Attacks from Anonystan

There is a line between attacking the argument and attacking the author


Attacks from Anonystan
by LanceRaheem

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin first sang about it back in the 70s. Parents and teachers everywhere demand it. Iranians in the Diaspora think their entitled to a lot more of it and it is often nowhere to be found in the mean-spirited, nasty and expletive-filled reader responses in the comments section of, directed at individual article authors. What is it? It’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Just a few days ago, I wrote a short piece on how I felt the Iranian-American community should respond to hateful comments directed at Iranians and made by Debra Cagan, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Coalition Affairs. Perhaps, I was hasty in criticizing Ms. Cagan’s behavior too harshly, for after reading some of the scandalously hateful comments left for a contributor to this web magazine, Ms. Cagan’s cold and callous statement about hating all Iranians pales in comparison. How can we ever expect to be accepted and respected by our non-Iranian neighbors and fellow citizens if we are unable to accept and respect our own people?

I for one, cannot in good conscience, point a finger of shame at the Debra Cagans of the world while turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to those in our community whose words are every bit as objectionable. To do so would be like the pot calling the kettle black. None among us have the right to ask others to clean their house until we have our own house in order.

The anonymity that the Internet provides is definitely a two-edged sword. It allows individuals to express themselves freely without fear of being subjected to reprisal for their beliefs and opinions, especially when those beliefs and opinions are not popular or widely held. In this way the Internet serves and important function in promoting the utility of the ‘marketplace of ideas.’ On the other hand, it provides easy cover for those who wish to perpetrate cyber-assaults on others. These kinds of people reside in the cyber-land of Anonystan. They oftentimes post the most vile and indecent comments in response to articles with which they disagree, and they nearly always do so anonymously.

The thing that really bugs me is these cyber-cowards, more often than not, fail to challenge the merits of a position or argument held by a writer, but rather launch into vicious personal attacks on the writer. Their goal is not to offer better, different or alternative points of view, but rather to bully, intimidate, disparage, and generally destroy the reputation of the individual. The perpetrators of such comments are simply cyber-thugs. From the shadows of Anonystan, they assault people they’ve never met in a way that they would never have the guts to do in the real world.

I know some will have an almost irresistible impulse to accuse me being in favor of censorship, which I am most definitely not in favor of. However, freedom of expression does not include, the right, to viciously and unjustifiably assault a person. When the only purpose underlying a particular verbal or written utterance is to demean, humiliate and disparage a person so ruthlessly that his or her reputation is completely destroyed simply because they had the audacity to hold certain views or express certain opinions on a subject, it is not only illegal, it is immoral. An assault is an assault whether it comes in the real world or in cyber space just as cyber-libel is no less damaging as printed libel.

Robust debate in the market place of ideas is not only healthy, but necessary to the vitality of any multicultural community, especially those in societies with democratic traditions. The Iranian American community is one such multicultural community. We are not a cookie-cutter people by any stretch of the imagination. We are made up of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Bahias, agnostics, and atheists.

We are made up of many different ethnic groups, each having its own distinct language and traditions. We are made up of Republicans (with a big R), Democrats (with a big D), republicans, democrats, monarchists, communists and Islamists. We are made of people born and raised in Iran, people born in Iran, but raised their entire lives abroad, people born and raised abroad, people with two-Iranian parents and others with just one, people who can speak, read and write Farsi and others who cannot. We are a very diverse group of people.

The only thing that is uniform about all of us is how strikingly un-uniform we really are. The only thing that we all have in common is our uncommon love and devotion to our homeland and our people.

With so many differences, why do some amongst us presume that we should all think the same way? One of the chief complaints that one often hears in our community is that the government of the Islamic Republic denies its citizens the right to freely express themselves, yet there are those right here in the USA who hide behind the First Amendment to launch attacks on fellow Iranians in an effort to deny them their right to freely express themselves. This is not only ironic, but disgusting as well.

