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Opinion

SEPTEMBER 2005
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IDEAS
Amaan az een zamaaneye Farhad kosh

Reply to a critic
Abdolkarim Soroush

NUCLEAR
Kolaah sharee

IRI's no-nukes Fatwa
Khodayar Afam

NUCLEAR
Why not us

The question an increasing number of ordinary people in Tehran are asking about the West's opposition to Iran's nuclear program
Meir Javedanfar

As far as the Iranian government is concerned, the daggers are out. Iran in its own way tried to reason with the West, as much as it could. Its new President Mahmud Ahmadinejad travelled all the way to the US and declared Iran's peaceful nuclear intentions in front of the whole world. Ahmadinejad even agreed to be interviewed by an unveiled reporter (CNN presenter Christian Amanpour who is also Iranian) so that the other half of the world who do not watch the UN hear Iran's reasoning which to him is simple.

DEBATE
Pajooheshgar yaa kaargozaare regime?

On the IWSF women's conference in Vienna
Shadi Amin

LANGUAGE
Labor of lab

What if the giving of lip-kiss “lab dadan” and receiving of it “lab ghereftan” served the religiosity of some distant time by covering the true desire of the participants -- to engage in carnal relations?
Guive Mirfendereski

I went into the Labor Day weekend with a nagging question in mind: Could there be a connection between the Persian lab (lip) and English/Latin labiapudendi meaning “the lips of the female pudendum, the folds on either side of the vulva.” If so, then the most significant etymological discovery of our time would be at hand – love equals vagina! By the time I came out of Labor Day weekend, I had my answer, but not without the inspiring contribution of Lake Habeeb to my thinking process. Once there, I let my filthy imagination run wild with lab and labia. It is obvious to most that a woman’s horizontal lips in the penthouse resembles the vertically oriented lips located at the foyer.

GERMANY
Half & half

The crisis created by the election does not seem to be immediately solved and it can push Germany into a long political impasse with no immediate exit
Jahanshah Rashidian

With the combined Green/Social Democrat vote less than 44 percent or their rivals, the CDU/FDP less than 47 percent of the total; it is unclear how a government can get a majority in the Parliament. All other options of coalition seem to be difficult, the loner Linksparty stresses on the topic of social justice, minimum wage, a good national health service open to all and some other traits of welfare system of the ex- East Germany, which all these are sinful ideas in the language of political parties rooted in the West and repeated permanently by German media.

DEBATE
Pragmatic with patriarchy

Policing of the IWSF women's conference
Samira Mohyeddin

I am writing to you with regards to some of the comments that I have read over the summer regarding the IWSF conference in Vienna, and the so-called "rude" behaviour of some of its participants. I wanted to add my voice to this debate because the majority of responses have alluded to the younger generation of feminists, both inside and outside of Iran, who might be put off from attending this conference because of such behaviour. I want to weigh in on this notion because I believe that this is quite a distorted representation of the younger generation of Iranian feminists, particularly those in the diaspora who are sick and tired of wishy-washy academics that do not address the reality of Iran's theocratic system of governance.

NUKES
Dangerous adventure

An attack cannot be ruled out. However, even this U.S. administration must realise the dangers of embarking on such an adventure
Yassamine Mather

The Iranian president's speech to the UN general assembly on Saturday September 17 and the reaction of Western powers was predictable. In a year when Iran has seen most of its long-term protégés, including Prime Minister Jaafari, President Talebani and their respective militias (SCIRI, Badr Army, PUK ...) coming to power in Iraq on the back of the US-UK invasion and at a time when US forces are facing fierce resistance from sunni Iraqis, Iran's Shia leadership can show the kind of bravado we heard from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even if the European Union and United States refer Iran to the Security Council, it is unlikely that  neo-conservatives in the US would initiate an all out attack on Iran - despite similarities with the scenario we witnessed before the Iraq war.

NUKES
Picking a fight

Ahmadinejad goes to New York
Setareh Sabety

Amanpour asked Ahmadinejad four or five times if he really meant it when he said that Iran would not stop enriching Uranium, which would surely have the case end up in the U.N Security Council and lead to some UN sanctions or even war with the U.S and Europe.  He looked back with a smirk and repeatedly answered yes.  She even told him that his tone was rather confrontational and would give a bellicose signal but he kept his, I know what I am saying but I am saying it anyway -- look.  It reminded me of a schoolboy picking a fight.  That is the attitude of Ahmadinejad and the regime.  They are like children sticking their tongue out at the whole world.  But there is nothing childish in their intentions. 

