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March 2007

SAILORS
Price of adventurism
Amir Rostam Begli Beigie
March 31, 2007

Tony Blair is paying the price for getting rid of an able Foreign Secretary and replacing him with an incompetent yes-woman. If it wasn't for how dangerous the situation has become it would have been comical to watch how the British Oxbridge-educated political elite squirm in the hands of the ex-Islamic Student Society geeks and thugs.

The problem facing the British and the West in general is that they have no way of punishing masochists. Instead they seem to be giving vent to their anger which is playing into the hands of Iranian regime.

What the West must realise is that the current rulers of Iran positively welcome foreign threats for a multitude of reasons. The Foremost is the survival of a regime that is loathed by its own populace. It has since its inception depended on sustaining confrontation.

Yet the above fairly simple point seems to have been lost on generations of policymakers in the West, particularly in the case of Americans, when dealing with rogue states. Almost certainly, the Castro regime in Cuba has lasted far longer than it would otherwise because of the siege imposed by Washington. Conspiracy theorist will argue that it is on purpose rather than incompetence.

Given the disastrous results of their adventurism in Iraq, the two leaders of the free world, Britain and the US have lost all moral authority. Tough talk by Blair shows impatience and lack of understanding of what the regime in Iran is after. A case of clear aggression and illegal act by parasitic and rogue regime has instead become one of embarrassment for Britain.

The regime realises the above and covets the respect of the Arab/Islamic populace. All the Iranian TV pictures relayed from by western media I have seen on this affair have been from the Revolutionary Guard's Arabic TV channel.

Despite all the tough talk coming out of Israel and America, there is not much the West can do militarily to resolve the problem. The Western leadership cannot bring itself to accept the solution is to talk to these rogue states as unpalatable as that may be, because there is no credible alternative. It requires Blair and Bush (when it comes to the nuclear issue) to contain the urge to react in kind and exercise the statesmanship and patience to deal with a crazy masochistic regime. All carrots and threats must be considered cautiously.

Meanwhile ordinary Iranians and future generations will pay for the adventurism of a bunch of loonies albeit clever ones who simply don't give a damn. Comment

FAIRNESS
Forget about Americans, Iranians get Iranians wrong!
Afshin Afshar
March 31, 2007

Ms. Gilani’s article titled “No wonder America gets Iran wrong” touches a very sensitive nerve with many of us Iranians living in the US.

In her article she has stereotyped our community as Iran-bashers at best and Iran-haters at worst. What Ms. Gilani may not be aware of is that just like any other immigrant community, the Iranian-American community is highly fragmented in its sociopolitical views. In showing her frustration with the behavior of a few, she may have gone overboard and done exactly what an “average redneck in Idaho” does, bundling us into an easily identified group that can be conveniently singled out and disliked by others; in this case Iranian communities outside of US.

Thanks to the highly combustible situation in the Middle-East, Iran is getting a lot of airtime these days. Many national and local TV and radio stations are dedicating chunks of time to Iran related matters and invite a host of “expert analysts” many of whom are American’s of Iranian descent. To assume that these analysts represent Iranian-American community as a whole is very naïve.

An Iranian American is an American of Iranian descent. The phrase may refer to someone born in the United States of Iranian descent or to someone who has immigrated to the United States from Iran. Depending on personal and/or family experience the affinity these people have for Iran varies. When discussing politics, many choose to keep a low profile for the sake of not jeopardizing ties to the home country. There are also those who choose to be more outspoken. Many amongst the outspoken group may have their own personal and/or political agendas. The “analysts” that Ms. Gilani has watched on TV could fall in any of the last two categories.

Speaking as an immigrant who has freely chosen to make a home in the United States, I can tell Ms. Gilani that I feel a very strong connection to my Iranian cultural heritage. When asked of my place of birth, I always reply “Iran” (not “Persia”). When discussing politics, I always make it clear that I am all for policies that encourage peace and harmony amongst nations, and oppose those that ignite hatred. Furthermore, I am very proud of my fellow Iranian-Americans and their accomplishments, and always try to represent them (my community) and my cultural heritage in a fair and balanced manner.

With all due respect to the personal experiences that has painted such a negative picture of us Iranian-Americans in her mind, all I can ask Ms. Gilani is to try to be fairer and more balanced in her evaluation of us Iranian immigrants across the Pond. Comment

SAILORS
Why make things worse?
Ben Madadi
March 30, 2007

The Iranian government has just released videos of the captive British sailors who are asking for Britain to withdraw its troops from Iraq and the captive sailors are also praising the Iranian authorities as being kind and compassionate. The only missing element of the videos is a bunch of masked armed men who are threatening to decapitate the sailors and we would have had a complete duplicate of what the Al Qaeda taped kidnappings we were used to before al Zarqawi was killed.

Unfortunately the Iranian regime never stops shaming the Iranian people in front of the civilised world. While the Iranian youth are suffering from drug-addiction and unemployment and many many other social issues, all the Iranian regime is thinking about is to show to other Muslims in the world that Iran is able to confront the US and its allies. However many other non-Iranian Muslims do not know the plight of the Iranians within Iran. And when it comes to confronting the US and Britain, Iran did try to confront the West before and each time the costs were enormous. Not that I agree with US or British policies but we must understand that we do not have a country that can confront them.

We have a weak country and the Iranian regime must know this before making the situation worse. The Qajar regime tried to confront the British and failed, losing territories that now belong to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reza Pahlavi tried to confront Britain and was removed from office and died in exile. Mossaddegh tried to confront the British and suffered a similar fate as Reza Khan. Britain is no longer the power it used to be, but there is America now, who is behind Britain. There is an old English say, you can't beat'em, then join'em! You can't beat Britain or America, then stop annoying them and at least try to be less visible, if you can't join them. Iran has so many problems of its own that need fixing. And the last thing Iranians need is further isolation. Comment

RECKLESS
Holy water
Tina Ehrami
March 28, 2007

The arrest of the 15 British seaman in "Iran's territorial waters" just shows how selective the Islamic Republic of Iran is in matters of International Law . Somehow a UN Security Council resolution can be called a "torn paper" by the president, but as soon as British boats supposedly trespass into Iran's territorial waters, they get arrested! Then International Law suddenly becomes something Iran's politicians take serious!

The world apparently has to keep its mouth shut about all the human rights violations going on in Iran, about its shady nuclear program and the UN resolutions they recklessly ignore, but God forbid if foreign boats touch their territorial waters. Then International Law becomes holier than the Quran and the Bible all together! I just hope this whole thing doesn't turn into another hostage drama, like the American embassy 30 years ago. That would just be what Iran and Iranians all over the world would need right now. Not! Comment

Visit TinaEhrami.blogspot.com

SHAME
This is not our way
Tinoush Moulaei
March 28, 2007

I have always supported and defended Iranian culture and opposed any attack on Iran.  As one who is proud of his heritage, I feel that I should also be the first to criticize Iran’s government on all issues.  Today is yet another day that IRI has dragged our heritage through filth and muck.  I just saw pictures of British sailors being paraded on Iranian TV.  SHAME!  This is not our way.  I don’t know if the British sailors were in Iranian waters or not.  I don’t believe Iran’s claims without proof and I give even less credit to British claims, especially considering the British government’s tradition of lying through their teeth for a piece of gold/barrel of oil!  If Iran has proof of the British trespassing, then the government should provide the proof and then act in accordance with international law. 

