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Opinion

OCTOBER 2005
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IDEAS
United against dictatorships

The U.N. should be dedicated to providing all financial helps, broadcasting emission, and advices to the suppressed people in their struggle against their suppressive states
Jahanshah Rashidian

If modern techniques can be used to greatly lessen the destruction caused by catastrophes, then why do we not use modern methods to try to prevent another kind of destructive catastrophe, namely dictatorial systems in the world, which have been responsible for innumerable crimes against humanity? History is full of examples of tyrannical dictators whose brutality was more detrimental to humanity than many natural catastrophes. I hope that in a world of solidarity, an international instrument’s main responsibility is to prevent access of political leadership in any country to a dictatorial system.

OPINION
False opposition

The Mojahedin reinforce the IRI
Jalil Bahar

This past week we saw Saddam Hussein paraded in front of an Iraqi Court of Justice. He was, for sure, a brutal and evil dictator. But did he act alone? Every time I see him, I am reminded of the connection between the United States and his brutality. After all the US maintained over 20 years of diplomatic relations with Saddam and supplied him with money (loan guarantees) to purchase a vast arsenal of arms including precursors for chemical agents . which he in turn used on Iranian as well as his own population! But I will not go there.

IDEAS
Noble lies

America and the neoconservative agenda
Arash Sayedi

To make any sense of what the small group of Neoconservatives currently holding power in America has in mind one must go back to the 50s and examine the ideas of a Jewish German political philosopher named Leo Strauss. He believed that in order to inspire and unite people, America needed very simple and yet powerful myths that although not true, were necessary illusions for the people. Apart from religion this also included the myth of the nation; the idea that America has a unique destiny to battle the forces of evil throughout the world. Today, by listening to the speeches of President Bush or reading the writings of many neoconservatives, one can very easily identify strong Straussian veins in their vocabulary.

IRAN
No bombs please

Pluralim under contruction
Ali R. Rabi

Ironically, the very same people who have been struggling throughout their lives in pursuit of freedom all oppose “forced democratization” and military intervention. True, that segments of populations prefer to see a regime change no matter what the consequences might be, but serious defenders of Human Rights and life-long freedom seekers believe differently. What is the underlying reason for this near unanimous consent among freedom seekers against the American military presence?   The reason seems relatively simple. It stems from the basic concept that: socio-economic diversity is pre-requisite to the emergence of any meaningful and sustainable political pluralism.

ISRAEL
The mouse that roared

Ahmadinjead's voodoo politics
Iqbaql Latif

Who in their right mind would challenge an established nuclear power like Israel for annihilation and instead of retracting it repeat it as a wholesome voice of the Iranian nation? To accuse the Iranian nation of such an error of judgment is a colossal immoral lunacy. Why someone in his right mind would expose his nation to 'legitimate' attacks by another nation so as to protect their right to exist? This is the most astonishing and idiocy of highest order. A nuclear Pakistan is going all out under a military ruler to pacify Israel, while on the other hand a non nuclear Iran is challenging a nuclear Israel and threatening its very existence. If there was a Nobel Prize constituted for the most 'dim-witted remark of the century‚ President Ahmadinejad is the true recipient and should receive one hands down.

NUCLEAR
The art of self-destruction

Ahmadinejad call for the destruction of Israel comes at a time when the Islamic Republic is trying to convince the world that it's nuclear programme is peaceful
Meir Javedanfar

Ahmadinejad’s open call for Israel’s destruction on October 26th 2005 put Iran’s image building exercise back by years. Meanwhile plans by Iranian government strategists in Tehran and Iranian ambassadors abroad to build international consensus and alliances for Iran’s nuclear case have also been dealt a major set back. The question which Iranian strategists and ambassadors will want to ask Ahmadinejad is this: As of today Mr President, who will accept Iran’s stated peaceful nuclear intentions when you have just reiterated calls for the mass genocide against an entire country?

