A snatched break in France
Raging against the gods
Gilgamesh, the play
In the thirteenth century A.D. there was Rumi and Shams. In 2700 B.C. there was King Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The heroes, Rumi and Gilgamesh, were civilized masters of their domain, enjoying a small greatness in their time. Shams and Enkidu were untutored outsiders who burst in from the wild to become the heroes' beloved companions. The same extraordinary spiritual upheaval created by the unlikely friendships launched both Rumi and Gilgamesh out of their time and into legend. George Charbak's play, The Epic of Gilgamesh with a long prologue, thankfully does not dwell on the Enkidu-Shams comparison. In fact Enkidu's god protector is simply referred to as the sun god, sidestepping the god's real name Shamash, the root for the Arabic word Shams >>>
Shadows of mistrust
Who says that we "have to" be either on the side of Dr. Mossadegh or the Shah?
Decades after the events of 1950's in Iran, there is still a lot of heated debates about what happened, who was to blame and why? The issue which in some people's view, originated from intervention of foreign elements in order to influence Iran's political process, had profound impact on the future events which happened during the years after that. Antagonistic atmosphere of Iranian politics has always been filled with extremist tendencies and emotions towards one side or another during this period which contributed a lot to creation of many unfounded stories around those events that eventually resulted in start of one of the cruelest governing systems of the world in our country >>>
Mehdi Khalaji: Friend or foe?
That seems to be the real question
MK was clearly outraged over HODER's childish comments, reacting to them in a seemingly knee-jerk reaction, articulated in the form of a very normal Cease and Desist letter. Effectively shutting down one of the most vocal anti-government blogs, one can see this latest round of debate and discussion as mere publicity stunts designed to raise general PR awareness of both sides. I'm not saying that this is what is happening. It just appears that way. If you step back from it a bit, put your emotions and ego down, and watch the shadowy shapes drift in and out of focus >>>
Maybe one day, this place will finally become the shrine that Iranians have been deprived of for nearly 50 years
Guys, it’s time to move on
28th Mordad has been turned into another Karba
Amir Rostam Begli Beigie
Yet another anniversary of 28th Mordad, and I can’t stand it! Like the 3rd of Esfand 1299 nothing shows the divisions amongst Iranian nationalists up as much as the anniversary of these events and the (mis-)treatment of history by all involved. There are many lessons that need to be learnt by Iranians from these episodes of their history but having learnt those lessons (long ago) they need to move on. Unfortunately we don’t seem to be able to do this judging by the idiotic emotion ridden pieces of tripe written every year by all sides >>>
Mossadegh va Kashani
Friends turned enemies
Cloudy, with a chance of war
War in Ala Ebtekar's art exhibit in San Francisco
As an American-born Iranian, who has lived and studied in Iran, Ebtekar’s war images are influenced by the Iran-Iraq war. “My earlier works borrow a lot from the Iran-Iraq war. If you look closely at my earlier works you will see jet-planes and tanks that are direct references to the ones used in the Iran-Iraq War.” But war does not stop there for the globe, nor for Ebtekar. He explains: “When 9/11 happened I stopped working on this manner and felt as though I couldn't continue in that political climate. However when current war was declared shortly after, I remember saying to myself I have to continue working, it’s actually more important to do it now that any other time. So I continued, and now the references are not solely from the Iran-Iraq war but from a larger body of sources and material that are coherent with contemporary geopolitical crises we are in.” >>>
Or never having to say you're sorry
It's official; by month's end, Karl Rove will be out of the White House. And it will be of his own accord, not indicted and, most importantly, without having to ask his admired boss, and close friend, for a presidential pardon. It's time for the maestro directing the Washington Busharmonic to lay down the baton; take a midlife break; rest a bit; write a book; and, who knows, maybe even finish those few credits he still requires to get a long-postponed Bachelor's in Political Science. Let someone else direct the funeral music still being composed at the White House: Bush's "Mess in B Minor." >>>
Photo essay: Visitng the Holy See
Excessive anti-imperialism at women's conference
Mamnooiyate andishiden beh osool
Muslims & religious principles
Photo essay: Yeki bood yeki nabood...
Mullahs and opiates
Karl Marx once said derisively about spiritualism that “religion is the opiate of the people.” If so, one of them is more like crack cocaine
America and her quasi-backboned “allies” have a huge problem that grows by the day. Expectedly, there are as many analyses of our problem as there are “experts” to tell us what to think. A deluge of Western analysts have their diverse expert opinions regarding the “Mullah Problem” and what do about it. Some strategists advocate a military solution that ranges from full invasion of Iran to selective bombardment of its burgeoning nuclear centers and related facilities. Others are proponents of imposing economic sanctions of various types and severity. Still others feel that we simply have to learn to live with the inevitable—those “crazy” Mullahs with the bomb. >>>
Disclaimer: Not representative of all Iranian gentlemen
I am going to call him Dr. Baadazin. Even his email address says firstname.lastname@example.org. When you ask him what kind of doctor he is he gets angry. He says once a lady whom he met online insisted to find out what his field of study is and he hung up on her. Well, I guess it is not something that makes or breaks a relationship, I agree. But it is tittering on the brink of false pretence. He says he is one of the five people in the world with this medical specialty so in all modesty he doesn’t want to “give himself away”. Vali khoda Google ro az ma nagireh. It acts like an instant lie detector >>>
The right to be rude
Hossein Derakhshan's opponents should just “grow up” rather than resort to legal measures
You know, my favorite medium of communication has never been the English language. I much prefer to express myself in Farsi whenever I feel the urge to submit my thoughts or emotions to paper. This time, however, I chose to write in English because the article – if it could be called an article – that provoked this piece of writing was written in English. Though one may say that pleas against attempts to curb freedom of expression are legitimate regardless of the source of the plea, one would be entirely taken aback if such pleas came from, say, Chief Justice Ayatollah Shahroody of the Islamic Republic >>>
Photo essay: Preview performance of "The Epic of Gilgamesh", which opens today in Berkeley
The right mix
J.K. Rowling has come a huge way from the first Harry Potter book
Ali M. Jami
The story itself is a marathon runner, for the most part it’s slow, preserving energy for later, every now and again it bursts out to gain speed and then it slows down and then towards the end, it goes full out but still for the most part, the runner is slow. If you didn’t get that metaphor, then here’s the translation: Basically, the story is slow, with outburst of action every now and again and then a climatic ending. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because Rowling wanted to stretch it out because she didn’t want it to end, or maybe it was for extra suspense but it simply went on for way too long. There were points in the middle and a 1/3 of the way in where I really just wanted to put the book down as it was boring me to sleep. There were moments where the action spiked up and those were quite invigorating at the time in contrast to the dull block of text >>>
LET ME... know you azizam
He is the man I had always wanted and he knows it
Conquering Kamran was my all consuming desire. He asked whether I had a YAHOO id and soon we were sending IMs for eight hours or more at a time. We discussed life and the difficulties we had been through in life in general but also in our love lives. He also spoke about his upcoming book and how I would love the stories. It felt wonderful for a man to understand what I was talking about and it was easy to connect with him because we had both felt intense thoughts and emotions throughout our lives. This went on for so many hours and soon afterward he called me simply to hear my voice. He said, “I need to hear that sexy voice.” I responded, “How could you possibly know my voice was sexy.” He said, “Because I get so excited every time you IM me.” I was shocked and turned on >>>
Yek rakhte zanaaneh
Baar e avval dar Orumiyeh bood
Ode to mid-summer
The mind in a haze refuses to think: goes on strike
I had it
Wasn't it just natural that we come and go?
