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Posts Tagged ‘Isfahan’

Dear All,

Greetings! I hope you are keeping warm wherever you are. I have not opened a new window for a while. My daughter e-mailed me two days ago and said “Mom, aren’t you sending out a new window? There is a lot of nonsense  in the media about Iran!” I am working on my next book, and I guess I was just trying to make all  the political conflict go away so I can live the life most academics do: enjoying the classroom and carrying on research. All Iranians have that feeling from time to time. But my daughter has a point. There is just too much going on inside and outside Iran for these windows to stay closed. So, here it comes, update number fourteen!

Winter Celebration

Let us start with a fun cultural topic, something all Iranians of different age and ethnic background celebrate, Yalda, the heart of the winter, the longest night of the year. The actual Yalda night has passed. It is usually celebrated on December 21st. But it is still winter, and nights are cold and long. Take a look at the way Iranians celebrate that night to warm up the winter.

Celebrating the Anniversary of the 1979 Revolution

On Saturday February 11, the Islamic Republic celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the 1979 Revolution with a major rally that brought thousands of people to the streets. The government has been showcasing images from the rally to indicate popular support and therefore legitimacy. However, people working in government offices have smuggled out images of memos, such as the one I post below, sent to heads of units instructing them to bring their employes out for the rally and reminding them that attendance would be taken to ensure full participation.

Example of the memo sent by the Iranian officials to institutions demanding full participation by the employees in the February 11 rally threatening that attendance will be taken.

Peaceful March by the Opposition

The peaceful rally announced by the opposition for Tuesday, February 14, however, met with full militarization of the announced routes and arrests of over 400 people in Tehran and other cities, particularly in Shiraz. The main objective of the rally was to protest the house arrest of Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hussein Mousavi, and Mahdi Karrubi whose objections to the result of the 2009 disputed general election led to the their captivity without trial. Their house arrest just entered its second year. You can join the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran demanding their freedom, here.

Mousavi, Rahnavard, and Karrubi are under house arrest and cut off from the world without a trial. Their fault is objecting to the results of the 2009 disputed election

Iranian Women Scholars and Activists Going Strong

As the Iranian Supreme Leader, Mr. Ali Khamenei spoke about marriage and motherhood as the first duty of every woman, Iranian women scholars and activists held a major conference about women in Muslim countries. The conference was organized by the Society of Iranian Women Historians.  Read the full report here (in Persian).

The organizers expressed appreciation to Afsaneh Najmabadi, the Harvard scholar for participation in the conference and her over all contributions

The Poster for the Conference Organized by Iranian women historians

To remember how such simple but brave acts of exploration and self-expression can be in present day Iran, read about the two Iranian bloggers Vahid Asghari and Hosseing Derakhshan both likely to face the death squad because of running blogs which presented the Iranian government in a poor light and “enticed the population to rebel.” It is kind of ironic to kill people for demonstrating that life in Iran is better than they have suggested! Read more here.

Iranian Woman Engineer Invented Metal Foam

While on the topic of Iranian women, watch this short video about Afsaneh Rabiei, an Iranian woman engineer living and teaching in the United States who just invented something rare and apparently very useful: metal foam

Iran and Syria

Back to politics, the Iranian Regime has put itself in a dire situation by continuing to support the much hated regime of Assad now responsible for the death of over 6,000 Syrian citizens. The Syrian protesters, who have repeatedly sent messages of support to the Iranian people, view the Iranian government as one of the forces that has kept the regime of Assad from falling. In an unprecedented rally held on February 18 in the center of Damascus, close to Assad’s residence and the Iranian Embassy, the Syrians expressed anger at the people inside the embassy whom they referred to as armed thugs. See the full article in New York Times.

Massive demonstration in central Damascus against Assad and the Iranian Regime keeping him in power (reported in New York Times)

Extensive Sanctions on Iran and New Conflicts

Before I get any deeper into the details of the recent conflicts between western countries and Iran and look at a possible clash between Iran and Israel, let me say that although I find the Iranian foreign policy deeply flawed and in places totally unacceptable, I still disagree with our popular media here in the U.S. when it speaks of the “threat” of Iran in no uncertain terms. This view is overly simplistic and not backed by the facts that we actually know about the abilities and intentions of the Iranian government. Those who base their assertions on facts that are available to us often agree with me. I have collected a number of articles for you published by respectable activists, politicians, and investigative journalists here, here, and here. Furthermore, there are those scholars and journalists who believe that marginalization of Iran will indeed lead to more serious conflicts, here. More recently, there has been talk of the need to take military action to curb the threat Iran causes the world and particularly Israel.

