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Windows on Iran 53

A beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more photos from this event.

A beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more photos from this event. Also be sure to check out Brian Appleton's photo essay from his recent trip to Iran, entitled "Five Days in Tehran" (link below).

Dear All,

I hope you have had a great summer. Here at Washington University in St. Louis, we are gearing up for another lively academic year. I have a wonderful piece of news for those of you who have enjoyed these windows, shared them with friends, or taken them to your classroom, during the past two years. My stellar student Matthew Miller has started blogging the windows. He has devoted a considerable amount of time, thought, and taste to the project. Check it out for yourself: https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/. In not so distant a future, all of the Windows on Iran will be available on line. Thank you Matt! You have done a super job.

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Tehran is a World Class City

* Thanks to my friend Brian Appleton, who has just returned form a trip to Iran, I can open this window with a wonderfully detailed pictorial essay called “Five Days in Tehran.” In this essay, Brian captures what some reporters allow to get buried under layers of political conflict. That is, he brings out the vibrancy and the complexity of Iranian urban life. The subtitle to his piece reads: It is important to understand that Tehran is a world class city. Not only does he speak about events, people, and buildings but he remembers other important details: “Since the revolution, 30,000 trees have been planted in Tehran and it is one of the greenest cities you will ever see anywhere on the planet.” Before I give you that address to Brian’s great piece, I would like to add that of course not every corner of Iran is Tehran. Neither would Brian Appleton claim that. Urban life is more affluent and complex everywhere. Here is a rare opportunity for you to read about the beauty and complexity (and of course traffic jams, etc.) of city life in Iran. Thank you Brian! http://www.iranian.com/main/2008/five-days-tehran.

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Iranian Olympic basketball player Hamed Ehadadi and the head coach of the Russian team, Israeli David Blatt, embrace in a show of friendship at the recent Olympic games.

Iranian Olympic basketball player Hamed Ehadadi and the head coach of the Russian team, Israeli David Blatt, embrace in a show of friendship at the recent Olympic games.

The Israeli/Iranian Embrace

* It is generally believed that sports and art are the best way to bring people together. During the current Olympic games, there were such rare moments when Israeli and Iranian athletes transcended the political conflicts and exhibited kindness and support for each other. The first attachment to this window is a Kodak moment during which an Iranian 7-foot-2 basketball player, Hamed Ehadadi and the Israeli coach of the Russian team David Blatt have posed for the camera. Earlier, another Iranian player and Blatt embraced. This simple gesture of friendship should not be so rare as to make it to the headlines. However, with the current political tensions, it is good to see any such exchanges. Thank you Omid Jan for forwarding this message.

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The Israelis Against an Attack on Iran

* While we are on the subject of Iran and Israel, I should bring a very important declaration to your attention. I have, in the past, quoted Israeli politicians who have called for a military attack on Iran. It is only fair that the voices of Peace Seeking Israelis be included in these windows as well. Earlier this month, a group of Israeli academics and peace activists who call themselves “Ad Hoc Group Against Israeli Attack on Iran” issued a very important press release to publicize their declaration. Its main message: “There is no military, political or moral justification to initiate war with Iran.” This is a courageous move that will be appreciated by all peace-loving readers of these windows, most especially the Iranian segment. However, the group made no secret of the fact that the Israeli well-being is of great concern to them. “After serious consideration,” the press release went on to say “we reiterate our position that all the arguments for such an attack are without any security, political or moral justification. Israel might get caught up in an act of adventurism that could endanger our very existence, and this without any serious effort to exhaust the political and diplomatic alternatives to armed conflict.” To read the entire declaration, please visit: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0808/S00077.htm.

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Open Letter to Senator Obama

* Here in the U.S.. many are concerned with the same issue. Here is an open letter sent to Senator Obama on August 14 concerning the dangers of U.S./Iran confrontation: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21735.

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Iranian “Star Students” in Newsweek

* I have often talked about the negative light in which the Iranian culture is presented to the American public. This, unfortunately, has impacted the general language used to speak about Iran. The result is that even positive matters are often articulated in a pessimistic manner that counters its positive nature. Let me give you an example.

* There is a piece in the August 18-25 ’08 issue of the Newsweek describing the success of the Iranian students which is a very interesting piece to analyze with the above point in mind. The core news is that, in the field of science, some of the best undergraduates in the world are being trained in Iranian universities. This should be cause for celebration. Not quite. First, we are given the feeling that all of that is on the brink of disappearing. I have no problems with pointing to economic (and other) problems that Iran faces. I am not even talking about exaggerations like “University professors barely make ends meet—the pay is so bad some must even take second jobs as taxi drivers or petty traders.” Yes, Iranian economy is not doing particularly well, but relatively speaking, Iranian professors are good wage earners.

My real problem with the piece is that it views the Iranian students’ success as an anomaly which requires an extraordinary explanation. And here it is: “When you live in Iran and you see all the frustrations of daily life, you dream of leaving the country, and your books and studies become a ticket to a better life,” says one who asked not to be identified. “It becomes more than just studying,” he says. “It becomes an obsession, where you wake up at 4 a.m. just to get in a few more hours before class.” In other words, when other cultures make educational success, they are bright. When Iranians do that, they are frustrated and obsessive.