No matter what the facts around this incident are, parading these sailors on TV is unacceptable and should be condemned, more so by Iranians.  These sailors should be treated with respect and human dignity.  Iran’s government has done this before, but it’s not the only one.  I’ve even seen pictures of Iraqi prisoners of war on American TV.  We should not sink this low.  This is despicable.  I know that talking ethics to IRI is equivalent to playing piano in front of a herd of cows (a Chinese proverb), but I should add that it’s especially condemnable that they made the sole female amongst the 15 sailors, Faye Turney, wear ‘hejab’.  It’s not enough that IRI shoves its values down Iranians women’s throats!  They have to do it to a foreigner too, even when they want to use her as propaganda!?  Such behavior is unethical, immoral and in violation of international law. Comment

BUSINESS
British aircraft sold to Iran
Dean Ghobadi
March 27, 2007

Dear Sir/Madam,

This is a brief summary reporting on our recent sale of a Britten Norman Islander aircraft and half million US dollar inventory of spare parts, to the Iranian government.

My company, www.paaviation.com recently brokered a deal which resulted in the sale of a Britten Norman Islander aircraft, to the Iranian government. This is officially the first brand new "Western" made aircraft sold to Iran, since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

As one of our main business activities, we exclusively represent a number of British and European companies in Iran. A tender was released by Iran's ministry of transport for the procurement of a multi role commuter aircraft of very close specification to the Britten Norman Islander. As we are the exclusive agents in Iran for Britten Norman, we immediately informed Britten-Norman of the tender, and got the ball rolling.

I delivered Britten Norman's proposal to the Iranian Ministry of Transport, procurement committee, and after a short while, was delighted to learn that we were the winning bidders of the tender.

This aircraft will be used for Skydiving training, and will be the first aircraft in Iran to do so. The interior can be re-configured to transport Iranian VIP's and also has the capacity to operate as an air ambulance. It may also be used for costal patrol.

The bid bond payment was recently released back to Britten Norman, and thus the deal has officially been concluded. The Iranians are currently putting the aircraft thought it's paces, and have expressed a strong interest in purchasing a further 3 aircraft. They plan to use their huge shipment of spares to refurbish some of their pre-revolution era Britten Norman aircraft that were purchased when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was in power. Britten Norman may be sending technicians to Tehran to help supervise the rebuild.

I hope that this information is of use to you and your subscribers.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance. Comment

Kind regards,

Dean Ghobadi
Commercial Director,
PAAviation
(0044) (0) 7717 220882
WWW.PAAVIATION.COM

300
Past & present "Persians"
Farid Parsa
March 23, 2007

"Youth is wasted on the young," Oscar Wilde once remarked. One can also say that history is wasted on those with history. My recent trip to New Zealand showed that a nation doesn't have to be 'old' and 'rich' in history and tradition in order to create something original and new in any cultural and scientific areas. On 19 September 1893 women's suffrage was made law in New Zealand . By this act this youngest democratic country put herself on the map as among the most civilized and progressive nation of the world.

Those political activists who recognized the equal rights of women to vote also paved the way for other nations who were centuries older than NZ. In today's world people remember the gold medalist only and New Zealand is going to be forever in the collective memory of people who care about human rights. One does not need a long history in order to be able to act like a human being as if acknowledging and defending the rights of others need a long history of cultural heritage. No. It depends on how you perceive yourself and what is your worldview and how far you are going to defend those values. 

One thing Iranians living in the West do not perhaps realize is that people who lived in the land that is called Iran today, whether the Sassanid, or Parthian or the Achamenians, had hardly anything in common with the present Iranians. They had totally different set of values to most Iranians living today. They followed a different religion that gave them a strong sense of identity and their role in the world, not just as conquerors but keepers and protectors. They wrote and spoke differently and knew exactly what their cultural, and religious boundaries were. And if they were alive today, for many good reasons, they would dissociate themselves from the people who happen to live in Iran (or Iranians living outside) who call themselves Iranians or 'Persians'.

Now if any Iranian really identifies with ancient Persian history as part of their heritage or identity you can go right ahead and make a movie, documentary or write a book etc... who is going to stop you? Cyrus the Great is just one great story that Cyrus Kar is working on. All the best with his initiative and efforts. There are hundreds or thousands great stories in history (be it Persian or Irish or African) that could be of great interest to the people of the whole world and it wouldn't just help Iranians with their identity crisis.

You see Iranians today are waiting for Hollywood to tell the world about who they are. And when Hollywood makes a movie like 300 they feel betrayed. They keep forgetting that they no longer are living in Iran. There are no censors or ministry of moral or cultural guidance in America or Europe that would stop them from telling any kind of story. Just as they haven't stopped them from voting for their preferred government, fill their bank accounts with money or educate theri kids.  

So let's not blame Hollywood for any misrepresentation but our own ennui. Comment

WAR
Forced to choose sides
Mehdi Kamarei
March 23, 2007

Let me first start by stating that I'm not a political activist but the possibility of Iran being the next target of missiles and bombs bothers me. Don't wait for an anti-war rally after the bombings have started. The key is to educate your iranian and non-iranian friends on the global matters that are influencing these acts and decisions. Do it now and prevent war and destruction. Don't let your country turn into the rubble images you see of Iraq and Lebanon.  Use the internet and emails to spread the word. Pass along informative emails to all of your friends, acquaintances, and colleagues.

Many of us are hesitant to say anything because we feel we might be insulting our Jewish Iranian friends. The truth of the matter is that they are as Iranian as we are. This is a nationalistic movement and not a religious one. What makes it tricky is that a big part of Middle East affairs is related to Israel. This has created difficulties for Iranian Jews who support both being Iranian and the country of Israel. This nuclear technology issue with respect to Iran will unfortunately force people to choose sides. (Even though the "nuclear technology" issue has been stretched and exaggerated in the media to "nuclear weapons and arms")

The Israeli lobby in the united states is pushing for war against Iran, as it did against Iraq.  After bombs have been dropped, one can't back both Iran and Israel. The best thing to do is to unite as a nationality and push for peace talks. The more your non-iranian friends are aware of the issues the less likely another war will start. Ignorance and lack of education are the driving forces behind mass manipulation and brainwashing.

One dictator once said "Lucky for leaders, men don't think". Spread the word, make people think >>> GO
Comment

SOCCER
Golkoocheek on the beach
Al Sefati
March 22, 2007

Ever wondered why Brazilian soccer players are so good? The answer is because they learned their soccer on the beach. Great players such as Ronaldo, Ronladino, and pretty much most of Brazilian squad used to play soccer on the beach. Beach soccer is taking the soccer world by storm. Played on a sand field on the beach, it focuses on some of the most spectacular aspects of modern soccer such as skill, agility, and above all goals.

There are many interesting aspects of the event including the participation of the LA Galaxy and Street Team shuttle, meeting Shannon MacMillan, former US women soccer player of the year, at the event and participants are entered to win a free scholarship to Shannon MacMillan's soccer camp, a free Friday night Beach Skills Clinic by US Men's Sand Soccer National Team player and current UCLA Men's Soccer Coach. 

Come and participate in this unique event: BeachSoccerUSA.org

Many soccer players from different areas of the country are coming brining their skills and spirit of fun to participate. And all you need to bring is yourself and your "goolkoochick" street soccer skills. What better way to enjoy your weekend enjoying the sun, the beach, and the work out. Of course there many prizes but the best reward is the experience itself. Comment

POETRY
My Noruz
Nezam Dean Marachi
March 22, 2007

In as surely as the days grow longer, and the sun rises higher and shines brighter on Noruz;

In as surely as ice and snow ebb farther north, and the wind blows warmer on Noruz;

In as surely as the nightingale calls and sings aloud the love songs, luring lovers on Noruz;

In as surely as flowers liken jewels and dazzle the grassy blanket of the earth on Noruz;

In as surely as all animals seem to know the arrival of a brighter and longer day on Noruz;

My clans and friends light the merriment of the warmth, beauty and enchantment of my Noruz. Comment

NEW YEAR
What is nature trying to tell us?
Tina Ehrami
March 19, 2007

We are approaching the Persian year 1386. The 21st of March, officially and according to all laws of nature, the beginning of a new cycle of life, is signed as the moment all Iranians around the world celebrate their new year.