IRI
Playing into their hands

Iranians do not wish destruction for any person or country
Mohammad Ala

The recent quotation from the president of Iran has again put Iranians all over the world under pressure and will cause hardship to them.  I have not read Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speech; I just hope his words were not taken out of context which is routinely done by sensational journalists and the news media.  Not so long ago, the previous president, Mr. Khatami, advocated dialogue among civilizations, arguing for peaceful solutions so that nations can work on their differences, rather than use arms or inflammatory rhetoric to attack each other. Many countries have an interest in Iran’s oil and natural resources. These countries will benefit by turmoil in Iran and in the neighboring region.  It is essential that the Iranian leadership and the Iranian people not play into the hands of these countries.

IRI
Wiping democracy off the map

The United States and its allies have to help the democratization of the Middle East, and Islamic Republic is the centre
Mehran Makki

What is the real reason behind the Islamic republic's conflict with United States and its allies, including Israel? Ayatollah Khomeini the first leader of Islamic republic in 1979 was the first one who said Israel must be wiped off the map. No matter what they say, the State of Israel is the only democratic country in the entire Middle East. Israel does not violate the human rights of its citizens, holds free election, respects freedom of speech, and all other real democratic values. That is the reason that Islamic Republic and all the other dictatorships in the Middle East can not tolerate it: They do not want the only democracy in the region to be in existence.

ARCHITECTURE
Forgotten wateropolis

Photo essay: Founded by Shapur II in 250CE, Qazvin is a city rich in unnoticed architectural gems
Nima Kasraie

To begin with, archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000BCE. The name "Qazvin" or "Kasbin" is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe that lived south of the Caspian Sea millennia ago. The Caspian Sea itself in fact derives its name from the same origin. With the gradual growth of the city, wells and qanats could no longer respond to the needs of the locals. That is when some wealthy residents started building private reservoirs called ab anbars. These sub-level spaces were connected to the city's qanat network and were filled by someone called a meerab. It was he who was responsible for distributing the qanat network.

IDENTITY
Blonde Iranians

Inferiority complex
Pouya Alimagham

Here’s some food for thought: Imagine an America and a Europe where most of the continents’ inhabitants had black or dark brown hair and had large hooked noses and this standard was glorified in its influential media and displayed to the rest of the world to consume as the Western standard.  If this hypothetical scenario were true, do you think many Iranian men and women would be getting nose jobs and coloring their hair blonde?  If the world’s only super power championed such an image, who would reject it? There’s no real way of knowing, but one can speculate.  I believe that instead of admiring the American work ethic, we, as in us men and women, admire their stereotypical looks.

HERITAGE
Civil empire

At it’s Zenith the Persian empire ruled over 30 countries which paid tribute to it
Cyrus Raft

Mr. Jonathan Jones author of article “The Evil Empire” is a man of ignorance and obviously biased of historical facts and documentations.  It is evident he does not know anything about history.  His subject as far as I know is art and for some reason he fancies Greeks and praises them. Mr. J. Jones does not have any knowledge of ancient Persia and does not know how much Persians have contributed towards world civilisation.  Here I have dealt with facts and reality avoiding historical exaggeration and fiction which one can easily discern in the books written by the military victors. Even a renowned historian such as Herodotus who contributed a considerable amount of information with regards to ancient Persian and Greek history has injected his personal imagination into his accounts.

FEMINISM
Across the secular-religious divide

Reading Parvin Paidar's book, I found my purpose in life
Golbarg Bashi

Personally, having grown up outside Iran, and having had "inferior and inconsistent" images of the Iranian resistance to tyranny during my childhood and early adulthood, Parvin Paidar's work made me feel otherwise. In her book Women and the Political Process in Twentieth Century Iran, I found someone who was objective, sharp, sincere and inspirational... How refreshing and liberating it was to discover this as a young second-generation Iranian student!

WAR
To kill or not to kill

Do soldiers need to follow orders even if they go against their conscience?
Siavash Davoodi

By definition, a soldier is a person who has enlisted with, or has been conscripted into the armed forces of a sovereign country and has undergone training and received equipment to defend that country or its interests. The duty of a soldier has a very brief and simple description; it is to follow the orders of his superiors. It is a soldier’s job to act based on other people's decisions. However, does this mean that he can and should completely ignore his own sense of what is right and wrong? Can soldiers be justified for their actions because they were given orders? I believe that although it is up to the individual person, soldiers must know where to draw the line. I don’t think that every order given should be followed blindly without question.

