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Posts Tagged ‘Mohammad Khatami’

Dear All,

I hope this window opens on a happy day for you. News of a possible war and new draconian sanctions on Iran clutter our screens once more. Kind friends ask if I have any relatives in Iran, I say “Yes, 70 million!” But actually, a military campaign of any sort on Iran would mean a major world crisis much larger than what we have seen with Iraq and Afghanistan. It would mean disaster for a larger body of our relatives across the globe, nearly seven billion.

And broader sanctions will tear the fabric of life. Take a look at this short slide show called “life in Tehran.” This is what will suffer not the governmental officials. The slide show has been produced by Iran Review which  describes itself as the leading independent, non-governmental and non-partisan website – organization representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran’s political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles, enjoy!

The Story of Simorgh Put to Music for Homayoun Shajarian

Before we get deeper into politics, I would love to share a work of art with you fresh from Iran, a new composition. This is the story of Zal, father of Rostam the Hero of the Persian epic The Shahnameh “Book of Kings.” According to the myths preserved in the Shahnameh, Zal was brought up by the legendary bird Simorgh. What makes this composition more special is that Hamid Motabassem, the composer wrote it specially for Homayoun Shajarian, son of the celebrated Iranian vocalist Mohammad Reza Shajarian.  Homayoun who was first a curiosity because of his father is quickly establishing himself as master vocalist and Tomback player. Here is a short you-tube clip which sets about seven minutes of the piece on a slide show:

  For the full performance on the stage in the Netherlands watch the video click on this link.

Sorry, but we have to return to the New Sanctions Now!

Yesterday, the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) offered an amendment that would impose draconian sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, effectively making it illegal for any country or company to do any business with Iran.  Senator Kirk has stated that his goal is to “collapse the Iranian economy,” turning Iran into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Kirk says that his plan is to cause so much suffering among ordinary Iranians that they will be forced to rise up against the regime.  And if that doesn’t work, then we will go to war with Iran.  I wonder if these two Senator’s definition of ordinary Iranians includes the old, the sick, and the children. This is the policy we applied to Iraq. And a decade of suffocating sanctions failed to displace the dictator leading us ultimately to a devastating war.

Please investigate this topic for yourself, through any sources you trust most and use your voice to stop another global disaster.  This amendment will be voted on within the next 10 days. There is still time to tell your elected officials you oppose these indiscriminate sanctions and oppose war with Iran.

Iran is Taking the War Threat Seriously

The headlines in the Iranian public media quoting various authorities, including the Supreme Leader, suggest that the possibility of military threat from the west is being taken seriously. Mr. Khamenei declared any action against Iran will unite all fronts against the aggressors. Mr. Ali Larijani, Speaker of the parliament,  also  suggested to the U.S. and Israel to “lower their voice,” tone down their rhetoric against Iran and watch their actions or they will regret their them. In particular, he emphasized that a “hit-and-run” strategy is not going to work because, Iran will pursue the aggressors. Sardar Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Iranian Air force added his voice to those of many others reminding the U.S. authorities that their high ranking officers, and other army members and citizens are very close by in Iraq and Afghanistan and therefore accessible to the Iranian military. For the fuller range of headlines in Persian please click here.

In the Meantime, a major explosion shook one of the Revolutionary Guard’s military bases outside Tehran in which seventeen of the official personnel of the Guard were killed and an almost equal number injured. Among the dead was the founder of the Iranian Missile program, Commander Hassan Moghaddam. Iran has so far not accused anyone and explained the explosion as an accident, here. Days after the accident, the Iranian central computer systems seeme to have been attacked by a deadly virus. Read about it here in Persian.

Free Mousavi and Karrubi from House Arrest!

Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karrubi are in the 170th day of their house arrest with has not followed any trial or explanation

Mr. Mousavi and Karrubi, the two candidates who disputed the 2009 election continue to be in a form of house arrest which in fact – according to members of their campaigns – resembles full incarceration. That is to say, all furniture has been removed, the doors and windows blocked, and their contact with the outside world – except for sporadic short phone calls –  completely cut off. Last Saturday, three reformist authorities, Ayatollahs Dastghayb  and Sane’i and Sayyed Mohammad Khatami, Iranian ex-president repeated their pleas to the government once more to free them. Read here.