This year, nature has a hard time understanding itself though. Global warming caused Spring to start early in The Netherlands. It was only the 2nd of February when I noticed the chirping of a group of exotic birds in our street. The unnaturally high temperature in February caused these birds to settle here, all together, in my street.

Every morning, I had the feeling as if I intruded in a scene of Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds". The green and orange parrots that crowded the naked and leafless oak tree's seemed somehow misplaced. The white spots on the ground, around the tree's marked their unmistakable presence. Of course, Winter came back at the end of February, and the parrots that were starting to starve - because of the absence of the worms, and berries, which obviously didn't let themselves get fooled by the early sunrays of February -- set off to more southern places.

Now that Spring is officially coming closer, and the crocuses, daffodils and lilies have started to bloom, another unexpected freak of nature occurs. Temperatures have dropped even further and it actually started to hail today. Big rocks of ice smashed down on the young and fragile crocuses, which had prudently held course with the laws of nature.

What is nature trying to tell us? (except for: "Stop poisoning me, your goddamn morons!!") I interpret the early visit of the Hitchcock birds and the late hail as signs to say that we shouldn't get too comfortable in our own comfort zones. Nothing is certain in this world. We mustn't take anything or anyone for granted. Not our life nor the life of others. We shouldn't limit ourselves to the boundaries of our own perspectives and we should believe in the strength of that fragile crocus - that was suddenly assaulted by the smashing hail- to hold on and present itself in all its glory on the day that we celebrate the birth of all things new and pure.

Let this Nowruz be the day on which we shall celebrate life that is worth living. For the sake of the crocus that survived the hail, for the sake of the early birds whose return we wish for. Let Nowruz be the day we will forgive the cold and thank it for awaking our senses so that we would appreciate more the true things that matter to us. Let Nowruz be the start of a year in which the long flight of the misguided parrots be rewarded with a warm and fruitful place where they can live in peace and safety. Let there be harmony. This is my new year wish for you all. Comment

Visit TinaEhrami.blogspot.com

300
Black is white
Ari Siletz
March 19, 2007

In one scene of this movie two women can be seen openly kissing each other in the court of Xerxes, the Persian monarch. A few cuts later, a man with a disability is welcomed into the Persian court by the great king himself. Even though Persians are a race of white Indo-Europeans, their chosen king, as well as most of the high level functionaries, appear to be of African descent. In the movie 300 we get to see what 500 BC would look like if liberals ran the Persian Empire.

The neo-cons in this allegory are the Spartans. Their king, Leonidas, has taken his troops to war despite opposition from virtually every wise counsel in Sparta and beyond. Like his modern counterparts Leonidas says he is going to battle in the cause of freedom and reason. But 300 shows us that Leonidas is not a reasonable man. In a fit of rage the Spartan king executes Xerxes' messengers, a deed the reasonable Xerxes seems to have forgiven when Leonidas himself stands before the Persian king.

And anyone who knows even a little about Spartan society is aware that Leonidas couldn't possibly be fighting for freedom, because slaves in Sparta outnumbered free citizens by at least seven to one. A common initiation rite for a young Spartan male was to sneak up on slaves and massacre them. No wonder Leonidas and his 300 braves would rather have died than become part of the Persian empire; ever since the time of the Persian king Cyrus the Great, such human rights abuses had been against the law.

On a clay cuneiform cylinder made 25 centuries ago Cyrus declares, "I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of others by force or without compensation. As long as I live I prohibit unpaid, forced labor. Today I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job provided that they never violate others' rights ... I prohibit slavery and my governors and subordinates are obliged to prohibit exchanging men and women as slaves within their own ruling domains. Such a tradition should be exterminated the word over."

Freedom is what king Leonidas and his 300 Spartans died to prevent.

So how does director Zack Snyder take these obvious facts in favor of the ancient Persians to deliver a pro-Spartan message? The trick is infuriating in its simplicity and perhaps not an undeserved insult to the members of the audience who carelessly empathize with the 300. Snyder presents the Spartans as a good-looking bunch with chiseled faces, bulging pectorals, and abs that even a computer graphics body would need megahertz crunches to accomplish.

Few of the Spartan's adversaries on the other hand have seen the inside of a health club, and the one that has-Xerxes himself-- has disfigured himself with unsightly piercings. Persians have skin problems, the Spartans don't. Also, by using phrases such as "come and get us," and "We'll fight in the shade," the Spartans establish a locker-room camaraderie among themselves and susceptible members of the audience. The Persians on the other hand act like they have never drank beer in front of the TV on a Monday night.

Snyder's 300 should be studied because he is an artist who mimics in his work the cognitive dissonance of American society under the Bush administration. One wonders just how much it will take for a human to think that black is white and white is black. 300 exposes the frightening reality: it takes very little. The simple ingredients are sex appeal, and pats on the back for enjoying violence. And of course talented film directors with no conscience. Comment

Visist AriSiletz.com

MILITARY
I hope none of this will matter
Maziar Behrooz
March 19, 2007

Regarding Israeli attack on Iran, the IRI seems to have upgraded its defenses in the past few years. When added to its other military assets, the IRI seem to have a degree of deterrence against Israel which make an Israeli attack on Iran less likely. I would be glad to hear from list members on the IRI's assets and options. Here they are:

The IRI's air-defense had been upgraded to include Russian made long range S-300 and short range TOR-M1. It is my understanding that both of these two systems are operational. Baztab reports that a flying object was shut down during night over the city of Arak and attributes the incident to air-defense exercise. If true, this means that the IRI must have improved its radar capabilities as well.

To these must be added an array of older SAM systems available to the IRI.

The IRI has over 300 jet fighter aircrafts. Much of these are older US built but upgraded to unknown degree of success by the IRI. But, Iran's air force also possesses about 50 MIG-29s and an unknown number of SU-30s. Both of these Russian made fighter aircrafts are interceptors designed for air combat and defense and they are stationed in forward positions.

The IRI has a number of seemingly dumb short and long range missiles available for deterrence. In the event of an Israeli attack without overt US aid, these missile systems may be used to retaliation against Israel without engaging the US. Shahab-3 missiles can reach Israel. If the IRI is to be believed, Shahab-3 now has solid fuel capability which makes it much more accurate than the previous liquid fuel missiles.

If the IRI has adequate intelligence on the Israeli nuclear facilities, targeting it with large number of accurate but dumb missiles is not impossible. It is my understanding that Demona is located in the southern Israeli desert. At any rate, the possibility of such attack, even if not completely successful, should be worrying and act as deterrence.

Israel seems to have adequate, but yet to be tested in battle, anti-missile missile systems. The question is how accurate or effective they are and if they can be overwhelmed by large volleys of Shahab-3s. The IRI's Shahab-3s, as far as I can tell, are not based in stationary underground silos. They seem to be mobile and there is no reason why the IRI should not be able to fire 20 to 30 of them in one hour or less. This logically should act as deterrence to military decision makers for any military action against the IRI.

Finally, I hope that none these will matter and that there will be no military confrontation. But any discussion of the subject should take a better look at the IRI's military options.

