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Archive for the ‘new orientalism’ Category

This is one of the many very interesting photos from Hoda Alavi's new photography exhibit entitled "Painting with Light." Please click on the link to the left for many more photos from her recent exhibit.

This is only one of the many very interesting photos from Hoda Alavi's new photography exhibit, entitled "Painting with Light." Please click on the link to the left for many more photos from her recent exhibit.

Dear All!

Greetings! I am back to wish you all a wonderful 2008 — and to open another window on Iran.

I hope you have had a peaceful holiday. In the spirit of celebration, let’s open this window with festive images of light and color. The young Iranian photographer Hoda Alavi uses urban landscape as her canvas and paints with light. Let’s visit her latest photo exhibit. Click on here to view it: Hoda Alavi Photography Exhibit.

Article on Iranian Women

* While on the subject of women, I have a very interesting article for you from the Guardian (Jan. 9) courtesy of Amir Companieh. The essay encourages readers to forget about stereotypes and look instead at the reality of women’s vibrant and organized activism in Iran: http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2237579,00.html.

Thousands of women and men gathered at Tehran University to demand equality in the Justice system. Despite what the mainstream media in the U.S. and Europe will often tell you, there is a strong womens movement in Iran. To see more photos from this protest please click on the picture. (Image courtesy of www.kosof.com).

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani (with the bullhorn) leads thousands of women and men gathered at Tehran University to demand equality in the Justice system. Despite what the mainstream media in the U.S. and Europe will often tell you, there is currently a strong (and growing!) women's movement in Iran. To see more photos from this protest and others please click on the picture above (image courtesy of http://www.kosof.com).

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* Still on the subject of women, take a look at images of Iranian women chess players competing for the national championship. Chess is an extremely popular hobby in Iran: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article1036.

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Recommended Reading

* Over the holidays, I read an excellent book which I recommend to anyone interested in better understanding the complexities of the strategic games played by various regional and outside forces in relation to Iran and its neighboring countries. Authored by Trita Parsi and published by Yale University Press, the book is called Treacherous Alliance: the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States.

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The Persian Gulf Incident

* Trita’s book is, in fact, a great tool for helping us understand that many a piece of shocking news about the region has to be placed in its full strategic context to be understood better. A perfect example of that is the recent news of the “aggressive maneuvers” by Iranian boats near American warships in the Persian Gulf. The incident, which many of you have been asking about, seemed totally baffling. Why would Iran provoke the massive American military machine sitting on three of its borders? According to an article sent to me by Daniel Pourkesali, “The list of those who are less than fully confident in Pentagon’s video/audio mash up of aggressive maneuvers by Iranian boats near American warships in the Strait of Hormuz now includes the Pentagon itself.” You can read the full article at this link: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/degrees-of-confidence-on-us-iran-naval-incident/?hp

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* Daniel also distributed a video supplied by the Iranian Navy which suggests that the incident was a simple and routine exchange in the Gulf: http://www.politube.org/show/341 [or click on the video below to view it].

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* Today’s Washington Post, contains an article that supports Dr. Pourkesali’s view suggesting “Iranian Boats May Not Have Made Radio Threat, Pentagon Says,” *check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/10/AR2008011000692.html?sub=AR&sid=ST2008011001831.

* Matt Miller, watching the world from Cairo where he is studying Arabic this semester, has sent another related piece by the historian and national security policy analyst, Gareth Porter who further supports the view that the initial report on the Iranian “aggressive” behavior has been unfounded. Thanks Matt! http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011108J.shtml

There we are! More misinformation about Iran…and really scary misinformation at that!

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Iran Opens a Peace Museum

The new Tehran Peace Museum in Tehran City Park.

The new Tehran Peace Museum in Tehran City Park.