There is every indication that unlike the past when the Iranian government took such threats with a pinch of salt, this time it is preparing itself for such an eventuality, here, and here. This is in part because the sanctions are beginning to show their effects in the daily lives of the Iranians. The situation has gotten particularly difficult since the sanctions were imposed on Iranian Central Bank. Indeed, the  economic conditions may deteriorate so much that a war might seem like a way out (at least to certain factions within the Iranian government), here. The worst threat, however, lies in allowing the tension to escalate because, as Trita Parsi observes in this piece, without renewed diplomacy things can get out of control in the Persian Gulf even if neither side is trying to start a war. For Trita’s essay look here. Before I end this segment, however, let me give you another article on the horrors of the military option for all sides, here. I deeply believe we must avoid such a conflict – which I could see as developing into a far deadlier conflict than the one with Iraq.

Okay, let us just take a look at a beautiful recent image from Iran. Let us take a look at this peaceful night in the Naqsh Jahan Square in Isfahan to change the mood for a moment before we get to more politics.

This is what peace looks like on an ordinary evening in the main square in Isfahan!

Skirmishes with Israel, and the Iranian Schindler

Iran and Israel have been savaging each other verbally at least for the past two decades though the media here mostly highlight the Iranian side, particularly when it can be read as anti-Semitic. A recent example is the assertion by the Iranian Supreme Leader who compared the problems caused by Israel in the region to a “cancer.” I must admit, I find the metaphor very harsh and totally unacceptable to be applied to any country even though the Iranian officials claim that it applies to the government of Israel and its aggressive and destructive impact on Palestinian lives and not to the Jews. If you are an Iranian, and hearing about the above remark makes you feel bad, read this article which was sent to me by a loving Jewish friend. It is called the Iranian Schindler, and it makes you remember the kinds of Iranians whom we forget because of the current conflicts, here. Or, take a look at this picture which is just over two years old. It was taken when President Ahmadinejad visited Tehran Polytechnic:

The sign reads: Fascist President, Polytechnic is not for you!

What is remarkable in the recent events is the pressure on the Iranian Supreme Leader due to severe sanctions, Israeli threats to attack Iran (and don’t forget Israel currently has nuclear weapons), the assassination of four Iranian scientists in the past two years (widely seen as the work of Israeli intelligence), and internal conflicts.  Unless you visit sites such as the Counterpunch, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, however, you are unlikely to see an argument for the way the Iranian leader would view the role that Israel has been playing in these assassinations. If you like to see one such argument, take a look at the piece by Ismael Hossein Zadeh, the Iranian economist at Drake University, here. In short, Mr. Khamenei’s angry remarks, and his choice of a more aggressive tone, are a reflection of this point of view.

Another sign of this change of tone, in the Supreme Leader’s talk mentioned above, was his clear reference to having supported Hizbullah in pushing the Israeli army out of Southern Lebanon after its July 2006 invasion. The Iranian government had never acknowledged that fact before.

Such tensions between Iran and Israel are not totally new. Still, the temperature rose dramatically when Mr. Panetta, the American Secretary of Defense, was described in a Washington Post column on February 2nd as being worried about the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months. According to the column, Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June, before Iran enters what Israelis describe as a zone of immunity to commence building a nuclear bomb. Ever since, Mr. Panetta has been trying to avoid making further comments on the subject, here. But the initial observation drew a range of angry responses from Iranian officials.

Furthermore, amidst the Israeli expressions of fear of an existential threat from Iran, the Iranian government has since announced further progress in developing home made techniques for uranium enrichment (though it maintains that none of it is for building a bomb). In other words, threats and assassinations don’t seem to do much except putting the two countries on a collision course. One can only hope that sanity will prevail.

Never Mind their Nuclear Program!

A lovely, ex-student of mine has sent this lighthearted article about a group of Iranian women training in martial arts in a state-sponsored all-women Ninja club 28 miles northwest of Tehran. It’s called “Iran has an army of deadly Ninja Women.” It just shows a side of Iran you don’t usually get to see. I post one picture below but you can read the full article here.