And finally the piece adds: “Iran’s success, in other words, is also the country’s tragedy: students want nothing more than to get away the moment they graduate.”

I don’t want to discourage you from reading the piece. In fact here is the link: http://www.newsweek.com/id/151684. But it is truly amazing, how the American media has developed a talent for casting the most positive matters related to Iran in a negative light.

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The Smallest School in the World

The young Iranian students diligently at work in the smallest school in the world.

Young Iranian students diligently at work in the "smallest school in the world." Please click on the picture to visit the teacher's blog and check out all the great pictures of the students and their school.

* Now that you know about the star students in Iran, I would like you to see why I think the cynicism in the Newsweek article is unwarranted. In other words, Iranians are not promoting learning in their communities so that good students can leave the country. Like many other people in the world, they care deeply about education. In a small and remote village in the southern province of Boushehr, a young man has established a school for 4 students to make sure they get their primary education properly (see the pictures above and below). And please bear in mind, this is not a propaganda tool of the Islamic Republic. The resourceful young teacher Abdolmohammad Sha’rani who runs the school has a personal blog in which he writes about the village, the people, and of course the school. Remember I told you a while back Iranians are number four bloggers in the world. Do visit Sha’rani’s blog, even if you don’t read Persian and enjoy the pictures he has taken of this tiny fishing village on the Persian Gulf: http://www.dayyertashbad.blogfa.com/ Thank you Bahar for forwarding this information.

Two young Iranian students who look quite pleased with their new school supplies! Please visit his blog for many more great pictures of the students and their school.

Two young Iranian students who look quite pleased with their new school supplies! Please click on the picture to visit the teacher's blog and check out all the great pictures of the students and their school.

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Iranian Zahra Karimi has won the womens gold medal at the 2008 Wushu World Championships.

Iranian Zahra Karimi won the women's gold medal at the recent 2008 Wushu World Championships.

Iranian Zahra Karimi Wins Gold in Wushu

* An Iranian woman by the name of Zahra Karimi has won the women’s gold medal at the 2008 Wushu World Championships, held in Beijing along side the Olympic Games: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=67454&sectionid=3510211.

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The Photographer Capturing Rural Life in Iran

* In these windows, I have usually brought you images from urban life in Iran. This is mostly because I have always found the complexity of Iranian urban life to be the aspect which is not as well known as it should be. However, today, courtesy of my cousin Abe Massoudi, I have the opportunity to introduce to you the great work of a contemporary Iranian photographer who has dedicated almost his entire career to taking photographs of Iranians living in rural parts of the country. Nasrullah Kasraian, who has had many exhibits and published over 30 collections of his photographs, is a national figure in Iran. Please click on the link to view some of his stunning images. Enjoy! http://www.jadidonline.com/images/stories/flash_multimedia/Kasraiian_test/kasraiian_eng_high.html.

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Another beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the link to the left for more photos from the event.

Another beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the link to the left for more photos from the event.

Water Show in the National Park

* I opened this window with a look at the city of Tehran. Here is a visual delight from the same city to close Window 53, a great Water and Light show from Tehran’s Parke Mellat courtesy of my friend Farimah. Please click here: Water and Light Show in Tehran’s Parke Mellat.

Till next Window, have a great end of the summer.

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

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Windows on Iran 43

The new, solar-powered 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (see below for more pictures and information on the Hotel).

The new, solar-powered 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (see below for more pictures and information on this luxurious and innovative hotel).

Dear All,

I hope you are well. It is a pleasure to open another window on Iran as we start yet another lively and colorful autumn in St. Louis. This will be a full window with lots of news about Iran on various subjects including current issues, art, science and technology.

Upcoming Events

* If you are in St. Louis this weekend, you will have a chance to see the play The Veil of Silence, by Andrew Michael Neiman and Suzanne Renard. Saturday November 10 at 8 PM, and Sunday November 11 at 2 PM at The Black Cat Theater, 2810 Sutton in Maplewood.

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* And if you are planning to be in San Diego next Sunday, Nov. 18, stop by the UNC Press booth at the book exhibit for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in the Convention Center where I will have the pleasure of meeting you while signing copies of Jasmine & Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran. See the flyer here: Jasmine and Stars American Academy of Religion Flyer.

Let us now move to our first set of beautiful slides. I cannot think of a better opening for any window.

A piece of calligraphy art by Sadegh Tabrizi (please see the link on the right for more of his work).

A piece of calligraphy art by Sadegh Tabrizi (please see the link below for more of his work).

Visual Delight

* Iranians have a history of love for calligraphy. In the past two or three decades there has been a clear revival in this historic art form. One of the interesting features of contemporary Iranian calligraphy is its interrelation with painting. As you know from these windows, young Iranian painters paint a great deal and in a vast array of styles and media. This week I am going to introduce you Sadegh Tabrizi, a master painter and calligrapher (born 1938). Tabrizi has had numerous individual and group exhibits in various parts of the country. What is particularly interesting about the exhibit which you will see is that every painting is inspired by letters of the alphabet and the art of calligraphy in general. Please click here: Calligraphy Art by Sadegh Tabrizi. Enjoy!

