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A screen shot from the most popular Iranian soap opera, which,  Holocaust Zero Degree Turn.

A screen shot from the most popular Iranian soap opera, entitled "Zero Degree Turn," which centers on a love story between an Iranian-Palestinian Muslim man and a French Jewish woman. Please see below for more on this show.

Dear All,

I hope you are all well. Here in St. Louis we are enjoying the slight cooling down of September while Washington University is now in full motion with the fall semester. New students, some new colleagues, lots of activity…it is all wonderful. I am off for a short trip to London to convene a conference/celebration of the 800th birthday of the great medieval poet and mystic Jalal al-Din Rumi. You can read about the conference at http://www.iranheritage.org/rumiconference/programme.htm. The conference will bring together quite a few world scholars of Rumi.

Let us open window number 39 on Iran before I leave for London.

The Iranian TV Hit about the Holocaust

The Wall Street Journal (September 7) has a piece about a TV series it
describes as Iran’s Unlikely TV Hit and adds “the most surprising
thing about the wildly popular show is that it is a heart-wrenching
tale of European Jews during World War II.”  The truth is what is
surprising is not the Iranian series but the Wall Street coverage of
it. The presentation of Iranian society as being in denial of the
Holocaust is so bad that I was going to search bookstores on my next
trip to Iran to see what I can find on the subject. Last week, a
friend returning from Iran brought me four randomly picked magazines.
Two of them had clear (in one case extensive) articles in condemnation
of the Holocaust. Now, let’s get back to the TV series:
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The hour-long drama, “Zero Degree Turn,” centers on a love story
between an Iranian-Palestinian Muslim man and a French Jewish woman.
Over the course of the 22 episodes, the hero saves his love from Nazi
detention camps, and Iranian diplomats in France forge passports for
the woman and her family to sneak on to airplanes carrying Iranian
Jews to their homeland.

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Shot on location in Paris and Budapest, the show stars Iranian
heartthrob Shahab Husseini and is so popular that its theme song — an
ode to getting lost in love — is a hit, too.

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Despite its positive subject, theWSJ article about Iranian TV show, is
still plagued with a negative language. It calls the series “unlikely”
and “most surprising” and describes other Iranian TV series as a “fare
of scarf-clad women and gray-suited men.” As a person who tries to
follow Iranian popular media, I can tell you that these statements are
exaggerations at best. Nevertheless, in these days of demonizing Iran,
the Wall Street Journal must be commended for allowing a positive and
heart-warming piece of information to come to light about present day
Iran: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118912609718220156.html?mod=loomia&loomia_si=1 (also, click on the video below to see the first episode!).
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Jewish Wedding in Tehran

All right, I dedicate this window to the Jews of Iran with this short and beautiful slide show of the wedding of Sanaz and Payman, two young Iranian Jews who got married three weeks ago in a beautiful synagogue in Tehran. Please click here: Jewish Wedding in Tehran.

Jewish wedding in Tehran (click the link on the right for more pictures from their wedding).

Jewish wedding in a Tehran synagogue (click the link above for more pictures from Sanaz and Payman's wedding).

Iran Depicted as a Sewer

* On September 4, the Columbus Dispatch carried a cartoon that depicted the entire map of Iran as a sewer with cockroaches running out of it and infesting  neighboring countries (see the cartoon I only reluctantly insert below): http://www.payvand.com/news/07/sep/Racist-Iran-cartoon-Columbus-Dispatch.jpg.  I wrote to the editor, asked if he realized the implications of turning 70 million people into cockroaches, and indicated that I was amazed – indeed speechless – that this kind of Nazi style dehumanization propaganda could be carried out by a respectable paper. The editor wrote back – referred to Mr. Ahmadinejads anti-Semitism – and suggested that the intention was only to caricature the extremists! Since he sounded very nice, I mailed him the beautiful wedding pictures of the newly wed Jewish couple Sanaz and Payman in case the paper would like to show Americans a dimension of Iran that most Americans do not see. I have not heard back yet.

Racist and dehumanizing Columbus dispatch cartoon depicting Irans as cockroaches.

Racist and dehumanizing Columbus dispatch cartoon depicting Iranians as cockroaches.

* National Iranian American Council (NIAC) protested the Columbus
Dispatch editorial page cartoon. Board member Dokhi Fassihian wrote to
the Columbus Dispatch editor: http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=880&Itemid=2

* The protest did not come only from the Iranian Americans. Many other
Americans have been horrified by the dehumanizing message of the
cartoon. Teach Peace did a special information sheet on it which you
can easily forward to others to prevent this kind of preparing the
public for a new war. (Thank you David Dionisi for sharing this):
http://www.teachpeace.com/WarPropaganda.pdf

US Sees Potential Merit To Iran Cooperation Plan

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/iran_nuclear_usa_dc;_ylt=AnkDEkaB3_.W2O0BsNtPT1FSw60A
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Visual Delight

Mahtab Abdullahi (or, Mahtab Abdollahi).

