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February 2007

This is all psychological warfare digeh!
Nahid Shafiei
February 28, 2007

JESUS... JEEEEEESUS... and Moses... and Muhammad... and every other prophet on earth ! ! ! ! ! 

I am SO SICK AND TIRED of reading every headline about the U.S. and Israel preparing to attack Iran. I swear to God I'm ready to throw up "digeh"!

Before, I used to read these articles, but now I just read the headline and if it says anything about the U.S. and Israel wanting to attack Iran I just skip it and go to the next news item.

AND... worst of all Iranians themselves are hyping this more than others ! "baba jaan" "aadamhaay-e aqel", "professorhay-e daneshgah"  who keep writing article after article about how the U.S. is preparing to attack Iran ---- use your heads a little. This is all psychological warfare by the U.S. to scare Iran into complying with its demands. Iran has become an unruly, wayward, "bacheh porroo" and the U.S. wants to force it into an obedient "nokar" just like the rest of the countries in the Middle East.

Noam Chomski says this is America's "Mafia foreign policy", meaning that in the Mafia if anyone disobeyed the Godfather he was so severely punished that no one else would dare even think about disobedience. The U.S. is more scared of other countries in the region learning from Iran to stand up to the Godfather than about anything else Iran is doing. So all this talk about military attack is just a scare tactic and we should all be more savvy than to fall for it.

If the U.S. REALLY wanted to attack Iran why make so much noise about it? Military attacks are most effective if they are made in secret and carried out suddenly without prior announcements to catch the enemy off guard for maximum effect. The element of surprise is very important in the first few days of an attack just like Saddam's surprise attack on Iran. It took Iran's army several weeks before they gathered themselves to fend off the attack and by then Saddam (khoda NA-byamorz!) was outside Khorramshahr!

So the element of surprise in any military attack is crucial. If the U.S. really wanted to attack Iran why announce it ahead of time so Iran can prepare its anti aircraft batteries, hide its most sensitive nuclear facilities even more, put its proxies in Iraq and Lebanon and elsewhere on guard for revenge attacks, and other preparations.

This "attack" was supposed to have happened last fall, then after the November elections, then after the first deadline by the U.N., then in April of 2007, and on and on and on....

A friend who had just returned from Iran said people in Iran are just going about their lives and are a lot more calm, calculating, and "wise" than we Iranians here in the west.

Now... I know many people may think I'm naive and even stupid to think this way. That's why should keep this little note in his archives for the next 5 years and if by then Iran and the U.S. have come to an agreement and there is no military attack on Iran, then he should give me a prize for my political and military wisdom ! !

Zendeh baad Iran....

Fraud & coercion
Daniel Pourkesali
February 26, 2007

Bush administration officials and their Zionist allies in the media are trying hard to portray Iran as a rogue and defiant nation that is "thumbing its nose at the international community" by ignoring United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 which gave Iran 60 days to halt its uranium enrichment program.

In an article written shortly after the passage of the same on Dec 23, 2006, this writer highlighted some important facts that warrant repeating.  First and foremost that Iran is not in breach of any international conventions or agreements. Processing of uranium is entirely within the guidelines of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has accounted for all fissile material and confirmed that none have been diverted to prohibited activities.

Prior to passage of 1737 by the UNSC; most objections to Iran's nuclear activities were loosely based on unsubstantiated allegations of violating the terms of the NPT. But in the 2 months since, the case has been entirely shifted to Iran's violation of that UN resolution.

It is important to remember that passage of resolutions 1737 and the prior 1696, were made possible only after the Governors' Board of the IAEA referred Iran to the Security Council on Sep 24, 2005. In a New York Times report on the following day it stated that 'perhaps the biggest surprise was India, which initially opposed the resolution but later voted in favor of it'

The shocking revelation by Stephen G. Rademaker, a former ranking official of the Bush administration, first reported on Feb 16, 2007 by India's national paper The Hidu that India's vote had been "coerced" may explain that surprise to some but reaffirms the suspicion of others.

In a press release posted today Professor Abbas Edalat of Campaign Iran said: "The revelation that the US coerced India into voting against Iran on this crucial issue is of global significance. It brings into question the entire legitimacy of the decision by the Governors' Board of the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council and the consequent passing of Resolutions 1696 and 1737 and any future resolutions against Iran the UN might pass. It also raises the question that how many other members of the Governors' Board of the IAEA were coerced by the US to politicize Iran's nuclear file, refer it to the UN Security Council and bring about first resolution 1696 and then resolution 1737?"

What should serve as a red flag to all outraged by the deceptions which brought us the Iraqi disaster based on fabricated and manipulated intelligence, is that these people are using the very same deceiving and dishonest methods to build a case for attacking Iran which regardless of the Security Council approval would be ethically and morally void of any legitimacy.

Visit Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran

Star Wars 2
Tina Ehrami
February 26, 2007

Iran launched its first space shuttle today. According to dr. Bahrami, head of Iran's aviation research center the shuttle carried material for research for the ministry of Science and Defence. Iran already had launched its satellite Sina-1 in 2005. Iranian officials say to plan more such satellite launches in the near future.

For some reason this reminds me of the Star Wars during the eighties when the US and USSR made a contest out of having the most technologically advanced satellites, shuttles, aircrafts, etcetera hanging in space. This must all be part of Ahmadinejad's muscle-talk to show the US that Iran's technological progress, whether nuclear or in aviation will not be stopped by any kind of sanction or international pressure.

