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A fascinating painting by Iranian painter Niloufar Ghaderinejad. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more of her paintings.

A fascinating painting by Iranian painter Niloufar Ghaderinejad. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more of her paintings.

Dear All,

Greetings after a relatively long break. I hope you are very well. I have been wrestling with computer problems in preparing this window. A number of housekeeping issues before opening window number 41.

First, if you cite these windows, please remember that they are my personal work. Their goal is to supply the community that nurtures me with as much information that I can provide about intellectual, artistic, social, and political life in Iran. I hope these lead us to understanding and away from another war.

Second, a warm welcome to a very distinguished scholar of Persian language, literature, and culture who is joining our list from Italy. It is my pleasure to tell you about Professor Riccardo Zipoli’s  art of photography. I had always known Professor Zipoli for his literary work, now I know he is an equally accomplished photographer. With his exquisite photography, he shares images of beautiful scenery and of ordinary Iranians. Do please visit:  www.riccardozipoli.com.

Also, it is my pleasure to welcome a group of awesome women from our own community in St. Louis who are interested in learning more about Iran through these windows. A warm welcome to Barbara Eagleton, Jean Carnahan, Robin Carnahan (and about 40 more I cannot list here fully). I hope you find these windows informative and fun to read.

Rumi on NPR

Rumi (Mowlavi)

Rumi (Mowlavi), click to listen to Dr. Keshavarz discuss Rumi on NPR's program "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook.

On October 5, I was guest of NPR’ s Tom Ashbrook on the show “On Point.” My good friend Professor James Morris (Boston College), and the famous translator of Rumi Coleman Barks were also on the show. We had a great conversation on Rumi’s mysticism, personality, and poetic art. Here is the link if you like to listen:
http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2007/10/20071005_b_main.asp

The Song of the Reed

Still more on Rumi! Our celebration of his 800th birthday last Saturday in Maryland with Afghan, Tajik, Iranian, and American friends was absolutely delightful. A master Iranian flute player and a young American vocalist performed verses from Rumi’s Opus Magnum the Masnavi. This was all thanks to the vision and the hard work of Prof. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak and the Roshan Cultural Heritage Center for Persian Studies he has founded at Maryland University. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recording of that performance to share with you. But do I have another treat for you. Professor Jawid Mojaddedi of Rutgers University, who has been translating the Masnavi of Rumi into English verse, has just shared with us a pod cast of his own reading of the introduction and the first 18 verses of the book known as “The Song of the Reed.” Enjoy! and share with Rumi lovers: http://podiobooks.com/title/masnavi-one/.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s Visit to Columbia University

In the last window I promised to tell you about Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia. Since you have read a lot about this end of the trip, let me tell you a bit about the reactions in Iran.

The initial reactions to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit, and the insulting remarks by the President of Columbia University, was a statement of support issued by the Iranian university presidents in which Dr. Bollinger’s remarks were condemned. Ironically, this rare expression of support for Mr. Ahmadinejad by the Iranian university community is practically a gift from Dr. Bollinger. [Please click on the video below to see Dr. Bollinger’s insulting introduction. His remarks begin about 4:30 into the video].

In response to Dr. Bollinger’s suggestion that American academics would not be permitted to speak freely in Iran, five Iranian Universities have issued invitations to him and the Columbia faculty for unrestrained visits to the country and exchanges with Iranian students and faculty. If the initial responses in the U.S. are any
indication, the invitations will not be taken seriously. Iranian bloggers engaged in extensive and interesting debates about the pros and cons of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University. While most debaters felt frustrated by the remarks of the Columbia President, the debates did not lend full support to the Iranian President either.

Ahmadinejad heckled by students at Tehran University.

Student protesters heckled Ahmadinejad at Tehran University. The banner reads "Why speak at Columbia? We have questions for you here!"

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s Visit to Tehran University

The sympathy expressed for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s mistreatment at Columbia does not seem to have lasted very long. His visit to Tehran University yesterday met with protests from more than a 100 students who criticized him for his lack of openness to criticism from the Iranian academic community. While the Iranian president spoke to a selected group of students inside the hall,  riot police prevented the demonstrators from entering. Later, his car had to avoid the crowd and leave through the back door.  The students’ banners read “Free the jailed students.” I have attached the picture of one banner that reads “Why Speak in Columbia. We have questions for you here!” Here is an NY Times piece sent to me by Matt Miller on the student response to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit to Tehran University: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/world/middleeast/09iran.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