Mohammad Khatami the Reformist ex-president, together with two grand Ayatollah's demanded the freedom of Mousavi and Karrubi

Baroon, a Song from Lorestan

Iran houses a rainbow of different ethnic groups with languages, art forms, and traditions of their own. One such ethnic group is that of the Lors who leave in the historic Lorestan Province in Western Iran. I’d like to close this window with a lively song from Lorestan by a group of young Iranian musicians, called Rastak, which has built itself a reputation for excellence in folk music. From the group Rastak, below, listen to the Lorie song Baroon “rain.” 

Have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

Fatemeh

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The youth of Iran have been absolutely pivotal in the success of the Green Movement. See below for their most recent impact on the newly opened university campuses all throughout Iran.

The youth of Iran have been absolutely pivotal in the success of the Green Movement. See below for their most recent impact on the newly opened university campuses all throughout Iran.

Dear All,

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I hope you are well. Some of you have forwarded Iran related information to me with a hint of “where is window 96?” And some have outright asked! It is so good to know that you are anticipating these windows. It has been a busy time in the semester.

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Let us open window 96 with a delightful music clip from the Jewish community in my own town, Shiraz.

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On a Musical Note

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* Before we got pulled into the post election political whirlpool, I used these windows to give you a glimpse into the diversity of Iran. To be sure the political news is still interesting and very important. However, let us keep our cultural tradition going.

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* You might not know that my historic hometown Shiraz has given birth to some of the best Iranian Jewish musicians. They have contributed not only to Jewish music but to mainstream Persian traditional music as well. The following is a beautiful short video dedicated to Jewish sacred music. I wish it was longer than six minutes. But here it is:

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Break Through with Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury

* After this beautiful musical opening, let me move on to a piece of news about a great scientific breakthrough in Iran. Iranian Scientists in Ruyan Institute, using human embryonic stem cells, have treated serious spinal cord injury in mice. Watch the mouse regaining the power to walk after total leg paralysis: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/watch/player.html?pkg=rc78iran&seg=1&mod=0.

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Iranian Professor is Awarded 2009 “Benjamin Franklin Medal”

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* Professor Lotfi A. Zadeh was awarded this prestigious award for his construction of the idea of “fuzzy logic” and fighting to get this seemingly “imprecise” approach to logic academic respect.

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Khatami on his birthday with his giant birthday cake.

Khatami on his birthday with his giant birthday cake.

An Unusual Cake for Mr. Khatami

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* On Oct. 12, 2009 Mr. Mohammad Khatami the reformist Iranian president (1997-2005) turned 66. He recieved a great birthday gift from his supporters who showed up in his office with an unusual cake. I made a very short slide show for you to see some happy scenes from present day Iran. Click here to see a slide show of pictures from his birthday party: Khatami Birthday Slideshow.

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Tools of Communication

* Someday a study should be done on the diverse and innovative tools that Iranian supporters of the Green Movement have used to communicate their deep conviction to improve the social conditions in Iran. I have included poetry and song clips in these windows. I have even shared images of banknotes with slogans on them. If you look below, you will see a banknote on which a well-known nursery rhyme has been re-written to tell the story of the Iranian economy: selling cheap oil to China, importing useless goods, and allowing domestic production to go down the drain.

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Iran Banknote Comments.001

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* The number of banknotes with green writings on them has reached a point that certain members of the parliament have suggested getting them out of circulation. Given the high percentage of such banknotes, however, the proposal does not seem practical.

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The First Death Sentence

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* It is sad that in a society in which the scientists dedicated themselves to saving lives, politics does the opposite. Unfortunately, the first death sentence has been issued in relation to the post election protests. While the ruling can be appealed, the appeal might fail.  To read the press release from the office of the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center, click on the link below. If the sentence is carried out, the crisis enters a completely new stage: http://www.iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/pdfs/PressReleases/2009/Statement%20on%20execution%20of%20Zamani.pdf

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Grieving Mothers

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* Every Saturday afternoon, mothers who have lost a child in the post election protests, joined by some relatives and friends, hold a quiet walk in the Laleh Park in Tehran. It is one of  the many forms in which the supporters of the Green Movement remind everyone that their demand for a fair election and a democratic government is alive and well. The following is a short clip from Saturday, Oct. 10:

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* You can read about these mothers who are becoming a global icon for justice: http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/oct/mourning-mothers.