Mahtab Abdullahi (or, Mahtab Abdollahi).

Now, to replace dry political discussion with a bit of fun and introduce a healing note, I would like to invite you to meet a very young Iranian painter: Mahtab Abdullahi who seems to enjoy playing with orange and blue in particular. Please click here: Mahtab Abdullahi Painting Show.

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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A fascinating watercolor painting by Hannibal Alkhas (see the link at the end of this 'Window' for more of his works).

A fascinating watercolor painting by Hannibal Alkhas (see the link at the end of this

Dear All,

Greetings after a long absence. I have been very busy preparing for the academic year and participating in St. Louis community events. In the second week of August, I spoke at CAJE (Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education) which held its annual meeting in St. Louis and on the campus of Washington University. It was a lively and well prepared event. My presentation in this conference was an important experience for me. I am looking forward to staying connected with educators in the American Jewish community to share information and work for better communication and understanding between our respective communities.

I also was very much involved in the three day annual convention of VFP (Veterans For Peace) held here in St. Louis last week. Together with my friend Alice Bloch, I gave two workshops. I also had a keynote address about Iran. Alice and I both felt very pleased and honored to have been a part of the VFP convention.

If you have written to me recently, please note that – emerging from these events and also preparing for the academic year – I will need a just a little more time to write back.

And now to our window number 36 on Iran:

A woman with velvet voice

Popular Iranian singer Elaheh, the woman with a velvet voice.

Popular Iranian singer Elaheh, the "woman with a velvet voice."

On August 17, the popular Iranian singer Elaheh passed away. As a pre-revolution Iranian woman singer, Elaheh’s songs have not been played on national Iranian radio and television. Nevertheless, Elaheh remains a very familiar and popular voice particularly for Iranians of my generation. She was known as “the woman with a velvet voice”. Here, I would like to share with you one her hits Rosvai Zamaneh Manam. Click to Listen.

Iranian Unit to Be Labeled ‘Terrorist’

U.S. Moving Against Revolutionary Guard.  The United States is
considering to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the
country’s 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a “specially
designated global terrorist,” according to U.S. officials, a move that
allows Washington to target the group’s business operations and
finances. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401662.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Resolution Opposing Military Action Against Iran

The Democratic Party of the most populous state in the nation has
passed a strong resolution calling on US Congress to “oppose
unprovoked military action against Iran” and to “support direct talks
between the Untied States and Iran without preconditions.” This is
wonderful news! Read for yourself  the full text of the resolution
that was authored by the Bay Area Iranian American Democrats (BAIAD):
http://www.baiad.org/

Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran speak of Collaboration

A week after President Karzi embarrassed the current U.S.
administration by calling Iran a support and solution rather than a
problem, President Ahmadinejad visited Afghanistan and the two leaders
spoke of collaboration to improve the Afghan economy and help the
country out of its current crisis. The trip is intended to put the
seal on a range of Iranian-led reconstruction projects as well as
consolidate areas of cooperation such as combating drug traffickers.
Iranian aid – worth £125m – has been provided for three projects: a
water research center, a dental college and equipping Kabul’s medical
university. While local papers highlighted these projects, the western
media defined the trip in terms of another confrontation between Iran
and the U.S.  Guardian titled its report:

US feels heat as Iranian leader visits Afghanistan
http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,2148964,00.html

About a week earlier, President Bush had to warn Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki of Iraq after seeing pictures of cordial meetings between
Maliki and top Iranian leaders in Tehran hoping that – despite the
pictures –  the prime minister was delivering a tough message. “If the
signal is that Iran is constructive, I will have to have a
heart-to-heart with my friend, the prime minister,” said President
Bush. Here is the full article:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070810/ts_afp/usiraniraqbush_070810091315
I am not a Mid-East politics expert to give you full commentary on
these recent moves. However, as the U.S. led war is viewed more and
more as weakening the region, and the U.S. money arms the hard-liner
Sunni groups, looking eastward for cooperation and support seems to
have been an outcome. In the meantime, China and Russia are looming
larger on the horizon with ideas for regional cooperation (economic
and otherwise). These may explain, at least in part, the Iraqi and
Afghan leaders confidence in acknowledging the positive role of Iran
in the region.

Visual Delight

A painting by Hannibal Alkhas (click the link on the left for more of his terrific work).

Another painting by Hannibal Alkhas (click the link on the left for more of his terrific work).

