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Ku Klux Fux

It really bothers me when I see them humiliated before the world with such a scandalous event taking place in their midst
Lance Raheem

A number of people have recently expressed their disgust and revulsion toward the Holocaust Revisionist Conference held in Tehran. With perhaps the exception of a few nutcases living in the mountains of rural Idaho, I think one would be hard pressed to find many people who would challenge the veracity of the mountains of evidence that verify the historical fact of what we have come to know as the Holocaust.  Our illustrious president, Ahgaye Mamoon ImaWeinerJob, has taken great pride in the fact that many of the participant-scholars attending conference are foreigners.  The truth is that these so-called intellectuals, who've been feted to V.I.P. treatment as guests of the Islamic Republic, constitute a veritable Who's Who of Losers, Weirdos, Outcasts, Freaks, and Psychos >>>

Republic of Shame
Fariba Amini

The recent Holocaust conference in Tehran was yet another attempt by the Islamic Republic to distract the Iranian public and world attention from the many issues facing them.  It was also a provocation coupled with militant ignorance, and as such an all too familiar aspect of this regime. With this conference, designed to cast doubt on the veracity of a well documented monstrous crime and attended by revisionist “scholars” and a former head of the racist Klu Klux Klan, the Iranian regime under Ahmadi Nejad has once again managed to insult our nation as well as the nations of the world >>>

Among rogue scholars

Inside the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies (IHCS), a Tehran research institute: 1993-1995
Azadeh Azad

In 1992, the publication of a new women's magazine, Zanan, was a first clear sign that there was a rift within the ranks of the Islamic phalanx in Iran, creating a narrow crevice for uttering slightly different opinions without being immediately executed. So, having worked for many years as a social scientist with La Federation des Femmes du Quebec in Montreal, I decided to return to Tehran at the end of that year, to live and work in my birthplace for a few years. I had left Iran in 1969 with the feeling that women's situation under the Shah was unbearable. I thus clearly knew that the wearing of the compulsory hijab and abiding by other rules of the Islamic regime would be detrimental to my psyche; so I returned with the internal attitude of an observing sociologist and not of a woman, in order to cope with the offensive and alienating social environment in new Iran >>>

The world is watching us
Marjan Abdi

Having inherited the foundation of Human Rights from a just emperor, Cyrus the Great 2500 years ago, we must be able to rather teach the world how to develop human souls to eradicate crime; whereas, shamefully enough, we are witnessing the fact that today all the basic human rights are simply being violated in the very land of the founder of them! Stoning is a destructive encouragement to potential inclination to crime, which is hidden in every human being by nature. We must provide a healthy education to all to avoid crimes from happening in the first place. Stoning is indeed a failure in our spiritual education >>>

Our sense of right and wrong

The trouble with denying the Holocaust
Ari Siletz

As a leader of a predominantly Shiite country, President Ahamadinejad understands the utility of politicizing grief. For over thirteen centuries Shiism has found sustenance in mournful rituals commemorating the death of its Imams. In the mind of a Shiite politician, the Holocaust story is a familiar emotional device for amplifying and channeling political power. However, this interpretation of the Holocaust as an instrument of manipulation is behind the times. In the modern world, the Holocaust lesson serves civilization by helping prevent atrocities that would occur otherwise >>>

In Nokia, we trust

Before some Iranians decide the motto of our union ought to be changed to "liberty, but tasing for all," remember that there is a legal system that demands accountability for the bad guys

There are bad cops all over the world who mistreat the little guys. But I don't view Mostafa like I do the victims in Tiananmen Square, the Soviet Union or student activists in Iran. And I most certainly don't take the actions of these officers as a threat to freedom in the United States. They don't deserve that much credit. So before some Iranians decide the motto of our union ought to be changed to "liberty, but tasing for all," remember that there is a legal system that demands accountability for the bad guys. They can also be comforted by the masses who are ready to help the legal system, armed with youtube and videophones. Bad guys, you'd better watch yourselves >>>

Their lives were sacred
Kaveh Nouraee

I don't know whether to laugh, or throw up. Only in Iran could there be a "conference" where the Holocaust is denied, with Orthodox Jewish rabbis as invited guests. Meimoun Antarinejad is greeting and hobnobbing with everyone like he's the maitre'd at Morton's of Chicago. (Overheard: Antarinejad: "Shalom and thank you for coming, Rabbis, we are glad you have made it. (turns to aide) Hassan! Get the kikes some chai!") David Duke, the former grand drag queen of the KKK is another "honored speaker" (translated: goh-e-sag). He was quoted as saying, "Well, goddamn! you camel jockeys sure smell funny. The stink in this room reminds me of my taxicab ride to the airport." This uber-redneck cracker gets a visa to travel fom the U.S. to Iran faster than an oil change at Jiffy Lube, but if I even use the word "airport" in a sentence, both Homeland Security and the TSA will immediately conference-call me to arrange a joint task force cavity search that takes longer than my actual flight >>>

State of denial
Farid Parsa

No other government in the world is more suited to host an international conference questioning the historical veracity of Holocaust than the Islamic Republic of Iran. The reason for it being that no other government in the world is more in the state of denial than Islamic Republic of Iran. They are in denial about the high rate of jobless people, the wide spread of drug addiction and prostitution, torture and murders of their citizens, persecution of religious minorities, oppression of homosexuals and lack of transparency and corruption within the government, and most importantly they are in denial about their relevance to the people of Iran and their place in the modern world. Even the most uneducated person can see the disfunctionality of Islamic Republic of Iran. No government is able to deny the Holocaust unless he is in the state of denial about their own crime against humanity.

Hoghooghe madaniye Bahaiane Iran

Iran elections, constitutional reform & Bahai rights
Kavian S. Milani

We are indestructible
Jewish Irani

Ahmaghinejad and his hateful clan have opened a 2-day so-called conference on Holocaust denial, in Tehran. Of course, they are selling it as an academic conference to some 67 foreign researchers (read anti-Semites) from 30 countries. In the name of the six million who were perished Al Kidush Ha-shem; sanctifying the Almighty's name, I tell you Mr. Ahmaghinejad that there have been many others before you who tried to hurt the Jewish people, but they themselves were wiped off the map. Take your ancient countryman for example Mr. Haman who like you had such sinister dreams. What happened to him? He was hanged on the very same gallows that he built to kill Mordechai the Jew >>>

Death to stupidity

Why would you want to reduce the biggest, most horrendous crime committed by a Western/Christian power in history if you are out to show the world that Islam and its anti-Westernism can lead the world to a better place?
Shahla Azizi

When I first heard about the student protests I thought they were protesting the Holocaust Denial Conference. But no Muslim or Zoroastrian will defend a Jew in Iran -- not at the cost of imprisonment or torture.  I, myself, am using a pseudonym and am as timid as the next collaborating Iranian.  At least, though, I spent a good few hours pondering my own cowardice and trying to build enough courage to put my real name to this. That is more that most people do. You can hate Israel. You can hate the Zionists. You can resent the Jews being given Palestine instead of East Germany but to deny the Holocaust is idiotic.  Not only is it historically inaccurate but it is tasteless and self-defeating as well.  It would be easier to deny the martyrdom of Imam Reza, for example, whom even the more devout seem to think, died of over-eating rather than poisoned grapes >>>

