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July-December 2005


Feminist discourse

Books by Parvin Paidar & Margot Badran
Masoud Kazemzadeh

The two books under review are among an emerging body of scholarship in Middle East studies that utilize Western social scientific concepts of gender, class and ideology to challenge the aforementioned paradigms. They criticize Orientalist, modernization, and neo-Orientalist scholars for their essentialist notions of Islam. Instead, they argue that there are numerous and conflicting Islamic groups and states, and therefore, that the view of Islam as coherent and homogeneous is false. They criticize the dependency and neo-Marxist scholarship for ignoring the saliency, if not the centrality, of gender and patriarchy in the analysis of Middle Eastern polities.

My story

I have always wanted to write about my sex life
Shana Yazdi

I have always wanted to write about my sex life but  I have always had a big hesitation talking about my sexual and personal matters. However my adventures in sex and relationships are so great that I would like to talk about it, especially with women who fall in love with more than one guy. This is a completely true story but I had to make slight changes to the Persian names for the sake of anonymity. It may sound a little bit too explicit or offensive to you but I am sure this text will be quite enlightening for those of you who want to get wind of the recent sexual revolution which is happening in Iran.

Darse ebrat

Marrying off young Iranian girls to men living abroad
Mina Azadparast

Flying high

Photo essay: Funeral for a pioneer female aviator Sadighe Dowlatshahi
Farah Ravon

A man and women's rights

CIelebrating the writings and research of Hammed Shahidian who had a laconic commitment to women's rights
Samira Mohyeddin

On November 26, 2005, colleagues, friends, family, and admirers came together at the University of Toronto to honour the memory and legacy of scholar, professor, and activist, Dr. Hammed Shahidian. Organized by friends and colleagues of Shahidian's, Dr. Shahrzad Mojab and Dr. Haideh Moghissi, the memorial had a very charged atmosphere. Meaning, there was an overwhelming awareness of the loss that both academics and activists of social justice have encountered. Charged, because the memorial was a testimonial of how Shahidian's writings on the oppression of women in Iran have contributed and paved paths to area's of inquiry that have gone against the dominant narratives in the academy.

Feminist ink

The “boom” in prose writing by Iranian women authors in the 1990s within the context of the situation of women in contemporary Iran
Golbarg Bashi

In this essay a history of Iranian women’s social and literary developments as well as their struggle for emancipation will be discussed. This is done firstly, in order to give an evident picture of their restrictions and progresses, which are matters that go hand in hand with discovering the reasons behind women’s flourishment in prose writing in post-Khomeini Iran. Secondly, a presentation of the historical background is necessary to consider, for a better understanding of the present developments in women’s literature. Thus, I believe it is useful to take a deeper look at Iran’s historical background where these literary developments are in-rooted.

My two mothers

My aunt and I continued to think of each other as mother and child
Nahid Rachlin

Once a year, my real mother came to Tehran to visit her relatives there. But she paid me no particular attention. I called my aunt Mother and my own mother Aunt Mohtaram or nothing at all. I had met my father only once. I was afraid of him, of his rights to claim me, a fear I caught from my aunt. I lived with a sense of foreboding as you do if you know you have a lot to lose. I stayed close to my aunt, came home right after school, invited my friends to our house rather than going to theirs. One day, when I was nine, I was playing with friends in the yard of our elementary school when I saw a man approach.

Ideological tyranny in Iranian women’s studies

A response to Shahrzad Mojab
Golbarg Bashi

Feminist research or women’s studies is a methodological perspective that criticises societal inequalities, with an emphasis on gender disparities. As a secular feminist I initiated a re-debate over the crisis in Iranian women’s studies/activism (intertwined) so that our scholarship and activism embraces more lives inside Iran. I did not in any way offer a fixed agenda for achieving a gender-equal state in Iran. As someone who has spent most of her life outside Iran, it perplexes me still that some senior Iranian intellectuals deconstruct one’s arguments as if it was a clear-cut programme to overthrow a whole government and create a revolution.

