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Opinion

JULY 2005
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HUNGER STRIKE
And Ganji decides to die

Whatever happens next I have no doubt: Ganji never dies
Sa'id Farzaneh

Ganji has been in the news and in front of the conscious of many Iranians as well as leading international politicians and personalities, world public opinion and human rights advocates for many days to remember now. Scanning Iranian media pages, however, demonstrates the Islamic regime's absolute determination of pretence of no big deal. The latest statement from the head of Iran's judiciary is based on the argument that Ganji has not been helping his own predicament during his temporary release and with his outspoken statements openly questioning the absolute rule of the clerical leader, Ayattolah Khamenei.

NUKES
Difficult customers

Iran's nuclear negotiation strategy under the new conservative administration
Meir Javedanfar

Levels of concern reached new highs when suddenly Iran said that the EU 3 countries of UK, France and Germany have until tomorrow August 1 st to submit their security, political and economic proposals to the Iranian government. This piece will be concluded by answering the most important question of all: will Iran under the conservatives continue with the talks or will it ultimately break off with negotiations to continue with its nuclear program?

MOSSADEGH
Chand deedaar

Observing Mossadegh in private and public
Parviz Khatibi
Introduction by Ramin Kamran

WOMEN
Non-Mahram

This outdated self appointed obsessive model cannot be applied to today's modern world
Jahanshah Rashidian

Hijab in its different forms had begun to disappear with the adoption of Western culture, but the Islamic regime in Iran gave it new life in recent decades. It has also been refreshed by the continued postponement in the resolution of Palestinian conflicts, arrogant hegemonic American foreign policies in its absolute support for the aggressive policies of Israel in its occupation of "Islamic territories", demographic realities, economic problems, corrupt dictators and total lack of democracy in the Islamic world. While the Islamic hijab has become for some women a voluntary rejection of the new world, for the majority it remains still a forced acceptance of the old world.

OPINION
Mullahs 3 - USA 0

Latest score in the Middle East
Jalil Bahar

Even if you despise Iran's ruling clerics, you have to admire their survival skills, and sheer political brilliance. If the war was designed to promote democracy in the region -- via setting examples in Afghanistan and Iraq - well the results are patently poor. The Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians have not really done anything of substance ... any change has been cosmetic. And Iran's mullahs are firmly in control in Iran. Bush now has as much credibility in promoting democracy as he had after telling the world that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Bush would have been just as happy to oust Saddam with a military coup, and in fact the CIA had tried that approach several times during his father's presidency.

MEDIA
The Persian Pleasure Principle

Human rights scholar or harlequin romance writer?
Samira Mohyeddin

Recently, Micheal Ignatieff, Canadian author, broadcaster, and director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, was invited to Iran by an Iranian NGO known as the Cultural Research Bureau, to lecture on human rights and democracy. On July 17, 2005, Ignatieff wrote a lengthy editorial about his experiences in Iran for the New York Times Magazine. Instead of asking: “What do democracy and human rights mean in an Islamic society”, Ignatieff asks: “Can democracy and human rights make any headway at all in a society deeply divided between the rich and the poor, included and excluded, educated and uneducated?”

MEDIA
Guessing games

Presidential elections and the media
Kamran Talattof

Moreover, it is perhaps possible only in Iran for the government's mass media inside as well as for its opponents outside to both pronounce victory after an election. The government's media declared victory saying that 60 to 63 percent of the nearly 45 million eligible Iranians voted. The LA-based TV and Radio stations similarly declared victory saying that most eligible voters did not participate. The oppositional media refused to understand that the fate of the Iranian people would not be determined through voting or boycotting, that it would depend on how deep the discourse of reform and modernity penetrated Iranian society.

RADIO
Faraazhaa va foroodhaa

Highs and lows of Dr. Holakouee's popular radio show
Fariba Moghadam

BERLIN
Shekastkhordegaane baaziye siyaasi

Looking back at the reaction against Akbar Ganji at the Berlin conference
Shahla Sharaf

STRUGGLE
Standing tall

I cannot but admire Akbar Ganji for the fact that he is standing so solemnly in face of dictatorship
Azad R

Amidst this dismal hopelessness and political setbacks, a man like Ganji is standing tall and calling us back into fight for the basics rights that are so rooted now within our last 150 years of constitutional history. To finalize democracy and rule of law in our country, it takes colossal scarifications and yes lots of luck and historical will and struggle. Nothing comes free. Freedom is not given but taken.

