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Opinion

FEBRUARY 2006
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AMERICA
Home is a blur

When I first put the Iranian flag in my car my family told me I was being idiotic
Tahereh Aghdassifar

On Tuesday of last week I took our university shuttle to the parking deck where I leave my car while I am in classes. I approached my car from the back, so only when I sat inside did I see something stuffed under my windshield wiper. I figured it was a flyer for something until I paid attention and saw it was a sheet of notebook paper, I thought perhaps a friend had left a note for me on my car: "Go back home terorist". 1. It is spelled "terrorist." You'd think after seeing it day in and day out on television, in newspapers, in magazines, in textbooks that people would learn how to properly spell the word. 2. Who the hell carries an orange marker at a university?

FREE SPEECH
Downward spiral

The case for tragic blindness
Leila Farjami

Obviously, the freedom of speech has been an excuse to be belligerent and intolerant towards others’ dearly held spiritual and religious beliefs. The Danish cartoonist mocks Moslems who believe Mohammad to be their saint by depicting him as a sodomizing pig lover, draped in a “terrorist” attire while portraying Allah (the Moslem God) as the Devil in flesh; and in response, the Iranian fundamentalists have decided to mock, stain, and invalidate the tragedy and sanctity of Holocaust for Jews. One must wonder which is worse. One is by no means superior to the other.

HATEFUL
Bigotry, plain and simple

I strongly oppose any Iranian sacrifice, be it physical or financial, at the Palestinian or any other Arab alter
J Irandoust

The simple truth as Pullniro points out in his article, is the fact that most Arabs, Palestinians included, do hate Iranians. Why that is, I am not sure, but there are obviously some historical reasons behind it. Is it because Iranians were the only nation who kept their language and cultural identity after the Arab/Islamic conquest of the region and did not turn Arab like others? Is it because Iranians accepted Islam on their own terms by belonging to the Shiai sect of Islam and most Arabs are Sunnis? Is it historical envy?

FREE SPEECH
Should I start sweating?

The violence displayed over outrageous cartoons cannot be justified
Rustam

I have been hearing a lot recently about Muslim sentiments and reactions to the Danish cartoons so much in the news these days. I want to add a little balance to the on-going anti-Western-cartoon tirade. Firstly, a few of notes about the cartoons themselves. Most of the cartoons were fairly harmless and not particularly offensive. A couple were very good commentaries on current Islamic topics, things that should be open for discussion - like nikab (which the West just doesn't get). It must also be agreed that a couple of them were certainly in poor taste - but enough to kill anyone over?

IRAN-U.S.
Komake Amrika?

Will U.S. millions help Iran democracy movement?
Hassan Behgar

RIGHTS
A caricature of free speech

The reality of freedom of expression in Europe for Muslims: Nasser Amin's case
Richard Seymour

SOAS, a prestigious higher learning institution in the centre of London, would appear to have a defender of free and open discussion in head Colin Bundy. In the last month, the Director & Principal has openly defended the right of an apologist for the Uzbekistan regime, Shirin Akiner, to speak at SOAS, rejecting calls for reconsideration by former British ambassador the dictatorship, Craig Murray. Yet, one glaring exception renders the rule absurd: the treatment of a student named Nasser Amin, who wrote an article for a student magazine arguing that Palestinians had the right to use force against Israel's occupation. Instantly, this issue was used alongside a clutch of others by some right-wingers and pro-Zionist students who insisted that SOAS was guilty of anti-Semitism.

POINT
Fighting lies with lies

On denying the holocaust
Sima Nahan

What do decent folks do to counter historical falsehoods? They try to fight lies with truth. They do research. They write books. They try to spread the word. They teach. For decades now historians, journalists, artists, activists, and certainly academics have been doing exactly this. They have upheld the "If Only" school of displaying faith in humanity: If only Americans and the rest of the world knew the truth of what happened to Palestine and the Palestinian people... If only they knew the devastating impact of the politics of Israel on the people of the region... If only they knew the cost to democratic movements in the Middle East of denying historical and political facts ... But where has this good-faith approach gotten us? A concerted effort to intimidate and suppress anyone challenging uncritical support for the state of Israel on college campuses, for one.

IRAN-U.S.
Curb your enthusiasm

Examining reasons for intervention in Iran
Alexander Patico

From a military standpoint, a preemptive strike is perhaps the least readily-approved action (within the international community) that a nation can take toward another nation (to oppose it is only logical, since any state could conceivably be on the receiving end at some later point.  We certainly opposed it when the target was Pearl Harbor.)  The U.S. invasion of Iraq met with criticism from most of the governments of the world (even in the neighborhood most directly threatened by Saddam), and large majorities of the populations of even our closest allies, such as the United Kingdom. All of this policy posturing and operational planning is, of course, ultimately based on fear.  But fear of what exactly?

POLITICS
Why should the World Bank stop assisting Iran?

Open letter to Shirin Ebadi
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

In a recent article published in both US and Europe, Shirin Ebadi and a fellow academi named Mohammad Sahimi have urged the linking of Iran's nuclear program to human rights, urging the World Bank to "stop providing Iran with loans" until the rule of democracy has been respected by the government. Their advise must be music to the White House's ear, which is now committing vast sums of money to promote democracy in Iran as a deterrent against Iran's "nuclear menace." As a human rights advocate unhappy with the post-Khatami negative developments with respect to human rights, Ebadi is, of course, on the right track when calling on the Iranian government to show more respect for civil and human rights. Yet, the respected Nobel Peace recipient and her colleague are on the wrong track when advising the World Bank to stop its loans to Iran, for the following reasons:

FREE SPEECH
Eteraaz... baa tabar?

Protesting against cartoons ... with axes and knives?
Shadi Amin

FREE SPEECH
Torch of intolerance

Have Europeans become fundamentalist?
Ali Kiarash

Reading news and reports, interviews and editorial one is surprised to discover how many have defended the caricatures in the name of free speech stubbornly and almost passionately. It seems that no one is concerned that the very same editor refused to publish caricatures of Jesus Christ without his conscience being burdened by limiting "free speech". It also seems that no one can possibly understand what Prophet Mohammad means to millions of Muslims, who are impoverished, forgotten and abused by their governments, struggling daily to survive, have only their faith, their religion, their prophet to provide them with some sense of security, comfort and dignity and most significantly with some hope for a better future.

JEWS
Revealing errors

Iran, Jews and the Holocaust: An answer to Mr. Black
Abbas Milani

In early January of this year, a prominent American journalist published a strangely inaccurate attack on Iran, making the country complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust. I prepared the response below and sent it to the San Francisco Chronicle, where the original article had appeared. But the editors of the paper told me that they do not publish polemical responses. I prepared another essay, dealing directly with each of the accusations, and the essay was published in the Insight section of the Chronicle on Sunday, February 9, 2006. (p. E 5). But as the accusations in Mr. Black’s article are serious, I think publishing the direct response to his attacks is also necessary.  

OPINION
The Western precedent

Freedom of expression denied
Rostam Pourzal

The Muslim uproar against the publication of offensive cartoons has elicited calls from respectable Western opinion to defend freedom of the press. Empathetic voices here have gone further and suggested that Muslims should concentrate on educating Christians and others about their culture, rather than retaliate. This kind of well-intentioned reaction ignores the history of non-Western nations' frustrated campaign for freedom of information and the right to communicate on a global scale. During the 1970s, newly independent nations known as the non-aligned movement, supported by the Soviet Union, demanded some control over Western media's access to their populace. Failing that, they sought a right, to be recognized at the United Nations, for equal access to Western audiences, not unlike the parity the developing nations now seek in trade arrangements.

OPINION
1 + 1 = Trouble

Psychopaths create their own demons and they have to live with them
The Bang Man

After Shah's down fall, I remember, there was a short period of political and ideological renascence in Iran. There was a short lived freedom bobble so to speak. People were interested and engaged in all matters related to political, philosophical and theological. There were endless discussions on various forms of government. I would see heated discussions on philosophical and theological bases for any given form of government. One that I particularly remember was a discussion on TV between a group of Mullahs and a group of Marxists. I can not recall the main issue of the discussion. However, I do remember it came down to the question of Materialism doctrine and the proof of cause and effect between men and material world.

SERIOUSLY
Naabegheye daroon

Are you an animal? Release your inner genius!
Author unknown

CIVIL RIGHTS
Prime suspect

Looking Middle Eastern in America
Pirouz Azadi

The nearly three million Iranians in Diaspora, particularly those in the US have had to face the unpleasant day-to-day feeling of being watched, interrogated, and discriminated. Deja vue all over again. Many Iranian, albeit Middle Eastern Americans now feel they have a much deeper, more sympathetic empathy with the Japanese American interments, and the persecutions of the German Jews leading to the Holocaust in the forty's. The dilemma is practically the same, if not worse, among Americans with Arab, North African, and Indo-Pakistani heritage. This has in turn led to a self-imposed conscious decision of lowering one's aspirations, and retreating from a social environment in the society at large in despair. Ironically, the fear and apprehension from both the old and the new countries of origin lingers on.