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Ph.D Defense Conducted Outside the University

* As you will see in the item below, Iranian university students continue to demonstrate against the current government. The seriousness of these protests became apparent when Tehran Polytechnic conducted a Ph.D. defense in a building outside its main  campus on Saturday, Oct. 10. The reason why this defense could have led to protests is that the main advisor was Golam Ali Haddad Adel, a member of the Iranian Parliament who supports Ahmadinejad. According to the website of Tehran Polytechnic, even though the defense was moved out of the university, Haddad Adel’s name was still not mentioned in the announcement: http://www.autnews.me/node/3576.

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Universities Across the Country in Constant Protest

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* What news services here do not seem to reflect is the widespread nature of the protests across Iran. Below are some short sample videos that the students have managed to capture on cell phones and make available to outsiders:

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Mashhad University:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1061080906191&ref=mf

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Tehran University of Science and Technology:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102631346420319&ref=mf

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Azad University, Tehran:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102620073088113&ref=mf

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Shiraz University:

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Shiraz University Protest

Shiraz University Protest

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This is an article, not a clip describing the students protest: http://www.autnews.cc/node/3420.

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Shahre Kord (Azad U.):

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102616716421782&ref=mf

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* Other major universities such as Isfahan and Tabriz University have reported similar incidents.

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What is Missing

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* An interesting analysis of the recent events in Iran:  http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/oct/whats-missing.

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The Moderate Conservative Prevails

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* While from the outside, the Iranian political scene might look black and white (the hardliners verses the reformists), the reality on the ground is far more complicated. Days ago, Mr. Ali Larijani, a moderate conservative – and an opponent of Mr. Ahmadinejad – won the overwhelming support of his senior conservative colleagues in the parliament to stay in the leadership position. I would not present Mr. Larijani as a liberal by any means. However, in the recent events, he has criticized the conduct of the election, the state-run media, and Mr. Ahmadinejad himself. Here is some more detail of the vote in his favor: http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/parliamentary-speaker-larijani-prevails-over-pro-ahmadinejad-mps/.

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Upcoming Day of Students Solidarity with People

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* Peaceful demonstrations are planned for the 13th of Abaan (Nov. 4)to highlight the solidarity between the students and the general public in Iran. Clips like this are already circulating. The refrain of the song “hamrah show aziz!” which could be translated literally as “walk with me, my dear!” or metaphorically as “join our movement” is now a hit song:

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* Iranian bloggers are already busy posting images of wall writings and other announcements for the up-coming demonstrations: http://iranisabzpics.blogspot.com/2009/10/blog-post_9991.html.

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A beautiful painting by Ms. Shahverdi. Please click the link to your left for more of her incredible work.

A beautiful painting by Ms. Shahverdi. Please click the link to your left for more of her incredible work.

A Beautiful Exhibit

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* Let’s close the window with a slide show of Ms. Shahverdi’s beautiful paintings. Unfortunately, her website does not provide much biographical information about her. Enjoy her paintings. Click here for a slide show of her work: Ms. Shahverdi Slide Show.

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Don’t forget to share the blog with friends: https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/.

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Good Night,

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Fatemeh

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===================================
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 23

The historical Persian King Xerxes(above), who bares no resemblence to the offensive depiction of him in the Hollywood movie 300. See below for more on this movie and its historically inaccurate portrayal of King Xerxes and the Persian Empire.

The real historical Persian King Xerxes (above), who, notice, bares absolutely no resemblance to the bizarre and, ultimately, offensive depiction of him in the Hollywood movie '300.' See below for more on this movie and its grossly historically inaccurate portrayal of Xerxes and the Persian Empire in general.