DEMOCRACY
Tying-up loose ends

Aftabeh, democracy and terrorism
Guive Mirfendereski

Just like “aftabeh” has no relation to the word “aftab” -- democracy has no relation to good government, it only seems that way. Lately, there is a lot of talk about spreading democracy in the Middle East, as if it is some kind of jam. The President of the United States is on the record as saying that the spreading of liberty and freedom, presumably fair elections and market economy, is the antidote to the appeal and spread of “terrorism.” Wrong! The brand of democracy that Bush and his sidekick Rice espouse tends to produce chaos and disintegration.

DIASPORA
Deeper pain

Americans often comment, “Aren’t you lucky?” We nod out of sheer politeness, but why is it that deep down we don’t feel so lucky?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

It offers little help to remind ourselves of all the people around the world who would give their right arm to change places with any one of us in America. There’s that deep melancholy in our eyes and tears ready to be released at the strum of a ‘Tar’, the lyrics of a sad song or for all that we have left behind. Indeed we are a nation of sufferers who, regardless of the comfort offered us, at times fold inside ourselves in search of the sad memories and find sorrows that we should have left behind and only through such a remembrance do we feel whole.

CHARITIES
Please help me

I may have to flee to Cancun this year to escape my humdrum existence, and they want money?
Alidad Vassigh

Here's a piece of advice: political problems, like war, civil war or evil dictatorships cause people to flee (that's the "RE-FU-GEE PROBLEM," to say it Dr. Evil style). So if the United Nations is unable or disinclined to address political problems, as it seems to be in Sudan for example because state sovereignty is inviolable, then it should not ask for more money. Let's just see if that Annan can get Mr. Ganji out of jail: let's just see what the modern-day, secularist equivalent of a saint is willing and ableto do. It will say so much about the august body he represents. Aid-shmaid: aid my butt, Kofi!

POINT
We need a fox

In other words one should never fasten one's sword out in the open
Arash Sayedi

The frustration and sheer anger of an ever growing segment of the population directed towards the current destructive mindsets has roots partly in the realisation that superficial change of governments and constitutions may not be enough to break us free of the terrible affliction that currently plagues our society; and since the quality of the physical reality around us will only be as worthwhile as the quality of our thoughts and philosophies, then I am afraid they may be somewhat right in their assumption. The most common mistake, however, made in anger and haste by some of our brethren, and one that I myself am no less guilty of, is the direct and open attacks made on current religious mindsets.

PRISONERS
Wasting away in Evin

The UN must work to free political prisoners NOW
Amir Nasiri

It was three years ago, when I called Kobi my stepmother and found out that her brother Dr Hossein Ghazian was arrested by revolutionary guards and sent to prison. I actually remember that day very well. It was cold and rainy; when you looked outside the window, you felt a sense of suffocation. Dark clouds had invaded the blue sky. When I heard Kobi's voice at the other end, it was shaky and she sounded very angry. I also felt upset and angry, but helpless. She said her brother was working with Abbas Abdi and several others to gather statistical data for polling they were doing, in order to find out if Iranian people would prefer to renew relations with United States.

FRANK
Give it up comrade

Ganji should go home, down a huge chelo-kabab with gigantic onions, relax, take a shower, have great sex and apply for Canadian citizenship
Siamack Baniameri

While Ganji, in his letter, goes on describing a 60s -style psychedelic, perfect, pass-the-joint-around-dude utopian society where there is perfect democracy and we all live in perfect harmony, he has forgotten a few things: A democracy is made for those who are willing and ready to embrace it not for people who are out to screw each other at any chance they get, who hate law and order, who are dictators by culture and custom, who lie and cheat with ease, who have no respect for others' space or opinion, who settle a traffic accident with a good fistfight and who are corrupt and easily bought. We have serious problems here folks and lack of democracy is not one of them.

TERRORISM
Only the beginning

War on terror far from over
Keyvan Sepehri

Many people were under that impression that by taking the battleground to Iraq and Afghanistan, Western cities will be safer and more secure. But they were totally wrong. Since the start of the war on terror, the U.S.-led coalition has always been trying to defeat Al-Qaeda international terror network and bring their master minds to justice. But to date, the outcome has been disastrous and out of control. Since the war started, terrorist organizations have become more sophisticated, organized and they have spread out their attacks even to the heart of Europe.