POLITICS
Perseverance and honor

Interview with Abbas Amir-Entezam
Fariba Amini

In my twenty-six years of confinement, no one ever saw me in a bad mood. I always smiled and kept up my optimistic outlook. I knew I had done nothing wrong except to defend my own rights and the rights of my compatriots. I knew I had struggled for my homeland. Everyday I saw the distressed faces of my poor cell mates and although at times it was difficult, I had to smile in order to give them moral support. Despite the fact that I had no idea how long I would be kept in prison, whether I would ever be released, or whether I would eventually face death, I still maintained a cheerful disposition. In this respect I was doing what that aforementioned philosopher had said: I had found the reason for living and did my best under the conditions I was faced with.

IRAN-U.S.
There's a limit

Let's prevent another catastrophic war and the killing of more innocent American soldiers and civilians in the Middle East
Yahya R. Kamalipour

The US and the Iranian administrations and political alliances are more similar than different.  President George W. Bush was elected by an electoral base of conservative, largely rural, religious voters and perceives himself as an enforcer of the Christian moral values.  Similarly, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected by conservative, largely rural, religious voters and perceives himself as an enforcer of Islamic moral values. One of the ironies of our times is that the religious fundamentalists in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, believe they are "commanded by God" to do what they do.  The question is:  Can God be on "our" side and "their" side at the same time?  If one really and truly believes in God, then there is only one superpower -- a merciful, kind, fair, loving, and peaceful God.  A God devoid of hate, bigotry, and violence.

POINT
It's not the flu

It's poverty
Iqbal Latif

Let's not become a huge living mass of hypocandriacs. We live in a scaremongering sensationalist culture. It is not the Avian flu or Sars but rather poverty that is killing mankind, A child still dies of hunger every five seconds, eight years on from a pledge to halve the world's hungry by 2015. Today's headlines regularly highlight new outbreaks of disease around the world; the death of a duck in India gets more coverage than the death of a hungry child. Mankind has lost its bearing; the drunkenness of advancement and growth has made us insensitive to the real challenges. We make wrong comparisons developing self serving disaster patterns and expect pandemic as real threats in total disregard to the huge monumental growth of preventive and curative medicine since the turn of the century.

RELIGION
Islamcolonisation

The colonialists' policy and their infamous political games consisted in using regressive sense of religion to restrict the natural awareness
Jahanshah Rashidian

When Islamists consider huge differences between Islamic societies and Euro-American peoples, they see the values, institutions, and material way of life, which are only different from their own, therefore rejected. This Islamists’ evaluation is nothing but a product of their reactionary thought. The bottom-line is that there is no escape from the fact that there exist differences between Islamic and the Western culture and way of life, but the solutions proposed by Islamists do not escape from a future disaster of apocalyptic proportion. Islam incorporates rules for every aspect of life. There is instruction for every detail of a Muslim's daily life. The Sharia (Islamic law) applies to all aspects of life and religious practices. It describes the Islamic way of life, a way which has historically reached to the state of being colonised or economically dependent.

FREE SPEECH
Mohammad & the Holocaust

Cartoons as political weapons of mass destruction
Reza T. Saberi

Yes, depicting Prophet Mohammad with dynamite in his turban is also horrific for millions of Moslem whose only inspiration in life is their faith. Ridiculing anybody's faith is “horrific” including faith in the Holocaust. The Holocaust is one of the West's sacred taboos. Let’s not turn it into a faith. We know it happened, but we also should not be afraid of those who question if it is happened or question its extent. It is a legitimate academic question and we should address it without fear. We should show them the documents and historical facts which are available. Those who get crazy about these kinds of questions and then support the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on the basis of freedom of speech are in the same boat as those who are angry about the Prophet Mohammad cartoon and ridicule the Holocaust.

FREE SPEECH
Playing into radical hands

On the Mohammad cartoons fiasco
Ahmad Sadri

In pre-enlightenment sixteenth century, good Danes violently destroyed good works of art because they lovingly depicted Jesus Christ. Just imagine what they would have done to mocking images of their Lord and Savior. Islam is in its sixteenth century. Islamic reformers are trying to usher in an enlightenment of their own. Inflaming the deepest religious sentiments of the population plays in the hands of the radicals and shovels sand in the gears of religious reformers in Islam.

POLITICS
Vaght een ast

We should welcome and support reform
Sheida Kalbasi

FILMS
The forgotten generation

"The Fish Fall in Love" and "The Gaze" International Rotterdam Film Festival
Sasan Seifikar

There are two themes that these films have in common, the first is the theme of return and the second is what I want to call the forgotten generation. The main protagonist in each film is coming back home to Iran after a long stay overseas. They have been away because they were involved in dissident political activities against the regime in the early years of the revolution. Within a couple of years after the revolution, after the religious bosses moved to solidify their power by excluding the younger generation, there was a revolt and in turn a purge that led to the death, torture, and imprisonment of thousands and thousands of the most bright and the most conscientious young people of Iran.

ROOTS
Sarcheshmeye daagh haa

The source of our ills
Davoud Bahrami

FREE SPEECH
Which Prophet Mohammad?

Ultimately when Moslems sit down and deliberate upon whether the outrage caused by these cartoons is justified or not, they should ask themselves: which Prophet Mohammad is in question here?
Reza Bayegan

Growing up as a Moslem in Iran in the religiously tolerant atmosphere of the 1970s as young students we were taught that the best way to spread the truth of our faith was to impress others with our own exemplary conduct. In the poisonous political atmosphere leading to the Iranian revolution this tolerant, forgiving side of Islam was all but forgotten. Islam became a violent weapon for removing the Iranian monarchy and from then on an effective tool for the perpetuation of political power by the theocratic regime. All those in the West who point to the enraged reaction in Moslem countries towards a few cartoons as symptomatic of an inherently violent and intolerant religion should remember that Islam is being used here as a tool for the manipulation of the masses in Iran and other dictatorships in the Islamic world.

DEMOCRACY
Ahmadinejadization

US policies feed Middle East radicals
Morib

By pushing the doctrine of democratization of the Middle East, it seems, US and Great Britain, have embarked on an international experiment that clearly they lack the expertise or foresight to see to a successful conclusion. Ultimately this policy lends itself to promoting the very undemocratic forces that the United States and its allies have been trying so hard to isolate in the Middle East for past few years. One can not help but to notice the over arching themes and commonalities amongst the election results of past few months in Iran, Lebanon, Palestinian occupied territories and Egypt. The victorious parties in these elections have following themes in common:

TORTURE
Would the shady liberator please stand up?

The twisted irony and hypocrisy behind the photos that America does not want us to see
Dokhtar Shirazi

Three years have passed since the Iraq invasion. Three long years and during this period, not only the human-cost of this unjustifiable occupation is making even the once optimistic-minded wary, the shocking and degrading images of Iraqi prisoners being brutally tortured and humiliated in the hands of American troops, in contrary to International Treaties and Conventions in particular the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War [to which the US is -of course - a party of, surprise, surprise!] continue to emerge almost on continual basis.

WOMEN
The violence that may never end

The ways that men dominate women
Maryam Nayeb-Yazdi

I started a project on violence against women for my Women Studies class at York University. Of course the topic was eye opening and very disturbing for me. As a woman, I can say that I have experienced some type of violence, even in the form of harassment once or twice in my lifetime. Of course the violence and uneasiness I have experienced in my life are not nearly as severe as some of the violence women experience everyday all around the world. As I got deeper into my research, something happened that I wasnít anticipating: I actually started to get mad, and I mean raging mad! I didnít know the women in the stories I was researching, but at the same time I felt a connection with them. Every night thereafter I had trouble sleeping, and a feeling of guilt swept over me. How could I sleep in peace when there are women out there who donít have the same luxury?

FREE SPEECH
When a cartoon is an opinion

Lampooning of Mohammad is an attack -- at worst -- on sensibilities and faith, not color or race
Kia Atri

I remember all those years ago when I was at my Alma Mater and one day one of my very silly tutors inquired if I could sell him a carpet. This strange request was predicated on the view that being an Iranian I have a natural calling to sell carpets!!! Earlier that day when he had found out that I was Iranian he had ranted that I should behave myself while staying in the UK 'or else'. When one is confronted by this sheer act of ignorant and hurtful rudeness one may follow one's instincts and either retort in kind or land a killer blow on the interlocutors chin. Tempting as it was in the heat of the moment I did neither; I knew that this was his problem and not mine, I rose above it all. Neither did I allow this and other pathetic statements embitter me so much as to land me with a chip on my shoulder.

