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Opinion

OCTEMBER 2006
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FUTURE
Hanooz delam faraar mikhaahad

The Middle East has all the ingredients to be just as progressive as Europe. So what's the problem?
Nahid Husseini

VIEW
A step forward

The opposition must establish its legitimacy by showing courage and wisdom
Sohrab Ferdows

Unfortunately, many of Iranians inside and outside the country have simplistically fallen for this nonsense which has disabled a good portion of opposition forces to consider more active approach to the question of regime change in Iran. It is a patriotic duty of any Iranian who loves his/her country to speak up and participate in any action that could contribute to the liberty of our nation and no one is exempted! In the absence of democratic options to bring possible changes in politics of our nation, every Iranian, specially political groups and activists have the right to ìprescribeî what they believe is beneficial in direction of removing Islamic tyranny from our nation and creating a democratic establishment that serves the national interests rather than an ideology. It is better to speak up now and avoid future regrets >>>

MEDIA
The little station that could -- and did

Remembering Radio Darya: Interview with Mahmood Moallemian
Pedram Moallemian

For most Tehrani children of my generation, the trip "up north" to the shores of Caspian sea was always magical. Leaving the smoggy and crowded streets of the capital, up one of the three enchanting and winding two-lane roads up through the Alborz mountains just to emerge from the other side into a sea of lush green forests, roadside waterfalls and eventually the scent of salty water in the fresh air of the coastline is forever etched into many of our memories. It is no wonder that even in our today's conversations, we speak of "shomal" trips with such affection, even if our last trip there established that the "sea" may have never been as beautiful as we had imagined it or at least years of pouring raw untreated sewage into it from all shores, has killed much of its magic >>>  

NUCLEAR
Manufacturing a phony crisis

Daniel M Pourkesali

The writer of "Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age" in The New York Times makes several presumptions which have been promoted by the Israeli government and its hard-line supporters both in the UN and the Bush administration. First that Iran's nuclear energy program is merely a cover for perfecting their nuclear weapon production capability and the anti-Israel statements of the Iranian president is proof that they're intent on destroying Israel. Second, Israel may possess several hundred nuclear warheads, but since they have not used them offensively against their neighbors then they can be trusted with such weapons. And finally, even if Iran does not use its future atomic bombs against Israel, the sheer possession of such weapons by a Shiite non-Arab state will usher a new arms race among the Arab states in the region as they fear Iran might use those nukes against them. All of the above assumptions are problematic >>>

POPULATION
Siaasathaaye jameeati

Encouraging people to have more kids without the ability feed, educate, employ and house them? That's suicide.
Mahmoud Sadri

KHATAMI
Best, of the worst

Peyvand Khorsandi

In the spring of 1997 Tony Blair was elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Britain Mohammed Khatami became prime minister. Both men were voted in on the promise of reforms. Yet Khatami was clearly a disciple of Margaret Thatcher, and Blair of Ayatollah Khomeini. Until recently, Khatami had refused to step down, despite having led Britain into a war that has killed more than 600,000 people. Blair, whose 'reforms' resulted in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepping on to the world stage, is in Scotland this week to receive an honorary degree from the St Andrews university. Here's that that degree citation in full: >>>

COMMENT
Nothing could be more offensive

On a British university’s invitation to ex-president Khatami
Maryam Namazie

Mr Khatami, a former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1997-2005) has been invited to St Andrews University on October 31 to receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of his ‘efforts to encourage interfaith dialogue’. Giving a theocrat a degree in secular law and doing so ‘considering global tensions relating to ... faiths’ that incidentally he and his regime have been instrumental in creating is like giving PW Botha or FW De Klerk honorary degrees in race relations in recognition of their efforts to encourage inter-race dialogue! Nothing could be more offensive, not only to those of us who have fled or lost loved ones to this vile regime but also to the innumerable who have lost lives and limbs to Islamists everywhere >>>

SUPERSTITION
Sarzamine hezaar khoraafeh va yek kherad

Ahmadinjead era marked by growing claims and counter-claims over religious superstition
Esmail Nooriala