FRIEND
Keeping going

Losing Parvin Paidar all too soon
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When in fall 2002 Parvin told me that her melanoma had returned, after a twenty-year lapse, I could not but think it must be a mistake. Our friendship had its beginnings about the same time as her first bout of struggle with melanoma. How could it have returned to end our friendship? How could a mere dysfunction of a gene ruin a most precious life?

FEMINISM
Nimeye Paidar

Parvin Paidar enriched our feminist scholarship and struggles for equal rights, democracy, freedom and justice
Nayereh Tohidi

Parvin was a coalition builder rather than a divisive ideologue. As a person she came from love, understanding and empathy rather than hatred and vengeance toward those who differed with her ideologically or even had wronged her and other seculars. She was free from rigid dogmas and blinding prejudices and sectarianism, the attributes that were rare during the early years of post-revolutionary Iran when the theocratic dogmas and repressive policies of the Islamist government had left very little room for dialogue, tolerance, and pluralism.

TRIAL
Judging Saddam

Whose justice does Saddam’s trial pursue?
Behrooz Ghamari

As it happens, the world will not hear their stories during Saddam Hussein’s trial.  The invasion of Iran is missing from the 12 counts of indictment against the former dictator, and evidence and testimony about the atrocities carried out under his command will not be presented to the court.  The conspicuous absent of his war crimes against Iranian civilians, and his widespread use of chemical weapons from 1982 to the final days of the war in 1988, raise serious questions about the objectives of this trial.  Sweeping Saddam’s atrocities against Iranian citizens under the courtroom rug could only mean that this trial is more about a political theatre for the legitimacy of the new regime and its American backers, than a genuine thirst for justice.  

IDEAS
Reason on the attack

Today more than ever Iranian secular intellectuals have a duty to push back religion into confined individual privacy
Jahanshah Rashidian

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been around for 27 years although it is one of the most hated regimes, not only by the Iranian people living in or outside the country but also by the majority of the international community.  The regime is a form of religious fascism.  This is different from European fascism in that its extreme reactionary nature is not in the position to advance in technology to compensate for its incompetence in economic and international relations and to validate its inability to introduce a democratic and human political system in Iran. Its existence can be partly attributed to the fact that its Islamic doctrine, mainly because of the factor of fear, has never been radically challenged by the secularism of the Iranian intellectuals.

LANGUAGE
For the love of P

Farsi is not Arabic
Guive Mirfendereski

To be able to stand in the public square for any extended period of time and express oneself requires that one be poust-koloft (thick-skinned) and porru (cheeky). Notice how both these Persian words begin with the letter “p.” Today, I would like to examine the place of this sound in the Persian language and why the Iranian hyper-nationalists are wrong to build their entire identity on the power of “p” at the exclusion of its naturally occurring substitute “f” in the Persian language itself. I take the view that the word “Farsi” is Persian and that the occurrence of the sound “f” in the word “Farsi” came about as the result of the Persian language’s own survival mechanism – its own rules of sound substitution -- and, therefore, Farsi is not Arabic.

HYBRID
Less gas, less blood

Video clips & photos of gas-electric hybrid cars
Jahanshah Javid

In recent months the number of Toyota Prius hybrid cars in my Albany/Berkeley neighborhood in the San Francisco East Bay has skyrocketed. They're everywhere, suddenly.

IRAQ
Na Koja-abad

High above the world of everyday reality, immune from its laws and conventions
Ryszard Antolak

Over the next few months, (whether we want to or not), each one of us will be entering our own personal “Iraq of the Mind”. We will be entering via the virtual reality of electronic pictures on our TV screens; via the disembodied voices whispering to us from radios; via carefully chosen photographs in the newspapers; via anonymous reporters on the Internet. Once we enter that dangerous psychic territory, we are likely to find all our personal prejudices already waiting for us there: all our old demons and obsessions, our own "evil empires" and private “Al Qaidas” will be staring us squarely in the face. And we need to be aware of the real dangers from this Virtual Iraq of the Mind.

POLITICS
Democrats still around?