* Iran will open a peace museum to promote sentiments for peace in a culture that still remembers the pain of an 8-year war that started with Saddam’s aggression and led to his use of chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and Iranians. The museum which will soon open in Tehran City Park has the sculpture of a white dove at its entrance. While attributing imaginary violence to the culture is common, Christian Science Monitor’s exceptional attention to this museum is commendable. Not surprisingly, the tone of the article suggests that the museum is something of an aberration in a culture that “glorifies martyrdom.” It would be fantastic if the author of the article Scott Peterson would have the opportunity to take a trip to Iran. You can read the article on the Peace Museum in Iran at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1224/p01s03-wome.html?page=1.

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A Concert of Sufi Music in Tehran

* Iranians love live music. When master musicians perform, it is common to line up outside the concert hall from the night before the box office opens to make sure you can obtain tickets. I would like to close this window with a ten minute clip from a Sufi music performance at Vahdat Hall, a major concert hall in Tehran. The concert was sent to me by a dear friend, Nakhostin Javidani: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17wue10S0l0&feature=related [or click the video below to view it].

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Until 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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Some of the many different faces of Iranians/Iranian Americans. These particular faces are some Iranian American children from a summer camp that is dicussed in an article below (please scroll down to see many more faces of Iran!). (Image courtesy of www.iranalliances.org).

Some of the many different "faces" of Iranians/Iranian Americans. These particular "faces" are some young Iranian American children from a summer camp that is discussed in an article below (please scroll down to see many more 'faces of Iran'!). (Image courtesy of http://www.iranalliances.org).

Dear All,

Greetings from the beautiful Turkish island of Buyuk Ada on the sea of Marmara where there are no cars and plenty of lively seagulls. The summer had been so busy that when I got to the island, I gave everything a break including the Windows. But I just can’t resist sending you at least one message from this very peaceful and lovely place where the last thing you would like to do is following the news.  I must confess that it is refreshing not to have Iran in the headlines.

This will be a shorter window and I owe much of its content to Behrooz, Matt, Bahar, and Joy. Please forgive me if you have written and I have not responded yet, or if I am not acknowledging your contribution properly.

While I was here watching seagulls and a little piece that I wrote earlier called “Banishing the Ghosts of Iran,” appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I hope this link gets you to it if you like to read the piece:
http://chronicle.com/weekly/v53/i45/45b00601.htm

And now to the Window 34:

Let’s hope more of this happens:

I want to start with the delightful story of the Israeli who made an accidental visit to Iran. One can only hope that more of this happens:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2003696866_webisraeliran07.html

Iranian Jews Speak Up:

Maurice Motamed (or, Morris Motamed), who is the only Jewish MP in the Iranian Parliment, called the offers of large cash rewards for Jewish immigration from Iran to Israel insulting. The Jewish community in Iran is the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel and dates back to at least 700BCE.

Maurice Motamed (or, Morris Motamed), who is the only Jewish MP in the Iranian Parliment, called the offers of large cash rewards for Jewish immigration from Iran to Israel "insulting." The Jewish community in Iran is the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel and dates back to at least 700BCE.

Iranian Jews say their Iranian identity is not for sale:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2125486,00.html

Current Issues:

An interesting piece for those who read about the Iranian government acting paranoid in relation the “regime change” issue: New Iran Regime Change Think Tank Opens in DC
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070607S.shtml
Another very interesting analytical essay about Iran:
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/07/next_we_take_tehran.html?src=email&hed_20070716_ts1_nextwetaketehran

Iranian Women

As the news of the recent intensification of restrictions on women’s clothing – and demonstrations – get out of Iran, it is important to keep in mind that – despite these problems – Iranian women continue to maintain a lively presence in all spheres of life:

110 Iranian women bikers from 22 teams compete for national titles in Iran. I won’t make a slide show of this because it makes it harder on your computers. Just scroll down for pictures of the competitions (even if you can’t read the Persian captions):
http://www.baztab.ir/news/70794.php

Iranian women musicians were honored last week. Again, please scroll down for images. This time the article is in English:
http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jul/1066.html

Iranian womens group Saman-Buyan (director Elham Kazemi) performing at the Vahdat Hall in Tehran during the two day Womens Music Festival The Sound of Kindness in July 2007.