OPINION
New breed of looters

The only upside of this outcome is that if ever the rotten Islamic establishment finds itself the target of liberating precision guided missiles, the bleeding heart "change from within" crowd will whine less about collateral damage
Omid Parsi

The catastrophic result of the recent election in Iran should put the nail in the coffin of the "change from within" dogma. Whatever change has occurred, is the exact opposite of what the proponents of "change from within" had crossed their fingers for. The selection of the chief executioner and terrorist Ahmadinejad to president clearly confirms the fact that more than a quarter century of institutionalized terror and looting by Islamist thugs has bent the desperate Iranian masses so far out of shape that their hope for social equity and justice has mutated to none other than a rat race of Islamic piety or pretence to suck up for handouts from the national oil loot.

DEBATE
They know best

This Iranian women's conference was more chaotic and verbally abusive than ever
Golbarg Bashi

I do hope that open-minded women will start coming back to this conference, and 'teach' a thing or two about the realities of the world, and how we need to have dialogue to achieve the change we all want. Or we should start an objective and democratically orientated Iranian Women's Conference which might draw fewer people but will be far more democratic and fruitful? I propose to all who are supporters of this kind of project to urge the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation board to reform! Or we’ll have to break away and start afresh which is a tragedy.

IRANIANS
All Iranian Denial Syndrome

At this rate it won't be long before we will witness in Iran what happened to Yugoslavia
Matt Bina unedited

The fact of the matter is, this disease is just like AIDS but with different words comprising this acronym, it stands for All Iranian Denial Syndrome (AIDS), and we don't know how to treat it. And as long as we don't acknowledge the disease, fixing the symptoms won't cure anything! Sometimes I feel that we don't really want to cure ourselves and we rather live with this disease until death. After all if we get rid of its crippling "Me-Manship" no sorry it's "Me-and-only-Me-Manship" symptoms, what will we do with ourselves all day and all year? Year after year! What will keep us busy and occupy us? And don't you know it ... there is a method to this madness!

IDEAS
Nomadic abstracts

Modern nomad's journey through different postings, stations, contracts, or through the myriad refugee camps, prisons and relay posts
Reza Fiyouzat

As this modern nomad is forced about the globe, he or she sees clearly that borders are highly selective (hence, random, arbitrary), and almost non-existent for capital and the moneyed. The modern nomads see just as clearly that the First World moneyed peoples who come to visit with armies, rudely help themselves to others’ lands and resources with no shame at all, while preaching the sanctity of sovereignty for their own lands. The modern nomad is the first to point out the similarities between methods used by his own local dictator in rising to power and those used by George W. Bush in his rise to power.

LONDON
Bloodshed on all sides

In order to have a hope of achieving peace, at least discuss what the deeper-rooted motives of the bombers might be
Shappi Khorsandi

All I’m saying is that if you happen to grow up in a country that’s been kicked around since time immemorial like a football in the Premier league of world domination, you may feel more than a little disempowered as you watch family and friends die around you. You may find yourself in the position of feeling stronger kinship with Osama Bin Laden than men who have killed tens of thousands of your civilian population, given you a curfew, a show election and told you that you are now living in a democracy. Is this not a way to swell the ranks of Al-Queda? Is it out of the realm of possibility? I expect the usual polite answers on postcards.

IDEAS
Secularism now

We must always respect the values that pay attention to humanity irrespective of nationality, race, gender or religion
Homa Arjomand

Long before September 11, mass scale terror and intimidation was enforced by Islamists resulting in a Middle East that was transformed into an immense human tragedy. In Iran, during Rafsanjani's presidency, thousands of political prisoners were executed in 1988. And the West kept quite. During his recent shameful election campaign, the West did its best to provide him with good publicity, even though he was wanted in Germany as a provoker of terrorism. This is one example of the ongoing intimidation which occurs outside North America without the awareness of global citizens.