Unfortunately, Iran has turned technological progress into a national agenda including the nuclear program. Ahmadinejad presses through his nuclear program with the support of the credo of "nuclear energy is our indisputable right". He tells the Iranian people that the US doesn't want Iran to progress in technology and therefore pressures Iran with sanctions. By shoving the nuclear program under this statement, he wins the support of Iran's sense of national pride and nobody dares asking what exactly he intents to do with all that enriched uranium. Who will tell Iranians that technological progress can also develop without having to produce nuclear bombs?

The fact that Iran launched its space shuttle today will only give the US more proof that Iran is planning to use its technology for the purpose of espionage. Iran, already accused of supporting terrorism and sabotaging the US in Iraq, will have a hard time explaining why this shuttle was launched just now. The rest of the world can sit tight for an episode of Star Wars Middle Eastern style. Comment


Nazy Kaviani
February 26, 2007

It whirls and sings and jumps out of his hands, only to return and to resume the magical and intoxicating beat of music of a different kind and texture, sporadically augmented with the sound of chains chiming. 

Mohammad Vali once read me a poem in which heaven was described.  Among the imagery the poem described, it said:  “... and people there play music, a different kind of music, with a different instrument, something we have never seen before, something that might resemble a Daf... ” 

Tonight I was in heaven, listening to my nephew, Pejman, playing the Daf so masterfully.  I wished he would play longer... I wished he would live up here to play for us everyday.... I wished we could all be together everyday... I wished Mohammad Vali were still alive.  He is up in heaven, playing the instrument that might resemble a Daf. 

I remember his funeral quite well... his son and his best friend played the Daf as he was put down in the grave... they cried and played and cried and played... and just as dirt was shoveled onto his grave, the two of them kissed their Dafs and threw them into his grave, to be buried with him. 

I think he is playing the instrument that might resemble a Daf, and I miss him, my friend. Comment

Riviera memories
Shahriar Zahedi
February 24, 2007

I was living in a furnished studio apartment on the second floor of this motel-like complex called "The Riviera". There was a hyper-chlorinated swimming pool in the middle of the courtyard. There was also a billiards room, an exercise-room, and a sauna.

The redneck downstairs had bought a red T-bird. "The damn thing nearly cost me 8,000 bucks," he'd tell me. I caught him a couple of times standing in the subterranean garage, looking admiringly at his "bird".

The manager's wife was an alcoholic. And she looked the part too; thin and frail and prematurely wrinkled and old. One time she begged me to go to the store to get her vodka. I went but came back empty-handed. The clerk had asked for ID so I had to bail out without the booze.

The look of disappointment on her face was unbelievable.

On the 1st of every month, the manager or his wife would knock on my door asking for the $215 rent in cash. I suppose they pocketed the money. My unit was sort of a guest house, and wasn't meant for renting.

The guy in the unit next to me was an Algerian. He looked more European than African or Arab. And he was extremely quiet. The first time we met, after learning where I was from, he burst into reciting some Persian poetry, from Nezami, I think he said. I couldn't make out what he was saying, though, but he thought I did and went on and on.

I guess he was a scholar or a PhD candidate. I rarely saw him after that.

Those days I wasn't much into cleaning up after myself (not that I'm any better now a days). The apartment floor was covered with clean and dirty clothes, shoes, socks, and other stuff. There was hair all over the bathroom. Precious hair falling off of my scalp. I think I lost my afro at the Riviera.

One time I had come into some premium opium from the old country and was busy smoking it in the utility room in the garage. An older relative was staying with me and I was forced to do my thing somewhere else, hence the secluded room in the corner of the garage. As I was inhaling the thick smoke, suddenly, a key turned in the keyhole and the building maintenance man entered the room. I froze for a second. What could I do? I had a lit torch in one hand, a straw in my mouth, and was holding the metal stick with the opium piece at the tip in the other hand. The room was full of smoke. The black guy seemed dumbfounded.

I just blurted something out. "You know, today is the anniversary of my father's death and this is a religious ritual we have to do for three years on the day of the anniversary. That's all I'm doing. And besides, I'm done. I'll get out of here right away."

"I'm cool. I ain't seen nothin'," he responded.

After that incident, every time I ran into him, he'd crack wise about the "ritual". He knew what I was doing that day.

I stayed at the Riviera for a year and a half. When the money finally dried up, I packed my things in the back of my Ford Pinto and went and lived with friends for a while. I'd stay at each place until I got kicked out and then go to the next. In a month's time I ran out of friends, sold my Pinto, and ended up at the Mission. But I'm not going to be talking about that. Comment

Wizard of Dalam Dolum
February 23, 2007

Few nights ago for the diligence of a friend who was under a wrong impression, me and few friends decided to explore the Persian restaurant (chelo kababi during the day and the night club at nights). Needless to say that it took me three full days to get the phone number and the address, simply because no one knew the correct spelling of this God forsaken place. I tired "08 Irania" as well as 411 several times and came out with the variety of any possible spelling of the name to no avail. So finally another friend said "Oh yea I know where it is but I heard it is not a very good place so don't raise your expectations". With that in mind and my pledge to my friend who insisted that we should go and have fun we set to go.