Iranian women's group Saman-Buyan (director Elham Kazemi) performing at the Vahdat Hall in Tehran during the two day Women's Music Festival "The Sound of Kindness" in July 2007.

Iranian Americans Get Together:

Young Iranian Americans got together in a summer camp for “fellowship,” “sharing” and learning about the Persian concept of ta’arof. Thank you Joy for sharing this fun piece about Iranians:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/06/AR2007070601974.html

A photo from the Around the Campfire summer camp for young Iranian Americans.

A photo from the "Around the Campfire" summer camp for young Iranian Americans (image courtesy of The Washington Post).

Faces of Iran

And a clip with literally hundreds of faces from Iran. It is under ten minutes and well worth seeing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjtGr1Qqhng

Hope to be sending you new Windows from St. Louis soon.

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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The Iranian womens rowing team, who recently placed third international in a competition in Bulgaria--from left to right are team members Sahra Zlqadr, Saba Shaiesteh, Minoo Zargari, and Mina Amini (see below for many more pictures of Iranian women sports players).

The Iranian women's rowing team, who recently placed third internationally in a competition in Bulgaria--from left to right are team members Sahra Zlqadr, Saba Shaiesteh, Minoo Zargari, and Mina Amini (see below for many more pictures from the women's sports scene in Iran).

Dear All,

I hope your summer is going well. I am preparing for a presentation and reading in DC next weekend and then a few weeks of rest in Istanbul, Turkey in the month of July. So,  I predict the month of July would be somewhat quieter. That is to say, you will – most probably – receive fewer windows.  Before the July slow down, however, I have news for you.

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My Recent Book On “St. Louis on the Air”

Reading More than Lolita in Tehran by Fatemeh Keshavarz

"Jasmine and Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran" by Fatemeh Keshavarz. "Jasmine and Stars" is a cogent critique of Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and the larger New Orientalist Narrative that her book represents.

I don’t usually promote my own work in these windows. However, something special is coming up. Tomorrow morning at 11:00, Don March the host of “St. Louis on the Air” FM 90.7, NPR will be talking to me about my latest book Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran. Here is the link to an on line description of the book if you are interested. Do listen to the show tomorrow, if you can. I will be talking about the book and many other Iran related issues, I am sure, as the callers call in:  http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jun/1221.html

NY Times Does it Again!

It looks like we need a permanent section in these windows to correct and clarify the NY Times  reporting on Iran. Take a look at the letter that my friend Professor Ghamari (Univ. of Illinois) wrote to the editor, about an article in today’s NY Times called “Iran Cracks Down on Dissent”:

“Dear Editor:
The photograph used in the story about “Iran Cracks Down on Dissent,” in the Sunday June 24 edition is misleading.  While disturbing on its own right, the picture has nothing to do with the crack down on dissent. This episode happened in late May as part of Tehran’s Police Department anti-corruption project to secure the safety of “rough neighborhoods” in the southern part of the city.  Those who were paraded in public, as shown in the picture, had nothing to do with “western style clothing or haircuts,” as Neil MacFarquhar asserted. They were thugs and drug dealers who had terrorized these neighborhoods.  After the publication of these pictures, the Tehran Police Chief acknowledged that the methods used in these operations were unjustified.  While residents of those neighborhoods supported the crack down on gang members, they were also scandalized by the disgusting public humiliation of these thugs perpetrated by the police. I would appreciate it if you publish the correction.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/24/world/middleeast/24iran.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Visual Delight

A beautiful shot of the sunrise in Northern Iran (see the link below for many more pictures).

A beautiful shot of a sunrise in Northern Iran (see the link below for many more pictures).

It is often assumed that Iran consists, mostly, of hot and arid
deserts. While central Iran does have desert areas, the north is lush
and green with forests, rice fields, and tea plantations. I made a
slide show  for you of photos of northern Iran circulated by my friend
Bahar Bastani. Click here: Northern Iran. Enjoy.