Having written many articles in the past, my opinions have not been immune from criticism and often justifiably so. Not all of us are going to agree on everything, and that is the way things should be. However, there is a huge difference between constuctively criticizing a person's ideas, beleifs and opinions and attacking an individual at a personal level. Sometimes a writer opens the door and invites personal attacks on himself or herself.

The well-known, but not well-regarded Iranian-Canadian cartoonist, Hajiahga comes to mind. His salacious and lascivious depictions of not only Iranian women, but women in general justify the responses he regularly gets; but one must remember that he invites such responses by the very nature and content of his contributions to He knows all too well how people will react to his contributions and I think he probably gets a kick out of it.

All writers, in my opinion, can and should be legitimately and robustly challenged on the merits of their positions, and opinions. This is how any community achieves consensus and arrives at truths. When one chooses to open the door to vigorous and robust debate by submitting material for publication, one ought to have a thick enough skin to accept that others may disagree or see things differently. It’s like Harry Truman said, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’

This is very different, however, from ripping someone apart at a personal level just because their views don’t happen to be popular. There is a line between attacking the argument and attacking the author.

This week I read several pieces written by a woman in Washington, D.C. that attracted the venom of numerous comment posters. Some posters legitimately ripped her arguments to shreds. Others justifiably commented on her very poor and rambling writing abilities. These things are fair game. She chose to advertise her beliefs in the market place of ideas and when others rejected what she had to say or the manner in which she said it; so be it.

However, many of the comments that were posted went far beyond criticizing her stated positions, or her ability as a writer. They attacked her personally and cruelly. The comments section was replete with hateful, hurtful comments of a personal nature that no Iranian woman should be subjected to. I do not know this woman and based upon her writings, I’m sure that I do not want to know her, but still she is entitled to express her opinions no matter how distasteful and unpopular those opinions might be. She should be afforded no less respect than anyone else is entitled to.

If freedom of speech is meant to protect anything, it is meant to protect the ideas that are the least popular and most repugnant to the majority. I simply do not understand those who are so shallow that instead of taking this woman to task for her beliefs and ideas, they are so underdeveloped intellectually that they must resort to the filthiest kind of personal attack imaginable. I have taken the liberty to reproduce a sampling of the comments that I personally found to be the most nauseatingly repulsive; see if you agree:


Nazanin is enjoying another Islamic cock...
by Anonymouss (not verified)
on Mon Oct 08, 2007 01:46 PM PDT



Band of sisters
by Fozulbashi (not verified)
on Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:09 AM PDT

Deliberations of Ghasemian are not worthy of debate. Every time and again, we get a Reborne-Mulsim-Bitch (it is almost invariably a woman) who has rediscovered Islam and is embracing it with all it assumed glory. So far we have had Nahid Shafiei and a couple of others and now we have Ghasemian. I feel seriosuly sorry for the nation whose Islamic revivalist are such morons who lack education and even finesse.


Nobody gives a fuck what you think Nazanin...
by Omar Pahlevani (not verified)
on Mon Oct 08, 2007 05:01 PM PDT

You are not an American or Iranian, you are just a cockroach of the Islamic Republic which have infested this site. Continue sucking your masters dick since their time is comming...


Goozidam beh gisse Iranian in DC
by Goozidam beh rishet (not verified)
on Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:35 AM PDT

You are not only a bitch but you are beesavad bitch: PROBABILITY is ONLY BETWEEN ZERO and ONE. It can't be >1 you idiot. Go eat shit now.


Another garbage piece by Nazanin, the newest cunt of IRI
by Omar (not verified)
on Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:26 AM PDT



That thing on your head
by Caspianseamermaid (not verified)
on Fri Oct 05, 2007 01:45 PM PDT

Could you and your friends please go back to Iran? Or better still, go to Saudi Arabia and join the burqah brigade. Get out of the Western world, please.


Nazanin, you may need some anal sex to open your eyes..
by Yazid (not verified)
on Fri Oct 05, 2007 09:55 AM PDT



You remind me of human garbage, Fuck your Islam
by Omar (not verified)
on Fri Oct 05, 2007 08:12 AM PDT

please do not forget your aftabeh before touching your keyboard.


