very honest and interesting ("Absence"). I hope the antagonistic ones out there would glance at this one also. Not bad! Not bad at all.

We need to be optimistic!! Sewing negativism is not going to serve anyone but our enemies and believe me it would not even change the situation.

Time and time again we have been abused at JFK, Chicago, and what have you airport, our luggage torn apart, knived (I have proof!!) and then some complain about answering a few questions at Mehrabad airport.

A friend of Iran

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Great melody

I enjoyed "Who are you" [by Farank Shahrouzi] so much. It's a great melody . Keep up the great work, and let me know how can I get the (cd).

Esmaeil Latifi

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The (happy) Googoosh era

[In response to "Googoosh is DEAD"].

As an Iranian who has been out of Iran for over 20 years, perhaps I can offer one helpful prospective.

I agree with Sina that Googoosh is professionally inactive and will never be active in the future. However, I would like to point out that the appeal of Googoosh's music is not necessarily due to technical issues, rather it is cultural, in a unique way.

Googoosh and her music represent a subpopulation of Iranians (equivalent of American babyboomers) who enjoyed a short-lived rather happy era in Iran.

When I hear her "Jaddeh" and similar songs I am not necessarily impresses by uniqueness of her technical abilities, rather I feel that she is singing part of me and those who share the past with me.

To me, she is a liaison who transcends time, a time much loved but long gone. But that era is as real as today! Because we lived it. For many of us, she never dies. We don't want her to.

A happy, successful Iranian in US.


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Googoosh is ALIVE!

I saw the comment about Googoosh ["Googoosh is DEAD"]. He is of course entitled to his opinion.

I don't know how old you are, Sina, and whether you were actually around when people like Googoosh became the pioneers of pop music in Iran.

But I am sorry to see that you think the mumbo jumbo that comes out of Los Angeles is in any form or shape going to "help Iranian music survive" or even get within a thousand miles of the originality, style and talent that Googoosh portrayed and continues to deliver in her 20+ year-old recordings as a "dead" alternative.

Please listen to Googoosh sometimes and then immediately listen and watch some of these newcomers who come and go every 3 months and you'd know why [some] cannot get enough Googoosh!

Ben Bagheri

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Down playing

[Regarding the article on Jews in today's Iran, "Weathering the storm"]

As an Iranian teenager, growing up in the U.S. for the past eight years, I have heard stories about the Shah and what his regime stood for. And then for a little while I experienced Khomaini's at a young age.

Therefore, I do not have vast knowledge of the new or old Iran. Yet from what I have gathered, by following up and also from relatives and friends still in Iran, this article seemed to be a bit too easy, "playing down" on even the general realm of things in Iran.

As a Jew, we had tremendous troubles getting out, an we did. But what about all those who were arrested, put to jail, forced to change from their religion and practice, and those who were taken to jail for life imprisonment, an d no body really knew why?

All I am saying is that there is more going on behind and even on screen even today.


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Take high road

Can feel with all of you passengers as I travel more than 300,000 miles a year, at least once every 10 days between Europe and U.S. ["Smiling through airport security", "WANTED: Ambulence chasers"].

Well, what can we do? Not much, except taking the ''high road''. Please remember that the ''security staff'' joker in the airline companies is from the buttom of the socialogical heap, a high school drop out or some body that was not good enough to be a cop!

When they see an Iranian (or other Middle Eastern) passports, it is the highlight of their day, whilst pulling down minimum wage! The poor chap had just entertained himself by going to a Rambo movie recently, or just watched TV.

Just smile (the smile of Aghel andar Safih), that is what I do.

Perhaps the most annoying thing is that these are cheap copies of the real thing that was implemented by highly trained psycho-specialists in MOSAD for EL AL and those guys really know who their customer is by simply looking in their eyes.

For the time being, we have to live it (Although I understand that a class action law suit is being prepared by an Arab lobbying organization in Washington, can't remember the name at this writing.)

Finally, nothing is better than intense lobbying -- lots and lots of letters, postcards and emails to Airline CEOs, your congressmen, FAA administrator and the White House. Public Opinion counts in a democracy!

Good luck to all!

Irani-e Da'em-olsafar

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Noses & toes

I think you guys need better pictures for the cover of your magazine. Believe me there are a lot of good pictures out there than somebody's nose or toes or hair or anything that is far from our Iranian culture.

Why not put different pictures of our beloved land Iran and it's people? please try to take advantage of the resources at your disposal and propagate the Iranian culture.