* While we are on visual arts, lets add a touch of performance and watch a clip form a current Iranian TV series that I told you about a few weeks ago. This is the love story called “The Zero Degree Turn” involving the rescue of a number of French Jews and putting them on a plane to Iran disguised as Iranians.  (Thanks to Behrooz Ghamari for sending the clip).

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Current Issues

* An Iranian woman takes up a seat in the House of Lords cross benches as a non-party political peer in recognition of her work. Professor Haleh Afshar, who is an adviser to the British government on public policy relating to Muslim women and Islamic law and the founder and chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, was chosen as a ‘People’s Peer’, an appointment for people who will bring distinction and expertise to the House of Lords. For the full article click on: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/oct/1265.html (courtesy of a new subscriber to the windows on Iran Mina Naji, thank you Mina Khanom!).

The New US Sanctions against Iran

* As you read that the US imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran may not be as effective as the current American government presents them to be, please know that ordinary Iranians are quite a bit worried about further economic hardship resulting from these sanctions. The point to keep in mind is that sanctions and economic problems do not encourage diversity and change in any country. If you have doubts about this, think about a simple situation. If you were to take care of your family during an economic crisis, which will be your priority: “finding medical care for a sick child” or “attending a meeting or a rally to improve the country’s political system”?

* We usually hear that China and Russia are helping Iran survive the U.S. attempts to isolate it. A lot of less known individuals are also working to do the same. One such attempt involves building the first 7-star-hotel run entirely by solar energy. “Generating electricity from the sun is a very expensive project but I mean to bring this technology to Iran,” said Hossein Sabet, the Iranian investor of the solar hotel. “Now that other countries are imposing sanctions on Iran, building such a hotel is an important step in tourism development,” he concluded. Here is an article, if you like to see pictures and read more: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/nov/1016.html

The 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (click on the link above for more pictures and information on the Hotel).

A view of the 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island at night (click on the link above for more pictures and information).

The 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (please click on the link above for more pictures and information).

Another shot of the The 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel (please click on the link above for more pictures and information).

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Passionate Appeal to Europe

* Jean-Marie Matagne, President of “Action of Citizens for the Total Dismantling of Nukes” (Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire, ACDN, France), Doctor in Philosophy and Dr. Yehuda Atai, Executive Secretariat of the Mediterranean No Nuclear Neighborhood (MN3), Member in the Israeli Committee for a Free Middle East of WMD, Publisher of the “World of the Bible” have made a passionate appeal to the European community to do everything in their power to prevent a war on Iran: http://acdn.france.free.fr/spip/article.php3?id_article=361&lang=en

* Here in our own country, the presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama made headlines when he introduced a note of sanity into the election debates that at some point looked like an Iran bashing competition. In an interview, on November 1st in Chicago, Senator Obama pledged to work on building a new relationship with Iran, should he get into the White House. He further explained that sticking to the rhetoric of “regime change,” just for the sake of it, is wrong and suggested that things need to change in a more fundamental way on both sides. The fact that he had one of his successful fund raising weeks last week may not be solely the outcome of this interview. However, it shows that the American public is tired of angry rhetorics and is hoping for a more sophisticated foreign policy. You can read more at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21586430/

Stem Cell Research in Iran

Rudolf Jaenisch with Hossein Baharvand and a group of young Iranian scientists during his trip to at The Royal Institute.

Rudolf Jaenisch with Iranian colleague Hossein Baharvand and a group of young Iranian scientists during his visit to the Royan Institute (image courtesy of http://www.nature.com).

* This month, Rudolf Jaenisch, a founding member of the Whitehead Institute and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attended a major scientific conference in the Royan Institute in Tehran. Professor Jaenisch who was warned by friends against traveling to Iran had this to say: “During my time in Tehran, however, I encountered only enthusiasm and hospitality. Other Westerners, such as Emory University’s Sarah Berga, who has spoken at this conference before, were treated equally well. My only regret is that there were not more Americans there. Despite my colleagues’ concerns, I felt safer than if I had been a tourist in a large American city. There were no panhandlers or aggressive touts to harass me, and the country is beautiful.” Here is the link, if you like to read more: http://www.nature.com/stemcells/2007/0710/071025/full/stemcells.2007.105.html.

* On a related topic, NAS expands cooperation with Iran. Following productive discussions in Iran between representatives of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and senior Iranian officials and scientific leaders, the U.S. National Academies plan to expand a program of scientific cooperation with Iranian institutions that began in 1999. During the past eight years, continuing political confrontations between the U.S. and Iranian governments have complicated bilateral scientific cooperation, but with perseverance by scientific institutions in both countries, important programs have been carried out: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=10312007.

Womens kick boxing match in Iran. Please see the end of this window for many more pictures from the thriving Iranian womens sports scene.

Women's kick boxing match in Iran. Please see the link on the right for many more pictures from the thriving Iranian women's sports scene.

Iranian Women in Sports

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* For a variety of recent images of Iranian women athletes, visit http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article476. To enlarge individual images, double-click on them. I did not make them into a power point slide show to keep the volume of the visual attachment to this window small.

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If you are not signed up to receive these windows, send a message to windowoniran@yahoo.com to subscribe. Until the next window on Iran, have a great weekend.

