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Archive for August 15th, 2008

Tehran fashion show.

Tehran fashion show.

Hi all,

No, I have not disappeared on you. In fact, it is good to be opening a new window on Iran.  I went to a birthday celeberation for my poet Rumi (b.1207) in Stanford. Yes, you are right, his 800 Birthday. As we say in Persian jaye shoma khali! “wish you had been there.” There were
fun talks about Rumi’s work, I read poetry to music, and listened to Robert Bly reading some fantastic poetry. I had prepared this window to send out before traveling to Stanford but I forgot to send it as I got busy preparing for the trip.

Visual Delight

Here is a visual delight, a fun fashion show, to make up for the absence right away. It is the latest fashion show in Tehran: ladies
outfit. Click here: Women’s Fashion Show in Tehran.

Current Issues

On Sunday, January 27 hundreds of thousands of people marched on
Washington to ask for peace. As frightening news of the possibilities
of escalating the war – and entaglement with Iran – spreads, it is
important to know that the estimated number of marchers has been much
higher than the tens of thousands initially reported in the mainstream
media. Watch the video at:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/013007A.shtml
According to the Iranian news agency roozna, the government of Iran
has received a message from “members of the American parliament”
although the names of the senders or the contents of the message have
not been disclosed.

Usually under outside pressure, “patriotic” feelings surge to protect
governmental actions we are usually ready to criticize. Recent
heightened American  rhetoric against Iran should convince Iranians to
rally behind President Ahmadinejad. In the last Window, I told you of
the electronic poll that showed a sharp decline in the Iranian
President’s popularity, a display of political maturity among the
Iranian public. The article suggests that some political figures echo
dissatisfaction toward Mr. Ahmadinejad.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/world/middleeast/19iran.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

To round up our current issues section, I’ll give you Mark Mazzetti’s
article “Leading Senator Assails President Over Iran Stance.” The
piece, focused on Senator John D. Rockefeller IV strong opposition to
the White House portrayal of Iran as dangerous, was forwarded to me by
Adam Shriver. Thanks a lot Adam:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/20/washington/20intel.html?ex=1169960400&en=a4e

Cultural/Social

At least four friends have sent me the same video clip about Iran. It
is made by the Iranian Permanent Mission to the United Nation (hence
the clip from ex-president Khatami’s presentation to the U.N.). Still,
the video is quite useful. While it does not linger on anything long
enough, it showes a large variety of scenes (historical and modern)
from present day Iran:
http://www.un.int/iran/videos/AboutIran/Film.html

Another contribution to the Windows from my friend Behrooz Ghamari who
— this time — focused on music rather than politics. Behrooz writes:
“whenever I tell people about Tehran symphony orchestra their face
drops, as if I am talking about an orchestra of the Martians.” Here is
something to read on the orchestra of the Martians! Thanks Behrooz
Jan! http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jan/1102.html

Tehran symphony orchestra (image courtesy of www.payvand.com)

Tehran symphony orchestra (image courtesy of http://www.payvand.com)

Here is a great article courtesy of my dear friend/student Omid
Ghaemmaghami.  The essay called “Iran and Muslim Renaissance” by
Soroush Irfani was published in Daily Times, on January 27. Mr. Irfani
challenges the portrayal of Iran as a ‘anti-western’ and
‘isolationist’ culture. He states that ” indeed what is remarkable
about Iran today is a groundswell in its intellectual culture marked
by the reclamation of a Persian-Islamic past and interpretation with
western thought.” To read the full essay click on:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C01%5C14%5Cstory_14-1-2007_pg3_5

I am often asked if visual arts are forbidden in Muslim countries.
Here is an interesting source that documents what I mentioned in these
windows earlier: graphic arts are flourishing in present day Iran. The
Bibliography of Iranian Graphic Arts by Houssein Chanani cites books
and dissertations published and presented in areas related to graphic
arts including theory, basic and introductory textbooks, graphic
artists and designers, exhibitions, decorative icons and symbols, book
illustration, calligraphy, book cover, packaging, caricature,
computer, cinema, television, advertisement, poster, architecture, and
publication from their emergence in Iran (Persia) to 1997.
http://www.tavoosmag.com/english/news/detail.asp?codeclass=439&id=4953

More Visual Delight

I have for some time now been trying to put a power point show of
images from an old castle in Roodkhan in northern Iran sent to me by
my friend Yusef Hakimian who communicates from time to time from
Jerusalem. However, somehow the images don’t save properly. Recently,
I got a set of delightful images from a modern palace in Tehran:
Sadabad Place now turned into a museum. These images did save
nicely, and I turned them into a slide show for you.
Please click here: Sa’dabad Palace. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend.

Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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Tehran at night.

Tehran at night (image courtesy of Arash Hamidi http://www.hamidi.ir).

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all had a very nice holiday break and are ready for
2007. Thanks again for all your kind messages after window number 16.
I have finally managed to catch up with e-mail responding to your
personal messages. Please note that there was an unusually high volume
of bounced messages as Window number 16 was sent out to the list. This
may be due to full mail boxes over the holidays. If you did not
receive Window on Iran – 16, and would like to have it,  please write
a short note in response to this message and we will resend that
window to you.

Before we get to our  current issues which usually focuses on
conflict, I would like to share two beautiful seasonal images from
Iran:

Iranian Christians praying in a Tehran church on Christmas (image courtesy of www.iranian.com).

Iranian Christians praying in a Tehran church on Christmas (image courtesy of http://www.iranian.com).

To see some neat pictures of Iranian Christians celebrating this past Christmas in Iran click on:
http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jan/1006.html
Also, I have attached a very short slide show – about ten slides – of winter images from the famous Dizin ski resort in Iran. The photos are by Shahrokh Setudeh. Click here: The famous Dizin Ski Resort in Tehran. Enjoy.

Current Issues

Following American’s recent announcement of its readiness to deal with outside interference in Iraq (interesting language to use by a country which has sent its own forces about 10,000 miles to solve Iraqi inner problems), the American security forces kidnapped five Iranian nationals in the city of Erbil in Iraq early last Wednesday morning. These unnamed officials called “diplomats” by the Iranian government and “operatives” by the Americans are still in custody. So far, nothing other than a few local maps has been declared to be found on these individuals.
Iranian News sites reflect widespread criticism of Ahmadinejad’s
inflexible diplomacy on the developing Iranian nuclear industry amidst speculations that enrichment activity has been suspended at least in the Natanz site.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070113/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_nuclear_diplomacy

A major poll in Iran confirms that Ahmadinejad’s popularity is falling
dramatically since his election in June 2005. When asked “If the
elections were held today, what would be the chances of his election
to the office, 76.1% said “much less,” and 15% said “less.” Only 5%
said he would have a chance of getting re-elected. The total number of
respondents was over 43,000, a significant number in itself.

Sunday Times has revealed frightening plans of a possible Israeli
nuclear attack on Iran. The level of anxiety among the Iranians in the
country, and Iranian Americans in the U.S. is beyond description. All
we can do is hope and pray that a new Nagasaki and Hiroshima are not
in the making: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2535310,00.html

I received Robert Fisk’s article on Saddam’s execution from two
friends Bahar Hashemi and Adam Shriver. My general policy is not to
include in the Windows issues which are not directly relevant to Iran.
Here are some Iran-related excerpts from this article particularly
informative to Americans who wonder about anti-American feelings in
the region. These unfriendly feelings are often attributed to
religious hatred for western freedom. Fisk’s article describes a small
portion of what America signifies to many Iranians. On the American
support for the Iraqi attacks on Iran (1980-1988), Fisk quotes a
German arms dealer:

“Mr Fisk… at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I
was invited to go to the Pentagon,” he said. “There I was handed the
very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You
could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun
emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches
on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments –
thousands of them – all the way up the Iranian side of the border
towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I traveled
with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt
on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very
grateful!”
According to Mr. Fisk “the terrible cocktail” of nerve gas and mustard
gas used freely on Iranians and Kurds by the Iraqi dictator was also
“given to Saddam by the US. Washington denied this. But the Iranians
were right.” The most moving is Mr. Fisk’s personal encounter with
Iranian soldiers affected by these chemicals. I apologize for the
graphic nature: “I saw the results, however. On a long military
hospital train back to Tehran from the battle front, I found hundreds
of Iranian soldiers coughing blood and mucus from their lungs – the
very carriages stank so much of gas that I had to open the windows –
and their arms and faces were covered with boils.”  Rober Fisks full
article was published in the London Independent, in case you are
interested  http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article2114403.ece

More Visual Delight

All right, time for some nice friendly visual contact. Many of you
have told me that you like the visual information coming through these
windows. I think I have given you enough of historical monuments for a
while.  So, here is a power point slide show of just faces and places
in the city of Tehran. Just click here: The city and people of Tehran.

