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Feature • Volume 2, Issue 3





Uncut Exclusive Interview with

Babak Amini Iranian Guitarist, Composer & Performer

Baba Joon, the First

Farsi Language Film from Israel Abbas Kiarostami’s Doors Without Keys Gertrude Kearns, Canadian War Artist Australia’s Newest

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In this Issue Feature Story

BABAK AMINI UNCUT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH Iranian Guitarist, Composer & Performer



Magical Memories of Norouz the Persian New Year SCATTERED SHOWERS, A GREEN HERB RICE SABZI POLO


The Doors without Keys Exhibition Gertrude Kearns: The Art of Command


Person of the Month: Professor Tofy Mussivand D. Eng, Ph.D., FRSC World Renowned Medical Scientist

8 14


BABA JOON Makes World History

Politics Canada and Re-Engaging with the International Community






From the Persian Kitchen:





Pepperjack Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

13 14 46

28 19

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Building Like Father, Like Daughter at Castle Group

Real Estate Why Most Private Home Sales Fail To Save You Money

Events Out and About with Persian Tribune


Paris changed everything, so why are we still talking pipelines?

39 41 45 42


Letter from editor Volume 2, Issue 3

Norouz, the Iranian New Year, is upon us, and with that, we celebrate another new beginning on the first day of spring. Norouz with over 3500 years of history, is a precious gift that we have inherited from our ancient Persian forefathers. Since its inception, Norouz has been be a time for renewal, a time to forgive and forget, a time to strengthen our bonds with each other, and time to look at our lives and our world with a fresh and peaceful mind. For Iranians who live outside of Iran, Norouz is more than a celebration, since it represents our identity…who we are and where we have come from. You could say by celebrating Norouz, Iranians celebrate themselves in a very profound and meaningful way which makes them proud of their ancient traditions and customs. So it is my pleasure to wish each one of you a very warm “NOROUZ SHAAD BAAD” Once again we are proud to present to you another issue of Persian Tribune magazine which we like to call our Norouz Special Issue. Babak Amini is an Icon in the modern day Iranian music arena. He is an international composer, song writer, and band leader. In this issue in an exclusive interview, we learn about Babak’s life on and off the stage as well his views about the current Persian music in and out of Iran. “Baba Joon” is the first Farsi speaking movie produced in Israel. Last September I had the opportunity to attend the screening of the film, during the Toronto International Film Festival. The next day I sat down with the director, the main actor and actress from the film, to talk about the movie. It was an interview filled with tears and emotions that the production of this film brought to its cast and crew. I don’t think I could ever forget this interview. Gertrude Kearns is a very inspiring Canadian War Artist, who uses canvas and paints to create artistic images for the Canadian military commanders and soldiers involved in global conflict. We sat down with Gertrude for an interview, and she talked about her art and her unique experiences and challenges working with the military in a war zone.

Publisher: Persian Tribune Inc.

Editor-in-Chief: Kiumars Rezvanifar

Managing Editor: Courtney Boyden

Creative Director: Ramin Deravian

Associate Managing Editor: Teresa Tiano

Art Director: Courtney Boyden

Copy Editor: Arezou Amin Research: Artemiz Rezvanifar Senior VP Marketing Communications: Bill Dennis Account Executives: Arman Hedayat Nooshin Riahy David Zand Behrouz Ziaci Special Projects Jacques Reiss Web Management: Ramin Emadi Printing: Quatro Canada

Graphic Designers: Hoda Gharaie Mark Kowalski Contributing Writers: David Akhlaghi Amir Ali Alibhai Silviu Apostolide Robert Atkinson Joobin Bekhrad Naz Deravian Marilyn Garshowitz Doris Pontieri Chris Priftis Rocco Rossi David Suzuki Justin Trudeau MP Bryon Wilfert Sahar Zomorodi Vera Tzoulas Director of Marketing Development: Dawn S. Marvasti

As always, I hope that you enjoy this issue and please don’t forget that we all would love to hear from you. Once again, a very warm “NOROUZ SHAAD BAAD” to you all. Kiumars Rezvanifar Editor-In-Chief Persian Tribune magazine is published twelve times a year by Persian Tribune Inc. It is distributed free of charge in libraries, business and cultural centers in GTA. Persian Tribune magazine is an independent publication and its contents imply no endorsement of any product or service. Opinions expressed are those of the writers. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission from the publisher. Canadian Head Office (Toronto) Persian Tribune magazine 25 Valleywood Drive, Suite 12 Markham, ON L3R 5L9 Canada



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Magical Memories of



Photography by: Naz Deravian

T h e P e r s ia n N e w Y e a r


By: Naz Deravian

I wish we could all be together this Norouz. I wish we weren't all scattered across the country. Scattered across the continent. Scattered across the globe.


he sits in her dedicated spot at our kitchen table. Her words echo through the kitchen, twisting and turning, bouncing off you, looking and yearning for a spot to land, eventually finding their way out - seduced by the wide open door and a gentle late winter breeze. Scattering across our parched lawn. Across our parched city. Across the country, the continent, the globe. Slowly and meticulously she sorts through the bunches upon bunches of green herbs scattered before her. Parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, tarragon, fenugreek, spinach, green onion, mint. Fragrant and willing representatives of new life, new beginnings, and Spring. Norouz. Persian New Year.



Back in those days - when I was a little girl in Iran - everyone started their khooneh takooni, the shaking out of the house weeks before the new year. She moves on to the cilantro. Notoriously difficult to sort through. Methodically her aged but still elegant hands pick the leaves off the stems. Setting the stems aside for a broth to be used for aash-e reshteh.

•Culture Windows would be washed, closets and attics would be sorted through, rugs would be swept and hung out to freshen up.


ou turn your head, look over your shoulder, and sneak a quick glance at your carpet. Faded - but ever present markings of a certain time, a certain age, staring right back at you. The spinach smoothie that got knocked over, the blueberry sauce that didn't quite make it to its destination, the chocolate shavings forever embedded into its mosaic theme.

Then, on the night of Chaharshanbeh Suri (the last Tuesday night before Norouz) my Aunt - Ammeh joon, and Uncle - Amoo joon would take me to the Chaharshanbeh Suri bazaar. This was one of the joys of our childhood. You glance up at the clock, hurriedly grab the sorted bunches of parsley, dill and chives and escort them to the sink. Scattering the herbs across the cool water.

All the streets would be lit up with lights, candles, colourful balloons, all sorts of decorations. The scent of the sonbol (hyacinth) drunkenly guiding us through the streets and alleyways.

Ammeh joon would do all her own Norouz baking. All the families did their own baking then. Noon berenji (rice flour cookies) as thin as a piece of paper, noon nokhodchi (chickpea cookies) that would melt in your mouth. All baked on the manghal (a charcoal grill). You grab the 10 lb sack of rice and watch as each grain clink-clanks into the bowl. A most familiar sound. You rinse the rice a few times - just like she taught you. Swirling it around and around with your finger. Rinse, drain, repeat until the water runs clear. Add fresh water and salt and set aside to soak for at least one hour. Just as she taught you.

Of course, Ammeh joon and all the ladies would pamper themselves days before Norouz. Hair would be done, new clothes purchased, make-up beautifully applied. Everything and everyone should be fresh and new. Ammeh joon - she had the most beautiful, almond shaped, kohlrimmed eyes. Those eyes. Those eyes.


nce again you transfer the herbs from the kitchen table back to the counter, to the food processor. Working in batches you pulse away until they are finely chopped. But not too finely chopped. It's always a balancing act. She slowly but purposefully makes her way to the sink, nudging you away. You've rinsed the herbs twice. She thinks they need another rinse. Her hands reach into the cool water and gently, respectfully, lift the greens in and out of the water.

We used to do all this chopping by hand. A bunch of herbs, a board, and a knife.

Scattered showers.

Joyful music filled the streets. Everyone would be out selling their goods. Ajeeleh Chaharshanbeh Suri Tabrizi, the mixed nuts from Tabriz were the best. And all the kids would get to pick out their favourite candy. Everyone loved khooroos ghandi - the rooster-shaped, sweet, hard candy. You quickly lay out fresh towels. And she patiently scatters the herbs across it to dry. A field of greens on your kitchen table. A most familiar sight. PERSIAN TRIBUNE


•Culture Pulse. Pulse. Pulse.

It's much easier and faster now with these machines. Pulse. Pulse. Pulse.

But what you gain in time, you lose in flavour. There's something about the blade of the knife that retains the fragrance and flavour of these delicate greens. But who has the time and patience now to chop all this by hand.

You watch the butter melt, as she sprinkles the saffron. She scatters the rice over the bottom of the pot. The tahdig layer. She sets aside a cup full of freshly chopped herbs and scatters the rest - parsley, cilantro, fresh dill, chives, fenugreek - over the rice. And then some dried dill.


ack to the rice. The herbs. The dill. Repeat. Top off with a couple of fresh spring garlic. For its flavor, for its aroma. For spring.

I can still smell and taste our Norouz meal. The koo koo sazi, aash-e reshteh, the smoked fish, the white fish. You wrap a fresh towel over the lid and cover the pot. Let it steam and work its magic for an hour. And of course it wouldn't be Norouz without Sabzi Polo - Green Herb Rice. Ammeh joon would always first set aside the best part of the tahdig for me. Just like I used to do for you and your brother. Just like you do now for the girls. She lifts the lid off the pot and instantly the steam, and fragrant aromas of the herbs and rice echo through the kitchen, twisting and turning, bouncing off you, looking and yearning for a spot to land, eventually finding their way out - seduced by the wide open door and a gentle late winter breeze. You bring a pot of salted water to a boil. You add the rice. And there you pause. Simultaneously. Both of you. Mother and daughter. At the rice pot.


radition, culture and the meaning of life contained in this one critical moment. Exactly when to drain the rice.

Each grain of rice should soften on the inside but still have a bite to it. Not too soon, not too late. A balancing act. You gently nudge her out of the way and grab the rice pot. Moving the pot from the stove to the sink is not an easy task for her anymore. You drain the rice as now she gently nudges you out of the way to scatter some fresh water over the rice.

