* Who cares anymore?
Heard from a relative who lives
in the US and has just returned from Tehran. It was
she left Iran in 1978 -- a year or two before the hejab
became mandatory under the Islamic Republic:
I was more strict about my hejab than ordinary Iranian women.
I would hide my hair and face and body as much as I could. I wouldn't
wear anything fancy in public. Nothing as loose as women who live
On more than one occasion I walked out of the house without covering
my head. One
I walked to the corner grocer and I asked him the price
for something. He was looking at me in a funny way... and I thought,
what is his problem?
I went down the street and this couple walked by and gave me a
strange look. Then I walked into a store and, again, got a strange
look from the woman behind the counter. I was still in the dark
until I bent over
and my hair fell over my shoulder.
I cannot describe
how frightened I was. This fear, I had not experienced
anything like it before. I ran back to the house as fast as I could.
I was so scared that I couldn't put the key into the lock.
got inside and wondered... Why didn't anyone tell me I wasn't
wearing a scarf? Jaakeshaa chizi behem nemeegoftan! (The bastards
wouldn't tell me anything!)
So I wore my scarf and went to the grocery store. I asked the
guy, "Why didn't you tell me I didn't have a scarf?" He said, "Beekheeyaal..."
-- Jahanshah Javid
* Distinguished -- and loved
Abadani’s all around the world lost one
of their greatest fellows. Parviz Shahideh, the last general manager
of Abadan oil refinery before the revolution passed away yesterday
June 9th in London. Since shortly after the revolution the Iran-Iraq
war halted the operation of the refinery, it is right to say that
he was the real last manager of the largest refinery in the world.
He was managing this huge operation until the revolution.
As one of the first AIT (Abadan Institute if Technology) graduates,
he finished his engineering degree in UK. Since 1960s he was in
different managerial position until he was promoted to the General
Manager position. After the revolution he moved to England and
started to work with leading oil companies. In his last position
before retirement, he was VP of Bechtel operations in the Near
East and one of the regional managers. He retired in 2000 but was
active as always.
Whoever knew him was immediately impressed by his nice and kind
character. I talked to lots of technicians, engineers and managers
of Abadan refinery after the war, when most of them were working
in other refineries. All of them were remembering him as a nice
and kind, but at the same time a perfect leader. Parviz and his
wife, Sisi, were always ready to help all Iranian, particularly
Abadani fellows. I mean everyone! His home was open to everyone
and his charming character was always there.
It is a big loss for Iranian professional community, particularly
He will be remembered by his kind wife, Sisi and his son and our
good friend Arash.
We are all going to miss him. May God bless his soul.
* Who should we blame?
June 8th is the day Kermit Roosevelt passed away. He
is a key figure in our contemporary history. I hope God bless
him - for he really needs our prayer - but our people can't
forget his destructive influence on our history.
If we open our eyes a little wider we see
our own people involved in the 1953 Anglo-American coup against
Mossadeq. They sold their country a lot cheaper than
Kermit expected -- he had to return the million dollars the Senate
had set aside to direct the coup.
Who should we blamet? The CIA agent Kermit
Roosevelt or our own countery men.
* The last resort
I sometimes check out the Zanan magazine online and
read it's articles. They are mainly show how bad is the situation
something that is not really surprising but this week's
article it was about self burning and broke my heart badly. Why
do these poor women burn themselves to run a way from their problems?
In some cases they really can not find any solution to their problems
and all the problems come from a chauvinist society. One women
burns herself because her husband beats her, the other burns
herself because her husband is leaving her for another women. Why
does no one
try to at least educate these women about what really happens
to them after they burn themselves.
Maybe some liberal and pro-women activists like Ms. Ebadi could
at least arrange some simple program on TV or Radio to educate
to convince them that by burning themselves they just hurt themselves
while their husbands, fathers and brothers will just continue
their lives and in most cases won't even feel guilty.
When I compare how women are free and have rights in modern countries
like the U.S. I really want to cry for poor women in our country
and women in that region. I know some people will oppose that and
will say, "No, women in Iran have all sorts of rights" and
this and that...
Yes maybe some wealthy women from north
of Tehran or other big cites go skiing or get divorced
live freely -- but the rest are
prisoners in a big prison!
The question is when this situation is going to end and who can
help to end it? I am sure there are socities that
fight for women's rights in Iran and other countries but they
in their way, especially with the current situation, but at
least there should be ways to educate women to use their minimum
not choose the worst and last option.
-- Ocean Sky
* Charlatan cinema
I just saw Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Kandahar. It is a fine example
of what might be called charlatan cinema. It indulges in oriental
romanticism, it exploits the otherness of the burqa clad woman,
it cajoles the white liberal audience while hardly making a case
for the suffering of mine victims.
Its success lies in having been made at all -- contributing images
and faces to a country that has little representation in the
wider world. The mere lifting of the burqa to reveal someone underneath
and applying lipstick is enough to tittilate the less tuned-in
among western audiences.
But its story is implausible. A woman
trying to get to Kandahar in three days would soon come across
someone with a jeep and not need to walk the desert following
mad little boy to whom she gives ridiculous offers of cash
(the power of the dollar to open doors in the third world is severly
underestimated in this film).
The red cross camp in the middle of nowhere at once has people
waiting "for a year" for artificial legs, then an air-drop
sees all of it's patients do a para-Olympic race to see who gets
one first. Limbs by parachute is an entertaining spectacle but
this appears to be the extent of Makhmalbaf's intention throughout
The American doctor who leaves the heroine in the middle of the
desert to join a wedding party on its way to Kandahar (women
beating a drum walking in the desert, wailing -- where are they
from? Why would they be walking such a presposterous distance?)
is invited by her to say something about "hope" for her
sister, who she aims to reach to prevent her apprently scheduled
suicide, into a tape recorder. The man talks nonsense, acknowledges
it, then walks off with the tape recorder to, as we discover later,
talk more nonsense about love or something.
The final shot is from
the point of view of the woman wearing a burqa, she is a captive,
but at least after an uninspiring 80-minutes, the audience
-- Payvand Khorsandi
* Kingdom (reminder)
Come to the “Kingdom”
of Mokhtar Paki at 2632 Regent street #B, (between Parker and Derby.
store on Telegraph Ave.) Berkeley,
on June 5, 6, 12, 13. From 12PM to 6PM. Regalia: Saturday
June 5, at 1PM.
* Worst in 50
Here's the first paragraph of Amnesty
International's annual report for 2004 as they declare human rights climate to be 'worst in 50