SOBER
Jihad, Jihad, Jihad

Be careful what you wish for
Jerry Quill

So you long for the glorious Jihad, a chance to atone for centuries of Muslim impudence. Yes, its time to hold high the severed heads of the infidel. Its time for Islam to claim its rightful position as the law of the world! Jihad, Jihad, Jihad! OK... let's think about that. Will the infidel sit silently while you systematically behead them? Is there any chance that at some point the non-Muslim world will say, "Enough is enough"? Or simply say "No"? Jihad is a wonderfully mythic concept but in the end it is a call for war. Usually wars consist of two sides. Is it too far of a stretch to imagine that the people whom Jihadists wage war against might just fight back?

FREE SPEECH
Tahghigh yaa tazvir?

Iranian intellectuals and the Mohammad cartoons
Sudabeh Siavashan

UPSET
Palestine, Palestine, Palestine...

Palestinians did not fix my friend's car and told me off. Why should I worry about their cause?
Pullniro

... Whenever I hear this word I quiver with anger and hatred -- and I have good reasons for it. Unfortunately there is no way to get rid of hearing or reading this name during the day. If you live in Iran you have to pass at least 20 city facilities a day with this name. Palestine street, Palestine square, Palestine high school, Palestine hospital, Palestine highway, Palestine this, Palestine that. Not only in Tehran but in all the 350 cities and hundreds of villages  across the country. Then comes the places named after Ghods [Jerusalem]. God knows how many buildings, streets, roads, schools, clinics, ... down to the farthest villages and backwoods in Iran is called by this name.

FREE SPEECH
A serious joke

I’m reminded of an old Persian saying, “The best response for the idiot is silence.”
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

No doubt the Danish cartoonist is as overwhelmed as everyone else because when he took his sketchpad to draw something he considered “funny”, he couldn’t have seen this coming. Or maybe, like Salman Rushdie, he too is enjoying the sudden fame and the fact that his otherwise worthless cartoons are now estimated at millions. Does anyone stop to think who is the true loser in these games, name-callings and cheap insults? I’m reminded of an old Persian saying, “The best response for the idiot is silence.” When I was a child, my friends considered that phrase to be the coward’s way out, but the truth is, it did help me out of a few losing battles.

WORDS
Loving the "L" words

Could the Persian "loos" (spoiled) and English "luxuriant" (lux) be far behind?
Guive Mirfendereski

By sheer happenstance, I think I have stumbled on a word in Farhang Moin that might well provide some measure of proof that luvu (lubu or lufu) existed in the vocabulary of ancient Persians. The word at issue is the Farsi word labeh, which now means self-admiration (khod-setaee); its verb form is labidan. Its verb form has the usual phonetic variations in which the sound “b” substitutes for the sounds “p” (as in lapidan) and “f” (as in lafidan). The variants of the noun labeh itself on the other hand are laveh,lafeh and lapeh. This may also relate to the Persian noun lavand, which presently means a “lewd” woman, a “prostitute.” I think lavand may have begun as a word to suggest one proffering luvu or lava, love (lav/a/vand).  

CARTOONING
From King Louis to Khomeini

Absolute rulers fear cartoonists more than the hydrogen bomb
Mazloom

Long before there was a row over Prophet Muhammad caricatures published by Jyllands-Posten Publication there was a cartoonist in Iran by the name of Manouchehr Karimzadeh who was handed down a ten-year sentence by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in 1992. His crime was depicting a character resembling the late Ayatollah Khomeini... When cartoonists practice their craft many times they push the envelope too far, that’s their niche in life, they disturb the balance of humorous criticism and distastefulness. In democratic societies through peaceful dialogue and free exchange of ideas the hateful and ill intentioned acts are rejected and sense of decency prevails.

DEMOCRACY
Year of freedom

A letter from Iranian students to freedom-loving people of the world
>>> Persian text

Hear the voice of my father and that of our fathers whose flesh makes up the land of Iran, the land we all love. Hear it and put your differences aside so we can once again love each other, for Iran and for all Iranians. The new Iranian year of 1385 is approaching. We shall call this New Year the Year of Freedom. We shall call upon all Iranians to set up with the help of international organizations, the "Congress for the Freedom of Iran" on March 22, corresponding to the 9,900th day of captivity of the Iranian nation in the hands of a few mullahs.

FREE SPEECH
Satantic cartoons

If the international community doesn't stand up to Islamists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades now in Islamic countries will spread
Jahanshah Rashidian

Political Islam is able to inflame Muslims’ sentiments through the capitulation of democrats and the tolerance of the West.  Let’s be courageous by loudly saying no to any compromise with all Islamic totalitarian systems. As cartoon-related protests violently claim clash of cultures, many are in Europe wondering what is going wrong. Is this a clash of civilisations or only a conflict between a Danish cartoonist and some radical Islamic groups? It is not for a jihadist culture understandable that freedom of the press is one of the great assets of democracy. The Islamic world is left behind any process of evolving a new image of their religion. Islam has never joined the process of opening up to the progress and democracy and continues blindly following the Middle Ages influences whereas in the world of progress and democracy, critical thinking is the order of the day. And critique of religion was the very starting point.

NUCLEAR
No to war, no to mullahs

The practical solidarity of the anti-war movement should be directed primarily towards the Iranian people
Yassamine Mather

The recent pronouncements by the governments of the USA and UK regarding Iran’s nuclear programme have more to do with Iran’s close relations with all factions of the occupation government in Iraq and the long-term consequences of such influence. That is why, before the anti-war movement falls into the trap of supporting Iran’s reactionary rulers, they should consider if such a move would lead to indirect support for the occupation government in Iraq and be in confrontation with ordinary Iranians and Iraqis who are victims of these regimes. Whether wearing a turban or a suit, the super-rich corrupt shias in power in both countries oversee dictatorship, poverty and destitution for the majority of the population. In other words, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

NUCLEAR
Octopus

Enough is enough for sacrificing our national interest in blaming our government facing imperialistic pressure of world powers
Mohamad Purqurian

I do not rule out the possibility of an atomic armed Islamic Republic of Iran.  But anyone who is concerned about an ayatollah’s finger on the red button of a nuclear bomb should be scared to death to have a new born Christian declare himself the self appointed mind reader of other governments.  One should be frightened to see him forging non existence documents to pave his way in bullying helpless people of a targeted country.  Even more frightening is to see a DEMOCRATIC country have a stockpile of over ten thousand nuclear warheads because you will never know when a power wielder like Bush or Cheney finds it necessary to use them.  Remember, they are not rulers for life who can spare the time.  They are elected officials like Hitler who have neither the time nor the tolerance to exercise prudence.  Isn’t that ironic?!

UK
Quelle belle libido!

"Let the one without sin cast the first stone."
Iqbal Latif

The latest sex scandal to hit Britain is one of its most peculiar kinds. A family man involved in group male sex. One is curious to find out what makes a successful on the rise intelligent politician recline so low. It seems most likely that the sexual recklessness buried in our subconscious is stronger than careers and fortunes? Unlike in the third world where corruption shortens life of political pundits, the west it is the sex that is the culprit and have destroyed careers of many a budding politicians and celebrities. If lewd and scandalous nature of sex is discussed in its full context without hesitation half of the anticipation and juice related to its clandestine and covert nature is out of the chronicles equation making it less appealing to public's interest. Public interest in scandal is more about two-facedness, it is candidness that people value. That was one reason Jean Paul Sartre was never accused of travesty, he was so unwrapped about his interests.

MAHDI
Myth or misunderstanding?

In response to Jahanshah Rashidian's "The hidden legend"
Keyvan

While it is true that this messiah/Mahdi prophecy can be perverted and utilized by dangerous political leaders as a tool of justification for their personal agenda, this does not mean that such prophecy must be ruled out as simple "mythology."  Throughout history, world leaders have used something "beyond them" as a justification for egomaniacal acts of reshaping the world in their own image. Hitler used Darwinian discoveries on evolution to justify genocide, toting that he was simply accelerating nature's course of "survival of the fittest." Clearly someone so psychologically unstable, like Ahmadinejad, will find something, be it prophecy, science, or "economic practicality," as a means to justify dangerous acts such as this. Thus, to infer that such prophecy is the reason why we have this problem with Ahmadinejad and company, is a narrow approach.

NUCLEAR
Iran, the ultimate challenge?