IDEAS
Mane maa va mane aanhaa

Personal growth in free vs. repressed societies
Shokooh Mirzadegi

SCIENCE
The religious brain

Muslims are overwhelmingly born to Muslim parents, Hindus to Hindu parents, Catholics to Catholic parents, and so on. Why?
Amil Imani

Our beliefs and ideas make us human, and their quality determines the kind of human we are. We shield and fiercely defend our beliefs and ideas for good reasons: without their integrity and internal harmony, the mind becomes disorganized and even dysfunctional. While our inborn immune system fights off viruses and bacteria that aim to kill us, another immune system, mental immune system -- MIS -- gradually formed after birth, protects the mind and takes every measure to keep the mind's ideas and beliefs on the same page. Humans are living information machines, receive input from both external sources as well as the body, process it in some fashion, and produce output. From the moment of birth, parents, siblings, and others play pivotal parts in supplying the input and influencing how it is processed >>>

VIEW
Let it go

Nobody can save Islam without further victimising the whole Iranian society
Jahanshah Rashidian

Apart from criminal Islamists who are or were involved in the IRI, there is another spectrum of Iranian Muslim activists who still hypocritically or naively believe in an Islamic alternative to the current IRI’s dictatorship. Although, they are politically against the IRI, they intentionally prefer to ignore that the time is ripe for a secular and democratic alternative. They try of course to separate themselves from the infamous ruling Mullahs, but their blind belief, a legacy of pure tradition, obviously makes them deaf and blind to perceive how bankrupt their political Islam under any interpretation is. What concerns the future of Islam in Iran? There is no doubt that Iranian society will be built only based on democracy and secularism. Nobody has the right to let religion, after all its destructive backgrounds, play a further role in the free society >>>

SECURITY COUNCIL
Wrong resolution
Nema Milaninia

The National Iranian American Council has a great review of the current draft Security Council resolution on Iran which states, in part: "... all States shall prohibit specialised teaching or training of Iranian nationals, within their territories or by their nationals, of disciplines which would contribute to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs..." Obviously students studying nuclear science would be affected. But what about those studying material science, aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, or even biology? Clearly all of these studies are essential to a nuclear or ballistic weapons program? What about Iranian students who have dual citizenship and study in these area? How would they be affected? Let me summarize the wide effect of this resolution: >>>

DIPLOMACY
Regime change policy change

It is time to change policy and talk, yes, talk with whoever is prepared to engage in conflict resolution
Mehrdad Emadi

In recent months, Ms. Condoleeza Rice has emphasized the importance of using multilateral diplomatic channels in dealing with Iran. This change in policy stance toward Iran should be viewed with some caution given the preference of this administration for the use of force in the region. The change in the U.S. approach to Iran, however, may be seen more as a preparatory step in softening opposition to another limited military adventure. One unfortunate ramification of the regime-change policy in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the relative paralysis in delivering the next stages of the transition to a more inclusive and participative model of governance and reconstruction. To avoid a further deepening and spread of the present crises, it is necessary to move away from the present state of militarized management of the conflict to developing democratic governance in both Iraq and Afghanistan >>>

NOSTALGIA
The 70's are back

From bell bottoms to war and a crook in the White House
Hamid Bakhsheshi

I wasn’t in a good mood tonight.  Besides the fact that the wife and I had some “words”, if you would, I just wasn’t chipper.  I felt that the news for these past few days have been rather disturbing.  So, when Reza got the wind of it and asked to go to the hookah place, I didn’t hesitate much and agreed. We were both deeply disappointed in what is going on in the Middle East.  We both agreed that once the oil dries up in the region, everything will settle down and there will be peace. I realized then that the 1970’s have really made a come back.  I mean it isn’t just in the bell bottom pants and long hair and beards any more, the whole decade is back.  I did thank “W” for the war he created in Iraq to make this decade feel a bit more like the 70’s.  You know, Vietnam War?  >>>

ACADEMIC
Hamehkishim

Academic excellence and supervision, Iran
Ahmad Sadri

KURDISTAN
Union of independent states

Iraq's partition would expedite the creation of a democratic union based on free will in the future
Kamal H. Artin