Democrats are not able to formulate anything, much less a viable opposition, because they really are redundant
Reza Fiyouzat

Do not worry if you are a Republican and you still hear utterances that annoy you coming from your left; it certainly is not from the official 'left' in the form of Democratic Party USA. Most likely, the rage and the screams for murder are coming from the hard left of the spectrum, from which you are comfortably far, far away. Either that, or from within your own Republican Party. There are very concrete and analyzable reasons for the lack of true oppositional sentiment on the part of the Democrats, if not for the stupidity required of the punditry industry that is paid to uphold them as something other than what they are, which tends to blind indiscriminately. It has obviously blinded many besides the party bureaucracy or their hangers-on, which in certain elections get to include even some far left luminaries. But, (as Blues Traveler says) anyway ...

USA
The mindless American

A tragedy in the making
Doug Soderstrom

Given the election of George Walker Bush as our president, our country made it quite clear that it is pleased to have as its president a scoundrel, a true terrorist, one more than willing to bully the rest of the world, as opposed to having chosen a real man, one that humanity might embrace as a man of true character (someone like Jimmy Carter), an individual committed to doing what is best for the world (rather than what is most profitable for those running the petrol, armament, pharmaceutical, and construction industries), one with a desire to do what must be done in order to create a more humane world, one of peace, justice, and love. Although we claim to be a Christian nation, having chosen George Walker Bush to be the leader of our nation is a scandal beyond belief, one that mocks the very name of one whose life embodies that which we have been said to believe.

DEMOCRACY
Badly briefed

The trouble is that political Islam seeks to impose personal restraint as part of a social contract that turns the action of restraint into a means of political coercion with disastrous results for the citizenry
Kia Atri

the very same religious dogma that has bedevilled the Islamic and medieval Christian civilisations is also the same dogma that when caste aside (as at the dawn of Renaissance and Reformation) has enabled man to pursue such high ideals as Modern Art and Science. In other words the questioning of religious values has proved to be liberating and enlightening. Individualism has fostered the spiritually satisfying notion of man being the author of his own destiny. This is an enfranchising and empowering nay life enhancing cultural attitude. What may appear as vice (Carnal Desires) are just one inevitable aspect of this liberation. No action is without consequences. At any rate the pleasures of the flesh have inspired great works of art and must not be shun.

HOMOSEXUALITY
Meet arguments with arguments

Free speech and democracy
Hamid Karimianpour

Sexual autonomy is to me a profoundly moral question. It is about respect for human worth and dignity regardless of a person‚s sexual orientation. It may be a hard philosophical question to account for the notions of human worth, dignity, and autonomy. But it is not hard to see that societies which do not place human worth above and beyond sexual orientation tend to be more repressive and intolerant and totalitarian. However, the point here is that [anyone] is fully entitled to articulate his opinion. Simply because some people may dislike his statements can hardly be a ground for censorship.

IDEAS
God’s Earth and man’s destiny

... in Kubrik's ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
Alireza Lalehzadeh

What is suggestive in 2001: A Space Odyssey is that scientific progress in and of itself does not curb the human tendency toward destruction and that we impart our innate and untamed violent tendencies to our own technological creations, as sophisticated as they may be. In the film, the ape-man throws the bone into the air and in one associative cut, the bone turns into a space vehicle “Discovery”, suggesting that the human evolutionary progress advances through technological development.

POLITICS
Kabineye Emam Zaman

Ahmadinjead's divine cabinet
Massoud Noghrekar

AMERICA
Try to catch the wind

We are seeing the perfect storm that libertarians and anarchists alike have warned us about for generations: the unholy merger of the ueberstate and corporate hegemony
Daniel Patrick Welch

At first, our foreign friends and contacts, stunned by the election debacle of 2000 and wary of warmonger Bush, seemed quite happy to have met and befriended members of the American "left." A sort of camaraderie developed as we commiserated over the decline of critical thought and the alarming state of what passes for debate on the U.S. political spectrum. Horrified by the runup to war, foreigners working far from home felt a certain comfort in knowing that not all Americans shared the President's bloodlust; the comfort, of course, was mutual. Then, as things didn't get better, and in fact worsened with the 2004 election, these friends one by one sailed for safer seas. After all, they were on contract; they didn't have family and cultural ties, and so were free to flee in horror and revulsion from what they saw America becoming.