Khak bar sare opposition

A generation of post-modern youth who has no interest in politics and society
Tina Ehrami

A friend's friend returned from Iran a couple of weeks ago and of course I had to have the full report on social, political and developmental issues in Iran from her. I wanted to hear about the Iranian Student Movement, about the vastly growing Woman's Movement, about the Shirin Ebadi's, about censored journalists and writers who fought back through publishing online, or brave men and women who organised underground meetings or demonstrations and strikes. All these stories remained untold. Nothing was said about the three-star students who were sent to jail for the third time during their study or the numerous under-aged women who were hung or stoned to death. I was disappointed. Not because I was so eager to hear about atrocities in my "vatan", but because I knew that all these things existed but nobody in Iran seemed to care >>>

Death sentence without borders

Journalists, bloggers, and writers protect yourselves!
Jahanshah Rashidian

It started in Tabriz and Tehran with the organised demonstrations of IRI’s followers against an Azeri writer, Rafiq Tagi, who wrote an article, "humiliating" Prophet Muhammad. The Azeri writer is accused of portraying Christianity and Europe as superior to Islam as and the Middle East. The fatwa calls for the death of the writer and also the person responsible for publishing his article. Another Iranian Mullah offers his house as a reward to anyone who executes the writer. The article published last month in the newspaper Senet prompted an unsanctioned protest in a village north of Baku by angry observant Muslims and rapidly became a fervent topic of Islamic media in Iran >>>

Banalization of history

Let's not play with words for it is a DENIAL of the Holocaust under the coverage of so called search for historical truth
Darius Kadivar

I am amazed by some so-called self-promoted intellectuals like you who fail to see a bigger danger, not to say picture, than Pahlavi or the American neo-cons who have inevitably failed in the military campaign in Iraq. Americans have recently proved through elections that they will not give George Bush or his foolish administration a second chance to invade Iran or anywhere else on this crazed up fundamentalist-infested region. Why don't people like you draw attention on what Ahmaninejad is doing to our country Iran and to the young generation of Iranians with no connection with the past, be it Monarchical or even Mossadeghi? Why aren't you shocked by the fact that someone like Ahmaninejad can initiate an international conference of denial of the Holocaust? >>>

Naghsh dar aab

Any Iranian woman who becomes famous does not necessarily deserve praise, especially not Anousheh Ansari
Fariba Moghadam

Tasleem yaa eestaadegi?

Resisting or surrendering to domestic violence?
Shokooh Mirzadegi

Women are women

Clearly, a rights-based discussion can’t begin with Islam but has to begin with the woman and her rights
Maryam Namazie

It is crucial to speak about the rights of ‘Muslim’ women, go beyond the issue of the veil, and talk about secularism, particularly in light of the political Islamic movement’s assault on women and their rights, but restricting the debate in this way is seriously flawed. Firstly, the so-called grouping of Muslim women is a constructed one. Out of the innumerable characteristics women have, why focus on their beliefs? Doing so, implies that religion informs the rights of all those labelled as Muslim (including very often people like myself - an atheist). This is not usually the case. More importantly, why must women’s rights issues be discussed within the framework of religion or for that matter, with regard to the beliefs -- real or imputed - of the woman whose rights are being discussed? Generally, this is not how rights are examined. For example, do we discuss domestic violence vis-à-vis Christian women or in the context of Christianity? >>>

Expression under repression
Tina Ehrami

A group of 21 Iranian journalists were arrested and interrogated by the Iranian authorities earlier this week after returning from a seminar they attended in Hilversum and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The non-profit organization Communication for Development (CFD) confirmed this message. According to this organization, the journalists were asked personal questions which had no relation whatsoever with a serious investigation. The CFD is concerned that authorities in Iran abuse their power to thwart journalists.  I personally hope that these journalists will not be sabotaged in their professional activities by the authorities >>>


Thinking of you

Photo essay: For children killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Aidin Fathalizadeh


Bruised Bruins
Photo essay & Video clips (1) (2): UCLA protest against tasing

Maral Farsi

Civil disobedience deserved a civilized reaction
Ardavan M.T.

Some of your readers have condemned the UCLA student, Mr. Tabatabaienejad's, behavior in failing to obey the police officers' orders and deemed it inappropriate.However, it should be noted that his actions, inappropriate or not, would legally qualify as a civil disobedience. On the contrary, it's the reaction from the officers which was excessive and disproportionate, for the following two reasons: 1) A non-violent civil disobedience deserves a non-violent civilized response. The officers could have charged Mr. Tabatabaienejad with disobedience and given him a court notice. The issue then could have taken its legal course in the court of law, where in a civilized society such incidences should be dealt with >>>

Overwhelmingly xenophobic
Ari Siletz

On reading the news of an Iranian-American student being tasered by UCLA campus police, I checked the yahoo message board for public reaction... A few voices on the message board do condemn the use of excessive force by the UCLA police, but the tone of the discussion is overwhelmingly xenophobic. As an educated minority, Iranian-Americans understand the urgency of spending more effort on community outreach and on the education of the general American public about ourselves. On the other hand, we also understand that if this humiliation of an Iranian-American student goes unchallenged, it will weaken our position in American society, inviting more such incidents. A collective response is appropriate >>>


War on tasing
Photo essay: UCLA protest at taser use against Iranian-American student

Mohamad Navab


Distant screams
Photo essay: Santa Monica Pier war memorial

Shirin B.


Excessive force
Video: Iranian student taserd at UCLA library

Kourosh A.

You broke the law
Ron Ghana

Here we go again. A punk student disregard and disopeyed campus police and got tased and now probably will sue the school for some doe. I am sick and tired of people blaming thers and not wanting to take responsibility for their own actions. Campus police repeatedly asked him to leave the library or he will be tased. When you are a student in any university you are obligated to follow the rules (this include Iranian students). Campus police asked you to show your ID, no luck; campus police asked you to leave the libray or be tased, no luck. Oh well now that YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LAW and they have tased you and removed you, it's time to start crying and bringing up the race card and excessive force. Mostafa you are a disgrace to our community, enough said >>>

Sack UCLA cops
Kaveh Nouraee

After seeing the video where Mostafa Tabatabainejad is getting tasered by UCLA campus police in the computer lab, my blood began to boil. I am the first one who would stand up and declare in no uncertain terms, that the safety and well-being of all students and faculty on any school campus are of paramount importance. However, when the very people who are supposed to "keep the peace" are the ones students need protection from, that's where enough is enough >>>

It won't even make the news
I lifted my head ... the man shooting was around 6 feet from me. Shooting away. Israeli secret service ... dressed up like an Arab