A Member of the Iranian Ninja women

Wedding On the Sabalaan Peak

Let us close this window with a happy picture, one that is about love and union rather than war and conflict. Muslim Najafi and Maryam Fekri two young Iranian climbers celebrated their wedding on the peak of Mount Sabalaan in north eastern Iran. It is good to know that political conflict and economic hardship does not stop normal life for young people.

Muslim Najafi and Maryam Fekri got married on Mount Sabalaan!

Have a great week!

Fatemeh

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Iranian students flooded the streets and campus today, December 7th, 2009. See the videos below for live coverage.

Iranian students flooded the streets and campus today, December 7th, 2009. See the videos below for live coverage.

Dear All,

This window is dedicated to the brave Iranian students who came out today on Students Day in large numbers to make it clear that their protests to the June general  election, and the way it has been handled by the government, are far from over. With security forces everywhere, including the entrance to hospitals, peaceful unarmed protesters were subjected to teargas, pepper gas, physical assault and arrest. The government of Iran had extended the religious holiday of Ghadir in the hope that the students would return to their home towns and today’s protests would remain small. The scope and intensity of the demonstrations, however, made it clear that many students did not take advantage of the offer. Furthermore, many non-students joined them in their protests. In this clip, Amir Kabir Students open the door and let in the outside protesters into the university:

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Protests Continue Amidst Arrests
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Incoming reports, limited to eyewitness accounts, and short clips taken by cell phones and posted on youtube, indicate that the protests continued in many cities in Iran, amidst arrests and attacks, into the afternoon and early evening hours. The most common slogan addressed to the members of the Revolutionary Guards militia, the Basij, was “How much money do you get to wield that baton?” This particular clip was taken from facebook and posted on the NIAC website: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105011899516362.
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Locations of the Student Protests

The Iranian government suspended the permits of the foreign press momentarily so they could not report the student protests of today. Perhaps they would have been wiser to permit proper reporting. Below there are clips of student demonstrations across Iran. Pieced together, they picture an ominous future for the regime which seems unable to overcome its state of denial of the reality. I could have added many more clips.
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Tehran University:

Ilam University:


Karaj University:

Tabriz University:

Mashhad Azad University:

Streets of Tehran:

Streets of Tehran:

Khajeh Naseer University:

Elm o San’at University:

Elm o San’at University:

Elm o San’at University:

Amir Kabir University:

Amir Kabir University:

Sharif University:

Kerman University:

Isfahan University:

Qazvin University:

Gilan University:

Hormoszgan University:

Honar Unviersity:

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Here are some more, available on Facebook:

Tehran University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105011899516362.

Tehran Azad University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104953809521406&ref=mf.

Beheshti University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104960846187369&ref=mf.

Mashhad University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104944512855669&ref=mf.

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Toronto Laser Show in Support of Iran Protests

* Some major cities in the world predicted the events of today and expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters. Let me share the video of a beautiful modern art work that the Canadians made to express their support for these protesters and the Green Movement as a whole.

* A high-power green laser projected on the Sky dome/Rogers Center to bring awareness to the current situation in Iran . Thousands of residents of Toronto were able to see the projections from their apartments, homes and on the streets below.  Watch it all the way (approximately six minutes) with the speakers on to hear the music:


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Zahrah Rahnavard, Mousavi’s Wife, attacked Outside Tehran University

* Today’s demonstrations were used by government forces to make targeted attacks. Among these was an attack with pepper spray on Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi. Rahnavard, whose eye sight has been effected, is in hospital.

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Mousavi’s Youth Campaign Organizer Arrested

* Another victim of the police was Mohamad Ja’far Tahmasebi, the cultural coordinator of the student organization affiliated with Mr. Mousavi’s campaign. He was arrested today while protesting with fellow students in Tehran.

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Faezeh Hashemi Among the Students

* On the positive side, the student protesters were visited by Faezeh Hashemi, one time representative of Tehran in the Majlis, and daughter of the two times president Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani. She was warmly recieved and thanked by the demonstrators:

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Students of Iranian Descent in Holland

* Before closing this special window, I am going to turn to another struggle the Iranian students have been facing in another part of the world.