OPINION
Defending Hassan

We should somehow turn the other cheek when others raise their hands against us
Ramin Shomali

Like many other young Iranians, I was absolutely appalled and angered when alerted a couple of days ago to a video showing a young, slightly built and visibly shaken 17-year-old Hassan Rahgozar being set about by a group of filthy cowards in his school bathroom. I typed his name into a search engine and read about the incident in the San Francisco Bay area, which apparently gained alot of media attention on the West Coast in mid-May of this year. What made me even more angry was the lengths his school, the reporting journalists and the Hercules Police Department went to dismiss any notion that the attack was racially motivated or a hate crime despite assertions from the boy and his family that he had undergone constant intimidation and insults such as 'Saddam Hussein', 'Bin Laden' and 'Taleban' at the school.

OPINION
Iraq's big day

The constitution is a sign of civilization
Iqbal Latif

Constitution is the sign of a matured nation and a rationally affluent civilization. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, after casting one of the first ballots in Baghdad, called Iraq's constitutional vote as 'early' sign of civilization. A country that gave the world the meaning of a 'constitutional code' and was definitely a primary source of constitutional precedent in the 21st century is rediscovering its bond to the basic 'code of living.' It was here in Iraq that a seed structure was established which defined the essential relationship between the ruled and the rulers of mankind.

GIVING
Not enough

Is it really sufficient to give what we could spare?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

I try not to think of God’s power and how easy it would be for Him to heal the survivors and provide them with comfort. It isn’t my place to question disasters and why a Muslim nation, in a town called Islamabad and during the month of Ramadan had to endure such a tragedy. Besides, each time I’ve asked such questions in the past, I heard the same old answer, “It’s a test!” Nonreligious as I may be, I have too much respect to say anything that could be misconstrued as “Kofr.” I tell myself there has to be a better place beyond this life, that’s why God takes the good, the poor and needy so fast and in such astronomical numbers. Then again, maybe this is a test. Maybe God wants to see how far we would go to help our own kind.

NUCLEAR
No need for nuclear weapons

Who is the enemy that might be deterred by Iran's nuclear weapons?
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Mr. Mirfendereski's error lies in his erroneous calculation of Iran's national security needs, which do not warrant the acquisition of nuclear weapons contrary to his assertions. For one thing, with the threat of Iraq's WMD gone, and given the action-reaction logic of proliferation, what need does Iran have to nuclear weapons? To protect against whom? Who is the enemy that might be deterred by Iran's nuclear weapons? Certainly not any of Iran's immediate neighbors, either in Persian Gulf region or the Caspian basin. In fact, Iran's proliferation of nuclear weapons, if it ever occurs, is precisely what would potentially escalate the regional arms race, prompting the Arab world to emulate Iran, and thus causing serious new national security worries for Iran.

OPINION
Trouble in paradise

Iran-Syria relations
Meir Javedanfar

Despite the positive improvements in economic relations, the political relationship between Iran and Syria is facing problems. According to unconfirmed reports, Iran has expressed its acute displeasure with the Syrians for not doing more to convince the insurgents who enter Iraq through Syrian territory not to attack Iraqi Shiites. This problem has become more acute recently as more and more Iraqi Shiites who are Iran’s allies are getting slaughtered in attacks by insurgents themselves or by insurgent supported Sunni Baathists. Such attacks pose a direct political and military threat to Iran’s interests. So far Iran’s pleas in Damascus have fallen on deaf ears.

DEMOCRACY
Reckless Democracy

You see, we have been conditioned to think that tyranny can come only from government
Ross Pourzal

In a nutshell, the problem is that aggression and freedom are defined too narrowly by folks who benefit from the silent violence in "free market" democracy. With the Pentagon and the CIA having as much brain power per square foot as any top-notch university, it is easy to see that the greatest purveyors of violence worldwide are highly educated. Universities, too, are depended upon by the global enforcers for the nonstop R&D that supplies ever better killing machines (aka "defense technologies").