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Absence of pluralism

I just read the piece from the Front Line, Constitutional Movement of Iran -- an open letter "in the name of the Great People of Iran" to the president-elect Khatami. What utter jibberish!

The Great People of Iran just voted in a president. The country has had a constitution since 1906. The problem in Iran is not lack of "constitutionalism." The problem is the absence of tolerant pluralism. After all, this is a country which has been governed by one staatvolk after another in successive periods, not by winning votes but by conquest of one group over another.

The "constitutionalists," when pushed, will admit that "secularism" is the starting point of any program for "tolerant pluralism." Of course, by dragging "secularism" to the fore, the constitutionalists are saying the clergy ought to get out of politics.

So, "constitutionalism" -- of whatever line, front, back or side-ways, is just a cry for wanting to have a ride on the donkey of power. Historically, from the days of ancient Iran when the country was run by a king of kings advised by a circle of priests (moghan) to the guradian council in the 1906 constitution to today, religion and politics have never been separate in Iran -- they have been and are two sides of the same coin -- the currency of government.

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We're very nice

I do agree with most of the thigs you wrote in your article ["I'm NOT a rug"]. But you have very harshly generalized something that only applies to a small majority to all Iranians.

Iranians are very nice people and have good and bad among them like any ather nation. If you want to criticize, at least be fair. Iranian bashing is another bad act that is commited by a few like yourself but then again you can't blame all for the fault of a few!

Saviz Mortazavi

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Soroush, instigator

I'm sure you know about this [Abdolkarim] Soroush guy. He was one of the prominent proponents of intellectual censorship in Iran right after the collapse of Palavi regime. In fact he was the acting ideologue of the so-called Islamic Cultural Revolution "EnghelAb e Farhangee".

By hyping up lumpen urban dwellers w/ high Islamic fervor, Soroush and Islamic creatures like himself quelled newly formed intellectual freedom in Iranian universities.

Now as an old Iranian proverb says, the tailor fell in the vase? "KhayAt dar koozeh oftAd"!! What the SOB instigated came back to him.

Although we all believe in freedom of speech and intellectual rights, our support for Soroush, I suggest, shall be conditional and highly abstract. We shall support freedom of speech in Iran while exposing Soroush as himself being a supporter of intellectual censorship.

I propose we contact all organizations who support Soroush at this juncture telling them about who he really is. The monster chasing this man, and other Iranian intellectuals, is one of Soroush's offspring.

Soroush is paying the least premium for what he created. Many precious ones perished during the "Islamic Cultural Revolution."

D. A.

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Modern traditional music

I couldn't agree more ["The thundering santur"]. Alan Kushan was my first introduction to Persian music and I fell in love with it. I only wish his music would become more well-known.

I especially appreciate that he takes traditional music and takes it places it has never been. Music is an experiment and the individual should have input even into traditional forms because who is to say what is really "traditional" - every interpretation brings new aspects.

David Sulz

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Strong bias

[Comment on "Bani Ajam"]

I have received a complimentary copy of ["The Image of Arabs in Modern Persian Literature" ] from the author and have read it. We need an expert to review it. There are some good points about this little book, but the author also shows a strong bias.

Ahmad Jabbari
Mazda Publishers

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Offering friendship

I'm Arab and I have read your heated debate the majority of your site visitors engaged in for the sake of a name ["The Persian Gulf debate"]. I have never seen such a virulent anti-arab harangue anywhere except the Jewish/Zionist sites that spew poison against Arabs day and night.

I have always thought that Arabs and Iranians were distant brothers, and no matter what problems we both might have, we will find a way to resolve those differences peacefully (Although the Iran-Iraq war proved contrarian to the above premise).

However, to use the Persian Gulf vs. Arabian Gulf as a crutch to whip up hysteria about and against Arabs does a big dis-service to Iran's interest in the region when it most needs it.

I understand the years of hate propaganda about Arabs by the Shah Reza Pahlavi, have had an indelible effect on Iranian minds like a hole carved in stone by gentle drops of water. However, for Iranians not to recognize that, and go on this anti-Arab campaign will never do anything but keep us at arms length from each other, which I dare say, the West and Isreal love to see.

The Arabs have a lot of sins, but we cannot repeat history and pay for what my fathers did to your fathers. All I can offer is friendship, and hope to accept each other respectfully. However, I can also say that Iranian leaders are also to be blamed for their constant tirades and hate flames that they throw against Arabs.

At the end of the day we need to find a way to co-exist and not throw flames at each other to satisfy a long lost glory.

Salaam Alaikum!