NUKES
Ahmadinejad challenges the big boys

There is nothing better than standing up to a giant to make you feel like one
Kouross Esmaeli

Last week’s UN meeting of heads of state was yet another attempt at balancing -- or pretending -- multilateral diplomacy in a world where America is recognized-yet-resented as the biggest bully on the block.  The very visible presence of the Iranian delegation was one of the main news items from the proceedings of the summit, with most of the coverage centering around President Ahmadinejad’s pronouncement that Iran is willing to share its nuclear capability with other countries. Considering the fact that this was the precise excuse that Bush used to justify his invasion of Iraq, the comment seemed like a diplomatic faux pas and the American media, dutifully, drummed up the hysteria.  But there is a logic behind this comment from the Iranian President which came through later on in the week .

IDEAS
Man was born free, somebody chained him!

Let's break those chains, free the man!
Iqbal Latif

Afghanistan's democratic ballot, along with Iraq's a few months back, is a turning point in the annals of regional geopolitics. The elections in these two nations are seen not only as a test of President Bush's foreign policy but the ability of the United States to institute peaceful democracy in formerly tyrannical states. The pressures are from fundamentalists, who abhor the free vote, and the liberal left, who fail to appreciate the free ballot as a victory of human values. Democracy by nature is a chaotic process whereas tyranny is structured and rather serene on the exterior. Dissent is bulldozed without any recourse to law or tradition. In Afghanistan, edicts were based on archaic ideological concepts which ultimately rule the land. In the case of Iraq, a 'Baathists' totalitarian and oppressive regime conducted a hunt of its citizens for five nearly decades in which thousands perished in secularly led 'ideological battles'.

SHORTS
The World of Ancient Persia: British Museum
Peyvand Khorsandi writes: Forgotten Empire is an apt name for an exhibition of ancient Iranian artifacts sponsored by BP, which started life as The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the most prominent symbol of British imperial interest in Iran. Anglo-Iranian’s successor, the National Petrochemical Company is backing the event, along with Bank Melli and Iran’s Cultural Heritage & Tourism Organisation, all under the umbrella of London’s Iran Heritage Foundation. Still, it is a fascinating exhibition, if in a cramped space, especially if you want to transmit notions of Persian historical grandeur to your children and ensure that they grow up knowing their ancient royals had some serious tupperware. (In an age when the Queen Elizabeth takes breakfast from plastic containers that's no small thing.) One of the most memorable exhibits, however, is in fact Greek: a goblet shaped like the head of a bearded Persian man. It is also a wonder to learn that the famous Cyrus cylinder is barely bigger than a bar of soap. Visitors to the event were largely non-Iranian. Needless to say, the Iranians there tolerated them and accepted their practices.

NUKES
Sooner or later

Why the Islamic Republic needs nuclear power?
Omid Habibinia

While Tehran insists it is improving atomic facilities to generate electricity, emerging evidence and purchases of uranium enrichment equipment all point to the construction of an atomic bomb, which in strategic equations can destabilize the region. Meanwhile, Iran, currently the world's second largest producer of oil, is fast running out of natural resources and needs to have nuclear technology. At present there is not enough fuel for conventional power stations. With the urban population at 80 percent, having increased by 40 percent over the last quarter century, an alternative source of energy is inevitable.

IRAN
Seeing the future in their eyes

Excerpt from "The Soul of Iran: A Nation's Journey to Freedom"
Afshin Molavi

This book is a chronicle of an important moment in Iran’s quest for freedom. In these pages, I tried to remain neutral, dispassionate, and objective, but it wasn’t easy. I’ve met too many bright, young, and democratic-minded Iranians to be pessimistic. In their eyes, I’ve seen the future of Iran. But I’m not naive. I’ve also seen up close the eyes of violence and reaction: hard-liners who want to force the chick back into the egg, government agents who intimidate journalists, judges who sentence writers and professors to death, thugs who beat prodemocracy students. Authoritarian states rarely go quietly, and the Islamic Republic will be no exception.

LIFE
Model of love

Sexuality and marriage: What heterosexuals may be picking up from homosexuals
Hamid Karimianpour

It took about two millenniums before the foundation of marriage was rocked yet again. Sex had been developing increasingly in the direction of formalization and ritualization. The transformations of the twentieth century in the West reversed for the first time this development. The sexual liberalization and the liberation of women liberated not only sexuality (arguably only to a lesser extent), but also human worth from the bondage of sexual oppression and prejudice. Humans were now acknowledged valuable regardless of their sexual orientation. Humanity regained its autonomy and respect. Sex became an expression of freedom, but what about marriage?