Every evidence hints toward spread of freedom in the Middle East, despite the efforts of dark forces to turn the clock back! Although dividing Iraq would be advantageous for all, the US administration remains resistant to accept this inevitable starting point of reform in the Middle East and calls partition a "nonstarter". Maybe the current Republican administration is exhausted with making any further drastic changes and is waiting for a Democrat to deal with their angry friends from the past! I believe partition is a reasonable and progressive solution at this stage; it is just a matter of time, and the sooner the better. As opposed to current unstable union based on force, partition would expedite the creation of a democratic union based on free will in the future >>>

CONTROL
Look who's watching

How surveillance technology is used to monitor and control activities by Australian and Iranian authorities
Bita Riazati

Surveillance is the act of watching or monitoring, when this is implemented through out a society, it ensures that the country is under watch from terrorists and in many instances it is to monitor social changes. In some countries surveillance technology is used for the safety of citizens while in other power hungry and conservative societies, security cameras, surveillance software in chat rooms, mobile phone bugging and electronic tagging is used for harassment and limiting one's freedom of expression under the banner of fighting "decadence". The two countries I have chosen to compare consist of Iran and Australia. The reason to this selection is the major difference between these two country's surveillance policies and the way these states choose to monitor their citizens. While one country uses the technology to improve the human life style, the other one uses the same technology to create limitations for journalists, political activists, average citizens and any one who may have different opinions about the Government and its authorities >>>

CHOICE
Osama yaa Gandhi?

Osama bin Laden or Mahatma Gandhi?
Esmail Nooriala

SHRINK
Haale Aghaye Raiesejmhour vakhimtar shodeh ast

President Ahmadinejad's increasingly disturbing mental issues
Massoud Noghrekar

WOMEN
The other side of oppression

The reality of women's liberation movement in Iran
Azar Majedi

I am sure that you all have heard about the non-existence of women's rights in Islam. However, some think it is not Islam's fault, they blame the patriarchy. They maintain that it is not Islam, but patriarchal interpretations of Islam that is responsible for the conditions of women in countries under the rule of Islam. In other words it is the ruling men's fault not the ruling Islam. We will not get into the debate that Islam as all other religions is the direct product of patriarchal era. It could not have escaped being permeated by patriarchic values and outlook. However, we must state one undeniable fact, that is, millions of women are violated daily by Islamic laws, customs, values and states. We must deal in an effective manner with this violation >>>

SUGGESTION
Let's get out now

Withdrawing from Iraq
Sasan Seifikar

There is increasing agreement among various pundits and analysts that the American and British military presence in Iraq is not making the lives of Iraqis any better, but that in fact it is making it much worse. Violence and misery is now part of the lives of many if not most ordinary Iraqis. There is also much agreement, particularly among the regulars in the mainstream media with the administration that nevertheless leaving Iraq soon is out of the question. But there are good reasons to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. A quick US withdraw from Iraq will be a good first step in restoring credibility to US in the world community, something which the US needs badly >>>

WAR
Bush’s greatest victory

Iraq: Mission accomplished, indeed
Pedram Moallemian

I lived in San Diego when on that faithful morning the President of the United States flew into town, donned a flight suit and helmet and landed in a Lockheed S-3 Viking on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln to announce to the world that "in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” He did not fly out to the naval carrier in a helicopter, as is the norm, even though the ship was actually within helicopter range when he arrived. He also took the control stick for part of the flight just to add to the day’s drama. This was now officially a “show” >>>

SOLIDARITY
Don't wait for help

Chained down by our rooted cultural and social incongruous habits
Payam Shahfari

The absence of responsibility and accountability among our citizens is one major source from where our problems arise. Today, every problem is blamed on the Mullahs or the government. It is often ignored that the responsibilities of building the edifice of order and solidarity in our society lies mostly in the hands of the people. We have chosen to play the game that the government has put forth in order to eliminate consonance and harmony among the people. The government realizes that with the existence of a solidified movement among the people, cooperation of the people with the unjust laws of the government will cease to exist, since they are all suffering in the same hell manufactured by the government itself >>>

LIFE
Shame on happiness

Misery was whispered to us on a regular basis back when we were babies
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

