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  1. World Travel: What Countries have you visited

    Australia Austria Belgium Benin Burkina Faso France Ghana Hungary Indonesia Iran Ireland (home) Italy Lithuania Malaysia Mali Mauritania Netherlands New Zealand Niger Senegal Singapore Spain Switzerland Togo UK USA I want to go back to Iran and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Oman are high on my wish list.
  2. Where is your novel?

    I've never tried to write a novel but I think it is hard, particularly if you want to write a good one with consistent voices, narrative etc. Getting it published is not easy though. A friend of mine has written several novels without any indication from publishers that they've read even a word of the manuscripts he sent to them.
  3. This is a debatable point, at least. There are scientific reports that state the opposite - that ejaculating (whether solo or in company) is good for fertility, helps avoid premature ejaculating, helps you sleep, possibly helps reduce risk of prostate cancer. Obviously if your reasons for avoiding it are religious then these are not relevant considerations.
  4. Question about languages in Iran

    What about Dari? I've read that it is something like an older form of Farsi than is spoken in Iran at present. Is the difference mainly apparent when it is spoken? I have exchanged some written messages with Afghans online and their written responses seem like normal Farsi to me. Admittedly, my Farsi is very weak.
  5. Tips on learning Farsi

    Forvo is good for finding out how to pronounce words you might encounter in your reading https://forvo.com/languages/fa/
  6. The Big Gay Iftar

    A mosque in Dublin invited gay people to iftar last year https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/lgbt-people-invited-to-muslim-community-meal-in-dublin-1.2702802 I guess these are probably sunni muslims at this mosque, I don't know if there is much difference between sunni or shia attitudes to this matter. Some muslims were not happy about this dinner and I think some gay people were not happy when they found out that the Imam had not changed his views about homosexuality after all https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/muslim-leader-criticised-over-insulting-invite-to-gay-people-1.2707041 As a gay non-muslim I thought it was a nice move. We have to live in society together so we might as well be civil about it.
  7. What to do in Iran

    I was worrying too much. Such a beautiful country and such nice people.
  8. PressTV?

    Do you guys read AL Monitor and if so what is your opinion of it? I like it because it seems to be reasonably unbiased and concise but I have no way of judging the quality of the information it provides.
  9. What to do in Iran

    I'm going on a trip to Iran soon and I am really excited. I started learning the Persian language a couple of years ago and I think it's time to go and give it a try out. I hope my question is not inappropriate but it is a what-to-do-in-iran question. I have noticed in online language exchanges that the topic of family and children is very popular and often a starting point for a friendly chat. That's fine and I like to hear about peoples lives but I am gay with no wife or family. This is not a subject I'd generally bring up in conversation myself and online it's usually easy enough to deflect the conversation away from myself but I'm worried this might be more difficult in person. How should I deal with these questions in Iran? e.g. You are that age and you are not married?!! Why?! Would you not like a family? Don't you like children? Normally I'd be up front and just say it, it's the simplest solution but maybe it's not safe to do so in Iran? I prefer to be honest in conversation but I also want to have a nice trip and return home in one piece. Am I worrying too much?!
  10. What makes you think that homosexuality is contagious?
  11. Don't get us started! I did know about this, although I think it was more the case that the people with the power and the money did what they liked with anyone within their range who couldn't defend themselves and this included English prisoners and poor people. Off to the colonies and wars they went. Oh the men are getting restless are they? Lets round up some women from Ireland and wherever else and ship them out too. I read about this in a book called Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean by B.R. Burg. Apparently there were ships of gay pirates sailing the high seas back then although the information in this in the book is mostly speculative and the social history relating to the treatment of people onshore is more interesting. The history of arabs raiding the irish coast for slaves is not unknown here either but the general response is along the lines of "Isn't that curious! The Arabs!". If they had been Brits there would probably be more outrage.
  12. If you live in a country with several religions (and that is probably every country) then you can't fairly have a legal system that just implements the law according to the dominant religion (unless your saudi arabia maybe... without the fairness...). The alternative is a secular system tries to find the common ground and to limit the harm that individuals can do to others where the common ground can't be found. I'm an atheist, I don't like incest and I can see legitimate reason for the law to prevent incestuous relations that will result in inbreeding because it will/may lead to harm for the offspring. If an infertile brother and sister, or two brothers, want to do it then I don't see an what basis I can step in and forbid or prevent it. Religion perhaps allows you to step in and punish them but for me this is just a way of outsourcing difficult moral questions. I have no evidence for the following observation but it seems to me that the taboo against incest has become stronger than ever in the west as it has become more secular. It is no longer cool to marry your cousin here and it used to be quite acceptable.
  13. The fasad in Iran

    Is it true to say that the balance of power in Iran is fairly balanced according to the numbers of people who want this or that change and those who don't want change. As in any entrenched system I'd imagine that the balance of power must become unfairly loaded towards maintaining things as they are. Is this not also true in Iran? Since I started learning persian recently I have made quite a few Iranian language exchange partners and it has been interesting to go a bit beyond the usual media level of coverage and find such nice friendly people (which I never doubted there would be anyway...) but more of them are unhappy with the general state of affairs than are content and they are afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions. The impression I get is that the discontent is nothing to do with Islam or faith but more to do with abuse of power. That's just an outsider observation, I'm not trying to have a go at the place, I have a mad crush on Iran at the moment.
  14. I already said he can say what he likes, as he should be able to. I just expressed a simple opinion on what I see as the likely reception of his letter among its target audience. Of course I might be completely wrong.