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Iraq Will Have to Wait

The anxiety concerning the possibility of a military attack on Iran
continues inside and outside Iran:

The Iraqi President Jalal Talebani objected to the arrest by the American forces of an Iranian in Kurdistan saying “I express to you our outrage for these American forces arresting this Iranian civil official visitor without informing or cooperating with the government of the Kurdistan region, which means insult and disregard for its rights.” He called for “his release immediately in the interest of the Iraq Kurdistan region and the Iranian-Iraqi relations.” This is not the first instance of an Iraqi official expressing support for Iranians. You will find the full article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/09/22/talabani.letter/index.html

In a disturbing piece, in Truthdig, Scott Ritter discusses the fact that our full attention to Iraq may distract us from the fact that a more serious situation is brewing with Iran. He writes: ” Here’s the danger: While the antiwar movement focuses its limited resources on trying to leverage real congressional opposition to the war in Iraq, which simply will not happen before the 2008 election, the Bush administration and its Democratic opponents will outflank the antiwar movement on the issue of Iran, pushing forward an aggressive agenda in the face of light or nonexistent opposition.”

Of the two problems (Iraq and the potential case of Iran), Ritter suggests, Iran is by far the more important.  “The war in Iraq isn’t going to expand tenfold overnight.  By simply doing nothing, the Democrats can rest assured that Bush’s bad policy will simply keep failing.  War with Iran, on the other hand, can still be prevented. We are talking about the potential for conflict at this time, not the reality of war.  But time is not on the side of peace.” Thanks to Paul Appell for this article which you can read the rest at:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070927_ritter_stop_iran_war/

Seymour Hersh’s recent article in the New Yorker is not reassuring either: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/10/08/071008fa_fact_hersh (thanks to Amir Amini for sharing this article).

Reading “Guernica” in Tehran

Jahanshir Golchin has shared this interesting article by an American woman married to an Iranian and writing from Tehran: Rosa Schmidt Azadi. What adds to the complexity of Rosa’s perspective is that this long time activist anthropologist who has traveled between Tehran and New York for many years, witnessed the falling of the twin towers: http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_rosa_sch_070924_reading__22guernica_22_i.htm.

Iranian Women Golfers Earn Second place

Iranian woman golfer.

An Iranian women's golf team placed second at the Ninth International Women's Golf Tournament in Cyprus.

Iranian women golfers acquired the second place in the ninth international women’s golf competition in Cyprus: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article654.

Iranian painter Niloufar Ghaderinejad (please click on the link on the right for more of her paintings).

Iranian painter Niloufar Ghaderinejad.

Visual Delight

To close window 41, I would like to share with you the painting of Niloufar Ghaderinejad, a painter with a style of her own. Ms. Ghaderinejad, who has had 35 national exhibits in Tehran and other Iranian cities was selected this week by a prominent gallery as artist of the season. To see a slide show of her most recent exhibit, click here: Niloufar Ghaderinejad Paintings.

Until the next window, I wish you a very pleasant week.

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Best,
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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Does it seem weird to open a post with a picture of a bookstore in Iran? Yes, it probably does. But according to the Sunday Times article critiqued below bookstores DO NOT exist in Iran, so I thought it might important to show you a few!

Does it seem weird to open a post with a picture of a bookstore in Iran? Yes, it probably does. But according to a recent Sunday Times article (critiqued below) bookstores DO NOT exist in Iran, so I thought it might be important to show you that they DO indeed exist! And they are actually quite popular too!

Dear All,

I hope you are enjoying the summer. As you were busy reading the previous window, I was traveling some more, this time to Chicago for a workshop and a book signing. Let me welcome you to window 31 without further ado:

The two-day conference in Chicago was dedicated mostly discussing the subject of Sufism (the Islamic mystical tradition) with a number of fine scholars working on Iran and other parts of the Muslim world.
Quite a few of these American friends/colleagues travel to the region regularly. The subject of an article published in Sunday Times a day before the conference inserted a sad note into our otherwise happy discussions. The article called “Seeking Signs of Literary Life in Iran” made incredible claims such as: bookstores do not really exist in Iran, or the books Iranians read are good to be discussed only with their therapists!

Before I proceed with a brief critique of the Sunday Times article, please go ahead and click here (Bookstores in Iran) to see a few recent pictures of actual bookstores in Iran (yes, they exist).

Not only are there many bookstores in Iran, but the Tehran International Book Fair is extraordinarily popular too!