RIGHTS
Naghd-e "Bahaiat dar Iran"

A review of a book published on the history of the Bahai faith in Iran
Kavian Sadeghzadeh Milani

DEBATE
Stop the politics of labeling

The only way to protect it is to open our minds and the doors of the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation conferences
Halleh Ghorashi

Being part of the last Iranian Women's Studies Foundation (IWSF) conference in Vienna, experiencing the clash of ideas and positions there, and explaining it over and over again to my friends and relatives gave me the idea to write about the event. However, this idea remained in my mind because of the complexity of the events: there is just so much to analyze and to say. The recent discussions on the Net have not given me the chance or time to postpone my idea. Let me start by writing about the way I experienced the clashes.

HERITAGE
Wish there was more time

Perhaps all of us can also hope that the date for the Sivand Dam flooding can be postponed beyond this coming spring -- and that at least one more round of rescue excavations can take place
David Stronach

The Sivand Dam project is not intended to flood the precious site of Pasargadae (which thanks to the efforts of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization was named as a World Heritage Site just over a year ago) nor will it flood the extremely important site of Persepolis, which lies over 35 km downstream from the dam. If archaeologists could have their way all dams would be situated in remote areas with no cultural significance whatsoever. But since the distribution of water and the distribution of human settlement have always been inseparable, perhaps especially in Iran, hydrological priorities and archaeological priorities are always likely to clash to some extent.

HERITAGE
Cyrus can rest in peace

Pasargadae and rumors about the dangers of Sivand Dam
Ali Mousavi

Recently a rumor has been spread among Iranians, especially those who live outside Iran, that the World Heritage site of Pasargadae and even Persepolis will be drowned after Sivand dam in Fras is put into service next year. The 160-hectar site of Pasargadae, the first capital of the Achaemenid empire, was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in June 2004, and has been since a World Heritage site. As the person who prepared and compiled the World Heritage file for Pasargadae under the supervision of Dr. Chahryar Adle in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran, I had to visit and record all the ancient remains in the plain of Murqab -- where the site is located – including the 18-kilometer Tang-e Bulaqi that stretches like a canyon between Pasargadae and Sivand.

PERSIA
So much for Mr. Jones

Where does such deep antagonism toward the Persian Empire originate from?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Enjoying a peaceful last quarter of my life, it now takes a lot to make me angry. Having graduated from London University and familiar with the crafty ways of a few Brits, I should have known that if anyone could make my blood boil, it would be one of them! I am referring to a shameless article by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian, The Evil Empire, dated September 8. Considering that half the world refers to the Brits that way, I wanted to know who had dared to insult a power that, despite its small country, continues to manipulate the world.

RELIGION
God without force

A brief encounter with Seyed Doctor Professor Ayatollah Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad (Ahmad Abadi)
Nizam B. Missaghi

By virtue of working at a university hospital, I often receive email forwards about events occurring on the academic campus. While most do not peak my interest or happen to fall outside of the eighty-hour work week as mandated federally for all physicians-in-training, I occasionally get to walk over in my green hospital scrubs to enrich that side of me that I reluctantly buried as my undergraduate studies ended in 1998. But I digress...  On September 6, an email forward came through the Persian Cultural Society stating that there will be a talk the following day at the Law School given on Islam and women's rights, religious discrimination, and racial issues. The speaker was a professor of jurisprudence and Islamic law at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Dr. Mohaghegh Damad.

SOCIOLOGY
Civil society in Iran

Politics of motherhood and the public sphere
Elham Gheytanchi

Civil society and the public sphere are based on historically specific moral discourse. Social movements such as the women's movement emerge out of the internal contradictions of the dominant moral discourse at any historical juncture. The article explore how the women's movement emerged in post-revolutionary Iranian society, as represented in one major women's publication, Zanan. In post-revolutionary Iranian society, Muslim women activists broaden the boundaries of civil society by translating their highly-praised status as mothers to active nd morally recognized citizens.