An eyewitness acount from a Palestinian visiting Ramallah

I was driving down the main street. A taxi driver cut me off. I rolled down the window and cursed at him. We pulled over and Emily and Mohammed jumped out to buy kanafa. Then we continued, dropping off Mohammed at his car ... which he had left in the center of town. We agreed to meet at Mohammed's place down the street. I was alone in the front seat. Emily and Carolyn in the back. Suddenly there was a van directly in front of our car. He veered a bit towards our car. I slowed down, wondering how I was going to pass him. And then he emerged from his window ... pointing an M-16 across the street and spraying bullets. The three of us hit the floor of the car. All around us ... shooting, shooting, shooting. So close. So close >>>

The right to be left alone
Tina Ehrami

You and I are losing bits of our privacy everyday. Do we really need to be confronted with that much of our private lives when we personally do not choose to give it away voluntarily? The internet has made it possible to communicate more and more anonymously. Everyone can take your personal information and abuse it for their own sick purposes. A few days ago I read about this famous Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi whose personal sex video has been circulating on the internet! I really feel sorry for this poor woman. The thought of everyone-including your family- seeing you in such a position must be devastating >>>

A child has no religion
We should tear out all romantic falsification surrounding the veil

Azar Majedi

The question of the veil has become a heated debate in the British media. In this debate some fundamental principles seem to be at stake: Individual freedom to practice one's religion, freedom of choice, freedom of clothing and discrimination against a particular community, that is, the so-called Moslem community. Islamists and some human rights activists maintain that the so-called Moslem community is being stigmatized and have been under racist attack since September 11th. They argue that the latest attempts to ban burke or the nighab is a violation of individual freedom and another racist attack on Moslems. Let's examine these issues closer. Two events following one another brought up the question of the Islamic veil in the British media: Jack Straw's comment on the women wearing the nighab and the case of Aishah Azmi, a 24 year old support teacher, who was ordered to take off her full veil, including the nighab >>>

In the name of your god
Payam Ghassemlou

It scares me to know what you can do in the name of your god. Throughout human history, you have committed so many atrocities in the name of your god like hanging gays in public, stoning lesbians to death, shaming AIDS patients, blowing yourself up in a crowded bus, crashing airplanes into buildings, bombing refuge camps, invading countries and stealing their oil reserves. You can even rape children, torture prisoners, commit hate crimes, pollute the oceans, and experiment on animals for your research in the name of your god... A cure or healing for our collective maladies needs to include teachings of leaders like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King . When Gandhi was working toward India's liberation, he never said I hate England; instead, he loved and advocated for independence. Dr. King never advocated hatred for white people; rather, he expressed equality for all people >>>

So I ask you; Where is the outrage? Where is the dissent? This is U.S. of A! Isn't it!!?


This is a story about a fictional character. Fictional only because I don't know his name. Fictional because although I am sure of his existence, as I am sure we can not be the only living presence in the universe, I do not know of his precise whereabouts or the exact details of his life. But I can tell you that he exists and like the rest of us lived a normal life, based on whatever standards that is considered normal wherever you happen to be. There are billions of people around the world with each having their own personal story. Stories that mostly go untold; just or unjust. This is his story. I can tell it >>>


For their sake

Photo essay: Children of Afghanistan
Pouria Lotfi

Mane maa va mane aanhaa

Personal growth in free vs. repressed societies
Shokooh Mirzadegi


Feminizm va estemraare mardsalaari

What is true gender equality?
Homayoun Abghari

Look who's watching

How surveillance technology is used to monitor and control activities by Australian and Iranian authorities
Bita Riazati

Surveillance is the act of watching or monitoring, when this is implemented through out a society, it ensures that the country is under watch from terrorists and in many instances it is to monitor social changes. In some countries surveillance technology is used for the safety of citizens while in other power hungry and conservative societies, security cameras, surveillance software in chat rooms, mobile phone bugging and electronic tagging is used for harassment and limiting one's freedom of expression under the banner of fighting "decadence". The two countries I have chosen to compare consist of Iran and Australia. The reason to this selection is the major difference between these two country's surveillance policies and the way these states choose to monitor their citizens. While one country uses the technology to improve the human life style, the other one uses the same technology to create limitations for journalists, political activists, average citizens and any one who may have different opinions about the Government and its authorities >>>

The other side of oppression

The reality of women's liberation movement in Iran
Azar Majedi

I am sure that you all have heard about the non-existence of women's rights in Islam. However, some think it is not Islam's fault, they blame the patriarchy. They maintain that it is not Islam, but patriarchal interpretations of Islam that is responsible for the conditions of women in countries under the rule of Islam. In other words it is the ruling men's fault not the ruling Islam. We will not get into the debate that Islam as all other religions is the direct product of patriarchal era. It could not have escaped being permeated by patriarchic values and outlook. However, we must state one undeniable fact, that is, millions of women are violated daily by Islamic laws, customs, values and states. We must deal in an effective manner with this violation >>>


The lighthouse

Photo essay: Khaneh Nasser Khosrow, home for chidlren
Samineh Baghcheban Pirnazar

If only George Bush had been Amish

The world may have been spared from an uncontrollable urge to kill in the name of an all-loving (yet, no doubt, rather ill-tempered) God
Doug Soderstrom

The Amish response to the brutal slaying of five of their own offspring in an old fashioned, one-roomed school house was a blueprint for how President George Walker Bush should have responded to the slaughter of nearly 3,000 of our own citizens in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The merciful decision to forgive a deranged man who, for whatever reason, chose to project a self-inflicted sense of hate upon a classroom of nothing but innocent children was exactly as God would have had it, exactly how he would have responded if it had been one of his own children who had been slain >>>

Reading Shahnameh in Paris

Over the years, the two women developed a special bond
Afdhere Jama

The Marais district of Paris is full of people some would not really expect in the heart of Paris, like Iranian lesbians. A traditional neighborhood of Jews, Le Marais is now famous as the “gay” neighborhood of Paris. Many of the gay restaurants, clubs and other happenings are found here. But it is because of the atmosphere of this district that attracts them, say the locals. A 37-year-old Iranian lesbian named Parvaneh is visiting a young (man and woman) couple who live in a tiny studio on rue Sainte Croix de Bretonnerie. They also happen to be Iranians. But “they are not gay,” Parvaneh assures me, “they are young, educated and open minded. And last summer I met them at a rally outside of Paris for Maryam Rajavi. We have become very close since, and I’m here today because I’m in search of moral support.” >>>

Basic human dignity

Interview with Drewery Dyke: Amnesty International’s view on human rights violations in Iran
Soheila Vahdati

All those involved in the defense of human rights welcome the growth of such activism in Iran. Iranian human rights defenders (HRDs) are a courageous group of people; not least the women human rights defenders (WHRDs). Iran continues to experience grave human rights violations. Since the election of President Ahmadinejad, human rights violations have continued at an unabated pace and call into question the government's commitments to the international human rights standards to which Iran is a state party, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The current situation is serious and the international community needs to take a closer look at the human rights situation in Iran and not be blinded by other issues, however pressing they may appear >>>