And then came Norouz. The Sofreh Haft Seen would be set and we' d all gather around it. Ammeh joon always took such care to set out the most beautiful Sofreh Haft Seen. The same Zari (ornamental cloth) that you use now for your sofreh - she used then. And Amoo joon who was the elder of the family always had a bowl full of gold coins ready to be handed out. For prosperity, for luck in the new year. 10


You set the platter right next to her. She makes room for you. But you ask her to serve the sabzi polo. Somehow, it always tastes better if she serves it. You watch as she delicately scatters the rice across the platter, followed by a layer of the fresh herbs she had set aside. Scatter the rice, scatter the fresh herbs, repeat, and top with golden saffron rice.

I wish we could all be together for Norouz. Everyone. Even those that are long gone.


ou take her hand and walk her to her spot at the kitchen table. As unexpected drops of rain fall to the ground. Taking your breath away. Scattered showers. The promise of new life, new beginnings, togetherness, a brand new year, Spring.

Norouz. The Persian New Year Norouz occurs on Sunday March 20, 2016 at 12:30:12 am EST or 8:00:12 am Tehran time.  Naz Deravian is the 2015 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award Winner for her Narrative Culinary Blog Bottom Of The Pot - Adventures In Cooking Persian Food And Beyond and 2014 Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Finalist.

Reza Moridi, MPP Richmond Hill

May Nowruz 2016 bring you blessings of joy, health and prosperity as we welcome spring and the hopes of a great new year into our homes. Nowruz-e-tan Pirooz

Har Rooz-e-tan Nowruz!

9555 Yonge Street, Suite 311 Richmond Hill, ON L4C 9M5 T: 905-884-8080 b | a @rezamoridi

One Advisor just for you. Imagine someone always ready to help with your finances. That’s what you get with CIBC Imperial Service.* One contact that works with you to create a truly tailored financial game plan that works just for you and your family. Happy Nowruz from CIBC. Talk to me today. Atussa Samandari Senior Financial Advisor 2161 St Clair Ave West 416 762-7522 ext 344 *CIBC Imperial Service is part of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“CIBC”). Banking products are provided by CIBC. Investment products and services are provided through CIBC Investor Services Inc.,Member of The Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, or by CIBC Securities Inc. (“CIBC SI”), and in Quebec by CIBC SI. CIBC Cube Design & “Banking that fits your life.” are trademarks of CIBC.



Doors without


Exhibition D o z e n s of k e y s Ly ing the re for a ge s I da re not thro w the m a wa y W ith no lo ck a rou nd From a poem by Abbas Kiarostami

By: Amir Ali Alibhai


oors Without Keys, at the Aga Khan Museum until March 28, is an installation piece — a single work comprised of a series of photographs that Abbas Kiarostami has taken over the last 20 years. Our first solo artist exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum, it is also the first one that we have originated for touring. My involvement in the project began quite unexpectedly during a visit to Dubai in spring of 2013. I met Peter Scarlet, a renowned film curator and critic, and spoke to him about the anticipated opening of the Aga Khan Museum and its vision for a performing arts and film program. I also mentioned that my favourite filmmaker was Abbas Kiarostami.

Doors Without Keys is the result of an ongoing collaboration between Kiarostami, Peter Scarlet, myself, and the designers and staff at the Museum. The installation includes sound and a layout that suggests the maze-like streets of an old city, and takes inspiration from Kiarostami’s own films, especially Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987).


iarostami does not reveal where his doors were originally photographed — what town or village they belong to, or what building they lead into or out of. This open-endedness has generated many different reactions in our visitors. I recall one visitor exclaiming that he believed Kiarostami did not label the doors’ origins because of their common “doorness” — perhaps it was a metaphor for egalitarian values? I also recall that the child of one of my colleagues spent an enormous amount of time creating a story for every single one of the 50 doors (and she insisted on sharing each story with her mother!). Other visitors have been struck with huge waves of memory and nostalgia, and some have developed strong political readings of the work.


ince that time — more than two years — Peter Scarlet and I have communicated virtually and in person to develop the concept of Doors Without Keys and the broader project that explores the multiple layers of Kiarostami’s body of work. In all of our discussions, we worked closely with Kiarostami himself, a multidisciplinary artist who is a poet, photographer, filmmaker and artist.

There is a meaning and a story for every visitor to Doors Without Keys, and I believe Kiarostami would find them all valid. 

Amir Ali Alibhai is Co-curator, Doors Without Keys PHOTOS COURTESY OF AGHA KHAN MUSEUM PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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Gertrude Kearns By: Courtney Boyden For nearly a quarter of a century, Canadian War Artist Gertrude Kearns has been examining and documenting the Canadian military at war through her art. Her most recent body of work, “The Art of Command: Portraits and Posters from Canada’s Afghan Mission”, captures the intellectual and emotional burden and complexities facing senior officers during this combat mission. Gertrude Kearns recently sat down with Persian Tribune to discuss her 10 year journey that led to this ground breaking exhibit at Fort York Visitor Centre in Toronto this past May-June 2015.



hat was your background prior to the military subject matter?

military minds cogent as war art subject matter. These more current subjects are mostly generals and colonels who commanded at various levels and periods throughout the Afghan mission. What about the Afghanistan project, did you do research? GK: Yes, a decade of further research on Afghanistan started in 2006. But that was prefaced by working with personnel on PTSD, operational stress, and being on some training exercises myself. I was contracted as an official war artist late 2005 by Task Force Afghanistan Roto 0, to create a body of work from this embed experience mostly in Kandahar. Back in Toronto I completed those 6 canvases by the end of 2006. This new work (that was showcased at Fort York), the 46 works, of 56 works total in the series, was my own independent, unofficial decade long project, really an extension of the 2006 Canadian Forces ‘job’.

GK: My first military related work was in 1991 with the Gulf crisis. It was a big abstract show inspired by that whole precarious arena in and around Kuwait. However I wanted to learn about the military machine, the responsibilities of command and soldiering. In ’93, I started working on Canadian Forces subject matter incorporating personnel. The 9 years of researched projects on Rwanda, Somalia and the Balkans produced works more about conflict and conscience. In 2002, I started to work directly with personnel.

GK: No, I did it myself. It was very difficult financially. But I didn’t want to be answerable to anyone in the process. I could be more extreme with the work and set my own agenda.

What attracted you to military subject matter?

How so?

GK: The military domain is not a typical one for a contemporary artist, liberal assumptions being that a fine artist should be against the use of force. Of course the military is a profession of arms and violence management. I never viewed society as being able to function without the police, or a country without the military. So I’ve never had an automatic “anti” stance. As years passed and I knew more soldiers, I saw Canadian

GK: I think the official work I produced when I got back from Kandahar was more constricted. It wasn't that it was imposed upon me. When you're embedded you feel so close to the troops you're with, the Afghan National Police and Army people. You bond with people and feel a loyalty to their situation. The works weren’t as allencompassing as I wanted. That’s part of the reason I expanded my objectives for the next stage.



ou were not funded?


All Photos by: Kint Quon And what were those objectives? GK: I wanted to memorialize the nature and weight of command in this war zone, to document the engagement. The study of war is morally complicated, so it’s incumbent upon me to convey this. Intellectual and analytical perspectives on the Afghan mission will evolve. I wanted the work to hold its own as a representation of what our commanders and soldiers attempted, and did accomplish, but all within a dark and uncertain reality: the fog of war. I had come to realize leadership and command could offer huge thematic potential, from tactical to operational, and strategic. From the top down I wanted to highlight some of the challenges of this Canadian Forces engagement in Afghanistan 2002-2014.


ow did you go from doing the portraits to the texted work? Did you all of a sudden decide to put the text in? GK: I researched prior to each portrait sitting and made notes during the process, continuing dialogues with each commander sometimes for months, even years. There was so much to learn and say. Each was a pivot into his specific experience but also into the larger picture. There was a lot of discussion and even negotiation involved. From the offset I wanted these multiple original prints as a parallel body of work related to the large portraits. I needed to pick up from the dynamics of my 2004 war print of General MacKenzie in the Balkans 1992. “Keep the peace or I’ll kill you” might present as an oxymoron but was rather the reality of mission challenges in that zone, when there is no peace to keep and innocents were being slaughtered. The first Afghan War texted poster came as soon as I shipped the contracted canvases to Ottawa late 2006. In the same ‘apparent oxymoron’ vein, “planning from the front, leading from the rear” suggests the complications around putting an Afghan face on mission direction. Juxtaposing “leading from the rear”, the most derogatory thing you could say about a military commander in the past, with “planning from the front” becomes another verbal play on mission concept, suggesting asymmetric aspects of the engagement. These two works were succinct. The subsequent prints got increasingly complex, layered with dense journalistic text, military jargon and acronyms, but still with sound bite like effects for impact. How did they (the military) feel about the texted piece, especially “leading from the rear”? PERSIAN TRIBUNE

• 15

•Art GK: It got some flack from some military gentlemen I knew, and I decided to defend it in a statement. One said “you have totally insulted the general, you’ve insulted the mission” and I said “No, this is about creating a working concept!” Others knew where I was coming from. How did you choose your subjects? Did they volunteer or did you contact them? GK: Actually, I contacted each of them, and invited them to be part of the series. Some of the generals took a few years to get on board. Most were still serving and several were recently retired. I selected people who had varied commands throughout the war, so that with the text I could document periods in the mission. I also wanted different personality types, and I wanted to represent each of the three regular force regiments: the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and the Royal 22e Régiment (R22R) from Quebec.


ow did you get into “the zone” when you came back to Canada?