How to kill your inner-mullah

Books we'd like to send in circulation

Across the secular-religious divide

Reading Parvin Paidar's book, I found my purpose in life
Golbarg Bashi

Personally, having grown up outside Iran, and having had "inferior and inconsistent" images of the Iranian resistance to tyranny during my childhood and early adulthood, Parvin Paidar's work made me feel otherwise. In her book Women and the Political Process in Twentieth Century Iran, I found someone who was objective, sharp, sincere and inspirational... How refreshing and liberating it was to discover this as a young second-generation Iranian student!

Born again virgin

I wanted to tell her that not unlike the chicken pox, the good thing about virginity is that you only get it once -- at least I think so.
Baharak Sedigh

But as I looked up from my frapuccino, the look in her eyes surprised me, as if pleading with me to just go along with it. As if the thought of facing another of life's delusions was simply too much to bear. Suddenly she smiled, shook her head from side to side slowly as she shrugged her shoulders and I realized that she was happier than before, at least more peaceful, which counts for something I guess. I shook my head and laughed. I let my eyes tell her all the loving-but-teasing comments that were pushing against my lips, and I let my heart--not my head lead the rest of the way. On this day, she just needed a friend.

Keeping going

Losing Parvin Paidar all too soon
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When in fall 2002 Parvin told me that her melanoma had returned, after a twenty-year lapse, I could not but think it must be a mistake. Our friendship had its beginnings about the same time as her first bout of struggle with melanoma. How could it have returned to end our friendship? How could a mere dysfunction of a gene ruin a most precious life?

Nimeye Paidar

Parvin Paidar enriched our feminist scholarship and struggles for equal rights, democracy, freedom and justice
Nayereh Tohidi

Parvin was a coalition builder rather than a divisive ideologue. As a person she came from love, understanding and empathy rather than hatred and vengeance toward those who differed with her ideologically or even had wronged her and other seculars. She was free from rigid dogmas and blinding prejudices and sectarianism, the attributes that were rare during the early years of post-revolutionary Iran when the theocratic dogmas and repressive policies of the Islamist government had left very little room for dialogue, tolerance, and pluralism.

Azam's Fatwa

Viagra is not the solution
Azam Nemati

It does not take Einstein to figure that these younger women (while waiting to get their green cards, have breast implants, nose jobs and perhaps learn English) would be really happy just to be married to Mr. Engineer who has a nice car and a house and go to grocery stores to buy ton of food and not worry about the cost and get to wear the nice clothes (which he chooses and buys for her) to show off to other mail order brides. I can always tell when I meet them for the first time because they look with such curiosity when they are introduced to me and I catch their eyes scanning me from   head to toe because they find independent women fascinating and unreal at the same time. They usually ask about my clothes, jewelry and make up and when I mention my son their eyes roll because I guess I do not look like a mom.

Writing out terror

I write to record those lives and these tears
Hammed Shahidian

This nightmare produces a collage in my mind—memories lose their chronological order.  Was Jame‘eh banned before Iranian News?  So many names, so many.  How can they be redeemed in our historical memory as other than yet-other-examples in the bleak record of the ruling Islamists?  The more I try to maintain an order of events, the more I flounder.  Names get mixed up, dates mingle.  So many detentions, then releases, then detentions again.  So many suspensions, then temporarily permissions to reappear, then suspensions again.  An author in Tehran, many others in provincial cities.  A magazine in a metropolitan city, many more in Tehran.  So widespread this suppression that its volume becomes a factor in assessing its form and content.  Names re- and recur, becoming “just another name” beside their own names.  Yet memory must honor those silenced by terror, I tell myself.  They must be remembered.