Masih Zad turns Iranian words into art you can wear
Backwards will always be backwards
How do you live with YOUR self?
Recently questioned whether the recent stoning of one person is backwards, when compared with the apparent progress made by the IRI since 1979. Yes, Dariush. It is by definition, backward. This is 2007 A.D., not 2007, B.C. Anyone who thinks this is acceptable in any society must be stoned (as in high) themselves. But let's not stop there. Let's address the rest, shall we? The very fact that the U.S. has not attacked Iran has nothing to do with Iran playing her hand well. In fact, if this were the World Series Of Poker, Iran wouldn't have made it past the 1st round. The IRI has become as predictable as a sunrise at dawn >>>
Caught up in the mortgage mess
Are any of us close to losing our homes?
Lately, one cannot log on to the internet, turn on the television or open up the newspaper (people still read newspapers, don't they?) without being inundated with some kind of news, invariably bad, concerning the housing market, mortgage defaults and so on. It also seems that while the news entities focus on all of the losses, cable TV channels like TLC and Bravo are showing investors and speculators making healthy profits in less time than it takes to solve the latest crime on the newest CBS spinoff, CSI: Rasht >>>
Interfering with play
I'll give Jafar Panahi's "Offside" a tepid "Ehhh?"
One Sunday, I had the distinct hal-geery to attend a benefit screening of "Offside", the controversial and noted film by now-famed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon; The Circle, Crimson Gold). As advertised, the film is about 5 young women who try to sneak into the Azadi (Formerly Aryamehr) Stadium to watch the famous match between Iran and Bahrain that led to Iran qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Resulting in a dismal first round elimination of Iran on the World Stage of Soccer, subsequently, summarily, forthwith, tout suite >>>
The loss of a great Kurdish Iranian educator and politician
Erphan Qaneei Fard
Scott Baio is 45 and single
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Pop Culture but Were Too Snooty to Ask -- A Column
One of the many things you don’t know about me is this: Scott Baio was my first celebrity crush. Sure I have a very sophisticated list of male celebrity crushes today: from Jon Stewart to George Clooney to my latest delicious acquisition Jon Hamm (he of the excellent Mad Men on AMC), my fantasy life is filled with funny, good looking, and more importantly, highly talented celebrities. But I have to admit, it all started from Scott Baio. I do have an excuse for this seeming lapse of taste in my life: I was a newly arrived immigrant from Iran and had left a small nurturing school in Tehran for the large jungle otherwise known as the Los Angeles County Public School system >>>
Knight in shining armour
Where are those "humanitarians" now?
Fascism can only do the one thing: exterminate what it doesn't like. Be that in the name of racism, nationalism, communism or Islamism. Sometimes it's the turn of the Jews, sometimes imperialists, sometimes Armenians, sometimes so-called unbelievers (atheists, Christians, Baha'i, gays, lesbians, adherents of free love etc.). And the masses just stand, stare and remain silent. History always repeats itself: today the grotesque setting is Iran and a grotesque silence prevails in Germany and Europe >>>
In memory of Shapour Bakhtiar
Experiencing Italy's amazing range of food in our recent trip
Another step toward military confrontation
Labeling of the Revolutionary Guards
Daniel M Pourkesali
The unprecedented move by the United States to designate a branch of another sovereign nation's armed forces, in this case Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist" organization , is only the latest episode of a menacing plan that has taken years to implement. Most commonly accepted definition for "terrorism" is "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, civilian population, or any segment thereof, in order to achieve specific political, social, or economic objectives" >>>
BBC's best kept secret
Really impressed with "Rooze Haftom"
My friends tease me endlessly about my fascination with the radio. Many of them think radio to be a dying or a dead medium, seeing very little use for it. I beg to differ. I love the radio on two accounts. One is that listening to radio is a convenient pastime. You can do other things when you listen to the radio. You can move around and do house chores, write bills, and exercise as you listen. Another is that listening to the radio can be both an entertainment and a good source of news and information. As compared to the internet, radio programming on more official stations supported by large teams of reporters and analysts could provide a much more reliable source of information >>>
Eyes on Iran
But surely America does not have the soldiers for another illegal and immoral war?