Not only are there many bookstores in Iran, but there are book fairs too! The annual Tehran International Book Fair is extraordinarily popular. This picture is from the 2006 Tehran International Book Fair.

Sunday Times Article on Iranian Bookstores, Books and Readers

On May 27, Sunday Times published and article called “Seeking Signs
of Literary Life in Iran” by Azaseh Moaveni regarding books,
bookstores and readers in present day Iran. the article presents an
exaggerated and inaccurate perspective. The author suggests that in
present day Iran “bookstores do not exist at such,” and what Iranians
read do not “lend themselves to discussion except with a therapist.”
She goes on to say that after the 1979 revolution Iranian women have
no “social clubs or culture centers to frequent” and that due to
censorship, characters in translation of Western novels sip dough (an
Iranian yogurt soda) instead of whisky. Unfortunately, I can’t tell
you that currently Iran is free of censorship. But I can say with
certainty that the statements I just quoted are simply erroneous.
Last summer, I personally visited many bookstores and purchased a good
number of books in Iran including Sharnoush Parsipour’s critically
acclaimed Persian novel Tuba and The Meaning of the Night and a copy
of the Persian translation of The Da Vinci Code, which I found to be
very popular with Iranian readership. I was fascinated with the large
window displays of bookstores for the Persian translation of the
respective autobiographies of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Hillary
Clinton’s My Life (complete with her picture on the cover) was also a
popular title. Prior to writing this window, I picked this last book
and examined it carefully to be able to give you some finer details.
This translation contains discussions of  Senator Clinton’s pro-choice
views, and her support for homosexuals in the army. It also refers to
occasions where she has drinks (other than dough) with friends.

Another Bookstore in Iran--they are everywhere!

Another Bookstore in Iran--they are everywhere!

Current Issues

* The news concerning a possible American military assault on Iran
continues to suggest different – and at times conflicting –
possibilities. In the month of May, for example, one the one hand,
Reuters has reported 9 US warships entering the Gulf in a show of
force. Following Vice President Cheney’s travel to the region, this
may be viewed as a grave new development.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070523/ts_nm/gulf_usa_ships_dc;_ylt=AjqeRVgqCQwyyrccLNzOyOus0NUE
Other reports, however, suggest strong opposition by high ranking U.S.
army officers to the idea of a military campaign against Iran
according to the Teach Peace Foundation. The reporter Gareth
Porter, who interviewed Admiral William Fallon suggests that the
Admiral has vowed that this will not happen until he is Chief of
Central Command. Let us hope, the latter report is more indicative of
the reality: http://www.teachpeace.com/june.pdf

Iranian Women Karate Players

Iranian women karate players.

Iranian women karate teammates practicing their moves.

Iranian women do use culture centers, social and sports clubs. Having been introduced to a new Iranian women’s sports web site, I decided to put together a brief slide show for you of Shirzanan, an Iranian women Karate team practicing. I am very careful though to keep these attachments very small, so as not to cause problems for your home computers. Click here for more: Iranian Women Karate Team.

Visual Delight

Before, we get to our painting exhibit of the week, I’d like to report
on the great success of the Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi. The Jury Prize in Canne film festival 2007 was awarded by Jamel Debbouze to the Persepolis, an animated adaptation of Ms. Satrapi’s graphic novel about growing up in Iran during and after the 1979 revolution.  Reygadas. http://www.persianmirror.com/Article_det.cfm?id=1467&getArticleCategory=79&getArticleSubCategory=119

Our final visual delight this week brings you the work of an Iranian
woman painter, Nasrin Dastan (b. 1968) who also studied graphic arts.
In this show, however, Ms. Dastan’s work demonstrates her masterful
use of watercolor particularly in depicting natural scenery. I have
enjoyed Ms. Dastan’s snowy days immensely. Click here: Nasrin Dastan Painting. Enjoy!

A painting of a snowy day by Nasrin Dastan (click the link above for many more of her beautiful works).

A painting of a quiet snowy day by Nasrin Dastan (click the link above for many more of her beautiful works).

Until our next window, have a great week.

Best,
Fatemeh

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

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Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran (see below for a link to many more beautiful pictures of gardens and palaces in Shiraz).

Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran (see below for a link to many more beautiful pictures of gardens and palaces in Shiraz).

Greetings to All!

Alright, I am a day late. It has been a very busy weekend. Now you know why, despite all your kind encouragement, I cannot turn this into a blog. There are simply not enough hours in the day! Anyway, here comes window number 6.