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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 37

Some of the many Iranians that the recent American Peace delegation met on their visit to Iran this past July. Organized by Phil Wilayto and sponsored by the Virginia Anti-War Network and The Richmond Defender newspaper, the five-member "People's Peace Delegation to Iran" visited Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan and Qom (see below for more on their trip) (image courtesy of http://www.campaigniran.org).

Hi All,

Earlier today I sent out a special window urging you to write to your
representatives in an attempt to stop our country from getting one
step closer to a war with Iran. Many of you wrote back within the hour
to let me know that you have shared the message with others. Thank
you.

With that, let us move on to Window on Iran number 37 which opens with
a good piece of news.

Major Iran/IAEA Agreement on Additional Measures on the Nuclear Issue

* The following news should be hailed as a significant diplomatic
success, a step toward cooling things down. On Tuesday Iran and the
UN Atomic Energy Agency agreed on a timetable for Tehran to clarify
outstanding concerns about its contested nuclear program, amid Western
threats of further UN sanctions. International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) deputy director general Olli Heinonen and top Iranian national
security official Javad Vaeedi announced the agreement after two days
of talks in Tehran. “We have now in front of us an agreed working
plan, how to implement it and we have a timeline for the
implementation. We talked about the details and the steps to be
taken,” said Heinonen. Here is the rest of the article if you like to
read (thanks Paul Appell for sharing this)
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/295302/1/.html

* The current U.S. administration, however, has so far acted as if it
never happened. The same week that Iran and IAEA signed the above
agreement, former CIA Director James Woolsey appeared on CNN with Lou
Dobbs to say an attack on Iran is a bad idea but allowing Iran to
obtain a nuclear weapon is worse. And in today’s New York Times
(August 29), Elaine Sciolino quoted unnamed officials from “Western
governments” describing the plan as a “new and dangerous strategy by
Iran to drag out the process.” Further down the article explains that
“Details of the timetable will be included in a report” that will be
released later. It is not clear how a plan that is not yet released,
that includes a clear timetable, and that has been described by the
IAEA officials as a “breakthrough” is faulted and branded as a
dangerous plan even before it is released.

Tell the Networks Not to Follow Fox

Why does the American news media not scrutinize significant news items
concerning Iran? Why, concerned friends such as Nadir Sadeqi and Matt
Miller ask in their e-mail messages, while the FOX news works on the
American public to convince them that war with Iran is the only
option, do the other networks not respond? All they need to do is
following the tradition of sound reporting. Christine Amanpour,  is
quoted to have said – concerning bad reporting on Iraq – that her
network was silenced and intimidated by FOX. On behalf of Nadir and
Matt, I share the following information with those of you who are
interested in telling the networks not to follow FOX down the road to
war: http://foxattacks.com/iran (or watch the video below)

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Is the War on Iran Still a Strong Possibility?

* Some argue that a war on Iran is not an option for practical reasons.
A fantastic piece on this is an interview that David Barsamian has
done with the renowned historian of contemporary Iran, Ervand
Abrahamian (City University, New York). The interview is short, very
perceptive, and readable. It has a very interesting title too: The
Mullahs Face Off: Washington Versus Tehran
(San Francisco, City
Light Books, 2007).

* Others are still very worried about the possibility. In his site
www.AntiWar.com, blogger Philip Giraldi writes: Anyone who doubts that the
war party is firmly focused on Iran need only take note of the Aug. 21
lead editorial in the Washington Post, which had the heading “Tougher
on Iran: The Revolutionary Guard is at war with the United States. Why
not fight back?” The Post, which regularly features neocons like
Charles Krauthammer on its editorial page, was a principal cheerleader
for the Iraq war. Giraldi criticizes the Post for accepting Washington
claims that Iranian special forces are in Iraq training the Shiite
militia. “Why is the U.S. army not been able to arrest a single one of
them or provide any evidence of this” is his question. It is a very
good question. I would add that this claim is not just refereeing to
an unsubstantiated hypothesis but a very unlikely one. Any number of
Iraqis who survived the rule of Saddam by taking refuge in Iran could
have been trained sufficiently to return and train their Iraqi country
men. But the point is not how logical or provable these claims are.
The point is the poisoning effect they have on the American public.
You can read the rest of Giraldi’s article at:
http://www.antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=11509

American Peace Delegation to Iran

A photo from the American Peace Delegation to Iran discussed below (image courtesy of www.campaigniran.org).

A photo from the American Peace Delegation to Iran discussed below (image courtesy of http://www.campaigniran.org).

All right, we need a little antidote to offset the alarming bells of
war. Let me tell you about this delightful five person American
delegation who visited Iran this past July. Organized by Phil Wilayto
and sponsored by the Virginia Anti-War Network and The Richmond
Defender newspaper, the five-member “People’s Peace Delegation to
Iran” visited Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan and Qom, plus several
villages and towns. The Following are interesting excerpts from Phil
Wilayto’s interview with CASMII about the trip:

On our first day, in the capital city of Tehran, we attended the
Friday noontime prayer service at the University of Tehran. This is
the big weekly religious gathering for this metro area of some 14
million people, and around 10,000 men and women attend. We had heard
that they finish the service with a rousing chant of “Death to
America!” so we thought that would give us one cultural pole for the
trip. Actually, we were two hours into the program when we had to
leave, and still no anti-U.S. chants. So we had to settle for a lot of
warm smiles and handshakes.

