Cultures Extra

Written by Niki D Category: Valley News Issue: June 2012

More insights and recollections from the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian immigrants profiled in this month’s Hidden Cultures features.

Live from Phoenix: Persian TV
After seeing the success of his Arizona Persian Yellow Pages over the past seven years, Reza Talai and his wife decided to start a Phoenix-based television station for the Valley’s Persian community. Launched a little more than a year ago, the station (dubbed AZPTV) shows programming entirely in Persian, including popular television shows from Iran and music videos. Talai also provides original programming, in the form of videos from Persian socials and holidays, featuring members of the local Persian community conducting interviews and providing commentary. “Our goal was entertainment for the people, to grab the audience, which loves to see a regular program. They don’t want to get involved with the political or religion,” Talai says. “We have a large audience. We found out there’s like 500,000 people watching this. But it’s not just in Arizona; it’s all over the world and nation.”

Watching the station on a regular television requires the purchase of something called a GLBox and a subscription to a web application called GLWiZ ( Buyers then connect the box to their computers and TVs and can watch anywhere from 40 to 80 channels from around the world. Or they can simply log on to and stream the station.

Posts from the Edge
Over the past decade, there’s been an explosion in the number of Iraqi bloggers, both in the U.S. and their home country, with thousands of young Iraqis documenting their daily lives and ongoing struggles in the Middle East. That can be a dangerous proposition in a war-torn region, which is why they formed the Iraqi Network for Social Media ( to help support each other and raise awareness.

A few of the most popular Iraqi blogs:

-Healing Iraq ( Written by a Baghdad-born dentist now living in Texas.

-Inside Iraq ( Updates from Iraqi journalists based in Baghdad who have worked for McClatchy Newspapers.

-Iraqi American Mojo ( Written by a former Baghdad resident who immigrated to Colorado with his parents.

Dear President Obama
Save Syria Now!, the nonprofit advocacy and action group founded by Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser, wrote “An Open Letter to President Obama” last April. In it, the group expresses concern over the lack of U.S. intervention in the current Syrian uprising and lists a set of demands. These include “immediate economic sanctions to cripple the regime’s ability to inflict harm upon her people,” “All political prisoners of conscience need to be released immediately,” and “The entire Syrian government leadership must resign and welcome U.N. observers to oversee a transition of the current regime out of power with a clear roadmap toward democracy and civilian control of government and military institutions.” To read the full letter and learn more about Save Syria Now!, visit