IDEAS
Oppression Olympics

The peaceful exchange of ideas is the soil in which the very best periods, movements, and aspects of human civilization have historically taken root
Maziar Shirazi

While these 'progressives' preach tolerance and radical thinking, they end up being just like any other group of dogmatic people: aggressive, ignorant, and prejudiced or patronizing towards the whole world. They cannot be questioned, their views cannot evolve, and they don't have time for people who they view as less informed and naive, namely everybody else. In fact, they're so much better and smarter than everyone that should you try to put your own perspective out there, they don't believe that you have the right to finish what you are saying if they disagree. They actually have the right to interrupt you, to call you names, to associate you with the enemy's end of the ideological spectrum, because being able to silence and ostracize others when you disagree with them is how they construe what true freedom means.

IDEAS
Come together

Doesn’t our very own beloved prophet Zartosht (Zoroaster) teach us this lesson to be on the side of light and not the darkness?
Matt Bina

Is Iran tired? I think so. Are we as Iranians tired? I think so. We are an old nation that has seen many years of difficulties that placed us in the midst of huge turbulences. But can we succeed once and for all to change the turbulent river of those external forces and by building a dam so that we can harness the potential energy of our country and of our people? Can we see the safety of calm waters and the shores by pushing ourselves harder for the good of our nation once and for all?

USA
Guardian of rights and liberties?

Is John Roberts the right man to lead the Supreme Court?
Afshin Pishevar

Senate confirmation hearings are the only thing separating John G. Roberts from dominating the highest court of the land as Chief justice for the next 30-40 years.  It appears that Mr. Roberts has the resume to qualify him to be on the Supreme Court.  The prevailing question is does he have the heart?  Apparently he had dedicated his entire legal career to protecting the wealthy and the powerful rather than the fundamental rights of the American People. A quick look at the history of the Court will reveal the most important question that must be asked of Roberts during the upcoming confirmation hearings.

KATRINA
The creation of a new Adam

Is it a global renaissance or an impending tragedy?
Iqbal Latif

We need to appreciate that all of it is a harbinger of major change. A new global renaissance is taking place and people of the world are recognizing the ills of bigotry and benefits of an open society. The good thing about this new global connective renaissance is that we are all part of it without realizing that we are. We sometimes wonder as to where we are heading, when in actuality we are all in it together, it is a coming together of sorts. The common issue of pain struck me yesterday when on BBC an American in New Orleans, standing in queue for food and water was asked about his needs. His concerns were no different from any inhabitant of a third world country hit by a calamity, rather, it seemed to me, the lesser the baggage of life, the merrier one can be. Maybe we could think of enjoyment with some minimalism in our standards of living.

KATRINA
Shame on me, America

Katrina has blown through our homes with its secrets that we have hidden in our closets for so long and we are left standing naked to the world
Babak Morvarid

Hurricane Katrina has in its wake, uncovered the fact that our present day American lacks leadership, sound judgment and foresight, lacks compassion for its poor and that often times in our country, the racial divide and the economic divide go hand in hand. The fact that in the modern world, in the United States of America, its wealth and power unmatched in the history of man, 28% of the people of the great city of New Orleans should live below the poverty level and that over 80% of those poorest are black is a shocking and perhaps a more shameful fact than the devastation of the hurricane, or its size and magnitude.

POINT
The nature of money

The idea that capitalism is natural and inevitable, like death and taxes, is part of American folk-wisdom
Pantea Javidan

I can’t remember who the first person was that I ever... heard say that capitalism is the result of thousands of years of economic evolution, or, that capitalism is simply “nature.”  But I’ve definitely read it.  I’m sure that some partygoer somewhere has passionately harangued the point after a couple of Tequila shots. (If you’re not already disappointed that this article is not about hip-hop, or a human-interest story on the secret life of an anonymous call girl, please read on. The rest may actually interest you.)

LIFE
When did I become so detached?

I’m sick of trying to sift through what is offered in the name of ancient tradition in order to find a fragment of my culture
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

My father used to say, “When you hear a conversation that’s way over your head, just listen and nod.” Now when people discuss religion, I nod wisely as if to agree. That’s being polite. Deep down I don’t agree with most of what I hear. I’m just being careful not to offend anybody. I do the same when it comes to tradition, there too, I may not like most of what I see, but mindful of other’s feelings, I smile and nod. It’s hard to admit these facts. It’s much more acceptable to talk about the grandeur of our old traditions, how we need to be the keepers of what used to be so that we can pass it on to the next generation.  As for religion, people still respect you more if you are a believer and agree that all mankind needs religion. Also, they want you to say you’re all for keeping tradition, but what tradition are we talking about?