Also, I’d like to anticipate the question, “But you probably only saw
what the government wanted you to see.” One evening in Qom – it was
about 9 p.m. – I walked to an Internet cafe to send an e-mail to
family members and friends back home. I stayed till 11 p.m., then got
lost on the walk back to the hotel. So there I was in the holy city of
Qom, lost – on the eve of a major national religious holiday, no less
– wandering the streets and trying unsuccessfully to change some
Iranian bills into coins so I could call our guide from a pay phone. I
wound up meeting two brothers, one of them a theology student. They
brought me back to the hotel in a taxi. So I was out on my own for
about three hours. Two other members of the delegation walked back one
evening to their hotel in Esfahan, and in 45 minutes they were stopped
by three groups of Iranians who wanted to talk with them. On the
streets and public places we talked with anyone we wanted. One
afternoon while driving from Esfahan to Qom we stopped by the side of
the highway and had tea with a family of goat herders. I learned to
smoke a hookah, or “hubble-bubble,” in a 5,000-year-old town about
4,000 feet up in the mountains. We photographed anything we wanted,
except military installations. I made a point of trying to speak with
people from as many social classes as possible. I’m not saying we
became experts on Iran, but I think we got a pretty fair look at the
country and its people.

Sean Penn’s Reference to Iran

Sean Penn in Iran meeting with his industry colleagues in the Iranian film industry at the Cinematheque (PLEASE cick the link below to read his letter about Iran). (Image courtesy of www.payvand.com).

Sean Penn in Iran meeting with his industry colleagues in the Iranian film industry at the Cinematheque (PLEASE cick the link below to read his letter about Iran). (Image courtesy of http://www.payvand.com).

Actor/activist Sean Penn felt the same warmth visiting Iran in March.
Jaine Benson, one of my many friends through these windows, has
forwarded this very interesting letter which I had almost forgotten
about. Thanks Jaine. The letter is long and mostly focused on Iraq,
below I quote the paragraph on Iran which remains relevant today:

“You want to rattle sabers toward Iran now? Let me tell you something
about Iran, because I’ve been there and you haven’t. Iran is a great
country. A great country. Does it have its haters? You bet. Just like
the United States has its haters. Does it have a corrupt regime? You
bet. Just like the United States has a corrupt regime. Does it want a
nuclear weapon? Maybe. Do we have one? You bet. But the people of Iran
are great people. And if we give that corrupt leadership, (by
attacking Iran militarily) the opportunity to unify that great country
in hatred against us, we’ll have been giving up one of our most
promising future allies in decades. If you really know anything about
Iran, you know exactly what I’m referring to. Of course your
administration belittles diplomatic potential there, as those options
rely on a credibility and geopolitical influence that you have
aggressively squandered worldwide.” If you are interested in reading
the whole letter, here is the link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-penn/an-open-letter-to-the-pre_b_44172.html


Mohsen Mostafavi, Iranian American, recently named new Dean of Harvards Graduate School of Architecture and Design.

Mohsen Mostafavi, prominent Iranian American, recently named new Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Design.

Iranian American Named Dean, Harvard School of Design

Mohsen Mostafavi, an international figure in the fields of architecture and urbanism, will become the dean of the Faculty of Design beginning in January 2008, President Drew Faust announced today (Aug. 10). The news was forwarded by my cousin Abe Massoudi, and my friend Farimah Companieh, thank you both! You can read more at:
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/08.23/99-gsdean.html

Iranian Women in Sports

Time for more fun and for seeing images from Iran which are almost impossible to see in the American media. It is rather unfortunate any negative news on Iranian women will make it to the front page here almost immediately. But images such as these are missing. Iranian Women Canoe Polo players in action:
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article68

Iranian women canoe polo players in action! (click the link above for more pictures).

Iranian women canoe polo players in action! (click the link above for more pictures).

Visual Delight

Last week I was showered with your loving messages about the wonderful
paintings of the Iranian Assyrian artist Hannibal Alkhas. Thank you! I
can’t agree  more. I’ll promise to make more slide shows of his
exhibits whenever new ones appear. This week, I bring you the works of
two Iranian women artists, Elham Nafisi Farr, a young and up-coming
painter and Mansoureh Hussaini a much more experienced
painter/calligrapher. Unfortunately, I did not find much personal
details on them except they are both graduates of Tehran School of
Fine Arts. Click here: Nafisi Farr-Hussaini painting.Enjoy!

A beautiful painting by Mansoureh Husseini (click the link below for more paintings by her and also Elham Nafisi Far).

A beautiful painting by Mansoureh Husseini (click the link below for more paintings by her and also Elham Nafisi Farr).

Till our next window, have a great week!

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 21

A beautiful painting by Iranian-American Seroge Barseghian (see below for more).

A beautiful painting by Iranian-American artist Seroge Barseghian (see below for more of his extraordinary work).

Hi All,

I hope you got a chance to relax and enjoy the weekend. Please take a look at the number of windows that you have received. If any numbers are missing, your window may have bounced due to a full mailbox. If so, please let me know to supply the missing windows.