We were ‘told’ that we, the civilized world, are fighting the ‘uncivilized’ terrorists’. So it is that Dick Cheney whispers into Mr. Bush’s ear to attack Iraq, confident that with her children buried, the parents too weak from mourning and disease, she will surrender – quickly. He made sure America stayed on track; track of deception. Prior to the invasion, Cheney was confronted with a report from the IAEA which threw doubts on the administration’s allegations about Iraq’s WMD, and he responded: “We know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong" The demon of greed never seems to get enough. Over 1 million dead Iraqis – with Dick Cheney’s old company KBR/Halliburton being the prime benefactor of theft, Mr. Cheney now has his eyes on Iran >>>
Injaa va anjaa
The end of Iranian cinema's "golden age"?
Gozaar beh demokrassi
Looking within ourseleves in the search for democracy
We live in the age of extremism. This storm too shall pass.
This film directing debut by Edinburgh-based artist Roxana Pope (pictured below on location) is a charming portrait of the life of a cleaner in a poor neighbourhood of Tehran. Shot beautifully, by Ian Dodds, the 30-minute Tehran's Backyard focuses on Pari, a 65-year-old who tells us she has worked for fifty years yet still does not think twice about supporting her husband, who is blind, and her family, on her meagre wages. It is a portrait of working class life in the Islamic Republic devoid of the plaudit-seeking posturing that dogs much of Iran's film output, while carrying, a subtle and touching women's punch >>>
Tehran fashion art
Cataracts, root canals, young women and aging men
Zakaria, a personable not-by-choice Iranian immigrant, had been introduced to me by another client, Ron, a general contractor who often utilized his services in the flooring trades; and who had always praised his tile work as artistry not to be found anywhere else in the United States. And it was during the first few months in the righting of his listing ship that Zak and I began to develop a friendship extending beyond the confines of business counsel. Now running a large successful business, my effort for his firm doesn’t extend beyond counsel provided at board meetings or occasional assignments. But our get-togethers as friends continue to be frequent and enjoyable. Curiosity was getting the best of me. What could be bothering him all of a sudden? >>>
She smiled as she moved her hips around the floor seductively
The other day I had received a call from a friend, a dear and a wonderful friend from my college years, a person who brings a gentile smile on my face when I just remember her, for her free spirit and the passionate unconditional caring attitude she displays. She wanted to see me that afternoon, I took the train to the city and in no time I was with her, in her tiny but cozy apartment. I love to be in her place particularly in the kitchen with her, it’s so narrow that one has to touch the other person in order to move around, and it often leads to hugs to satisfy the first personal touch that triggered it, the hugs that are filled with love and creativity. She hugs back with all her heart, I feel her breast on my chest, it's personal and affectionate, every cell of my body is pleased to feel her; she is warm, kind and blissful >>>
Why is the Middle East stuck in the Middle Ages?
Sometimes comparing Iranians, Arabs, Turks and other Middle-Easterners to Westerners I thought there may be something wrong with Middle-Eastern genes or something that makes people be so much more aggressive, so much less honest, and altogether far more impulsive. Just an innocent thought! Never reached any conclusion to prove the hypothesis. However it is a fact that peoples of the Middle East are not usually trustworthy, get angry very quickly and usually act emotionally. This is all beside other defects such as arrogance combined with gullibility and so on >>>
Soldiers and terrorists
I have, for a very long time, mulled over the subject of what follows here, for two reasons. One if my conclusions are right and two if it is at all wise to utter them. So let's set the record straight. I am not sure of my conclusions and NO I do not condone any form of violence, either legal (state sanctioned killings and executions, collateral civilian casualties, etc.) or illegal (murder, genocide, terrorism). The thought experiment is this. If people of a country vote a government to power and that government commits the so far bloodiest deed of the 21st century, aren't they to blame? >>>
Shutting down Hoder
Shutting down a blog is not an action ANY service provider should be committing
In its own words, Hosting Matters decided to terminate Hossein's hosting account even though: "we do not have the time, interest, or resources to invest in continually dealing with his complaints and to review your site." The following assessment by Host Matters is scary. It creates the unfortunate precedent of allowing large media figures to shut down speech by apparently harassing a web host for a week. Moreover, Hosting Matters is most likely immune from liability even if Hossein committed defamation >>>
Going too far
No one likes to be called names but taking legal action seems like excessive force
In the dispute between Mehdi Khalaji and Hossein Derakhshan, I sympathize with both Hossein and Mehdi, even though I have to take sides with free speech over truth. Hossein has a habit of throwing wild accusations. But even if all of them were malicious lies, he is still expressing his personal political opinion which cannot and should not be silenced. Political speech does not deal with facts. People do not read political blogs or opinion pieces to discover facts >>>
A night to remember
Photo essay: Amir and Lalé's wedding
No, you're Iranian
Facebook culture wars
There are more people from Persia than Iran on Facebook. Yup... Many young people of Iranian origin in the US construct 'Persian' as an alter-ego to being 'Iranian' because Iran has been reconstructed as something unattractive, backward, alien, and terrifyingly Muslim by their families, other Iranians in their social networks, and not least by American media and foreign policy ever since the Revolution. It is a defense mechanism against the (perceived) enormous social cost that comes with identifying as Iranian. I am fully open to the prospect that maybe it's not an "either-or" proposition, and some use the terms interchangeably-but looking at some of these group names, there seem to be a significant number of people that have crystallized Persian vs. Iranian into a dichotomous cultural struggle >>>
A threat to all of us
If someone could silence whatever he or she didn't like we are all going to be in big trouble soon
While everyone is on holidays, a new blow to online free speech has taken place and I would like to share it with you and ask for help. Last Friday, my blog was shut down by my hosting company (Florida-based Hosting Matters), as a result of a legal notice sent by Mehdi Khalaji, an Iranian fellow at a neo-conservative think-tank (Washington Institute for the Near East Policy with Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey on its advisory board). Khalaji's lawyer has sent a notice to my hosting company and also my domain registrar, Go Daddy, asking them to a) remove any 'defamatory' material about him, b) make me publish an apology, and c) pay $10,000 for the claimed damages >>>
Price of baseless accusations
TORONTO -- One of the most controversial and maybe most read Persian blogs has finally been shut down. It belonged to Hossein Derakhsan, aka Hoder. No doubt, many of his enemies and those who did not like him very much may be very happy. But only a few may even ask why this has happened. The following is a brief account about the rise and fall of the so called THE GODFATHER OF PERSIAN BLOG. I think one of his biggest mistakes was lack of knowledge and skill in the field of journalism and professional writing. Hoder was not aware of the terms and conditions of writing on the web. He simply accused anyone who did not think like him. Maybe this is why he called his blog: EDITOR MYSELF >>>
On nature's edge
Photo essay: The village of Calcata, Italy
Shake my hand, you bastard
Momma, your boy, your only boy has reached what seems to be the end
Stalin alive and well!
