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Letters
Sept 28-Oct 2, 1998 / Mehr 6-10, 1377

Today

* Race:
- Bitter truth
-
No talk of Persian supremacy before Islam

- Change will elevate our culture
* Human Rights:
Our own Taliban
* Turkman: Sweet memories

Previous

* Clinton: Shouldn't help him
* Iran Air: I love aviation
* Intolerance: Brazen anti-Semitism

* Iranian-American: You should go to Iran
* Proverb: Ghosseh nakhor azeezam...

* Iran/U.S.:
- Opponents of reconciliation
-
Iran's frozen assets in U.S.


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Friday,
Oct 2, 1998

* Bitter truth

I believe Ms. Khalili in her recent article "Forgiving Salm and Tur" has been extremely courageous and honest about our national psyche regarding race issues.

At the risk of being unpopular, I have always said that a lot of us Iranians are as racist as the KKK. How many times have you heard your fellow Iranians refer to Blacks as "those damn Barzangis" or call Mexicans some other demeaning names?

How many times have you heard Iranians living in Iran tell you horror stories about poor Afghan refugees, calling them thieves and savages (just like Anglo-Americans who blame all their social ills on smelly foreigners)? At the same time I have heard Blacks, Hispanics, and Arabs make racial remarks about other races and nationalities.

The reason is simple; they all suffer from the same illness that we've been afflicted with, and that is that their national ego or pride has been demolished by outside forces throughout history. Hispanics and Blacks, through the media, have been represented as a class of minimum-wage workers or crack-selling criminals. Just like us Iranians, they have been humiliated. They compensate for it by feeling superior and putting other races down.

Laleh's most correct and profound statement was "We, the diasporan Iranians, draw lines of segregation along class lines as frequently or more often than we do along color lines." Couldn't have said it better myself.

Laleh has held up a mirror to us, showing us the bitter truth about our national character. Just like any ugly image in a mirror, the reflection may be painful to look at, but it is still true.

Farhad Homayounpour
[email protected]

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* Our own Taliban

The continuation of presecution of religious minorities or any minorities in Iran goes to show, we have our own Talibans, but we call them...!

S. Sohrab
[email protected]

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* Sweet memories

Thank you Mr. Kasraian ["Envy": Photos from Turkman Sahra]. I am a Turkman from Gonbad-a-Kavous and certainly appreciate your pictures a great deal. It brought sweet memories from the distance past. Thanks again...

Nader Ghoujeghi
[email protected]

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Thursday
Oct 1, 1998

* No talk of Persian supremacy before Islam

In our own history, you never come across a reference to the term "Persian," a term you have used repeatedly in your article ["Forgiving Salm and Tur"]. "Iran" and "Aniran" ( i.e., non-Iranian) are terms used in the pre-Islamic era, when there is no talk of the supremacy of Persians (people who live in Fars and in general mainland Iran) over other ethnic groups living on the fringes of the Iranian plateau.

After Islam, for hundreds of years, we did not have an entity called Iran. The Persian language carried the burden of "cultural unification." As a matter of fact, what we call the Persian language, has its origin in the Khorasani accent of the old Pahlavi language which spread from northeastern Iran.

Your refere to the Persian language as if it is a legacy of the people of Fars. This is wrong. In the vacuum created after Islam, the Dari variation of Farsi -- an Indo-Iranian language -- became a good and natural alternative to Arabic. The Pahlavi language of Fars perished and Dari from Khorasan replaced it. Farsi belongs to all Iranians.

I do not disagree with you on all the points you have discussed in your article but then again, do not categorize all iranians as people with a sense of supremacy towards all third world people and an inferiority complex towards the first worlders, or as people who do not want their children to marry Blacks, etc. People are different in all societies.

Kaveh Ghayour
[email protected]

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* Change will elevate our culture

Laleh Khalili's article ["Forgiving Salm and Tur"] was magnificent- Baa-RE-Ka-Laa!

Unfortunately, so many of us (Persians) know that this (superiority) mentality exists BUT the real challenge is what we can and should do in order to take our culture and people to the next level of co-existence in Iran and abroad.

We are very perceptive and aware of the world around us. However, the breaking point comes when we must step out and make changes -- we are filled with fear -- fear that is tainted by not being accepted by our cultural norms, our families and communities.

Some feel that change would harm the authentic nature of culture, that changing cultural attitudes and norms will water down Persian Culture. FALSE. If anything, change will elevate our culture and people.

I continuously challenge my fears and never fall victim to it. I challenge all to live outside of the realm of fear.

Maryam Ovissi
[email protected]

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Wednesday
Sept 30, 1998

* I love aviation

I just visited your Iran Air info site. I love aviation and especially civil aviation, your update was just the info. I needed to know about the airline situation in Iran.

I have left home and have not been back since 1986, and my last Iran Air flight was with a B747-200 (Kurdestan) from Tehran to Istanbul!

Reza Bostani
[email protected]

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* Shouldn't help Clinton

I don't think there should be any donations from Iranians to Clinton or any Americans. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against them, but they see Iranians, and especially Muslims, as terrorists or as people who are up to no good, which is not true at all. My opinion!

Amir Johnson
[email protected]

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Tuesday
Sept 29, 1998

* Brazen anti-Semitism

Though I appreciate Ali's passion for his cause ["Such hypocricy"), we certainly could have done without the unnecessary profanity. I am even less appreciative of the brazen anti-Semitism in his last sentence which is so common and still, in 1998, expressed so readily and unashamedly by many of our countrymen.

Iraj

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* You should go to Iran

I enjoyed very much reading your article ["American, Iranian too"]. This is the second time that I read it. Both times I was very moved seeing a girl who has never ctually been to Iran, researching to find all the reasons behind every cultural thing. It's wonderful.

I on the other hand am half Iraninan and half American. My father came to the U.S. to study, met my mother, they moved to Iran. My sister and I both were born there. I lived there for 10 years (I am 21 now).

I went to visit two years ago; it was amazing, exciting and interesting. If you ever get a chance to go, you should. Again, I enjoyed your article very much.

Jessica Asgari
Louisville, KY
[email protected]

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Monday
Sept 28, 1998

* Ghosseh nakhor azeezam...

The proverb in your quote of the day on Friday, Sept 25, "khoshaa aan keh khar aamad-o gaav raft" (happy he/she who was born an ass and died a cow: The more stupid the happier), reminded me of the following poem by someone whose name I have forgotten:

Del- aazaadeh-am oftaadeh dar daam-e pashimaani,
pashimaanam vali soodi nadaarad in pashimaani.

Dar dowraan-e javaani laafeh daanaaee zadam, ammaa,
beh peeri mizanam bar baameh daanesh koose naadaani.

Gomaan bordam fzuntar shavad har rooz aagaahi,
nadaanestam keh aagaahi bovad aaghazeh hyraani.

***

ghosseh nakhor azeezam keh zendegi doh roozeh...

If anyone knows the name of the poet, please let me know.

Afshar
[email protected]

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* Opponents of reconciliation

In light of the ongoing anti-Iranian sentiments expressed by the U.S. congress it would be beneficial for your readers to get relevant information regarding the political interest groups opposing any improvement in the U.S.-Iran relations on Capitol Hill. Providing a link in your web site to the American Israeli Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at www.aipac.com should provide a sobering experience for your readers.

Hormoz Ameri
[email protected]

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