A pre-emptive attack becomes a, more possible acceptable, solution as each day passes
Sohrab Ferdows

Revelation of information regarding clandestine operations of Islamic regime in order to gain ability to manufacture nuclear weapons should have had not left any doubt in anyone's mind that, the rulers of this tyrannical system can never be trusted with their written agreements, let alone their words in a civilized negotiation! It took many months to exhaust all options in order to convince rulers of Islamic regime to comply with legitimate concerns of civilized world about their nuclear ambitions. During all this time, Islamic regime continued their tactic of delay and deceit to complete their nuclear project while Iranian people continued to suffer under suppression and poverty.

PLASTIC
Face on

Plastic surgery and transplantations are a great method of treatment for those whom have been facially disfigured by fire, disease or accidents. However...
Sepideh Nahrvar

Face transplantion is a hot news item these days. For the first time in History a face transplant has been successfully performed in real Life. Due to my field of study I have been drawn to the discussion about when to perform and when not to perform such procedure. It has been brought to my attention that everyone has opinions and thoughts on the subject; however none of these is based on facts or scientific studies. The box-office hit "Face Off" has suddenly become the guide and the bible in realizing an existing notion. While scientists are only engaged in the functionality of the matter, in this stage, we need a mouth for speech and to consume nourishment etc.

THEOCRACY
Doshmane asli

The main enemy
Hassan Behgar

WAR GAMES
Surgical operations

The possible United States' military attack on Iran
H. David Ramezani

This is just a preliminary draft on discussing some of the current crisis between the Islamic Republic and the United States. This is a work in progress and it is not a completed essay. The purpose of this write-up is to initiate a healthy discussion among our friends and colleagues trying to learn and educate each other about the unfolding events. As the hostilities are escalating between the Islamic Republic and the United States people are wondering how to react or adjust to the new circumstances. This is mostly visible within the Iranian community. Everybody is trying to find out who is supporting which side and the rationale behind it. People are wondering what would be the right course of action. On a situation like this what one must do and how to react to the current relationship between the two sides?

EQUALITY
Freidan and me

She provided a language with which women the world over could shun traditional roles and break loose from the confines of a suffocating notion of femininity
Setareh Sabety

I was a little girl when I met Betty Freidan in Tehran.  She was attending a women’s conference organized by the Iranian Women’s Organization that was inspired and led by the Shah’s rather notorious sister, Ashraf.  My mother, one of the founding member’s of that organization, invited Freidan and Germaine Greer to our house for tea.  I Later when I came to study in America, I had the opportunity to study Freidan.  More than anything I found her simple explaining away of Freud’s notion of penis envy in women brilliant.  Of course, Freidan, argued in, “The Feminine Mystique” (1963), Victorian middle-class women had every reason to envy men but that was not due to an anatomical inferiority complex.  It was simply because men had more opportunities and choices available to them.  Culture not nature was responsible for their neurosis.

RIGHTS
Long arm of justice

Victims of human rights abuses in Iran can sue in U.S. courts
Bahar Mirhosseini

Based on the Alien Torts Claims Act (ATCA), it may be possible for Iranian plaintiffs to file suit and seek monetary damages for human rights violations (such as torture) experienced in Iran.  The Alien Torts Claims Act allows “non Americans to sue for human rights abuses in U.S. Courts.” See: Center for Constitutional Rights, www.ccr-ny.org.  To file a claim, there must be a gross violation of international human rights law (such as torture).  If the suit is filled against an individual perpetrator of the human rights violations, that perpetrator must reside in the United States.  If the suit is filled against a corporation, the corporation must be based in the United States or at least have sufficient minimal contacts with the United States to enable the jurisdiction of U.S. courts over the entity. 

ACCOUNTABILITY
Salt on wounds

The guilty are those whose actions are believed to be pre meditated to hurt the feelings of Muslims
Alessi Sibi

To some people being accountable, naturally, feels threatening - they would associate it with criticism or disapproval and loss of one’s liberty.In the last century, economic considerations, social ethnic problems and multiculturalism in Western countries paved the way to giving into the idea of secularism in the Western societies. Successive Western governments made sure that the influence of the religious institutions on their citizens gradually diminished to the extent we now see in the European countries, particularly, in UK, the church attendances on Sundays have been dwindling so fast that has caused the alarms ringing for the bishops’ ears rather than the church attendees!

GRIEVANCES
Haya

It is ultimately all about the failure of the rule of law and process to address grievances
Guive Mirfendereski

The Danish Cartoon Affair has eclipsed the Iranian nuclear case, which in itself is another example of the pornographic times in which we live. Here is a country that is signatory to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty but who is suspected of making an atomic bomb in contravention of its obligations under the treaty and at a huge cost to its national treasury, when it probably could obtain a device or bomb for a lot cheaper and sooner on the international market. While President Bush has called for a greater reliance on nuclear power to meet America’s insatiable appetite for energy, the Bush Administration wishes to deny Iran nuclear power technology altogether.

FREE SPEECH
Insults don't kill

We may not like the cartoons or the cartoonist, but his right to speak outweighs our desire to be spared injured feelings
Lance Raheem

For the freedom of speech to be meaningful it must be defended and held inviolate from assault, no matter for what reason, or from what quarter an attack against it is launched. In free and democratic societies, including those in which Muslims make up a part or the whole of the citizenry, the principle of free speech and the right to express one's thoughts and ideas must be held sacrosanct.  If we allow ourselves to give into emotion and jump on the bandwagon of violent reactionaries every time we hear or read something that we find repugnant or offensive to our religious or political sensibilities, then we endanger our very own freedom to speak freely. 

FREE SPEECH
Holy intolerance

How difficult is it to understand that Western governments can not tell their media to enforce Islamic Sharia just as they do not enforce the Jewish laws?
David Etebari

It is time that Muslims focus on those who create the atmosphere for creation of such cartoons. It is those who kill innocent people in the streets of Baghdad, New York, Paris, London, Madrid, ... and those who cut the journalists throats in the name of Islam who truly present an intolerant, hateful and angry image of Islam. Where are the outraged Muslim Imams and Mullahs of Europe and middle east when their Muslim brothers and sisters are blown in to pieces in the street of Baghdad by suicide bombers on a daily basis? In the streets of Baghdad and in the jails of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Danish people and their cartoonists do not kill Muslims... those who call themselves Muslims do.

FREE SPEECH
The Age of Liberty

I am willing to go to war to defend one Danish cartoonist
Shahla Azizi

Here we are more than two hundred years after Thomas Paine wrote his treatise and some bearded mob in Tehran or Gaza can make whole countries and big publications tremble and apologize.  This is appeasement of the worst kind and will only strengthen the enemy --- shame on the Danish authorities and editors for apologizing.  Because Islam, in the way it is being practiced right now, is an intolerant anti-secular entity.  They have declared a war on everything that the secular tradition of the West holds dear: most importantly the idea that people should have a right to believe, say, draw, paint, and write anything they please.

OPINION
Nuclear cards

When should we ask that our leaders try risking their political careers instead of human lives?
Camron Michael Amin

For Iranians and Americans with a sense of history, these are worrisome times.  Iran’s leadership, determined to defend Iran’s sovereignty over its energy resources, is confronting global powers who are just as determined to check in Iran’s threat to regional stability and compel Iran to meet its legal international obligations.  Of course, Ahmadinezhad is no Mosaddeq, Bush is no Eisenhower, Blair is no Churchill and controlling nuclear development is not the same as controlling who pumps and sells the oil from under your feet.  But the principles involved are so eerily similar that they can obscure a still more frightening political pattern:  the tendency of national governments to use foreign policy to reinforce their domestic political standing. 

MAHDI
The hidden legend

Ahmadinejad may ultimately play the role of the Hidden Imam himself
Jahanshah Rashidian

The Hidden Imam, it seems, will not be quite as hidden as might be. The new IRI’s president believes that he has been assigned to pave the way for the reappearance of the Imam in two years. The president has even during his recent controversial speech at the UN, where he was allegedly surrounded and protected by a “divine light”, called for the Imam’s reappearance. Trough these allegations, he is not only trying to gain a holy status among those who do not attribute him a charismatic personality, but is also likely trying to prepare some conditions for his divine mission. The next two years will be probably marked by increasing tensions between the devoted followers of the Hidden Imam following controversial views about the Imam’s reappearance.

EXAMINE
Let's rewrite Iranian history

The past 50 years
Persian Majeed

Examine & investigate judicially each & every U.S. personnel, companies, organizations who ousted the legitimate government of Iran under Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, that instigated a coup d'etat & overthrew him, in a U.S. court of law by the most lenient panel of U.S. Judges. Then convict those criminalized ones. Examine & investigate judicially each & every U.S. personnel, companies, organizations who caused much anguish, mental stress, physical tensions amongst civilians throughout the past 25+ years in an all-out effort against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

FREE SPEECH
When a cartoon is not a cartoon

What is funny about a demonized prophet & terrorists?
Behrooz Ghamari

Those in Europe who think that they need to fight a battle for free speech and freedom of religion need to think harder and more reflexively about whose war they are fighting and who their enemies are.  A bomb-turbaned Prophet turns all Muslims into terrorists.  One must be free to satirize suicide bombers or terrorists of any persuasion.  But lampooning Islam as inherently intolerant and Muslims as terrorist is neither wise nor commendable.  In the American context, no one would call the spectacle of whites mocking blacks humorous.  Muslims who turn to violence in order to register their displeasure with the cartoons only turn themselves into the same caricatures against which they protest.  Demanding an apology or boycotting consumer products are legitimate means of expression so long as they do not trade in words for bullets.  Fists are the strongest when they are waved in the air, not when they land on the opponents face. 

