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Shahin & Sepehr

 

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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Letters
Nov 2-6, 1998 / Aban 11-15, 1377

Today

* Americans: Don't we have any good points?

Previous

* Ta'rof:
- Laughed and cried
-
Ta'rof is a Tehrani thing
* Iranians & Hollywood: Don't share you excitement
* Bahais:
- Honest account
- Vague
* Expatriates: Good amount of shamelessness


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Friday,
Nov 6, 1998

* Don't we have any good points?

As an American who is married to an Iranian for the past 20 years I was quite offended by this article ["How to become an American"]. If I as an American wrote an article in which I stereotyped a certain ethnic group, I would be labeled as a racist. Is it fair, therefore, that an Iranian who came to this country most likely in search of a better life, would write such an article as this?

I have learned that all cultures have their good points and bad points, and America is one of the few countries in the world in which an Iranian can still be an Iranian, an Italian can still be an Italian, a German can still be a German, etc. While living in Germany for the past 10 years, an "auslander" (literally out of land) will always be an "auslander." When a foreigner immigrates to Germany, he is expected to cleanse himself of his total identity and adapt totally to the German system. This is not something that I see happening in America.

While I agree with the author's right to freedom of speech, I do feel that he could have been a bit kinder in his choice of words and at least had something positive to say about the country he chose to immigrate to. I do not own a big car, have no pets, have only two credit cards and always pay off my balances immediately with no interest charged. If I wrote an article entitled "How to become an Iranian" I'm sure I could also come up with many generalizations that many Iranian-Americans would not be too happy with.

An American
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Thursday
Nov 5, 1998

* Laughed and cried

I enjoyed your "War, Iranian style" strory very much! As an American with many Persian friends, I never understood the ritual until I read your story. I laughed till I cried and now am fully able to participate in the war game. Very good work indeed!

Disney Fan
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* Ta'rof is a Tehrani thing

This ta'rof business is used a lot by Tehranis ["War, Iranian style"]. I grew up in Khuzestan, although we are known for khoongarmi and mehman-navazi, this ta'rof business was not an issue at the same level as Tehranis. Don't get me wrong but not every Iranian is from Tehran, although it seems that way with a lot of Iranians overseas. Suddenly everyone is bache Tehroon -- but it's not true! So I suggest your byline should say, "By A Tehrani."

Reebaha
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Wednesday
Nov 4, 1998

* Don't share you excitement

In regards your article titled "Practice makes perfect": I too saw the show. I watched how ignorantly the defendant and his employees remarked that "[they had] not gotten over the hostage 'thing'." I saw the pity that the defense counselor felt for the grieved Iranian girl, losing her job because of discrimination. And the jury's decision for the defendant went not unnoticed.

But I don't share your excitement at Hollywood's approval of Iranians. You missed the plane, train, and cab ride to this point. Hollywood has forgiven the Iranians for all the bad things we did, and now we can kiss and make up. I'm not so ready to jump on the bandwagon of international makeup sex for the sake of makeup.

What America gets to watch on the boob-tube is either Iranians, fist in the air, cursing to let loose the dogs of war onto the imperial pigs, or a blue-eyed, soft spoken Iranian girl making right out of wrong - with the help of her American, lawyer friend. Hers is not Martin Luther King's civil disobedience or Stokely Carmichael's 'Black Power'. This one is like the 80's yuppie retorts using judicial laws to punish moral crimes: I don't like what you think of me, so I'm gonna change it by making you pay.

Of course, you would not see a show about an Iranian Rosa Parks, protesting her discharge by joining a competing dry-cleaning or starting her own laundry business (did I miss the bus on that analogy?), because that would not reap Godzilla ratings for primetime, or for that matter, make a good show about bad lawyers.

Ali Safarnejad
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Tuesday
November 3, 1998

* Honest account

I read your pieces called "The education of Mahdiyeh." I am a Baha'i living in the U.S., and I appreciate your honest account of Baha'is situation in Iran.

I. Shakeri

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* Vague

After reading your feature story ["The education of Mahdiyeh"], I was left with a vague feeling. What did all this have to do with 155 years of continuing persecution, prejudice, slaughter in the name of God and his religion?

Sepehr Sohrab
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Monday
Nov 2, 1998

* Good amount of shamelessness

In reply to Ali Khalili's "Farewell cherry tree":

The reason why you don't see any trace of things similar to what you have written in your article throughout the internet is probably because it takes a good amount of shamelessness to talk about the pain you and people like you went through, once one remembers the pain of a nation who was sacrificing its best children, while you fled from the country to save your lives.

I find it quite oxymoronic when you mention patriotism among the reasons why you were unhappy when leaving Iran; please make sure to look up the word "patriot" in your dictionary. Nobody had forced you to leave; you left to save your life, which happens to be not a bit worthier than the lives of true patriots who died for saving their country.

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