Persian or Farsi?

In recent years, there has been a growing tendency to refer to Persian as Farsi.

Persian, the term used for centuries in the West, originated in a region of southern Iran formerly known as Persis. It was the language of the Parsa, an Indo-European nomadic people who migrated into the region about 1000 BC. The older forms of the language are known as Old and Middle Persian. Old Persian was spoken until approximately the 3rd century BC and Middle Persian, or Pahlavi, was spoken from the 3rd century BC to the 9th century AD. (1)

The use of the names Persia and Persian were gradually extended by the ancient Greeks and other Western peoples to apply to the Iranian Plateau and the official language in the region respectively. New Persian is closely related to these ancient forms. Persian became the lingua franca of the region during the Islamic period. It was the official language of countries such as India for many centuries during which time numerous annals, chronicles, and court volumes of poetry were compiled outside Iran. (2)

In recent years the word Farsi, the Arabized form of Parsi, the name of the language in Persian, has become the standard word used by many English and non-English speakers to refer to modern Persian. Some Iranian authorities have actually encouraged this and have engaged in a systematic attempt to change the name of the language in the international communities to Farsi. (3)

This attempt to replace the word “Persian” with “Farsi” is not only incongruous with the history of the language but also creates confusion and misunderstanding. While the use of the word Farsi is a political statement for some Iranian authorities, for others it may indicate a lack of knowledge about the history of this language. It indicates that those who carelessly promote the use of the word Farsi are indeed engaging in an equivocal representation of this language and may not, by any means, be promoting Iranian culture.

Three main groups use the word Farsi instead of Persian while speaking English: non-Iranians who are somewhat familiar with the country and its culture; second-generation Iranians who know some Persian, and Iranians, including some officials, who do not have a sound knowledge about their culture and language.

The first two groups find it more confortable to refer to the language as Farsi and the third group finds it more politically correct to do so. In either case they do not do justice when they try to change the name of this language in English.

No matter who does it, there are three reasons why it is a mistake to refer to the Persian language as Farsi. First, it is ignoring the above historical facts about this language. It is as incorrect as calling the Persian Gulf as the Farsi Gulf. Moreover, the name Farsi is obscure and under the best conditions refers only to certain dialects .

Second, the use of word Farsi in English strikes a discordant tone to the native speaker. Imagine someone speaking in English about their recent trip to Paris saying, “I went to Paris and there I spoke Francais.” To use the word Farsi has the same impact and may sound not only pretentious at times but also destructive of English syntax.

Third, the word Persian in the mind of an English speaker, consciously or not, recalls many other historical and cultural legacies about Iran. Persian is closely associated with Persian poetry, Persian carpets, Persian cats, Persian poetry, Persian pistachios, and so on. When you refer to this language as Persian, the audience may associate it with one or more of these relevant ideas. On the contrary, the word Farsi not only voids these historical and cultural associations, but it also adds to the recent portrayal of Iran as a strange and distant society.

We should therefore avoid the use of the word Farsi instead of Persian (ou Persan en francais) because it not only violates historical fact but also some of the regularities of the language in which we speak. I believe that Persian is the true and proper name of this language in foreign tongues and international communities and changing it does not benefit the representation of Iranian culture.

1. See Ehsan Yarshater, “Zaban-i Nozohur” IrnianShenasi: A Journal of Iranian Studies, IV, I (Spring, 1992), 27-30; “Iran Ra dar Zabanha-ye Khareji Cheh Bayad Khand?” Rahavard: A Journal of Iranian Studies, V & VI, 20/21 (Summer & Fall, 1988), 70-75; and Nam-e Keshvar-e Ma Ra dar Zaban-e Engelisi Cheh Bayad Khand?” Rahavard, VIII, 29, (Spring, 1992), 22-26.
2. See Edward G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1902-4) and Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature (Dordrecht, Holland, 1968)
3.English language journals published in Iran., text books published by the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, and materials published for tourists often refer to Persian as Farsi.

Please also see:
Persian NOT Farsi by Ali Parandeh
and counterpoint:
I Speak Farsi by Sussan Tahmasebi


Freedom entails control over one’s body. The idea that the State ought to control female reproduction is therefore an odious violation of the autonomy that feminism seeks to uphold.

So how free exactly are we?

And by whose definition? Are ppl in the USA ‘more free’ then the ppl in Iran or Cuba. And by what divine right do Americans/The West get to decide who is free and who is “in-need” of “liberation”?