Current Issues:

The U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan rejected the charge
that Iran is getting arms to the Taliban fighters for the second time
in less than two weeks.
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/21/2019/

Iranian Women in Sports

Iranian woman golfer (see below for many more pictures and and stories about the womens sports scene in Iran).

Iranian woman golfer (see below for many more pictures and and stories about the women's sports scene in Iran).

If you read Persian you can check out the online Iranian Women’s Sport
magazine Shirzanan. If you don’t, just look at the latest photos of
the Iranian women athletes. Iranian women skaters constitute 60% of
all the skaters in the country:
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article213

Kickboxing and Kung Fu are among  popular sports among Iranian women
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article208.

Mahdiyeh Montazeran won the first international gold medal for the Iranian women in fencing:
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article216.

And, finally, Iranian women won third place in the rowing competitions in Bulgaria: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article218.

Until the 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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The cropped (Left) and real (Right) picture from the front cover of Azar Nafisis Reading Lolita in Tehran.

The cropped (Left) and real (Right) picture from the front cover of Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran" (see below for further explanation).

Dear Friends, Greetings,

First:
We have grown too large for a group email list! This is wonderful news
but has a practical implication: I must turn the “Window on Iran” into a
listserv. My colleagues at the university computing services will kindly
assist me in doing so. I am happy with the change because in a listserv
your names and addresses will be safer from possible spam users and you
can unsubscribe at will. I will soon send you the initial message of the
listserv. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE THAT MESSAGE NEXT WEEK, PLEASE E-MAIL ME
TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR ADDRESS HAS NOT BEEN DELETED IN THE TRANSITION.

Second:
Apparently, my link to Professor Inhorn’s excellent article on Iran in
which she observes:  “The Iran I encountered is far from the medieval
theocracy often portrayed in American media” did not work. If you did
not get my “correction” message, here is the link again:
http://www.sph.umich.edu/news_events/pdf/inhorn%20iran.pdf

And now to this week’s Window on Iran:

Current issues

* Iranian chief nuclear negotiator’s statement that Iran reserves
the right to continue its nuclear program “only under UN
inspection” was presented in American and British papers as
“Iran’s defiance of the UN resolution.”
* 15 day visas of about 40 American educated Iranian scientists
arriving in the U.S. last week to participate in a university
reunion in Northern California were revoked last minute without
explanation. Some were held overnight in what one described to a
friend in a brief phone call as “jail conditions” before being
sent  back to Iran.

Science

* Iranian scientists in a Tehran fertility clinic cloned a sheep
successfully. Although the sheep died soon after birth, this first
cloning in the Middle East was hailed by the world media as a
great breakthrough. Iranian scientists described with excitement
the history of their cloning experiments on mice and cow:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1874227.cms It may
come as a surprise to you that Iran’s cloning program, like its
work on embryonic stem cell research, has the blessing of the
country’s religious authorities.

Social/Cultural

* This week I would like to introduce you to one of the most
prominent poets of twentieth-century Iran: Simin Behbahani. Known
as the “Lioness of Iran,” Behbahani has remained an ardent
defender of human rights, free speech, and women’s rights. She
spoke against war and violence even as the Iran-Iraq war raged in
the 1980s. Currently President of The Iranian Writers’
Association, Behbahani has published 12 collections of poems and
has stayed in the public eye before, during, and after the 1979
revolution defying all forms of totalitarianism. Behbahani was
nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1997. For a short
biography of Simin Behbahni, please click on the first link below.
And go to the second link to view the “Lioness” in action, and her
pronounced fashion statements!
o http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/sbehbahani/simin_behbahani.php
o http://www.payvand.com/news/05/aug/1105.html

* Most of you have read, or heard of, the book that vilified
most Iranian men and victimized the majority of Iranian women, the
bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran. The cover of the book depicts
two young Iranian girls with downcast eyes hinting at the
unlikelihood of an active intellectual life. The picture, above
this post, is actually of two girls active in the
Iranian general elections (notice Khatami’s poster in the
background) reading a newspaper.

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

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