GK: With the early 6 contracted canvases, I was still very into the mission mentally and emotionally when I got back. I could hardly sleep. I would get up and work at 3 or 4 in the morning for a few hours. It was an obsession. I’d hear for example about the Taliban hits on the Afghan police. I could feel it, see the injuries and I’d get angry. I didn’t want to separate from the visceral experience, and I didn't feel I could. I needed to stay connected.

live with, we could make some changes. That was very rare. Familiar with my process, they saw that I was after a particular type of documentation of this current war. These were very collegial working rapports. I’d often be emailing a commander, who might be in Kabul or Kandahar, or Stuttgart, and to have them respond quickly was incredibly gratifying. The momentum in the development of each piece was critical, and the final product was to surprise, content wise. However the surprise for them was always in the power of aesthetics in the presentation of content. It was fun.


here are different genres in each of them. Some are headshots, some are with full military gear, is there a story behind it? GK: In the figurative works I wanted a distinctive pose for each. Some have weapons, some don’t. The big heads are more like psychological studies. You’re not distracted by their uniform or rank, it’s more a straight on, analytical look at them. Most of the big heads were prefaced by the large format drawings, from life sittings. For me the contrast of the more traditional approach in the large drawings to the more contemporary large heads gave me a range and I wanted each portrait still to be unique enough and not repetitive. There is a narrative to each in a sense.

When it came to getting back into it again for this decade long project, I had two periods of other commissions that I had committed to do that took me away from the Afghanistan work. For example, the Royal Canadian Military Institute commissions of Tecumseh and Brock, famous War of 1812 commanders. I couldn't say no to that, and I needed the 2007-8 job, because I was basically funding the new Afghan project myself. That took me away from the Afghanistan material for 2 years, and again with a private commission in 2010. In retrospect it was probably a good thing. I needed to be away from any pressures to churn something out, to decompress emotionally but still to immerse, absorb different perspectives. In the process I sensed a bigger picture by the time I went back into it full hilt in 2010.


When you completed your work, did you show it to your subjects and how did they feel about it?

What has the response been to this latest body of work?

GK: I kept them apprised along the way as to the portrait’s development and my text ideas. I told them in the beginning that I wanted to push some boundaries. There was resistance at times, but these men are not shrinking violets! When I arrived at the final texted draft I would send it to them on my condition that if there was something they really didn’t like and couldn’t

GK: The military response has been extremely gratifying. Active and retired personnel seemed to catch nuances and interrelationships between works, so a very positive defense community response, confirming the content of the work. With the public I was really impressed at the amount of time some civilians took with these complex works. I didn’t modify the military


•Art material to make it more easily understood. I saw some people reading absolutely everything in every piece and it took them a couple of hours to go through the show. There was some negative response to the aggressive medical works.


or the ones that think that your recent work glorifies war, what would you say to them?

GK: I would say that the work is neither pro-war nor anti-war. It’s about war: complexity and doing the mandated job. Nonetheless ambiguities are intentional throughout, which I think is very important. Because at every command level, there are things that are just not clear, and you need to operate on the fly despite plans. And you don’t know exactly how things are going to turn out. So I wanted that sense of vulnerability of concept in war, to give the sense of both the ambivalent and unequivocal, the nuances of this long conflict. I found it bringing a personal element to a war portrait, you got beyond just the portrait of a person. The psychological layers were all in there, and it brings you to the idea that at the end of the day they’re people too. GK: The military is a people business. Contrary to what some might think, individuality can exist within. I wanted to suggest these layers you refer to, but remember this is about command. It was the layers of strategic thinking and their coping skills under duress which was my foremost driving concern. Yet the compassionate humane antihero is in every one of them.

How did your peers (other artists) respond to your work? GK: Artists, curators and collectors came and indicated they found the content and aesthetics powerful. The work resonated, bridging some military and civilian divides. I know in the early days, with the Mackenzie piece, when it was in a contemporary gallery, it upset a few people, and one artist in particular who said “That is so terrible, imagine the military keeping the peace and killing at the same time” and I said well, this was the reality to prepare for. She said to me at the time, (back in 2002) “How can you be objective about the military, if you're getting so close to it?” I replied, “There’s so much to be objective about within the military.” It makes your job more challenging, the closer you get. It’s a lot easier to take positions when you don't know very much. Anyone can call what they do “War Art” as long as it references war. For me if it’s going to be profound as war art, it has to suggest moral questions and move you emotionally: the mind and the heart. War is terrible and deserves that.


hat’s next for you?

GK: I’m currently completing an article for a military history magazine about documentation, contextualization and commemoration in this Afghan War project. I’d like to continue reflecting on our Canadian Forces relationship to defense and security. Not being with a gallery anymore, I am trying to get this work into collections. The content can make for a challenging fit: is it contemporary art or is it ‘just’ military art?  This 50 + large format series will show next in Founders’ Gallery, The Military Museums, Calgary, late June-November 2016. For more information about Gertrude Kearns please visit:

The remarkable cooperation of these commanders allowed me insights personally and professionally, and ultimately validated the work historically.

Multiple Original ltd edition fine art prints: available in several sizes up to 60 x 44 inches ed 10. Gertrude lives and works in central Toronto. To contact her directly: PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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Canada International Community and Re-Engaging with the By: Bryon Wilfert


ith the advent of a new Liberal Government in Ottawa, the winds of change concerning Canada’s role on the international stage are already being felt. The decision to rename the Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade to the Department of Global Affairs, indicates that Canada intends to play a more engaging and constructive role with the world community on many fronts. The decision to appoint the Honourable Stephane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs (the title remains the same), by Prime Minister Trudeau, draws on Dion’s extensive experience through his work as a former Minister of the Environment, and Chair of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COPP 11 in Montreal in 2005), as well as his continuous engagement on climate change issues around the world, made him the ideal candidate for the position. Already, Minister Dion has travelled extensively to international conferences including APEC in Manila, the G20 in Turkey. Having worked closely with Stephane both in the Ministry of the Environment and when he was Leader of the Official Opposition, I know that he is a sincere and principled individual as well as an academic and conceptualist. He has deep convictions and his style, tone and approach will be far different than that of his predecessors in the Conservative government. His principled approach to foreign policy will be dominated by issues such as multilateralism, environmental sustainability, rule of international law, and how best to effectively engage others on the international stage.


ll Ministers were given Mandate Letters from the Office of the Prime Minister outlining the expectations that the Prime Minister has for the roles he has assigned his Ministers. In the letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs it states: ■■ Revitalize Canada’s public diplomacy, stakeholder engagement, and cooperation with partners in Canada and abroad; ■ ■ Making Canada a leader of international efforts to combat climate change, in collaboration with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change; ■■ Working with the Minister of National Defence to increase Canada’s support for United Nations

peace operations and its mediation conflict-prevention, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts; ■■ Working with the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, to champion the values of inclusive and accountable governance, peaceful pluralism, and respect for diversity and human rights including the rights of women and refugees; and ■■ Acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty An activist agenda has been set by the new Liberal government, and issues such as how to re-engage with Iran – now that European Union countries are dealing with Teheran, as well as the British having re-establishing their embassy there, and the sanction issue with Russia, are two areas where the government has signaled a refocus on engagement. I am reminded of the words of former American President Harry S. Truman when asked about diplomacy replied, “Tact is the ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up his shoes.”


here is no doubt that in the course of future diplomacy and discussions with both our friends and those who we do not see eye to eye on, that a number of toes will be stepped on – not messing up their shoes will indeed be the trick. Canada “will be back” on the international stage in a way that will champion the rights of the individual, security of the individual, and ensuring that Canada acts in its national interest and is not about catering to special interest groups or focus groups. The previous government played to various Diasporas in Canada, which was not always in the best interest of Canada or our role in world affairs. There is no doubt Minister Dion will be less concerned about how our foreign policy plays out with the Diasporas and more about providing a principled approach abroad. Canada “the honest broker” is back, and I believe that the goals set out in the Mandate Letter to the Minister reflect that approach. Prime Minister Trudeau speaks of “sunny ways”, and this new foreign policy approach is certainly a part of that view. 

The Honourable Bryon Wilfert, P.C.,ICD.D is a former MP who was Liberal Party Critic for Foreign Affairs/Defence. Currently Senior Strategic Advisor at Tactix Government Relations/Public Affairs in Ottawa. PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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BABAK AMINI Iranian Guitarist, Composer & Performer

Babak Shah Photography





ith over 150 albums, music videos and film scores in Iran and outside Iran to his credit, Babak Amini is a highly talented and accomplished Iranian-Canadian musician, composer, guitarist and performer. He has worked with many great Iranian singers such as Googoosh, Faramarz Aslani, Sattar and Ebi to name a few. He is a member of the American Guitar Society and a member of the Toronto Musicians Association. In an exclusive interview with Persian Tribune, Babak Amini spoke about his life, artistic views and what drives him.

By: Courtney Boyden PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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who don't know Babak Amini, can Foryouthose tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Iran, during the worst years for music. We weren’t allowed to even carry a guitar, or have instruments in Iran, so it was really difficult for me. All the music schools had been closed by the government after the revolution. It was extremely hard to be a musician, or even to learn music in those years. But I had

person and my music was ten times better than when I was at the age of 13. The first album was called Grey Rain (Baraneh khakestari), and then with my second album The Blue of the Rain, the same thing happened. It took 3 years to get permission from the government and I released that album another 3 or 4 years later.

So it seems that it was almost old news to you by the time it was released? That’s right, that’s why I don’t feel an emotional relationship to either album. By the time I had released the albums, I didn’t like either of them. I had expanded far from those ideas.

you had to stick to the plan because Bsionutthat’s what they were giving you permisto produce? Yes, and also, I was required to perform all the old music I no longer identified with. My technique had improved and the new songs were better compared to the old ones. But when you receive permission for a concert, you are required to only play the old approved music. And that is the story of my early years.

Were there professional musicians in your family? Nobody. Although, my cousin played guitar as a hobby.

Who was your supporter in your family for your music career? No one was against it, but no one supported it either.

Did they think it was just a hobby? Photo: Natali Baratpour

an extreme passion for the guitar and music. My first passion was actually for the piano, but to own one was expensive, so when I was 10 years old, I borrowed one of those half size guitars from my cousin and practiced for hours. That’s how I started to play.

