T’was the Fight Before Christmas


15-Jul-2008 (15 comments)
The second year we were married, Francois decided to invite my parents for Christmas. “I want them to experience a French Christmas meal,” he said, displaying the enthusiasm he reserves for elaborate menus. My parents were more than happy. My father called the next day to give us their flight information. “We arrive at noon on Dec. 25,” he said, “at Oakland Airport.” “That’s the wrong airport!” I said. “The airport near you guys was too expensive,” he explained. “They’re arriving when?!? Francois asked, rather incredulously. “And why are they arriving at the wrong airport? Tell them to change their flight.“ >>>


Going down the tube

"I fear we will lose our country” to policies implemented by a group of self-conscious imperialists

10-Jul-2008 (8 comments)
Chalmers Johnson writes: “Most Americans do not recognize-or do not want to recognize-that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, they are often ignorant of the fact that their government garrisons the globe. They do not realize that a vast network of American military bases on every continent constitutes a new form of empire... Our country deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, … in other nations… . Whole sectors of the American economy have come to rely on the military for sales.” >>>


Among so many Eves

Kalbasi's "Seven Valleys" celebrates universality of love

24-Jun-2008 (2 comments)
The poems in this collection are no more than forty-two lines long, yet they all make their message palatably clear to the reader in a short amount of space. These are poems of longing and loss, yet they all honor the esteemed place poetry holds in Persian culture. In addition, these female poets are reveling in their right to freely speak their minds and transfer their hearts onto the page—certainly not a small feat in the eleventh or even the twenty-first century... With so many Iranians living abroad as a result of the Cultural Revolution, a poetry collection such as this one is made all the more important, strengthening national pride, and also applauding Iranian women writers across genres and across the ages>>>


Extreme makeover

First child-friendly Quran?

11-Jun-2008 (8 comments)
Kader Abdolah, or Seyed Hossein Sadjadi Ghaemmaghami Farahani as his real name is, writes Dutch novels since 1993. He arrived in The Netherlands in 1988 as a political refugee and bravely started a career as a novelist. His column “Mirza” in the Dutch daily newspaper “De Volkskrant” shows the way he perceives social developments in The Netherlands through the eyes of an immigrant, an Iranian and sometimes a(n)(ex-)Muslim.... His “The Quran and the Messenger” is a simplified version of the Quran combined with the story of the prophet’s life, in a twin series. Mohammad becomes an actual person in this book, which makes it very different from all other writings by Muslims in which the prophet is portrayed as an infallible being.>>>



سفرنامه برزیل

09-Jun-2008 (4 comments)
هرچند ما ایرانی ها امروز در همین لس آنجلس ترجیح میدهیم با بچه هایمان به زبان انگلیسی صحبت کنیم اما انگلیسی ها و فرانسوی ها و همین پرتغالی ها از صدها سال پیش تر به اهمیت حفظ زبان برای بقای فرهنگ پی برده اند. آنها طی قرون گذشته پیش از هر چیز دیگر ، زبان پرتغالی را در کشورهای تحت استعمار خود رواج داده اند. همین امروز بعد از سالهای طولانی که از استقلال "هند" می گذرد – زبان انگلیسی – هنوز هم زبان اول این کشور محسوب می شود. در الجزیره و بیروت و حتی ویتنام زبان فرانسه زبان رایج و معمول مردم است و در آنگولا از کشورهای قاره آفریقا – زبان اصلی مردم پرتغالی است! >>>