I would like to revive our old tradition of closing these windows with a painting exhibit. This one is a very recent show of the watercolor works of Hannibal Alkhas (b. 1930). An Iranian Assyrian artist of great stature in the Iranian art community, Alkhas has worked with many different media and styles of painting. He has also worked with wood. I’ll leave the show to speak for itself. Since it is the only visual attachment, I hope it won’t be too large for your computers. Click here: Hannibal Alkhas Painting Show.

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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Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami meeting with Hakham Yousef Hamadani Cohen, the chief Rabbi of Iran, in Yousefabad Synagogue on Feb.8, 2003.

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami meeting with Rabbi Hakham Yousef Hamadani Cohen, the chief Rabbi of Iran, in Yousefabad Synagogue on Feb.8, 2003.

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all very well. I have good news — which is becoming a tradition. A brave soul has offered to archive all the windows on Iran on line. This is fantastic. I won’t mention his name yet as he is currently looking into the situation. Only a week ago, a friend asked if I would consider doing this and I said it is just impossible. Well, not so anymore. We might soon have these windows blogged and made available on the internet. The windows are already posted on the online magazine, the American Muslim, courtesy of my friend Sheila Musaji. But this one will be an independent site. I will, of course, make the address available if and when this happens.

Tomorrow, I am off to a very interesting conference in New York called
“Terrorism and the University.” I got invited because the organizers saw
a piece I wrote for the Bulletin of the American Association of
University Professors, Academe (Jan-Feb, 2006). This is a relatively
short essay called: “Making the Silence Visible.” Since its topic is
very relevant to the significance of access to information related to
the Middle East, and the sensitivity of teaching the subject, I provide
the link here, in case you are interested in reading it:
http://www.aaup.org/publications/Academe/2006/06jf/06jfkesh.htm

Now, window number 12 on Iran!

Current Issues:

* A nasty rumor has begun to circulate again: the Iranian government
is planning to force the Iranian Jews to wear a uniform. This is
part of an attempt to compare Iran to Nazi Germany and is totally
unfounded. The Canadian National Post reported it on May 19.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Israeli Internal Security
Minister Avi Dichter, and the American Democratic Senator Chuck
Schumer all issued strong statements of condemnation, based on
Post’s report comparing Iran to Nazi Germany. On May 21, an
offended Maurice Motamed, the Jewish representative in the Iranian
Parliament, said to Financial Times “We representatives for
religious minorities are active in the parliament, and there has
never been any mention of such a thing!” Again, there is no way to
know how many Americans found out that the rumor was unfounded. I
sent information, in previous windows, on the Iranian Jewish
community, their synagogues in Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan, and
other cities (Tehran alone has over twenty synagogues).

* As you can imagine, last night I was totally glued to the TV for
the emerging results of the mid term elections. I guess you were
too. If you like to read about the possible impact of the life
changing mid-term elections on US-Iran relations click on the link
below. The article came out a few days prior to the election but
it is still relevant.
http://www.niacouncil.org/pressreleases/press480.asp

*Last week, Iranian ex-President Mohammad Khatami visited Great
Britain and was given an honorary doctorate at St. Andrews. In
relation to the recent  veil related controversy in England,
Khatami had an interesting message for British Muslims: obey
British law! He validated Britain’s fear of extremism in an
interview with the BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6108600.stm

Iranian British CEO Lady

* While we are on the subject of Britain, I would like to introduce
you to a grand Iranian British lady: Shirian Dehghan, CEO of UK
telecommunications firm Arieso. Shirin Dehghan took top honors at
the Blackberry Women & Technology Award in London. Dehghan who
runs Arieso, a Newbury UK Company that helps mobile operators
around the world keep their networks running optimally and their
customers connected, was named outstanding woman in technology,
2006. http://www.payvand.com/news/06/nov/1084.html

Visual Delight

* In my last Window I presented a modest homemade slide show on a
handful of contemporary Iranian painters. Well, I am now going to
give you a much more extensive and skillfully constructed slide
show of paintings by Iranian artists – including Iman Maleki –
complete with music in the background. For this wonderful visual
treat, you have to thank my wonderful high school friend Zari
Taheri.  http://www.persianfineart.com/home.asp?domain

* Just so we are not all focused on contemporary issues this time,
let me leave you with another very interesting piece. A home
preview of a documentary called “In search of Sirus the Great” (Cyrus the Great). If you don’t mind the slightly over dramatizing soft voice of the narrator, particularly at the beginning, the documentary is in
fact full of very interesting details and more rooted in
scholarship than it appears at first. In case you want to use it
in the classroom, it is about 12 minutes. And, before I forget,
this one too comes to you courtesy of my loving friend Zari Taheri
(Zari currently teaches Persian in Japan.) Here is the link:
http://www.spentaproductions.com/cyruspreview.htm

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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