Fouad Elayyach

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Last thing we need

You know, there is a difference between being an academic and between being a down right racist. ["Bani Ajam"] with a claim to being a scholarly academic study, is actually a racist piece of literature.

That is the last thing we need. There are many Arabs who are pro-Iranian and identify with Iran and Iranian culture. So, to make a long stroy short, your pages are not helping at all, and indeed your stufy of Iranian identity have succumbed into a regular stereotypical treatment of the Arabs.

This issue will be pursued with different circles to get to the bottom of this!

Maan M. Hamze
The Pleiades Network

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Azarbayjanis: Indo-European

Referring to the paragraph below in "Bani Ajam",

"In Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh's 'Persian is [as Sweet as] Sugar,' Persian and Iranian are synonymous, as are Arab (or French or Azarbaijani) and foreign. While Jamalzadeh regards Islam as integral to an Iranian national identity, he objects to a backward Islam, and to Arabness as foreign. Jamalzadeh associates an Arab Other with religious superstition and backwardness, and defines the Iranian Self as Persian and Muslim. Yet, while Jamalzadeh uses the Western national model, seeing Iranian nationalism in terms of a common language and identity, he does not support Western racism."

Jamalzadeh has meant Turkic and not Azarbayjani. The Azarbayjanis are descendants of the Indo-European Medes (Maad) who ruled IRAN for number of years and had their own Iranian Empire. By the time the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal sacked Susa (Shush) in 647 BC, the Elamites had already been eclipsed by the Indo-Iranian Medes, who would in turn oust the Assyrians.

There then arose a new power, the Persians, also Indo-Europeans, and once vassals to the Medes. Under King Cyrus the Great (whose mother was a Median Princess) they subdued their former masters and "Cousins" in 550 BC and together, they defeated the Babylonians around 545 BC and became undisputed rulers of not only the old territory of the Elamites but also the World.

Also the name Azarbayjan is derived from the name of its Iranian founder, ATURPAAT who fought Alexander of Macedonia and prevented him from capturing Azarbayjan. Aturpaat 's children ruled independently for 200 years and called their land "ATURPAATEGAAN" or the land of Aturpaat. "Atur" in Pahlavi meaning Azar or Fire.

"Paat " or "Paay" derived from " Paayeedan" meaning to look after "Gaan" meaning place, as in Golpayegan or Zanjan.

For more information on the meaning of Aturpaat and Azarbayegan please read: "Azari yaa zabaane Baastaane Azarbaayegan" by Ahmad Kasravi.

Amir N. Fayaz

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Dear Ms. Khalili

Thank you for writing so eloquently about your trip to Iran ("Absence"). It was very beautiful.

With best wishes,

Reza Shadmehr
Asst. Professor
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21205

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Well done

Very well done and hope to hear more from [Laleh Khalili: "Absence"]. Wish you success!

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Brilliant pen

I just finished the three part story of a Iranian woman's trip home [Laleh Khalili: "Absence"]. Please pass on my regards for her brilliant penmanship. She has extraordinary skill.I enjoyed the images she created for us very much.

To both of you, keep up the great work. Your impact will be greater than we can imagine.

Alla Mollabashy

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Powerful writer

Ms. Laleh Khalili is a very powerful writer["Absence"]. Does she have anything published? A great story about Iran!

Ahmad Akrami

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In defense

Dear readers,

I am writing to anyone who has read my letter ("On American soil") and has mis-interpreted the whole event. I feel that I need to stand up for myself considering the accusations made by some readers.

I was only an inetern in the U.S., I did not get paid, I did not claim benefit, I was not a burden on the American community. Secondly I did not wish to become an American citizen - I was gaining experience, traveling, living in various cultures. I am a British citizen and can work anywhere in Europe.

On another note, the treatment I got at the hands of U.S. immigration was un-justifyable. No matter what my reasons were for wanting to return to America, I should never have been treated like a common criminal.

We live in a "democratic" society, one that constantly criticizes the more fundementalist regimes of "lesser" nations for their lack of humanity, for their currupt regimes, for the state of their prisons, unjust systems, etc.

I was told, and I quote: "We treat all our criminals the same." This form of "justice" terrifies me, maybe I've lived in Europe for too long.


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Mighty Satan

I read the sad story in the land of the Mighty Satan ("On American soil"). What do you expect from the Americans?

What surprises me yet, is that some Iranians do actually think that anywhere (e.g. America) is better than Iran. Is it really? Let us not to forget that all of our problems are purely due to the UNJUST acts of the U.S. and alikes.

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