She opened the back door to a white Peugeot and sat
Sanaz Fotouhi

For the first time since she had been dropped off in front of Golestan mall, one of the most popular and expensive malls in Tehran’s upper-district, she turned around slightly. ‘Come on boys, follow me... ’ she gestured with her hand, walking along the sidewalk of Golestan avenue, holding her head up, not even once looking back. Her sheer white scarf hung way back on her head, exposing her almost blonde hair. Her slender body was covered by a skin tight mantou, revealing her small curves. Underneath her very short mantou she wore three quarter white baggy, Bermuda pants. Her white sandals revealed perfectly manicured red polished toes. As she walked she twisted something like a necklace around in her hand, swinging it around her finger and then twisting it the other way around. As she would do this, she would blow a big bubble with her gum and blow it, very effortlessly and carelessly >>>

Shame on shame

Shiraz 1982

Mom and Dad were fighting again. It happened almost every night. Dad came home long after midnight while Mom was sitting by the kitchen table, satring at something on the wall, waiting for his return and then the regular quarrel would follow. The economy was tight and also the tolerance of the people who had lost everything they owned in the very first few weeks of an unwanted war was so limited. One single wrong move resulted in lengthy quarrels. Each night the sound from the couple's bedroom would wake the children first and sometimes the whole block. Words followed by shouts and then screaming, things being hurled at one another and objects being thrown to pieces. When these noises woke the children, Jomee would hurry to their room and take them in his arms, wiping their tears with his calloused hands. Rocking them in his lap, kissing and cooing in their hair, saying nice things, making them feel safe and secure >>>

Drop in the ocean of indifference

Why should we be shocked to see a celebrity use her fame and beauty and genuine concern to aid a helpless girl?
Darius Kadivar

I just came across your article "Save Nazanin from Nazanin" slandering Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam efforts on baseless arguments of her trying to self promote herself and using the case of Nazanin Fatehi as a pretext to draw attention on her own public persona. I am neither Ms. Afshin Jam's spokesman nor intend to speak on her behalf, but I did interview her a few months ago when she was hardly even approached by anyone in the Iranian Media so to speak. See "Saving Nazanin". Happily the reaction to this interview and other interviews she was to give to the Iranian Press had the credit of drawing the attention of Iranians worldwide, including inside Iran. I personally got a lot of emails from Iranians in Iran who did not even know about the case of Nazani Fatehi and her case brought their attention on many others who are suffering from similar predicaments >>>

Voices from Iran

Restriction on the freedom of expression is widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran and covers all forms of communication
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The suppression of freedom of expression is institutionalised in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The constitution restricts freedom of expression to what it terms “not disturbing the bases of Islam”. The interpretation of this has been left to the ruling clergy who dominate the power structure and who have the last word in all legislations. This has meant draconian laws restricting all forms of expression that do not conform to the narrow official interpretation of Islam or the values associated with it, with severe punishments ranging from fines and long term imprisonment to lashings and even execution. But the policy of denials of the right of free expression is not limited to what the law stipulates. Dissidents, intellectuals, writers, political activists, women, trade union and ethnic rights campaigners, human rights defenders, and followers of some religious minorities and non-official versions of Islam are routinely harassed. Arbitrary banning of newspapers and confiscation of books and music CDs already authorised is very common >>>

Save Nazanin from Nazanin

Former Miss Canada's efforts are nothing more than attempts at self-promotion
David Maynard

I am writing this to express my astonishment regarding your coverage of the case of 18 year old Nazanin Fatehi. Specifically, I can not help but find myself extremely puzzled about how you could find Ms. Afshin Jam's assertions regarding her role in "saving" Naznin Fatehi credible on any level! To start, Ms. Afshin Jam learned about the "Save Nazanin" campaign after a group of international human rights organizations, lawyers, and activists had already launched the initiative. When she expressed her interest in becoming involved with the effort, the group welcomed her, as they did and do with any other person expressing such an interest. However, it soon became painfully evident that Ms. Afshin Jam's motives for becoming involved in this campaign were not exactly what she had originally claimed >>>

Jonbeshe roshanfekri
Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6
Iranian intellectuals: Challenges & opportunities
Ali Salari

A few skeletons in the closet

Let me enumerate some abuses and quote some personal anecdotes about the treatment of minorities in Iran
Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar

For better or for worse, Ms. Nemati’s experience with real or perceived treatment of religious minorities since the Revolution is non-existent. Ms. Nemati clearly points out that she has been living in the US since 1978. Hence, she could not have had any first hand experience. She also does not strike me as someone who cares for or understands data and research. Thus the essence of her article is that she “believes” that there is no systematic abuse of rights of religious minorities in Iran. Let me enumerate some abuses and quote some personal anecdotes. I have to add that based on my personal experience in Iranian school system in 1980s and in military and university system in 1990s, the majority if not all the points raised by Ms. Hakim-Bastanian in "Sad and Shameful" are accurate. I would like to know how Ms. Nemati considers the following as fair treatment of religious minorities >>>


Boston tea party for Khatami

Photo essay: Anti-Iran, anti-Khatami and anti-war protesters greet Khatami at Harvard
Shahab Nadiyar

People without a country

We have relied on ourselves for survival, and this mentality remains as necessary today in diaspora as it did when we were in Iran
Ramond Takhsh

I am an Assyrian from Iran. My parents left Iran in 1979, three years before I was born; and so I have never been there. Assyrians from Iran constituted a small percentage of the Iranian population before 1979: the 1976 census indicated the number at 32,000, although I can tell you this figure is mostly likely an underestimate (most likely, above 40,000). Most Assyrians have left Iran since the establishment of the IRI, leaving the estimated current population at around 10,000 – 15,000... As a people without a country, Assyrians have kept their identity alive for thousands of years through one primary means: the Assyrian Aramaic language. The language is the heart that keeps the Assyrian nation pumping – a lifeline, if you will. Now this is not to say that Assyrians are insulting the Iranian identity by not speaking Farsi, as Ms. Nemmati clearly implies. However, Iranians must remember that tiny ethno-religious minorities like Assyrians have a special need to keep their unique cultural, linguistic, and religious identities in an ocean of Islam >>>

Imperial assault and tasks for the left

Interviewing Alex Callinicos, member of the Central Committee of Socialist Workers Party and Professor of European Studies at Kings College, London
Ardeshir Mehrdad

This imperialist offensive suffers three main problems. First and most fundamental, it has evoked powerful resistance, above all in Iraq itself, where the US seems to be bogged down in an unwinnable counter-insurgency war. We now see Israel too beginning to face similar difficulties thanks to Hezbollah's very effective defence against the Israel Defence Force’s assault on Lebanon. Secondly, compared to the 1991 Gulf War, the current ‘war on terrorism’ lacks international legitimacy thanks to the Bush administration’s unilateralism and its contempt for human rights (Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram ...). Some commentators, for example Giovanni Arrighi, argue that we are witnessing a broader crisis of US hegemony >>>


History's burden

Photo essay: Concentration Camp Vught
Sasan Seifikar

Concentration Camp Vught is a national monument and important part of Dutch recent history. It was the only official SS concentration camp outside Germany and its annexed areas. The camp was built by Nazi-Germany in 1942 and opened in 1943. Camp Vught was actually a transit camp for the Jews, from where they were deported to extermination camps and their deaths. 30,000 Jews were held in prison in camp Vught and then transported to the East. The conditions in Camp Vught were so bad that many Jews died here, these included children >>>


