August 2-6, 1999 / Mordad 11-15, 1378
* Airline abuse
- Good approach
- No visa needed IF...
- Magical realism
- Very, very, very, very
- Allah knows best
- Yeah right
* The Iranian:
- Beravim aadam beshavim!
- Cheshemun kur
- Passionate feelings
- No harm in defending minorities
August 12, 1999
* Good approach
I myself have not so suffered ["Airline
abuse"], but I encourage you in this approach as I am sure many
who could not speak good enough English to defend themselves, have.
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* No visa needed IF...
Iranians don't need a transit visa if they have a Green Card or an American
abuse"]. Otherwise they need a transit visa.
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* Magical realism
I have received several very kind letters from your readers about my
short story "The
Boy Who Invaded my Life," some requiring an answer. However, another
crash of my computer has wiped out the letters, but I remember enough of
the texts to give general answers to their questions.
My story is a "story," made up of the fragments of truth about
life, so no one should seek "historical" truth from that. Fiction
is a work of art that reflects life as it could be, whereas history reflects
it as it was (or, is). So, a writer can do a great deal to manipulate human
life, the life blood of fiction, and speculate about what would happen,
given a set of circumstances, and often it can be an indicator of the future,
a sort of a blue print. Then, no one should assume that this story is the
story of my life. But, if it has stimulated the deeper feelings of your
readers (at least, seven of them!), then there must be some inherent truth
behind the story, and that is the way it should be. I am well pleased!
One of your readers is correct: this fiction echoes Garcia Marquez and
his "magical realism."
Therefore, since the story is told as a matter of fact, the reader must
supple the meaning for the closing of the passageway in the story and the
mysterious boy, whose name, by the way, means, "kind and warm-hearted."
Another reader correctly indicates that the story has been filtered twice
from the points of views of two narrators. But, it is also filtered from
the point of view of the translator, so that, if there was a "real"
limited base to the story, it is expanded into a universal truth through
the added points of views. I didn't want to lecture on this, but here it
Four people have asked about my background--shouldn't my background
stand far away from the story? The artist and his art are two separate
entities. Never mind that--I was born in Tabriz and my early education
took place in Tehran. I came to the United States as a Fulbright fellow
and finished my Ph.D. and Post-doctoral work and taught for 30 years, first
here, then as a Visiting Professor in Sweden. I have created a modest amount
of work, but the story published in The Iranian is my first attempt
to incorporated my background in my art.
One person has asked for a hard copy of the story. I will include this
story in my collection of short stories that I am preparing for regular
publication. Most of these stories have a "Persian" connection.
I am sure it will be reviewed in The Iranian when the book is published.
Thank you for your efforts and time to write me about your feelings. I
am sorry that I am unable to write directly and thank you personally; please
take this as a personal expression of my gratitude .
Professor of English
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August 11, 1999
* Beravim aadam beshavim!
aziz, bahaat do kalaam harf-e hesaab daaram:
man ham mesl-e to dar saal-haaye bist-e zendegi-am hastam. az doraan-e
gozasht-e ham tajrobeh-ye ziaadi nadaaram, gheyr az aan chizi keh dar ketaab-haaye
taarikh khaandeh-am, aan ham saansur nashodeh, beh zabaani gheir az faarsi!
avval-e ham-e inke, gofti khaak bar sar-e maa keh enghelaab kardim".
azizjaan khodat raa ghaati nakon! in to va maa naboodim keh enghelaab kardim.
in pedaraan va madaraan-e maa boodand keh chenin faribi khordand va az
yek mamleket-e baa aabero, baa heysiat va pishro yek chenin kharaabeh-ee
saakhtand va haalaa ham daarand beh esm-e sarzamin-e maadari beh nasl-e
baad tahvil midahand.
ghalat-kardam-haaye yek seri siaasatmadr-haa, haalaa keh beh hoosh aamadeh-and,
digar baraay-e man va to mamlekat nemishavad -- aab-ee bud keh rikht va
digar nemishavad jamesh kard.
amaa yek chiz raa bedaan! Iran maal-e maast! tasavvor nakon keh bist
saal-e digeh jomhuri-ye eslaami-ee vojood khaahad daasht! maa ers-e pedari
ro pas khaahim gereft. amaa na baa yek enghelaab-e shureshi balkeh baa
yek enghelaab-e darooni. yani ink-e maa baayad beravim kaari raa bekonim
keh naasl-e pedaraan-e maa nakard: beravim aadam beshavim!
zood-baavar nabaashim, morusi ham din va yaa hich tarz-e tafakkori raa
ham bedon-e motaale-eye taarikh-e aan napazirim. kholaaseh inke:
1- farzandaan-e zahhaak beh khodiy-e khod beh zobaaledaani-ye taarikh
khaahand peyvast -- dir yaa zood daareh amaa sukht-o-suz nadaareh.