These are seminal moments in our history. I hope the Windows on Iran will keep you informed in ways that you would not otherwise be. In fact, in my out-of-classroom activities, I do more than preparing these windows. Recently, I was a guest of Krista Tippett on NPR’s “Speaking of Faith.” The show which is dedicated to the poetry of the medieval Persian poet and mystic Rumi (1207-1273) will be aired in the St. Louis area on Sunday, March 4, 9:00 am. Those of you who are not in St. Louis, Missouri, if interested in the show, please check NPR’s website. It is an hour of talking about Rumi and reading his poetry.

Now, let us attend to Window on Iran – 21 without further ado.

*I would like to start by introducing you to the web site of a very
informative independent campaign, CASMII (Campaign Against Sanctions
and Military Intervention in Iran). This campaign is run by Nader
Sadeqi, an Iranian American Professor of Surgery at George Washington
University! Thank you Dr. Sadeqi! Do visit CASMII’s web site at
http://www.campaigniran.org/

*Sunday times has the wonderful news that American military officials
at the very top may in fact be far more cautious and unwilling to
start a new disaster in the region by attacking Iran. According to
this article as many as five top U.S. Army officials “will quit” if
the President orders an attack on Iran. To directly quote: “General
Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said recently there
was “zero chance” of a war with Iran. He played down claims by US
intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible for supplying
insurgents in Iraq, forcing Bush on the defensive. Pace’s view was
backed by the British intelligence officials who said the extent of
the Iranian government’s involvement in activities inside Iraq by a
small number of Revolutionary Guards was “far from clear”.   General
Peter Pace’s repudiation of the administration’s claims is viewed as a
sign of grave discontent at the top. For the full essay please go to
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1434540.ece
(thank you Adam Shriver for sending this link).

*General Pace’s refusal to blame Iran for resurgency in Iraq is based
on his knowledge of facts on the ground. On February 19, an attack on
an American outpost in Northern Iraq left at least two soldiers dead
and 17 wounded. This attack, followed by gun battle, was described by
Iraqi and American officials as the work of “Sunni millitants, most
probably al-Qaeda.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/world/middleeast/20iraq.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
What is the relevance of this to Iran? Quite a bit. Iran is one of
few places in the region where al-Qaeda members face arrest and cannot
operate. In fact, two such members were arrested trying to pass
through Iran less than two weeks ago. An America-Iran military
confrontation would be a gift to al-Qaeda.

*Another story that you don’t hear often is that although Iran refuses
unconditional halting of uranium enrichment, it calls almost on a
daily basis for direct negotiation with the U.S. and is prepared to
put enrichment suspension on the table. Here are two articles in the
Iranian papers (in Persian) quoting top Iranian officials on the
subject: http://www.isna.ir/Main/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-883808&Lang=P
and http://mizannews.com/default.asp?nid=1020

*CASMII, which I introduced to you in this Window, has reported this
morning “evidence of US coercion of Members of IAEA against Iran
revealed.” http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/1456

Social: Challenge to the Iranian President

*Papers in Iran reported a challenge by an Iranian nuclear physicist to
the Iranian president Ahmadinejad. Professor Shirazad said in an
interview that Ahmadinejad’s views on the necessity of nuclear
technology for Iran was as “uninformed” as his views about the
magnitude of the Holocaust. Shirzad’s invitation to a public debate is
unlikely to be accepted by the Iranian President but the fact that the
interview makes it to the front page in Iran is good news: (sorry,
Persian source again)
http://www.roozna.com/Negaresh_site/FullStory/?Id=31969

*Time for a nice colorful break from political matters. A friend,
Mazdak Khajehpour, recently sent me the address to the Iranian
Institute of Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences:
http://www.iasbs.ac.ir/ . I hope to be able to utilize this site for
information about science and technology in Iran. My first visit to
the site yielded visually delightful information. A collection of
slides of flowers that grow in Iran. If you are a plant biologist, I
am sure you will have your scientific curiosity. If not just enjoy.
There are about 70 slides with a 4 seconds transition time. Click here: Flowers of Iran. Enjoy!

Flowers of Iran

Flowers of Iran

*A majority world opinion shows skepticism about a “clash of
civilizations” leading to violent conflict between Islam and the West,
according to findings of a poll published Monday.   Pollsters
questioned about 28,000 people in 27 different countries, including
the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, India, Brazil,
Mexico and Australia; as well as four predominantly Muslim countries:
Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia; and two
countries with large Muslim populations: Lebanon and Nigeria.
http://rawstory.com/showarticle.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fapnews.myway.com%2Farticle%2F20070219%2FD8NCERSG0.html

*In an essay called “Iran: the Day After,” Phyllis Bennis looks at what
a horrendous situation we would be facing on the hypothetical day
after the U.S. makes such an erronous move:
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0419-23.htm

Art: Visual Delight

Seroge Barseghian Painting

Another painting by Iranian-American artist Seroge Barseghian (click on slide show below for more of his work).