Did you teach yourself to play? I did find a good guitar teacher and went to his class. His name is Shahrokh Partovi. I had only 6 months of guitar lessons from him, and they were very useful to me. I learned the finest style and technique from him, he was an excellent teacher. After that, I taught myself. Later on I did have different guitar instructors and masters, but not when I was a teenager. When I started to make money professionally from music, I only had 6 months of guitar lessons. When I was 13 I started writing songs. The first album I wrote and released were songs I wrote between the ages of 13 to 18. After I finished the album I sent it to the government officials for approval. In Iran you need permission to do anything related to art or music. I finally received the government’s permission when I was 24, and by then I didn’t even want to release the album , because by then I felt like a totally different 22


Yes. However, I was very serious about music and my family was frightened. It was a bad time to be a musician in Iran, and no one thought I could survive with music. My mother and father were worried and they pressured me to go to university to have something other than my music. My father told me “OK, you're a good musician, but you have to have something else.” And that’s why I went to university and wasted the best years of my life studying Industrial Management. I wasn’t a very good student, because I was playing and practicing guitar 24/7. At 20 years old, I was officially a session player in the studio and making money as a professional musician. I performed for other composers, arranged music, and played guitar for movie scores. I was active in all the wellknown studios and if I had to count, my name is credited in over 150 albums, single songs and scores.

were you able to be so connected to the Howrecording studios?

After the revolution in Iran most of the musicians, composers and singers couldn’t work in Iran and moved to other countries to work. It was a small music community that wanted to survive in Iran. The other cities didn’t have many musicians, because most were all in Tehran along with the good studios. So when I was 18 I started in Sedah- o- Sima, (Iranian


ooking back through all the odds, they L“firsts” shaped you and you accomplished some in the industry, all because of your situation.

That is one of the results in limitation. When you limit somebody they grow more, they want to go against it more. That’s why we have so many problems with drugs and cosmetic surgery in Iran. No one is allowed to have alcohol over there, yet Iran has some of the worst drinkers. Even now it is still the same with music, they still don’t show instruments on TV, but everyone is playing music. It is going against the pressure and it worked for me. I wanted to fight against it. I couldn’t accept not to play music.

Who was your idol, and what helped you through all that? My idol was Paco De Lucia, the best guitar player in the world. Photo: Edris Davarian

government nationally run TV Network) recording a few tracks, and then the composers would hear it and say ”here is a good guitar player, let’s book him”, and then I was booked for years.

Is that when you made a name for yourself?

Yes, when I was 24 my first album had just been released in the country. It was the first recorded guitar album released in Iran after the revolution, and my second album was the first album that used drums and an electric guitar together. Before that, we didn’t have permission to use the two instruments together (electric guitar and drums). I first received permission for Spanish guitar, then the electric guitar, because it was a western instrument.

I have a picture in my studio. I’m playing with Ardeshir Farah, (a Persian guitar player) and Googoosh (legendary Persian Pop star/singer/diva), performing at the MGM Grand in front of fifteen thousand people. That picture is very important to me, because when I started to learn how to play guitar, I had decided “that if Ardeshir Farah could accomplish that, and have albums out internationally, then I should aim to be able to play at that level too.” It was a big motivation for me. And in those days, my father used to listen to Googoosh. Any time that we were going somewhere in the car, he played her cassettes, and we grew up with her music. I used to listen to her all the time, thinking “wow, who wrote these beautiful songs?”. I was always thinking ,

Babak Shah Photography & Starmotion Production PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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•Feature “which Iranian is playing guitar internationally? Who is writing songs for Googoosh, the best diva we have?”. But cut a few years ahead, I was on stage with both of them, playing the MGM Grand, Las Vegas! That is the only picture I have up in my studio. Anytime I’m disappointed, anytime I think I can’t do it, I can’t go further, I see that picture and I get my energy back. Then I feel that I’m still that kid, and I can go on.

based in Toronto now. When did you YouleaveareIran, how old were you?

I moved to Canada in 2000 and I came with Googoosh and I started a band for her. In 2003, I went back to Iran to see my parents. I was arrested at the airport. They arrested me and took everything, along with my passport. I was interrogated for 6 months. Some days I was allowed to go out, because they had all my documents, but most days I was in there wasting my time.

Were you being held in a prison cell? No, in a private cell by the security forces and it wasn’t in the Evin prison. The first 3 months were intense and I was interrogated by a lot of different people, answering the same questions over and over, sometimes more than once a day. After that they realized that I wasn’t dangerous. The last person who questioned me was a mollah (a clergyman). I told him that I’ve been answering the same questions for the last 3 months and that I’m not religious and I’m not into politics. I’m a simple musician. I don’t care if anything happens. I didn’t have the guts to say I didn’t believe in anything, but I said it indirectly, that anything I do, is not against them. He told me, because I worked with Googoosh, and with another guy, and since they are against the Iranian government, my guilt is that I had helped them indirectly.



You were arrested because of your involvement with Googoosh? Yes, and they said that I had to pay 25 million Toman because I earned my money from the wrong side of the religion. It’s like saying kosher or not kosher, they said this is not kosher [laughs]. It was dirty money. I then had to go to revolutionary court, and I had to sign a statement saying if I did it again I will go directly to Evin prison. I signed it and said I wouldn’t do it, and I ran away from Iran. Soon after when Googoosh released another album here, the Iranian authorities called my parents and said “we know Babak is working with Googoosh again. If he comes back, he’s going straight to Evin.”

So you came back in 2003? I came back in 2003 and I stayed here until 2006. Those were the couple of years I didn’t work with Googoosh. I stayed here to get my Canadian passport, because it was hard to do, travelling all over the world with an Iranian passport. In 2006, I moved to Los Angeles until 2010, then I came back to Toronto. It’s my home, I feel more at home here. I’ve been leading the Googoosh band and Faramarz Aslani’s band, along with writing and arranging songs for singers, as well as my instrumental projects. I’m also a member of the American Guitar Society. I do a lot of instrumental concerts, and here I’m a member of the Canadian Musicians Association.

you’ve been out of Iran, how has living Since outside the country changed you?

It was a learning process. I’m learning something different every day. I was 30 when I moved to Canada, I didn’t speak very much English. I couldn’t even order a cab for myself. It was really difficult and I’m not a fast learner. I do everything by practice. It's still is really hard for me,


Babak Shah Photography & Starmotion Production

and I’m still adapting, culture-wise and language-wise. I love the challenge, but somehow, in my heart, I feel that this is not for me. The important thing is that I’m doing what I love, at least. I don’t need permission for my concerts or to get my songs released. I don’t need to censor myself. But I feel I’m out of my culture. Culture grows when the people are there. Our Iranian culture grows in Iran. We are out of Iran, and I’m doing the cultural thing without the influence. I was talking to one great Canadian musician, telling him about how I’m working with our superstar, our diva and writing songs for her, and I was giving him a little bio of myself, and the guy thought I was lying. He told me “OK, if you’re that good, why aren’t you in Iran?”. He couldn’t understand that if I’m working with our superstar, why are we working

here? I said I’m not lying, we’re not allowed to perform and to work in Iran.

You’ve performed in very renowned venues. Tell us about that. Basically, I’ve performed at many of the big venues in the world. Wembley, in London. The Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, Honda Centre, Nokia Centre in LA. The Forum in LA. All the big places.

So what was your favourite, acoustically?

In Paris, we went to the Zenith. It was fantastic. It has beautiful acoustics, and we always have fun over there. Also, the Nokia Center in LA is nice, it’s a big version of the Sony Centre in Toronto.

Babak Shah Photography & Starmotion Production PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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When I was 24 my first album had just been released in the country. It was the first recorded guitar album released in Iran after the revolution, and my second album was the first album that used drums and an electric guitar together. Before that, we didn’t have permission to use the two instruments together. I first received permission for Spanish guitar, then the electric guitar, because it was a western instrument.

ell us about your sponsorship. You’ve also Thave been sponsored by a company?

Yes, Godin Guitars. They are a Canadian manufacturer. They are the first company that put MIDI pickups in classic guitars. They are very entrepreneurial. All the classical guitar players couldn’t connect their instruments to computer software, and they were the first company that did that. That’s why I got my first classical Nylon guitar with a MIDI pickup, so that anything I was playing went right into the computer and it was automatically written in the chart. It was fantastic! They have many good quality instruments. A friend of mine, Levon Ichkhanian, a very talented guitar player in Toronto. He even played with Lionel Ritchie, Celine Dion, and all the big names. He has a sponsorship with Godin Guitars as well. He was the one who introduced me to them. They wanted to have a store in Iran. The representative in Iran contacted Godin and asked if it “was OK if we have a poster of Babak Amini with the guitar so that everyone can see him playing it”. They sent two of their best instruments, a Montreal Jazz Guitar, and a multi Oud (electric Oud), they were the first to make that kind of Oud. They sent me two very expensive instruments for free, and I also got the sponsorship. They’ve been really amazing.

Photo Courtesy of Babak Amini

How do you see the music in Iran now? It’s a little different and it isn’t as controlled as it used to be, now it’s more open. There are a lot of active musicians now making good money. But the quality is different. There is a good quality of music, but many are low quality as well. The low quality is more prevalent than the high. It is the same trend in the LA music scene. Now, it seems like Radio Javan is releasing 100 or more music videos every day, and you can’t choose one or two, there’s too many. Before the revolution, the producers that were producing limited the amount of songs each year, but the quality was fantastic. Everything that they released then were masterpieces.

all the talented musicians you’ve played Oon fwith, who has left the biggest impression you? I always choose musicians for my band who are a lot better than me. That’s how I grow. That was my policy when I moved here. When I was in Iran, I used to work and perform with Kaveh Yahmaie, and Babak Riahipour. They were, and still are the best guitar and bass guitar players in Iran. The absolute best. Doing this has helped me to be more focused when I’m playing, and I really

You’ve played with other guitars? I’ve played with Andalusian Guitars. Andalusian Guitars are fantastic guitars, it is signed by Paco De Lucia, my idol. They sponsored me and sent me 2 guitars as well.