Peace jammers

Photo essay: Shirin Ebadi and co-Nobel Peace laureates work with youth and pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody
Pantea Beigi

Denver, Colorado -- Many believe that the times we are living in today are indeed the out cry of human injustice at its worst.  Perhaps they are right and perhaps global poverty, global warming, lack of human security and many more are at their worst.  But I can promise that none walked out the Magness Arena at Denver University with such feeling tonight >>>

Good for everybody

Interview with Hamid Taqvaee: Human beings have the same values everywhere in the world
Maryam Namazie

Hamid Taqvaee: If you have a look at the political situation of our era, it seems that there are mainly two forces that actually determine everything in the political arena in the Middle East, the west and even the world. These two forces are the USA and its allies on the one hand and Islamic terrorism on the other. But the fact is that it is not only these two. What we are saying is that neither of these two forces actually represents people. Even people living in Islamist societies, and I can say especially those people, are not represented by political Islam, or by Islamic governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Third Camp addresses that force which represents the majority of people of the world – a majority which has no interest in the war between these two poles of Islamic and US-led terrorism. They reap no benefits from their war >>>

Denied potential

Winning a Nobel prize is the last thing on mind of a person whose country has been attacked and exploited, either ideologically or physically, by internal and external forces for centuries
Dokhtar Shirazi

Surely, based on the statistics that you have provided the Jewish population have made higher academic achievements than Muslims, but if one closely examines the data, one would realize that most of the achievements have been made after World War II, when most of the Jewish population had migrated to America, Australia or western European countries and as such have had the opportunity to flourish their talents and abilities in peaceful and “democratic” countries, free from conflict, poverty and other impediments that prevent a person, being a Jew, Christian or Muslim, from fully realizing their true potentials. That does not mean Muslims are less capable and/or have a genetically predisposition gene for being violent. Contrary to the Jewish population, most Muslims do not live in peaceful countries, as they have live in extreme poverty and other horrific situations which leave little or no room for flourishing one’s true potentials, let alone winning a Nobel prize! >>>

Pacifism might save Iranians

If the Iranian people recognize the power of self-liberation through enlightenment and goal directed pacifism, they might not need to go through the bitter experience of Iraqis
Kamal H. Artin

The behavior of some Iranian leaders, who lack the capacity for change, might remind the terminators of Saddam and treat them the same way as the next candidate; I hope this does not become necessary. However, change is inevitable and creation of a livable and lovable Union of Iranian Democratic States is the dream of many of those who escaped from the hell or still are burning in it! Meanwhile considering that passive movements such as Gandhi's could be as successful as eliminating monsters with war, I will argue that instead of expecting change from outside, Iran has the potential to be transformed to a civic society through three goal directed passive methods within its current borders >>>

Uncle Hossein

Hossein Derakhshan is part of a generation of idiot savants who have the audacity to refer to themselves as human rights activists
Samira Mohyeddin

"Thanks to the work of the reformists who governed the country until 2005, Iran has passed the stage of state terror." - Hossein Derakhshan. Would Hossein dare make such a statement to the son of Zahra Kazemi, who was indiscriminately raped, tortured, and murdered while in Evin prison? Would he have the audacity to make such statements to the family of Akbar Mohammadi who died in Evin just last month? Or to the family of 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi who was hung in the Iranian town of Neka for "engaging in acts incompatible with chastity". Or to the family members of the thousands of prisoners of conscience who have perished in the jails of the Iran of the Islamic Republic over the past twenty-seven years? Judging by the bilge spewed by Hossein in the past and present, he probably would >>>

I confess

... that I identify with an ever-increasing group of Iranians who work towards the downfall of the clerical regime as their foremost national responsibility
Reza Bayegan

If Mr Jahanbegloo’s attempt to put an end to the rule of the mullahs is a crime, then this crime is universal amongst all those Iranians who love their country and care for its future. Accordingly, it occurred to me to write my own confession and I would also like to suggest to my dear compatriots to sit down and make a disclosure of their political stance right now so if and when the time comes for their Evinization, they have one less thing to worry about. Moreover, as we all know, the overwhelming atmosphere of that infamous penitentiary is not conducive to expressing one’s true convictions and beliefs. One is exposed to a kind of hospitality there that makes one confess to non-existent wrongdoings out of obligation to one’s host >>>

Rights trump culture & religion

Cultural relativism is not only a prescription for inaction and passivity in the face of the oppression of millions of people struggling and resisting in the Middle East and here in the west but is in fact racist in and of itself
Maryam Namazie

Cultural relativism and its more seemingly palatable multiculturalism have lowered standards and redefined values to such depths that not only are all cultures and beliefs deemed equally valid, they seem to have taken on personas of their own blurring the distinction between individuals and beliefs (whether theirs or imputed). As a result, concepts such as rights, equality, respect and tolerance, which were initially raised vis-à-vis the individual, are now more and more applicable to culture and religion and often take precedence over real live human beings. This is why any criticism and ridiculing of or opposition to beliefs, cultures, religions, gods and prophets are being deemed racism, disrespecting, inciting hatred and even violence against those deemed believers >>>

Drowning in Ethiopia
Tala Dowlatshahi

In the Amhara region of Ethiopia, Gennette, who is twenty-five years old, sits idly waiting for wheat to arrive to help feed her and her one year old. They are stranded at a local flood victim camp where they have lived for the past two weeks. Her son Tegachew is tired and cries often. The Woreta camp, just one hour north of Addis by plane, has been a centre of refuge for rice farmers and local cattlers whose roots lie in villages like Shaga, where women like Gennette's great grandmothers also worked as farmers. Her husband stayed on to save the cattle, leaving her to take care of herself and her baby on her own. "I am tired. It is difficult to sleep here and my baby is not happy. He misses his father. I also lost my cousin. I liked her very much and we played together as children," Gennette tells me >>>

Is everyone a spy?

Islamic Republic's all too predictable labling of critics & dissidents
Fariba Amini

After four months of imprisonment in Evin, Ramin Jahanbegloo was finally released, paying a hefty bail and confessing to obscure charges. He looked thin and yet he had to go to ISNA to give an interview stating that he was not mistreated by his interrogators... Almost all the opponents of the regime are arrested and confined on false charges, forced to confess under duress and then later are either made to appear before Television cameras and to confess to “crimes” they were never involved in or released after confessions and paying heavy bail. Ramin is only the lastest victim of this vicious attempt by rulers of the Islamic Regime to discredit its opponents in the eyes of the Iranian populace >>>

Deeply dismayed

How can one promote justice and at the same time honor a person like Khatami?
Siavash Abghari

The Honorable Rev. Peterson, Washington DC.: We learned that you are hosting a speech by Mohammad Khatami, former president and one of the high-ranking officials of the Islamic regime in Iran since it inception in 1979. We are deeply dismayed that the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation which promotes justice, transparency, accountability and empowerment of women has invited and is honoring this man who is anti-woman, corrupt and responsible for murder of so many innocent people! >>>