* Court Hearing in case of Iranian Students, 10 December 2009: Since July 2008, the Dutch Government has banned Iranian citizens, as well as Dutch citizens of Iranian descent, from parts of certain university graduate programs. In addition, five locations have been designated as forbidden for the latter group. This measure is presumably meant to avoid the ‘proliferation of sensitive information. Iranian students have been objecting to this ban arguing that securing any information can be perfectly achieved without such a discriminatory measure.

* The Campaign of Iranian Students has taken legal actions against the Dutch government, and the case will soon appear before the court. Although the initial assessments are promising, the students have asked for public support, especially in the form of their presence during the court hearing. The court hearing is scheduled on Thursday, the 10th of December at 10:30 am at the Palace of Justice in The Hague.
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Put Your Gun Down!

* There are reports that at least one student has died in Iran today. One can only hope that the Iranian authorities see the reality of the situation and realize that violence will not calm the struggle for reform in Iran. I was looking for a piece of art that would heal the sadness caused by today’s events, and I thought of the Iranian master vocalist Mohamad Reza Shajarian. He has a song based on lyrics by the celebrated contemporary poet Fereidun Moshiri. The refrain to this song, which Mr. Shajarian dedicated to the Green Movement in Iran reads:  “Put your gun down!”  It is the most fitting piece to end this window:

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Please remember to share the website https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/ with friends.

Good Night,

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 52

A painting by Iranian painter Iman Maleki of a group of Iranian men enjoying some setar, tar, oud, and ney music. Please see the link at the end of this 'Window' for more of his fantastic paintings.

A painting by world-famous Iranian painter Iman Maleki, depicting a group of Iranian men relaxing and enjoying some traditional Persian music being played on the setar, tar, oud, and ney. Please see the link at the end of this 'Window' for more of his works.

Dear All,

Greetings. I hope you are continuing to enjoy the summer. My summer has turned out to be as lively as the academic year usually is. Let me briefly report.

* Last week I got together with my undergraduate classmates in a Shiraz University reunion held in San Diego! San Diego and Shiraz are both beautiful cities, in different ways. We had a panel organized on Rumi’s poetry. Besides that, I read poetry to music.

* Another exciting piece of news is that I have accepted to be the honorary Co-Chair of a vibrant emerging organization called “Iranians For Peace” (IFP). Our Board consist of five very able and dedicated women of Iranian heritage (more to be added). The main goal of this non-partisan group is to prevent war through promoting peaceful cultural education on Iran. On some level, this is what I have been engaged in for a sometime. These windows are an example of that. I hope you get a chance to visit our website, stay abreast of the activities, and provide us with your support: http://www.iraniansforpeace.net.

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* On the subject of my summer activities, let me give the links to two articles which I have recently published. On July 16, I had an editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the link is: “A 21st-century warning from a 13th-century poet.”

* And on August 2nd, I had a piece published in the online newsletter Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/keshavarz08022008.html.  I hope you find them useful!

Who Are Iranian Americans?

* Enough of my activities. Many Americans are working hard to bring about an understanding of the diversity of Iranians in Iran and in the US. Watch this fascinating clip which was sent to me by my friend, and a board member of the IFP, Leila Zand: http://www.searchles.com/channels/show/4563 (or view below!).
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Arsalan Kazemi (above) is the first Iranian to receive a NCAA basketball scholarship (image courtesy of www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

Arsalan Kazemi (above) is the first Iranian to receive a NCAA basketball scholarship (image courtesy of http://www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

What do Do Iran and America Exchange?

* Sometimes it appears that Iran and the U.S. only trade harsh political attacks. The truth is more interesting exchanges take place as well, but somehow do not qualify as news. Once I reported in these windows that the American women softball team was in Iran for a match with their Iranian counterparts. A lot of you were surprised. Well, here is another fun headline which does not make it to your evening news: An Isfahani young man, Arsalan Kazemi, the first Iranian to get an NCAA scholarship to play basketball in the US. Take a look at him in action. Thanks to my friend Omid Safi who has shared this interesting piece of news: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/luke_winn/07/15/kazemi/index.html

* Before I put the finishing touches to this window, I recieved a great clip from another friend Ladan Foroughi-Hedayati related to the subject of Iranian basketball. It is an MSNBC report on the recent visit of the Iranian Basketball team to the U.S. The report is great in showing a side of Iran that we rarely see in our media here. However, sadly, the report follows the general tradition of connecting all Iran related news to the American hostages. We even listen to President Bush declaring Iran to be a member of the axis of evil before we see a few minutes of the game. The formula prevents one from seeing the humanity or normality of Iran because we are first told about all the possible differences, disagreements, and political conflicts. Still, I hope you enjoy the basketball part: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/25796284#25796284.