Man of the enlightenment

Hammed Shahidian, 1959-2005
Yassamine Mather

I first met Hammed in February of 1985 in Boston, when he was studying for  Ph.D at Brandeis University. The title of his thesis was: The Woman Question in the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979. I was on a visit to all branches of the supporter groups of the leftist Fedayin Minority, trying to explain a series of dreadful events in the Kurdistan Branch of this organisation.This was the start of a friendship that lasted until his premature death. Throughout these 20 years, it appeared as if whatever political turn I took, whatever mistake I made, Hammed was with me. I am not sure if this was a form of political allegiance or because he didn't want to end a lifelong friendship.

Fahimeh & Marzieh can play

Photo essay
Iranian women football players

Pajooheshgar yaa kaargozaare regime?

On the IWSF women's conference in Vienna
Shadi Amin

Pragmatic with patriarchy

Policing of the IWSF women's conference
Samira Mohyeddin

I am writing to you with regards to some of the comments that I have read over the summer regarding the IWSF conference in Vienna, and the so-called "rude" behaviour of some of its participants. I wanted to add my voice to this debate because the majority of responses have alluded to the younger generation of feminists, both inside and outside of Iran, who might be put off from attending this conference because of such behaviour. I want to weigh in on this notion because I believe that this is quite a distorted representation of the younger generation of Iranian feminists, particularly those in the diaspora who are sick and tired of wishy-washy academics that do not address the reality of Iran's theocratic system of governance.

Model of love

Sexuality and marriage: What heterosexuals may be picking up from homosexuals
Hamid Karimianpour

It took about two millenniums before the foundation of marriage was rocked yet again. Sex had been developing increasingly in the direction of formalization and ritualization. The transformations of the twentieth century in the West reversed for the first time this development. The sexual liberalization and the liberation of women liberated not only sexuality (arguably only to a lesser extent), but also human worth from the bondage of sexual oppression and prejudice. Humans were now acknowledged valuable regardless of their sexual orientation. Humanity regained its autonomy and respect. Sex became an expression of freedom, but what about marriage?

Where have the men gone?

(All names in this article are fictitious)
Kambiz Naficy

When I returned home after twenty-six-years, the land was covered black with women -- millions of them -- seven to every one boy. No men. The boys in Tehran walk poodles these days while the men shuffling the doe celebrate this grandest of all victories. One of my students, a pedicurist, tells me that many of the boys sit poised in beauty salons on their wedding nights, while Parvin picks their eyebrows thinner, and even puts eye-shadow in the well of their eyes.

Stop the politics of labeling

The only way to protect it is to open our minds and the doors of the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation conferences
Halleh Ghorashi

Being part of the last Iranian Women's Studies Foundation (IWSF) conference in Vienna, experiencing the clash of ideas and positions there, and explaining it over and over again to my friends and relatives gave me the idea to write about the event. However, this idea remained in my mind because of the complexity of the events: there is just so much to analyze and to say. The recent discussions on the Net have not given me the chance or time to postpone my idea. Let me start by writing about the way I experienced the clashes.

Civil society in Iran

Politics of motherhood and the public sphere
Elham Gheytanchi

Civil society and the public sphere are based on historically specific moral discourse. Social movements such as the women's movement emerge out of the internal contradictions of the dominant moral discourse at any historical juncture. The article explore how the women's movement emerged in post-revolutionary Iranian society, as represented in one major women's publication, Zanan. In post-revolutionary Iranian society, Muslim women activists broaden the boundaries of civil society by translating their highly-praised status as mothers to active nd morally recognized citizens.

Oppression Olympics

The peaceful exchange of ideas is the soil in which the very best periods, movements, and aspects of human civilization have historically taken root
Maziar Shirazi

While these 'progressives' preach tolerance and radical thinking, they end up being just like any other group of dogmatic people: aggressive, ignorant, and prejudiced or patronizing towards the whole world. They cannot be questioned, their views cannot evolve, and they don't have time for people who they view as less informed and naive, namely everybody else. In fact, they're so much better and smarter than everyone that should you try to put your own perspective out there, they don't believe that you have the right to finish what you are saying if they disagree. They actually have the right to interrupt you, to call you names, to associate you with the enemy's end of the ideological spectrum, because being able to silence and ostracize others when you disagree with them is how they construe what true freedom means.