On that note, I wish you all a great week — and a great start to the
spring semester if you are in the academia. Again, please let me know
if you did not receive Window on Iran – 16.

Till the next Window, stay healthy and warm.

Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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Windows on Iran 16

Fin Garden in Kashan, Iran (image courtesy of Afshin Deyhim www.iranian.com).

Fin Garden in Kashan, Iran (image courtesy of Afshin Deyhim http://www.iranian.com).

Dear All,

Greetings! And Happy New Year!

Time to open a new window on Iran. I hope you have had a wonderful holiday so far. Thank you so much for all your kind messages concerning window number 15.  A combination of end of the semester duties and holiday activities have prevented me from writing
individual thank you notes.  I am most appreciative of all your responses. Please note that all the recent requests to be added to the listserv will be taken care of in the coming week.

I would like to indulge in a little holiday self promotion with a good
news!  My latest book –  a study of contemporary Persian poetry – was
just named “an outstanding academic title for the year 2006” by the
ALA’s review journal for academic and research libraries known as the
Choice Magazine. A wonderful Christmas present! The list is a small
percentage of approximately 7,000 titles. Here is the full
bibliographic information on the book:

Fatemeh Keshavarz, Recite in the Name of the Red Rose: Poetic Sacred
Making in 20th Century Iran (University of South Carolina Press,
2006).

Visual Delight:

Before we get into the special report that I have for you about the
very important mid-term elections in Iran, I want to give you my
Christmas gift. This is a power point slide show of a 19th century
private house, the Tabatabai House and a 17th century Safavid garden
called the Fin Garden in the city of Kashan, a central city with a
population of about 300,000. The main portion of the slides were
circulated by my friend Bahar Bastani. In case you want to use this in
class, the show has about 30 slides with a six second transition time
between slides. Just click on here: Fin Garden and the Tabatabai House in the City of Kashan.

Tabatabai House in Kashan, Iran.

Tabatabai House in Kashan, Iran.

Current Issues:

Iranian mid-term elections

Two weeks ago, the Iranian electorate made a clear statement in the
mid term elections in which reformists received 40%, the moderate
conservatives 24%, and the supporters of President Ahmadinejad about 3%
of the vote. The rest of the seats went to independent candidates. Of
the 15 seat up for grab in the Expert Assembly, only one went to his
supporters. This despite the fact that the reformists have objected to
accuracy of the counting process and want a recount of 10 ballot boxes
in each city to demonstrate that the overall pattern of the results
was more in their favor.  Since the main stream American media gave
minimal coverage to this very significant event (although it happened
in a country they are too eager to call the most dangerous country in
the world) I would like to give you some important details:

Among the features of this mid-term election was the prominence of
women in urban as well as rural settings. In my home town Shiraz the
top candidate was a 27 year old female architecture student, Fatemeh
Houshmand . In some cities like Qazvin and Hamadan, the top candidate
as well as 50% of the total elected members were women.

In an editorial for the online political newsletter CounterPunch my
friend Behrooz Ghamari wrote:  “Had this election occurred in an
allied country of the United States, it would have been celebrated as
the highest achievement of American foreign policy.”

What is most unfortunately masked from the American general public is
the maturity and thoughtfulness of the Iranian voter who did not allow
outside pressures on Iran to get translated into an exaggerated
“patriotism” in favor of the current regime. Here are examples of what
some voters said:

– “There is no room to breathe freely, Iran’s international
credibility and respect is diminishing, and we hope that we are not on
a path to war, I voted to change this direction.”
– “I voted to prove that our true desire is to transform this system,
and to show that we don’t need American democracy.”
-“I want to know, in which other country in the world do they have
carnivals on the streets and the artists and celebrities go to
neighborhoods to encourage people to participate?”
– a  young voter from Shiraz called the election a “velvet revolution”
that will strengthen “local decision making and non-governmental
organizations.”

To read Behrooz’s full editorial, click on:
http://www.counterpunch.org/ghamari12182006.html

Iranian Diplomats Arrested in Iraq:

Last week the U.S. defense officials declared the arrest of four
Iranian diplomats in Iraq. Two were released right away. The captured
Iranians – who were not named – were supposed to be carrying all kinds
of sensitive lists and documents pertaining to shipments of weapons
into Iraq, organizational charts, telephone records and maps, among
other sensitive intelligence information. No evidence has been
provided by American officials who are apparently unhappy at the
release of the last two diplomats. The story itself seems somewhat
shaky as the “highly sensitive” information claimed to be carried by
these officials can easily be transmitted electronically – or by two
inconspicuous Iraqi citizens – with much less risk.