Iran is not a tiger when it comes to its military. But it is a badger and it can inflict painful bites. Comment

Maziar Behrooz is Asssistant Professor of Middle East History at San Francisco State University.

300
What are you going to do about it?
Siamack Baniameri
March 18, 2007

On January 15, 2007 I wrote the first piece on the Movie 300 [See: The Spartans are coming... to a theater near you]. On March 7th I was contacted by National Public Radio in Washington DC to participate on a half-hour-program about the Movie 300. I declined the invitation and told the producer that I am by no means qualified on Persian-Greek history and there are Iranians far smarter than me who can chime in. I even provided NPR with a few names of Iranian scholars and historians. I'm not sure what came out of that.

In the last three weeks, the movie 300, has become Iranians' favorite subject to talk about. Even the Islamic regime which has done nothing but to embarrass Iranians inside and outside of the country, has jumped on the bandwagon.

At a party a few days ago, the subject of the movie came up. A lady who I didn't know very well expressed her dismay with Hollywood and the movie 300 in general.

Being a little drunk, I asked her, "Ok, so what are you going to do about it?"

The embarrassed host threw me a nasty look from across the room. Other guests looked away.

Her answer was, "I'm boycotting the movie."

And I'm thinking to myself, "HOO-fucking-BOO."

Watch out world, the Persians are boycotting the movie 300. I'm sure that Warner Brothers' stocks are tumbling as we speak and the Hollywood establishment is shivering in their $5000 Italian shoes.

I thought, instead of boycotting the movie, we Persians should leave the BMWs and Benzes in the garage, get the beasts out of the closets, put the chains and body piercing back on, sharpen the swords and spears, and with our best homosexual attire, attack the movie theaters that play the movie.

Or maybe we should just boycott the movie. That's so much easier.

Kidding aside, there is one thing we all can do: we can help get Cyrus Kar's project off the ground. Put your money where your mouth is. Donate money to www.spentaproductions.com and help get this project out to the public. He only needs $500K to finish his project.

I know I lost a lot of you the moment you saw the words, "GIVE MONEY." But for those that are still me, here is our chance to show the world that we matter. This is not about the Persian Empire. Screw that. This is about us and now.

Hollywood will continue messing with us until we show them that we can hit back. And the only way to do it is by empowering our best and the brightest.

Donate money to www.spentaproductions.com
Comment

300
Persian artists unite!
Pendar Yousefi
March 16, 2007

Dear Artists,

We have started a massive collaborative project - Project 300 - to bring together Persian/Iranian artists from around the world and use art to portray our history and our culture as we see it ourselves.

The depiction of Persians/Iranians and our history in today's media is often created by people who don't always have a good understanding of our culture and don't come from a Persian background. As a result, most of these depictions are ill-researched, inaccurate, and at times offensive.

The movie 300, is only the latest example. We believe that the only solution is to get involved ourselves. After all, who knows our history and culture better than ourselves? Thus, we have used the 300 movie as a stepping stone to materialize this effort, bring artists together, and showcase our art to the world.

Already some great art has been gathered, and many more artists are currently working on their submissions.

This is a call to all artists who wish to participate. If you wish to be a part of this project, please check out the submission guideline below:

What we Want: We are looking for art that has a clear connection to Persian/Iranian culture, history, and heritage. Submitted art can be in the form of illustrations, paintings, drawings, photography, animation, and film. Although all styles are welcome, we are especially interested in CG art and art that has a comic-book theme and feel.

Artwork can ONLY be submitted by the artist who created it.

How to Submit:

You can email your image submissions to submit @ 300themovie . info as an email attachment. For animation and film submissions, or for any other file larger than 2 Megabytes, please contact us first to make the necessary arrangements.

Name the file as artistname-title, using lowercase letters and/or numbers only (no special characters please) and where artistname is your name and title is the title of the piece in the submitted image.

If you have a website, please include its URL in the email and we will post it with your work.

Submissions that are approved and meet the requirements will be displayed on the gallery page at http://300themovie.info.
Comment

NOROOZ
From Haft-Seen to SpringTree
Maryam K. Sagheb
March 15, 2007

Growing up as a young child in the States, my family celebrated Norooz in the traditional sense; similar to the celebrations in Iran. I was 10 when we left Iran, and although I recall Norooz in Tehran my memories of the hustle and bustle, and the excitement that surrounded the Norooz celebrations are vague.

Growing up in the States, my only memories of Norooz are that of taking a school day off, setting a traditional haft-seen table, having Sabzi Polo Mahi and Kookoo Sabzi on new year day, and visiting close by family and friends.

Today, I am married and have two very young children. We celebrate Norooz at our house but I feel the struggle to keep my children engaged and interested in the Norooz celebrations. So do many of my friends with young children.

I understand these kids. Clearly, baking Christmas cookies, building a ginger bread house, singing carols,
decorating a Christmas tree, and putting up lights is far more exciting and fun to a child than placing seven items flat on a table in a corner or hallway of the house.

What draws children to Christmas is not just the presents because children also receive gifts at Norooz. Rather, it is because (i) there are activities that allow children to get involved in preparing for the festivities, and (ii) the Christmas tree is ornate.

So, I decided to revise the Norooz celebrations and in particular the Haft-seen setting in order to revitalize my children's interest in this beautiful and meaningful festival.

Since Norooz is a celebration of life marking the beginning of Spring, a time when trees and flowers come into bloom as all of nature awakens, what more appropriate than to have a “SpringTree” upon which to place the Haft-Seen objects in an ornamental, decorative manner.

The SpringTree is being displayed on March 17, 2007 at the BeyondPersia event at Gallery One, located at 1 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA. To view images of the Spring Tree, please visit: www.springtree.info
Comment

ARYANS
Out of all places in the world...
Naanaam
March 15, 2007

Comment

USA
If not for my kid
Faramarz Fateh
March 14, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- I am a married middle aged man with two teenage kids. Having been married close to 20 years, I really don't have any illusions about life and happiness.

I am pretty sure its not mid-life crisis that has made me re-think life because I am not into fast cars or fast women; my wife is more than enough for me; sexually and otherwise. So what's making me unhappy?! I am thinking it's lilfe in the U.S.

But how can someone with steady a steady income, a healthy 401K plan, an almost paid for home in West LA, a vacation home in Palm Springs, kids with 3.8 GPAs and most importantly a good wife who complains less than most men I know be unhappy?! Anyone else out there feels like me? Do I have depression? My primary care physician doesn't think so. But then again, he is not a psychologist. Maybe I should call Dr. Holakouee. But I already know what he would tell me; it's all because I am the last of 4 kids.

I work with a bunch of Asians and white Americans. I am friends with many of them. But the friendship is really not that deep. For example, if the U.S. starts a war with Iran, I am pretty sure most these friends will stop hanging around with me, much less support me in any way. After 30 years of living in the U.S. I still don't belong. My heart is somewhere else. No, definitely not Iran because life is probably worse over there.

I think my heart aches for a place where there is no Fox news, no politicians, no news of suicide bombings everyday; no Dick Cheney or George Bush, no shamless lies, no pointless discussoins on TV news or radio, no reality TV, no Americal Idol; no receiving phone calls from friends who want to trash my other friends because they said something somewhere which offended someone; no bills from the auto-health-dental-life insurance companies, cable TV company, wireless telephone company, credit card company, UCLA medical center, the gardner, homeowner association fee, etc etc.

A few years ago someone we know sold all his belongings and left the U.S. for a small centeral American country right after his kids finished Jr College and entered the university. Him and his wife bought a small motel near the beach, hired 5 locals to run the place. He now teaches computer science at a college over there. His wife teaches English at an elemetary school.

