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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Windows on Iran 47

Happy Nouruz Everyone!!! Persian families throughout the world right now are celebrating Nouruz (Nowrouz), the Persian New Year. Above is an example of the a "hafsin," which is a special table prepared for Nouruz (please see the link below for much more information about Nouruz).

Happy Nouruz Everyone!!! Persian families throughout the world right now are celebrating Nouruz (Nowrouz), the Persian New Year. Above is an example of a "haftsin," which is a special table prepared for the Nouruz celebration.

Dear All,

Greetings and a very Happy Spring to you! We are in the first week of Nouruz, the Persian New Year. How can I not come out of sabbatical to open a new window, even the ground hog is out. I’ll make this a pictorial essay as far as possible (Usually I attach one slide show only. Hope it wouldn’t be too hard on your computers).

Nouruz (Nowrouz)

* Persian speakers call the Near Year Nouruz (literally A New Day) to highlight the refreshing and life-giving nature of the season. Linked below is a power point show on how Nouruz is celebrated in Iran and other Persian speaking parts of the world. If you are a teacher, I hope it will help in the classroom. Please click here: The Nouruz (Nowrouz) Celebration.

Love

* Let me start with my favorite picture of the year taken by an Iranian youth last year (below). The picture won a photography contest in Japan. The young photographer called it “love.”

A young Iranian photographer took this award-winning and heart-warming photo, entitled "Love."

A young Iranian photographer took this award-winning and heart-warming photo, entitled "Love."

Recommended Reference Source

* If you like to look up information about Iran or Persian traditions, one of the best reference sources available in major libraries is Encyclopedia Iranica edited by a prominent Iranian scholar Ehsan Yarshater. To read about him and the encyclopedia visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehsan_Yarshater.

Distinguished Iranian scholar Ehsan Yarshater with Iranian Nobel Peace Laurette Shirin Ebadi and the prominent Iranian author and womens rights activist Mehrangiz Kar.

Distinguished Iranian scholar Ehsan Yarshater with Iranian Nobel Peace Laurette Shirin Ebadi (left) and the prominent Iranian author and women's rights activist Mehrangiz Kar (right).

Things are Looking Scary Again

* I had thought to leave any discussion of political conflict out of this particular window. After the NIE Report released in December, which demonstrated the Intelligence community’s confidence about lack of nuclear weapons in Iran, the chances of an American military confrontation with Iran seemed very slim. In recent weeks, particularly since the resignation of Admiral Fallon from the Central Command, rumors of a possible confrontation have been revived. A number of developments contribute to these rumors:

1. Vice President Cheney’s extended tour of the Middle East: here is an interesting essay by Micheal Klare, professor of peace and correspondent for The Nation: http://www.agenceglobal.com/article.asp?id=1515.

2. According to Japan Focus, an Asia Pacific Electronic Journal,  a unit within the US Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), issued a March 20th advisory to the world’s financial institutions about transactions with Iran. Apparently, this is an important economic move to further isolate Iran: http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2707.

3. So far President Bush had described Iran as a threat to its immediate neighbors. This seems rather unusual since four of Iran’s neighbors have substantial   U.S. military bases on their soil and two of them or are invaded by the U.S. It now appears that the French President Sarkozy has joined the heads of states who feel threatened by Iran. Speaking Friday in the northern French port of Cherbourg, President Sarkozy described Iran as a threat to Europe. In light of the fact that the U.S. army is sitting on three sides of Iran, not to mention the U.S. full presence in the Persian Gulf, most observers will find this claim exaggerated at best. However, the substance of this claim is less important than the hostile tone that the French president has adopted.

4. Finally, the most troubling recent development of all is the report by Egyptian sources that an American nuclear submarine has crossed the Suez Canal to join the US fleet stationed in the Persian Gulf: http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/4439.

Could all of these be coincidences? One would disparately hope so…and no one can be sure. But – if you are among the people who feel you must work to prevent another disastrous war- this is the time.

A beautiful painting by the very talented Iranian painter Sepideh Farzam (please click the link to the right for more of her outstanding paintings).

A beautiful painting by the very talented Iranian painter Sepideh Farzam (please click the link below for more of her outstanding work).

Visual Delight

* If you are a regular reader of “Windows on Iran,” you know that we have a tradition of following unpleasant political events with art work from Iran. So, traditionally I close each window with a power point slide show of a recent painting exhibit in Iran. I hope it washes off the bitter taste of political conflict but also demonstrates the creativity and vibrancy of the current Persian culture. For this reason, I pick most of the paintings from the works of young artists and mostly women.

* Today’s artist is Sepideh Farzam, she was born in the city of Tabriz in north east of Iran.  Unlike most artists featured in these windows, she is not a graduate of and an art program. Sepideh, is an electric engineer by profession, an engineer who has followed her interest in painting quite seriously. She has had many group exhibits in various galleries in Iran. To See Ms. Farzam’s latest show, please click here: Sepideh Farzam Paintings. It is a fairly small exhibit. Enjoy.

Let us hope that the joy of this Nouruz will not be tarnished with the news of another war. Till our next window, have a great spring.

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 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:
|
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.

|
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.

|
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!).
|

|

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
|

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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"Azadi" (Freedom Monument) in Tehran, Iran. Please scroll down to see many more pictures from Iran that you will not see the U.S. mainstream media. Also, be sure to click on the videos too!