As we were approaching the club I could hear the loud music which sounded more like "dalam dolum" than anything else. At the entrance a girl who was dressed in a perfect men's suit greeted us and asked for $15.00 entrance fee that made me think that surely Sting is singing there. After the payment all of us went in. We went to the bar and ordered drinks. All of us, except for one, ordered red wine ($9.00 each) which incidentally should have been paid by cash or ATM card. I wondered if we had accidentally ended up in a highway and someone is robbing us? On the first sip of that expensive glass of wine, I felt like I was hit with a bomb; I knew I was definitely drinking from a bottle of wine which probably costs less than a dollar a gallon.

Suddenly this 75-80 year-old dancing man approached my friend and asked her to dance. All I could think was: "it's her lucky night". Later the daughter of this old man asked my friend to dance with her dad. I guess the poor man had Alzheimers or some sort of a mental illness. The crowd reminded me of the Old Persian saying "Irania tak takeshoon khubeh ..."). It seemed God had gathered all of the most dubious human creatures into one. All the men, with one or two exceptions, were bald with dark skin and bellies that signified the numbers of chelo kakab and khoreh ghormeh sabzis consumed and stored. Women on the other hand were fairly good looking but they seemed tired and abused. The dance floor was another sight and it was inspiring. Women were dancing like there was no tomorrow, "har chi gher daari emshab beriz" sort of thing.

After getting a complete full blown headache from the cheap wine and the music which was more like a sword in my soul, I asked my friends to go out and get some fresh air. As I was sitting down, I noticed two brilliant silvery sticks approaching us from the parking lot. For a moment I thought this is definitely a UFO invasion and we should run for our lives. As the shining sticks got closer I began to make sense of them. They were a pair of boots worn by a bleached blond Iranian woman. We decided to follow the boots, so we went back to the club to see what would happen if she taps them.

The "dalam dolum" was playing nonstop, so I finally went to the DJ and begged her to play a different kind of music "khaareji, please". "Sure" she said and suddenly the Iranian songs changed to Indian and "Al habibi" songs. By midnight I felt totally consumed and ready to run back to my own place. I said to my friends that I am going to my car, so you guys join me when you are ready. We all left with the fond memory of the shining boots of Dorothy in Wizard of OZ, and the the lady in the suit who later we found out was an advocate of lesbian rights.

I cursed my friend for making me pay $25 plus gratitude for my headache. Comment

I can fix the crisis
February 23, 2007

In my opinion, Iran should build an atom bomb and test it on Mecca. Before you think I'm joking hear me out ... there's good reasoning behind this.

By destroying Islam's holiest site, most Wahabi/Sunnis will be in such state of shock that terrorism will indefinitely stop worldwide. There's no recovery from that amount of Shock & Awe with tears, shit and piss combined. Helpless/hopeless Bin Laden will commit suicide. Extremists won't even have time to reach out to God because Iran just made him/her/it homeless. Not to mention Iran will probably destroy a couple of big-shot terrorists visiting the site on that same day.

And let's just be honest about the "moderate" dictatorship of Saudi Arabia. They need a big boom to wakeup. The men still hold hands in shopping malls; screw Iranian prostitutes in Dubai and won't allow their wives to drive a fucking Daewoo.

Iran needs to do this for humanity. This act will automatically stop 90% of insurgency in Iraq and other networks in Europe and elsewhere. The other 10%, which Iran supports will die down by, default because once Iran exceeds what Israel's guardedly trying to do... then Israel, out of love and respect for Iran, will become the Persians' best friend. The other 50 U.S. States will follow and we'll have immediate peace in Iraq, if not the entire Mideast. Hell ... Israel will probably be inspired and nuke Al-Aqsa Mosque next.

Finally we'll have lovebirds in the Mideast! Once the U.S. changes its policy towards Iran, the Americans will probably assist Iranians with maintaining their nuke bombs/program. Whatever hardcore leftover Muslims around will have to get along with each other because Iran is now a Super Islamic power. They would be so devastated and weak that they couldn't rebel against anything. Shiites will most likely believe this incident was an act of God or the 12th Imam had something to do with it.

Once Iran does what the Christians, Jews and Atheists (China/Russia) only dream of doing, the Mullahs will be welcomed as peacemakers by the international community, and given the desperately wanted recognition. The rest is "chill" in autopilot. The Mullahs will easily be bought as another "Democratic" country. Iran will begin producing Bandari Whisky and opening international gay pubs in Qazvin and Qom operated by Germans.

Believe me this idea can work if we truly believe in it. Realistically thinking, we have to be and act as complete nut-jobs in order to earn respect, power -- and have the right to preserve our national security. Look at U.S., U.S.S.R. and the rest of the powerhouses in history. North Korea almost had it right but didn't push hard enough. Now they have to settle for a couple of light bulbs. Iran is already there and needs to do the preemptive unthinkable to earn admiration.

I'm not talking about small chump-jobs like giving Hezbollah few bullshit firecrackers. Iran needs to go hard like America did after Hiroshima. Nuke Mecca once and wait for ambulances to show ... then nuke it again Nagasaki style (the ambulances were caring terrorists!).

Diplomacy is for weak-minded liberals (go suck on a olive leaf, lefty) and talk is way too cheap (Ahmadinejad). Step it up, put your money where your atoms are and extend the middle finger last. Comment

Golden dreams
Guive Mirfendereski
February 21, 2007

I am in heaven right now, enjoying the heights of depravity and depths of pious righteousness in the recent headings and headlines on this site.