Hossein Derakhshan's blog is suspended by Mehdi Khalaji! Apparently Khalaji having had worked for and under the current regime of Iran before he was revolutionized has brought his Mullah mindset to the United States. I by no means defend Derakhshan for I have observed his actions and his support for the current regime of Iran but am surprised at Khalaji. He is supposedly promoting a democratic Iran?! He too can write and express his opinion but to shut down a blog is nothing short what we observe in today's Iran where newspapers and blogs are shut down or filtered every day >>>
All this hoopla over nothing
All in all, the NIAC human rights conference was definitely not sympathetic to the mullahs
Recently, I have over and over again heard a small group of Iranians attack the National Iranian American Council (NIAC); each time with a new charge. At an information meeting about Goli Ameri's new lobby group, they accused NIAC of being too critical of the Bush Administration. Iranian monarchists have for several years accused the organization of being a front for the mullahs. And of course, pro-Israeli neo-conservatives like Kenneth Timmerman have been on NIAC's case for calling for diplomacy with Iran. So far so good. Any group that infuriates Goli Ameri, the neo-cons and the monarchists must be doing something right >>>
In search of...
When a bird can't fly it wouldn't know what she is missing but she knows something is missing
I came home, took off my suite and took a cold shower hoping it would change my mood. It didn't so I drove to the nearest bar to have a drink and play a little. I was hoping it would be quite so I can just sit in a corner and no one would notice me but being Saturday night I thought wishful thoughts. The bar was full but I realized quickly the patrons were all regulars because they all looked like serious gamblers. That was perfect because they don't bother others and don't like to be bothered, after all they are there to "take the house down!" So I sat in the far end of he bar and ordered me a Stoley on the rocks with some olives on the side >>>
Homa TV va gardaanandegaanash
Independent satellite TV or...?
Sahand Shams Es-haghi
Lena the bank teller
She has all white hair. Her skin is choorook, her hands are shaking. A tiny lady at least 80 years old, no joke. Her name is Lena. And she is working as a bank teller at Bank of America. I wonder how old she was when she first learned to use the computer? I am not comfortable when she calls me to her window because I have never dealt with a teller her age. I almost feel like she should not be here, that it's wrong and cruel for her to be working. But she is pretty quick, knows the job well and we move quickly. Of course I don't have a BofA account, and I am cashing a check, so she gets a chance to make a sales pitch to me >>>
Una noche de desierto
I will bury my face into your hair and smell it as if I am strolling in a rose garden
One day we will make a journey to Iran together ... we will travel to Kerman and I will locate a little place with a particular energy level that I know of in the desert; a place where the falcon-hearted beings lay down to rest and draw energy form mother earth making their wings leaner and their hearts beat faster. Under the moon light, sounded by the desert spirits and our own genies as the witness for our passion, I will take my linen jacket off so you can lay on it ... and then ... I will feast on you as a desert lion feasts on a gazelle! I will look into your eyes and drown in the river of their sparkle, then gently kiss you >>>
Photo essay: Italians and their pets
Ey javoonaye doreye estebdad akhe ta key mikhad sedatoon darnayad?
Slander in black & white
What have you learned from living in a democracy?
My observations were about Istanbul and a few other towns I visited and the people of Turkey. Now, when one compares Reza Shah to Ataturk, the differences are striking. On the one hand we have Reza Khan Gholdor, (surely there was a good reason why he was given this nickname) who put his foot on every piece of land, confiscated it for himself and his newly named Pahlavi family, and then distributed it. How noble of Reza Khan! History has taught us that he was a malovolent dictator, who was ruthless towards his opponents and in the end sided with the Nazis. Let us name some intellectuals, poets, high ranking men who were incarcerated, shot at or killed at the order of Reza Khan: >>>
Ba behtarin arezouha...
I hope all your mornings will be shitty and all your evenings will be migraine filled
Photo essay: Tehran snapshots
Azita, where are you?
Five years after Azita left Iran, I left for France; the war still was going on in Iran
Azarin A. Sadegh
Azita was my best friend. No, actually she was my only friend in high school. Or the only one I cared about. She was Jewish, and when the Islamic revolution happened, she and her family left Iran for Israel. We were forbidden from sending mail to Israel, so I had to send my letters through another country. Her address changed a lot, and it was in Hebrew, an alphabet that looked to me like modern art or bent nails. My last letter to her returned as a lost letter after having traveled through many different countries. I always wondered what letters or numbers I had missed in writing her address >>>
Nah mard-saalaari nah zan-saalaari
Domination by either gender is still dominatioon
Har kas baa man neest doshmane man ast
If you're not with me, you're NOT my enemy
Inside and out
I prefer to see positive qualities attributed to both genders
I think a woman is beautiful inside and out. We do not have to be a beauty queen to be beautiful. We are strong, intelligent, hard working, compassionate, caring, energetic, assertive, and so on. We have an openness, agreeableness, extraversion and positive conscientiousness about us that if raised in a non nulling environment at school and at home will be brought out. I do not see the majority of women as neurotic. However, if they are raised in an authoritarian, nulling environment, and patriarchal family I can show you a neurotic individual regardless of gender >>>
Talent & vision
Art on display at women's conference in Maryland
Iranian Women's Studies Foundation
A campaign for equality
Ali Akbar Mahdi
Finding itself in a new environment, the women’s movement had to look for new tactics and strategies compatible to the narrow avenues available within a theocratic system. Under such circumstances, the movement found success galvanizing support around grievances affecting a broad array of the female population—not simply single constituency issues. Given that women comprise nearly half of the Iranian population, relying on group identity and grievances offered a smart approach to building solidarity and mobilization. Issues such as custody for children, the right to divorce, legal equality, and opposition to violence against women were as important to secular, educated middle-class women as to poor, conservative, and working women >>>
A perfect day
Photo essay: Flying school and club North of London
Kayvon Zand should be on everyone’s watch list
The US’s recent mega-sale of arms to Saudi Arabia seems to have made the whispers of bombing Iran grow louder, but so have Iranian-Americans in their pursuance of the “American Dream”. Realizing the trance of opportunity and freedom that brought them to the US in the first place, Iranian-Americans are arriving on a multitude of industries with great amplitude. Kayvon Zand, a surging model, musician, and promising supplementary to the eruption of current young Iranian-American artists making a name in their niche, is a witty superstar in the making. With his bewitching lucent-azure eyes and original style, Kayvon should be on everyone’s watch list >>>
Try and visualise a hot-tempered Chef asking you to go ‘undercover’ to review his own food!