If this is the way Iranian men are supposed to address Iranian women with whom they disagree, my mother did not raise me right. In my home, my parents raised me to respect Iranian women even if I did not like them or agree with them. These comments and others like them that were meant to embarrass and demean this woman on a personal level are shameful. It is entirely possible, however, that I am the one who is out of step with the majority of the members of our community. If it is right and proper to use such coarse and abusive language when we disagree with one another, then perhaps, I should apologize to Debra Cagan, for she did nothing more than we do to ourselves.


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Site owner's views on the matter

by Rosie T. (not verified) on

For those who are interested in this thread, see "Khodemun's" blog called "Questions" in which he interviews Jahanshah Javid, who voices his ideology, if you will, on "free speech." It seems the post on this thread entitled "u r all missing the point" is spot on. Any further discussion of moderating this forum is purely academic.
Also,if you go to that blog you can skip my long post to "Khodemun" if you like. It is somewhat tedious. :D


Sorry for cursing,

by A Mujahed (not verified) on

but let me put this way: Maryam is my queen and I would follow her so she can destroy the Mullahs and free all of us. She has more support in Iran than anybody else. She has influence in Europe and in America and in Israel. Zendeh bad Rajavi! Marg bar Mulla-ha! Bomb Bomb Iran!


I love Maryam and Masoud Rajavi

by A Mujahed (not verified) on

All I am asking is for the Iranian people to allow us to fvck the mullahs in the asshole, that's all.


Oh, Alabama......

by Rosie T. (not verified) on

...I absolutely concur with you. America is WELL on the way to destroyng my country, with W. Bush expediting the process. I am third-generation American of European extraction. If you are really American AND not of Iranian extraction, Alabama, you are to be lauded, as you are one of a handful who actually know who Maryam Rajavi is. All the more reason for the U.S. to intervene in Iran, ignorance being considered a justification for action under the current administation.
But assuming you meant America will destroy IRAN and not "my" country, you are quite right on that one too. Installing Rajavi would DEFINITELY destroy Iran very quickly (although we must give credit where credit is due; her sense of color-combining is unparalleled...)
As for no one caring about "this dump," apparently you do.
Cheers, :D


Rosie... you're right on the issue

by Tonya (not verified) on

I've read and re-read all these comments and from one to the next, I change my mind!  This has been an on-going and open discussion in our home.  Both of us defending our position of "free speech" versus "accountability".  And I still can't make up my mind!  I totally support free speech.  But I also am offended by the language.  I was recently told by a Persian regular to this site that as a non-Iranian, it was none of my business how "you spoke to one another".  But I'm saying it anyway!!!  It was pointed out to me that tone reflects even more than intent or content.  And how true that is.  I think there's always the time and the place for a little "forceful" language... I've used the "f" word myself before, for god's sake!  But the extreme... the truly vulgar... it's just counterproductive.  And worse... just plain childish and silly!!!  I expect it from the rednecks of Alabama.... (Lord I apologize) but I sure hate to see it here. 

As far as Nazanin is concerned, no matter HOW friggin annoying she is, nobody deserves that kind of disrespect.  I never said anything really ugly, I just said I wanted to bitch slap her.  I know I know... if a MAN said that, look out!   Double standards... yeah I guess so! 

This might be the best article I've read so far.  I'm enjoying this to the max!


Art of discussion

by Anonymous3550 (not verified) on

Thank you for this well-written piece.
The interesting social experiment of this website is bringing out the reality of our culture and the true (sometimes horrible and vulgar) spirit of some people. It must be, as another reader suggested, that unfortunately we as Iranians have not learned how to discuss matters freely and (as you suggested) criticize the idea instead of attacking the writer. Perhaps in time more people will learn to exercise their freedom of speech with dignity and logic, not vulgarity and pointless slogans.
Meanwhile I hope Jahanshah could find a way to help us readers identify what we read a bit easier, maybe with a writer-imposed rating system. For years, I was very happy with the intellectual, funny and thought-provoking ideas in, but have been disappointed recently with dirty sites and mean comments from readers. Please do something to revive the wonderful forum you have created.