According to the Iranian version of the story, the arrested people
were diplomats visiting as guests of the Iraqi President – which
explains why he was agitated at the incident. They were arrested
attending a funeral in the house of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, an Iraqi
Shiite leader. According to this version, these people were released
because none of the claimed documents were found on them.

Iranian Women conducting a 1,000,000 signature Campaign

To reform gender related legal codes in Iran, young Iranian women
activists have started a signature collection campaign. They go door
to door, speak to people about women’s rights, and collect signatures
in support of the reforms which they seek. The innovative nature of
the move and passionate persistence of these young and energetic
feminists have earned them support from the Iranian public and shocked
the opposition. Please publicize this movement to friends who can get
on line and support them. My friend, women’s studies scholar and
activist, Nayereh Tohidi has written about the 1,000,000 signature
campaign:  http://www.payvand.com/news/06/dec/1174.html

On this very bright note, I wish you all a very happy 2007,
and great week.

Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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Students protesting Iranian President Ahmadinejad at Amir Kabir University in Tehran.

Students protesting Iranian President Ahmadinejad at Amir Kabir University in Tehran.

Dear all,

I hope you are all doing well. Our semester is coming to an end here at Washington University in St. Louis. The weather has taken a turn for the better, and most of the city finally has power back. I hope to be able to start working on archiving these windows on line with help from Mr. Sina Noorazar the friend who has offered kindly to help. I will keep you posted on this.

And now on to Window number 15 about Iran.

Current Issues:

* upcoming midterm elections are on the way in Iran. On December 15,
a good turn out can give a credible chance to moderates to seize
power. The hardliners play down the significance of this election
in the hope that a boycott by the moderates will result in their
victory just as it did in the election that brougth Mr.
Ahmadinejad to power. My sociologist/historian friend Behrooz
Ghamari warns that it is really important that Iranians don’t stay
home and don’t boycott this election.
http://www.iranian.com/Ghamari/2006/December/Elections110/index.html

* Perhaps to take attention away from the above election which can
go very badly for the regime, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s
Institute of International Studies hosted a two day conference
which it has described as “The Global Vision” on the Holocaust.
According to the organizers, people from 63 countries have
participated and all sides are represented including CDs of
survivors speaking about their experience. Europeans and
Americans, including members of the orthodox Jewish community,
have attended. The conference is supposed to be a response to the
western relaxed attitude toward the cartoons about the Prophet and
to demostrate that the west’s claim to freedom of speech is
hypocritical and selectively applied. My heart goes out to the
Iranian Jewish Community which has to witness the plight of its
community as the subject of this ridiculous east/west political
slanging match.

Students protesting against Ahmadinejad at Amir Kabir University in Tehran.

Students protesting against Ahmadinejad at Amir Kabir University in Tehran.

* My heart also goes out to the rest of Iranians who despite having no hostility to Jews, through such political events as this conference make it to the American national news two days in a row, but their healthy and courageous opposition to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government does not recieve the slightest publicity in the same media. I bet you have no idea that yesterday President Ahmadinejad’s presentation was interrupted by students in Amir Kabir University in Tehran. The students shouted “liar” and “dictator” and burned Mr. Ahmadinejad’s pictures as he spoke. Since you are very unlikely to see these images in American media, I have put a very small collection of them together. Click here to see: Students protesting against Ahmadinejad.
This opposition wishes for no outside interference but would appreciate
respect and recognition.

Cultural/artistic

* Time for something good to counter the discord emanating from the
news and to heal hurt feelings! I attach a slide show of
delightful images from the desert city of Yazd which I promised
last week (images sent by my friend Bahar Bastani). Yazd is no
Tehran or Isfahan in that it does not have the tall buildings and
very large residential complexes. In fact, its population is only
about half a million. But Yazdi’s are known for their gentle and
sweet temper, and artistic abilities particularly in architecture
and textile industry. Furthermore, they are nationally known for
the sweets they make. Click here to see the pictures: Beautiful desert city of Yazd. Enjoy!

Strikingly beautiful garden in Yazd, Iran.

Strikingly beautiful garden in Yazd, Iran.

* Iran’s graphic designer Abedini heads for Amsterdam to receive
the Claus Award http://www.payvand.com/news/06/dec/1096.html

Have a great week!

Best,

===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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