On occasion, I’m sometimes asked by certain Chefs or my industry peers to review a restaurant, or act as a Mystery Customer and review a restaurant for it’s food and service etc. Try and visualise a hot-tempered Chef asking you to go ‘undercover’ to review his own food! Surely it’s a contradiction in terms, but foolishly, I seem to always accept! I find the challenge lies in phrasing the review carefully, so not to infuriate the Chef, but get my point across. (I feel another skill listing coming on for my Resume... “Shabnam the Diplomat”) And I didn’t even have to study politics to get it! >>>
Aghl, deen va khoshoonat
Reason, religion, violence and the Pope's speech
Female rap song on youth and oppression
Excerpt from new novel
Gina B. Nahai
FROM THE STREET, all you can see is the red brick wall that surrounds the garden, the giant mulberry and persimmon trees, and the top floor of the house, which rises higher than the wall. Inside are three bedrooms, a living room with a gold-leaf painted ceiling, a dining room with a round balcony that overlooks the yard. There are porcelain tubs in the bathrooms, a fireplace in the kitchen, sunlight everywhere you look: all the doors, even the one leading into the kitchen, are made of etched and mirrored glass. They reflect not only the inside of each room and the light from all the windows, but also the images cast in the other doors -- creating an endless echo of shapes and colors that go on for as far as the eye can see >>>
A free market approach to foreign policy
For more than 3 years now, the same arguments have been traded and recycled in US policy talking/making circles regarding Iran's nuclear program and what must be done to stop it. Most "analyzes" go something like this: Iran can't have nuclear weapons because it would upset the balance of power in the Middle East (thus revoking Israel's cart blanche uses of force against whomever, wherever), would trigger an arms race (in which arms dealers would make a killing), and would destabilize the entire region (since it is so stable right now in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, etc...). The conversation has boiled down to 3 options--do nothing, attack Iran, or sanction now and try to negotiate. Two of which are pointless in my opinion (guess which ones!), leaving only one viable option on the table >>>
Diplomaat yaa morede etemaad?
Who's next? Iranian diplomats in the U.S.
This is the second time in as many months that someone has written a piece attacking poor Parsipur and defending Mahshid Amirshahi on the grounds of the former's personal opinions on certain issues. Grow up, people. And this nonsense is coming from individuals obviously living abroad. Who cares what a writer thinks about this or that issue, what matters is her work. If we were to disqualify writers and filmmakers and poets based on their politics or positions on social issues then T.S. Elliot or Ezra Pound should never be read >>>
What matters is her work
My favorite bitch
Photo essay: My dog Rosie with humans
Coming to getcha
Tribte to Kiosk
Time traveler’s nightmare
How long would it be before the mob would dare to pull down the statue of Ataturk?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani
Sometimes a loss is best left alone because looking back may entail a whole new defeat we can no longer handle. That’s how I felt when I visited Turkey, a land with an uncanny resemblance to Iran of forty years ago, the home I had prepared never to see again, and a memory that could never be relived. No one had told me about the many similarities between today’s Turkey and the homeland of my childhood. True that Turkey is a neighboring Muslim country with similar climate, but Iran shares such traits with other neighbors, yet those countries somehow maintain their distinct differences. I suppose Turkey’s constant demand for a surgical attachment to Europe had misled me into expecting a more European ambience >>>
Today is my first time appearing at Juvenile Court. Juvenile Court or "Juvie", as some in-crowd criminal defense attorneys call it, is different than a regular courtroom. This one especially is a trip... it's next to a golf course and looks like an elementary school, with its inside walls painted with random happy pictures and encouraging phrases such as "Sky is the limit"... a last failed attempt at reversing the direction of their lives -- these kids -- who have started to get into trouble. God forbid if we make juvie court look scary to them...in fact, we have made an enjoyable experience. Except of course, there are the metal detectors at the entry, but I hear some schools have them too these days too!? >>>
Nah eshgh, nah toofaan
Woman of the year? Parsipur over Amirshahi?
Che baayad kard?
An introduction to the elimination of free thinkers
Citizen of the world
The utopia we've been longing for
Ode To #148240
Someone please love me
Once we were, champions of human rights
Azizam, Azat Motenaferam
Why will this old wound not heal?
When anguish builds story upon story at heart
Sheema Kalbasi & Yahia Lababidi
L= The Markov Chain
For Damon Golriz who has managed to tolerate me for 2 whole years!