Current Issues

* Speaking of political conflict, despite the apparent calm, the predictions concerning the Iran/US relations are not hopeful. What you hear in the mainstream media is that Iran is about to turn down the EU package of incentives and there should be more UN sanctions. However, the view from the other side is different. Take a look at this article discussing the views of Francis Boyle, the influential intentional lawyer, to get a different perspective on the situation: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/07/29/10672/.

* There is an interesting clip, that my friend Bahar Bastani sent this week. It highlights a part of the famous interview that Mr. Mike Wallace conducted with President Ahmadinejad which has not been included in the official broadcast of the interview. Since Mr. Ahmadinejad ‘s words are often used as justification for sanctions or possible attacks on Iran, it is important to know exactly what he has said regardless of our personal interpretations of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onNzrNEFs1E (or view it below!).

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* And there is yet more grim news from Mr. Seymour Hersh. This is his latest reference to a strong tendency among certain members of the current U.S. administration to create a clash that would lead to a war with Iran. Matt Miller has kindly shared this piece with me. Thanks Matt! http://www.truthout.org/article/hersh-cheney-plan-creating-false-flag-attack
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A painting of two young Iranian women reading on the roof of a city building. Please see the link to the left for much more of his art work.

A painting by Iman Maleki of two young Iranian women reading on the roof of a city building. Please see the link to the left for much more of his art work.

The Amazing Paintings of Iman Maleki

* If you are familiar with Persian culture, or have been following these windows regularly, you know that painting is among the most popular art forms in Iran. I have usually been sending you paintings of Iranian women, in part because it counters the myth that they are subjugated, inactive, or unable to express their creative talents. In this window, however, I want to introduce the works of young man, an amazing master painter whose works have been getting him international fame in the recent years, Iman Maleki (1976-). Maleki has experimented with a variety of styles but he is mostly a realist whose works have a strong cultural flavor. Click here to see a slide show of some of his tremendous work: Iman Maleki Paintings. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this window.

Until the next one,
I Wish you all the 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 26

The Alborz Mountains of northern Iran, with Mt. Damavand (the tallest mountain in Iran) rising in the distance (see below for many more incredible photos of Irans natural beauty).

The Alborz Mountains of northern Iran, with Mt. Damavand (the tallest mountain in Iran) rising in the distance (see below for many more incredible photos of Iran's natural beauty).

Dear All,

Yes, we missed a window altogether! The semester is coming to an end with lots of activity including course preparations, visits by the last speakers of the academic year, departmental duties, etc. My friend Alice Bloch and I had a repeat performance of “The Watching Heart: A Journey in Peace,” our Dance/Reading for Peace, last Friday on Washington University campus. A wonderful audience gave us a great response.

A few of you approached me with e-mail addresses of friends to be added to this list. Anywhere I go now, someone has a kind word about the Windows on Iran. I cannot thank you enough for your enthusiastic support. If you handed me a friend’s address after our performance but they did not yet receive this window, I apologize. The safest way is to reply to this message and give me the addresses you want to add.

Let’s get to the first item on Window 26 without further delay. I am working on reducing visual attachments with links so as not to make it hard for your home computers.

Iranian Musician Nominated for the Grammy Award

Grammy-nominated musician Hussain Alizadeh.

Grammy-nominated Iranian musician Hussain Alizadeh.

* Here is a good way to open any window! Listen to Lisa Mullins of PRI, The World, talking with Hussain Alizadeh the Iranian musician who was nominated for a Grammy Award for the third time. The clip is about 8 minutes long and includes a discussion of music as well as actual playing. The clip was sent to me by my friend Fariba Azarpour:
http://www.theworld.org/?q=taxonomy_by_date/2/20070404

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani protesting for womens rights in Iran.

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, winner of the "Best Research Book on Women" in Iran award, is an activist, journalist, and translator. She is an editor of the journals Jens-i Dovom and Fasl-i Zanan and helped establish both the Women's Cultural Center and the Feminist Tribune.