Dear Friends,

It is a pleasure to open another window, one that greets the Spring. Iranians everywhere in the world are now busy preparing for Nowrouz, the Persian New Year, 1386! For my Nowrouz gift to you, click here: Nowrouz (the Iranian New Year celebration). I hope it gives you a fun visual tool for teaching about Nowrouz. Happy Nowrouz/spring to you All.
I receive daily requests to subscribe to this list. Thank you for your interest. Please allow us a day or two before getting your first window.  If you have been added to the list by mistake, please write us a short message and we will take you off.
Hollywood’s Nowrouz Gift to Iranians

A scene from the movie 300. Far from being a harmless Hollywood thriller, this movie is a blatant piece of propaganda that contains numerous historic inaccuracies that all conveniently serve to demonize the Persians and glorify Sparta (the symbol of the Western, free world). Please click on the link to Dr. Touraj Daryaees critique for comprehensive analysis.

A scene from the movie "300," with a utterly bizarre and distinctly 'othering' depiction of the Persian King Xerxes (right) and King Leonidas (left). Far from being a harmless Hollywood thriller, this movie is a blatant propaganda piece that contains numerous historical inaccuracies which all conveniently serve to simultaneously demonize the Persians and glorify the Spartans (the symbol of the Western, free world). Please click on the link below to read Dr. Touraj Daryaee's superb critique of '300.'

* If you are an Iranian, you will have a hard time deciding which misrepresentation of yourself to expose! This year it has been made easy for Iranians. They get their New Year’s gift in the form an ominous movie called “300” that portrays Persians / Iranians as “inarticulate monsters, raging towards the West, trying to rob its people of their basic values.” The movie “demeans the population of Iran and anesthetizes the American population to war in the Middle East” in the words of Touraj Daryaee, Professor of Ancient History (Californian State U., Fullerton). In a review essay called: “Go tell Spartans How “300” misrepresents Persians in history,” Prof. Daryaee critiques the movie eloquently. For example, in the movie, the historical quote “We are the mothers of men,” is addressed to a Persian brute (obviously blind to gender issues). According to Daryaee, this sentence had nothing to do with Persians, but rather was part of a completely Greek debate on the position of women, regarding the fact that Athenian women were forced to stay in the andron (inner sanctum of the house) so that their reputations would not be tarnished. Spartan women were different than the Athenian women, but Persian women of this period had more freedoms than either the Spartans or Athenians and not only participated in politics, but also joined the army, owned property, and ran businesses.

1-21).

A more historically faithful depiction of the Persian King Xerxes (or, also a times referred to as 'Ahasuerus' ) with his Jewish wife Esther (of the 'Book of Esther' in the Hebrew Scriptures fame, see Esther I: 1-21).

As a New Year’s gift to the Iranian Community, please share Prof. Daryaee’s excellent critique of the movie with students, friends, and relatives. It might feel as if we are trying to carve a tunnel in a huge mountain with a plastic spoon. But every single person counts. My thanks to Zari Taheri for sharing this valuable link:
http://www.iranian.com/Daryaee/2007/March/300/index.html

A Threat to All of us!

Perhaps influenced by movies of the above kind, a couple of days ago Senator Obama gave his Nowrouz gift to the Iranians by calling Iran “a threat to all of us.” An astonishingly vague, and dangerous, assertion. Please note that in the past fifty years or so, American politicians have worked to persuade the public that: Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Chile, Panama, Nicaragua, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq were all threats to American and world security. Magically, Saudi Arabia, which produced the majority of the 9/11 hijackers, sponsors Wahhabism, and prevents its own women from driving on the streets, appears not to be a threat.

Chaharshanbe Suri

We need a break. How about watching a ‘dangerous’ Iranian family
celebrating a pre-Nowrouz event in their neighborhood? It is done on
the last Wednesday of the year by jumping over fire while asking for
its symbolic “color and warmth.” Click here: Chaharshanbeh Suri.

Nowrouz (the Iranian New Year celebration) Haftsin (click on the Nowrouz link above for more details).

A Nowrouz (the Iranian New Year celebration) Haftsin (click on the Nowrouz link above for more details).

Regime Change

* I know this is supposed to be a New Year Window. Still, Iranians are
celebrating it with talk of regime change in the background. The
concept is familiar. The people of Chile experienced it. In fact, they
had their own September 11 tragedy with an almost similar number of
casualties (3,000). On September 11, 1973  a CIA sponsored General
Augusto Pinochet conducted a coup, seized total power, and established
a military dictatorship which lasted until 1990. At the time of his
death in 2006, around 300 criminal charges in Chile were still pending
against Pinochet for human rights abuses and embezzlement during his
rule.