No way

Photo essay: Opponents and supporters of sharia Islamic law in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

Exile, Part II

Vive la France! Vive la Republique!
Setareh Sabety

So now I have decided to stay here in Nice... This small city, here since the time of the ancient Greeks, has a history of welcoming exiles and foreigners from all over the world. I feel at home here. Here, I do not have roots but I have freedom. I know that no one will chastise or punish me for what I think or write or what I do in my bedroom or what I wear in the street. Here, I know that I am considered equal to a man in the eyes of the law. Here, in the land of Montesquieu, Danton and De Beauvoir, I know that I walk safe down a path of life paved on the foundations of civil liberty and respect for the individual.

Let's save a life

How many thousands of us are in the United States? Is it too much to ask that 1,000 of us to $20.00 each toward freeing this woman?
Azam Nemati

About two weeks ago, I saw the link in Zanane Iran featuring information about a woman by the name of M.A who sits on death row and will be executed unless she can pay “blood money” to the family of the man she killed. My first reaction was of sorrow and anger (not for the man at all). I ended up contacting Sanam Dolatshahi the contact person for Zanane Iran in the United States so I could get information to put the minds of the skeptics at ease. I was inspired to share what I feel and envision with all of you hoping that some of you will be inspired to help this cause.

Rules of desire

The interminable question of hijab
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When I arrived in Tehran in early July, it was shortly after the presidential elections. There was a great deal of apprehension about what the election results would translate into, especially as far as cultural space, civil liberties, public norms, and similar issues were concerned. Understandably, among all the women I visited, Islamicly-oriented or secular, how the practical rules of hijab and female-male socializing in public would change were topics of agitated concern and speculation. But what I found most fascinating was the working of the rules of hijab in private homes.

Marzieh or Delkash? Gina or Sophia?

This issue was so serious that if anyone liked both, would never admit it openly for the fear that they would be perceived as an outsider (which seems to be a swear word for some Iranians)
Vida Kashizadeh

I have experienced this phenomenon in the UK only when it comes to pet lovers. Here it is very rare to see a cat and a dog in the same household. People here usually either like cats OR dogs. And during a conversation about pets if you say that you like both cats AND dogs, there is usually a pause and depending on what kind of people you are talking to, you either get ignored (by the more stupid) or given extra attention (by the enlightened ones).

Beer with a bang

A classic Canadian beer story
Laleh Behjat

I have come from Revolution Street in Tehran, to King Street in Canada ... such a wonderful journey. Now I’ll be able to wear what I want to wear, drink what I want to drink, watch all those great Hollywood movies and walk with whomever I want to. I’ll even be free to fall in love. I’m going to celebrate, buy myself a drink, make a toast, drink the poison and go to hell.

The hijab confrontation

On the banning of religious symbols in French government schools
Siavash Daneshvar

We do not divide society into religions, nationalities and beliefs. It is only in the present system that you witness an Imam or a mullah suddenly becoming the 'advocate' of a section of the society and turning the lives of many women and children who happen to live in a Muslim community in the heart of European democracy into hell. It is exactly these relations that pave the way for honour killings, recruit soldiers for Islam, impose different norms in the society, and terrorize people. All this is done while barricading behind the wall of 'democracy', 'freedom of religion' and 'minority rights'! This is apartheid and racism. We do not accept it. We say citizens should be equal before the law. Religion, race, and no 'minority' or 'majority' defines individuals and the civil rights of citizens.