FREE SPEECH
Don't be intimidated!

On the row over “offensive” cartoons
Azar Majedi

The charade by Islamists over the publication ofthe cartoons depicting the Mohammed (prophet) as a suicide bomber is being taken too seriously by many. Apologies after apologies are being delivered to Islamic governments and thugs. Any apology makes them more vicious and more daring. The only weapon they have is hostage taking, bullying, intimidating, killing, maiming, and offending any human values and any libertarian rights. We should not apologize to these reactionary forces who have organized the most sophisticated machinery of oppression and intimidation, who have organized and mobilized an army of terrorists world wide, who have been  terrorizing the citizens of the Islamic ridden countries as well as citizens of the world, who have the worst criminal record.

SOUND OFF
As sacred-less as they come

Iranian.com editor is full of hatred of anything outside what he is being taught in San Francisco
Touraj Touran

So when the curtain is moved, we have our beloved editor of Iranian.com. He can not but irrationally assess GW's policy. It goes to the inertia of pendulum. When going from Islamic Republic to the heartland of liberalist dictatorship, the pendulum has had little time to catch its breath in the center. It is ironic that where nothing is sacred, and everything is tolerated, tolerance of intolerance is fully accepted. So I can not help but see a personal hatred of GW on his part. GW has made lots of mistakes, but his speech the other night was very supportive of the Iranian public. Sure, there may be no action, or some wrong action, but rhetoric was good. Actually much better than his predecessor Clinton who was about to kiss the mullahs' asses ruling Iran.

ASTROLOGER
Human alternative

Idealism and dogma tried to do the same, but Christianity and Islam brought wars. Nationalism based on human rights never did
Ali Mostofi

As I have said for many many years, we all stand on the same carpet, and it is the best carpet in the world. Iranian philosophy, art and tolerant attitude has unified the people of the world for millennia, even in moments when Iran did not really exist. Our contribution to the world philosophy remained as milestones in the human thought. Only recently have many people realised that most of those thoughts were originally common sense Iranian nation building rules. The dialectic that has been created against dogma has forced Iranians to rebuild their soul spirit and culture, and claim that which is righteously theirs.

DISOBEDIENCE
Revolution by bus drivers

Ordinary Iranians are becoming courageous to speak out against oppression and bullying by the Mullahs
Amir Nasiri

For the second time in the past few months the courageous bus drivers have taken on paramilitary fascist militias on the Tehran streets. According to a friend's observation that the areas the bus drivers had gathered have been blocked by Para military groups and any access to any of the bus drivers is under security watch and tightly controlled. Can this be forefront for a new revolution? Does this mean that other groups who have been yearning for such an occasion would join our heroes and demand for more freedom and rights for all Iranians?

FUTURE
Who's in charge?

The future struggle will be between the government and the revolution’s third and fourth generations who want to live a normal life like their counterparts in civilized societies
Payman Sadegh

The new regime in Tehran, which is symbolized by Ahmadinejad’s presidency, has its base in a generational (mini) wave whose political experience was shaped by the Iran-Iraq war and insurgency in Kurdistan and other provinces. I call it a mini-wave because the represented time span is rather small in demographic scales. The revolution’s first generation represented by Rafsanjani, Khamenei, and many exile figures are on the way out. As such, I doubt the traditional leaders of IRI (e.g. Rafsanjani) despite their wealth and influence can pose any serious challenge to the new rulers as asserted by Michael McFaul and Abbas Milani in Washington Post. Since it is not clear to me who MacFaul and Milani refer to when they write about challenges from the “embattled democratic movement”, I cannot comment on that one.

MINORITIES
We should be sorry

Iranians and anti-semitism
Ghassem Namazi

As a child growing up in Tehran; I was lucky enough to attend school with Iranians from various religious backgrounds. Mostly Jewish, Christian and Bahai kids. It never occurred to us that religion should play any part on how we felt about each other as friends. It was not until my family moved to the United States when it became apparent to me that many Moslem Iranians are anti-Semitic and anti-Bahai. At the beginning it was a shock to me. It still kills me to say it, but I have come to accept the ugly truth about us as a community.

AMERICA
Imperialism is real

Let us not paint the West as perfect or so advanced in the ways of democracy
Brian Appleton

The mullahs and their basijis operate outside the rule of law and the number of people who have been assassinated, tortured, imprisoned and executed far exceeds that of the Pahlavi era. The restrictions and cencorship also exceed anything imposed by the Pahlavis. However by the same token, the amount of Iran bashing going on in the West particularly by the USA which is pressuring world opinion into endorsing another invasion is not being done for any enlightened desire to help the Iranian people gain democracy. Notice every nation that the USA turns into a bogeyman happens to be one that is sitting on or in the path of large oil or gas reserves. The US administration is hanging onto this nuclear threat thing like a dog shaking a bone and using that spectre just like they used the WMD scare to justify invading Iraq.

POLITICS
Axis of democracy

The West should back Iranian Democrats and bring serious pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic
Kia Atri

Let me contend this premise that the world would not have given two hoots about Islamic Republic's alleged proliferation had it been a democratic regime open to the language of reason and responsibility. In fact a Democratic or even quasi-democratic regime could- for all I know- have exploded a test bomb and the Mushroom clouds covering the screens of Western TV will have prompted no more than a passing commentary. With the passage of time the Iranian people will come to realise this more and more as the continued and unjust pariah state that the regime has earned them and the perspective behavioural change that the world expects of Iran is palpably felt inside the country.

IDEAS
From thought to absolute truth

The nature of ego
Mali Naghavi

The greatest achievement of humanity is not the works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction and madness. In the distant past recognition came to s few individuals who saw it with absolute clarity. They looked at how we lived and what we are did that created suffering. They then pointed out to the possibility of awakening from the collective nightmare of "normal" human experience. They showed the way. However teachings that pointed the way beyond dysfunction of human mind, the way out of collective insanity, were distorted and became themselves part of insanity. And so religions, to a large extent became divisive rather than unifying forces.

COMMENT
Alarming times

Ahmadinejad’s policies will exacerbate an already explosive relationship between East and West
Slater Bakhtavar

The volatile political situation in Iran should alarm historical intellectuals. Less than seventy years after Hitler committed mass genocide against millions of innocent people in Nazi Germany, a new anti-Christ has emerged from the land of Ancient Persia. Following in Hitler’s footsteps, the current Iranian President is a fanatical dictator who’s agenda is fuelled by a form of anti-Semitism which is expressed through his occult following of hard-line Islamic terrorists.

COUNTRY
Iran is not Yugoslavia

Separation of provinces from Iran will never ever happen
Amir Nasiri

Once again a bomb has exploded in the beautiful city of Ahvaz and has taken the lives of many hardworking innocent Iranians. The group which calls it self the Khuzestan liberation army has claimed responsibility and is so proud to kill unarmed Iranians. They want a separate Khuzestan. But there are many other groups and ethnicities who want their separate state. If you go to the eastern region of Iran which is ruled by drug lords who are involved in various criminal activities such as kidnapping, rape, prostitution, drug trafficking and money laundering. They also are demanding for a separate state called Baluchistan.

COMMENT
The fake war

The best realistic hope for the future of the Palestinians is a partnership with Israel
Jerry Quill

Hamas and Hezbullah do not represent the interests of the Palestinian people but are mercenary wings of the Syrian and Iranian governments. Self-governance through free elections is a basic human right. But the Middle Eastern dictators have never offered that basic right to the Palestinians. Whenever a peace agreement is proposed that would allow Palestinians to gain their basic human rights Syria and Iran order their mercenary forces to attack and thwart the effort. The Hamas victory in Palestine will cut off Western money and will open the window to Hamas' true masters. Do they continue Iran's and Syria's fake war while Palestinians starve or do they forge the natural peace with Israel that the Palestinian people need to prosper?