F-U Rosie, no one cares about this dump

by An American from Alabama (not verified) on

America will destroy your country and put the first female President in History in charge of Iran. Ms. Maryam Rajavi is a moderate Muslim. She knows what to do with Mullah lovers like Ommani and Qumars. She will be our angel in the region. Long Live America and God speed!

How do you like them apples?


Still not a question of censorship

by Rosie T. (not verified) on

The issue of whether the offensive postings should be deleted is open to debate and ultimately the decision of the website owner. (Perhaps JJ simply doesn't have the resources to do so as he is already overextended in running the website). However, if he should choose to delete posts, or hire someone to delete posts, calling a writer an ugly dog and talking about her (or his) genitalia, whether that writer is a pacifist or a member of MKO, JJ will not be engaged in censorship. The forum will simply have changed from an unmoderated to a moderated forum, to weed out what in "Netiquette" are called SPAM and FLAMES. I can understand why some Iranians might construe this as censorship but I assure you, it is not. Again I suggest the best course of action is either to ignore these posts or to challenge them without resorting to the infantile, harmful tactics of the offenders.


President Bush is NOT going to

by An American from Alabama (not verified) on

back down from his declaration of the Islamic Republic of Mullahs as the main axle of the Axis of Evil. The terrorist regime of the Islamic Republic, their terrorist thugs, their terrorist supporters such as Qumars Bolourchian, Ardeshir Ommani, Soraya Sepahpour_Ulrich, et al must be destroyed at all cost.

Mark my words, US will bomb the Islamic Republic and its terrorist infrastructure for the good of the civilized world. God speed!

May God Bless America


I so agree with you Rosie

by Yasmin (not verified) on

I so agree with you Rosie T.
But the litmus test would be of no use since these people who write these vulgar and foul at best comments, would never in a thousand years repeat these things in front of their mothers of any family member!
They know it's "Baaad", but the anonymity emboldens them so much, that they hide behind it like the cowards that they are!
Let me tell you I'm sure many of them are the same person with different initials or net-names!

Kaveh Nouraee

NO Censorship

by Kaveh Nouraee on

Although many (and I mean MANY) of the comments and responses that have found their way to this website are without a doubt offensive, disgusting, classless, vulgar, and so on, we have to remember that this is one of the "prices of admission" for living in a free society. In Iran, we don't have such freedoms, while here in the U.S., it's safe to say that they are taken advantage of, if not abused outright.



Part of the reason we have so many Iranians who are using a vocabulary commonly found in prisons is because these people do not understand that freedom comes with responsibility. As it has been said so often, free speech doesn't give you the right to yell "FIRE" in a crowded cinema. The balance between freedom and responsibility is an alien concept because it is alien to our culture.




Nonetheless, if these people wish to use objectionable language, I think that eventually, they will become exhausted from all the energy they spend, with no one truly taking them seriously.


There is some confusion here...

by Rosie T. (not verified) on

...between censorship and moderation. Off-topic irrelevant posts, whether serial pornographic fantasies or tips on home gardening, are subject to deletion in a moderated forum. It has nothing to do with censorship. Deleting vicious ad hominem attacks is also not an issue of censorship. It is an issue of standards of "Netiquette" which are pretty much universal for moderated open forums. I try not to be offensive but I don't believe it is offensive to call these types of posts "garbage." Anyone who mentions a writer's private parts is writing garbage, and knows it, too. Here is a good litmus test: if a posting would cause its writer to be physically removed by security were it said at a public forum say like Barnes and Nobles, it probably isn't an issue of censorship.