What drives you now?

Lots of distractions, these days. I have to focus and look at the big picture more. I have a child now, and when you have a child in your life, you can’t do whatever you want. I used to be able to play loud music whenever I wanted. Now I turn off the speakers at 8 o’clock, and use headphones. Some limitations. What drives me is that I still love to learn. Anything that’s beautiful, as soon as I hear it, I can’t control myself and I start crying. I feel that there is still something fresh in my heart, and that’s the drive. I feel like I’m still alive. 26


Babak Shah Photography & Starmotion Production

enjoy it. I learn more, because I’m in front of great musicians. Anything that we produce, or perform onstage, is with the musicians that are the best in the world. We have almost 3 times more in expenses than other bands. When you work with great musicians, you have to be sharp and up to the challenge. If I know that next week I will have a concert with those talented musicians, I feel refreshed and revitalized because I love all of them, they are like brothers, and I know I’m going to work with the best musicians in the world.

What does the future hold for you? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? This is a problem for me. For many years I was suffering from not living in the moment. I have been planning my future ever since I was a child. I was planning and then seeing myself in a year, 10 years, or 50 years. Sometimes your plan goes somewhere else, and you get damaged, and hurt yourself. Then, I learned to go with the flow and try my best. This way I’m not torturing myself.


So you touched a nerve?

Yeah, and that song was the only song that they reviewed in both the Voice of America and the BBC. It did something to the people and I was so happy. I got feedback. I moved people.

How has being a father changed your life? It’s beautiful. The dedication and responsibility. Simply beautiful.

Do you listen to your own music? Never. Because I don’t grow! It’s like just looking at myself in the mirror, I want to see other people. Anytime I listen to myself, anything I’ve recorded, I know the mistakes that others can’t hear and I want to fine tune. It’s torture.

What kind of music do you listen to at home? I listen to serious music, mostly jazz. If I want to listen to romantic music I listen to singers like Melody Gardot, and all the jazz ballad singers.

What’s your favourite Persian food? Khoresteh Ghaimeh

What is your message to young musicians? (Pause) If I want to give them a message, it is a whole other interview [laughs]. But the short message is to do whatever your heart tells you. Listen to your heart. You have to believe in yourself first, if you want to change the way others think.

your message to our readers W hat’s around the world?

Photo: Edris Davarian

What do you do in your spare time?

Honestly I don’t have much spare time lately. But I watch movies.

What ticks you off? Not being on time and not being ahead of my schedule. I try to be organized and if I’m not I’m pissed off. If I believe in something and can’t deliver, I get pissed off. If I waste my time I get extremely pissed off, and then after that I get depressed.

The one thing I can say is when I moved to Canada in 2000, there were not many Iranians here. But I am so happy that there are Iranians that are so active here and around the world, and even in this magazine, with the high quality content and written in English! I see Iranian people moving into different cultures, and into the community, and I am happy. As much as I see these things, I feel I am even more proud to be Iranian than ever before. They move into the community, and they are really part of it, they aren’t hiding somewhere. They are very active. When I see that, I am proud. It’s a matter of being together, in a global village. 

What makes you happy? When I do something that stays in our culture. For instance, recently I arranged a song for Googoosh, Morghe Sahar, which is a traditional song. And I was thinking it can be different and modern. I didn’t use any traditional instruments, all modern, and there were lots of mixed reviews, even in the BBC. There were big arguments between our fans and the Shajarian fans, about how it should be. PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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Babak Shah Photography & Starmotion Production



Makes World History

Photos by: YORAY LIBERMAN my mind the story of my childhood, and I never thought that I would make a film. After I had made several documentaries, I felt that it wasn’t the way I wanted to go any longer. I sat down with a friend who heard my childhood story, and he suggested “you should write a screenplay”, but I said I didn’t know how to write a screenplay and he said “Try. Just sit down, write it on paper”.

BABA JOON This is your childhood story, how close is it to reality? YD: It’s very close to reality but it’s not an autobiography. The child in this film is very close to my life as a boy, with the same struggles and issues, also with the same quietness.

By: Kiumars Rezvanifar

This past fall, the film “Baba Joon”, kicked-off its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and made world history as the first-ever Israeli film in the Farsi language. Persian Tribune had an opportunity to sit down with the director, Yuval Delshad and actors Viss Elliot Safavi and Navid Negahban to discuss the making of this emotional and ground breaking film.


ell us about yourself. We know you’re a director, but we want to know a little bit about you.

Yuval Delshad: I was born in Israel, my parents were born in Shiraz. They came to Israel with family, met there in the village, got married and I was born there. I grew up in a village, the kind in the film, where everyone is Persian. The name of the village is Zrahya.



ow about the challenges? Did your father also want you to follow in his path?

YD: My father didn’t want this for me, but the family around me, my uncle, the religion, the village did. When you grow up in such a place, you always have someone who controls you. When you’re young, the adults control you, the religion controls you. At school, the teacher controls you. How closely are you represented in the boy ’s character?

YD: The boy’s character in the movie is named “Moti”, the actor, Asher Avrahami is a native of my village. It’s authentic and we lived the same life. I sat with him and talked about my life, and I found the exact same struggles going on in his life. I knew then he was the boy, because he understood the struggle.

How did you come up with this kind of story?

After it was completed, how did your family and especially your father react to the film?

YD: I made documentaries before, but I always had in

YD: My family didn’t see any part of the movie until it


•Film the new generation will speak the local language, and I found it to also be a conflict. The new generation doesn’t feel as proud of the old country, the traditions and they want new things. I thought I could have the child speak Hebrew, and the father insists on speaking Farsi, and then, just in the time the father wants to be closer to the child or the child wants to be closer to the father, they can speak Farsi to each other. What was your challenge in producing this movie? YD: The challenge was to get all the people working with me on the film to bring my vision to life. My vision for how it should look was in my mind from the day I wrote it, and it was a long process to bring all the people working with me around to seeing the vision. It was also a long way to bring them to work! I had actors from Israel and actors who weren’t from Israel. The Persian language that no one on the set understood. There were a lot of challenges and I had to be very cautious about the truth of the story.

W was done. My father is not alive, he passed away 10 years ago. But my mother and sisters were shocked because they saw the reality we went through on screen. They were shocked to see that reality again. They said that this is exactly our life! Our uncle! We have the same car!

hat is the message you want viewers to take away from your film?

YD: As an artist, when I made this film, I had a message, I had a lot of messages. I packed them into the film but the audience will reveal them by themselves.. The story is there: there is a child, he wants to do something in his life, his father wants him to do what he wants him to do, and the grandpa who thinks they should all do what he thinks is right.


Why the title “Baba Joon”?

YD: I like it when a father calls his son “Baba”. I find it interesting. My father called me “Baba”, and I called my grandfather “Baba joon” but sometimes my grandfather would call me that. I liked that the same words had different meanings. In one way, it means respect to an adult, another time it’s respect to a boy. This phrase had meaning. I thought of a father using this word, which is used for respect, to his son. That’s what the story is. The father loves the boy, he suffers all his life for him and he would die for him.


n the movie it’s the mother who understands her son’s needs, she is the peacekeeper, the buffer, between the father and the son. Was your mother like that?

We hear about the Iranian communities in California and in Canada, but we never hear about the Iranian community in Israel. How is the Iranian-Jewish community in Israel? How are they assimilating in the society?

YD: Many of them live in the city, and there are some in villages, like mine. There are even some villages that are just Iranian. When I grew up, my father always said that you are Persian, and you need to be proud of it. Never change your family name, it’s your roots, a connection with your people.

YD: Yes. Every mother I know in the Persian families around me, they’re the same mother. They are the bridge between the father and the son.

The movie was made in Israel, where they speak Hebrew. So, why Farsi? Do you speak Farsi?

YD: I know a little Farsi. It was important to me for the story to be true and authentic. If the family is Persian, and immigrants, then a Persian immigrant family, at the beginning in a new place, speak their own language. But


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•Film Viss Elliot Safavi: Can I step in here? We had a group scene in a synagogue, and there were a lot of extras there, a group of Iranian Jews, and there was a woman and she was about 65, and she came said to me “when we moved from Iran to Israel, we thought ‘what are we doing here? We left Iran, a beautiful country and we came to the desert. There’s nothing here!”. But they made a life for themselves and assimilated very well, but she also said that a day doesn’t go by that she doesn’t want to go back to Shiraz, and that heart, the emotional tie, is never severed.

We heard this movie was a big news story in Iran, tell us about that. YD: When I started writing, I became Facebook friends with several people in Iran, then when I released the trailer, people commented. Then the newspaper, Iran Agency News wrote about it, and then there were thousands and thousands of comments. They feel very shocked. How can an Iranian-Israeli film director direct a film in Farsi in Israel, because they are known enemies? I always answered that there was no enemy there.


YD: Most of my family moved to Israel before the revolution, and for them, especially my mother, the dream is to go back to Iran. I grew up with the memory of Iran. Pictures on the wall, the landscape, the food.

I am Persian, I grew up Persian, but I am also Israeli.

VES: That’s echoed in the film, with the video playing, of Iran.

YD: We have the Ophir Award, it is like an Oscar. We got 8 nominations. [Editors Note: “Baba Joon” won Best Film at the 2015 Ophir Awards]

Navid Neghaban: Like the song “Iran, Iran”, we were shooting that scene, and part of the scene got cut out, but Viss and I got very emotional. We couldn’t stop crying. YD: I knew they would cry, because this is what my mom would do. Sit down, put the video on, and hear the song and she would cry, and my father would say “come on, stop it you always sit down and cry”. And then my uncle came and he sat down and cried too. And I said, if they are crying there is something really good in their life that they are missing.


ow was the film received by the Iranian community in Israel?

YD: The Iranian community, after the screening, said to me “you brought our houses to the audience. We see our house, we see our fathers and mothers”. They feel very proud, because I touch on Iranian issues in Israel, not by laughing, but with respect. 30


At your screening in Israel, you got nominated for an award. Tell us about that.