I begin with the representation of an Eye-rainian Iranian king showing the finger, the index finger. Of course, we leave it up to the archaeologists and career historians, to conclude without any evidence whatsoever that in ancient Iran giving the index finger was a sign of respect. Because kings hardly needed to respect anyone, I would buy this “sign of respect” explanation only if the pictorial had shown a mass of people giving the king the finger! My explanation for this gesture -- the sculptor caught the king taking a break from picking his royal Persian nose.

Before you know it, some Pan Iranist will claim that E.T. and his very long index finger were related to Iranian royalty and researchers will spread far and wide looking for evidence of the Arab corruption of this Persian gesture of respect. Dissertatons will propose when and why did the bilakh take the place of the index finger?

For Christ’s sake, what if the indexing king was simply gesturing toward his crown? Or the index finger lay open in an aerial hand gesture like the beauty queens do when waving? Or maybe the king was sniffing his finger after putting it near his or someone else’s privates? Or calling someone forth, perhaps to suck his 21st digit? Or the king was making the gesture that goes with mon oeil, the French mannerism (English equivalent: my ass; Persian equivalent; khar-khodeti)? Or, better, what if the king was pointing gangsta-style to his eye -- like in “I am watching you?”

Speaking of eyes -- then, there is the story in Daily Mail about a 5,000 year old remains of a 6-foot tall Iranian “priestess” found with a golden eye patch [chesh talaaee] by an Italian archaeologist named -- get this -- Costantini, digging around Shahr-e Soukhteh (burned city/country) in the upper corner of Sistan. I must say, for a place called “burnt” this place sure shows a lot of signs of life! One of these days, I expect to hear that someone, named Costantini or Kir-andoush, digging around Persepolis (another burned city) has found Xerxes’ remains along with an eye-patch he used as a jockstrap.

Why is that every time someone discovers the specimen of a tall person that one immediately assumes that this person was special? Of high stature? Add a golden eye-patch, and the character was a priestess! Give me a break. Why could she not be a blind woman who covered her deformity with a golden-painted patch, just like millions in Iran and elsewhere who cover their dental shortcomings with a golden tooth?

Here is the amazing thing -- nobody in the scientific community has made the obvious connection that the woman with the golden eye-cover was pocked in the eye (and maybe elsewhere) by the king’s index finger from the previous news story. What will all this say about the possibility that the king had a gold finger? Yup! You guessed it, the priestess was exactly as we all thought originally, kos talaaee. Comment

One World. One City.
Said Amin
February 20, 2007

I would like to offer all readers a special invite to visit Nuzizo City. My good friend Darren Romeo and I built Nuzizo City with the intention of creating a peaceful, vibrant space for people to live, connect, and re-imagine what is possible.

Nuzizo City is an online community where folks from all over the world come to make friends, share ideas and explore different cultures. The city is comprised of over a dozen neighborhoods that represent various lifestyles, ethnicities, and interests. I live in the Iranian neighborhood called Rumi, but you are free to move into whatever neighborhood that resonates the most for you. If you are into beach culture for example, Nuzizo Beach may be a good option. If into the arts, you may enjoy the Bohemian vibe of the Lower East Side neighborhood. It’s up to you...

One of the unique features about Nuzizo is that you help create the culture and vibe of the city. The blogs you read and write, the photos you share and view, the music and art you enjoy, directly influence the shape of your neighborhood and the city at large. Ultimately, what you say and do matters.

If all this sounds interesting, please check it out; and hey, we may just end up being neighbors. Comment

Modern & elegant cards
Misha Zadeh
February 20, 2007

As Iranian-Americans, we have come to look forward to receiving photo greeting cards from friends celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah - we even send them ourselves - but it seems even more appropriate to share photos and greetings on our favorite holiday, Norooz.

So, as Norooz 1386 fast approaches, I wanted to let you know that I've teamed up with a friend (Shiva Sarram) to produce modern & elegant, custom photo Norooz cards. It’s been a real labor of love! We plan to launch the line officially next January, but since we have a few of the designs ready to go, we thought we would do a “soft launch” to our friends and family this year. Our Web site is really just a placeholder currently. It will be fully functional with more designs, online ordering and payment, etc by next year.
For now, please find a 6 page PDF file with all the details on our product and current designs. Take a look. Should you be interested in ordering, there are instructions on the last page (to receive your cards by Norooz, deadline for ordering is March 9th). Please feel free to forward this to other friends whom you think might be interested.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy Persian New Year! Noroozetan Shad! Comment

Déjà vu or Amnesia?
Daniel Pourkesali
February 17, 2007

Leesburg, VIRGINIA -- Four years after failing to discover any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or evidence of links between Iraqi regime and the al Qaeda terror network, and faced with the colossal and growing violence of insurgency and civil unrest, the Bush Administration is at it again by accusing Iran of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and aiding the insurgency in Iraq. The preposterous and since discredited dog and pony show put on Feb 11, 2007 in Baghdad by three military personnel who would not dare to go on record while claiming that Iran is providing explosive devices used in attacks on US troops, fell far short of delivering the long promised "smoking gun" linking Tehran and Iraqi militants.

Just as assertions made on Sept 12, 2002 before the U.N. General Assembly where he declared that "Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger and to suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence" and "to assume this [Iraqi'] regime's good faith, is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble" , once again we're told to take Mr. Bush at his words when he blames Iran for our desperate and self-perpetuated predicament in Iraq.

Four years on, one is left with a sense of Déjà vu as everyday new and unsubstantiated allegations of blame and culpability are leveled at those "up to no good" Iranians. While the same casts of characters in the Bush administration avoid the kind of "flexibility" demonstrated in the North Korean agreement reached this week, they pay only lip service to all notions of diplomacy or any meaningful dialog with Iran.