We grew up worshipping Hedayat because he brought us that close to our death wish, and we enjoyed Bozorg Alavi because of the deep sorrow passed to us through his novel, Her Eyes. Okay, we did have a good laugh with My Uncle Napoleon, but that was Pezeshkzad and you have to admit, not too many of our writers are that funny. True as it may be that Iranians have seen too many ups and downs to be happy-go-lucky people, it is equally true that we wouldn’t know happiness if it slapped us in the face. The bottom line is that it is culturally unacceptable for an Iranian to be utterly happy>>>

NIQAB
Careful cover

Distortion and Islamophobia
Nema Milaninia

Its interesting and at the same time disturbing to see political attacks against the wearing of the niqab (as to be contrasted with the hijab) by senior members of the British government. Particularly in light of the undeniable growth of Islamophobia around the world. While this question doesn’t effect most Iranians, since the overwhelming majority of Iranian Muslims don’t wear the niqab (in fact I’ve never seen an Iranian Muslim wearing a niqab has so I’d welcome commentary on the matter), the fact that it is evidence of growing demonization of Muslims bears witness. A quick search on wikipedia alone reveals the following facts >>>

VIEW
From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad

Iran: A biblical perspective
Steven M. Goldstein

Similarities between ancient Persia and its reincarnation as modern Iran have perplexed me throughout my days as a student, Foreign Service specialist, and now, professor. The Book of Esther presents a long series of twists, turns, contradictions, and ironies centered on personalities and the hidden divine hand. A benevolent King Cyrus allows the Jews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Temple, but the wicked King Ahashverosh scuttles his plan. Haman, an evil minister bent on Jewish destruction, holds the reigns of power but is replaced by Mordechai the Jew, who saves his co-religionists. What’s next? A look at Iranian beginnings might give us a hint >>>

Unravelling the semantic complexities of Iranian politics
Excerpt from Daniel Lafond's "Conversations in Tehran"

Iran is an Islamic republic, conceived in the image of the community founded by the Prophet Muhammed when he emigrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 to begin the Islamic era. As if that were not enough, Iranians must also contend with the startling innovation in Shi’ite tradition, devised by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.... It is a hybrid, one-of-a-kind regime, designed to perpetuate the power of the religious establishment over society. But it is also a regime that must tolerate within it other voices, other forces. These may not be completely secularist, but they are bitingly critical of the mullahs’ attempts to obtain a stranglehold on power >>>

VIEW
Fight on two fronts

On one hand there is imperialism and on the other are the Islamists
Mehdi Kia

Twenty-five years ago we had a battle with the left in terms of how to deal with regimes like Iran. We won that battle ideologically, but at a price which was really disastrous, with tens of thousands of people killed, including over 400 from my own organisation, and 8 from our central committee. Having to fight the same battle yet again is almost like a sick joke, but it is one we are going to have to fight. There are those who today find themselves standing in defence of the Islamic republic - equating, for instance, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran with Chávez or Castro. In order to counter this, it is important to show where this regime came from, how it developed and what it means in terms of economic and social policy >>>

OPPOSITION
Cleaning up politics

Iran's political opposition: a birth of a new era or another political miscarriage?
Tina Ehrami

The new generation of Iranian political activists, that mainly consists of students in Iran and a very small amount of young individuals living abroad. These are mostly children of the political refugees who left Iran during the past thirty years. This new generation can be characterized by a strong sense of urgency, lack of a network and a lack of knowledge of political history. Some are organized in student organizations and some express their involvement under a less political colored umbrella such as human rights activism and urge for democracy and more individual freedom. They are passionate, motivated and in need of guidance >>>

WOMEN
Disappearing dignity

There is a generation of wonderful, beautiful, intelligent young Iranian women that sleep around and engage in activities that would shame their families if they knew
Intrepid Resolve

This issue of respect and self-respect is very evident in Iranian women. What makes an Iranian woman different than lets say an American, Canadian, or British one, what makes her special? When it comes to beauty, it can be found in all these races, and when it comes to cultural nuances they can be learned and emulated, so what is left for the Iranian woman? It is her character and her core beliefs and values with regard to family and fidelity ingrained in her from childhood that make her different than any other woman. It is her self-respect, her dignity, and her strong belief in right and wrong that makes her an ideal mate, friend, partner, and wife. And for that reason alone, an Iranian woman is hands down worth ten of each of the women mentioned above. Sadly though it seems that is not a trend that has passed to the the current generation. >>>

