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May-04-2010 01:23printcomments

In Praise of 'Salem News'

I want to praise Salem News, which I trust represents the values of a "salem" news outlet. Writer Kourosh Ziabari Writer Kourosh Ziabari

(TEHRAN) - It was an unanticipated incident, becoming acquainted with Salem-News. I simply figured out one day that one of my articles has been published on a Website whose name sounds strangely unfamiliar yet significantly meaningful to me.

Consequently, I received an email from the website's editor who cordially called me "brother" and lauded my piece enthusiastically. It was a delightful experience that I can't erase from memory. He called me brother and told me that we may further expand our cooperation in the future.

It struck me that Salem-News is probably an American news outlet, associated with one of the Islamic organizations in the United States. The world "salem" means purified, healthy and uncontaminated in Persian and Arabic (two major languages of the Islamic world) who use the same script and that was why I principally assumed Salem-News as a website belonging to an Islamic organization which endeavors to promote mutual understanding between the American nation and the country's Muslim minority.

What highlighted my assumption was the fact that recognizing my nationality, Tim had called me "brother", a verbal tradition among the Muslims, and I nearly came to the conclusion that Salem-News is an Islamic cultural news outlet; however, Tim's name puzzled me modestly. As an Islamic news outlet, why wouldn't the editor have an Islamic (Persian or Arabic) name? Then I justified for myself that the website's editor is an American Muslim who hasn't changed his name - and preferred to keep his American name, but at the same time being a Muslim.

Tim King, founder of

It was quite remarkable for me to cooperate with Tim and his news Website. A few days went by and we kept on working closely until one day, while surfing the web, I came across a political news Website whose address contained the name of Oregon. It grabbed my attention; entering the Website, I found out, to my utmost surprise, that Salem is the capital of U.S. state of Oregon and the county seat of Marion County.

Having lived with the sweet assumption of cooperating with a U.S.-based Islamic website for a few days, discovering that this is a mainstream US news site was absolutely unbelievable and shocking for me.

As an Iranian Muslim, I always liked to cooperate with Islamic organizations abroad and disseminate the message of peace and friendship from my country through their outlet. I have always thought of my homeland, Iran, as a defenseless nation like the nation of Palestine. Palestinians have been under the military oppression and domination of Israeli forces for so long and the international community, even to infinitesimal extent, has paid attention to them and their pains. Similarly, my country has been under oppression and pressure; not a military one, rather a psychological warfare, and the international community hasn't ever come to the help of my country, but it has added salt to the injuries of Iranian people.

Iran looks for independence, right of self-determination, non-alignment to hegemonic superpowers and opposition to injustice and inequality. The 7500-year-old civilization of Iran is matchless in the world. The frontiers of Iran would span from China to Egypt in the age of Achaemenid Dynasty. Iranians are the people of poetry, architecture, literature, painting and sculpture. When the Greeks would assign a separate deity to each natural phenomenon, Iranians would worship the unique God. Iran has been, and still is, the land of Khayyam, Rhazes, Rumi, Avicenna, Rudaki and Cyrus the Great. Iran is the land of peace and courtesy.

When the Danish newspaper insulted the Prophet of Islam by running those disgusting cartoons, the Iranian artists held an exhibition of artistic paintings dedicated to Jesus the Christ. When the tiny Arab state of UAE cited territorial claims against Iran and called my country an "occupier", the officials in Tehran never reiterated that the today's country of Bahrain was the 14th province of Iran until 1971 and should be appended to Iran's soil once again, rather, the middle-ranking officials of the Foreign Ministry advised the UAE officials in a brotherly manner that they had better take care of their literature.

Salem, Salaam, Shalom, and peace: several words and a single meaning

Since I figured out that Salem-News is not an Islamic organization Website, I submitted several articles and interviews, all of which have been published and received by the readers universally.

I always refrain from writing in a way that could potentially portray me as a biased, unconscious, jingoist or predisposed journalist. I only try to shed a light on the unseen side of story, regardless of the location, time, quality or quantity of what I'm writing about. I only search to find the truth and share it with those who I believe understand the sense of right and wrong responsibly.

My articles have been rejected by a number of media outlets and newspapers on grounds of having grammatical errors, being written poorly, being out of context, being irrelevant, being outdated or simply being out of the runners' interest. I'm not in the position to judge the quality of my work and the correctness of my writing as a non-native writer of English; however, I do believe that truth is too precious and invaluable to be rejected on the basis of being stated erroneously in terms of grammar or writing style.

I want to praise Salem-News, which I trust represents the values of a "salem" news outlet, and not simply for running my articles and giving me an opportunity to defend my country against the spates of psychological warfare from the East and West.

I want to praise Salem-News, not simply for enhancing my portfolio by enabling me get published in an American Website which has numerous readers. I want to praise for what it is, and what it does. Salem-News publishes things which the other media outlets even simply don't dare think about.

I want to praise Salem-News for being a podium of justice and truth. I've acquired the exceptional feeling that Salem-News "comprehends" what it publishes. Salem-News sympathizes with the defenseless, with the ones who are exposed to relentless spates of demonization. Salem-News is ready to help the subjects of black propaganda defend themselves effectually. Salem-News does not care about being banned or rejected for its audacity to give the "uncalled guests" opportunity to speak about.

Washington Post, Guardian, New York Times or Associated Press will never on earth publish any of my writings, but seeing a single line of my article published in Salem News is worth hundreds of articles in the Washington Post for me, because Salem News, as its name signifies to me, a Muslim Iranian citizen, is a "salem" media outlet.


Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and the author of Book 7+1. He is a contributing writer for websites and magazines in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, South Korea, Belgium, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. He was once a member of Stony Brook University Publications’ editorial team and Media Left magazine’s contributing writer, as well as a contributing writer for Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine.

Kourosh Ziabari was named the winner of winners in the category of media activities at the National Organization of Youths festival. He was honored by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, receiving the honorary mention signed by him and the silver medal of Iran's Superior Youth. The media activities category did not award the Gold and Bronze medal to any participant.

As a young Iranian journalist, Kourosh has been interviewed and quoted by several mainstream mediums, including BBC World Service, PBS Media Shift, the Media Line network, Deutsch Financial Times and L.A. Times. Currently, he works for the Foreign Policy Journal as a media correspondent. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity and World Student Community for Sustainable Development. You can write to Kourosh Ziabari at:



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

eddie zawaski May 5, 2010 5:53 am (Pacific time)

Kourosh, Welcome to Salem-news. Any big news outlet that rejected you for poor English writing style has a problem. Either their editors are too lazy to work out minor errors or they simply use this complaint as a cover for failing to read your work in the first place. Luckily, there is always a place for a good writer with interesting perspectives at Salem News. Again, welcome.

Hank Ruark May 4, 2010 10:57 am (Pacific time)

"People power" knows no state nor national boundaries, and open, honest, democratic dialog deals with issues worldwide as well as anything "internal". Way to go, keeds !!

Osotan; May 4, 2010 5:33 am (Pacific time)

not bad pilgrims, an international influence! Who would have thought it?

gp May 4, 2010 4:27 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for praising the publishers and editors of They try harder to defend the rights of all people and defend peace and justice, actively, without fear than most any group I have seen. There are others out on the web, but always they are timid. Salem-News is brave and big hearted.

Tim and Bonnie King May 4, 2010 4:42 am (Pacific time)

Kourosh, it is indeed special to work with you and I know that people here want a first-hand perspective, and that many Americans are smart enough to know propaganda when they hear it and see it. With your help, more future tragedies can be avoided. Thank you from all of us for being part of this team!

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