Big apple in the sky
Chomsky has always condemned the undemocratic nature of the IRI and its violations of human rights
Chomsky’s claim that wild statements made by Iran’s leadership are mistranslated is absolutely correct. That is very easy to check for yourself. And Chomsky would know that because, well, he’s a linguist to put it lightly! He knows where to find the resources for translating it. It should also be mentioned that while Chomsky has pointed out the inaccuracies of the translations of such statements, he has always condemned the nature of these statements. Peyvand Khorsandi gives the impression that Noam Chomsky is pro-Islamic Republic. This is categorically false. Chomsky has always condemned the undemocratic nature of the regime and its violations of human rights. I challenge Mr. Khorsandi to find one example to the contrary >>>
Death with a smile
This summer season’s nationwide public execution tour has a strange new twist to them
A strange trend is unfolding in the Islamic Republic of Iran. True, it would have to be incredibly strange phenomena to be considered as strange in the context of the Allah-land. And yet there it is in color photographs, even in professionally produced videos alongside the grainy mobile phone-video variety from different parts of the country... The advent of a new uniformed “Morality Corp” tasked to oversee populace’s adherence to heavenly prescribed mode of conduct which includes dress code barely worth’s the mention. It is none of those or a laptop full of other listed oddities that are modus operandi for the Islamic Sultanate >>>
Post-Sept-11 neo-con mentality
It is not the Muslim who is blind from hatred
To narrow down all Muslims as sheep, and implying that all Muslims do is concern themselves with hatred of Jews and Baha'is, and which hand to use to wash themselves is not only ridiculous, but if it was about Jews it would be slammed down as downright anti-Semitic. I, a practicing Muslim, have both Jewish and Baha'i friends, and even if the myth was true about concerning myself of which hand to use to wash myself (which is not a concern of a Muslim), I would say that it is ridiculous to think that somehow any of this would blind site me of the realities around me >>>
Sheiky baby, I love you
Howard Stern interview with the Iron Shikh, the "Shah's bodyguard"
Finally I found the fruit and vegetable section
Azarin A. Sadegh
The day I arrived in Paris from Iran, my older sister sent me to buy cucumbers. She told me that I needed to learn to be independent and mature. I was 23 years old. I had never before bought cucumbers. In Iran, I never shopped in grocery stores. Being the youngest daughter still living at home, I was spoiled. I never cleaned my room. I never helped my mother with any chores. I never bought anything for my father. My father was a retired mathematics teacher. He wasn't old in years , but the day he learned he had to retire, a few months after the Revolution, he suddenly became old. He stayed at home and grew bored. I was doing the same thing at that time--nothing! I was accepted to attend the university, but universities were closed >>>
Adultery vs. savagery
Would you please do everyone a favor, pick up a piece of stone today, just hit it very gently to your head
Stoning is a form of human rights violation, it is torture. Even based on Iran's Islamic Penal Code, it should happen in very special circumstances, almost close to none. Jafar Kiani who was stoned to death, well, not in a progressive manner, did not have a fair trial. None of the Penal Code conditions for stoning applied to him. Can you imagine for a second, how it is to be killed that way? Can you imagine the lives of the 2 men and 9 women who are now in prison, nightmaring their life, waiting to be stoned one day? >>>
Kheradgeraie va Radikalizm
Let's learn from Europe's mistakes
Inclusion / Exclusion
Art show in southern California
Roya Falahi, Sara Rahbar and Asad Faulwell
Reality in contradiction
Photo essay: Life in Iran
Imagine ceding moral high ground to the neo-cons
Don’t you miss the good old days when Noam Chomsky was a humble groundbreaking linguist? These days the MIT professor is increasingly an apologist for Islamists (last year he met with Hizbollah). Now, in an excerpt from Interventions, his latest book, he writes that Washington is bent on “demonising” the Iranian leadership in order to pave the way for US-led assault. How, he must be asked, can you demonise people whose power, after almost three decades, remains pegged to death, torture and imprisonment? >>>
Little Mother of Abadan
I met Fati in my recent trip to Khozestan, and this is a report of my visit with this adventurous girl
F. Saba, translated by Yussef Noorisa
Fati is the mother of orphaned beggars of Abadan, and unfortunately Abadan has lots of beggars many of whom are orphans. Passing through any street and back alley you will see hands that are extended towards you and mouths that are glued to your hands. “Fati” the 14-year old girl, who herself has two needy hands, has gathered many of the needy, abandoned, and homeless kids around herself and in effect has formed a small organization of beggars. This organization does not train beggars but rather helps the homeless children, and at times with a bite of food and a pair of shoes saves a life >>>
Single and loving it!
As a 39 year old Latina I travel in two worlds, Hispanic and American culture. I speak English and Spanish fluently, my French could use a lot of help. I have decided to learn Farsi and Arabic. I am going to the university and hope to finally graduate this summer. I have made so many great friends from many cultures. Moving from a small city in Texas to a Metropolitan city was the best decision of my life. It was such a relief to leave the narrow minded town I lived in for 16 years. I am amazed at so many of the similarities between the traditional Iranian culture and that of the Hispanic traditional culture. Yes, there does exist a double standard in dating for the different genders >>>
Nothing, nada, zilch
Giving credit to the Islamic Republic
Iran has a GDP of less than $2000, $1200 of which is from oil. For the past 30 years, the Islamic bastards did not do a damn thing to build any type of an industrial or service base. Nothing, nada, zilch. South Koreans or Japanese, without a liter of oil or a cubic meter of natural gas built world class industries and became industrial power house in 30 years. What did the Islamic Republic or Iran do? Japan is #1 in auto and consumer goods industry. Korea is #1 in semiconductors & ship building and fast approaching #1 in electronic consumer goods. Korea's bioengineering industry is ahead of the U.S.and France >>>
Photo essay: Canadian lantern festival
TONS OF LETTERS
Iran stones 1 person and you call that backward?