The Iranian Women’s Movement

* Despite pressure from the Iranian government, the feminist movement in Iran is alive and well. So are its chroniclers inside and outside Iran. My friend Nayereh Tohidi has just sent word on this year’s winner of “the Best Research Book on Women” in Iran. Thank you Nayereh Jan! The prize has gone to the Persian translation by Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani – herself a noted feminist – of the book The Women’s Rights Movement in Iran: Mutiny, Appeasement, and Repression by Eliz Sanasarian Professor of Political Science, USC College. Congratulations to the author, translator, and the tireless Iranian feminists working in Iran! I have an additional reason to be delighted. Years ago Eliz and I were highschool friends in Shiraz.


More Visual delight on Iran, on the occasion of Nowruz

* The Iranian New Year celeberations usually end on the 13th day of the first month in the Iranian calendar Farvardin (Farvardin 1st usually corresponds to March 21st). The 13th day of the New Year is called Sizdah Bedar. On that day, the entire country is out picnicing. Here, the Iranian American community holds onto the nostalgic feelings revived with Nowruz celeberations for some time. Slides and clips about Iran keep circulating. Here is a short video of scenes from Iran: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpdkC0XuSaY

* Since our last window, Iran has released the 15 captured Britons. You
know all the news there is to know about this incident by now. So,
instead of news headlines, I give you an interesting analysis of the
situation written jointly by Vali Nasr, a professor at the Naval
Postgraduate School and author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts
Within Islam Will Shape the Future
, and Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow
at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Hidden Iran:
Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic
. Both authors are very
familiar with the region and have impressive academic credentials.
They have called their essay “What We Can Learn From Britain About
Iran?” here is the link:
http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/iranian-question/38127-what-we-can-learn-britain-about-iran.html

More Visual Information about Iran

* A nice slide show of natural scenery distributed by my friend Bahar
Bastani: http://youtube.com/watch?v=oHEkSFPB9nk&mode=related&search=

A beautiful garden in Esfahan (Isfahan) (click on the youtube video above to see many more breath-taking photos from Iran, from the Persian Gulf to the Alborz Mountains).

A beautiful garden in Esfahan (Isfahan) (click on the youtube video above to see many more breath-taking photos from Iran, from the Persian Gulf to the Alborz Mountains).

* A clip on an exhibition in the British Museum about the ancient
Persian empire. The film underlines cooperation between Iranians and
Britons…perhaps a good antidote to the recent movie “300”. The clip
was sent by my friend Behfar Dianati:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9tBfD-d2fc&mode=related&search

The Cyrus Cylinder--the worlds first declaration of human rights.

The Cyrus Cylinder (539BCE)--the world's first declaration of human rights, which among other things allowed for religious freedom in the territories that he conquered.

* And a neat short film on paragliding by an Iranian pilot posted on
youtube from Tehran:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=co5Tg6Utyd8&mode=related&search=

More on Current Issues:

* My friend Nadir Sadeqi – of CASMII – continues to disseminate
information in an effort to stop sanction and/or military action
against Iran. Here is a list he has put together on recent attempts by
the British and the U.S. to conduct covert operations in Iran (of
particular interest to those who migh have wondered why the Iranians
might have felt defensive about the British in Iranian waters):
http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/1810
* On a different note, the US seems to be working to build a
relationship with Iranians:
http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2007&m=March&x=20070330105645ndyblehs0.7631647&id=nl20070404

* Can the release of the Britons help us understand the political moves
of the current Iranian government?
http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/world/MI43786/

Last Visual Delight:

A Painting by Nargis Chalak (click on the link below for more of her work).

A Painting by Nargis Chalak (click on the link below for more of her work).

* I said there will be fewer attachments. But we can’t close this window without the time honored tradition of visiting a young Iranian painter. Click here for some beautiful works by Nargis Chalak: Nargis Chalak Art Show.  I wish you all a very nice 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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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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Iranian American Dr. Lily Afshar is considered to be one of the worlds best female guitar players. She has also recently began playing the setar.

Iranian-American Dr. Lily Afshar is considered to be one of the worlds best female guitar players. More recently, she has also began playing the Persian instrument setar (see below for more information).

Greetings everyone,

I hope you have all had a great weekend. Many thanks for all your kind notes and for joining the listserv. I received enthusiastic comments about the calligraphy exhibit that I sent in window number 9. I am glad you enjoyed them and will keep an eye open from more calligraphic works I can send.

