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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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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.
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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
===================================
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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