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Letters
Oct 5-9, 1998 / Mehr 13-17, 1377

Today

* WebGuide:
- Useless Ankaboot

- Reply: We're good. We'll be even better

Previous

* The Iranian: Not worth the time
* Business: Low-profile
* Afghanistan: Concentrate on freedoms, not war

* Home: In short...
* Conspiracy theories: Islam = Reformed Manicheism
* Educator: Mohammad Basirian: "Soldier of Human Dignity"


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Friday,
Oct 9, 1998

* Useless Ankaboot

I used to keep a list of interesting Iranian web sites. Later on, I noticed your informative WebGuide and told myself there is no need to keep so many URL's on pieces of papers here and there.

Then for God knows what reason you decided to transfer your WebGuide section to Ankaboot.com! But sadly Ankaboo is so slow and useless and unreliable and intermittent and, in one world, crappy, that I decided to dig my old papers and find my favorit URL'S!

Hamid
[email protected]

* Reply: We're good. We'll be even better

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Dear Hamid,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your opinions on Ankaboot. I'm sorry to hear that you feel Ankaboot is "slow and useless and unreliable and intermittent." Our plan for Ankaboot.com is to be the largest and best source for finding Iranian sites on the Net. In building our database we partnered with The Iranian and included their sites in our database.

Currently we have over 2,600 sites listed in our database. That is more than four times the size of The Iranian's former WebGuide links. We also searched throughout the Net and found thousands of other sites and included them as well. We appreciate our partnership with The Iranian and we feel that we are providing the users of The Iranian with a much better way to find sites.

Since the beginning of May 1998 when Ankaboot.com was launched our viewers have submitted hundreds of new sites to us. This is the first negative message we have received. Most of our viewers have been very supportive and encouraging.

We plan to release the new version of Ankaboot.com in the next few months. We hope you will try us again then and give us your feedback.

Karim Ardalan
MIS, Inc.
[email protected]

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Thursday
Oct 8, 1998

* Not worth the time

Your web site has some interesting features and stories, but I find myself quickly moving away from the site in disgust every time a new browser window needlessly loads. I understand you are trying to turn as many pages/advertisements as possible, but after a while it gets to be too much!

For example: is it really necessary for me to have 10 browser windows open to look through the archived Photo of The Day? Also, should already registered users really need to load three introductory pages before getting to the main page?! It's like watching a 1/2-hour TV show with 20 minutes of commercials.

If you don't change your code to flow better, your site will not be worth the time it takes to browse, and soon your advertizers will see that you are "page stuffing."

Still, I find the site and its contents interesting enough to care and write to you about it, so it's on the right track. Some HTML work is needed though to make it an *enjoyable* site.

David Yaghoubian
[email protected]

REPLY: The new-browser commands have been removed from the links in the Photo of the Day archive and the registration page now links directly to the Today section. jj

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Wednesday
Oct 7, 1998

* Low-profile

As I am a new reader of Iranian Times I would like to know why the buisiness section is low profile and you can not find much up to date analysis of the relevant issues, even the $ rate given is not daily.

I am sure most Iranians in different parts of the world would like to know the up to date rate of exchange for the rial in different currencies.

Dr Hossein Saidpour
Bournemouth University
Bournemouth, UK
[email protected]

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Tuesday
Oct 6, 1998

* Concentrate on freedoms, not war

I think it is important to see the big picture before we enter a war game with Afghanistan. For the first time in our history, the constitution of Iran is legally forming. Although we have a long way to go, still people are demanding freedom and the rule of law. For a country like Iran this is definitely a first step. The impact of this trend in our society is not something to be ignored.

The road chosen by Afghanistan is their internal problems. If Pakistan is supporting the Afghans, let it be. Iran is not so developed to afford more political, social, and economical problems. We need to continue our movement for freedom of thought and speech and should not focus on the Afghan's problems. It is our problem when they threaten our national security, but in the long run the winner will be the most stable country, which we're on the path of accomplishing.

Any sudden action from Iran will result in fundamentalism to gain power in Iran.

Arman
[email protected]

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* In short...

[Regarding Laleh Khalili's "Absence"]

BIG DEAL.

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Monday
Oct 5, 1998

* Islam = Reformed Manicheism

Excellent document ["Conspiracy theories and the Persian mind"]. conspiracy theories are characteristic of other Islamic countries and the Soviet Union because of Manichean influence. Communism is a form of Manicheism (thesis-antithesis, etc) and Islam itself is a reformed or one could say rectified kind of Manicheism. Islam takes many elements of Manicheism but instead of two abstract gods defined by their opposition makes them into one.

Traces of Manicheism in Islam is the theory of martyrs (like Mani they are alive and receive food from their Lord) all prophets from one source, the three groups of the Surat al-Waqiah etc, and of course the Zoroastrian elements point to Hira, the stopping place on the way from Mecca to Ctesiphon as the place where Manicheism entered and was then transformed within the person of Mohammad.

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* Mohammad Basirian: "Soldier of Human Dignity"

If a government, through its higher education system, tries to train a generation of young graduates whose main goal is to consolidate the foundation bricks of the existing regime by approving and possibly applauding all its policies, such a system is indeed digging its own grave. Such a regime will be a dead one sooner or later. In order to live, to meet the challenge of our world which its only constant phenomenon is perhaps "change" itself, a higher education system should rather ignite a critical approach within the younger generation. An approach looking for changing the status quo towards ideals rather than guarding it.

An old lady, a sculptor, a playwright and a philosopher who lectured during our commencement ceremony put this idea under the beautiful title of "Raise a rainbow." When the big heart of my teacher and friend, Mohammad Basirian, stopped on that fifth day of October in 1988, several generations of graduates from University of Tehran lost a genuine, humble, restless patron of human dignity.

Although his official assignment was "Specialty English Course Professor," all his students would agree that he was indeed teaching "how to learn." He was indeed trying to ignite a passion for learning, a critical view towards the status quo. He would shout at a student, he would argue with the bureaucrats, the ones who were taking the safe side of the mighty rulers. He was the one who would act sometimes with brutality with those students who had chosen the easy way by adhering to the existing norms and codes of power.

Years later, after Islamic Revolution, during the Iraqi invasion days, when the very young revolutionary guards (Pasdars) would block the streets and stop the cars and search the trunks and ask meaningless questions, it was he who would shout at them furiously and tell them your enemy is the one who is penetrating your capital city and bombing it every night, not the girls and boys and families traveling in the cars which you stop.

Ten years have passed since the day his heart stopped. He was in his early fifties. When I look back, I realize that he was one of those rare people who tried to take his students to the peaks of life and tried to teach them how to look at life from the top. To ignore the minor differences and tolerate different attitudes; to look at life to see how you can change it. He tried to teach passion for learning.

If there are some of the several generations of his students who happen to read this memorabilia, the graduates of University of Tehran's different faculties during early 1970s, they would agree with me that it would be fair to call him "The Unknown Soldier of Human Dignity. "

Parviz Forghani
[email protected]

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