HERITAGE
Sensationalism vs. Rationalism

The Sivand Dam: political sensationalism vs. archaeological rationalism
Kamyar Abdi

I must stress that hundreds of archaeological sites are being destroyed every day as a result of construction work or illicit excavations, not in Iran alone, but all around the world. In the past quarter of century, thousands of archaeological sites have been lost in Iran alone. For instance, eight years of war with Iraq took a heavy toll on archaeological sites in western Iran, a major loss that very few people noticed or paid attention to. Even right now, many other dams are being built all over Iran, but most of them either lack a salvage archaeology component, or it is meager compared to that of the Sivand dam. The Sivand dam and Tang-e Bolaghi is a case that gained exposure, exactly for the opposite reason, because it was one of the handful of examples that has been given a chance through salvage excavations and airtime in media.

HERITAGE
Faaje'eyeh melli

The Sivand dam project is a national disaster
Shokooh Mirzadegi & Esmail Nooriala

HOPE
The plague

Are we a hopeless, hapless nation indeed? I hope and believe not. But I wonder how much longer it will be before our national consciousness awakens from a centuries-old slumber
Moe

Maybe I am being a pessimist after all. Maybe my two months in Iran and the extent of the utter backwardness (I've always cringed at using that word -- but no longer!) I've seen has colored my judegement with new, darker-shade glasses. May be my recent visit to Dubai [photos: Old & new], my first, and the contrast of what is possible and what we have has unduely influenced my opinion. Maybe recent articles have reaffirmed the worst I always feared. Maybe the entangled, devoid character of the Tehrangeles community -- who live in the prime of convenience and liberty -- and yet, by and large, have embraced its basest values, has finally taken its toll.

IRAQ
Hollow harmony

The real constitution is already written in the minds of the Iraqis
Mahin Bahrami

The dream of a united Shiite/Sunni/Kurdish Iraq living in harmony in the near future is highly improbable, given the distinct differences in the respective cultures and religions. On the other hand, the possibility of a dissolved Iraq where the three groups live completely independent of each other as in the pre-Faisal (1921) days is also highly unlikely. Therefore and probably, the most reasonable option is a federal Iraq where each ethnic group enjoys conditional autonomy within the boundaries of Iraq.  The exact balance between their respective unity and autonomy is the key to a stable Iraq.  Otherwise the killing and the carnage will continue until their oil runs out.  And that’s not a short time.

DIGITAL
Music to our ears

The digital future of music is here!
Babak Khiavchi

This is it. This is the digital future of music we are now literally holding in the palm of our hands. Technology has brought computers, telecommunications, entertainment, and music together into one device formerly known as the cellphone, now the most commonly used electronic device in the world. It started in November 2000 when Sprint began selling the Samsung Uproar as the first cell phone with a built-in MP3 music player. Now there are currently about 70 wireless phones or mobile devices on the market that are capable of playing digital music using Windows Mobile or Windows Media software.

HERITAGE
Sharing the same anxiety

From a veteran archaeologist
Hamed Vahdati Nasab
Persian text

In response to Touraj Daryaee's "Safe & sound" and "Drowning in noise": I am a former Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO) official and currently a fellow at the Institute of Human Origins in Arizona State University. I just read your response to Ms. Mirzadegi and Dr. Nooriala about Pasargad. While I am receiving some news from ICHO which support your opinion about Pasargad, there are some very worrying issues about the 100 prehistoric and historic sites at Tange-Belaghi. As you have mentioned since the revolution this is the first collaborative rescue effort to save archaeological sites at this area. I am familiar with your research and there is no question in my mind that you are an expert archaeologist, knowing all dimensions of surveying archy sites. Could you please be more specific that how this “rescue effort” is going to take place? Is it by just recording the sites? Or by moving them to another location?

IDEAS
God as serial killer

If we had only behaved differently God would not have unleashed that volcano, earthquake, flood, tsunami, hurricane, plague, etc., on us, so they say
A.S. Mostafanejad

God usually kills alone as in Ancient Egypt, Pompeii, Krakatoa , San Francisco, or New Orleans but some times he is too busy killing or preoccupied with other matters and needs agents or accomplices to act on his behalf. Here a Fatwa from a Khomeini to the faithful that “God wants Rushdie dead, so get busy”, or an edict from a Robertson for the offing of President Chavez, is needed. These agents are simply saving God all that work and worry needed in judging these miscreants. Sometimes it is not enough to pray for the demise of the enemies of God. This is where a suicide mission in London, Baghdad or Bali, or a well placed bomb in Atlanta, Madrid or at an abortion clinic will drive God’s point home and bring his agent rewards in heaven.

