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Posts Tagged ‘Nowruz’

Dear All,

Greetings! This is the first day of spring! Happy Spring to you all and Happy Nowruz to those who were awaiting the arrival of the Persian New Year 1391 (no kidding). “Nowruz” refers literally to a new day and metaphorically the beginning of a new time, a new stage in life of nature of which we human beings are an important part. The Iranian calendar is a solar calendar celebrating seasonal change. In this cosmology which is based on Zoroastrian belief, light and darkness are engaged in a continuous struggle which unfolds inside all manifestations of nature. The role of us human beings is to help light to overcome darkness by spreading “good words, good deeds, and good thoughts” گفتار نیک، کردار نیک، پندارنیک. And by preventing the destruction and pollution of nature. Ancient Iranians considered it a spiritual duty to plant a tree!

How Do Iranians celebrate Nowruz?

First, they clean the house thoroughly. In fact there is a Persian word for especial Nowruz cleaning called “shaking the house” خانه تکانی. You shake the house clean! Then a special table is set with seven items on it all carrying names that begin with letter “seen” or “S” in English. That is why the table is called the haft seen, literally “the seven seens.” All the items on the table are natural, nourishing, or somehow related to life (things like, apples, flowers, sprouted wheat, etc.) The haft seen table is usually decorated beautifully. It is your chance to share your artistic creativity with friends and relatives who visit you to say Happy New Year! Take a look at a few:

Sending Nowruz Cards

One thing that Iranians at home, and all over the world, do at Nowruz is sending each other Happy Nowruz cards. While there is a whole industry of creating such cards – electronic and otherwise – for sale, many people create their own cards. My lovely friends Zari and Reza do that by combining two verses of the great Iranian poet Hafiz of Shiraz (1325-1390) with their own art of design and calligraphy. I just got their card for this year:

The poem reads "All the grace and glory that the autumn had brought // has fallen at the feet of the spring breeze. Thank God! flowers are wearing their lucky hats again // Wintery winds and bare brunches are about to leave us too!

Who Gave Iranians A Great Eidi This Year?

First, you need to know that Eidi عیدی in Persian means a special gift given on the occasion of an Eid, a day of celebration  (in this case the Eid is Nowruz). That is to say, people give each other gifts. This year, a great Eidi for Iranians came from an Israeli, yes Israeli, couple. Last Saturday night, an Israeli couple – two graphic designers named Ronnie Edri and Michal Tamir– decided to cut across the growing anxiety and fear over the possibility of an Israel-Iran war, and address Iranian citizens directly. They created a slogan you can impose over your profile picture or any picture of your choice. Many of the first responses they got were cynical ones. But more and more Israelis took up the call in earnest.

First things first: “Ronnie and Michal! We love you too! And we love the peace loving people of Israel! You had the courage to cut through the cynicism and fear-mongering of politics and reached out to the people of Iran! Some people will tell you, this will amount to nothing. Don’t believe them, this is a changed world and it needs people like you! In last year’s anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, when the officials guided the crowds to say “Down with Israel!”people responded with “Down with China and Russia!” Not that they hate the Chinese or the Russian people. But they were saying, we have nothing against Israeli people. What we really dislike is the policy of these two superpowers who back dictators. Now with the aid of technology, people of the world can speak to each other! Here is the logo that Ronnie and Michal created:

The logo that Ronnie and Michal created. It has already got loving responses from Iranian who are able to access the logo.

Here is a young Israeli mom adopting the logo. Just think how many misunderstandings and fearful thoughts will be demolished with the power these two smiles. Let us get these smiles viral on the web. Please, please, please, share them:

All I can say is that Iranian people love you too! They would not want the slightest harm to come to you.

I can’t believe this, I have tears in my eyes! It is almost shocking how no one thought of doing this before! Thank you Ronnie and Michal. Let us make a promise to each other on this Nowruz occasion. We will stand together for peace, not just between Iran and Israel, but everywhere in the world and won’t let anyone make us think this is naive. For all of you out there reading these words, please visit here, and on Iranian.com here to see who else adopted the logo.  Of course, in Iran you must respond to an Eidi with an Eidi which brings me to my thank you gift to Ronnie, Michal and the people  of Israel: a beatiful wedding picture of an Iranian Jewish couple and their relatives celebrating their union in Tehran’s historic synagogue:

A young couple get married in Tehran synagog in 2007. The Jews of Iran are an ancient and proud people who continue to worship and perform their ceremonies in this and other synagogues to this day

And a Happy and humorous Nowruz song by the Iranian band Ajam to cap it all:

We Will Not Forget!

In all the Nowruz festivity and Eidi exchange, let us not forget those who cannot celebrate Nowruz in Iran because they are too poor:

A Happier and better Nowruz to children of poor families selling flowers for Nowruz festivities on streets of Tehran and other cities

An injustice which is distributed without gender discrimination:

We wish you a happier and more promising Nowruz!

And to political prisoners who have committed no crimes and whose charge is spreading “propaganda” against the Islamic Republic. Their families will have to spend the Nowruz with their pictures:

Lawyer and Women's Rights activists, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 11 years in Jail for spreading so-called propaganda against the government. Her family will have to celebrate Nowruz without her.

Let us close this window with a beautiful painting by Sanaz Dezfoulian born in 1983 in Tehran pictured here.