"Azadi" (Freedom Monument) in Tehran, Iran. Please scroll down to see many more pictures from Iran that you will not see the U.S. mainstream media. Also, be sure to click on the videos too!

Dear Friends,

I missed the opportunity last weekend for sending out Window number 22. I was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (thanks to Carolina Center for Middle Eastern Studies) making a presentation, a book reading, and a joint reading and dance in which I shared the stage with my wonderful dancer and choreographer friend Dr. Alice Bloch (my share was reading only!).

THANK YOU all for your wonderful words of encouragement about my NPR interview/discussion of Rumi with Krista Tippett on “Speaking of Faith.” I had to stop responding to individual messages which continue to come in as the program gets aired in various parts of the country. I do appreciate your words of support, and your use of the program in your respective courses, presentations, etc. If you didn’t get to listen to the program, it is at: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/rumi/ . In the archive there is a also a video clip of my reading Rumi to music with my delighful musician friends the Lian Ensemble. Enjoy!

Visual Delight

*The windows on Iran get your most praise for the visual information
that I send out. Many of you use them in class. The first attachment
to this Window is another slide show with Iranian natural scenery as
well as urban landscape. It is relatively short (just over 30 slides
with 5 second transition time). Click here: Iran Old and New .

The countryside of Iran--flowing green hills and snow-capped mountains.

The countryside of Iran--flowing green hills and snow-capped mountains.

*While we are on the subject of visual information on Iran, I’d like to
share with you a wonderful new video clip from Iran thanks to my
cousin Abe Massoudi and a dear friend Bahar Hashemi who both sent it
to me this week: http://www.iranian.com/Clips/2007/February/iran.html

Current Issues

*A VERY IMPORTANT piece of information that did not get much publicity
in the main stream U.S. media. As you know, Iran has recently been
accused of making the IEDs that are responsible for much of the
American causalities in Iraq. As it turns out, these IEDs are actually
made in Iraq:  http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002629.php

*Here is the latest anti-war clip going around with great images from
Iran: http://www.lucasgray.com/video/peacetrain.html

*The current threat of an American military assault on Iran has
politicized the Iranian American community to a degree that would
probably not have happened for years to come. I have already told you
about NIAC (The National Iranian American Council) and CASMII
(Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran). Here
is an article by Dokhi Fassihian on how Iranians can get involved in
stopping the military threat, courtesy of Amir Amini:
http://www.payvand.com/news/07/mar/1059.html

*Speaking of CASMII, the founder Nader Sadeqi has forwarded a very
interesting article “Building Confidence, or Building Confidence for
Regime Change?” http://www.payvand.com/news/07/mar/1027.html

*A common excuse for military action against Muslim countries is saving
Muslim women from oppression. Senator Clinton has recently suggested a
rescue mission to help Iranian and Syrian women. My friend Zari
Taheri, Professor of Persian in Japan, has sent a new piece about
Women in post-revolutionary Iran by the outspoken Pakistani poet and
activist Fatima Bhutto. It is a criticism of the view that Iranian
women are voiceless victims in need of rescue. As you read the piece,
please remember that it is not a testimony to the gender sensitivity
of the Islamic Republic but to the strength and resilience of the
Iranian feminist movement which continue to thrive … and would
object to “liberation” through outside military intervention:
http://www.payvand.com/news/07/mar/1091.html

Some Iranian women in a cafe in Tehran who likely are not very happy with the Islamic Republic of Irans positions on womens issues, but neither are they looking for liberation from an American Army.

Some young Iranian women in a cafe in Tehran, who likely are not very happy with the Iranian government's positions on women's issues, but NEITHER are they looking for "liberation" from the American Army. Contrary to what the mainstream U.S. media would have you believe, there is actually a strong feminist movement in Iran currently (image courtesy of http://www.blogs.guardian.co.uk).

Meet Two Great Contemporary Iranian Painters

A beautiful painting of a woman by Nami Petgar (click on the slide show for more of his paintings and be sure to view some of Masoud Dashtban's paintings as well).

A beautiful painting of a woman by Nami Petgar (click on the slide show for more of Petgar and Dashtban's paintings).

*It has become a tradition to close these windows after viewing a show by a contemporary Iranian painter. To counter misconceptions about women, I usually  feature young Iranian women painters. This time, I want to introduce you to two very well established contemporary male Iranian painters Nami Petgar and Masoud Dashtban. Petgar and Dashtban are very different in their vision, choice of  themes, and style of artistic expression. They both have regular painting shows in various cities in Iran, teach and have earned the title of the artist of the year. Click here for Dashtban Painting and here for Petgar Painting. There are about twenty paintings by each artist. Enjoy!

Wish you all a very nice week…until the next Window on Iran.

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

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Windows on Iran 16

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

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

Dear All,

Greetings! And Happy New Year!

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

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

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

Visual Delight:

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

Tabatabai House in Kashan, Iran.

Tabatabai House in Kashan, Iran.

Current Issues:

Iranian mid-term elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iranian Diplomats Arrested in Iraq:

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

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

Iranian Women conducting a 1,000,000 signature Campaign

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

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

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

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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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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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