Let’s turn to Viss. Tell us about your background. Viss Elliot Safavi: Ok, well, I am Iranian, and my parents are both Iranian. I was born in England, and we moved to Iran when I was a few months old. We were going to live there happily ever after, but then just before the revolution we left, and we travelled for a little bit thinking it wasn’t going to last, but it did, so we ended up back in England. That’s the history of my relationship with Iran. I’ve visited since, the last time I was there was 10 years ago, but I’m British, you know? How much of you is Iranian?

VES: A lot, it’s a funny thing being an outsider. It’s only when looking back on my life, my school years with all of my English friends, always feeling slightly outside of that. But I always thought of it as a positive

•Film It was more than a script then, you play yourself? VES: Not really myself, but it’s my ancestry. My ancestors are inside Sarah [her character]. What did you learn from doing this movie? VES: I learned that we all carry so much of what is in that movie within us. Personally, I went on a journey throughout. I was time travelling to my childhood, to my relationship with my father. That in itself, was huge.


ow to the angry father (character). Navid, tell us about yourself, your artistic background, for the people who don’t know you. Navid Negahban: I was born in Mashad, and started acting when I was 8 years old doing school plays. I fell in love with acting. I went to Turkey, Bulgaria and Germany, then started my career in Germany, doing some plays, touring with a German company, then I moved to the US. It took about 10 years until I got my first job in the US. How did you get involved with this project?


thing, a special thing. Mine was the house that everyone came back to, and everyone ate at, and everyone stayed in because that was our culture. I grew up with a lot of people finding themselves, a lot of adults, the 30-somethings, my parent’s generation. Every weekend having barbecues, playing guitar, talking about Iran, crying about Iran, trying to make their own mini Iran in houses in Bristol. It’s extraordinary really. When I moved to London it didn’t have a big Iranian community there that I knew of, so then it felt slightly more distant. But visiting Iran was an emotional experience for me as well, because I could access it through the language and felt very at home there. Doing this movie made me feel 360 degrees myself, because I was with Iranians, and I was living that life, I was an Iranian mother.


NN: When I was shooting Homeland, I was introduced to an agent from Tel Aviv through a friend of mine, she called me and said “There’s this script, you have to look at it”, and she talked to the casting director. They sent

hat made you want to get involved with the project?

VES: I think it’s a very human story. Let me be clear, when I met Yuval, those two meetings in London, he’s a very spiritual person and he’s very rooted to the ground. There’s something about him that’s pure. We didn’t speak the same language, not really, the English was broken, but I felt Yuval very clearly, from the first meeting and the second, so I knew he was special. There wasn’t really a script yet. I didn’t receive a script, or a history of the storyline, but I knew I had to be a part of this because of him.


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me the script, but it was in Hebrew, which I can’t read, so I Google translated it, and fell in love with it. Then, they sent me the English version and I started talking with Yuval, we had a couple of Skype talks. The script really touched me. All these characters were inside my family. The uncle who goes to America and comes back is me. The character I play, the father, is very much like my brother who stayed in Iran to take care of my parents. Each of the characters became part of my life. The pictures on the wall [in the movie] are real family pictures.

what a good guy he was. I felt the character was a little bit heavier, so I let go and put some weight on. The character is a hardworking man, but not in trim shape. The way he walks, he’s in pain, but doesn’t want to show it.


You’re not Jewish, but you speak Hebrew in the film. How was that?

ou seem very calm, the opposite of your character in the film. What did you do to get ready for the part?

NN: Reading the script, and talking to Yuval. Overtime, as we talked, we discovered more and more about the character. A lot of it comes from my brother, how angry he was that he stayed behind, and nobody ever thanked him. Until the last minute he couldn’t get my father’s approval, even though he was the head nurse at the hospital. He saved so many lives, whoever was sick in the family called him, he never got the respect he deserved until he died. Then at his funeral, everyone came and said

So you also put part of your life into the role?

NN: It wasn’t a role. I got sucked into the script so deeply, to the point where we were at the screening watching the movie and I couldn't stop crying.

NN: That was very tough. But it was a good challenge, a good journey. I had teachers. Yuval worked very hard, he was a pain in the neck on set [laughs], but we had fun. My friend Herzel was very helpful. He prepared me, and Yuval was able to fine tune me. But this project…Yuval, how many times did we cry together? YD: One time it was his turn, one time it was my turn. Did you join them as well?

VES: Oh yeah, we just cried [all laugh]. It was two months of weeping.


hese aren’t just characters, there is a part of each of you in the movie.

NN: This project, sent me back to places I had been trying to forget, to things you don’t want to touch anymore, because it weighs you down. You want to put it in a closet and forget it because you need to move forward. Then, this script is making you go back in and be there all over again.



•Film Was it therapy for you? NN: I think, as an actor you have a treasure chest inside of you, and you hide your most valuable possessions in there. When you need it, you go to open your safe and pull out what you need. This made me go dust off a couple of pieces and take them out and use them. What we did is not about a Jewish family or an Iranian family, it’s about human nature, about our struggles. We had Chinese audience members, and they came out of the theatre and they were crying. One came and took a picture with me and said “all of us that came here, we feel this”.


ow was the last day of filming?

VES: It was the synagogue scene. It was emotional, I was drained at the end of the day, but in a good way. It felt final, such close connections were made because we felt like a family, it didn’t feel that we would stray far. NN: My daughter came to Israel, and Viss went to pick her up from the airport. She said “I’m your mommy” and my daughter went and stayed with her in London. I truly love her, she’s part of my life no matter what. But on the last day of shooting, I was so drained, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was so torn apart, I just needed to get out. The next day I got on a flight, I said goodbye and I was gone. YD: For me, I know this is hard work, and I know I’m dealing with people’s emotions. I know exactly what he felt. Many times I don’t sleep. With Viss and Navid I saw how deeply they were suffering. I couldn’t be an actor.

BABA JOON I touch their emotions, and they pay a price. To be an actor is to pay a price to play with your emotions. He wasn’t pretending to be sad, he was sad.

NN: I have to say something about Asher (Avrahami). That kid… we shot the end of the movie the first day. There’s a scene where we’re hugging, I pick him up and he wraps his legs around my waist, and we walked way. He was holding me so tight, and he was crying and I was crying. I fell in love with that kid. That kid became my kid. We understood each other without words.


nd how was it to see your story for the first time on the big screen?

YD: I said I can’t believe it, I made it.

VES: Also, watching it for the first time with an audience, it was amazing to hear them breathe in the movie. To hear audible reactions, they were really following it, that’s always beautiful.

NN: They reacted so perfectly. I think they reacted exactly the way we wanted them to react. It was beautiful. 

The screening at TIFF was sold out, so congratulations! We wish you all great success and hope that you all work together again. PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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By: Vera Tzoulas & Chris Priftis


Ingredients 1 5lb Leg of lamb, bone in 4 Garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise ½ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 5 Sprigs fresh oregano stems removed 5 Sprigs fresh thyme stems removed 5 Sprigs fresh thyme (whole) ¼ lb Unsalted butter, room temperature 5 Yellow fleshed potatoes, cut in wedges 1 Lemon, freshly juiced 2 tbsp Sea salt 1 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground

6. Remove from fridge and allow lamb to reach room temperature before roasting. 7. Set oven to broil. Once hot, place lamb into a roasting pan and broil for 5-7 minutes on each side. For a total of 10-14 minutes to crisp & brown. 8. Set oven to bottom heat and reduce to 325F, cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, and roast for 3-4 hours. 9. Meanwhile, put potatoes in a mixing bowl, drizzle with oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, mix. 10. After about 2 hours, remove lamb from the oven, hold the leg up and toss in the potatoes. Rest the lamb on top; add remaining thyme sprigs to the potatoes. 11. Add ½ cup of water to the pan, reseal with aluminum foil and place back in the oven for the remaining 1-2 hours. Baste the lamb with the pan juices every half hour. You should be able to remove pieces of meat with your fingers when it’s done. 12. Once cooked, transfer lamb to a cutting board. Let rest for 15-20 minutes. 13. Meanwhile, broil potatoes in the roasting pan for 5-10 minutes, until brown and crisp. 

Directions 1. Rinse lamb in cold water, pat dry. 2. Make 16 slits evenly over the leg and insert garlic pieces. 3. Rub lamb with oil and season well with salt and pepper. 4. Combine oregano, thyme leaves and butter creating a paste. Rub paste all over the lamb. 5. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Vera Tzoulas and Chris Priftis are from FAT Lamb Kouzina, featuring Greek-Mediterranean cuisine providing a weekly catering menu, catering for dinner parties, special events and culinary skills classes. Their focus is to bring back local, healthy and really delicious foods to you and your family. For more information contact FAT Lamb Kouzina at:

ntensely flavourful and juicy - meat falling off the bone! Oven roasted lamb is reminiscent of our childhood; the centre of attention at family gatherings and celebrations. Here we have paired it with our favourite herbs and spices, and lemony potatoes. These succulent aromas will fill your home and are sure to give everyone a hearty appetite! {Serves 6-8}



From the Persian Kitchen...