KURDISTAN
Divided we stand

Take your Arab and Islamic Iraq, give us a free Kurdistan
Kamal H. Artin

Division could solve many of Iraq's unresolved issues and lead to equality, which is a prerequisites for a more advanced voluntary union. It will give the opportunity to Shiites in the region to fulfill their unresolved conflict of having a second state to have a bigger share of power among many Sunni states. It will give Sunnis Arabs an opportunity to learn what it means to be a minority either under the Sunni Kurds or under the Shiites Arabs or a majority on their own as a small country without oil. It will fulfill the ultimate objective of the Kurds of having an independent Kurdistan at least in one part of their homeland.

COMMUNITY
More, please

Mehregan conference in San Diego left us with an even greater thirst for knowledge than the one that drove us there to begin with
Mersedeh Mehrtash

Iranian Identity as a topic is one that spans across so many fields and is dependent on so many variables, that it is difficult for anyone to offer a universal answer or explanation. Iranian Identity in Farsi, is referred to as “Hoveyat-e Irani”. I am embarrassed to say that before this conference, I did not know what “hoveyat” meant, nor had I really thought about my own identity in the same way that I started to when I left this seminar. In fact ever since I left the seminar last night, I have been preoccupied with processing all that I absorbed in the previous 3 days.

LIFE
Exile, Part II

Vive la France! Vive la Republique!
Setareh Sabety

So now I have decided to stay here in Nice... This small city, here since the time of the ancient Greeks, has a history of welcoming exiles and foreigners from all over the world. I feel at home here. Here, I do not have roots but I have freedom. I know that no one will chastise or punish me for what I think or write or what I do in my bedroom or what I wear in the street. Here, I know that I am considered equal to a man in the eyes of the law. Here, in the land of Montesquieu, Danton and De Beauvoir, I know that I walk safe down a path of life paved on the foundations of civil liberty and respect for the individual.

HERITAGE
Drowning in noise

Iranian experts say Pasargadae will not be drowned. But what do they know? The British know better!
Touraj Daryaee

Unfortunately, everything that is done in Persian Studies has taken a political dimension. Fear of reprisals is making it difficult to say what seems to be the truth in research. It would have been easy for me to get on the bandwagon and rise up my banner (alam) and say “Oh people our beloved tomb of Cyrus is in danger.” If it was the case, I would not scream from abroad. I would go down to Pasargadae and defend it with my life and they would have to kill me before they flood the place. But my scientific obligation tells me to judge based on facts and the facts say that it will not be flooded.

HERITAGE
Not expendable

Pasargad "safe and sound"? You must be joking!
Shokooh Mirzadegi & Esmail Nooriala

It seems very strange to us that these gentlemen have decided to emphatically shoulder the flag of defending IRI’s irresponsible action of building this dam without any prior planning for offsetting the dangers posed by it to our historical heritage. They are employing old tricks - such as referring to fake archeological stories - to degrade the present debate, calling it a politically motivated and sensationalist action. We actually wonder if their own position and stand in this letter is void of such labels. In fact, by bluntly refuting the possibility of any future damage to Pasargad site by the lake that will eventually take shape behind the Sivand Dam, they are now partners in crime with the Islamic republic, in whatever that happens in the future.

HERITAGE
Safe & sound

Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargadae
Touraj Daryaee & Kamyar Abdi

Not only the Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargadae, but it has proven to be the first opportunity for Iranian and foreign archaeologists to collaborate on a salvage project since the 1979 Revolution, discovering valuable and important information relevant to Achaemenid and other periods of occupation in the region. Unfortunately, those who do not know about these matters and only have political agendas have rallied the people to an ill-informed cause. This reminds us of the finding of the so-called MUMIFIED PERSIAN QUEEN" Rhodogoune" which appeared to be a fake from the beginning, except to those how wanted to make it a political issue or create sensationalism.

KATRINA
That same old wind just keeps on blowin'

The truth is, the visuals between the floods in Mozambique and Katrina's disaster are relatively the same
Tala Dowlatshahi

The visuals we see in Louisiana reflect the lawlessness and anger that come with being treated as animals in a society that prides itself as the "Great Savior." It took President Bush nearly fice days to go and meet with families. He did, to his credit, do a "fly-by" on day two of the disaster. Nevertheless, as this tragedy unfolded, the American people began to take note of his lack of contact with "Real Americans" as his campaign team had so often pledged. Real Americans, Mr. Bush, are the African-Americans who broke their backs building this country during slave years, and now they are stuck in an institutionalized slave system that has no regard for their well-being and survival. 