Most of the times, Western “liberators” tend to…(to be continued.)

Larry Flynt, 1st Amendment Freedom Fighter

Just a few quotes:

“I think the real obscenity comes from raising out youth to believe that sex is bad and ugly and dirty. And yet, it is heroic to go spill guts and blood in the most ghastly manner in the name of humanity. With all the taboos attached to sex, it’s no wonder we have the problems we have. It’s no wonder were angry and violent and genocidal. But, ask yourself the question, what is more obscene: sex or war?” [italics mine]

“Why do I have to go to jail to protect your freedom?”

And just in case you forgot:

And from the Supreme Court Case of Hustler Magazine, Inc. et al. v. Jerry Falwell

“At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. ‘The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty–and thus a good unto itself–but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.’ We [must] therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.”

Note: I am not a reader of any of Mr Flynts publications, but I have read his ’96 autobiograpy, Unseemly Man, and seen the movie The People vs. Larry Flynt; because I do believe that he has and will continue to stand up for your rights and mine. We should not let anyone (the State especially) take away or limit our 1st Amendment Freedoms.

Neither East Nor West: A Safarnameh

Safarnameh is the farsi/persian word for travelogue, or literally, travel letter.

This book was truely a wonderful safarnameh about one woman’s journey through the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the mid-90s.

Many things we westerners dont know about Iran, but this book certainly was an eye opener that helped to dispel many of the american/western misconceptions about Iran and her ppl.

It is a travelogue, but also a western window to this all too forbidden place. While Iran is still currently on the No American Travel list at the state dept, I would certainly like to go. More then Cuba? Perhaps.

Join me?

Currently reading: Neither East Nor West : One Woman’s Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran By Christiane Bird

Pucker up, butter cup…

Pass the breath mints, please! It is time to talk about philematology – you may know it better as kissing. While kissing is a loving act and feels ph-so-good, it has a whole spectrum of health benefits.

Kissing is good for the soul. The rush often felt from kissing comes from two natural stimulants: dopamine and norepinephrine, which can make us go from stressed-out to relaxed. The effects of kissing can also be likened to the calming effects of meditation.

Kissing is even good for the skin! A French kiss can exercise all the underlying muscles in the face, which some say could keep you looking younger and happier. And we all know the benefits of massage, so grab someone and massage a much ignored part of the face, the lips!

Birds do it, bees do it…whether it’s a friendly kiss or a serious session of mouth-to-mouth, why not engage in your own philematology session?

The science of kissing is called philematology.

A one-minute kiss burns 26 calories! A long kiss makes the metabolism burn sugar faster than usual.

A little pucker uses just two muscles around the lips. A passionate kiss (think Diego Luna!) uses all 34 facial muscles.

When we kiss, our hearts beat faster and our breathing becomes deep and irregular, mimicking the response of intense exercise. So if done right, kissing can be considered a great cardiovascular workout! At the same time it’s a terrific tension reliever. You shut out the world, you close your eyes and you’re almost smiling.

One theory says that social kissing originated with medieval knights as a way to find out if their wives had been drinking while they were away fighting.

The average person will spend an estimated two weeks of their lives kissing!

Ancient Egyptians kissed with their noses. Eskimos, Polynesians and Malaysians still do.

The longest documented kiss is 29 hours by contestants in 1998 in New York.

Our brains have special neurons than help us find each other’s lips in the dark.

Kissing signals our brain to produce oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel good. It’s a scientific fact that biology causes one kiss to prompt another!

Science of Kissing
Do You Practice Philematology?

A few notes and quotes from "Dreams of Trespass"

Mostly regarding islamic feminism and women’s rights in general.

From Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood By Fatima Mernissi

– Regarding those “women who [ally] themselves with men [and their msgynist philosophies] as being responsible for women’s suffering…these women are more dangerous then men…because physically they look just like [other women]…but they are really wolves posing as sheep”

– “[Fate] and happiness…how to escape the first and pursue the second…[women’s] solidarity, many [agree is] key to both”

-“[The] problem with [(most) arabic/islamic] women today [in the middle east and N.Africa] is that they are powerless…[and] powerlessness stems from ignorance, and a lack of education”.

– The main thing for the powerless is to have a dream…[true], a dream alone, without the bargaining power to go with it, does not transform the world or make the walls vanish, but it does help you keep ahold of dignity.”