They don'y have any bills to pay and their health has never been better. He claims that he falls sleep 10 seconds after he puts his head on the pillow and wakes up 6-7 hours later refreshed, looking forward to the new day.

In the last 5 years, instead of aging 10 years like I have, they actually look younger. Once a year their kids go to visit them and they come to the U.S. to see their kids.

I am wondering if it's time for me and the wife to pack up and go. I doubt if my wife can stay away from the kids 6 months at a time. Comment

300
Crossing the line
Tina Ehrami
March 12, 2007

Hollywood released the long expected movie called 300 a few days ago in the US. It is a semi-fictional movie based on Frank Miller's graphic novel 300. It tells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, where the King of Sparta led his army against the advancing Persians, 480 B.C. The author of the book used historical facts and existing names as a basis for his fictional plot and character's which leads to the "Persians" being portrayed as something like Lord of the Rings- like characters called Orks and malformed Negro beings. With all respect for the author's rich phantasm, I think this is where Hollywood crosses the line of political correctness.

As much as fiction tells us that the story is made up, it gives us a certain feeling. Conspiracy theories already swirl through the net about the positioning and timing of this movie. Could it be that this movie has some kind of political intention? Some even believe that this sense of revolt that is shown throughout the movie against the "evil Persians" is a prelude to what the US intends to do with Iran within a short period of time. To have the support of the dumb and easily- influenced people who see this movie and have no notion of historical facts what so ever, this movie would be the perfect mood maker to destroy whatever is Persian- resulting in a military attack on Iran.

The sole fact of giving existing historical facts and personages a fictional twist is unethical from my perspective. It would be the same to make a movie about Hitler's life, portraying him as Jesus or something. Wouldn't that be sick as well? Of all the stories that could be filmed, Hollywood had to use the Persian defeat by the Spartans. As much as the good and important influence that big Hollywood movies could have on people and politics (An Inconvenient Truth, Blood Diamond or Bamako), its influence could also be devastating.

Thousands of Iranians already have signed a petition asking for a boycott of the movie. That goes too far for my taste. Giving it that much weight and attention, we are making its influence even greater than it already is. My choice would be to ignore the whole thing altogether. Don't go to see it at the movies, and don't pay too much attention to it. And if there really are going to be that much people who are going to be influenced by it, alas. Why would we want to waste our energy on people who wouldn't be able to see the difference between reality and Orks in the first place? Comment

300
Wake-up call
Lale' Welsh
March 12, 2007

I saw 300 Saturday night at Universal Studios and it rocked! As a film (and I speak as a former film student) it was exactly what it should be; visually pleasing, well acted, and persuasive (if visceral and somewhat homo-erotic) story telling. As a history lesson (And I speak as an Iranian) it was inaccurate from our perspective; Xerxes was not back, French or Gay (to my knowledge). But this just serves to point up Ms. Ghassemian's argument in "Fiction doesn't deserve a petition". It's highly stylized fiction based on a comic book!

BUT the trouble is that Hollywood's timely green-lighting and release of this movie is based on what they always base their decisions on (and I Speak as a former Paramount employee) it's based on social alleogry which guarantees box office dollars. A social allegory is a story line that echoes the current mood in the country, and when well-planned these films are always big hits. I'll spare you a lesson in cinematic history but if you recall "Not Without My Daughter" was also released right around the hostage crisis. And it did some damage to our image and it stung.

So there is some reason for righteous indignation! We should band together and do something. But sign a petition? I'll sign it as a sign of solidarity, but heck, that's just an exercise in futility. It's a story from the Greek perspective and they have a right to tell their story however they want. That's the 1st amendment. What we need to do is band together in a less impotent and whiny way. We need to tell our own story, though our eyes.

I mentioned this to a friend the other day and he laughed accusing me of being naive; his argument was that we don't have that kind of clout. And he may be right. Because in my experience every time some Iranian breaks some barrier to dominant ideology, all we do is knock them down. I've heard Iranians say Christiane Amanpour is too "Ommol", I've heard people ridicule Anousheh Ansari for spending silly money on a fancy "roller coaster ride in space". When a group of cool Iranians made a comic book, bringing our Ferdowsi's Rostam into the consciousness of American kids as a cool super hero they were even recognized at the Library of Congress, but most of what I hear from Iranians is that they did Rostam's hair and eyes all wrong!

Wake up call to all Iranians: If you don't rise and stand on your well-healed Iranian toes and band together a little more pro-actively to support one another in their valiant efforts to rescue our own culture and image then what right do we have to get mad when others don't respect it? IF every Iranian who will sign this petition, had donated $20 to Cyrus Kar's movie about Cyrus the Great SpentaProductions.com the darn thing would have been made by now, and we'd have a heck of an easier time convincing the rank and file that yes, there are two sides to every story.

But we have to agree on that story among our selves first. Are we proud of each other or not? Are we prepared to band together like the 300 did? Or not? Are we going to support each and every effort each one of us makes at great expense to ourselves to improve our lot? Or not? Because if not, even I will be tempted to root for the 300 that did. Comment

NEWBORN
Darius, the miracle
Trita Parsi
March 12, 2007

We are delighted and proud to let you know that Darius Shams Oden Parsi-Semlali was born on March 5, at 1605 EST. Weighing 3.2 kg and measuring 48.5 cm, he has given life a whole new meaning to us. Both Amina and Darius are doing well, enjoying the miracle of life - and the miracle of rest!

It took Amina and I months come to an agreement on a name. But once we saw our son, and his decisively Persian nose, it became much easier.

We decided to name him after Darius the Great, son of Hyastaspes, the Zoroastrian Achaemenid king who ruled 549 BC– 486 BC. Darius, or “He Who Holds Firm the Good,” was a great statesman and organizer. His reorganization of the state was later copied by the Romans, the postal system he established became the blueprint for the Pony Express in the US more than 2,000 years later, and his respect for human rights and his no-slave policy was revolutionary at the time – and some would argue that it still would be revolutionary in the Middle East of today.

His second name is Shams, which means sun in Arabic. Ash-Shams is the 91st sura of the Qur'an. It opens with a series of solemn oaths sworn on various astronomical phenomena, the first of which, "by the sun", gives the sura its name, then on the human soul itself.

His third name is Oden, the chief god in Norse mythology, the god of wisdom and war, but also of magic, poetry, and victory. According to the myth, Oden and his two brothers killed Ymir, the Ancient Giant, to form Midgaard. From Ymir's flesh, the brothers made the earth, from his shattered bones and teeth they made the rocks and stones, from his blood, they made the rivers and lakes, from his skull they created the sky, secured at four points by four dwarfs named East, West, North, and South. Oden and his brothers also created the humans, who were then put to dwell in Midgaard. At the Well of Wisdom (Mímir's Well), Oden sacrificed his left eye to gain the knowledge of the past, present and future. As he drank from the well, he saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and the gods. But he also saw why the sorrow and troubles had to come to men.

Little Darius is happily unaware of all of this. As he grows older, however, we hope that the weight of these names will never be a burden, but a source of inspiration and pride. Comment

300
Pure fantasy
Daniel M Pourkesali
March 10, 2007

Being an Iranian and having heard of all the many negative remarks, petitions, and other complaints, I decided to see the movie "300" for myself while fully prepared to be totally offended. But after stomaching two hours of the most gruesome graphic scenes, I walked out feeling sorrier for the Greeks.

The viewer must be forewarned that the movie, although loosely connected to Battle of Thermopylae, an event that took place in 480BC, is entirely based on Frank Miller's fictional comic of the same name and judging from what I saw, it is a faithful rework of that novel . Persian King Xerxes, for example, is not as the bearded figure perched on his throne as depicted on the walls of Persepolis, but a bald man with pierced nose and ears wearing jewels and displaying somewhat ambiguous sexuality. The Spartan King Leonidas also closely resembles the character from Miller’s book.