Just as Iraq was faced with the dilemma of proving a negative with regard to WMD's before invasion, Iran is being tasked with confirming that they are not enriching uranium for nuclear weapons despite full cooperation with and no evidence found by the UN watch dog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

So these are the questions we as citizens must now ask ourselves -- Can we afford to forget the lessons of a tragic war based on fabricated and manipulated intelligence? Have we not seen enough of the repugnant outcome of the short sighted action that created the current instability in Iraq and made this a far more dangerous world to live in? And finally, will we just stand by and let this administration spend [3] our children's and grand children's future on this and possibly another far larger conflict with Iran embroiling the entire region into pandemonium while completely squandering whatever little reverence remains for what was once perceived as the greatest democratic experiment? Comment

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Dori delamo mishgani
Maggie Joon
February 20, 2007

The first time I saw you I thought I would faint from your beauty. You stepped from out of my dreams, my visions, my aching nights of solitude wrapped around an ancient cry for a companionship created out of ether. I see you now in my mind's eye exactly as I saw you that evening: dark black long wavy hair, carmine lips, eyes that would make an addict give up opium, and your sexy flowery blouse that somehow matched your apple martini.

I wasn't drinking that night -- I could barely breathe from your beauty. And you think I'm joking, but I'm not. You always wondered why I ate so little when we went out -- it's because my hunger was only for you, and could only be filled by your scent, your words, your touch, your air. Food was a pitiful waste of my time and made me take my eyes off you. There was only hunger for you inside me.

You told me that first night that your last relationship was three years ago, and you were currently single. You still argue this point with me if given the chance, but as you sipped your martini the gods all heard you say to me as you touched the top of my left hand, you said "I'm single." You wore no wedding ring, no rings at all.

The irony of you sitting on my couch 18 months later telling me you could no longer be my lesbian lover, you would never leave your husband and break up your family -  it almost killed me (especially since the week before you said you had decided to leave him).  But that was just a small part of the pain you had in store for me I guess, for it was your other women that cut the deepest into my soul. When all along I had thought it was only me and you. But I was such a fool. And I own my part in all of it, but god forgive me... I was such a fool.

When I learned what you had done and had been doing (what I had long suspected but didn't dare confirm) I felt my heart start to tremble in my chest, and I could feel it aching, literally, pounding and hurting and struggling for life. I was concerned I'd have a heart attack, that it would just stop, simple and clean. I hyperventilated until I passed out. When I awoke I crawled under the covers of my bed and felt the world stop spinning.

The women, the men, the "gal palz", oh yes, your husband and of course his famous brother, all those who love you, they surely didn't feel the world stop spinning the day I learned the truth of who you are -- but the world did stop. No one knows this but me, but the world has stopped spinning, and I don't know if it will ever spin in quite the same way again. Comment

Willful distortion
Jasmin Darznik
February 17, 2007

Mazdak Khajehpour’s would-be critique ["Glossing over"] seems less animated by an interest in accuracy than the need to promote his own biases.  So regretfully I must counter his charge of inaccuracy with the same, and add to this one of my own: the willful distortion of my essay in the service of his own views.

With respect to his specific criticisms, I offer the following rejoinders:

  • The statement regarding Farrokhzad’s poetry “breaking new ground” clearly situates her within the tradition of women’s writing in Iran, not the broader modernist movement to which Mr. Khajehpour avers.
  • Mr. Khajehpour is pained by the appellation “emperor,” and indeed the concept of empire itself.  My sympathies notwithstanding, the historical facts surrounding the title remains.
  • Though my readings of twentieth century Iranian history have long-since forced me to cast off my rose-colored glasses, Farrokhzad was indeed among the first generation of women to obtain a modern education, and whether one calls him emperor or no, the system was introduced by Reza Shah to supplant the mostly religious-based instruction that had previously existed in Iran.
  • Nowhere in the essay do I suggest that Farrokhzad was coerced into marriage.  The article states the fact of her marriage at age sixteen, and does not presume to plumb the depths of her motivations as Mr. Khajehpour feels free to do.
  • As to the universal appeal of Farrokhzad’s poetry, her voice rings clear and true across all kinds of borders, but to elide the historical contexts of her work is as unconscionable as it is to elide the continued struggles of Iranian writers -- men and women alike.

Clearly Mr. Khajehpour has much to say about Iranian literature and history.  I regret that he has found no means to express himself other than this mean-spirited attack. Comment

How would I feel?
Rana Rabei
February 14, 2007

The other day, a Canadian Iranian friend of mine asked me this in passing: As a resident of the United States, how would you feel if America attacked Iran?

I haven't thought about politics in a long time, so without thinking I recycled my answer from the last time I was asked this question. Inside the brackets were my thoughts as I was voicing the seemingly RIGHT, expected and patriotic response:

I'D JOIN ALL THE PROTESTS [well.. they have to be near-by and not held on weekdays, I'm a full time student after all. And even then I would probably show up fashionably late, stand on the sidelines and take pictures of the crowd. Also, I would only go if I could make a date out of it and stop by a good Sushi restaurant afterwards. I haven't had Sushi in a while!]