2- nasle jadid beh pedar va maadaresh negaah mikoneh va sa'y khaahad
kard keh aan chizi keh aan-haa budand nabaash-e.
3- maa Iran ro khaahim saakht, baa inkeh chiz-e ziaadi az on baaqi namaandeh,
vali khob behar jahat in mamlekat ers-e ajdaadi-ye maast nah maal-e a'raab.
4- Iran naabood nashodani ast!
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* Very, very, very, very
These clippings were very, very, very, very interesting ["Oh, the life
of a rock star"]. There are few things I enjoy more than reading
first-person accounts of foreigners' (especially Americans') experiences
in Iran. It's like the Lonely Planet series on the Discovery Channel.
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August 10, 1999
* Allah knows best
After reading the article "Who
are we kidding?" I realized the lack of understanding towards
Islam that was expressed. The Islamic system, in its ideal form, was the
form of government that ruled from Spain to China for hundreds of years.
Spain's Islamic government lasted a good 700 years before the Christian
invasion. During this period, Spain entered its golden age. Europeans and
Jews flocked to take advantage of the freedoms, tolerance, and education
available no where else in Europe.Islamic Spain is also the seed where
the Renassaince blossomed from. When students went home to the dark Europian
societies after graduating from the advanced Islamic universities, they
wore the long Islamic garb. That is how the west recieved the idea for
the gown and tassled cap tradition for our graduation ceremonies.
Islam is a religion of tolerence, learning, freedom and above all, the
religion ordained by Allah. Iran, in its attempt at a modern theocracy,
should be given a chance to grow into fruition. Political upheaval is healthy
for the country, not the other way around. Islamic government has already
outlasted any other system of government with human doctrains and laws.
We look at democracy as the ideal system, yet understand it still as a
human concept, not a divine one. And Allah knows best.
Democracy and "freedom" in the West are borderline anarchy.
We see the complete moral collapse of human beings, and as Muslims, are
we supposed to see that as the "best way"? How is holding hands
with one's "girlfriend" on a street in Tehran freedom? Is getting
her pregnant a freedom too? How about the freedom of expression? Is badmouthing
an Imam or slandering Islam a freedom? No, no and no. These are paths to
moral decay, the same kind we see in the West. In these cases, freedom
In working with the Islamic government in Iran, one has to be able to
speak the language of the mollas. Rioting in student demonstrations is
not an effective way.
For women to play sports in public is going to be hard when you have
protect your dignity (keeping the hijab on). But Rafsanjani's daughter
realized the importance of womens health. She approached the mollas with
the idea of the first Islamic Games for Women in Iran. She cited the hadith
that all "Muslims should have strong bodies", male and female.
In the end she found a true freedom that is in accordinance with the law
of Allah. And Allah knows best.
How many of these students actually picked up a book on Islamic Law
and seriously tried to compare it to democracy? Look at Islamic Spain and
compare it to the moral collapse of the U.S. After living in the U.S. for
so long, one can only see the backwardness of that country compared to
the dignity Allah wants us to have in his Islamic Law.
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* Yeah right
To answer the letter "Women
in Islam", Farina you are a retarded girl if in the 20th century
you think about the hijab. How could you say Islam gives rights to women?
I can say those rights were good enough for their time -- 1400 years ago
-- but not now.
In Islam does one woman equal one man? In my country a mother doesn't
have the right to bring up her own child after divorce. (Yeah right! Heaven
is beneath her feet!). Women don't have the right to divorce but men can
divorce any time they want and so on. Is that equality? Good for your religion!
By the way if you really like Islamic countries why don't you go back
to your country and enjoy your freedom there? please read some books and
try to think instead of repeating stuff that your grandparents told you.
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August 9, 1999
* No harm in defending minorities
Mr. Ali Akbar Mahdi's piece ["Harmful
favoritism"] on the response of Western governments and media
to the arrest of 13 Iranian Jews was well researched, yet a bit naïve
in its arguments. Mr. Mahdi complains and asks: "Why do the Western
media and Jewish groups fail to mention the others among this group [of
arrested Iranians]?" What he fails to realize is that the only reason
anyone is talking about the arrest of Jews in Iran--or any other country
in the world for that matter--is the well organized lobby of the Jewish
people. Due to the centuries-long anti-Semitism and genocide experienced
by the Jews, they have developed a highly united front in defending their
The Jews and Israel have gone through amazing lengths to free their
cohorts in the past. Who could forget the deal Israel made with the Marxist
government of Ethiopia in the 1980s, when they literally traded weapons
for Jews? Cargo planes would fly weapons from Tel Aviv to Addis Ababa,
and the same planes would in turn transport thousands of Ethiopian Jews
to Israel. If the followers of any other religion or ethnicity in Iran
(or any other country) had one-tenth of the concern, unity and organization
that the Jews have in favor of their people, you can be sure that we would
hear about the rest of the folks persecuted and in jail in Iran more often.