I continue to be delighted that you find these windows useful. A quick clarification. Some of you have suggested that I send out the Persian text when I attach a short poem such as the one by Farrokhzad which I sent out about two weeks ago. I have not done so because it can cause problems for those recipients who do not have the Persian software installed in their computer.

Again, please let me know if you have any missing windows. And now to our window number 6:

Current Issues:

* I wanted to start with a report related to Iran’s nuclear
technology, but something more current is the first item: reaction
to Pope’s comments. Yes, there were reactions in Iran. No, they
did not involve burning anything. Yesterday, a group of Iranian
students marched to the Vatican Embassy in Tehran carrying flowers
and a large banner that read: “We respond to the Pope’s violent
words with love.” They stood there in silence, then threw their
flowers at the building and returned. There are pictures at
Baztabs site (courtesy of my friend Mohammad Companieh)
http://www.baztab.ir/news/48459.php Scroll down to see the banner
which reads as I translated.

* The reaction of the Iranian Spiritual leader Khamenei was: “We
don’t expect much from President Bush, but such assertions from a
figure as revered as the Pope are suprising and regrettable.” He
warned, however, that the Pope’s “mistaken” judgments should not
lead to animosity between Muslims and Christians.

* And now to the issue of Iranian nuclear technology. PLEASE
publicize this recent — and important — development particularly
to those who find the news about Iran’s nuclear technology
frightening. Last week, U.N. inspectors investigating Iran’s
nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and
to a Republican congressman about a recent House committee report
on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document “outrageous
and dishonest” and offering evidence to refute its central claims.
Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee, which had issued the report about Iran’s nuclear
capabilities, said his intent was “to help increase the American
public’s understanding of Iran as a threat.”  Privately, several
intelligence officials told the Washington Post that ” the
committee report included at least a dozen claims that were either
demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/13/AR2006091302052.html?referrer=email

* On a much happier note, an Iranian American Anousheh Ansari
Co-founder and Chair Person of Prodea Systems, will be the first
Iranian-born and the first female Muslim in space. Anousheh was
born in Mashhad, Iran in 1966. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1984.
She has a masters degree in electrical engineering from George
Washington University. If you wish to read more about her, please
click on:  http://www.payvand.com/news/06/sep/1167.html

Art and Culture: A Major Contemporary Poet and Painter

* Last week I promised not to focus on women’s achievements only.
Allow me to introduce you to a master poet and painter from 20th
century Iran: Sohrab Sepehri. Celebrated as a poet of peace and a
nature mystic, Sepehri has continued to be a major influence over
the past few decades. His works have formed a popular topic for
Persian scholarly studies while staying on the best-selling list.
Take a look at his short biography and scroll down to see some
paintings:
http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/ssepehri/sohrab_sepehri.php
And visit this site to see more paintings; you will find a
delightful self-portrait:
http://www.caroun.com/Literature/Iran/Poets/SohrabSepehri/SohrabSepehriContents.html

Suggested Reading: I wrote an article in 1997 which made extensive use
of Sepehri’s writing in the journal Religion & Literature with the title
The Call to Prayer from the Cypress Tree: Modernity and Redefining the
Spiritual in Persian Poetry
.”  The essay’s title is from a well-known
long poem by Sepehri, “The Footsteps of Water.”

* And now back to women! Nazila Fathi reported in New York Times in
2005 “The number of women who have published novels has reached
370… That is 13 times as many as a decade ago, the research
showed, and is about equal to the number for men today.” No
kidding.  I would like to introduce you to one of these great
writing talents Moniru Ravanipur.  Ravanipour is imaginative,
prolific, and outspoken. Her candid writing, interviews, and
public appearances draw large groups of men and women. A native of
southern Iran, Ravanipur lived in my hometown Shiraz for a long
time. Indeed our undergraduate studies coincided in Shiraz
University; she majored in Psychology and I in literature. Click here (Moniru Ravanipur) to get a picture and a short biography of Moniru Ravanipur.

Suggested Reading: Stories from Iran: a Chicago Anthology. For
bibliographical details and a list of authors included in the book,
please visit: http://www.mage.com/authors/anthology_biography.html

Visual Delight

* Since we are closing with my hometown Shiraz, let me invite you to
a slide show of a few of the gardens that the city is famous for
and their reflection in art and architecture. Just as buildings in
Isfahan are known for their blue tile work, in Shiraz wall
decorations consist of fine mirror work (literally hundreds of
fine mirror pieces covering the interior walls to reflect the
light). Click here (Shiraz Pictures) to see.  Enjoy!

Have a good 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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