As usual, please give me about two weeks to get back to you if you have any questions. If you send me a kind note of support or ideas for future windows, I might not be able to respond simply because of the volume of correspondence. Please forgive me. I do read all your e-mails with great interest. If you signed on during the past two days, you will get this window (and the previous windows, if you asked for them) with a day or two delay. Again, that is because it usually takes JoAnn and I a couple of days to process new requests.

Current Issues:

* I did not find Iran in the headlines (itself amazing news).
Instead, I attach an informative interview with Dr. Trita Parsi
the US-based scholar on Iran (and the current President of NIAC).
He talks about the position of Iranian politicians, the executive
powers of the Iranian President, and possibilities of diplomatic
solutions to the nuclear standoff, among other things:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1543504,00.html

Iranian Americans:

* The prominent Iranian American I would like to introduce to you
this week is again a musician. This is, in fact, one of the top
female classical guitar players in the world, Dr. Lily Afshar.
Born and raised in Iran, Lily Afshar completed her graduate work
in music at the Boston Conservatory. She has been teaching in
University of Memphis since 1989 and, at the same time, has been
performing internationally. More recently, she has started the
Persian instrument setar. To see a picture of Lily Afshar and read
about her achievements, click on:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lily_Afshar
Isfahan Slide Show:

* As you can see I have not forgotten the slide show I promised last
week on the historic city of Isfahan. After I sent my slide show
on Shiraz, a friend wrote that he included the topic of Shiraz in
one of his lectures so he could share the slides with his
students. I hope you find the slides of Isfahan equally beautiful
and usable in the classroom. Just click here: Beautiful and Historic City of Isfahan, Iran.

Naqshe Jahan Square in the historic city of Isfahan.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the historic city of Isfahan.

A Major Contemporary Persian Ghazal Writer:

*Reference to Persian poetry usually evokes thought of classical figures such as Omar Khayyam, Hafez and Rumi. From time to time, the modern verse of Forough Farrokhzad, Ahmad Shamlu and others of their generation becomes available in English. Twentieth century Iranian poets are known almost exclusively for their reformist tendencies that transformed classical genres into what Iranians now call ‘shi’re now,’ literally “new poetry.” In this poetry, figures such as Farrokhzad introduced wonderfully fresh ideas which were not considered fit for poetry before. In the poem “From darkness,” for example, Farrokhzad wrote:
I  called you
my whole being held in my hands
like a bowl of milk
the moon glanced blue on the panes

The fact that is almost entirely unknown outside Iran — because
very little translation has been done — is that twentieth century
Iran has great ghazal writers some comparable to Sa’di and Hafiz
only writing their ghazals in a new poetic language. Houshang
Ebtehaj with pen name Sayeh (b. 1927) is one such master poet. For
a recent photo of Ebtehaj during a poetry reading click on
http://saamhouse.co.uk/gallery/archives/000029.php#000029 . Despite
the imposing look, and his reputation as a poet with political and
social comittment, Ebtehaj has a vast quantity of gentle lyric
poetry in ghazal form (as well as many in modern poetry). To my
knowledge, there are no English translations of these ghazals. If
you read Persian click on
http://www.easypersian.com/houshang_ebtehaj/sineh_sardan.htm to
see a couple of the ghazals in Persian (and a short and basic
biography in English).

* On the topic of classical persian poetry, if you are interested in
reading stories from Firdowsi’s classical epic Shahnameh/The Book
of Kings
as comic books, click on:
http://www.hyperwerks.com/series/rostam_chara1.html (courtesy of
Ladan Foroughi).

Iranian Cinema:

* Iranian women’s most recent international achievements have
included the movie “Friday Evening,” Mona Zandi’s directional
debut, which won the special jury prize in Cologne film Festival
last week: http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1170.html.  In fact,
the festival dedicated an entire section to Iranian women film
makers. On the topic of cinema, another Iranian (this time male)
director Azizollah Hamidnejad won the Tegernsee Award for his film
“Tears of Cold” in the Mountain Film Festival held in Germany,
Oct. 18-22.

Visual Delight:

* I leave you with two oil paintings by the young painter Adel
Younesi. The theme of both is street side peddlers. I find them
both delightful: http://www.elahe.net/photo.php?picid=3474 and
another one on the same theme
http://www.elahe.net/photo.php?picid=3473

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