INTERNET
Ertebaat beyne liberalhaa

Welcome to IranLiberal.com
Hassan Behgar

KURDISTAN
Separation not the solution

Our problems are symptomatic of our entire region and they don't necessarily go away with a new Kurdistan
Matt Bina

The Idea of a free Kurdistan is not new and has been kicked around even under the Shah and Saddam's regime, which were not Islamic states. In addition to Iran and Iraq there is the Turkey's Kurds that want their independence as well. The task of convincing the people of these countries to allow a separate country is very unlikely. These nations all believe that, even though their beliefs might collide and become opposite of one another at times, they can't allow such differences play such an important role in the loss and separation of a part of their perspective nations.

SANCTIONS
Tanz-e tahrim-e eqtesaadi

The IRI does not look forward to economic sanctions
Khodayar Afam

IDENTITY
Opening a closed society

A forced Islamic identity creates a profound confusion to distinguish the real Iranian identity from the forged one
Jahanshah Rashidian

A great number of young Iranians in Iran, despite all restrictions, thanks to the Internet, satellite and other possibilities, develop their self-identity and evolve intact and non-stereotyped elements of the Iranian culture in accordance with a world of diversity and with a more satisfying understanding of the dynamism of their self. The Iranian immigrant communities and their second generation growing up in two complementary cultures, having the advantage of tow sides and the pride and consciousness of their Iranian descent, can interact by giving their young compatriots input  to redefine a new Iranian identity.

LANGUAGE
Latin Persian

Writing Persian using Latin alphabet
Bijan Bakhshi

For the majority it is still easier and more practical to use Latin as the medium to write Persian computer messages. For the purpose of consistency and better communication between fellow Persian speakers, I suggest the following convention for writing Persian using the Latin alphabet. This document is probably not the first of its kind; it is also not yet comprehensive. It does not attempt to teach the Persian or English grammar and simply refers to some of the rules. The examples given are biased towards the Persian which is spoken in Iran. It is however applicable to Persian spoken in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere.

ANALYSIS
The gathering storm

Here comes Hurricane Ahmadinejad
Masoud Kazemzadeh

Ahmadinejad has named a cabinet packed with members of the most extreme wing of the hard-line faction known as "Young Conservatives." Like himself, they are in their 40s and 50s and are true-believers who risked life and limb in the 1980s in the war against Iraq as well as in the violent struggle against domestic opposition. They rose to positions of power not because of connection to clerics but because of their services in the intelligence and military agencies, a service marked by extreme violence and brutality.

CAN DO
Pink strike

Building a peaceful non-violent national strike
Ali Mostofi

The silent majority of Iran derives its Spirit from peaceful ways. We are sons and daughters of Zoroaster and Cyrus the Great. We do not need to create uncivilized change. We can create a change in which all Iranians can live with each other. The next time you speak to an armed Islamist tell him or her, why are you carrying that gun? Tell them we do not want to harm you. We want peaceful change. Tell him that your guns cannot get us out our houses, to make bread for you. "What are you going to do? You cannot fight 60 million loved ones! So listen to us." It is really quite simple. All human societies have used this method, and it does not take a genius to accept it. But we are still finding people who will go out and create little resistances and die in opposition.

LANUGUAGE
Beyond far and good

Faraatar & behtar
Guive Mirfendereski

The English word “far” derives from the Original Teutonic (German) root fer, which in Old Aryan was per and in Sanskrit appeared as paras, meaning distant or beyond. In Darius the Great’s time the word para also meant (away from or beyond). Hence we read in his inscriptions [DPh, DNa] about his empire stretching from para Sugda (beyond Sogdia) and about his subjects the Saka para draya (Scythians beyond sea). The sounds vara and bara both represent variants of para in the pre-Islamic Persian languages.

PEOPLE
Liberal -- to a degree

As a child of the revolution, who remembers little of the years preceding and following 1979, I am stunned by how deep the teeth of theocracy has sunk into the Iranian psyche
Ramtin

While visiting family during a trip to Qom I decided to strike up a serious conversation with two cousins of mine; both of whom are in their mid 30's. My male cousin, Hassan, is an ex-communist who returned from studying in the United States to join the revolutionary fight in 1979. My other cousin, Shiva, is a painter who studies yoga and takes her two teenage children to daily English lessons with the hopes of one day securing them a "Western" education. Needless to say, neither of them would be considered "conservative" or "religious" in any sense. But in a matter of moments I would find out that religiosity and personal philosophy are complicated matters in contemporary Iran.