Visiting Khavaran Cemetery in Tehran on anniversary
of 1988 massacre of political prisoners

Rooze nojoom va solh

Passing through childrenin Tehran's Shafagh Park celebrating "Astronomyh & Peace Day"
Samineh Baghcheban

Deferred dreams
Elahe Amani

The summer of 2006 marks the 18th anniversary of one of the most hideous waves of executions in Iran’s history. Let us not forget the crimes against humanity that took away and silenced thousands of the brave souls and bright young people in Iran. No one knows the exact number of political prisoners who have been executed since 1979.   But, the first decade of 1979-1989, and specifically during the summer of 1981 and 1988, Iran had one of the worst periods of human rights violations. What would happen to our collective "Deferred Dreams" for respect to human rights and human dignity? Will it explode as Langston Hughes’ poetry reminds us? >>>

Million signatures for women

International support for Iranian women’s
campaign for equal rights

Iranian women’s rights activists are initiating a wide campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. The Campaign, “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws,” which aims to collect one million signatures to demand changes to discriminatory laws against women, is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran. Preparation activities in support of this campaign commenced in June of 2006 and the campaign will be officially launched on August 27, during a seminar entitled: “The Impact of Laws on Women’s Lives.” >>>

Shame on shame (Part 2)

Khoramshahr 1979

Ensy's dad was one of the wealthiest people in Khorramshahr, the Southern Iranian port on the border with Iraq. Working in the customs, dealing with all those goods coming by ships and carried by trailers into the country, Mr. Amir Kabiri had his own import-export business and a travel agency in the city too. Although his annual income from the customs was just a chicken feed compared to his private business, he never even dreamed of give up his prestigious job at the customs. He had just completed a beautiful five-bedroom impressive residence by the Shat which perfectly accommodated his family of four, including his wife Laaya, son Salar and his little ugly duckling of a daughter, Ensy, and of course the frequent visitors who came to stay with them all year round >>>

Ganji's strikes alone

There is no trust whatsoever in those who pose as saviors
G. Rahmanian

As was expected not many people responded to Ganji's call for a hunger strike in defense of three political prisoners. This idea did not have the desired outcome for various reasons. Not many people know Ganji and knowing about him alone does not necessarily mean many would agree or even sympathize with his views; whatever they may be. Many Iranians living outside Iran are too busy with their lives and are not concerned with such issues that Ganji raises. For them it is inconceivable to spend three days fasting for those with whom they cannot identify or haven't heard of at all. Ganji does not seem to realize that there are people who do not care which group of politicians runs their country as long as they can lead a peaceful life. Not the peace that Ganji idealizes, but the peace of mind that has nothing to do with the issues raised in Ganji's writings or speeches. They hate provocation of any kind >>>

Painful thorn

Islam's brutalization of Bahais in Iran
Amil Imani

Islam, the "religion of peace," is anything but peaceful, particularly when it comes to other religions. To the oppressive Islam, there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet: the seal of the prophets at that. Grudgingly, Islam barely tolerates people of the book: namely Jews and Christians: but no other faith is entitled to any fair treatment. In Iran, the force-imposed Islam finds it expedient to extend its limited tolerance to the original religion of the indigenous people: the Zoroastrians. The terrible plight of the Bahais in Iran is particularly heartwrenching >>>


Last thing they need is bombs

Photo essay: Children at Khaneyeh Koudak Shoush in south Tehran
Mazyar Kahali

Westollahis and Hezbollahis

We see and condemn the crimes committed by both sides
Bruce Roshanravan

This is my response to all mullah lovers and all the blind lovers of the west whose hate of one evil (mullahs) have pushed them to the arms of another one (west and Israel) or vice-versa. These people are the two sides of the same counterfeit coin. The unwise friend wannabes who never heisted to sell their conscience, nationality, identity or religion to the highest bidder. Like the Hezbollahis who are consumed by the obsession of going to heaven by becoming a martyr, where they would drink from rivers of honey and milk or shag virgins at will, the Westollahies dream of living in Hollywood movies, having many blond bimbos as their sex partners and loosing their identity by becoming an "equally accepted" western citizen. Well guys and girls dream on >>>

From generals to terrorists

A response to Ali Sina’s article “Viva Oriana!”
Arashe Sorkh

Mr. Ali says that he doesn’t call himself an atheist and that: “I see nothing wrong in religions. There is nothing wrong with Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism. If an ideology is tolerant of other beliefs, that ideology needs to be respected.” So he is actually trying to tell us that if there is something wrong with Islam is actually its “intolerance”. Should I inform him about witch burnings of Christianity? Should I remind him of what happens to children raised in Christian religious families? Should I tell him that our history has been formed by renaissance and enlightenment against the holy Bible? Should I tell him of what happens to women in Hinduist Caste system in Asia?  Never mind. This is not classified as “intolerance” since they are only bothering their “own” people. The fact that a little girl born into a Hindu family has to obey all her life to her family with her only crime being “being born into a religious” family has nothing to bother Mr. Sina. After all it is their “own” affair and they are not bothering “others!” >>>


Laughing at war


Bedeh bestoon: Akbar Ganji at Stanford
Ari Siletz

During this Sunday's talk at Stanford University, Akbar Ganji devoted a lot of time pointing out the differences between his views and those of his ideological rival Saiid Hajjarian. The audience, some of whom hadn't even heard of Hajjarian, perhaps wondered at this premature electioneering. Highlighting this impression of candidacy was Ganji's clean shaven face. It seems he now knows his revolutionary stubble is too Islamic fundamentalist, so he has adopted a less threatening public image. Ganji's gradual transformation from dissident intellectual to politician is a positive development for Iran as a nation. With his proven track record of courage, sacrifice and shrewd politicking Ganji may turn out to be Iran's first charismatic force for democracy since Mossadegh >>>


Progress at last

Photo essay: Following Akbar Ganji's footsteps in Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

Democracy behind bars

Ahmad Batebi, symbol of student movement, re-arrested
Sayeh Hassan

Physicians appointed by the court had suggested that Mr. Batebi needs to be released from jail and seek immediate medical attention, otherwise he might become permanently crippled or even die.  As a result of these doctor reports he had been on a medical leave from prison, when he was re-arrested on July 27th, 2006. Mr. Batebi announced that he would go on a hunger strike immediately following his arrest. There has been very little news of Ahmad Batebi in the past 2 weeks.  The only thing that is known is that he has been on a hunger strike for more then 10 days, and that according to his doctors a pro-longed hunger strike will almost certainly lead to a heart attack which in turn may lead to his death.  Both the international media as well as the Iranian media is once again silent while this innocent students’ life is in danger >>>

It is a pity

Iranians detained at San Francisco airport

Dear Friends, I received this email from a friend of friend. She was detained in San Francisco airport while on her way to the Global Gathering of Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA) in Santa Clara, California, a few days ago. She wrote this letter to Dr. Hojabri, the president of SUTA. I deleted her name just in case. It is horrible! I am glad that I did not even think of going! Sincerely, Majid
Dear Dr. Hojabri, I am one of the deported ones from SF airport. I am sending you this letter to explain what happened in 24 hours of our stay in US. I wish SUTA and Iranian Community in US do something that the others can hear our voice >>>


Having a blast

Photo essay: Akbar Ganji at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Mohamad Navab
>>> Listen to audio


Stop the war

Photo essay: London rally for peace in the Middle East
Hossein Shahidi


Is it still there?