POINT
If only George Bush had been Amish

The world may have been spared from an uncontrollable urge to kill in the name of an all-loving (yet, no doubt, rather ill-tempered) God
Doug Soderstrom

The Amish response to the brutal slaying of five of their own offspring in an old fashioned, one-roomed school house was a blueprint for how President George Walker Bush should have responded to the slaughter of nearly 3,000 of our own citizens in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The merciful decision to forgive a deranged man who, for whatever reason, chose to project a self-inflicted sense of hate upon a classroom of nothing but innocent children was exactly as God would have had it, exactly how he would have responded if it had been one of his own children who had been slain >>>

NUCLEAR
The Nafisi letter

Is Rasool Nafisi advising the NeoCons?
Pedram Moallemian

I am still attempting to understand what the central point of Rasool Nafisi's "The Khomeini Letter" exactly is. His references to “this most critical issue” goes back and forth from the focus of “western media attention” on the nuclear reference in Khomeini’s letter recently published by Rafsanjani, on to trying to establish the differences of opinions within the ruling class in Iran and ending with an almost regretful mention of the “delay” this may all cause in “Washington’s ability to influence Iran’s internal debates”. That last part made me look again to make sure it wasn’t Azar Nafisi who wrote it instead of Rasool >>>

Posing a general question on philanthropy
Behrouz Bahmani

I read a lot of emails opining on Anousheh Ansaris self-funded $20-million expedition to outer space, as the first female Space Tourist, realizing her long held childhood dream. At first, I like everyone watched incredulously, and I will admit, rather annoyingly with a good dose of jealousy to boot, at what appeared to be nothing more than a spoilt rich person's exercise in excess, an awful waste of an awful lot of money. As Anousheh blogged her way across my day from the outer sky, sliding past the horizons of my web browser and the earth, telling me how this was so inspiring or that was so incredible, describing every daily detail of every meal inside her clean white habitat, I could at first only think of the many other things one could do with the money being spent on this glorified roller coaster ride >>>

JUSTICE
Our destiny in their bloody hands

What is a just reaction to an unjust action?
Mehdi

As a result of the attacks on 9/11/01 by those men who were influenced by Al Qaeda ideologies approximately 2,973 people which by the way not all were Americans lost their lives. This event led citizens of the countries that were effected by this attack mainly U.S. and NATO countries to allow their governments to first invade Afghanistan, and then Iraq in a war that was meant to fight terrorism, but one that I presume meant to avenge the loss of those who lost their life on 9/11. However the irony is that as this seemingly never ending war against terrorism is continuing more people (both innocent civilians & military service men & women) are dying in an effort to avenge the lives of those killed by those 19 men who already had died >>>

VIEW
The narrow war

How "Islamo-fascism" is the pretext for Islamic discrimination
Nema Milaninia

What I find disturbing about Bush's latest classification of this "war" following 9/11 are the implicit statements underlying its evolution. As we all know following 9/11 the Bush administration announced a “Global War on Terror.” Very recently, the war on terror changed to the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In Bush’s latest speech justifying the war on Iraq and the war post-9/11 he used a different brand name. One more poignant to nomenclature used by his supporters. He said we are now in a war against “Islamo-fascism.” While Bush did note that “Islamo-fascism” is different then Islam itself, I think the very act of narrowing down terrorism to one religion or faith serves as a basis of declaring that religion or faith as a cause for terrorism >>>

VIEW
Is Islamic fascism a slur?