HISTORY
Persian passion

If motion and emotion were the only yardsticks to measure art by, then a painting of “Dogs playing poker“ would be superior to the Mona Lisa
Manesh

Jonathan Jones’ review of the Ancient Persian exhibit at the British Museum is a bit  bizarre, to say the least.   How is it that an art critic goes to look at some  (very) ancient Persian relics at a museum, and comes out lecturing about modern “Western political theory”?  I think what he is saying is quite interesting to Persians.  If you understand his central point, which has little to do with art, archeology, or history, you’ll start to see why Persia has been treated like the Rodney Dangerfield of world civilizations: no respect. His main point is to reassert Persia’s role in Western civilization as the original “evil empire”. 

IDEAS
Democracy is overrated

The authoritarian development state
Arash Seyedi

There are few who would refute the claim that the Japanese model of modernisation has been one of the greatest miracles of the 20 th century. Any system that could achieve in two generations what Europe did in three hundred years is a powerful one and one that cannot be ignored. Many see Japan and the Asian Tigers as democratic nations but a brief look at their near history reveals that during their periods of high economic growth they were anything but.

OBSERVER
Entrenched stereotypes

The Middle Eastern artist: social responsibility in the Western context
Nikoo

Last week, I attended an event at the New School, New York, on Aperture's new exhibition, Nazar: Contemporary Photography in the Arab World. It was a panel discussion with Wouter Deruytter and Lalla A. Essaydi, both present to talk about their photography. The exhibition included many artists, but Deruytter and Essaydi were the only two speaking on this particular occasion. Their works and talks are not necessarily representative of the entire show or project, but they were extremely disappointing. Nazar was structured to include Western views on the Arab world and Arab views on the Arab world, two extremes, which, presented side by side, brought audiences no closer to an understanding of realities in the Arab world.

UNreal
Things you don't want to hear

Fantasy speech at the UN on the nuclear crisis
Guive Mirfendereski

Ladies and Gentlemen – The question that preoccupies most of you is if my country has designs to develop nuclear weapons. Whether Iran does or does not is not anyone’s business, philosophically. Call it “strategic ambiguity,” as does Israel when it is asked to verify if it has nuclear weapons. My country lost hundreds of thousands of its people to Saddam Hussein’s war-machine, which was aided and abetted by the Americans, French and other governments. That carnage shall not repeat. It will be a dereliction of duty on the part of any Iranian government – clerical or not – not to promote every means at its disposal to secure Iranian life, political independence and territorial integrity. In an international state of near-lawlessness, Mr. President, self-defense by any means – even the clandestine development of nuclear weapons – is no sin.

IDEAS
Islam & democracy

A critique of Abdolkarim Soroush's recent lecture at the Sorbonne
Mahmoud Sadri

OPINION
Colonials and Indians

We can only hope that India's decision to openly side with the imperialists will make it even clearer what path the ruling classes are taking
Reza Fiyouzat

The era of wars without frontiers seems to be getting even more bizarre. The fact that the successive administrations of George W. Bush have stirred back to dominance recessive colonialist genes is a given. But, stranger mutations are taking place, too. It must be all the uranium dust that is flying around the globe; thanks to all the hundreds upon hundreds of tonnage of uranium-enriched munitions piercing Iraqi and Afghan life so perniciously that manufacturers are busting inventories and leaving the U.S. is in need of importing munitions from Israel. We are referring to the decision made by India to vote for the US-backed European-written edict to ‘refer’ the Iranian regime to the Security Council for not complying fully enough with the extortionist policies of the Western imperialists.

OPINION
Ham atom ham azadi

Demanding freedom & nuclear technology
Ramin Kamran

RIGHTS
Bahai setizi va tahrifaate taarikhi

My critique of a paper on the Bahai fatith
Seyed Alavi

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