ABORTION
Family first

Once we are responsible for bringing another life into this world, it is essential to understand that it is no longer about us
Sarah

Many pro-choice believers mistakingly assume that conservatives point a condemning and intolerant judgmental finger to those who either have had abortions or believe in the right to have them. Tolerance has only acceptable if it is directed to the liberal left. It is famously known that there is no such thing as tolerance for conservative-minded people in our society.  Speaking the truth about a procedure that is physically and mentally harmful and life threatening to women is not condemnation. We are women and life givers in every sense of the word. To deny that ability or to disregard the pain that is caused when we defraud ourselves as women of that right, is not natural.

SUGGESTION
Boycott the big guys

A consumer boycott of the companies that do business with the Islamic Republic and their agents will have as effective a repercussion as in the case of the South Africa's apartheid regime
Shahriar Zangeneh

For instance, to the chagrin of Rafsanjani's pistachio empire, one can make certain that snacking on the delicacy does not enrich the "millionaire Mullah" as Forbes magazine calls him. Or, the Daimler/Chrysler Corporation is set to open a chain of dealerships and set up automobile assembly operation in the Islamic Republic. The announced price tag for the luxury automobiles range between equivalents of $94,000 to $140,000. To put those figures in perspective, it should be noted that an average teacher's salary, should they get paid at all and on time, hovers around $140.

THESIS
Witch doctor or chief?

There is a good reason why the witch doctor should never become the chief of the tribe
Behrouz Bahmani

In healthy thriving tribes, a witch doctor is never, ever, ever, ever, ever, allowed to become chief. If the witch doctor falters, or leaves his post for even just one moment, he leaves open the door for evil to enter. Since he is the chosen gatekeeper, evil knows this, and always tries to attack the witch doctor first, seducing him if necessary, and it is almost always necessary, to ensure the door never closes. If a witch doctor is busy ruling, he becomes weak and wide open to the seductive attack of evil, and he inevitably succumbs to the seduction of it. And oh what a seduction! This has been proven time and time again throughout history.

CAMPAIGN
Iran, war & sanctions

Interview with anti-war campaigner Abbas Edalat
ZNet

The probability of a military intervention against Iran has been steadily rising since the invasion of Iraq. Whether a military attack will eventually take place or not will of course depend on the outcome of the diplomatic battles ahead at the UN Security Council and the strength of the rising opposition to a new war in the public opinion both internationally and in the Middle East and Iran. Given the present fiasco in Iraq, it is unlikely that massive US ground troops will be employed for a full invasion of Iran, a country four times larger with a population three time bigger than Iraq.  What is more likely at least in the short and medium term is a military assault on Iranian nuclear plants as well as military and strategic sites. Israel is likely to be involved in such an operation.

IRAN-U.S.
Amrika hich ghalati nemitavaanad bekonad?

America can do a lot -- and the IRI is laying the grounds
Saeed Soltanpour

NUCLEAR
Facing a predator

Let us not kid ourselves: we are faced with a predator who believes it is going to a 'generational war '
Bang Man

We all do agree, the regime is theocratic and certainly holds elements of ultra conservative Islamic views but no where close to mindless self destruction. For lasting social and political progress, we must work with forces from within Iran and with Iranians who are already engaged in the struggle for democracy. Democracy takes a great deal of efforts and progress will come in incremental changes. There are no short cuts to democracy. We have to put Iran's desire to acquire nuclear technology in context. Worst case scenario and probably the most likely scenario is that the war is inevitable. The only way it can be avoided is only if we reach a stalemate by having Iran ready to go nuclear at a heart beat but not necessarily armed with nuclear weapons.

WAR
The calm before the storm

Our fate might have to be dictated with deadly force from outside
Omid Parsi

To be perfectly honest, the Islamic Repulic of Iran has an "inalienable right" to acquire nuclear weapons like an unrepentant, convicted and paroled lifetime pedophile has an inalienable right to Viagra. Today, it appears that the delusional IRI fanatics are brazenly testing the limits of tolerance and inaction of the seemingly feeble Western liberal democracies with their lust to acquire nuclear weapons. With fond recollection of the wartime glories of their massive human-wave martyrdom, they appear quite capable of dragging the entire meek and incapacitated nation to an apocalyptic come-what-may showdown.

RELIGION
Good for you

Just remember that your right to believe is my right not to believe in your god
Sahari Dastmalchi

I have met men who don’t believe in god or religion, get up and work hard everyday to give their families a decent living. And I have seen many so called “devout” Muslims eat eftari and join a gambling table, drinking vodka till morning,  losing their rent and their kids school books, and get up to rinse their mouth and pray and start their Ramadan fast at daybreak. Where is the morality in that? Religion has nothing to do with it, I my self haven’t believed in god for a day in my life. I have adopted one rule out of Christianity and I believe that should be the rule for all humanity, loosely translated it is “don’t do to others, what you don’t want done to you”. I didn’t need a bible to figure that one out...

CRISIS
No war against Iran

I suggest that the only way to eliminate the Iran's Islamic government is by getting very close to them
Amir Nasiri

One thing is clear that Iran is one the verge of war but this time with the whole world. The recent stand off by the Islamic regime as well as remarks made by the arrogant and ignorant president towards the Israel and the Jewish people confirms Islamic republic intentions and political strategy which is clearly aimed at a war with the west. However; I would like to argues that a military strike, posing sanctions or banning the Iranian national team from the world cup not only acts as a strengthening tool for the regime but it also undermines all the reform and democratic movements in that country. s

2006
Year of hope

This is the year we lived in, and what a year it was, testing but so rewarding as humans
Iqbal Latif

Last year began under the shadow of Tsunami and ended with heart wrenching earthquakes in South Asia. As our mother earth twist and turns in her sleep on the bed of eternity, even slightest movements cause major tectonic movements; our human ventures to challenge and defy nature sometimes is ridiculed by Mother Nature with rage. It is not that providence has stopped loving us or we are being punished for some kind of excess, it is tradition of fate to level efforts that defy nature. This is the consequence of defiance. We are not meant to be flying our natural selection creation did not take that into consideration nor are we suppose to live below the sea levels.

IDEAS
Mad leader

Mad leaders surround themselves with mad people, devoted followers and blind killers who are equally clueless about what it means to be a feeling human being
Jahanshah Rashidian

A mad leader is not a funny caricature for political satire, but a sad picture of a possible catastrophe. He is a dangerous psychopath. While many, if not all, psychopaths seem to be misfits, spending much of their lives incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals and penal institutions, it has been recognised that a few of them were enough clever to enter the history of mankind, creating catastrophes. A mad leader with uniform or more recently with turban is enough characteristic. Generally, there is no difference in certain characteristics, he would never abandon the idea that he is above all and would refuse to allow negative ideas cramping his style.

WORDS
Nonsequiturs

Of Quince, Kid and Lout
Guive Mirfendereski

When I think of Sadeq Hedayat, I also think of Sadeq Choubak, another Iranian writer. He wrote, “The Baboon whose Buffoon had died.” This title in Farsi is “Anatari keh loutiash mordeh boud” and the baboon (antar) and his handler too were a part of the Iranian street scene as I remember from my childhood. And thus I come to weave into the discussion of quince (beh) and kid (koudak) some thoughts about the word louti and its connection with the English word “lout.” “I wonder,” asked me Omidfarda, “what [is] your take on ‘Lout,’ an awkward and stupid person or an oaf? We use it daily in Farsi!” 

RESPONSE
Ignorance in Information Age

Disregard for history, heritage and contribution of first civilizations to the modern world
Ali Parsa

Mr. Madadi's comparison of the old empires to the present ones is as irrelevant as comparing apples and oranges particularly with respect to human rights. I would ask him what logic is there in condemning all of the ancient empires for trampling on human rights when the so called "civilized" empires make a mockery of human rights or define it in their own terms even during the twenty first century. If Mr. Madadi gets his facts straight he would know that at least Persian Empire was a clear exception to his generalization. After all, didn't Cyrus the Great take the first step some 2000 years ago by recognizing the fundamental human rights for many minority groups who had become his subjects, and thus laying the foundation of what became Magna Charta in England some seventeen centuries later?

WOMEN
Good is not good enough

It is not possible to be truly morally good without acknowledging a higher deity to help us attain that goodness
Sarah

It is unfortunate that many people do abandon their religion because of forced dogmatism mixed with politics. True religion and spirituality was never intended to be used as a political tool to control people. From my experience as an American with a Persian (non religious) father and an American (devout Christian) mother, I have to say that 90% of my interactions with other Persians have concluded contempt and indifference for religious and spiritual matters. I do not know if this is a direct result of living in an Iranian culture where religion and politics are not so openly discussed, or if it is a reflection of a generation with a dwindling sense of spiritual and religious desire.

WOMEN
Common good

Instilling universal principles of behaivor
Faye Farhang

Your essay makes the point that since religion, more specifically, Islam is rejected in one form or another by the majority of secular Iranians in the West, there's no other means to instill moral values into the children of Iranians living abroad. The latter is not only false but completely negates the very plausible idea that as Iranians or any other nationality, one can instill positive, and dignified morals into ones children without abiding by any religious persuasion. The possibility of living an absolutely moral life exists without practicing any religion.