I personally doubt this garbage is written by Mossad or other agents, as has been suggested. A lot of it could just as well be written by twelve-year-old pranksters. Nonetheless it does damage. Oh, it sounds so good to just ignore it but sometimes the SPAM (irrelevant) and FLAME (abusive) posts become so overwhelming that people get discouraged and abandon the thread. Those who choose to challenge the garbage, please don't stoop to the level of the offenders. Avoid foul language. Challenge through example.


Freest of All: Get a life, loser

by Q on

Whoever is going to rescue Iran, it won't be a "past fetrat" coward like you. Your understanding of "freedom" is "attack with impunity." Like a 5 yr. old kid who doesn't want to take responsiblity for his actions, you want a free platform to throw your filth at those who do have some integrity. I was wrong actually. We really don't need censorship, even for garbage like yours. With every unfair and unsubstantiated attack, you and your kind are being exposed as the cowards you really are and the stature of those who you attack goes higher and higher. So bring it on!


Idiot, have you ever asked yourself what "freedom" is good for, if even here in the US you are scared s$%less of using your own real name? Don't lecture me about freedom when you don't even understand the concept. You're going to "hunt me down" ? You and what army? I am never bothered by the word of cowards because they are so afraid of their own shadow that the only thing they accomplish is wetting their bed on daily basis.


To everyone else, I apologize for making this personal. There is a very small group fascists who lurk on this site and attack people. They can't stand real freedom of expression and constantly seek to intimitate others into submission. SAVAK is over, get used to the concept.


The supporters of the Islamic Republic: Your days are #ed!

by Freest of all (not verified) on

Those who want censorship on this site are not content with censoring, keer, koss, and koon. What they really want to censor is anti-Islamic Republic sentiment on this site.

The supporters of the Islamic Republic and the mullahs must know that we are not become quite until they are compeletly annihilated from the face of the Earth.

Qumars Bolourchian and Ardeshir Ommani better watch out! We will hunt you down and bring you to justice ro bring justice to your!


u r all missing the point: -

by PT (not verified) on

u r all missing the point:

- this is JJ's site and he does as he pleases. he seldom listens to readers (from what gather). his house his rules.

- JJ likes the explosion of commentary on this very subject. in his eyes, his obligation is to inform the public. if someone says k**, JJ will leave it on, he is informing the public.

- JJ is not going to engage in a debate about "nothing is sacred", freedom of speech, journalistic ethics...he may sometimes answer some questions but he refuses to sit and talk to all of us about his view. even if did, he won't relent if he is faced with a valid argument, he will dissapear.

- but it IS his site. maa inja chi kaareim? if you don't like it. leave.



In Defense of Censorship

by guguli (not verified) on

We all know what expletives are. We have all heard them. We all know what sexually degrading comments are, too. Nobody will be deprived of the chance to engage with valuable ideas if this type of material is simply deleted by the moderator.
This site, Iranian dot com, is not a free country. It is a web-journal privately owned by free citizens. Our national constitution prevents governments from prosecuting us for what we say, but it does not give us the right to say whatever we like, whenever and wherever we like (especially not on privately owned websites).
The moderators of Iranian dot com have an obligation to their readers (and their writers) to delete offensive materials. In fact they should delete anything that is not substantively related to the arguments in a given article; and they should make clear their criteria for deletion.(Consider it a form of editing).
Free speech is not some divine revelation. Free speech isn't sacred. Filth isn't sacred. Censor this site, and raise the intellectual bar in our Iranian community. This site should be about the free exchange of ideas, not the unrestricted exchange of verbal feces.


To SAND digger below:

by whiteologist (not verified) on

I heard that news on CNN too, INDIANS are WHITE, so to say the "first non-white" is wrong! They should have said "first non-US-Born", "non-nigger", "non-white-Trash", or just should have shut up and said nothing.

So, don't let yourself in the same trap as the CNN. And do not call your fellow countrymen Sanddiggers or whatever!


profanity,vile language

by my2cents&more (not verified) on

profanity,vile language should be banned all together. The editor of this site should delete all comments that violate this policy. This is very simple. Freedom of speech does not mean irresponsible journalism!