And below, I post one of Sanaz’s most recent creations, a bedroom.  Acrylic on canvas, the work was a  part of her art show in 2010 in Tehran

Have a great Nowruz wherever you are! Let us keep our messages of peace to each other going. Happy 1391 to you and yours!

Best,

Fatemeh

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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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Windows on Iran 24

Esfahan (or Isfahan) (above), click on the link at the end of this 'Window' to see many more stunningly beautiful pictures of the city of Esfahan, its gardens, and historical sites.

Esfahan (or Isfahan) (above), click on the link at the end of this 'Window on Iran' to see many more stunningly beautiful pictures of the city of Esfahan, its gardens, and historical sites.

Dear All,

I hope you are well. Window number 24 on Iran comes with a bit of
delay. End of March is the busiest time in the semester. Departmental
responsibilites are growing. Teaching is going on full force. Now, add
public speaking and local outreach. In other words, all is well!

I wish I could say the same for the current news about Iran:

* On Saturday March 27, U. N. Security Council passed its Resolution
1747.  In this resolution, the Security Council builds on its previous
decision to impose sanctions on Tehran by banning exports from Iran
and imposing a freeze on the financial assets of 28 individuals and
entities. After lengthy negotiations, the text takes into account some
of the concerns expressed by South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar, such
as the acknowledgment that all parties to the NPT, including Iran,
have a right to peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The resolution
also includes mechanisms for future negotiation with Iran and
reference to a nuclear-free Middle East. The mood inside Iran is
anxious.

* American mainstream media keeps alive the possibility of an Iranian
“role” in American casualities through roadside bombs in Iraq. Today’s
NY Times (March 27) has an entire page devoted to it, complete with
technical details and images. Buried inside the article are
significant pieces of information that undermine the whole claim:
“most bombing attacks and most American deaths have been caused by
less sophisticated devices favored by Sunni insurgents, not Shiite
militias linked to Iran.” Further down, unnamed experts on military
matters are quoted to the effect that “the weapons could be made in
Iraq.” The article also has hints about some Iranians being positively
” involved in economic and social programs in Iraq.” There is a tiny
refence to the possibility that “other countries in the region, too,
were supplying insurgents in Iraq” and the fact that the current U.S.
administration might be “using the E.F.P. issue to distract attention
from the difficulties in Iraq.”  Alas, what the general readership
will see, yet again, is an image of a “hostile and dangerous” Iran. I
wonder how many will remember, as they read, that we live in the
western hemisphere that owns the biggest military industrial complex
in the world and supplies many countries with weapons.

Come See Us Perform!

Because we must nurture the possibilities of peace which live in our
persons, my friend Dr. Alice Bloch and I have prepared an hour of
dance and reading (I read, Alice is a great dancer) which we will
perform this coming Thursday night, March 29, at 7:30 at the Central
Reform Congregation in St. Louis. It is a two woman (one Muslim, one
Jewish) celebration of friendship, love for peace, and resistance to
aggression of all kinds. If you are in the vicinity of St. Louis, stop
by to see us perform!

"Happy Nowrouz," a beautiful piece of calligraphy by Reza Tanha.

"Happy Nowrouz," a beautiful piece of calligraphy by Reza Tanha.

Visual Delight

* If you thought exquisite Persian calligraphy was a thing of the past, think again! Here is one (right) from master calligrapher currently living in Japan, Reza Tanha. Thanks Reza Jan! I hope you don’t mind me sharing this treasure with a few thousand friends! I mentioned last week Iranians send around very interesting Nowruz greeting cards wishing each other a Happy New Year. Since you just viewed one with exquisite calligraphy, I thought to include one with miniature painting. Below is a Nowruz card with a miniture painting from the most important Persian epic Shahnameh, “The Book of Kings,” composed in 10th century CE. The manuscript illustration that you see was done in the 17th century.

Nowrouz Card with image from Shahnameh (Book of Kings).

Nowrouz Card with a miniature painting from Shahnameh (Book of Kings).

* In the last window, I sent you the link to an excellent critique of
the movie ‘300’ that demonizes the ancient Iranian civilization. The
link does not seem to have worked, sorry. Here it is again:
http://www.iranian.com/Daryaee/2007/March/300/index.html

* Talking about Persian art, here is very interesting information about
the advance knowledge of math by Iranian architects:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070223/sc_nm/architecture_patterns_dc&printer=1;_ylt=AtoYENMhwvtwKSYZKfww5IgiANEAPart

Ahmad Shamlu, one of the greatest Iranian/Persian poets of the twentieth century.

Ahmad Shamlu, one of the greatest Iranian/Persian poets of the twentieth century.

* One of the great poets of twentieth century Iran, Ahmad Shamlu, spent a year at Berkeley, California a number of years ago. He wrote a Safarnameh “travel account” in Persian a part of which has been recorded on tape. Here is the link to a recording in Shamlu’s own voice (for those of you who know Persian):
http://www.peiknet.com/1385/hafteh/01esfand/page/38shamlu.htm

More Visual Delight

Instead of our regular painting exhibit which usually end these windows, I would like to give you a VERY beautiful new slide show of Isfahan. Click here (Isfahan Pictures) for a wonderful series of images from the historic city of Isfahan in Iran, courtesy of my wonderful cousin Abe Massoudi. I tried to get the slides to rotate (unsuccessfully). You can right click on each slide to move forward. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful rest of the 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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