On Afshin's "Progress in the face of savagery": You have shown that you are emotional and reactionary. One step backwards for Iran (ie: stoning) does not mean that no one would acknowledge all the progress Iran has made either. The very fact that the US has not attacked Iran, is because Iran has played her hand really well. Iran is attracted more foreign investment in the year 2007, than in the years prior, despite all the new sanctions and the US trying to destroy Iran through propaganda and demonization... Maybe you committed adultery and are afraid of getting caught? So you want to make it okay to yourself and defend the guy who cheated on his wife? >>> More letters
I recall how based on that premise, years upon the sale of that garden, I made an attempt at polishing it up in my mind by actually revisiting it
Riding up Sumach, one of the smaller streets in Toronto, all of a sudden, I felt transported in time and space. Back to my childhood I was, when grandma used to water her garden in southern Tehran after a sweltering day in the summer. The smell of bedewed flowers and dripping leaves had brought back so many memories of a long distant past. Those were the days, when in my carefree childhood I would spend hour upon hour on the swing set up from atop the sturdiest tree of grandma’s garden. I remember how Farshid, my British-Iranian cousin, had come for a visit one year -- of course, with Uncle Farhad, for he was but a child of seven at the time -- and how we used to fight over who would gain temporary control of the garden >>>
Reza Shah vs. Ataturk
The former did not preside over the total alienation of his country
Yes, Reza Shah did confiscate privately owned land but he did not take it from the poor peasants whose earnings were plundered by their powerful and greedy landlords who had, in turn, obtained the same land by force and without giving a fare share to its native farmers. He took the land off the hands of the feudal landlords who had mushroomed around the country and were seeking to disintegrate it for the benefits of their foreign masters. And no, Reza Shah, unlike his friend and ally Ataturk, did not preside over the total alienation of his country's literary heritage by blindly adopting a foreign script that had no connection with its rich literary past be it poetry or prose. And unlike Ataturk in his days as a member of the fiercely nationalistic Young Turks, Reza Shah had no hands in the ethnic cleansing of a major community >>>
Agreeing to sharply disagree
Exchanging sharp views on Islam and tolerance
Nema Milaninia & Amil Imani
Mr. Imani seems to collapse his political hatred for the Iranian government with anti-Islamism, presuming that the two are not mutually exclusive. In his entire article Mr. Imani attacks Ahmadinejad for resembling Hitler. Ironically, in his distate for Ahmadinejad and Hitler, Mr. Imani has done nothing more than demonstrate that he is more similar to them than they could possibly be with each other. At least Ahmadinejad never called Judiasm an evil religion. It’s never a good thing when a dictator appears more tolerant than you are >>>
Interview with legendary music producer Elton Farokh Ahi
Making a vacation out of it
Photo essay: Wedding & more in Switzerland
Shouting match diplomacy
Erratic U.S. foreign policy
The bi-lateral meetings of mid-May and last Tuesday in Baghdad between U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and Iran’s ambassador to that country, Hassan Kazemi-Qumi, were the sole talks at the ambassadorial level in more than two decades. This could be viewed as a change of attitude, however temporary, in the Bush Administration. If in the aftermath of the first meeting Crocker was cautiously upbeat about the outcome, in the press conference following the second he unleashed a salvo of unfounded claims that Iran is funding, arming, training and even planning the operations of the Iraqi militia against the U.S. and Iraqi troops >>>
The initial conditions
Me, Abbas, Ms. Morrison, jockstraps & Chaos Thoery
The most popular way to describe the Chaos Theory is that a butterfly's wings fluttering might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or, for that matter, prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the final outcome and its consequences would have been vastly different. Gently pressing the spot between side of his right foot and and top of his toes, I said: "Look son, if you want to get power and accuracy you simply have to shoot the ball with the front third side of your foot. Toe-poking it will give you zero control." >>>
Whisky and coke
The minute the door opened the blasting sound of music nailed my feet to the ground
It was late night in Tehran. I was sitting at my laptop thinking what I could do to entertain myself. Porn would be so out of the question. The lines are probably monitored. Imagining a police showing up at Mamani's door step with photos of Kirs hanging right out -- the thought gave me shivers. I thought of the late night parties we had in Melbourne. I missed getting smashed and rolling in the hallway of my student apartment. There was this time I had thrown a party at my flat and I remember being the best host I could be, however my friends had other interpretations of the night, they were too drunk so they said I was laying on the concrete door step while it was raining and apparently they had tried to pull me over the fence to avoid embarrassment >>>
Brush with history
A house I call Iran
And I'm going back there this week!
I was surprised by the kind smiles I received from my hosts when they opened the door for me. This was hardly what I expected. They welcomed me with such warmth, kissing my cheeks and embracing me as I was lead to explore the dimly lit interior of their home. Richly decorated, it contradicted all that I saw from its exterior. Magnificent carpets of all colors and motifs, murals and frescoes on walls depicting historical scenes and daily life throughout the ages. The painted brown eyes of a turbaned man in one of these paintings stared at me firmly, as if attempting to converse with me about his time. The past was as active as the present in this mythical home. The architects had done a splendid job, as well as its decorators. Supposedly fashionable western elements did not exist here, for the residents stood firm to their beliefs and the flavor of originality in design that they were given from their forefathers >>>
Mashad’s collage of life
What I saw next in the next to last row of photographs had my stomach churn and a sob escape my mouth
In 2001, while on a business trip, I was invited to the home of a family in Mashad as their new family member. They were a devout Moslem family, who lived in an old traditional house in the older part of Mashad, near Imam Reza’s shrine. The house consisted of a very large living room, with two bedrooms and a kitchen to the side. There was another small living quarter off the backyard. The family of two daughters and three sons had all gathered to welcome us into their home, with the family’s patriarch sitting against pillows against a wall, turning his rosary in his hands, the women walking quickly and efficiently to move the plates and platters and cups and saucers of cookies, fruits, and tea. Other male members of the family were sitting on the floor near the father, and children played in a corner >>>
The saga continues
As fans, we are left disappointed and unfulfilled, hardly influential in the course of the team that we so passionately love
Let us as football fanatics be just that: fanatics, and let the extremities of our emotions overwhelm our logic in dealing with the continuation of the same, old saga. But this saga does not consist of any heroic exploits; there is an abyss of notable achievements. It is the saga of Iranian football filled with the short-lived ups and the long-lasting downs, the flashes of brilliance and the enduring taste of misery and underachievement. This saga belongs to the post-revolution times, experienced by me and the likes of me especially since Team Melli's exit from the 1996 instalment of the Asian Cup of Nations. It may well be a matter of irony that the joy of a revitalized Iranian football, initiated and led by the golden generation of Daei et al, brought about hard falls of hopeful dreams >>>
Time of their lives
Photo essay: Holidaying in France
A short play
(Farhad steals a nervous glance at the cabinet, which Dad notices.)