Having read the Greek historian Herodotus account of the events at Thermopylae, one can't help but find Miller's version poorly written and very shallow. There is hardly any depth to his portrayal of Greek Spartans as they are reduced to bloodthirsty savages whose only aim in life is to do war and yell "SPARTA" each time they stab a Persian warrior.

This heavily fictionalized film shows the mad Greeks battling wild beasts, giants, and fang toothed men totally degrading one of the key battles in Greco-Persian history. They face not the army of Xerxes described by Herodotus, but that of monstrous beings from some distant Sci-Fi universe.

Historical purists looking for an accurate reenactment of the battle at Thermopylae will be sorely disappointed but fans of Frank Miller’s comic novels and those into graphic and gory video games are in for a treat. Comment

TV
Comedy special
Maz Jobrani
March 10, 2007

It's finally happening. The Axis of Evil Comedy Special is airing tonight, March 10th on Comedy Central. I personally can't believe it since we've been at this thing for about 7 years. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (or the Middle Eastern version which would be blood, sweat and cologne) to get this thing on the air. I think when we first started I was still using Drakar Noir, now I'm on my eighteenth bottle of Armani -yes, people, that's how I tell time.

Anyway, tonight we will become the first Middle Eastern/American comedy show to ever air on American television (I actually didn't research this fact, but am going with the flow because it sounds good and I'm about 99.9% sure it's true - let's just say based on the intelligence I've received there could be a strong connection between the Middle East, comedy and this being the first of its kind. Now I'm starting to sound like Dick Cheney. Doh!)

Please forward this to as many people as you can since we really need to have good ratings. I know that a lot of you will either watch it or Tivo it, but I'm not sure how many Middle Easterners actually have Nielson boxes. So even if 3 million of you watch we still might get a .000001rating - which would make it seem like only 3 of you watched. But the more people who get this e-mail the more our chances of reaching Nielson families and pulling good numbers.

Show Times:
Sat, Mar. 10 @ 11:00 PM EST
Tue, Mar. 13 @ 10:00 PM EDT
Wed, Mar. 14 @ 12:00 AM EDT

Speaking of good numbers, our DVD will be in stores on April 3rd. However, you can pre-order it today on Amazon.com If you think you will be buying the DVD please do pre-order since it helps show our distributor that there really is a market for this brand of comedy. The DVD actually has about 30-40 more minutes of material and behind the scenes stuff than the Comedy Central Special. And it's priced to go, my friend - normally$14.99, but for you only $13.49 (I swear that's really how they have it on Amazon. If you don't believe me go look for yourself I think an Iranian bazaari might be Amazon's webmaster.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the Special and I hope you order the DVD. Comment

INTERVIEW
A people, interrupted
Goudarz Eghtedari
March 9, 2007

I interviewed Professor Hamid Dabashi on March 8th, 2007 by phone as part of my KBOO 90.7 FM program “Voices of the Middle East.” [Listen here] The main occasion for the interview was the recent release of his book “Iran, a people interrupted” (New Press, 2007). The book is mainly the bicentennial history of Iran, but it also refers to more than just the history. It covers a parallel of political as well as cultural and literary developments in Iran. He is definitely a committed believer of Edward Said’s view point of anti-colonialist critique of Orientalism, a person he worked with at Columbia.

Dr. Dabashi is at the center of recent controversial criticism of American Neo-Conservatives and their Iranian counterparts. His passionate responses to my questions about this issue came after a more detailed inquiry of his critique of the Fukuyama’s notion of the “End of History”. We started with philosophical bases of his book such as the struggle between Modernity and Tradition and concluded with the US tragedies in the Middle East and his solution to end that catastrophe. I am offering this recording to the young-generation-Iranians living in the US and Europe as well as those who find access to the Internet elsewhere in response to Dr. Dabashi’s specific interest to outreach to them.

Born on June 15, 1951 into a working class family in the south-western city of Ahvaz in the Khuzestan province of Iran, Hamid Dabashi received his early education in his hometown and his college education in Tehran, before he moved to the United States, where he received a dual Ph.D. in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

He is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, the oldest and most prestigious Chair in Iranian Studies. Professor Dabashi has written 12 books, edited 4, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews in major scholarly and peer reviewed journals on subjects ranging from Iranian Studies, Shi’ism, Medieval and Modern Islamic Intellectual History, Comparative Literature, World Cinema, Trans-aesthetics, Trans-national Art, Philosophy, Mysticism, Theology, Post-colonial Theory and Cultural Studies. Comment

WOMEN
The pussyfication of Iranian men
Siamack Baniameri
March 9, 2007

We go through the same routine every time a player doesn't show up for soccer practice: "Hey, where is Nima?"

"He's not here; his pussy is hurting."

Accusing a guy of having "pussy pain" is the ultimate insult in the world of male-dominated hooliganism.

Watching Iranian women, in the last few days, taking on the government of Iran, being assaulted, injured, tortured and imprisoned made me realize that my soccer buddies and me were right all along.

As we Iranian men become more and more of a pussy, somehow in the last thirty years, Iranian women have grown balls.

And the pussification process completed on the day that we -- men -- stayed on the sidelines and watched our women insulted, beaten and shoved in a bus, and we didn't dare to say a word.

There is only one thing left to say: we Iranian men have been pussified.

So, stay out of the way and let the women lead.

Maybe some day when a member of an Iranian women soccer team doesn't show up for practice, we hear the women say:

"Hey, where is Nassrin?"

"She's not here; she's turned into an Iranian man." Comment

NOROUZ
Khooneh takooni
Layla Khamoushian
March 9, 2007

It's that time of the year again, when you are supposed to "Shake Your House". Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. I like the phrase "Khooneh Takooni" much better than the simple English version of Spring Cleaning because Khooneh Takooni, by definition, implies more than just the normal and routine cleaning. It's more powerful and more dramatic, of course given our all time dramatic culture.

This time of the year signifies a great concept: the earth renews itself, the birds travel back, the days are longer, and the children stay outside till 8 p.m. This time of the year is sacred...

To celebrate the coming of Spring, we need to do more than just cleaning-- we need to de-clutter in a revolutionary manner, as if we literally shook the house, and by doing so, we will get rid of all the old, unused, and or unuseful "things" in our lives ... we will let go. That way, we can renew ourselves from within.

It is not a surprise that Norouz, Easter and Passover all fall on or about the same time of the year, all conveying the same message: to purify and renew yourself, your physical being and your soul. (This is also another sign that human beings are much closer to each other, and the core of religion is the same despite all the wars going on today -- but I am going to leave that topic for another day.)

This year, as part of my grandiose "Khooneh Takooni" plan, I intend on throwing all my old socks away. First, when it gets warm, I wear open toe shoes and I usually try to extend this habit way beyond Labor Day weekend in September.

Secondly, I hope by October of next year, when they pull the clocks back again, and it gets cold, and the days shorten, I would be so much wealthier that I could go out and buy at least a dozen of sucks: all of kinds of sucks like white athletic sucks, fluffy sucks to wear in bed, cute sucks with animals on them, simple sucks, colored sucks ... and more sucks. What is your plan?

Happy Khooneh Takooni! Comment

LIFE
March 8th
Sheema Kalbasi
March 8, 2007

For you I write. In you I want to believe there lives a part of me that I have been seeking throughout my life. You know more about me than any other man has ever known or any woman I have befriended. These writings are yours. You can decide what to do with this trust, how to react, to take or reject me. This is I, true and true. I love you. No matter how many times I tell you I want to say it one more time because I am afraid of losing, afraid that you stop reading me somewhere on the line I write continually to let it flow over and beyond.