KATRINA
Take back America

New Orleans is a giant mirror that reflected the ever present heart of darkness whose reverberating beat echoes in the back of our consciousness
S. Pishevar

New Orleans is a wake up call for anyone who considers him or herself a true American. America has been usurped by those who do not truly believe in its highest and lofty ideals... Our moral fortitude at home has now been exposed for what it is - a house without walls. The levy's that protected America's famed moral compass broke long ago at some undefined and imprecise moment in our history and we have been blindly drowning in the ensuing flooding. It is us, the true patriots, to recover and repatch our moral fiber and commit to heal our country of the long festering wounds we have too long chosen to ignore.

KATRINA
Prevent greater catastrophe

I am privileged to have been able to give first-hand help. Now is the time to help "with great power, comes great responsibility."
Yousef Zarbalian

LOUISANA: These are hard times for my home state of Louisiana. I live in Baton Rouge, one hour away from New Orleans, where the hurricane hit so hard that the levee on enormous Lake Pontchartrain broke allowing a rush of water into the city.  The needs of the people of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast cannot be met by state and federal governments alone. It is a time for individual action!   My parents have started by welcoming friends from New Orleans at our home. Because most people tried to beat the evacuation rush, they left before full information about the storm's trajectory was known and they were then unable to return to retrieve valuables before the storm hit. Our friends believe that their homes are flooded beyond repair and most of the city is like them.

LANGUAGE
Sweet Farsi

It is any Farsi-speaking person’s god-given right to call his or her language Farsi in any language
Guive Mirfendereski

I honestly do not give a flying fuck what a foreigner thinks of how I choose to refer to my mother tongue, the state language (lingua franca) of my birthland, as we all refer to it among ourselves, regardless of what language I express myself in. Last time I checked we all learned and still do learn Farsi, we sat or sit through interminable Farsi classes and not once anyone said or says that we should be doing some "pershan" today. To ask me to do otherwise is like asking me to call a khiyar Cucumis sativas when I write about mast-o-khyar for an English-reading audience.

LIFE
Lungs of the earth - Oh beloved forests

Environmental issues in Iran have to be taken as the most serious and urgent problem to be tackled
Vida Kashizadeh

Whatever happened to that cool basement room of my aunt's old house in Dezashib with turquoise blue tiled little pond (hoes), Summer afternoons with watermelons in the little pond to make it cool, and my uncle having a siesta before going back to work? And where is the reflection of that beautiful and mysterious Berkeh-e Niloofar -- Water lilies Pond near Kermanshah is ever to be found? That pond which has been destroyed to build roads and houses and the air pollution to match?

DEMOCRACY
Bohraanaafarini

IRI generates nuclear crisis to put more limits on freedoms and silences demands for democracy
Hassan Behgar

RELIEF
Can you help?

Katrina's victims are desperate for shelter
Afshin P. Pishevar

It's been reported that hundreds or perhaps thousands have lost their lives to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and surrounding areas. A tragic situation with new fears more will die as deadly water borne illnesses brew around survivors wading through the filthy waters that now fill their beloved neighborhoods. Their homes lost, no shelter, weary from the storm there seems to be no relief in sight for those who survived Katrina's blow. Is there any hope for a warm meal, shower and a place to recover from the tragedy anytime soon?

IDEAS
Another try

Responding to critics of "Soroushism"
Sudabeh Siavashan

LANGUAGE
Lovely word

Next time when I say “I love you” to an English-speaking person I will do so with the reminder that the word “love” is of Persian origin
Guive Mirfendereski

This summer, I learned about the origin of the word “love.” It is an Indo-Iranian word. I would think that in Old Persian luvu or lubu would have existed as a word for love or desire. In the Slavic language of southern Russia, which was influenced by the Median and Scythian (Saka) languages, the word for love is lubov. The word lobat in contemporary Farsi applies to a beautiful woman and, despite the Arabicization of its orthography, could have derived from libet of Old Aryan/Old Persian. I wonder also if the word lavat (love between two men, sodomy) too belongs to this group of Sanskrit/Old Aryan leubh family of words.

WOMEN
Rules of desire

The interminable question of hijab
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When I arrived in Tehran in early July, it was shortly after the presidential elections. There was a great deal of apprehension about what the election results would translate into, especially as far as cultural space, civil liberties, public norms, and similar issues were concerned. Understandably, among all the women I visited, Islamicly-oriented or secular, how the practical rules of hijab and female-male socializing in public would change were topics of agitated concern and speculation. But what I found most fascinating was the working of the rules of hijab in private homes.