Kashki Bademjan is an eggalso added to the caramelized onion and garlic but only at plant dip that I guarantee will the very end so that it doesn't give baba ganoush a run for burn. its money. Its ingredients and preparation are quite simple. The last thing that is mixed in First, you roast the eggplant to the eggplant dip is a creamy in the oven and then finish slightly tart ingredient. This cooking it off on the stove with can be in the form of strained a little water, sautéed onions (Greek) yogurt or sour cream and maybe a sprinkle of tur(personally I'm not a fan of meric and saffron. But it's the By: Naz Deravian sour cream). But traditionally finishing garnishes that really it is an ingredient called kashk. Hence the name of the give this dish its maximum flavor impact and make it dish kashki bademjan which literally means kashk and dangerously addictive and delicious. I recommend using eggplant. Kashk is often referred to as whey - but it is not Japanese eggplants since they have thinner skins and I whey. It is fermented yogurt. It can either be found in a find them to be more flavorful. Japanese eggplants also have less seeds so they are not as bitter as other varieties. liquid or dried form. If you use the dried form you have Because of their thinner skin, I don't peel them, but if you to add water to it to reconstitute it. I practically jumped off my chair when I came across an article about kashk. It do use any other type make sure you peel the skin. is so exciting to see all these spices and ingredients that were such a part of my everyday meals as a child become raditionally the eggplant for Kashki Bademjan is so popular now. You know kashk has “made it” when Mr. first fried in a pan. I'm not a big fan of frying anyOttolenghi (internationally acclaimed chef and writer) thing. I like to roast the eggplant first in the oven for is talking about it! Kashk is typically used to add a depth about 20 minutes or so. The result is just as fantastic of flavor and creamy consistency to soups, dips such as as frying them. kashki bademjan or even to everyday scrambled eggs. Kashki Bademjan is served warm with bread as an appetizer/ dip or can be served alongside the main meal as a or non-Persians kashk could be considered an acquired side dish. taste. When making this dip my mom will often substitute strained yogurt for kashk if she is serving Caramelized onion, mint and garlic - naana dagh/piaz non-Persians. But I urge you all to try this "umami flavor" dadgh/seer dagh - is a garnish used quite frequently in (Mr. Ottolenghi's words). Just start with small amounts. many Persian dishes. You can always prepare a large Kashk can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores and batch of caramelized onion, mint and garlic ahead of time I recommend using the liquid variety as it is less work and store it in the freezer for future use. You can use it than the dried kind.  on soups, other dips like hummus or even on burgers. Patience is the secret ingredient in well caramelized (not Naz Deravian is the 2015 International Association of Culinary burnt) onions and garlic. It takes about 30 minutes but Professionals Award Winner for her Narrative Culinary Blog it is well worth it to draw out the natural sweetness from Bottom Of The Pot - Adventures In Cooking Persian Food And Beyond both the onions and the garlic. You can caramelize the and 2014 Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Finalist. onion and garlic separately or together. Dried mint is





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Wine Pick of the month By: David Akhlaghi

Executive Director at The Wine Cave

Pepperjack Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Barossa Valley, South Australia


abernet Sauvignon is probably the most famous red wine grape variety on Earth. It is rivaled in this regard only by its Bordeaux stablemate Merlot. From its origins in Bordeaux, Cabernet has successfully spread to almost every wine growing country in the world. It is now the key grape variety in many first-rate New World wine regions. Wherever they come from, Cabernet Sauvignon wines always seem to demonstrate a handful of common character traits: deep colour, good tannin structure, moderate acidity and aromas of blackcurrant, tomato leaf, dark spices and cedarwood.

Norouz Shaad Baad I am honoured to recognize and celebrate this beautiful tradition with you on March 21, 2016.

Used as frequently in blends as in varietal wines, Cabernet Sauvignon has a large number of common blending partners. Apart from the obvious Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the most prevalent of these are Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere (the ingredients of a classic Bordeaux Blend), Shiraz (in Australia's favourite blend) and in Spain and South America, a Cabernet – Tempranillo blend is now commonplace.


arossa Red’s lush aroma carries fruitful scents with a hint of oak; the flavor is bursting with the taste of fresh berries, plums and vanilla. Velvety tannins give it a rounded, balanced structure and a satisfying finish. The range of varietals in this blend allows an assortment of food-friendly match-ups — grilled meats, roasted vegetables, risottos, casseroles, stews, quiche, pasta sauces, even pizza and burgers. Pepperjack’s parent winery, Saltram Wine Estates, is one of Australia’s most famous, producing grapes and wine in the Barossa Valley since 1859. Mattner’s contemporary approach and modern winemaking style is a twist on the traditional methods of Australia’s predominant wine region.  36


Michael Coteau MPP Don Valley East

1200 Lawrence Avenue East, Suite L02 Toronto, Ontario M3A 1C1 T 416-494-6856 | F 416-494-9937

Hire Robert, an agent who puts your needs above all others. Buyers and Sellers need an agent they can TRUST when they want to make a move, I’m that agent.

Robert Atkinson | Sales Rep Century 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc.


Like Father, Like Daughter at Castle Group


astle Group Developments is not your typical developer. With Mona Bhamani at the helm, there’s nothing typical about their condominiums. Mona has a strong belief that great design is eternal. “We feel that homes should be more than just shelter. People want their homes to make a statement and to reflect their own tastes and lifestyles”. Mona Bhamani acquired much of her architectural knowledge from her father, himself a renowned architect in South Asia. Her passion comes from her childhood and elegance is ingrained and reflected in every building they design and build as a company.

Castle Group Developments has always focused on creating one exceptional building at a time allowing their team the ability to focus all of their attention and efforts on one single project. One of the main reasons they started the company was to provide Toronto with great design at affordable prices. They make all types of units, a celebration of life for every type of buyer. With their latest project Vida at Bayview Village, their design focus is based on the same philosophy. The thousands of details gone into designing this building will distinguish the ordinary from the extraordinary.

Castle Group picked up three awards for Bellair Gardens from the Greater Toronto Home Builder’s Association (GTHBA). They won for best suite design over 750 sq. ft., best suite design over 1500 sq. ft., as well as for best building design. This building speaks for itself and cannot be missed when travelling on the Don Valley Parkway; this building offers elegant design and tremendous lasting value.


hortly after Bellair Gardens came Tuscany Gates. This project offers stunning Tuscan inspired design; a slender, airy six-sided tower reminiscent of some of the finer European architecture. The focus of Tuscany Gates was to offer the residents of Mississauga the feel, look and texture of Tuscan Villas. Not to mention the elegant central piazza with water fountain which lends to the grace and elegance of the entrance. This project was destined to become a landmark because of the boldness of its design. On the heels of Tuscany Gates was the Palm Residences in North York. This modern 23-storey tower is set discreetly back from Yonge Street and is only steps from the Finch Subway. What is unique about this project is the vibrant neighbourhood, offering a wide selection of amenities while still retaining the resort-style surroundings upon your arrival home, offering action, comfort and convenience all in the palm of your hands.


n 2015 the red carpet rolled out for Castle Group’s latest project release, Vida at Bayview Village. Vida is Spanish for “life”, and that’s exactly what Castle Group Development’s latest boutique condominium has brought to the multi-million dollar Bayview Village neighbourhood. A must see at 


ach development project has added a statement to the community it was built in. Castle Group’s first development project was Bellair Gardens nestled in the heart of North York, on The Don Valley and York Mills. This building is a celebration of the site’s natural charms. It is a curving 16-storey residence sitting on a 1.5-acre site that seems to be a natural extension of the surrounding terrain. It complements rather than intrudes on the small rolling hills that encircle it. PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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The Iranian Ontario Dental Association is a legally recognized and registered non-profit corporation. IODA is committed to providing continuing dental education as well as professional and social networking for Iranian dentists and dental students in Ontario.

For membership details, sign-up and upcoming events please visit our webpage at

•Real Estate

Why Most Private Home Sales Fail To Save You Money By: Robert Atkinson


he most common reason people choose to try the “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) route is to save on the commission. I can understand the motivation to save what can be a very large amount of money, especially in what is touted as a sellers’ market. If you consider the average selling price for a home is around $600,000 and for sake of argument the commission is 5%, a seller is parting with $30,000 plus HST. Selling a home is not simple, which is why most sellers choose a realtor. The national statistics from the US show that 88% of homes were sold using a realtor and 9% by FSBO methods, roughly a 9:1 ratio. More importantly, FSBO sold homes sold for 20% less on average than homes sold by a realtor. Why does such a gap exist when going it alone?

Priced It Too High Having the wrong price, with or without a realtor is a sure way to NOT sell your home. Pricing is the most critical element when selling any product but especially when you are talking about a home sale. Over 13% of FSBO sellers reported that getting the right price was the hardest part of the task. Buyers are savvy and will quickly dismiss your home if it’s not priced right and, many times, will never return. The old adage, “You only get one chance to make a great first impression” was never truer.

Lack of Market Exposure


lanting a sign in your front yard is but one step in getting the buying public to find your home. Adding your home to a plethora of DIY/FSBO sites helps, but

let’s face it, they bring an insignificant amount of buyer traffic compared to the sites some of the top web savvy realtors use to promote their homes. Don’t believe me, go to Google and type in keywords buyers would use and see what sites turn up (Hint: it won’t be FSBO sites). A local real estate office should be able to boast unique visitors to their website in the range of 50,000 hits or better!

Share Your Savings Buyers understand you’re not paying a commission so they will automatically discount your price. If you’re not paying commission the buyers will want to save too, since the majority of FSBO buyers are bargain hunters. Be prepared to get offers with at least 5% off the top for the commission plus another percentage for haggling room, regardless of your list price.



uyers typically have jobs and those are the buyers you want. As a result these buyers will want to come at times that are convenient to them, not you. Being home to open your door to strangers at all hours is requisite to getting your home sold. Realtors won’t waste their time showing buyers homes that they can’t afford. FSBO’s don’t have that luxury of asking personal questions like, “How much do you earn?”, “Can I see your ID?” to ensure the people are viable buyers before opening their doors. The logic is that if you can sell your home with all the benefits of security, marketing skill, updated pricing and pay zero commission but, get a buyer to pay the commission portion to you, you will be richer. The reality is you will have a steep climb ahead of you unless you sell it for less than its value (which is what most do), which really is defeating the purpose of selling it yourself. Pricing, exposure and security are the key to a successful and profitable home selling experience.  Robert Atkinson is a professional Realtor® working with Century 21. He can be reached at 416-840-8667 or via email at PERSIAN TRIBUNE

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•Environment Paris changed everything, so why are we still talking pipelines?

