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Norouz Mobarak!
Iranian Culture Club celebrates New Year,
raises funds for homeland

Mirkarimi calls on Bush to resign

Dancers Sepedeh Cigarchi, Shadee Amirkiae, Kimia Mohammadi and Nikki Ghadera
from the Niosha Dance Academy perform a traditional Persian dance set at San Francisco State University, Friday, in celebration of the upcoming Iranian New Year (1386).
The Iranian New Year coincides with the spring equinox on March 21.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

March 11, 2007

Members of San Francisco's Iranian community attended a celebration of the Iranian New Year, Friday, at San Francisco State University. The event, organized by the Iranian Culture Club, was held to help promote knowledge about the most celebrated of all Iranian holidays, Norouz, and to help raise funds for those in need in Iran.

The evening's event lineup included traditional Persian dance, music, poetry recitals, and a virtuoso solo violin performance by 10-year old Shawyon Afshar Ritter.

Shawyon Afshar Ritter, 10, completes a repertoire of violin solos including 'If I were a rich man' from Fiddler on the Roof. Ritter has been playing the violin for two years.

Pourya Khademi (violin), Neema Hekmat (santour), Shirzad Sharif (tombak) and Shadee Vaezzadeh (vocals) perform a unique arrangement of persian music to coincide with Norouz and the arrival of spring.

Mojan Nooroozi plays the nay flute during a poetry recital. One of the principle instruments of traditional Persian music, the nay flute has a range of two and a half octaves.

Mohammad Ebrahimi recites poetry from Persian poet Hafez

Faculty advisor to the Iranian Culture Club, Dr. Elahe Enssani, a trained operatic soprano, kicked off the culturally rich proceedings singing the unofficial Iranian national anthem.

Dr. Elahe Enssani

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, the first Iranian-American to be elected to office in San Francisco, and the event keynote speaker, used the speaking opportunity to reflect on current hostilities between the United States and Iran over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Mirkarimi said of the standoff: "In this time it could not be more of an opportunistic time as news reports on the adverse relations between Iran and the United States, between two presidents - you might disagree with me but I don't support at all - and the likelyhood that as long as these two presidents and the geopolitical outlook continues to drive what I think is certainly the most negative of foreign relations, that I am more convinced that with the creativity and the wherewithall, and just the innovative way that I know that the Persian people can demonstrate in the warmth that has exuded for generations between Iranian people and the people in this country who have Iranian heritiage, with the people of Iran itself, shall become now the front line leaders in forging a citizen's diplomacy in the same way that was forged during the cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

"I think the the decision making policies of our federal representatives - that if they're going to syphon dollars away for the kind of illegal or misguided direction, such as the war in Iraq, or impending hositilities with Iran - then it would be derelict of my duty to not step up to the plate and say that 'I need those dollars for the unmet needs here at home.'

"I also believe that, as a local legislator, it might seem a far reach to anybody to hear somebody who is really a lowly elected official - in the scheme of things in the State of California - to be talking like this.

"I think the Iranian community is more than just a sleeping giant, but one that is about to awaken."

Asked if he had a personal message to send to President Bush, Mirkarimi told Fog City: "It's time for you [Bush] to resign."




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