I'D MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY [Maybe, eventually, if through my semesters of study abroad I realize I'd like to move to Sydney for the weather and the good-looking people, Janeva for their Particle Physics research or Canada for their lenient Stem Cell research laws]

I WILL START AN ORGANIZATION IN MY UNIVERSITY [Nahh, it takes too much time. However I would attend weekly meetings if someone started a club...that is, if it works with my schedule],

I WOULD BE SHOCKED AND APPALLED [It would be, and if someone made an independent movie about the ridiculousness of American foreign policy, I would watch it on its opening night].

Of course, I would be concerned for the safety of my family and friends in Iran. I was devastated to hear of the annihilation of historically significant sites in Iraq, let alone the loss of human life. But could I do anything about it? Maybe I could abandon all my responsibilities and devote my time to yelling out my opinions in Washington DC's 20-degree weather with a handful of like-minded people to a wall. Would I do that? Probably not. I blame my recently acquired selfish outlook on the lack of larger-than-life paintings of 13-years-old boys with explosives wrapped around themselves running after a tank on the street walls.

Plus, I don't know how it works for female martyrs but if I sacrifice my life for Allah, and wake up in Heaven surrounded by 72 virgins, I would probably be running towards the gates of hell; because at least there, I know there are enough whores around that I won't have to be worried about being gang-raped by a bunch of horny virgins. Comment

Not a pretty sight
Faramarz Fateh
February 14, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- News of North Korea's nuclear disarmament has dominated headlines. With 2 of the axis of evil members under control, it's time to attend to Iran; the notorious third leg of this so called axis conjurred up by the neocons.

N. Korea doesn't have huge oil and gas deposits, projected to last at least another 30 years. So wasting money on a war with N. Korea doesn't make economic sense for the U.S. Iran on the other hand, has these invaluable deposits. For the U.S. to continue its rein on the world as the sole super power, the only way left is through the control of energy supplies. Why? Because manufacturing is dominated by China and service will be dominated by India in the next 5-10 years. There is not much more left for the U.S. to control the world's economy. Controlling securities as its done in wall street won't be enough.

So what's next? The Bush administration is laying the ground work to start the process of mass brain wash as they did with Iraq. Once the polls show that the brain wash has taken a hold of the public, a few young American soldiers are going to be sacrificed to further boil the blood of the 50% of Americans who hate Iran and Iranians. These are the folks who still remember the hostages and 444 days of Amercian pride in captivity. This group also includes most of the Jews, specially the older ones and also the young redneck who just itch for a fight to prove their manhood and superiority by bombing other countries.

These are your truck driving beer drinking blue color workers who won't be able to find the Middle East on a map.

Iran's current regime doesn't have much of a choice now. Fighting the U.S. is very different than fighting Iraq. Specially since now Afghanistan and and Iraq are under the U.S. control, Turkey will give in to U.S. demands faster than the blink of an eye and Israel will be more than happy to provide regional support in any way possible.

Taking over Iran is a matter of weeks for the U.S. The tragedy will be huge numbers of dead and injured, mostly on the side of Iran. Loss of infrastructure will be the other sad part of reality.

Iran's only saving grace now is intervention and a strong stance by Russia and China. If not, it's time for Ahmadinejad to bend over, grab his anckles, take a deep breath and take it in his a$# . It won't be a pretty sight no matter how you look at it. Comment

Ability to see
Nikoo G.
February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day? Why look forward to that? I am  not a soppy, dopey, icky-sicky, treacly, weak-at-the-knees type of person. I don't go in for that lovey-dovey, koochie-woochie, kissy-wissy kind of nonsense. I am not cold-hearted. I am not unromantic. I am just practical. So, er... what is it then that is starting to melt within me now?

As my defence rolls down in my heart today, a problem begins to become less problematic elsewhere in my world. Perhaps I shouldn’t deny what I feel; Swings, roundabouts. Upside, downside. Pros, cons? What a bore! Why, every time something good happens, must it be accompanied by something undesirable? What rotten trickster designed that particular part of universal law?

They say that all is fair in love and war. This explains why we live in such an unfair world. Rarely is there a time when the inhabitants of this planet are not either in love or at war. We are all constantly rewriting the rules of daily life to suit our passionate purposes. Maybe we cannot hope for peace any more than we can hope for justice. But I can hope for - and attain - something much more precious than both: the ability to see what is happening for what it truly is.

Maybe I shouldn’t be inflamed - or biased. Maybe it is ok to be unduly angry or overly sympathetic. But as I search for calm, I keep telling myself to be wise, be neutral and do not jump to too many conclusions too quickly. As they say  ‘All that glisters is not gold - and diamonds often hide within very unassuming lumps of rock’. So maybe it is nothing at all and something else is driving me half mad with frustration, but it is a sum of all that, which I fear the most! Comment

Open your heart
Pillango Farfar
February 14, 2007

Sleepless night again? One of those days you want to share and you don’t know where to start? And you know it is Valentine’s day, what a pressure!You are suppose to communicate love! Maybe when I begin writing and you read we both will know what is all this about.

Life has never been easy but  I know some days or nights you find even taking a breath challenging.Some nights of life goes by for you without being able to sleep and you think and think as if there is no other time for thinking. How can such an enjoyable act as sleeping become difficult? Is it because you are so sad? What is bothering you? Did anybody offend your heart. Or better ask did you allow someone to offend your heart? It must be hard my friend, I know when you are so awake at night and you wonder why, why on earth that sweet sleep of your childhood is not happening? Why can’t you even read a book and when you watch TV you are actually not watching and anyways most of the time there is nothing good to watch. I know what you mean: one of those movies is good to watch to fall asleep.