Hey Sandniggers!? An Indian (Hendi) became a governer!?

by I shit on Islamic Republic (not verified) on

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal became the nation's youngest governor and the first nonwhite to hold post in Louisiana since Reconstruction when he carried more than half the vote to defeat 11 opponents.


My proposal to JJ is to come

by Anonymous343499 (not verified) on

My proposal to JJ is to come up with some basic editorial guidelines. We have a blog section, leave that untouched. But for feature articles, be choosy based on some principles or policy. How is anything featured if everything is featured?

As for comments. People should be free to leave any comment they want. Those who read seriously pay no attention to anyone that says gooz or chos or anything else.

If Nazanin writes a political piece in an anonymous forum, she should expect all sorts of response from good to bad. It comes with the territory.


I have several candidates

by AM (not verified) on

I have several candidates for the "Iranian of the Day" section,
(by chance, and thru research I have found these great Iranians on the internet, one was even introduced to me by a very admiring American friend)
but for fear of putting their pictures on
this site and possibly exposing them to truly
reprehensive comments of the foulest nature,
I will NOT submit their pictures, unless I am somehow able to get their permission.( which I doubt they may grant me this permission , if they know what may be said about them, they would perhaps rather remain unknown to many!)
You may call me a coward, but I fear for their reputation and status rather than my own!
-- had it been on the old I would have introduced them to the whole Iranian community here!
What a shame that a few++ can foul up a good online magazine!!


I am nuts too

by Ari (not verified) on

So its ok.



by Ari (not verified) on

You are nuts.


Just ignore them

by Bavafa on

I agree totally that the rude comments are very abrasive and totally reprehensive. I also believe that they are meant to discourage the writers for being active in what he/she believes and it comes from both side of the isle, though seem much more from the anti IRI then IRI supporters. I personally just ignore them and move on to the next comment, that deals with the issue with some objective arguments not by insults. And I think if we all just ignore them and don't get into a tit for tat or dialoged with them, that would be the best treatment that they deserve and slowly they will move on, knowing that their rudeness and being a thug does not discourage our participation.



to ari

by iranazad (not verified) on

not worrying but u are like most mard irani. mard irani are iran problem. all just want to talk about sex and killing oppositon to shut up, especially women. this is america, we can make challenge for people who say they have solution or politics for other country. also it helps when can laugh. u take too serious and so u should be happy dont worry! if she is garbage u show that u have a better plan or not garbage. until that, u ari are adding garbages.


What ever. Just repeat your

by Ari (not verified) on

What ever. Just repeat your broken gramaphone record.
You don't seem able to understand.
What ever makes you happy, baba jan.
Don't worry. Be happy.

(She is still gonna get what she deserves, and that is all very very good!)



by IraneAzad (not verified) on

u are the problem. just anger against people who disagree. they have no way to sue her u are just wrong. this is opinion and rude comments not same as comparing politics to theives. politics and men in politics = all thieves. ALL. even pahlavis even mullah even rajavis. just relax and handle opinion instead tell shut up aria.


There is no difference

by Ari (not verified) on

There is no difference between her writings and the comments she gets. Stop this "they can sue her" pseudo-arguments. Of course they can, they don't need you to give them the permission. They just have better things to do than go after garbage like that.
The is besides the point. It has nothing to do with the fact that what she writes is stinking personal insults and attacks, and that is precisely the same as what she gets in response. She deserves it and much worse.
She doesn't want toget them she should just shut up and not reveal to the world the stinking garbage that lies inside her soul.

Kappish? stop whining.



by IraniAzad (not verified) on

That canot be not incrimination. that is movie and comparison also just opinions not crimes. if they are crimes in her writing, they will sue her! just handling opinion mature ways and not agreeing does not mean make rude sexual jokes of her.


She deserves it

by Ari (not verified) on

Not true Iranazad.
She commits the worst kind of personal attacks and insinuations in the nonsense rubbish that she writes.
Take a look at this:

It starts with the title itself.

She deserves all she gets and much more.