Dignity is to have a dream, a strong one, which gives you a vision, a world
where you have a place, where whatever it is you have to contribute makes a

You are in a harem[restricted/controlled] when the world does not [think it needs] you.

You are in a harem when what you can contribute does not [seem to] make a difference.

You are in a harem when what you do [men think] is useless.

You are in a harem when the planet swirls around, with you buried up to your neck in scorn and neglect.

Only one person can change that situation and make the planet go around the other way, and that is you[emphasis mine].

If you stand up against scorn, and dream of a different world, the planet’s direction will be altered.

But what you need to avoid at all costs, is to let the scorn around you get inside.

When a woman starts thinking she is nothing, the little sparrows cry.

Who can defend [those sparrows] on the terrace, if no one has the vision of a world without slingshots?

Mothers should tell [their] little girls…about the importance of dreams [and hope]…[they] give a sense of direction…you need to have a vision. [Can] you distinguish amoung all the wishes, the cravings which beseiged you, and find the one on which you ought to focus, the important dream which [gives] you vision? [The] key dream [will] emerge and bloom within, and then, from the intense pleasure it [gives to] you, you [will] know that it [is a] genuine little treasure which [will] give you direction and light…[you’ll] be able to transform people [from these dreams of freedom].

– “[Gender seperation] creates an enormous gap in understanding. ‘Men do not understand women…and women do not understand men…[the] cosmic frontier indicates the line of power, because wherever threre is a frontier, there are two kinds of creatures walking on [this] earth, the powerful on one side and the powerless on the other” Where do you stand? “If you cant get out [are restrained, held back due to your sex] you are on the powerless side” Is that where you want to be? Do the “impossible”, stand up for yourself and for those who cannot stand up for themselves. It is your right. Make it happen!

Regarding the Mahamantra and Menstration

The other day I was teaching a wonderful young girl from the 10th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, about the life and pasttimes of Lord Krsna, and was testing her about her knowledge of sankirtaning the harinam aka the mahamantra.

When asked to chant the mantra, she did refuse, upon further questioning, it came out the she had been told that she is not allowed to chant the harinam when she is in the bleeding-out phase of her menses.

I told her that to my knowledge this was not correct practice, but I would indeed research it for her.

I spoke with a vedic authority, of the Caitanya Vaisnavism line of our Hindu faith and was answered this way: “No .. this is not true .. chanting can be done at any time , under any circumstances” So says I ” that is what i told her, so do you think that this is just a popular misconception masking as popular practice…[and] what would be a good sastric verse to quote to get her to [understand?] ” Yes .. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says in the Shikshatakam: “niyamitah smarane na kalah” … There are no hard and fast rules for chanting”

So there we go, for Caitanya vaisnavs there is not this restriction. I personally believe it is a popular practice that has grown from popular belive, but is indeed errant and not sastrically sound.

While many faiths do have a sort of distaste, if you will, for menstrating women, believing that women become ritually impure from their menstation, I beleive that is an imposistion brought upon women by men to again, control them in everypart of their lives. Now these men think they can tell women even how to pray and serve their God?

Women are women and will remain as such. You are just as beautiful, smart, and talented during your ‘off weeks’ as during your red days. Love and be strong in your faith at all times, and do not restrict yourselves from God during your bleeding period. Menstrual flow is a cleansing gift from God, not a punishment. Your womb, during this time is preping itself to bring another divine gift into the world. What could be more worth your prayers?

Do not let this foul, misgynistic, Judeo-christian belief of womanly impurity influence our Indian culture and our faith.

Dear ladies, as always continue to pray without ceasing…


NiteSpa in Daily Candy

July 8, 2005
Dialing Under the Influence

Late-night urges are the worst.Keebler binges. Infomercial-fueled shopping sprees. And, of course, the highly unsuitable booty call.

Next time you find yourself wanting to drink and dial, think about giving Nitespa a ring.

The beach bungalow spa is open from noon until midnight seven days a week. Kitted out with vintage furniture and sweet pink, vanilla, and chocolate brown hues, the space is cozy and Neapolitan. Treatments include massages, facials, nails, waxing, and makeup application. Services are by appointment, as are private parties (the in-house DJ really comes in handy).

All perfect for catering to the nocturnal beauty needs of busy bees, latey birds, and anyone who wants a little after-dark TLC.

The kind you won’t regret the morning after.
Nitespa, 1301 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, at Santa Clara Court, Venice (310-396-5122 or