I know exactly what you mean.Tell me who was this person whom you allowed offend your heart, who is the person you are leting take the sleep away from your eyes. Just think about this person, don’t tell yourself you shouldn’t think about him/her, and do it as much as you want. You will get tired I promise you, but then think what is it you can do about it, can you communicate with this person? Can you tell him /her what is upseting you? If you want to do so I tell you there is a way to do it. You can continue reading what I have to say only if you deeply believe offending any heart is bad, it brings sleepless nights you know better, it is distructive. Do you want to be the one who causes heart breaks for others? No you don’t.

You are sad but you are a good person with a big heart. At least you know how terrible it is not be able to sleep, and you don’t wish this for anyone. So here we go, maybe the best way is afteral to communicate it to the person. There are people who call themselves Giraffs! They beleive in a beautiful way of communications, the basic thought is that when you are trying to tell someone that” he or she has hurt you,” you can change the weight of the sentence by saying ”I am hurt” or ”I am in pain” or ”I have had sleepless nights”. When we tell a person ” you hurt me” or ”you caused me sleepless nights” the person gets deffensive, when we are defensive we get angry, we go out of control and the worse thing, we don’t listen anymore to what is going to be said.

Anger is a secondary emotion, there is always something else underneath, usually fear. To avoid a blocked communication it is wise to prepare for it, make the person want to listen to you because you have so much to say man, you haven’t been sleeping and non stop have pondered upon the issue, so help and enable the person to listen to you and surprise yourself with the reaction! We tend to undermind people, we always think she/ he anyways wouldn’t understand so why to bother. Try it you will be surprise how the whole communication can be a panacea to your wounded heart. You will see how the same night you will be able to sleep like a child.

If you have had many episodes of sleepless nights for different issues, perhaps you have, like many of us tried the magical sleeping pills, therefore you know their effect, your body knows how it feels, so just try to remember the effect and calm yourself with other wonderful methods. Don’t forget we choose to be dependant on pills, nobody has forced us to do so. We can keep reprimanding our parents, partners, families, our boss or the government, they might be the worse things in our lives but dependancy is our choice, and we can make other choices too. Look around you. Open the curtain of your room, of your heart, and let the light shine in. Remember my friend you can choose! Use Valentine's Day to communicate with someone you have loved the least. Comment

Did Iran fart?
Lucy Ghoreishi
February 13, 2007

When I read the news these days it gives me enough anger to remember an old bad joke and I thought to put in writing since even bad words are made to be used one day when appropriate. The joke is this:

A truck driver who was a pedophile gave a ride to a young boy. They started talking and the boy, even though he needed the ride, was very timid and could not carry a conversation. After a few miles the driver siad: "Hey buddy, I want to make a point very clear to you: I hate farts and if you make a stink, you're fucked! Is  that understood?" "Yes!" said the frightened boy, "I will never do that."

Some time went by and all of a sudden the driver said: " I heard something! Did you fart?" The boy now curling up and frightened, said: N....o!  N....o! I told you, I will never do that!" The driver said, accusingly: "O.K. I forgive you this time!"

A few minutes later, again the driver turned around and said: "Hey! You listen to me! Don't you dare mess with me, I am smelling something, what have you done?" The boy said: " I swear, to my mom's -- oh I am sorry she is dead -- but I swear to the life of my dog, I did not do anything, I don't have this habit, I know it bothers people and I will never do it." "O.K." said the driver, "this was your last break! Next time you're fucked!"

They were getting close to the destination when all of a sudden the driver put his foot on the break and ordered the boy to get into the back of the truck, yelling "You son of a bitch! I'm positive you farted this time. You're fucked!"

Does this situation remind you of any international affair? Comment

Dealing with the aftermath
Fereshteh Saheli
February 11, 2007

A couple of months ago I wrote "Clearing my closets".  Now nothing is what I had thought it would be.  I am so very tired.  My nine year-old feels it, enough that if he sees me try to clean a room, he offers help.  I tend to work a little in my yard whenever I can; long gone are the days I could mow the lawn and clean the flower beds.  These days I’m lucky to be able to weed the stuff my hired help missed.  Even that gets me into such a frenzy of fatigue, I am inclined to give it up.  I don’t do so though.  It helps my baby see me doing (or at least try to do) what I used to be able to do.  I believe it helps him cope. 

He’s so loving and kind.  He tries to take care of stuff he implicitly knows I can’t do anymore.  Mommy, I’ll give Brownie’s and Chiquita’s medicine, he says.  It brought tears to my eyes today when he asked me whether he could mow the front lawn.   Ok, I say, although I watch him like a hawk.  I do that not because he can’t do it, but because I like to watch him take care of things I used to be able to do so easily not so long ago.  It gives him a chance to be the care-taker.  I wonder what goes on in his mind when he thinks of me.  He knows I’ve got a chance to beat my disease, heaven knows I’ve glorified that, but he doesn’t tell me all; he used to talk to me more candidly less than a month ago.  All I know is that his Mr. Grumpy has not shown up lately, much less Grumpy’s evil twin!  How much is my kid giving up for me?  It ought to be the other way around.  That hurts.  A lot.