WOMEN
You're joking, right?

To judge all Iranian women because you haven't met one that is religious enough for you is juvenile
Tahereh Aghdassifar

Why is it that if you cannot find an Iranian woman you are "compatible" with after dating five of them, that it is their fault for not being what you wanted? What gives you the right to generalize all, or even a majority of Iranian women, as those who don't care about their own culture and all purposely seek to marry outside of their ethnicity? Have you ever considered the fact that at least one of the five Iranian women you have dated have sat on a date and listened to you ramble and decided you were a judgmental fool who wasn't really seeking a true Iranian woman, who instead was really just searching for a religious Muslim?

IDEAS
True health

Is humanity ready to rise above thought?
Mali Naghavi

It never ceases to amaze me how cavalier we have become with regard to our own bodies. We humans have invented electricity, airplane, and satellite, have discovered the secrets of atom, and unraveled the genetic code. Human ingenuity appears to have no limits. We have managed to change everything except ourselves. Despite all of our knowledge, all our civilizations and technology, as species, we do not know how to control ourselves. Equally we seem incapable of living peacefully with one another, nature, and the world around us.

SHORTS
Ahrimanic impulses
Farid Parsa writes: Islamic Republic of Iran is a disgrace not only to the people of Iran but to the whole world. More than fifty years have passed from the Holocaust and hundreds upon hundreds of personal testimonies, movies, books, documentaries and other evidence have showed the world about some of the horrors of Holocaust that took place in German concentration camps during World War II... and yet Iran holds a conference examining the evidence of those racially based atrocities unparallel in history of the civilized world?

Islamic Republic of Iran with their crimes against Bahais, Christians and other religious minorities, imprisonment, torture and execution of hundreds of thousands of their own citizens is light years ahead of their archenemy Israel, despite their crimes against the Palestinian people.

Islamic Republic of Iran is devoid of two fundamental things that sharply distinguish humans from animals: reasoning and imagination. Therefore it is impossible to have a dialogue with such a government. It would be a terrible mistake also to trust this government with any weapons capable of mass destruction.

To hold a conference in order to score a cheap point on Holocaust is not tragic but pathetic. There is usually an element of heroism in any tragedy but only pathos in this one. You cannot expect much more from the government that has a fascination with evil. As Kassravi pointed out, before the mullahs even came to power, that Shiism is not a religion but a sect. Their basis is not only rooted in lies but it thrives on vengeance and hatred.

It is a tragedy indeed to see that in the land of Zoroaster ahrimanic impulses are at the helm.

POLITICS
Khelaafat yaa jomhuriate sovari?

State & religion debate in a time of crisis
Hassan Behgar

ENERGY
Dire strait

Iran the future of Persian Gulf region
Morteza Aminmansour

In the 21st century, energy security could take on new geopolitical meaning if the predicted changes materialized in the balance of resources around the world. Iran's challenge to the political balance of power in Persian Gulf manifests itself in two fashions: through its ideological challenge to the legitimacy of neighboring Arab regime ad through its abilities to pose military challenge to the free passage of oil through the vital Strait of Hormuz. Iran so far remained relatively unsuccessful in actively propagating and disseminating its ideas to the Persian Gulf states.

STATE
Persia & democracy

Ancient Iran developed the concepts of "state", "government", "political territory", and "boundary", and the Persians contributed substantially to the evolution of the concept of "democracy" in the West
Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh

It is universally accepted that the need for defining precise lines of separation and points of contacts between states is the byproduct of the emergence of nation-states and 'world economy' in the nineteenth century Europe. Nevertheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that these modern notions are rooted in periods prior to the emergence in Europe of nation-states. There are indications that ancient civilizations were familiar with the notion of 'state' in connection with the concepts of territory and boundary. Ancient texts reveal that this basic principle existed in ancient Persian literature in respect of matters of state, territory, and boundary. Similarly, the likelihood exists that these Persian notions could have influenced Roman civilization.s

WORLD CUP
How could any country do this to another?

Ban Iran from the World Cup?! Politics should never be allowed into a sporting event. NEVER!
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

When I heard that various countries were trying to block Iran from playing in the World Cup, I first got mad, then disappointed, then just totally disgusted. My thought was Didn't they allow the Germans to play in the Olympics in World War II when they had done a lot worse then the president of Iran has? So how could they do this? Then I realized what it was all about: power and money. Politics should never be allowed into a sporting event. NEVER! We all know the players may have their nationalistic feelings but they put these aside (to a point) so they can play a game they love. They want to be on that field playing the game.

NUCLEAR
Prelude to war

Referral of Iran to the UN Security Council
Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran

Last week’s decision by the UK, France and Germany to abandon their negotiations with Iran, followed by their joint call with the US for Iran’s referral to the UN Security Council by an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board, is a step toward a new war in the Middle East. Iran has responded by reiterating its readiness for further talks but has warned that referral will result in a ban by Iran on further voluntary snap checks by IAEA inspectors. Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate have already announced that military intervention against Iran must be an option.

POINT
Right, wrong & religion

Being religious has nothing to do with being a good person
Maziar Shirazi

Alireza’s claim that Iranian girls have a “lack of religious and moral values” due to their non-traditional upbringing outside of Iran by their parents (Islam-bashing or not), as well as noting the inability of Iranian girls to balance “freedom with modesty” shows just how ignorant he is of the first-generation experience.  Of course Iranians who are raised in America and elsewhere are different from Iranians raised in Iran.  We have a completely different reality to deal with outside of the household, and many of us had to do this with parents who knew just as little about how to navigate through American culture as we did. 

CHARACTER
Religiosity of revolutionary guards

Part 2 of reply to Guive Mirfendereski's "The Ahmadinejad in us"
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

Resentment of the Jews or, earlier, of the Christian Crusaders, for the occupation of Palestine did not feature prominently in the history of Iran. Gaza had not figured among our concerns since its occupation by the Achaemenids. Nor were Iranians much involved with the Crusades; not even the Saljuq sultans of Iran offer much support to their cousins of Rum when the latter were fighting the Christian Crusaders in the Levant. In  the Shiite tradition of my own memory there was less reference (if at all) to Palestine or to Jerusalem than to Karbela, Najaf, Mashad and Qom. Most Iranians only became aware of Palestine after the Second World War, when they went there, not to pray at al-Aqsa, but to benefit from the medical proficiency of Jewish doctors who had immigrated from European lands.

AMERICAN
To future soldiers

The courage to say yes to humanity and no to the draft, by having the guts to make a determined stand against the God awful madness of war
Doug Soderstrom

If President Bush (occasionally referred to as ìthe village idiotî) chooses to go to war, my advice to the young people of this country is the same I have given my son. The lesson of Nuremberg was quite clear. Man is sacred. He is more than a mere citizen, more than the holder of a simple deed on ìa petty piece of property.î He is a human being, a shareholder in a much greater assemblage of men. He is a member of the human race. As such we must not allow ourselves to be bound up by the laws of our own land. The only law large enough to contain the heart of man is that which serves the best interests of mankind. Each of us will be held accountable for upholding the laws of justice, peace, and love.

TEHRAN
Morning after

Reaction in Tehran to Condoleeza Rice's press conference
Pullniro

Goli my fourteen-year-old niece called. Poor girl was jubilant about possible sanctions and the prospect of a US attack on her own country. "Hush girl, the phone is not a good place for that kind of talk," I said. Then my brother took the phone and talked about it too. He could hardly hide his excitement. Then one by one my friends called and turned my bedroom into the foreign ministry secretariat. Nobody was worried about my absence from the party. They just wanted to inform me about the big event and the interesting news of our poor country being attacked by unknown superpowers.

NUCLEAR
Atom-Allah

IRI's nuclear programme is not to develop Iran's national economy, but has
roots in its jihadist strategy

Jahanshah Rashidian

The IRI's nuclear programme is not an issue of national pride. While trying to manipulate and alienate Iranian opinions from their national interests, the IRI fakes the claims that the nuclear technology is a national pride. In deed, the IRI has not only been baffling and belittling the Iranian national pride and identity, but has always been considering Iranians as cannon fodders for its anti-Iranian and pro-Islamic ambitions. When the cause of Islam comes to the fore, the IRI does not bother if Iranian cities or even civil people are likely to be targeted in eventual foreign air strikes.