WOMEN
Rules of desire

The interminable question of hijab
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When I arrived in Tehran in early July, it was shortly after the presidential elections. There was a great deal of apprehension about what the election results would translate into, especially as far as cultural space, civil liberties, public norms, and similar issues were concerned. Understandably, among all the women I visited, Islamicly-oriented or secular, how the practical rules of hijab and female-male socializing in public would change were topics of agitated concern and speculation. But what I found most fascinating was the working of the rules of hijab in private homes.

OPINION
One false flinch and there goes Isfahan

There's noth’n “hollow” about President W.
Afshin P. Pishevar

Fareed Zakaria has held himself out as an expert on Iran. I rise to point out some of the factually and logically flawed theories espoused by Zakaria in his op-ed piece of August 16, 2005. His basic premise is that President George W. Bush’s tough remarks against Iran on the nuclear question are nothing but “hollow threats.” I agree that war is not the answer, but it is this writer’s opinion that the “solutions” he forwards will inevitably lead to armed confrontation. I challenge Zakaria to point to analogous examples of where his thesis has come to fruition. Neither can wishful thinking nor his anecdotal guess-work make it come true.

NOTES
Excellent question

From Akbar Ganji to California real estate
Hamid Boroumand

No one anywhere, in their right minds, wants to have a bunch of unelected, unaccountable, and irresponsible "loonies" with suspect agendas (and I am not talking about any one specific country or system in the world, but the world at large) being in a position to upset world peace and stability. At the same time, I really don't think there is a calculated hegemonic conspiracy to deny developing countries access to progress and technology (otherwise, Korea and Taiwan and Malaysia and... wouldn't be where they are today).

DEMOCRACY
Mr. Ganji’s ‘treasure’

Akbar Ganji should go free, but what he's advocating has long been thrown out of currency
Reza Bayegan

Akbar Ganji's case represents the vast and irreconcilable contradictions within a system that on the one hand makes a tremendous fanfare in the international arena over ostentatious ideas such as ‘A Dialogue among Civilizations’, and on the other hand cannot tolerate the writings and revelations of a second-rate journalist. Akbar Ganji also epitomizes why we are where we are today in this benighted and degrading squalor in our national history. His mental confusion typifies how the so-called educated class of our nation has made a mess of its political judgments and has failed to discriminate between woolly thinking and genuine thought.

INFROMATION
Everywhere all the time

Of course too much information is better than no information but information glut has its own hazards
Asghar Massombagi

Going to the movies is not what it used to be. I remember when I became old enough to venture out of the old neighbourhood on my own and go to the Baharestan district in central Tehran. Baharestan was an exotic area, with its herbal stores and Armenian-operated coffee shops and fabulous bakeries that served far-out goodies like meat and jelly piroshky doughnuts (souvenirs of contact with the Caucuses). Not far from Baharestan, Lalehzar was the old theater district in Tehran (I'm writing strictly from memory but I think the geography is accurate). By the time it became my stumping ground, live theater was long gone from Lalehzar, and the mostly derelict buildings were converted to second and third run movie houses.

COLLOQUIUM
Peaceful dialogue

The United States and the Islamic World: Challenges and prospects
Ali Akbar Mahdi

The Muslim world's negative perception of America has been a consistent challenge for the US foreign policy since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in March 2003. The 2004 reports of instances of abuse and torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay have simply magnified this negative image. What does this negative image imply for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the continued occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, and the future of nuclear standoff with Iran? The 2005 Sagan National Colloquium at Ohio Wesleyan University has invited distinguished policy and academic experts, prominent politicians involved with the Middle East, and Muslim scholars to reflect upon the above issues.

LANGUAGE
Being bilingual isn’t enough

Understanding cultural nuances in a language is the key to a good translation
Fatima Farideh Nejat

Following one of the Curriculum Development Department’s quarterly presentations titled “Translation: How does it fit into a curriculum for an intensive basic language course,” I thought of a humorous letter to send to the speaker to confirm what he had explained. The speaker had stated that according to the American Translators Association, “Being bilingual isn’t enough to make a [professiona] translator or interpreter.” You need additional training. The Speech Act theory in linguistics emphatically describes the role of understanding sociolinguistics in learning a second language.

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The Persian Garden
Echoes of Paradise
By Mehdi Khansari, M. Reza Moghtader, Minouch Yavari
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