Have I lost touch with him even before I’ve departed?  And what if I don’t actually depart?   What if I beat this and get stronger and watch him grow?  Is he going to resent all the free time he gave up to take care of me, or rather, what I’d needed to take care of?  I mean what does he care whether there’s dust on the myriad of bookshelves in my house?  Is he ever going to read them?  Will he ever wonder what Mommy saw in all those words, pages, and covers?  Will he ever know how much joy these very same brought to me?  Will he enjoy them as I did?  I want to see him kick his soccer ball as freely as he did a few months ago.  That’s all.

I’ll take him on another island hopping trip next weekend.  I’ll show him how to thoroughly enjoy what this part of the world has to give, even though it might not be much.  I’ll show him how to glorify the littlest things in his life so that he can cope with the rest the way my Dad taught me.  It’s all I can do.  And I’ll try my “damndest” to pretend I’m not as exhausted as I am.  That I am as happy as I ever was.  I’m wondering whether even my optimism has a limit. Comment

Jamshid Shirani
February 11, 2007

The Breeze
speaks fluently
in the language of time.

silent geometric assumptions
of static freedom.

Time fills the trees
silence besets the breeze
the wind shatters
as it sways the leaves.

A dive not so deep
Sara Rahai
February 11, 2007

To Live
We must first dive
With eyes closed to all that's past
Shatter fortresses protecting doubt
Plant gardens of thorn-less loves,
... first kisses, age-less wine
Taste the blue cherry and the red lime
Drink the chime of the string quartet
Rid the core of fruitless Verses on Salvation
Breathe the teardrop's truth, the innocence of pain,
... and the promise of love

Cold cuts
Gum Boo
February 7, 2007

Hafez Restaurant
5 Hereford Road, London, W2 4AB
Telephone: 0871 3328452

Bad service, good food, or good service bad food, sums up most of London's Iranian restaurants. Hafez is a case of bad service, worse food. First up, rice is cold. "No, it isn't," says the waiter. "Yes, it is," our party of eight says. "Touch the rice and tell us it's hot," we say. The waiter accepts the rice is cold. "I'll get you warm rice." Meanwhile, the barg kebab goes cold. The rice is returned steaming in one minute.

"Did you microwave it?"

"No," the waiter says.

"You didn't microwave it?"


"Then how come it's so hot?"

"It's from the pot."

"So why didn't you bring us this in the first place?"

The waiter is unapologetic. I remind him that we are not legally obliged to pay if we are not happy with the food. Finally, he concedes: "Yes, we micro-waved it." Then he apologizes. The kebabs, one of my companions notes, could easily be used as belts, being so rubbery. The waiters in this place walk around with the gait of mafia hoods. The manager's expression is stern, unforgiving, and they are about one imagines in a more lawless London, that they might use the kebabs as whips on customers who dare to complain. To his credit, the manager finally decides do apologize and offers not to charge. "It's on me," he says. Naturally, we reject this gesture. Then the bill arrives without observing the etiquette of discounting the price of cold rice. Sometimes you have to accept you've been had -- the food in this place was execrable, you'd expect more polite service at Camp X-Ray, and there is nothing you can do about it, except not go again. Comment

Don't worry
Bem Madadi
February 5, 2007

Why do Iranians in the US seem so much worried about the US invading Iran? I simply cannot grasp the logic of this. The US is just bogged down in Iraq, the budget deficit is ballooning while new funding is required for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that seem not to offer any signs of ending. The Congress is controlled by the Democrats who oppose the Iraq war and are calling for the returning of the American troops. Even a large number of the Republicans are now anti-war. The American people are mostly against the Iraq war already. George Bush is nothing but a lame duck president who is counting the miserable days to leave office and there are going to be plenty of them to count.

Add all this to the fact that Iran is not a small country and Iranians are much more nationalistic than Iraqis. Iran is an old country where people, although often divided on religiousness or many other internal matters, have always managed to unite against common external threats. The US administrations seem to be dumb all too often in their actions but they are not so dumb as to take on a large and relatively powerful country while being overstretched already.

So, my fellow Iranians, just cool down and don't worry! We will have our own Mullahs, who are what we have and what we deserve, and the US government is not a threat to Iran. However one thing may be at risk. There is a remote possibility, remote for now, of precision bombings to destroy advanced nuclear projects of the Iranian regime. The US probably has some decent information (maybe they have better information about Iran than they pretended to have about Iraq) about how the nuclear sites in Iran are developing and they may, just may, at some point in time, decide to destroy some of these nuclear sites. That will not mean invading Iran. That will not threaten the sovereignty of Iran.

Although some lives may be at risk and although the whole region may be at risk, surgical destruction of Iranian nuclear sites will not mean all-out war, though the Iranian regime may react badly and flare up the situation. And the US does not afford that either. Simply because the US is already over-stretched in Iraq. Iraq will be either relatively fixed or given up by the US (even according to the projected military budgets) within the next two years. And then the time may come to fix the nuclear issue with Iran. But at that time the US will have a different government, and who knows what will happen with the government of Iran. American governments may change radically and ideologically but Iranian governments often change too radically when they do but this happens only once in centuries or generations.

So, we can sit and relax for the next two years and hope for the best in the US, and maybe also Iran. There are simply too weak grounds even for surgical bombings of nuclear sites let alone all-out invasion of Iran. This does not mean that the Iranian regime could defend itself against a serious American invasion. Any serious invasion of Iran would be little different of what happened to Reza Shah when he was removed from power. But changing the ruler is one thing and occupying the country and changing the whole system is another. Comment

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The Poems of Hafez
202 ghazals in English
Translated by Reza Ordoubadian

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