POLITICS
No more hide & seek

IRI's decision to resume nuclear research virtually puts an end to the EU's negotiation strategy
Mehran Makki

This game of hide and seek must end one day and then there would be no excuse from those simple minded people who still believe in the Islamic Republic, "reformist" or otherwise, a theocratic regime made up of fundamentalists who interfere in all aspects of people's personal lives (even the most privete parts), instead of finding solutions for†their common needs (job, social welfare, education, etc). Specially now, when the Islamic regime's decision to resume what it calls ìresearchî into nuclear enrichment, virtually puts an end to the negotiation strategy Europeans have so persistently pursued for two and a half years. However, three top EU powers are expected to call off the moribund nuclear talks with Iran and advocate sending the dispute to the UN Security Council.

POLITICS
Bakhtiar beh maa goft!

On the premiership of Shapour Bakhtiar 37 days before the 1979 revolution
S.H. Jalili

OPINION
Mopping up

The death of radical Islam
Jerry Quill

In Iran, where the Mullahs and the president still are trying to give moral CPR to a dead ideology, the end is in sight. Iran's support of terrorism is purely and demonstratively criminal. The war it wages with Israel is fake. It's only purpose is to justify Iran's security force whose sole objective is to kill Iranians not Jews. With the death of Radical Islam and the eventual unilateral disengagement by Israel from the Palestinians, Iran's Mullahs and their political puppets will be standing naked in front of an ever-increasing populace that demands freedom.

U.S.-IRAN
Ghate ertebaat baa Amrika

The curse of Iran-U.S. relations, or lack thereof
Ramin Kamran

CHOICE
Stuck in the middle

America vs. Iran: National interests and identity
Mazi Bahadori

It would be impossible to find two Iranians who describe their identity equally. Whether you came here twenty-five years ago or yesterday, at the age of two or thirty, how much "Iranian" you put in the "Iranian-American" is ever changing. I do my best to keep it 50/50. My culture and values come from my family -- which, for me, is synonymous with Iran. Though I was raised in the United States, my parents and their parents came of age in Iran. And the principles they've passed along to their children come from a long, several millennia old tradition of Iranian culture and heritage. It's something most every Iranian is proud of and has served as a unifier in Iranian history and the many Iranian Diasporas around the world.

CHARACTER
They are not alone

In refutation of remarks about Jews in our midst
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

While I admire your daring, and at times unorthodox, ways of delving into our memory through etymology, I must take exception to some of the points raised in your recent article ‘The Ahmadinejad in Us’. My main objection is not to your version of the Esther story, but to your allegations of Iranians being as anti-Semitic as Ahmadinejad. While there is evidence of sporadic waves of persecution in both the pre-Islamic and the Islamic eras, the attacks were not targeted at the Jews alone. It is well-known that minority groups anywhere will be used as scapegoats for the ills afflicting any society at any given time.

PROPOSAL
13-Bedar

An international day of remembrance
Guive Mirfendereski

The day shall celebrate the survivors and honor the memory of the souls perished in episodic cruelty of man upon man, but above all the day shall promote harmony among the races and religions within national boundaries. One need not delude oneself ever again with such hollow refrains as “Never Again” as it is uttered about one particular race or religion when unspeakable horrors have been and continue to be committed throughout the world on a daily basis. Perhaps the mantra should be a more realistic call for “Forever Less Savagery, Please.”

POLITICS
The conference of crocodiles

Ready for the next elections? This will be a big one...
Meir Javedanfar

The world is still catching its breath after the tumultuous events of Iran’'ss last elections held only six months ago in June 2005. To many it seems too soon to stat talking about the next set of Iranian elections. Nevertheless, 2006 promises to be another year of voting for the Iranian electorate. This time the voters will be going to the ballot box to choose the members of the Assembly of Experts, known in Farsi as Majlese Khobregan. This 86 member body can best be likened to Vatican’'ss College of Cardinals. Its main job is to appoint Iran’'ss Supreme leader, supervise his performance, and if it deems suitable, dismiss him.

IMMIGRATION
Wide of the mark

Sweeping new U.S. immigration laws are coming?
Afshin Pishevar

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed this major immigration reform bill.  The intent is clearly to control illegal immigration and secure the nation’'ss borders.  The bill funds additional border fences.  The bill also stops the "catch and release" policy.  Currently, illegal aliens caught at the border are released, many times inside the United States.  This bill would also require businesses to substantiate that their workers are authorized to work. Astonishingly, the House rejected President Bush’'ss call for the guest worker program.  This would have legalized approximately 15 million illegal aliens presently in the United States.

POINT
Wake up and smell the dictatorship

Sadly, many analysts in Western governments appear blind to the forest and only see a tree or two, and that only when it is pained orange and glowing with uranium!
Ray Parisnezhad

Did you not realize that this was the road on which the regime was headed?  Had you not heard the all-powerful Supreme Leader's numerous speeches about Israel and the “internal enemies” (aka pro-democracy elements)? Do you not realize that when Mr. Ahmadinezhad says that the regime's standing on Israel has not changed, he is telling the truth? Do you not see that Mr. Ahmadinezhad is simply the chosen representative of the same unelected mullah mafia in Tehran and not that of the Iranian nation?  Did you ever stop and think that perhaps the desire of the majority of Iranians is not the destruction of Israel but rather having a peaceful environment in which they can feed their children?

IDEAS
Islam's missing artists

Was the Golden age of Islam a reality or a myth?
Iqbal Latif

The Golden Age of Islam shared much of the ideals and values, and this shared inheritance is typified by the great Islamic philosopher, Ibn 'Arabi. He was a Muslim at a time when the southern half of Spain had been deeply 'arabised' and islamicised by over 5 centuries of Muslim rule. Here in 'al-Andalus' the three creeds of Judaism, Christianity and Islam flourished and Arabic was their common tongue; this lavish and elegant world has left us powerful reminders in monuments such as Alhambra in Granada, and the Great Mosque at Cordoba.

IDEAS
True health

Is humanity ready to rise above thought?
Mali Naghavi

It never ceases to amaze me how cavalier we have become with regard to our own bodies. We humans have invented electricity, airplane, and satellite, have discovered the secrets of atom, and unraveled the genetic code. Human ingenuity appears to have no limits. We have managed to change everything except ourselves. Despite all of our knowledge, all our civilizations and technology, as species, we do not know how to control ourselves. Equally we seem incapable of living peacefully with one another, nature, and the world around us.

IDEAS
Win the war of ideas

As public trust is built, the United States will have the opportunity to explain its policies in the Middle East
Jason Ben-Meir

The new strategic direction of U.S. public diplomacy ought to require that the act of delivering the message of the basic values of freedom and democracy translates into engaging people in the socio-economic development of their communities. Words alone can no longer turn the tide of anti-Americanism that has swept across Muslim nations and is now deeply embedded in hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people. As the Dean of Harvard's School of Government, Joseph Nye, suggested, actions should be the communicator, which is louder and more genuine than words. 

NUCLEAR
What's to fear?

A challenge to Israel's strategic primacy
Trita Parsi

The real danger a nuclear-capable Iran brings with it for Israel is twofold. First, an Iran that does not have nuclear weapons--but that can build them--will significantly damage Israel's ability to deter militant Palestinian and Lebanese organizations. It will damage the image of Israel as the sole nuclear-armed state in the region and undercut the myth of its invincibility. Gone would be the days when Israel's military supremacy would enable it to dictate the parameters of peace and pursue unilateral peace plans. "We cannot afford a nuclear bomb in the hands of our enemies, period. They don't have to use it; the fact that they have it is enough," Member of Knesset Ephraim Sneh explained to me.

NUCLEAR
Reality bombs

An attack against Iran does nothing more than draw attention away from its economic problems and burgeoning democratic movement
Nema Milaninia

An attack by the Israelis, or by US forces, will likely result in the death of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Iranians. And while I recognize the significance of Iran's nuclear progress coupled with its president's horrific statements, one cannot view Iranian politics or foreign policy from a superficial perspective. The president, Ahmadinejad, has no military authority nor any real political power.

COMEDY
Stand-upper!

I dashed to Los Angeles to see Hadi Khorsandi's stand-up comedy and then...
Fariba Moghadam

HISTORY
Ahasu
erus

Who is he?
Guive Mirfendereski

In his opinion piece “An honest look in the Persian mirror”, Steve noted, “the story of Esther in Persia did not take place under Cyrus, but probably under Artaxerxes (according to the Septuagint), or perhaps under Xerxes.” I stand corrected. Not! Nobody knows for sure which Persian king is Ahasuerus supposed to represent. Britannica identifies him as Xerxes I (ruled: 486-465 BC). In the same breath, however, Britannica tells us that “The book purports to explain how the feast of Purim came to be celebrated by the Jews, but its fanciful explanation belongs to the realm of historical legend rather than fact.” In 1981EBMicroVIII:309, the story of Purim is said to be “probably fictitious.” Dehkhoda too identified Ahasuerus as Khashayarshah (Xerxes).

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