Islam fully meets each of the nine distinctive features of fascism
Amil Imani

Last August, President George W. Bush used the term "Islamic Fascism" in a speech. In no time at all, the Bush-bashers, Islamic propaganda organizations and the rabid left unleashed a campaign of assault on the President for insulting the Muslims and sullying the sanctified religion of Islam by linking its name with fascism. Did the President indeed slander Islam, or people like Feingold are Bush-bashers who for their own reasons would never miss an opportunity to berate President Bush as well as those who support him? Let the facts decides. Let us examine each characteristic of fascism, one at a time, and see if the President was justified or did he indeed misspeak >>>

VIEW
Capitalist jihadist

In your love for the western capitalism and lack of reluctance to hate an ideology, you have fallen into the same extremist trap that you are accusing Muslims to be
Areyo Barzan

As a direct victim of extremism I am opposed to any type and form of it, be it Islamic, communist or capitalist. It is also worth to mention that I am neither a Muslim nor a communist, although I think they both have valuable point to contribute into a secular and modern society. But the trick is not to let them run into extremes. It is very important that they should not be taken out of proportion and no extremist view should be accepted from or accommodated by their followers. We should also consider that Islam is still going through its evolutionary stages and it is still in its fourteenth century compared to 21st century of the Christianity. Also compared with Christianity in its medieval stages, Islam has a far cleaner track record >>>

NUCELAR
The Khomeini letter

Is Rafsanjani warning the hardliners?
Rasool Nafisi

A written correspondence between the late Ayatollah Khomeini and the then commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Mohsen Rezai, has given some insight into why Iran accepted a ceasefire with Iraq in 1988. The correspondence has caused much debate and speculation inside and outside Iran. Published by the office of former Iranian president Rafsanjani last week, it reveals that Khomeini had been advised by Rezai that the war was not winnable. While Western observers have focused on a single sentence in the letter referring to nuclear weapons, the letter has sparked fierce debate inside Iran for a very different reason >>>

IDEAS
Erfan as I see it
Arash Sayedi

I sit here today and pen my thoughts because of the disappointment of seeing such an all encompassing notion as Erfan be reduced to its parts in many circles by academics, theologians and the common souls alike. This reductionism is perhaps the ultimate irony placed on an Erfan that strives to paint a picture of the whole. It is rather like the story of the three blind men at the circus, explaining what an elephant looks like, having each felt one part of it. So what is Erfan? The explanation I have come to love is this: Imagine a piece of paper with a large circle drawn on it with a title that says 'The World' >>>

AFGHANISTAN
The lion prowls

In Afghanistan, the Bush Doctrine has been a monumental success
Slater Bakhtavar

In 1996, funded financially and backed morally by their allies in Pakistan, the Taliban ("Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement") emerged as the prominent force in Afghanistan after the war against the Soviet Union and the fall of the corrupt communist dictatorship. In a campaign of failed promises, the Taliban unified various ethnic and religious groups in their attempt at stifling power. Originally the Afghani people, who were exhausted and weary due to decades of civil war, supported what they saw as a unified force that would be able to bring stability to the nation. On the global platform, Pakistan was able to convince the Clinton Administration, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom that the Taliban was the ideal choice of governance for Afghanistan. Having the desire to consolidate their own power while dismissing US-calls for the return of King Mohammad Zahir Shah they solidified the most fundamentalist elements of the regime >>>

BURNING
Raped
Khandan Golmast

I spent two long years working at a shelter for battered women. While the women who walked through the doors came from all walks of life, all races, socioeconomic classes, ages, appearances - they shared one unmistakable quality that perhaps only those seasoned in work with abuse and rape victims can recognize: they enter the shelter doors with heads down but as they race their necks, their faces reveal eyes that burn - this is not poeticism but the only way I can describe this very particular look. There is a contradictory nature to their pain which makes it all the more real and haunting. It is one of immense sadness and at the same time rooted anger. A settled submissiveness cavorts with an equally entrenched rage. Years of abuse and in many cases rape- the absolute violation of a woman in every cruel sense - manifest into a silent scream residing in the eyes of these women >>>

SAVIOUR
Do we really need another Bab?
Kianosh Saadati

In the beginning of the 21st century, while human beings are expected to discover the new boundaries of art, science and technology, when the world still suffers from the threat of international terrorism, people like Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi step forward and claim to be the promised Imam Zaman, or at least his personal assistant! Like the Bab in 1844, and Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1979 revolution, now Boroujerdi comes from nowhere to capture hearts and minds of frustrated people. People who are bored with political Islam. But who is he really? A quick look into his background does not reveal any major difference between him and others. He invites people to a peaceful version of Islam but it is the exact promise we have heard before from others >>>