Where we are

Report on the extent of freedom in Iran
Freedom House

Iranians cannot change their government democratically. The most powerful figure in the Iranian government is the Supreme Leader (Vali-e-Faghih), currently Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei; he is chosen for life by the Assembly of Experts, a clerics-only body whose members are elected to eight-year terms by popular vote from a government-screened list of candidates. The Supreme Leader is commander in chief of the armed forces and appoints the leaders of the judiciary, the heads of state broadcast media, the commander of the IRGC, the Expediency Council, and half the members of the Council of Guardians. Although the president and parliament are responsible for designating cabinet ministers, the Supreme Leader exercises de facto control over appointments to the ministries of Defense, the Interior, and Intelligence.

Heaven: Here or thereafter?

Free yourselves of religious tyranny, go for secular democracy
Vida Kashizadeh

In the last 4-5 centuries however Islam has turned intellectually uninteresting which is what it shares with the fundamentalists of other faiths. There is a lack of capacity for open discussions and an intolerance of differing opinions. This in turn is the fruit of irrationality caused by the unquestioning submission to dogma. It is time for Islam to either take the steps towards reform and adjust to the times or become passé within the next four decades with of course a lot of bloodshed in between. So why not declaring Jihad for peace and the building of heaven on earth before landing on the eternal one?

Haramsaraahaaye mashregh zamin

Harems of the East
Hossein Nushazar


In the name of love

Many are not familiar with "mehhr" obviously because this word is not used much in colloquial Persian for its meaning as love
Vida Kashizadeh

Love in Persian is mehhr and to love is mehhr varzidan. Other words connected to this are mehhrbaan, mehhrbaani and mehhrgaan. Mehhr is another name for Mithra (the sun god/god of light) before the Zoroastrian religion became the official religion in Sassanid period (226-649 AD). Mithraism was widely spread towards the west up to the river Danube. But some traces of Mithra worship have been also found in Ireland. When Ahura Mazda was recognised as the dominant god in Zoroastrianism Mithra like other deities was declared as an angel. In this way Mehhr / Mithra became an angel of light. For the Romans however Mithraism remained a flourishing cult for men in the late Roman Empire.

The pleasant girl

Short story
Afsan Azadi

Malihe was different. From conception, she acted differently and unusual in the womb. As a fetus, she was agile and active. When her mother was carrying her in her belly, she often felt unusual symptoms. She had already bore six babies in a time span of six years, hence it was hard to assume that she was unfamiliar with the symptoms of pregnancy and its complications. But this one was a different breed. The baby kicked and moved a lot. The mother endured repeated and unusual morning sickness. The whole period of pregnancy was harsh and intolerable. She endured a great deal of difficulties carrying her for the whole seven months.

Suitable boy

I realize that present-day Iran and 19th century England have more in common than meets the eye. But at the end of the day, it is only a matter of perspective.
Homa Rastegar

"Now listen to me," she says importantly. "There is a very handsome young man here this evening." I smile politely but make no comment. "Look," she presses, nodding her head to the right. "He’s right over there. His name is Ali. Wouldn’t you like to meet him?" She looks at me expectantly. I mumble an excuse and rush off. She finds me after five minutes and taps me on the shoulder. I turn around. There she is, beaming at me, and with the poor chap in tow! She begins the typical introductions: Ali is "very successful" and "runs his own business" and I am "a fine girl" from "an excellent family" and "did you know, she even speaks German," the last word drawn out like dripping honey.

Sex khordan

An anecdote from bazaar bozorg
Behrang Litkouhi

I was in the bazaar bozorg, waiting for my parents to "chuneh" with a certain vendor, when one of the young workers, who couldn't have been older than eighteen, grabbed my attention. "Where are you from?" he asked. "The United States," I said. He reflected for a moment, and then he asked, "Do you eat a lot of sex in America?" "Well... ," I started slowly. But he didn't even give me a chance. "Here, in Iran, I eat sex, three times a week," he said proudly.