Just have to stop talking politics and visit a few delighful art works
from Iran! I have prepared for you a slide show of the latest painting
exhibit of Seroge Barseghian, the contemporary Iranian Armenian
painter. His colorful celestial feasts are a good visual delight
before closing Window number 21 on Iran. Click here: Seroge Barseghian Paintings. Enjoy!

Have a 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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Tehran International Book Fair (image courtesy of www.tehran.ir)

Tehran International Book Fair (image courtesy of http://www.tehran.ir).

Dear All,

Greetings! I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving. Mine was extended by the snow storm that followed the holidays. Many people in Missouri suffered extensive power outage late last week. My family were to get it back on Sunday. There were close to 200,000 people still without power as of this morning. On a much more exciting note, last week at Washington University we hosted Orhan Pamuk the talented Turkish writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature this year. Later in the same week we hosted Shabana Azmi, the Indian actress/activist and her poet husband Javed Akhtar.

And now to Window number 14 on Iran. Please note that the current issues
are a few days older due to the delay in sending this window to you.

Current Issues:

* A concerned friend, sent me the T O D A Y ‘ S   N E W S

“Religious leaders in Iran have started a campaign to end all
university programs that educate men and women together, The
Guardian reported. The push follows the release of statistics
showing dramatic gains for women at Iranian universities, where
they now outnumber men in key programs. The Guardian quoted a
cleric as saying that universities were turning into “fashion
shows.” I called Iran, and had a long conversation with a trusted
university professor friend. There is no factual basis to the
above report.  From time to time, there are discussions in Iranian
papers about the disproportionately higher number of women in
Iranian universities (about 70% of the students). No official
comments have been made about an attempt to reduce the number of
women university students.

* Mostafa Tabatabainejad, an Iranian American student at UCLA, was
repeatedly stunned with a Taser by the campus police and then
taken into custody. He had been asked to leave the computer lab
after he failed to produce an ID during a check at around 11:30
p.m. Many terrified students videotaped the incident on their cell
phones. The videos show Tabatabainejad screaming in pain as he was
stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five
seconds. He was told repeatedly to stand up and stop fighting, and
that if he did not do so he would “get Tased again.” He is heard
screaming on the video “I’m not fighting you” and “I said I would
leave.” Carlos Zaragoza, a third year student of English who
witnessed the incident said Tabatabainejed was also stunned with
the Taser when already handcuffed. Zaragoza said. “(He was) no
possible danger to any of the police.” One troubling point is
that, according to eyewitnesses, Tabatabainejed was already
leaving when the police entered. The other that according to a
study published in the Lancet Medical Journal in 2001, a charge of
three to five seconds can result in immobilization for five to 15
minutes, which would mean that Tabatabainejad could have been
physically unable to stand when the officers demanded that he do so.

*According to Peter Eliasberg, managing attorney at the ACLU of
South California, “It is a real mistake to treat a Taser as some
benign thing that painlessly brings people under control.”
Eliasberg said: “The Taser can be incredibly violent and result in
death.”

Second Slide Show of Isfahan

* Time for nice, healing, beautiful images to look at! My good
friend Bahar Bastani has just sent out a gorgeous series of
pictures from the historical city of Yazd in central Iran. I will
turn them into a power point slide show and send them out in the
next window. Here is a sample:

Beautiful view of the city of Yazd at Sunset (courtesy of www.letsgoiran.com)

Beautiful view of the city of Yazd at Sunset (courtesy of http://www.letsgoiran.com)

* I do have another slide show for this window from the city of
Isfahan. This is my second slide show of Isfahan in these windows.
I have deliberately blended historical as well as modern scenery,
art work, etc. Click here: Isfahan slide show. Enjoy!

Iranian Annual Book Fair

* The Iranian Annual Book Fair is a major event that brings together
thousands of volumes published in various subjects. Thousands of
people travel to the capital to simply visit the book fair. This
year, the book fair attracted two million Iranians. My good friend
Behrooz Ghamari, who wrote a piece for Illinois International
Review after his recent trip to Iran, has a picture of the people
attending the book fair in June. While critiquing aspects of life
in present day Iran, Behrooz – a historian and sociologist who
takes special interest in Iranian current issues – presents an
overall positive and hopeful view of the country. Do take a look
http://www.ips.uiuc.edu:16080/io/iir.shtml. Click on fall 2006
issue, and go to page 2 and 3.

Another photo from the Tehran International Book Fair (image courtesy of www.flickr.com)

Another photo from the Tehran International Book Fair (image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com)

Iranian Cinema

Nikki Karimi, famous actress and director of A Few Days Later (image courtesy of www.ashreshteh.com)

Nikki Karimi, famous actress and director of "A Few Days Later" (image courtesy of http://www.ashreshteh.com)

* Iranian cinema continues to produce internationally acclaimed, often critical, films. A great feature of this cinema is the presence of women before or behind the camera. Nikki Karimi, the actress whose talent was, early in her career, overshadowed by her beauty  (http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1083.html) is now making it big as a director.  Last month, Karimi presented her second long feature film “A Few Days Later,” in the Italian film festival at Rome.  Karimi has acted in some the sharpest feminist statements by the prominent woman director, Tahmineh Milani. “A Few Days Later” tells the story of a young  woman who has to make serious decisions about her life.
Have a 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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Shahla Lahiji, who is the head of Roshangaran Publications and a promient activist, was given the 2006 International Publisher's Association Award. A celebration (pictured above) was held in her honor in the Pegah bookstore in Tehran (image courtesy of http://www.payvand.com).