Photo essay: Photo essay: Dahieh, south Beirut suburb
Ali Akbar Mahdi

Israeli Defense Forces dropped leaflets over Beirut -- especially the Dahieh area -- for the second time, asking its residents to leave their homes in anticipation of Israeli bombardment. I was in Dahieh in May 2000 (contrary to the date on the pictures: the camera's date was not set correctly) and took many pictures of this community and larger Beirut. I have not had time to share these pictures.  The current Israeli bombardment of the district makes it necessary to pull them out and share them with the public >>>

Late cancellation

More than 150 participants to the Global Gathering of Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA) [in Santa Clara, California,] have received visas to travel to the United States to attend the gathering. Suddenly, without advance notice and while people were on their way, the State Department revoked all granted visas, probably in response to the current developments in the region. Those who arrived were told at the airport of their visa cancellation. They were not allowed to enter the country, had to stay in immigration detention centers and were sent back the next day, some with wife and children.


Strong and clear signal

Photo essay: Rally against Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in London's Trafalgar Square
Hossein Shahidi

Untimely death

For six long years, Akbar Mohammadi endured harsh interrogation and unbearable torture at the hands of those who have made Iran into a vast prison for all its citizens
Fariba Amini

It is with great sorrow and total grief that I am writing these few lines. Ever since I heard the news of Akbar Mohammadi’s untimely death in prison, on July 30th,  I have only cried at the thought of how a young man’s life has been taken so tragically; how he will be missed by his mother and father and his sisters and brother; how his prison mates will miss him.  He was innocent and only drawn into a life that he had not anticipated. He was a student at Tehran University who became caught up in the Events of 18 Tir; He was arrested and imprisoned, interrogated and tortured. He lost the best years of his life during which he, like many fellow students, still had dreams for a future, his own and that of his country >>>

Fatvaaye khoon o jonoon

Remembering the 1988 prison massacres
Massoud Noghrekar

Murdered in prison

Sayeh Hassan

A prominent student activist Akbar Mohammadi died in the notorious Evin Prison Sunday night July 31st, 2006. Mr. Mohammadi had been on a hunger strike for more then a week, protesting the refusal by the Islamic Regime to allow him to seek proper medical treatment for life threatening injuries suffered as a result of torture. Mr. Mohammadi was threatened and beaten by prison officials in order to stop him from continuing with his hunger strike, but he would not falter. He had chosen his path and would continue to the end... There are reports of him being beaten severely by prison guards the night of his death. Mr. Mohammadi did not die, he was MURDERED at the hands of the Islamic Regime >>>

Gay Iran

International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran
Tala Dowlatshahi

Earlier this month the international community came together to commemorate IDAAHOPI (International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran). Demonstrations took place from Brussels to Chicago, Tehran to Dublin, Moscow to New York, and Florida to the United Kingdom to condemn the 19 July 2005 executions of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni in the Iranian city of Mashhad. The two young men, both in their late teens, were hanged after the father of a thirteen year old boy who had sex with them charged the boys with rape by knifepoint. Some reports indicate the charges were a smokescreen and the father of the thirteen-year-old was forced by secret police to press charges to avoid having his son be charged with the crime of sodomy. Community members also claimed that a family member reported Mahmoud and Ayaz's secret relationship to the police >>>


Faal foroosh

I decided to do everything in my power to help less fortunate children
Maziyar Kahali

"Please agha, please buy a Faal" it just 200 tomans!" As we walked in former Pahlavi Avenue it was the fifth "faal foroosh" that confronted me. It hurt me as people walked by ignoring the small children as if they did not even exist. It hurt me to know one of the richest countries on earth, the biggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, deals with so much poverty, most of its victims being its innocent children. It was my second trip to Iran after five years; when I moved to California I was probably the same age of one the kids who had a "Morgheh Eshgh" in hand >>>


Pure death

Photo essay: Southern Beirut bombed by Israel


Stop the bombing NOW!

Photo essay: Anti-Israeli demonstration in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

Fighting terrorism since 1492

Javad Fakharzadeh

On a business trip to Seattle, I decided to visit the city I used to work at the Boeing during the 1970’s. On my way to Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle, I stopped at an American Indian reservation where they have built a remarkable casino. Although I am not a gambler, I decided to go to the gift shop and spend my money on some artifacts and souvenirs, even though the money was a paltry sum, I still felt I was helping the native Americans. Among many reproduction and other gifts and souvenirs, I spotted a stack of T-shirt that really caught my eyes and picked it up and examined the front message and picture and decided right then to purchase this T-shirt >>>


L.A. with a conscience

Photo essay: LA in support of Prisoners of Conscience in Iran
Shahla Sepehr Bebe


London calling, for human rights

Photo essay & video clips: Akbar Ganji launching of hunger strike campaign in London
Nima Mina

Here are some pictures from the first day of the hunger strike and manifestation in front of BBC Radio's main building ("Bush House") in London on Fdriday July 14. At 6:30pm Akbar Ganji gave a speech at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London at an event organized by SOAS, Forum Iran and Amnesty International. This event was attended by 400 people. During the manifestation on Friday we noticed two individuals filming us from the other side of the street with their digital camcorders >>>

L.A. for human rights

Photo essay: Los Angeles gathering in support of Akbar Ganji's call for freedom of political prisoners
Pirzadeh Pirzadeh

Commitee defaa az Hoghoogh e Bashar va Azadi ye zendaaniyaan e siyasi dar Iran (California ye Jonoubi) dar hemaayat az faraakhaan e Akbar e GanjiLA, be hamraah e digar niroohaay e Azadi khaah va danesh jooyaan dar gerdeham aayi e rooz e yek shanbeh 16 July sherkat kard >>>


Compassionate, democratic & independent

Video clips: Akbar Ganji speaking at the end of New York hunger strike
Jahanshah Javid


Ganji in New York

Photo essay: Akbar Ganji joins hunger strike in New York
Reza Mazaheri & Jahanshah Javid


Change through civil disobedience

Video clips: Akbar Ganji answers questions at New York hunger strike gathering
Jahanshah Javid


Feeding freedom

Photo essay: New York hunger strike in support of political prisoners in Iran
Jahanshah Javid

From Gandhi to Ganji

Ari Siletz

Starting today there will be a 3-day worldwide hunger strike to protest the Islamic Republic's crackdowns against Iranians who insist on their human rights. The hunger strike has been organized around the feisty investigative journalist Akbar Ganji who nearly died last year after a prison hunger strike lasting several weeks. A hunger strike is a powerful political tool. The tactic was used by the pre-Christian Irish as an effective way of demanding justice. There would be tremendous loss of prestige and therefore power for a lord who allowed a plaintiff to die of hunger at his gate. Gandhi used the tactic against the British, winning independence for India, and the IRA used it effectively to win sympathy for its cause. Ironically Bobby Sands street in Iran is named after an IRA activist who died during a hunger strike in a British prison >>>