* I want to share an Iranian regime change with you that took place in
early 1950s. A democratically elected Iranian prime minister Mohammad
Mosaddeq (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mossadegh)  worked to nationalize
the Iranian oil industry that had been under the control of a British
company. The contracts gave Iranians next to nothing while the British
were laughing all the way to the bank. Mosaddeq was overthrown in a
joint British-American coup. Here is what the American people read on
August 6, 1954 in a New York Times’ editorial: “Underdeveloped
countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy
cost that must be paid by one of their number [Iran] which goes
berserk with fanatical nationalism.” There is another lesson in the
overthrow of Mosaddeq, one that the New York times editorial does not
mention. Be skeptical when people are presented to you as “fanatical.”
They may simply be trying to take control of their own resources. Here
is a suggested reading on this regime change if you like to see a
detailed analysis:

Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953
Coup in Iran: A Joint U.S.-British Regime Change Operation in 1953
that Holds Lessons for Today
(Syracuse University Press, 2004).
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB126/index.htm

Iranian Americans on Stage

* You have not been really integrated into a culture unless people can
laugh at you! Iranian American standing comedians are working on that.
Here is a clip from Maz Jobrani sent by my friend Hayrettin Yocesoy.
Thanks Hayrettin, this is culturally interesting, and funny too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADU1lhEb1X0&mode=related&search

* Iranian Americans are getting themselves on another kind of stage too,
that of American politics. Beverly Hills eyes Jimmy Delshad, an
Iranian American, for mayor. Here is the report, if you like to read
more: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7770255&ft=1&f=1003

Headlines in Iran

Iran has been ready to suspend uranium enrichment, although, not as a
pre-condition to negotiations. The former Iranian president Mohammad
Khatami urged Iran to compromise on the nuclear issue to avoid further
crisis: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070312/wl_afp/irannuclearpolitics_070312113740

Visual Delight

A painting by Nilufar Baghaei (click on the link to the left for more!).

A painting by Nilufar Baghaei (click on the link to the left for more!).

Let’s see if we can revive the spirit of Nowrouz through meeting another delightful visual artist. This is a young Iranian painter and graphic artist, Nilufar Baghaei (b. 1969). Nilufar’s work is heavily inspired by children’s drawings the themes of which she explores creatively and colorfully. There you are, three themes most relevant to Nowrouz: children, creativity, and color.  To Watch Nilufar Baghaei’s art show, click here Nilufar Baghaei Art, enjoy!

Have a great spring, and see you next week.

Fatemeh
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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
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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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Traditional Iranian Tea House in Shiraz

Traditional Iranian Tea House in Shiraz

Greetings again!

Many thanks for all your kind messages and for forwarding to friends.
Within minutes of sending out a new “Window,” I receive thank you
messages from a wide range of places in the world! I feel amply rewarded
for the work I put into each window. Sometimes, you write with a
specific query about a book or a film you want to use in class. Given my
current teaching and departmental responsibilities, please allow
approximately two weeks for a response.

I number the windows so we have a simple way to keep track. Please let
me know if there are missing numbers in the windows you have received,
JoAnn or I will forward them to you.

Current Issues

* Since you are likely to read this message tomorrow, I would like
to share with you a beautiful and moving piece of music written by
the Iranian musician Kourosh Taqavi for the traditional Persian
instrument setar, dedicated to the victims of 9/11 tragedy. Setar
is a small long-necked lute, an intimate instrument known for its
ability to express emotion. You will see a picture of it.  Please
be sure to listen to the whole excerpt (5 minutes):
http://www.iranian.com/Music/2001/September/Kourosh/index.html
* Last week I criticized NPR for misrepresenting a speech in
persian. This week I must commend the station for the very
informative program “Speaking of Faith” on Islam (touching on Iran
as well) aired this morning, 9:00-10:00. The panorama of voices
and views was refreshing. Among the Iranian American scholars
interviewed were Omid Safi (UNC), and Seyyid Hossein Nasr (George
Washington).