With you I don't hold back. I trust you with everything I am. With you I want to believe poetry lives and more so because you don't write poetry. To me you are a poem I read everyday when I walk quick or slow. Your image casts no shadow on my heart but clearly free verse is not an issue when the thuggees follow my traveling footsteps next to the Ganga, when my feet burn to reach you yet the wounds on them aren't mending too fast, when the season denies the one day to the Iranian women who demonstrate on Women's Day, and are, therefore, behind bars for asking for their rights, the rights they seek with all their flexibility toward a regime that captures them like little hunts. In all these things I know I can find peace in your writings when everything seems too centralized to hope for a democracy in Iran. It is your delicate words that wash the pain off my body, and heal the scars on my feet. I know I can narrate my images with you. You are after all the one who holds me with all my nakedness, clear, without any shadow peering.

I am at times impatient to meet the hour when I can kneel at your shore, to cup my fingers to drink you. One morning perhaps will be the one when I will taste you without exposing the veins over these pages, when I can kneel or take my skin off to swim through you, to hold you not over but from my inside out.

Live. Live and sing like the River Krishna, meeting me at the Bay of Bengal. We two are the bay itself resembling a triangle. You are the Sivabuddha, and my arms holding you, three. You know beloved, all the caves of Maharashtra with all their sculptures and paintings cannot hold me back in awe from wanting to hear your voice echo and pour over me. Nothing is as beautiful as you are. Nothing is as intimate as your presence. To me you are my one chance to be true to myself, to be able to taste the fig, to accept the past however it was, to live, and to want to know what the future of this affair will be. With you everything is a creation and not a recreation, everything enters, and centers. With you the missing is found and the founded love is the Ganga. You cleanse me of all the sins, and hold me sacred. It is with you that my cheeks blossom from the sun reflecting down on the waters of that sacred river: Ganga meri (my Ganga,) your waters are warm.

If I don't write as often as I used to it is because the days arrive unwaveringly. I sometimes wake up at four in the morning to write for you but lately dreams and night understand one another all too often. Beloved, life is life. Right is right. I don't write to fulfill a mission. I write when the creation invites me, when my reflection or shades are not shadowing over my words, but despite the news of the battlefields, the dictators ruling over powerless people, despite the occasional coffee break discussions of peace, my love for you continues. Please know that like the song says I hope that one day you will let me tell you: Come lend me your hand, let me be your friend as we start again in this life.

Visit HowItGoesNaked.blogspot.com

WOMEN
Free Our Women. Free Asieh.
Nazy Kaviani
March 7, 2007

I wonder where I would be if I was still living in Tehran. Would I have been brave enough to have followed the others to the peaceful protest of this week? Would I have been arrested abruptly and violently, dragged through the city, and shoved into a crowded holding cell, only to be transferred blindfolded to Block 209 of a horrible jail? I don’t know.

I do know that my heart weeps for the plight of Iranian women, caught in the hands of barbaric laws which not only don’t protect them, but at every turn take away something from their freedom, their dignity, their individuality, and their humanity, degrading them to second class citizens, devoid of rights to custody of their own children, rights to a fair marriage, rights to choose their own clothing, and many other basic human rights. It is true that no human being in Iran is treated with dignity, but it is particularly horrible for women.

One of the arrested women, Asieh Amini, is a blogger, whose blog I visit every night, occasionally leaving comments, comments which she sometimes answers. My unmet friend, Asieh, shares a name with my grandmother. Through her infrequent postings, she appears as such a soft, yet strong soul. You can feel her “woman-ness” through her words of wisdom, compassion, and humor. The reason she writes infrequently is that she is a women’s and children’s rights activist, traveling all over Iran, witnessing, reporting, and following up on abused women and children. Asieh is the voice of collective consciences of every Iranian man and woman. She won’t let go of that abused 12 year old boy in Hamadan. She won’t let go of that young woman in Rasht, waiting to be executed because she killed someone in self-defense. I have never met her, but I feel like I know her and I love her and my heart feels imprisoned thinking of her in jail.

I want to shout to the world: It’s not fair! I know better, though. I go and help my friend put his articles about the women into English, so the world could hear. That’s how I can help. Those women in prison cannot afford their supporters to fall apart on them now. Not now. Much like she won’t let Behzad and Delara down, I won’t let Asieh down. Comment

FILM
The ridiculous truth
Nema Milaninia
March 7, 2007

This is one of the most ridiculous petitions I have every seen in my entire life and the fact that a “Dr.” drafted it and that over 2,500 people signed it is even more ridiculous. The petitioned is drafted as an attack against the movie 300 for its “inaccurate” portrayal of the “Persians.” Actually, its more a petition that states “Persians are the best, we conquered the world but of course we would never kill people to do it.”

First of all, who ever said that 300 is intended in any way to be a documentary of historical events. I saw ogres, freaks, rhino’s being ridden, and other supernatural creatures. You would have to be brain-dead to actually think that a genius like Frank Miller intended to reflect real-life events, than simply create a stylish battle movie. Think about it, its like Christians attacking the Mel Brooks movie History of the World for being historically inaccurate because it shows a waiter bugging Jesus during the last supper. These movies are not intended to be a historical account and everyone knows it.

Second, it’s pretty disappointing to see so many Iranians in an outrage against this movie when there’s so many more important and bigger issues out there, such as, lets see, a possible war on Iran which could cause thousands of deaths, the abduction of female activists in Iran, the continual deprivation of human rights in Iran and in the US. I’ve signed petition on these issues, and in general, they don’t usually garner more than 1000 people. Its really shocking to see how double that amount care more about attacking a movie and in essence attacking freedom of speech, then for promoting it in a country which represses it.

And lastly, I can’t help discussing this beautiful line of cultural arrogance in the petition:

“Based on the Zoroastrian doctrine, it was the strong emphasis on honesty and integrity that gave the ancient Persians credibility to rule the world, even in the eyes of the people belonging to the conquered nations (Herodotus, mid 5th century B.C). Truth for the sake of truth, was the universal motto and the very core of the Persian culture that was followed not only by the great kings, but even the ordinary Persians made it a point to adhere to this code of conduct.”

The Persians did not expand through organic growth and love for their culture. They did so through conquest, which by its very nature requires bloodshed. The fact that the Persians continuously tried to subdue the Greeks is evidence of their imperialist desires more than anything else. If the Persians only cared about “truth” and credibility, then why in the world would they seek to conquer a country that was resisting them? The fact is, the Persians were no different than any other empire in the past or present. They conquered through their military, stripped their enemies of freedom, and instituted a systematic tribute to tax each province.

Yes, one could argue that the Persians gave those they conquered many things as well, such as a postal system and some form of human rights But then again, that’s precisely the argument the British have used to justify colonialism in India, South Africa, Kenya and other places. Even were that to be true, it truly takes someone culturally egocentric to believe that there could ever be an empire which expanded through virtue rather than bloodshed. In the end, the movie itself displays no ignorance of history because its clearly intended to be fictional. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the people who created and signed the petition against it. Comment

Visit Milianinia's blog IranianTruth.com

MESSIAH
Don't come back
Yasmin
March 7, 2007

This morning on CNN I noticed a question that was written all over the TV screen; "Is it Jesus?" The reporter said "Biblical Bones" are found somewhere in Jerusalem , and they could belong to Jesus. Well first of all I thought Jesus had ascended to heaven so there should't be any bones left anywhere, secondly how can they differentiate between a normal bones and the Biblical ones? By the same token is it fair enough to say that there might be Koranic bones somewhere in Karbala?