Dad: What is in the cabinet?
(Farhad is mute. He looks helplessly at his mom. His mom returns a similar look. Dad opens the cabinet. Farhad shudders as the bottles drop out onto the kitchen floor. Dad’s face turns red.)
Dad: (yelling) How much did you drink?
Mom: (meekly) Mohsin, don’t yell.
Dad: (ignoring Mom’s pleas) Unbelievable! You piece of shit! You cover up from your parents! >>>
One day I was sitting alone on the roadside minding my own business when a speeding car ran me over
A screw, a defective one, that’s what I am. Pay attention! I’m not a nail. Nails are flat head with no character I say. They are straightforward. I’m not. They have no twists and turns, I do. They are easy going. I’m not. Just hit a nail on the head and it obediently does its job, I don’t. You can straighten a crooked nail with a hammer and it works as good as new and if you hit me, I get even more crooked. The first time I was put into a good use, I failed miserably. The carpenter, who picked me out randomly from the box full of screws, could not drive me through the wood because I was slightly crooked and my head was stripped. His hand slipped and I made him bleed. So he tossed me to the ground cursing me under his breath >>>
Not your father's home poker game
This is basically what people with way too much money and a lot of extra time do for fun
This past weekend, 2 slambills, one from the U.S. and one from Hong Kong were in Vegas to play in a full cash game against 4 pros and 2 other amature, but very rich players. The game was held in a private suite in one of the nicer hotels in Vegas and I had the "pleasure" of being present for around 5 hours of this game. I had to also give my word not to devulge the name of any player or the name of the hotel where this game took place. Although completely legal, these players are very descrete and do not want publicity >>>
Music video: Live in Studio, "The Last Station"
To pay or not to pay
The real cost of your eyeglasses
Eyeglasses. There is no other accessory I love more than a nice pair of glasses. Purses are carried under my arm, shoes are on my feet but eyeglasses are on my face, adding a frame, personality, a different style. When I lived in Berkeley, I used to walk around Shattuck after class and go into the glasses store just for the heck of it. I fell in love with thousands of models.... from the trendy black plastic ones that make me look smarter than I am, to the nice metal frames that would be perfect for class, to the light white frame sunglasses that create the perfect contrast with my dark skin >>>
The resurgence of tolerance
Photo essay: Liberty Sciences Center showcases contributions of the Islamic world
Moshkele asliye Iranian baa Eslam
The main problem with Islam, form the Iranian point of ivew
Agar dar Taakestaan baaraan bebaarad
For Jafar Kiani, executed by stoning
Release from worldly gloom
Murder & order
History proves to us that capital punishment always has been an answer to the gravest crimes. Regardless of cultural differences, religion or race, the notion of "eye for an eye" is known to all mankind. Somehow there is almost no state or tribe that doesn't have a smudge in its history regarding capital punishment. I have always wondered what it is that makes us civilized people think that only by giving a name to an act we are exempt from the main character of the action. We call it capital punishment because it is executed under a certain law by known executors and in accordance with a verdict. But the act itself remains the same as first degree murder. It is still ending a man's life knowingly >>>
How religion was reformed in the West
I'm Just Saying: The reformation of Christendom began in the 16th century, agreed by most, to have been started by Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk. Luther felt that over the course of the many years in power, the Catholic Church had fallen into corruption and had deviated from the truth of the Bible and Christ. I'm Just Saying: In 1517 Luther literally nailed his "95 Theses on the Power of Indulgences" to the bulletin board on the door of the Wittenburg Castle church, which officially started the reformation process. In his Theses, he objected to the many false doctrines and malpractices, that troubled not just him, but many Christians of the time, as they saw that the Church had become distant from what many felt were the true teachings of Christ. >>>
It was 2003 I had put my few months old daughter to bed and was browsing through Iranian Times when I came across a collection of poetry. The poems frustrated, angered, and amazed me at times. The collection titled "One Should Not Sleep with Juliet and Not Be Romeo," and the poems were simply incredible. I followed his works and a few years later included some of them in the Other Voices International Project. It was then that I received e-mails from some American poets who believed they were the works of a literary genius. This voice belongs to no one but one of the most controversial contemporary poets of our time, Naanaam >>>
Scary and exciting
Sarakhs' new album "Mordad 85"
In late 2000, an Iranian homegrown alternative band, Sarakhs, made it's debute with the release of Mordab. Mordab and other singles such as Vasvaseh and Raz marked the beginning of a phenomenon called, Iranian underground music. Although Mordab never made it to the commercial arena, it became one of the most widely acclaimed Iranian Alternative albums on internet. Fortunately, Sarakhs' new work will not leave fans disappointed. It is Sarakhs at its best. A milestone in Iranian alternative music and an example of originality in sound and lyric. The new tracks showcase the band's talent and give the fans what they're looking for: something very different >>>
Shahram S. Nahavandi
Healing the divide
Photo essay: Ethiopia, Indonesia and Uganda
Immigrants are less criminal than native-borne citizens
Jamshid S. Irani
Immigration has enriched the economy and culture of the United States since the founding of the nation. Yet immigrants long have been scapegoats for many social problems that afflict the nation. As a result, myths and stereotypes about immigrants, rather than established facts, far too often serve as the basis for public perceptions that drive misguided immigration policies. Immigrants from the Moslem countries have had their special share of the pie in the past several years. One of the most pervasive misperceptions about immigrants is that they are more likely to commit predatory crimes than are the native-born. Popular movies, television series, and a sensationalizing news media propagate the enduring image of immigrant communities permeated by crime and violence. But this widespread belief is simply wrong >>>
in July 2007
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