IDEAS
God-dependency

We can kill our own dependency on gods inside us and let ourselves free of them, at least of the earthly ones
Ben Madadi

There is a huge social problem that causes other social problems. The root cause is often neglected but the results are out there to see. And here I am especially talking about the Middle East. This huge social problem is god-dependency. Take some time and reflect on this and it may not seem that distant an issue even for Iranian-Americans, who are more independent-minded and secular. Many peoples are socially and culturally (due to centuries or millennia of non-practical education, or lack of any appropriate education at all) inept to be the masters of their own fates and lives, so they always try to resort to one God or the other, or a combination of them. This social problem is present in almost any people, though much stronger in some and weaker in others >>>

RICE
Technical difficulties!
Guive Mirfendereski

The London gabfest (from the Old Persian gap, meaning talk, chat) about sanctioning Iran is off -- delayed for a week -- because the slithery forked-tongued Condi Rice's aeroplane has developed technical difficulties taking off from Baghdad! You've got to love the irony in this. Here is the Secretary of State of the almighty United States of America who cannot get to a meeting on time because her plane, a US-manufactured Boeing, I suppose, had technical difficulties. Maybe the good secretary should buy some spare parts from Iran and fix the bird and fly off. Or maybe, she should have not engaged in yet another "dropping by" visit to Iraq, which no doubt gives the impression to the locals that the place has turned into a khaaneh-ye khaaleh, to which people come and go with no amount of formality. Maybe the threat of a terrorist attack on the aeroplane around Baghdad airport delayed the trip, so she had to wait for the dark to fall before taking off! >>>

NUCLEAR
Mutual disaster

If Ahmadinejad wants war with Israel or America, Bush and Cheney will accommodate him. He has done neither.
John London

Under Bush II, the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, though it appears Saddam neither had weapons of mass destruction nor played a role in 9-11. Yet, in this same quarter century when the U.S. military has been so busy it is said to be overstretched and exhausted, Iran has invaded not one neighbor and fought but one war: an 8-year war with Iraq where she was the victim of aggression. And in that war of aggression against Iran, we supported the aggressor. Hence, when Iran says that even as we have grievances against her, she has grievances against us, does Iran not have at least a small point? Which brings me to the point. There is no reason to believe Iran wants war with us. If she did want war with America, she could have had it any time in the last 27 years >>>

NUCLEAR
Let me count the ways

Let’s examine the words in the definition of nuclear adventurism
Mazloom

Because I am not very smart, don’t have a Ph. D, and have never done any research at Harvard University, I looked up the meaning of the word “adventurism” in the dictionary, and here is what it says: “Involvement in risky enterprises without regard to proper procedures and possible consequences” Well, to me, that is a good description of what Akbar Ganji describes in his “Letter to America” article that was published in the Washington Post, and what Kaveh Afrasiabi criticized in his article, “What nuclear adventurism?” Let’s examine the words in the definition of “adventurism”: >>>

RIGHTS
Drop in the ocean of indifference

Why should we be shocked to see a celebrity use her fame and beauty and genuine concern to aid a helpless girl?
Darius Kadivar

I just came across your article "Save Nazanin from Nazanin" slandering Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam efforts on baseless arguments of her trying to self promote herself and using the case of Nazanin Fatehi as a pretext to draw attention on her own public persona. I am neither Ms. Afshin Jam's spokesman nor intend to speak on her behalf, but I did interview her a few months ago when she was hardly even approached by anyone in the Iranian Media so to speak. See "Saving Nazanin". Happily the reaction to this interview and other interviews she was to give to the Iranian Press had the credit of drawing the attention of Iranians worldwide, including inside Iran. I personally got a lot of emails from Iranians in Iran who did not even know about the case of Nazani Fatehi and her case brought their attention on many others who are suffering from similar predicaments >>>

WAR
Who appeases whom?