UNIFORM
Az maa behtaraan

From the police, to doctors, to clerics... what's with the uniform?
Shahriar Zahedi

DISSENT
Against the grain

Aggressive interruption of unpopular views
Peyvand Khorsandi

On Friday the MP George Galloway was in the BBC Newsnight studio to explain a statement he had made about the terrorist attacks on Londoners who, according to him, had "paid the price" of Britain's role in Iraq. The presenter, Gavin Elser, barely let him speak so I wrote in to complain: Dear Gavin...

MOJAHEDIN
Rude news

Many consider the MKO a nuisance at best and traitors at worst
Rosa Faiz

Anybody who has been in the Iranian opposition movement for any length of time knows fully well that the 'size issue' is one thing that the Mojahedin themselves make a great deal out of. So, any chance we get, we have to remind them and their supporters that size, though important in forcing one's way through the crowds, is only one among many issues that bestows legitimacy on a political organization claiming to have people's interests at heart.

IDEAS
Political Islam in the heart of secular Europe

Secular values of 18th century enlightenment are slowly being replaced
Maryam Namazie

It is no longer only in places like Neka, Argu, or Basra where political Islam and religious rule are wreaking havoc but also in the very heart of the secular west and Europe albeit in different and more subtle ways but outrageous nonetheless. Here in Europe the Islamists are 'more civilised'. They demand the 'right' to veil for women and children in France when in the Middle East they impose compulsory veiling by throwing acid in the faces of those who refuse and resist. In Britain, they cry racism and Islamophobia against anyone who speaks out against Islam and its political movement, whilst in Iran and its likes they hang 'apostates' and 'Kafirs' from trees and cranes.

PERSIAN GULF
Necessity & nostalgia

Book review
Guive Mirfendereski

In his book Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Bin Salman harkens to a less complicated era in Persian Gulf politics when the foreign minister of an Arab country like Kuwait could refer publicly to “the Persian Gulf” (p. 103) and a British scholar did not have to abandon his own precedent in order to please a particular fad, benefactor or audience (p. 171, titles of J.B. Kelly’s works). This is not to say that the term Gulf in the vernacular is an absurdity, which it is not. In their internal conversations, the British civil servants uttered the term as an intimate label for a region that shaped their common narrative and experience.

LIFE
Collective crime

When a society decides to execute a person, every member of the society becomes a murderer
Ahmad Nikoobin

IRANIANS
Too smart for ourselves

When it comes to being experts, nothing escapes the critical eyes of the smart Persian
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

TERRORISM
It's been war for sometime

Snap shot of my experiences on the day bombs struck London
H Behzadi

POLITICS
The Banana-free Republic of Dr. Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad showcased his small house in a poor neighborhood of Tehran and flaunted his earthy manners, grooming, and even his ugliness, as the stigmata of a long suffering servant of the people
Ahmad Sadri

TERROR
This is war

No one is immune to the insane havoc that has been created by our leaders and those faceless cowards who attacked London
Shappi Khorsandi

ASSASSIN
Baazbiniye yek estentaaghiyeh

A personality study of Nasseredin Shah's assassin, Mirza Reza Kermani and the political fall out
Tooraj Amini

OPINION
Angoshte Buddha

An evaluation at the end of the Khatami era
Dariush Sajjadi

ANALYSIS
A rude wake up call

Meet the new president
Reza Fiyouzat

DEMOCRACY
Iran is not Tehran

Significant change will only come when there is a significant change in thinking pattern of the voters, especially in the provinces
Mahin Bahrami

PRESIDENT
Teer-e khalaas

Consolidation of the IRI will only help the democracy movement
Hassan Massali

PRESIDENT
Joojeh faashistaa

Little fascists hatch their egss
Hassan Behgar

KURDISTAN
One step further
A Kurdish thought on 4th of July
Kamal H. Artin

PRESIDENT
Mahmoud

Let's give this "Kaveh Ahangar" a chance
Shahriar Zahedi

ENGELISA
Salad Shirazi

While many of us spent the entire last year arguing if Ms. Aghdashlou is prettier or Googoosh guess what happened? The British team won again!
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

PREDICTION
Beginning of the end

I am happy for Ahmadinejad's victory because I believe it is the beginning of the end of a quarter century of tyranny and mayhem in Iran
Mahmoud Ghaffari

VISION
The voice of the revolution

It is not surprising that the leader of the Islamic Republic lacks the courage to admit that the poor and unemployed have decided that they have no hope under the plutocracy of the mullahs
Reza Bayegan

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