روان ملی ما

نگاهی به کتاب «ایرانیان» اثر ساندرا مکی

28-May-2008 (2 comments)
در کشورهای مردم سالار همه مردم قانونا برابرند و در ابراز اندیشه‌ها و احساسات خود آزاد. به همین دلیل در این سرزمینها«ملت» مفهومی‌ست که از هاله‌ی آرمانی درآمده و واقعیتی اجتماعی به خود گرفته است. اما در کشور ما ملت هنوز یک مفهوم آرمانی‌ست، زیرا یک گروه خاص(در گذشته سلطنت طلبان و امروزه ولایت فقیه گرایان) بر شهروندان ایرانی حکومت می‌کنند. تا هنگامی که ما ایرانیان نتوانسته‌ایم در پیشگاه قانون برابر باشیم و آزادانه نمایندگان خود را برای نهادهای تصمیم گیرنده انتخاب کنیم، هنوز ملتی«در خود» هستیم و نه «برای خود». چرا که اجازه نداریم آزادانه در تعیین سرنوشت خود تصمیم بگیریم و مجبوریم فرمانبردار گروهی خاص باشیم. >>>


Democracy for all?

The objection has always been in implementation methods applied by the Americans

08-May-2008 (3 comments)
Paul E. Erdman’s colossal #1 bestseller novel -- The Crash of 79 -- was published in 1976 while the recent fuel crisis was very fresh in Western memories. It was an exciting novel, translating complex world monetary and economical issues into simple language for every reader to understand. Using real life personalities, as well as current affairs of the time, it made its message convincing and even made the false portray depicted by the Western propaganda machinery of the Shah of Iran during the 1970’s, more plausible. Nevertheless this calamitous prophecy written three decades ago has never been more pertinent than today>>>



Its message and origins

02-May-2008 (56 comments)
Purim is one of the most Persian of Jewish festivals. The story is essentially about how Haman, the Amalekite vizier (not a Persian), tried to abuse his power to massacre all Jews and how this was thwarted by the courage of the Jewish Queen Esther, the wisdom of his uncle Mordechai and the decree of the King Achashverosh of Persia (usually identified with Xerxes) who commanded that Haman and his offsprings be executed on the same platform they had prepared for Mordechai>>>


The heart of the matter

Dalia Sofer’s "The Septembers of Shiraz"

01-May-2008 (2 comments)
In a publishing world where a majority of manuscripts are printed exclusively for the benefit of marketplace, it is uncommon to find the work of a new author in print simply on its own merit and because it was too good to reject. The Septembers of Shiraz is such a book. Not only is it written from the heart, but also the soft touch in Dalia Sofer’s style is a rare gift to readers who crave good literary work. True as it may be that the title could have been more relevant – as noted by several critics – by the time I realized this I was pulled so deeply into the story that I no longer cared. Ironically, the misleading title works to the book’s advantage because I doubt I would have picked it off the shelf if the title were Septembers at Evin, or any other that might have revealed its plot >>>


Whisper of a lover

Kalbasi's anthology of love and loss bears witness to a passionate and sorrowful longing

30-Apr-2008 (2 comments)
Seven Valleys of Love, compiled and translated by Sheema Kalbasi, is written with a piercing clarity and a profound intensity of emotion. Her ability to preserve the integrity and poetical sensibility of the work is evident in her mastery of language, editing, and translation. Seven Valleys of Love is a vibrant celebration of extraordinary women’s voices. The colorful and lively verses in this dazzling collection emerge as small, quiet explosions out of the shadows of hopelessness and seek to inspire and restore peace, hope, and harmony in its people >>>


Dominating others

Dowlatabadi shows how you can manipulate those who see the world in black and white

25-Apr-2008 (2 comments)
Published during revolutionary times in Iran in 1979, Missing Soluch is a 500-page tribute to the socialist ideas that so enthused the Iranian intellectuals and writers of that period. Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, who comes from a village in the north-eastern province of Khorasan, has worked in agriculture, as a craftsman, and in theater in Tehran. Published about ten years after the revolution, his longest novel and perhaps the longest existing Persian novel, Kalidar (10 volumes), earned him a permanent place in the history of Persian literature. Kalidar, is about the simplicity, dignity and bravery of ordinary people in a village in Khorasan>>>