Nice try

"Sahar, Khanoom," Haniye started asking me "Are you married?" Where the hell did that come from? Please shoot me now.
Sahar Dastmalchi

A few weeks ago I was enjoying one of those rare Saturday mornings, I was alone in my apartment and didn't have to be anywhere, no papers due, hadn't taken any work home, didn't have to go grocery-shopping, didn't have any family obligations. I had the whole morning to my self. I actually had time to read the paper and drink my cup of coffee while sitting down. As I was enjoying the virtues of being single and untied my phone rang. I answered it not taking my eyes from my paper.

You need a hug

... to fathom the existence of a great marriage
Sanaz Khalaj

Have you ever thought that a revolution may have had something to do with the psyche and therefore downfall of some Iranian marriages? Not to mention, Iranian women who've come to this country and have become more successful than their husbands, that is the main reason my mom's friends have divorced -- so add these criteria to your statistics. People like you -- who marry for the wrong reason(s), will end up middle-aged, divorced, and unhappy. The only time anyone should get married is when and only when they are ready. I am getting married in 2 weeks and I couldn't be more thrilled and excited, because I'm marrying my best friend.

'Til time do us part

The diminishing bond of Iranian marriage
Hamid Karimianpour

It is not a secret that many Iranians who live abroad have fallen prey for the ever-increasing divorce rate. One has to ask: does marriage still offer a perfect arena for mutual love, happiness, and fortune? Or do the transformations of the twenty-first century necessitate a call for casting a new light on marriage and relationship? Approaching this question is likely to offend the readers. However, the purpose here is not to ridicule anyone who chooses to marry, but to instigate a debate on this very important issue.

Love in Persian

Why does the language of passion and poetry and all other things starting with peh not have one of the world's most cherished phrases in unmistakably Persian terms?
Maziar Shirazi

Let me make a bold statement: there is no way to say "I love you" in Persian. Now let me toss in my disclaimer: at least, there's no unambiguous, Hollywood way to say it like they do in English, Spanish, and a bunch of other European languages. "Man aashegh-e toh hastam" is almost there, but it borrows Arabic for the word that counts. That disqualifies it for me. "Dooset daram" could mean anything from liking to loving in terms of emotion communicated. And incidentally, we don't really have sexy terms for "sexy" or "sex", unless you get horny when you hear "amizesh-e jensi" (gender mixing). What the hell?

Divine violence

Scratch the surface of a Radical Islamic society and you will witness its antithesis deeply permeating its every aspect
Ardeshir Mehrdad and Yassamine Mather

The pan-Islamist movement opposes democracy in all its forms. The movement’s beliefs, class make-up and historic direction come together to reject popular sovereignty and the right of the people to determine their own destiny by majority vote. It is forced to locate the right of sovereignty above the heads of ordinary people, to make it the overarching authority that must resolve the movement’s internal and external contradictions. Divine rule, where all rights belong to god, is the only realm where there are no tensions and dissent. And it is only the divine that can give away this or that right on earth to the chosen people - whether the Islamists in question wear clerical or civilian apparel.


If you took a pair of tweezers to your brows, your mother might not hesitate to tell you looked like a whore
Jasmin Darznik

You cannot find a pair of bushy eyebrows anymore. They have gone the way of virgins, that is to say, they are now the stuff of Persian fairytales. Still, I cannot seem to stop thinking about them and why they have left us. Eyebrows have enjoyed a special place in the history of our people. Iranians are apt to speak rapturously of a woman’s “cheshm-o-abroo.” In describing a beautiful woman, we do not speak of her eyes alone, but of her eyes and her eyebrows, as if they were of a piece. Their role in supporting the beauty of a woman’s face is not merely incidental. Eyebrows are in fact crucial.


This outdated self appointed obsessive model cannot be applied to today's modern world
Jahanshah Rashidian

Hijab in its different forms had begun to disappear with the adoption of Western culture, but the Islamic regime in Iran gave it new life in recent decades. It has also been refreshed by the continued postponement in the resolution of Palestinian conflicts, arrogant hegemonic American foreign policies in its absolute support for the aggressive policies of Israel in its occupation of "Islamic territories", demographic realities, economic problems, corrupt dictators and total lack of democracy in the Islamic world. While the Islamic hijab has become for some women a voluntary rejection of the new world, for the majority it remains still a forced acceptance of the old world.