Suggested Reading: in relation to discussions surrounding the
anniversary of September 11, I would like to recommend a volume edited
by Professor Safi,  good for personal as well as classroom use:
Progressive Muslims: on Justice, Gender, and Pluralism (Oxford:
Oneworld, 2003).

* Iran continued to be in the papers.  LETTER FROM IRAN: A
Different Face of Iran
(Steven Knipp) in last Sunday’s Washington
Post is notable. Knipp observes: “what astonished me the most
about Iran were its women. I met and spoke with scores of them
from all parts of the country. And everywhere they were
wonderful: vivid, bold, articulate in several languages,
politically astute and audaciously outward-looking. While some men
demurred, the women weren’t afraid to voice opinions about
anything under the sun.” Not surprisingly, Knipp feels the need to
explain: ” In fact, women in Iran can work and drive and vote, own
property or businesses, run for political office and seek a
divorce. The majority of Iran’s university graduates are women.”
Sadly, the negative language that usually characterizes all media
reports on Iran surfaces in this well-intentioned letter as well
when the author expresses hope that:  “this once noble nation will
one day return to its tolerant roots.”  Similarly, the subtitle
for the letter reads: “An American finds hope in the Forbidden
Land.” Why forbidden land? What is forbidden? It is not clear. The
reader might assume (wrongly) that getting in and out of Iran is
not possible.

* Last week, Iran was in the news for a specific reason: a visit by
the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami. He was here to
deliver the keynote address during the three-day annual event that
brought together approximately 40,000 Muslims: Islamic Society of
North America convention in Rosemont. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of
Defense Gordon England, Ingrid Matteson, the Society’s first
female president, and Robert Fisk, the celebrated British
journalist were among the speakers. Khatami’s address titled,
“Achieving Balance in a Troubled World,” focused on the complexity
of human identity and the need for American Muslims to acknowledge
the American as well as the Muslim component of their identity.
Chicago Sun-Times had a report on the convention if you like to
read more:
http://www.suntimes.com/output/religion/cst-nws-islamic01.html

* In a news conference held at the National Cathedral, Khatami
condemned committing violence in the name of any religion as a
double crime — one against humanity, and one against religions
which are “based on faith and love.”

Art/Culture

* Let us use the subject we are on to transition from politics into
art! In Iran, Khatami is best known for his support of arts,
particularly performing arts. Last year, the young Iranian super
star, actress Pegah Ahangarani
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegah_Ahangarani

staged a show about Khatami in December 2005 to mark the ending of
his presidency. The show called ” A Night with the Man with a
Chocolate Robe” drew a large crowd and many reviews in the Iranian
media. Khatami joined the ladies on stage and spoke about the
significance of supporting and furthering his legacy of reform:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Khatami

* I know, I know my “windows” have often focused on women. It isn’t
my fault, as Knipp observed, there are many bright articulate
Iranian ladies making their artistic/intellectual statements. I
promise more attention to male contributions soon! For now, I
would like you to meet one more of my favorite Ladies of current
Iranian Cinema: internationally acclaimed writer and director,
Tahmineh Milani. Last time I went to see one of her films “Two
Women” in Iran, the wait in line for the ticket was one hour.
Milani has addressed many social issues, most of all those related
to women, family and gender. For a short bio and list of her
films, visit:
http://www.iranchamber.com/cinema/tmilani/tahmineh_milani.php

* And one more lady from Iranian cinema: Niki Karimi. Karimi started
with acting, worked closely with Milani, and moved into script
writing, documentary making and most recently directing. She has
won national fame, and many awards, for all of them. You may read
more about her and her films in:
http://www.nikikarimi.ir/biography.htm

Suggested Reading: Since we focused mostly on cinema, let me suggest a
good reading on the history of Iranian cinema and its recent
developments: The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation and
Identity. The volume is edited by Richard Tapper and has contributions
from various scholars of Iranian cinema including Hamid Naficy.

Visual Delight

* It has turned into a tradition to close the window after a stroll
in a painting exhibit. Let us visit a 2006 exhibit by Neda Chaychi
born in 1971. In addition to her training as an artist, Neda has a
degree in clinical psychology. She has had many exhibits in the
last few years in Iran. As you see, women images are prominent in
her work:  http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=317

Until Next Window!
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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