Salt of the earth

Nilofar Shidmehr's poetry

08-Apr-2008 (14 comments)
In Shidmehr’s vastly imaginative novella, Shirin and Salt Man, a modern day Iranian woman named Shirin plans to elope with the mummy of an ancient salt miner preserved in brine and discovered in 1993 in Iran. She is not as fortunate as Nezami’s Farhad. Her insanity is not from love, but from neglect. She married the abusive Khosro, and now remorse has driven her to adultery with the pile of salted bones she imagines to be Farhad. Shidmehr’s Khosro is not a king like Nezami’s Khosro. Though the romantically obsessed heroine married him for his kingly name, he really just works at the ministry of Islamic Guidance >>>


Flowing with Forugh

Interview with translator of Farrokhzad's poetry, Sholeh Wolpe

05-Apr-2008 (7 comments)
Although a number of English translations of Forugh Farrokhzad's work have been published, many fail to capture the nuances of the Persian language, the incisive and edgy aspects of her mind, and her unique and powerful experience as a woman living through the turbulence of Iran’s 20th century modern history. I had the opportunity to interview Iranian-American poet-translator, Sholeh Wolpe and asked her about her role as the translator of the most recent collection of Forugh’s poetry, Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad and the way Forugh’s life and legacy has personally touched her. >>>



گلچینی از اشعار فروغ فرخزاد به زبان انگلیسی

02-Apr-2008 (4 comments)
گرچه مترجمان بسیاری هم سعی داشته اند تا شعر فروغ را به زبان انگلیسی برگردانند و گاه ترجمه های غنی از ایشان خوانده ام اما بی شک شعله ولپی با حس شاعرانه و ممتاز خود یکی از زیباترین ترجمه های اشعار فروغ را در گلچین گناه برای خوانندگان به ارمغان آورده است. شعله با انتخاب و ترجمه این اشعار در عین حال به آگاه کردن مردم به وجود سانسور در ایران پرداخته است. بسیاری در جهان در مورد نقض حقوق بشر و استبداد حاکم بر ایران می دانند. با این وجود وظیفه هنرمند آن است که باز به افشای ستم بپردازد و توجه هر چه بیشتر جهانیان را به آن جلب کند. شعله با داشتن نامی آشنا در جامعه ادبی انگلیسی زبان به این مهم پرداخته است. وی در این تلاش یکی ازموفقترین ترجمه ها از شعر فروغ را ارائه داده است.>>>


نوروز در زندان

سین اول سلام؛ سلام به بهار و باران و یاران، سلام به پاکی چشمه‌ساران

19-Mar-2008 (2 comments)
در راهروی بند سفره‌ای سراسری چیده شده بود و در دو طرف آن بچه‌ها نشسته بودند. در چندین نقطه از سالن، سفره‌های هفت‌سین پهن شده بودند. اسدالله و چند نفر دیگر از حواریونش! همگی با لُنگ کراوات زده و در طول بند رژه می‌رفتند و به شوخی کردن با این و آن پرداخته و به جشن و پای‌کوبی و شعرخوانی می‌پرداختند. یک نفر نیز اسدالله را همراهی می‌کرد که از او به نام” آقای فتو” نام می‌‌برد و با اشاره‌ی اسدالله از افراد مختلف با دوربین ساختگی‌ای که درست کرده بود، عکس می‌گرفت و تحویل آنان می‌داد. عکس‌ها چیزی جز نقاشی‌های ساده و ابتدایی بیش نبودند. مثلاً عکسی که ظاهراً از تواب‌‌ها می‌گرفت و به دست‌شان می‌داد، کره‌خری بود که چهار دست و پایش را هوا کرده بود. سیگارهایی ساختگی نیز به وسیله‌ی کاغذ، با استادی تمام درست شده بود که به لحاظ شکل ظاهری بسیار شبیه به سیگارهای واقعی می‌نمودند و در میان سفره‌ی هفت‌سین بند گذاشته شده بود>>>