Dear All,

Greeting! I hope you are enjoying a pleasant week. I cannot thank you
enough for all your sweet and supportive messages. The last painting
slide show was particularly popular. There is more to come! I hope you
enjoy them and find good use for them in the classroom.

I spent an intense time in the conference “Terrorism and the University”
held at CUNY which brought together a wonderful group of dedicated and
engaged scholars. It was both refreshing and frightening to hear from
authorities that the real WMDs are here in our very own nuclear arsenal.
It was also heartening to meet American scholars who teach these
subjects and take their students on yearly trips to Nagasaki and
Hiroshima to let them experience first hand whatever impact may still be
left. Most disturbing, and relevant to our discussion, was the
presentation by Daniel Ellsberg who, despite the recent election
results, estimates the possibility of an underground nuclear attack on
Iran over the next two years as very high. He put the initial estimated
causality of such a possible attack at 2,000,000 (yes, two million
people). The presentations of this panel were so chilling that at times
it felt like listening to fiction. But then he knew that we might be
afraid of taking his figures as real, so he spoke about other instances
such as the blanket firebombing of a large number of Japanese cities by
the American air force in the 1940s which only two people in the room
were well-informed about! I cannot express my gratitude to Mr. Ellsberg
for this eye opening panel.

Folks! I am not under any illusions that these e-mails can change the
American foreign policy – or public opinion for that matter, but if we
have a hope in the world it is in reaching every single person we can
reach. Americans need to know that Iranians are not crazy, they are not
anti-Semites, they are not a threat to the world. They need to know that
Iran can be talked to.

And now to happier and more hopeful issues in our Window number 13.

Current Issues

* On a very positive note, last week Mr. Robert Gates, the New
American Secretary of Defense visited Dr. Javad Zarif, Professor
of International Law and current Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister.
The two had lunch in Dr. Zarif’s house in New York. If this is an
indication of what is to come, may be the elections will impact
the American foreign policy on Iran in a meaningful way, after all.

* This is echoed in an article by Dr. Trita Parsi, President of NIAC, who predicts better days in the Iran/U.S. relations. Mr. Parsi observes: “It was Cheney and Rumsfeld who made sure that Washington dismissed Iran’s May 2003 offer to open up its nuclear program, rein in Hezbollah, recognize a two-state solution and cooperate against al Qaeda. Rumsfeld was also a driving force behind using the Mujahedin-e Khalq, an Iranian terrorist organization opposed to the ruling clerics, to weaken Tehran.” To read the whole essay, click on: http://www.niacouncil.org/pressreleases/press484.asp

* The latest BBC report on the subject, indicates that President
Bush and Mr. Blair find themselves in agreement with the NIAC
president. However, while inviting Iran to help with solving the
Iraq problem, Mr. Blair did his best to be as insulting as
possible warning the country ” with the consequences of not doing
so.”  Sounds like an effective diplomatic gesture:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6141978.stm

Successful Iranian Americans

Nooshen Hashemi
Nooshen Hashemi (image courtesy of http://www.forbes.com)

* Iranian Americans continue to move to the main stream of American society with great personal achievements in various areas. Noosheen Hashemi, holder of a masters degree in science from Stanford, is a private investor and advisor to companies and nonprofits. Her approach to decorating and collecting, blending Japanese, Persian, and American arts has become a sensation: http://www.forbes.com/2000/12/20/1220CandC.html

Social/ Cultural (Iran)

* Last week Shahla Lahiji, one of the first Iranian women publishers
and a noted activist was honored in Tehran. Ms. Lahiji, who has
head the Roshangaran Publications for over 30 years, recently won
the 2006 International Publisher’s Association Award for
publishing a remarkable number of books by and about women. Many
feminists attended the celebration held last Monday in her honor
in Pegah bookstore in Tehran. Scroll down to see images of the
celebration and of the bookstore:
http://www.payvand.com/news/06/nov/1106.html

* This one is a riot! No one will believe this is happening in Iran
right now. Two Iranian siblings have revolutionized the way drug
addicts and HIV/AIDS-infected people are treated in Iran. Doctors
Arash and Kamiar Alaei now have clinics in 67 Iranian cities and
57 prisons and are a World Health Organization model for the
Muslim world. The brothers were interviewed on September 28 in
Washington after their visit to the U.S. National Institute of
Health:
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticleprint/2006/10/7a8ceb97-4fb8-4b22-b87c-ad2d304720cb.html

Visual Delight

Baharak Omidfard (courtesy of elahe.net)

Baharak Omidfard (image courtesy of http://www.elahe.net)

* In the last Window I had a slide show of contemporary Iranian painters who work in the classic style. This week we have another splash of color, the works a young female artist with a taste for lively abstract expression: Baharak Omidfard (class of 2000, Tehran University, School of Graphic Arts) (click here): Baharak Omidfard Show.

* For our concluding visual delight, the latest interpretation of the constitutionally sanctioned Islamic outfit, just scroll down.

Have a great week.
===================================
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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