New York City is full of Jews. The majority is educated, and if some
even don't believe in God, they never the less care about their fellow
Jews in trouble in any part of the world--whether it be Ethiopia, Russia
or Iran. Can we say the same thing about the Iranian community? Much of
the Iranian diaspora is either totally apathetic to events in Iran or hates
this group or that group of Iranians (as can be discerned from occasional
hate letters to the The Iranian) and would not come to the defense of an
individual or group who may not share their peculiar political or religious
affiliation. In the majority of cases, however, Jews will help each other
no matter what their extent of political differences. (Its interesting
to note that Jews have been helping others as well. During the Civil Rights
era in the 1960s in the United States, a very large proportion of the white
Americans marching alongside Martin Luther King's followers were Jews.
And during the Kosovo crisis of 1999, Israel accepted some Muslim Kosovar
families as refugees and currently at least one American Jewish organization
has set up medical clinics for Muslims and Christians in the Balkans.)
A more important mistaken stance held by Mr. Mahdi is his complaint
about the Western governments and media in what he writes as their "overblown
reaction to a case that is not yet determined (as if all these 13 Jews
[currently jailed in Iran] are already convicted and about to be put to
execution) " If I may say so, that is such a lame criticism! What
does Mr. Mahdi expect the Jewish diaspora and their friends to do? Wait
until the dead bodies of their Iranian colleagues are delivered to their
relatives (as has been done many-a-time by the Iranian regime with other
"counter-revolutionaries"), and then publicize and complain about
their arrests AND executions?! As most human rights organizations would
concur, the more publicity is shed on cases of presumed prisoners of conscience,
the more likely is for the regime holding such prisoners to treat them
better and at the minimum not execute them. However, it goes without saying
that the appeals to the governments have to be polite and void of name-calling.
Mr. Mahdi should not get me wrong. I too wish that the Western press
and governments would publicize the cases of all people arrested on unsubstantiated
charges in Iran whether they be Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, Christian, Zoroastrian,
Kurd, communist, agnostic or atheist. But let's not forget that the media
and governments react to their constituents. In the real politik world,
it is safe to posit that the amount of concern shown by the western media
and governments to such injustices worldwide is directly proportional to
the existence of active grass root efforts urging them to do so. Having
learnt from history, the Jews have such organized lobby and grass-roots
advocacy groups, united in favor of their people. Our reaction should not
be to criticize the effort of the Jews or the media and governments they
influence. We should rather commend them, befriend them, and emulate the
unity and organization they hold, and try to implement our new-found knowledge
in defending the Iranian community as a whole.
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* Passionate feelings
The article by Reza Razavi ["Who
are we kidding?"] was actually an article I could read and understand
very clearly. He is an excellent writer. I'm a journalist myself, and I
always look for stories that can have the passionate feelings in the writings
and can directly hit me through my mind and heart, simultaneosly. Rezavi
did just that! Hope to read more of his articles soon.
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August 6, 1999
* Cheshemun kur
goftegoo-ye shomaa raa dar The Iranian khoundam ["It's
the civil society, stupid"]. khodam raa dar har do nafar shenaakham.
man chand ruz pish az tehraan aamadam va jelo-ye khaabgaah-e daaneshgaah
spark"], do ruz ba'd az hamleh-ye ansaar-e hezb-e sheytaan --
beh qol-e khod-e daaneshju-haa.
man do taa nazar daaram:
1 - mardom digeh hoseley-e enghelaab nadaarand vali agar ozaay-e eqtesaadi
avaz nashavad shuresh-haaee anjaam khaahad gereft. goftam shuresh nah enghelaab.
2- khaak bar sar-e maa keh enghelaab kardim cheshemun kur , chubesh
ra baayad bokhorim taa dasteh va kunemunam besuzeh keh digeh az in ghalataa
nakonim. albateh man 22 saalameh va 10 saaleh keh faraanseh hastam va faqat
een aakhund-haa raa didam.
hezbolaahi-haa va basiji-haa hanuz chehreyeh vaghe-eeye khodeshun ra
neshun nadaadan. khaahim did keh inhaa cheqadr heyvaan hastan. dar ayande
shuresh khaye andjam khanad ghereft va een heyvaan-haa baa komak-e rohaniyun-e
qom shuresh-haa raa betor-e vahshiyaaneh sarkub khaahand kard. pas khatami
raast amal mikoneh cheraa keh midun-e inhaa cheqadr vahshi hastand.
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I find your welcome
page very distasteful. Also a moving eyeball is not a very pleasing
and tasteful sight to behold.
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