By: David Suzuki


ith the December Paris climate agreement, leaders and experts from around the world showed they overwhelmingly accept that human-caused climate change is real and, because the world has continued to increase fossil fuel use, the need to curb and reduce emissions is urgent.

lesson should have been learned long ago: Heavy dependence on a single revenue stream like fish, trees, wheat, minerals or even one factory or industry is hazardous if that source suffers a reversal in fortune like resource depletion, unanticipated cost fluctuations or stiff competition.

In light of this, I don't get the current brouhaha over Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL, Northern Gateway or the Energy East pipelines. Why are politicians contemplating spending billions on pipelines when the Paris commitment means 75 to 80 per cent of known fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground?


Didn't our prime minister, with provincial and territorial premiers, mayors and representatives from non-profit organizations, parade before the media to announce Canada now takes climate change seriously? I joined millions of Canadians who felt an oppressive weight had lifted and cheered mightily to hear that our country committed to keeping emissions at levels that would ensure the world doesn't heat by more than 1.5 C by the end of this century. With the global average temperature already one degree higher than pre-industrial levels, a half a degree more leaves no room for business as usual. The former government's drive to make Canada a petro superpower distorted the Canadian economy into greater fossil fuel dependence, with catastrophic consequences when the price of oil collapsed. The 42

Photo by Shannon Ramos


oal stocks have already sunk to the floor, so why is there talk of building or expanding coal terminals? Low oil prices have pushed oilsands bitumen toward unprofitability, so why the discussion of expanding this carbon-intensive industry? Fracking is unbelievably unsustainable because of the immense amounts of water used in the process, seismic destabilization and escape of hyper-warming methane from wells. Exploration for new oil deposits — especially in hazardous areas like the deep ocean, the Arctic and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other critical wildlife habitat — should stop immediately.


Energy is at the heart of modern society, but we have to get off fossil fuels.


ational unity is about steering Canada onto a sustainable track and looking out for the interests of all Canadians. Continuing to build fossil fuel infrastructure and locking ourselves into a future of increasing global warming isn't the way to go about it. Shifting to a 21st century clean-energy economy would create more jobs, unity and prosperity — across Canada and not just in one region — than continuing to rely on a polluting, climate-altering sunset industry. Leaders in Quebec should be commended for taking a strong stand for the environment and climate — and for all of Canada.


he urgency of the need for change demands that we rethink our entire energy potential and the way we live. It makes no sense to continue acting as if we've got all the time in the world to get off the path that created the crisis in the first place. That's the challenge, and for our politicians, it's a huge task as well as a great opportunity. 

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 27 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the long-running CBC television program The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. His written work includes more than 52 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis, and family in Vancouver, B.C.

Photo: Kent Kallberg

Pipeline arguments are especially discouraging, with people claiming Quebec is working against the interests of Alberta and Canada because the leadership of the Montreal Metropolitan Community — representing 82 municipalities and nearly half the province's population — voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed Energy East pipeline project, which would carry 1.1 million barrels of oilsands bitumen and other oil products from Alberta to refineries and ports in the east. Some have thrown out the anti-democratic and, frankly, anti-Canadian notion that because Quebec has received equalization payments it should shut up about pipeline projects.

The Paris target means we have to rethink everything. Energy is at the heart of modern society, but we have to get off fossil fuels. Should we expand airports when aircraft are the most energy-intensive ways to travel? Why build massive bridges and tunnels when we must transport goods and people differently? The global system in which food travels thousands of kilometres from where it's grown to where it's consumed makes no sense in a carbon-constrained world. Agriculture must become more local, so the Peace Valley must serve as the breadbasket of the North rather than a flooded area behind a dam.


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•Events Out and About with

Persian Tribune

SHABE YALDA GALA Click Photography

SHABE YALDA GALA Click Photography

SHABE YALDA GALA Click Photography

SHABE YALDA GALA Click Photography

SHABE YALDA GALA Click Photography

SHABE YALDA GALA Click Photography








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Persian Tribune

Person of The Month Professor Tofy Mussivand D. Eng, Ph.D., FRSC World Renowned Medical Scientist


r. Tofy Mussivand is a highly respected medical scientist who has demonstrated outstanding national and international leadership in healthcare professional training and innovative research impacting healthcare worldwide. He received his undergraduate education and training in engineering and management. Following successful years in senior positions in government, crown corporations and in the private sector, he went on to receive his doctorate degree in Medical Engineering and Medical Sciences at the University of Akron and Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine. Shortly after he joined the internationally acclaimed Cleveland Clinic Hospital, where he gained invaluable knowledge and experience in the development of medical devices, artificial hearts and cardiac care. In 1989, Dr. Mussivand was invited to return to Canada to continue his pioneering work in various areas. Dr. Mussivand has made substantial and meaningful contributions to establish scientific eminence for Canada in medical device innovation (36 inventions/breakthroughs with 12 world’s firsts). His business intellect has led to the formation of several business initiatives. In one technology alone (Heart Savor), he formed a corporation, brought over $650 million in investments, created 1,000 man years of jobs, took the company public (NASDAQ & TSX), and oversaw the acquisition of a major division from Baxter, a large American corporation. Museums around the world have requested to exhibit Dr. Mussivand’s



inventions, including the Canada Science and Technology Museum (Ottawa), Smithsonian National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.), Science Museum (London, England), and Juno Beach Centre (Caen, France)


e is considered one of the world's experts in artificial hearts, a major lifesaving technology. His research excellence and contributions are well known both nationally and internationally. He also serves the public's interest by serving on Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Committee, providing advice to Canada, UK, Japan, China, India, USA, and other countries. Dr. Mussivand has been appointed as a Member in the last three of Canada’s Prime Ministers Advisory Council on Science and Technology, and he serves globally in a leadership role at the International Organization for Standardization.


or his contributions and achievement, he has received numerous awards and honours. Most recently he has been nominated to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (2015). In 2010, he was awarded the “Knowledge Translation Award “by the Canadian Institute of Research (CIHR) for “exemplary knowledge translation efforts and activities that has made an outstanding contribution to increasing the application of research findings, improving the health of Canadians and the world, health services and products, or strengthening the health-care system”. He has also received the NRC Lifetime Achievement Award, NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation and was selected Fellow at Royal Society,

New York Academy of Sciences, and European Academy of Science. He was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. Dr. Mussivand is frequently invited as a congress president, symposium leader, session chair, speaker, and organizer for leading national and international conferences. He has trained over 600 students and directed advanced training of 6000 healthcare professionals, by establishing an advanced patient simulation centre. As well, he established the Biomedical Engineering program at two universities (Ottawa and Carleton). He has published over 600 books, papers, technical reports, and editorials, currently he is a Professor of Surgery and Engineering at the University of Ottawa and Carlton University in Canada. Director, Cardiovascular Devises Division, University of Ottawa Heart Institute/Ottawa Hospital Chief Scientific Officer and Vice-Chair of the Board, Medical Devices Commercialization Centre (MDCC).


rofessor Tofy Mussivand is an inspiring leader who through sustained creative innovations, hard work and perseverance has become one of the world’s most prominent and respected scientists. His scientific excellence has led to significant and meaningful contributions to the accumulation, transfer and dissemination of scientific knowledge, technologies and products for utilization in extending life, reducing suffering and improving quality of life. These contributions have shaped the present and future of medical devices and provided major impacts on health care globally. 

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We make it easy for you to settle in faster with no Canadian credit history required for your first credit card*, car* or home*. ¡ Get your first credit card, with no annual fee1 ¡ Get your first car, with an RBC Royal Bank® car loan and on-the-spot financing at over 3,500 dealerships ¡ Own your first home sooner, and get a $500 housewarming gift2 Plus, get a FREE Apple iPad mini3 when you join RBC® and open a new all-inclusive banking account.

Visit an RBC branch or or call us at 1-800-769-2511

* No credit history required for a credit card, car loan or home mortgage. For an RBC Royal Bank credit card, newcomer must be a permanent resident who arrived in Canada within the last 12 months. Provided you meet all of Royal Bank of Canada’s eligibility and credit criteria, you may be eligible for a secured or unsecured RBC Royal Bank credit card even if you have no Canadian credit history. Automotive and residential mortgage products are available to permanent residents and foreign workers without a Canadian credit history, provided you meet eligibility and credit criteria. To take advantage of these offers you must show proof of entry into Canada and provide supporting documents such as a passport and landing papers or permanent resident card. For full terms and conditions visit 1 No annual fee is available on select RBC Royal Bank credit cards. See branch for details. 2 Offer only available to First-Time Home Buyers who obtain a 4, 5 or 7 year fixed interest rate closed or a 5 year variable rate closed residential mortgage with Royal Bank of Canada or on one RBC Homeline Plan® mortgage segment. To qualify for this offer, clients must have or open a mortgage payment account with RBC Royal Bank. To be eligible: (i) the mortgage application date must be on or after March 10, 2014 and mortgage funds must be fully advanced within 120 days from the commitment start date, and (ii) client must have a minimum mortgage principal amount of $100,000. Not available in combination with any other offer. 3 Conditions apply. To get an Apple iPad mini device, you must be a new Eligible Personal Client, open one of the Eligible Personal Deposit accounts with RBC Royal Bank during the promotional period and complete the criteria. Offer is not available to existing clients who had a Personal Deposit Account with RBC Royal Bank before April 14, 2014. Offer available from April 14, 2014 to July 31, 2014. Apple is not a sponsor of, nor a participant in, this promotion. For full terms and conditions visit † Based on market capitalization. Other conditions apply to all offers. Each of these offers may be withdrawn or amended at any time without notice. For complete Terms and Conditions visit any RBC Royal Bank branch or visit Personal lending products and residential mortgages are offered by Royal Bank of Canada and are subject to its standard lending criteria. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. 26770 (05/2014)

Profile for Persian Tribune

PERSIAN TRIBUNE Volume 2, Issue 3  

Persian Tribune magazine is the first entirely English language monthly print & online magazine that targets the rapidly growing Iranian com...

PERSIAN TRIBUNE Volume 2, Issue 3  

Persian Tribune magazine is the first entirely English language monthly print & online magazine that targets the rapidly growing Iranian com...