The ridiculous premise of the neo-cons is that Iran has acquired the scientific, industrial and human capabilities of Germany right before WWII!
Ardeshir Ommani

It has been said that the animosity between the governments of the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran is the result of the policies of the extremist factions wielding power in the two governments. This assessment has its roots in disregard for justice that divides the blame equally between the victims and the offenders. Such a judgment in fact favors the assailants and goes against the prey. There is ample evidence in the public arena that the Islamic Republic of Iran, at least in the last five years, has been initiating signals to show its willingness to negotiate and engage in dialogue with the United States in order to resolve the existing differences between the two countries. But every time that Tehran has made such attempts, to the dismay of the leaders of Iran, the U.S. has decided to rebuff the friendly gestures and begin a new round of hostilities >>>

NUCLEAR
What nuclear adventurism?

Letter to Akbar Ganji
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

In a recent opinion column in Washington Post, Mr. Ganji has lavishly praised American the beautiful, as the abode of constitution and rule of law, as if little of the Abu Ghraib and Gunatanamo Prison atrocities had reached him while he was unjustly tormented in Iran's prisons, and, worse, has accused Iranian government of "nuclear adventurism." Setting aside my own misgivings about injustice and discrimination in the US, which I have personally endured and repeatedly written about (to the deaf ears of Iranian academic community in the US who have proved to me their shallow depth and pseudo-intellectualism by their concert of silence on the viciousness perpetrated on me by some folks at Harvard), my question from Mr. Ganji is this: on what ground does he accuse the Iranian government of nuclear adventurism? And why is he so certain that the Iranian government is on its way to produce nuclear weapons? On what evidence does he base his claim? >>>

MONARCHY
Today our choice is clear

A return to monarchy is dangerous for the narrow interests of those who thrive on anarchy and opportunism
Reza Bayegan

The old rotten attitude of putting one’s selfish short-term interest above the good of the nation became endemic amongst the ruling establishment prior to the revolution. This poisonous attitude was responsible for driving a wedge between the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his nation. Iranians mistakenly identified many shortcomings and aberrations with the Shah himself. They felt betrayed and alienated from their monarch. Today, amongst the exiled Iranian opposition, variants of the same selfish attitude persist. Many of its so called prominent members are shouting at the top of their voices for a regime change in Iran without willing in any way to alter their own loathsome habits and behaviour. They are fighting an acrimonious fight amongst each other over issues they have no mandate to consider let alone settle >>>

ARTICLE 19
Voices from Iran

Restriction on the freedom of expression is widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran and covers all forms of communication
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The suppression of freedom of expression is institutionalised in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The constitution restricts freedom of expression to what it terms “not disturbing the bases of Islam”. The interpretation of this has been left to the ruling clergy who dominate the power structure and who have the last word in all legislations. This has meant draconian laws restricting all forms of expression that do not conform to the narrow official interpretation of Islam or the values associated with it, with severe punishments ranging from fines and long term imprisonment to lashings and even execution. But the policy of denials of the right of free expression is not limited to what the law stipulates. Dissidents, intellectuals, writers, political activists, women, trade union and ethnic rights campaigners, human rights defenders, and followers of some religious minorities and non-official versions of Islam are routinely harassed. Arbitrary banning of newspapers and confiscation of books and music CDs already authorised is very common >>>

RIGHTS
Save Nazanin from Nazanin

Former Miss Canada's efforts are nothing more than attempts at self-promotion
David Maynard

I am writing this to express my astonishment regarding your coverage of the case of 18 year old Nazanin Fatehi. Specifically, I can not help but find myself extremely puzzled about how you could find Ms. Afshin Jam's assertions regarding her role in "saving" Naznin Fatehi credible on any level! To start, Ms. Afshin Jam learned about the "Save Nazanin" campaign after a group of international human rights organizations, lawyers, and activists had already launched the initiative. When she expressed her interest in becoming involved with the effort, the group welcomed her, as they did and do with any other person expressing such an interest. However, it soon became painfully evident that Ms. Afshin Jam's motives for becoming involved in this campaign were not exactly what she had originally claimed >>>

LEGITIMACY
Paayaane tavahhom

The Islamic Republic has no legitimate authoriuty
Esmail Nooriala

INTELLECTUALS
Jonbeshe roshanfekri
Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6
Iranian intellectuals: Challenges & opportunities
Ali Salari

>>> Archive
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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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