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Opinion

JANUARY 2006
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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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Book of the day
mage.com

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

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