I always wondered about "Imam Zaman". This guy has been trapped in a well for hundreds of years somewhere outside Tehran. Ok I understand that back then there was no technology nor the means to bring him up, but how about now? If he is down there and getting money from everyone and saving their souls and granting their wishes, why isn't anyone bringing him up? What is he doing down there? Maybe he's saving money to hire troops and fight with Mr. Ahmadinejad's nukes against Jesus as he's descending from Heaven with his army of Crusaders and Western allies? It will be a sight to see.

Ok so far we have two guys who will reappear sometime in the future; one from above and the other from under, but there is also a third guy; "Sheikh Baha" who is also trapped in a pit, ... sort of!!! I wonder if he is also waiting to join one of the above or he will fight evil all by himself. I guess he better reconsider his choices.

I am not sure if Moses is coming back, but I doubt it very much. I think he is happy where he is. Let's face it, he has to go back to Israel and not only fight the Palestinians but also wait for an excuse to bomb Iran. No, too much hassle indeed. I think he's a smart guy.

I may sound blasphemous, but I am not, I actually believe in God and wondering why we let religion divide us and create such unbelievable animosity amongst nations. Well I'm not sure if I'll live to see these guys saving the world, but I sure hope they don't fight over a piece of land or oil, or any resources that may come under their jurisdiction.

Amen...
Comment

WOMEN
Intelligent life form?
Tina Ehrami
March 5, 2007

It is the year 2007. Mankind has reached breakthroughs in science and technology. We have found cures to illnesses, ways to recreate human cells, figured out what life form there exists on planet Mars, defeated dictatorial regimes and have produced robots that look more human than humans do. With all this positive and constructive brainpower raging through the planet, mankind would surely have reason to be proud about its own specie. There is one day every year that I don't share this sense of pride. That is on International Women's Day on the 8th of March.

With all this positive brainpower and human intelligence, we still haven't reached the most basic assumptions about life. Because one part of the human specie, the female part, has to remind the rest of the world, every year on the 8th of March, that a large part of them are not benefiting from all this positive brainpower.

Why is it that human beings who have developed the culture and understanding of natural science and quantum physics, can't be expected to enhance the same level of culture and understanding when it comes to the respect of both sexes equally?

Isn't it bizarre that we are celebrating the fact that the first female tourist has traveled into space and at the same time have to shout out about the outrage of young girls who are being sentenced to death because of having sexual contact outside of wedlock?

The single fact that we celebrate the 8th of March as International Women's Day is an outrage on its own. The day that the "celebration" of this day will be redundant, is the day that we humans would all be equal. Until that day many fights will have to be fought, many obstacles must be bulldozered over and many laws have to be altered. But foremost, mentality of mankind must reach an adult age. Will we live to see that day? Comment

LOGIC
Fuzzy
Nazy Kaviani
March 5, 2007

Professor Lotfi Zadeh is a legend in his own time. He is the inventor of “Fuzzy Logic,” a theory now widely used in many disciplines and environments, particularly as it pertains to development and manufacturing of computer hardware, software, and robotics. Those who know this theory know that it is much to do with math, technology, and, well, logic. In my non-technical state, the best way for me to describe Fuzzy Logic is to say that it revolves around not the black and white areas of “absolute” in matters, but around the thousand shades of grey in between, and how to describe, quantify, and utilize them. No wonder even students of philosophy are among those doing research on his theory.

He is originally from Baku, Azarbaijan, but spent 14 years in Iran between the ages of 10 and 24, when he graduated from Tehran Technical University. He is now 86 years old, a Professor Emeritus at Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and continues to work, research, and speak at conferences worldwide. In addition to his credentials, he holds 26 honorary doctorate degrees from universities all over the world. This man and his lovely wife, Fay, are my friends.

He is funny and full of life, appearing dapper and dressed in European style clothing. He speaks many languages, including a sweet and fluent Farsi. He tells short, funny stories and has a mind which is sharp as a blade. We spend our time talking about the world, politics, and life in general. His approach to life and its many dimensions is astounding. He forgets nothing, and remembers everything.

He tells short and meaningful stories and shares his bittersweet take on issues. Tonight he told me a funny story. Being a Russian himself, many of his stories are about Russians. He said a Russian runs into his friend. His friend is walking awkwardly and obviously in pain. He asks him why he is walking that way and his friend says: “It’s because my shoes are too tight.” The first man asks why his friend wouldn’t consider wearing shoes in his own size. He says: “Well, you see, recently I went bankrupt. Then my wife died. My son is a gangster now and my daughter is a prostitute. The only joy and relief I feel in my life is when I go home and take off these tight shoes.”

His anecdote represents a clear and sound mind, the one that gave “Fuzzy Logic” to the world. There is nothing fuzzy about Lotfi. There is no fuzziness to the way I feel, honored and special when I grab my chopsticks, eat, and enjoy my time next to Lotfi and Fay. Life is clear and meaningful tonight. I don’t feel fuzzy tonight. Comment

POETRY
One
Amir A
March 4, 2007

Black & White are brother
if from this land or another
All are from One
Living under the Sun
We who call Earth our Mother

WAR :o)
The brave blogger
Peyvand Khorsandi
March 2, 2007

If the Martians attack Iran I will go back and fight. Please don’t applaud -- it is my duty. I don’t care who is in power, it is my country, and I will stick up for it. When the war is over, if I am alive, then, I will engage the government. Of course, our ruling clerics are not so bad. The MEDIA exaggerate.

In Iran young people have many drugs you can’t buy in the West. We also have MORE SEX than young people in West. And our HIV-infection rate is truly world-class. Yes. If you are unwilling to lay your life down for our Supreme Leader you are a PUSSY. I am going back. I’m tired of all these NEGATIVE IMAGES of Iran. It’s the media. The Leader is not such a bad guy -- have you ever given him a chance?

I pledge to die for my flag. It’s not a zealot’s flag. It’s mine. You may say: “No one’s said they’re attacking yet, calm down”. Suck on my pre-emptive strike Martians.

We must join as one nation, regardless of political hue. We must follow the Supreme Leader. He is misunderstood and, like Michael Jackson, too sensitive for this world. And where Jackson had Bubbles, our Leader has The President. We can defeat the Martians, if we stand behind this monkey. Over my dead body if need be. Overreacting? Have you no family in Iran? No friends? You, in your living rooms in the West, who will not be in the firing line of the Martians, you unpatriotic bastards. I know you can hear.

I insist we all lay down our lives for the Islamic Republic. It may be inviting this war but it has every right to -- did we not build the Pyramids? (Did you know those “wonders” of the ancient world were, in fact, an accident. Cleopatra had planned to build giant spheres -- which she planned to conquer continents with. But all her incompetent architects could offer was pyramids. Egyptians invented spin: “No one will know we want to build balls so let’s just go with these.”)

Join me, readers, return to Iran and fight the imperialist aggressors. And if I stay behind it will only be to report on your selfless courage. You will be giving your life for both the nation and the world. I will make sure your death does not go unnoticed, that the picture of your dead body is posted on my blog. And if there’s live footage of you being maimed or tortured I promise to post it on YouTube. Go brother, go sister. Let us send a message to the neo-cons: the Iranians are one people, UNTIED. I mean UNITED. Let’s stop doing drugs and send the Martians to Uranus.

Posted by Ali K Nob 2 March 00:10, Tel Aviv. Comment

Peyvand Khorsandi's blog, Soul Bean Café

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