My detonating agent turned out to be a Persian-born European-raised boy named Ramin
Sahar Dastmalchi

Now as I'm standing in front of Amsterdam central station waiting for my darling I am telling myself that as a confident, mature, attractive, young woman, I had no reason to be insecure. No matter if he is 15 minutes late... and has a history of being forgetful, and has called me twice during the week to ask me if we are hooking up on Saturday or on Sunday? And has already blown me off twice... Nope I am just great... by the way I like these shoes ... yes how can he resist me? How can any one resist me in these shoes?

Not so good

According to the many rules of our courtship, Houman was allowed to take me out only one night of the week
Jasmin Darznik

Our courtship started and ended with a problem of names. For a long time in our house that imperious Persian word, khastegari, was invoked only when speaking about Iran and the past. When I turned nineteen it gained new currency. That year I managed to find the most unsuitable of suitors. Houman was thirty-one and lately separated from his wife. Suitors were not supposed to have ex-wives, because Iranians didn’t get divorced (though one of course heard rumors from time to time). Houman was both Iranian and divorced. If he was to exist, we would have to find a name for him.

They know best

This Iranian women's conference was more chaotic and verbally abusive than ever
Golbarg Bashi

I do hope that open-minded women will start coming back to this conference, and 'teach' a thing or two about the realities of the world, and how we need to have dialogue to achieve the change we all want. Or we should start an objective and democratically orientated Iranian Women's Conference which might draw fewer people but will be far more democratic and fruitful? I propose to all who are supporters of this kind of project to urge the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation board to reform! Or we’ll have to break away and start afresh which is a tragedy.

Halloween candy

Finding its way into the corners and secret compartments of my grandmother’s suitcase
Jasmin Darznik

Four-feet-eight-inches tall, swaths of fabric trailing behind her, she disappeared easily into the packs of neighborhood children. Before ringing each doorbell she would draw the veil around her face, leaving only a small opening for her nose. My grandmother spoke no English, which on this particular night proved a great advantage; from under many folds of fabric she’d croak out “Treeeek Treeeek” and present her plastic sack to the unwitting host. Trick or treat indeed.

Secularism now

We must always respect the values that pay attention to humanity irrespective of nationality, race, gender or religion
Homa Arjomand

Long before September 11, mass scale terror and intimidation was enforced by Islamists resulting in a Middle East that was transformed into an immense human tragedy. In Iran, during Rafsanjani's presidency, thousands of political prisoners were executed in 1988. And the West kept quite. During his recent shameful election campaign, the West did its best to provide him with good publicity, even though he was wanted in Germany as a provoker of terrorism. This is one example of the ongoing intimidation which occurs outside North America without the awareness of global citizens.

Falling in love with a dream

The friendship that had led us into falling in love gradually has filled all the empty spaces.
Nikoo G

Imagine falling in love with a cartoon character. Imagine then rejecting all other offers of relationship because nobody lives up to your ideal. "It's one thing to hold out for the very best that you can get. It's another thing to reject a pretty much perfect proposition because you are so enraptured by an entirely unobtainable fantasy", said he who proposed. Pretty full of himself, I would say.

Bad boys to crazy fathers

I don't know what it is about men having daughters, who grow up into young women and all of a sudden dating becomes a huge dilemma
Hamid Bakhsheshi

Being Lolita in Tehran

Azar Nafici's observations of post-revolution Iran from Olympian heights
Asghar Massombagi

She let loose

Within a week of their meeting, she had forced him to surrender the ring he had bought for his German fiancee
Jasmin Darznik

Heaven forbid

God-given right to a happy sexual life

Women watch football inside Azadi for first time
Photo essay
Noushin Najafi

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