Don't shoot the messenger(s)

Or why it's a good thing to read and listen carefully before you speak and write
Persis Karim

Because I already responded directly to attacks on me and my book, I will try to address the most central issue I feel has been avoided in both these commentaries about me and the book. Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been represents what I believe is a literary movement that addresses and grows out of women's need to represent themselves and their experiences in a time and place where too often others represent women in the most simplistic and reductionist fashion (that includes agents of power such as governments, media, and various forms of censorial/political pressure from the community itself)... This LITERARY (emphasis here on the literary) collection is a tribute to these writers and their struggle and journey to claim a voice that speaks for themselves as women of Iranian heritage >>>


Lessons from Oaxaca

Photo essay: I have always believed that it is important to bear witness to injustice, but on that day, I did not envy Oaxacans, tourists, or anyone else for having been present when the 4 a.m. assault took place
Maziar Shirazi

Some readers probably think that whatever happened in Oaxaca, Mexico (besides Nacho Libre) is more or less irrelevant to them. It is true that it’s just one of many examples of conflict in the world, and definitely not on the scale of a Sudan or an Iraq. It is possible that if I myself had only read about the strike in the New York Times online (as I later did), I would have read it over once and then forgotten about it, barring later coverage. I guess it is just different when you see something like this happen in person... One look around the city center gave us an idea of the scale and devastation of the conflict >>>

Where they have been

I find the attack against more than fifty innocent writers and shaming someone based on a comment during an interview unfair and unprofessional
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Anyone who knows the first thing about publishing industry in this day and age, also knows that money is in publishing romance, chick-lit and mystery, but it certainly is not in an anthology by Iranian women! So perhaps Ms. Siavashan should reconsider her implication that the editor has “sold out to sell a book.” For many of these young writers, this book is their début and hopefully a key to open other doors. How harmful it would be if anyone attempted to spoil that chance; and how ironic that such harm should come from none other than a female Iranian-American writer >>>

Self-righteous lashing with no facts

Ari Siletz

In her web article, "Selling out to sell a book," Sudabeh Siavashan criticizes an interview she has not heard. This interview is about a book she has not read. By this author's own statement her opinions are based on what she calls a "very short and I believe very useful [website] piece." Armed with this hearsay she has launched an attack on the wrong coordinates, inflicting collateral damage to the reputations and careers of innocent Iranian writers and poets... For Siavashan it would be good practice in intellectual integrity to read a book before lashing out against it. After she has mastered this exercise in fairness, she is welcome to join the rest of us in our human rights concerns >>>

Selling out to sell a book

A selective approach to voices of the diaspora
Sudabeh Siavashan

It is known to anyone who can read Persian (and actually takes the time to read Persian newspapers) that Said Mortazavi is responsible for the closing of more than 100 periodicals in Iran and the imprisonment of many real intellectuals who attempted to make their voices heard. In fact many of these intellectuals are now residing abroad and it is so strange that the editor of Let Me Tell You Where I've Been has decided to ignore those who have been in the Islamic republic's prison and have told us about their horrifying experiences. Aren't they part of the diaspora? And of course it is not just about Mortazavi and only about the editor of this collection. Hakimian is absolutely correct in considering this editor and her interview only one example of a larger phenomenon but I think she is too easy on them! >>>

Mard saalaari - Pedar saalaari

An individualistic attitude towards patriarchy will never solve the problem
Homayoun Abghari

Anti-Islamism does not justify racism

An Open Letter to Oriana Fallaci
Azar Majedi

It seems to me that the hate against Islam has pushed you towards Christianity. You have even visited the Pope asking him to take a stronger stance against Islamism. This I find puzzling. How does an atheist in hate of one religion take refuge in another? Your hate against Islamism and political Islam finds expression in Euro centrism. Your disapproval for multiculturalism and cultural relativism has led you to defend “western culture”, instead of universal rights and secular, humanitarian and libertarian values. As a young girl growing in Iran, under the rule of Islam, I read western philosophers and writers to educate myself with enlightened principles and values regarding equality, freedom and women’s rights. I chose the libertarian and egalitarian side of Western culture, and I am bewildered why, you an atheist, a fighter against fascism, had to resort to Euro centrism and racism in order to defend Western culture >>>

Pretending nothing happened

The courage and determination of Iranian women participating in the June 12 protest for equal rights went far beyond what was suggested in article

Dear Editors of to Monthly Review, In a recent posting on [ &] your web site, Rostam Pourzal uses an anonymous email by a ‘witness’ in Tehran to deny the extent of the repression of women demonstrators by vigilante Islamic police on 12 June  2006. Pourzal tries to portray president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a ‘popular’, ‘radical’ figure, and tries to underestimate, justify and excuse the brutal, repressive nature of the Islamic regime in Iran; in doing so he makes various assumptions and claims that we will deal with in a another posting.  However as far as the events of 12 June in Tehran are concerned, contrary to the claims of the anonymous ‘observer’, the extent and intensity of the  brutal attack on the peaceful women’s demonstration was far worse than that portrayed by the BBC and the international media >>>

From revolution to dissent

Iranian intellectuals
Ramin Jahanbegloo

It is a fact, the reformist and neo-conservative intellectuals do not dominate the entire Iranian public sphere. Next to them, one can consider a new generation of Iranian intellectuals who do not attempt to promulgate any ideologies and yet they undermine the main concepts of the established order. This generation is mainly characterized by the secular post-revolutionary intellectuals who are in their thirties and forties and who can be referred to as the “dialogical intellectuals” (in contrast with the ideological intellectuals of the early 1980s). In other words, for this new generation of Iranian intellectuals, the concept and the practice of dialogue provides an ontological umbrella for all the political and cultural meanings and understandings >>>

Only in Berkeley

Neshat Rezai

Berkeley was the first city to ban Styrofoam and to start curbside recycling.  Moreover, Berkeley also took the lead in calling for the government to divest from South Africa during Apartheid era.  Berkeley was the first city to desegregate its public schools without a court order. Berkeley is the only city with an edible schoolyard project.  Berkeley is often associated with the Free Speech Movement of the 60's... And NOW: Berkeley is the first city to put a resolution on the ballot calling for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to be impeached!!! ONLY IN BERKELEY!!! (If you live in Berkeley, make sure you vote!!)

Bless their souls

Reza Kayhani

July 3rd is the day 290 families, their friends and relatives mourn the loss of their loved ones on this day in 1988. The Iran Air Flight 655 was brought down over the Persian Gulf by U.S.S Vincennes, by Capt. William C. Rogers III, at 10:24AM local time. The plane was an Air Bus (EP-IBU) piloted by Capt. Mohsen Rezaian, and Co-Pilot Kamran Taymori, both educated in USA. God bless their souls. Let's pray for peace across the world, amen.

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Book of the day

Iran the Beautiful
More than 170 photographs
By Daniel Nadler