Shouting match diplomacy

Erratic U.S. foreign policy

The bi-lateral meetings of mid-May and last Tuesday in Baghdad between U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and Iran’s ambassador to that country, Hassan Kazemi-Qumi, were the sole talks at the ambassadorial level in more than two decades. This could be viewed as a change of attitude, however temporary, in the Bush Administration. If in the aftermath of the first meeting Crocker was cautiously upbeat about the outcome, in the press conference following the second he unleashed a salvo of unfounded claims that Iran is funding, arming, training and even planning the operations of the Iraqi militia against the U.S. and Iraqi troops>>>


The initial conditions

Me, Abbas, Ms. Morrison, jockstraps & Chaos Thoery

The most popular way to describe the Chaos Theory is that a butterfly's wings fluttering might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or, for that matter, prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the final outcome and its consequences would have been vastly different. Gently pressing the spot between side of his right foot and and top of his toes, I said: "Look son, if you want to get power and accuracy you simply have to shoot the ball with the front third side of your foot. Toe-poking it will give you zero control.">>>


Whisky and coke

The minute the door opened the blasting sound of music nailed my feet to the ground

31-Jul-2007 (one comment)
It was late night in Tehran. I was sitting at my laptop thinking what I could do to entertain myself. Porn would be so out of the question. The lines are probably monitored. Imagining a police showing up at Mamani's door step with photos of Kirs hanging right out -- the thought gave me shivers. I thought of the late night parties we had in Melbourne. I missed getting smashed and rolling in the hallway of my student apartment. There was this time I had thrown a party at my flat and I remember being the best host I could be, however my friends had other interpretations of the night, they were too drunk so they said I was laying on the concrete door step while it was raining and apparently they had tried to pull me over the fence to avoid embarrassment>>>


A house I call Iran

And I'm going back there this week!

I was surprised by the kind smiles I received from my hosts when they opened the door for me. This was hardly what I expected. They welcomed me with such warmth, kissing my cheeks and embracing me as I was lead to explore the dimly lit interior of their home. Richly decorated, it contradicted all that I saw from its exterior. Magnificent carpets of all colors and motifs, murals and frescoes on walls depicting historical scenes and daily life throughout the ages. The painted brown eyes of a turbaned man in one of these paintings stared at me firmly, as if attempting to converse with me about his time. The past was as active as the present in this mythical home. The architects had done a splendid job, as well as its decorators. Supposedly fashionable western elements did not exist here, for the residents stood firm to their beliefs and the flavor of originality in design that they were given from their forefathers.>>>


Mashad’s collage of life

What I saw next in the next to last row of photographs had my stomach churn and a sob escape my mouth

In 2001, while on a business trip, I was invited to the home of a family in Mashad as their new family member. They were a devout Moslem family, who lived in an old traditional house in the older part of Mashad, near Imam Reza’s shrine. The house consisted of a very large living room, with two bedrooms and a kitchen to the side. There was another small living quarter off the backyard. The family of two daughters and three sons had all gathered to welcome us into their home, with the family’s patriarch sitting against pillows against a wall, turning his rosary in his hands, the women walking quickly and efficiently to move the plates and platters and cups and saucers of cookies, fruits, and tea. Other male members of the family were sitting on the floor near the father, and children played in a corner.>>>


The saga continues

As fans, we are left disappointed and unfulfilled, hardly influential in the course of the team that we so passionately love

31-Jul-2007 (one comment)
Let us as football fanatics be just that: fanatics, and let the extremities of our emotions overwhelm our logic in dealing with the continuation of the same, old saga. But this saga does not consist of any heroic exploits; there is an abyss of notable achievements. It is the saga of Iranian football filled with the short-lived ups and the long-lasting downs, the flashes of brilliance and the enduring taste of misery and underachievement. This saga belongs to the post-revolution times, experienced by me and the likes of me especially since Team Melli's exit from the 1996 instalment of the Asian Cup of Nations. It may well be a matter of irony that the joy of a revitalized Iranian football, initiated and led by the golden generation of Daei et al, brought about hard falls of hopeful dreams>>>



A short play

(Farhad steals a nervous glance at the cabinet, which Dad notices.)
Dad: What is in the cabinet?
(Farhad is mute. He looks helplessly at his mom. His mom returns a similar look. Dad opens the cabinet. Farhad shudders as the bottles drop out onto the kitchen floor. Dad’s face turns red.)
Dad: (yelling) How much did you drink?
Mom: (meekly) Mohsin, don’t yell.
Dad: (ignoring Mom’s pleas) Unbelievable! You piece of shit! You cover up from your parents! >>>



One day I was sitting alone on the roadside minding my own business when a speeding car ran me over

A screw, a defective one, that’s what I am. Pay attention! I’m not a nail. Nails are flat head with no character I say. They are straightforward. I’m not. They have no twists and turns, I do. They are easy going. I’m not. Just hit a nail on the head and it obediently does its job, I don’t. You can straighten a crooked nail with a hammer and it works as good as new and if you hit me, I get even more crooked. The first time I was put into a good use, I failed miserably. The carpenter, who picked me out randomly from the box full of screws, could not drive me through the wood because I was slightly crooked and my head was stripped. His hand slipped and I made him bleed. So he tossed me to the ground cursing me under his breath.>>>


Not your father's home poker game

This is basically what people with way too much money and a lot of extra time do for fun

This past weekend, 2 slambills, one from the U.S. and one from Hong Kong were in Vegas to play in a full cash game against 4 pros and 2 other amature, but very rich players. The game was held in a private suite in one of the nicer hotels in Vegas and I had the "pleasure" of being present for around 5 hours of this game. I had to also give my word not to devulge the name of any player or the name of the hotel where this game took place. Although completely legal, these players are very descrete and do not want publicity>>>


To pay or not to pay

The real cost of your eyeglasses

29-Jul-2007 (one comment)
Eyeglasses. There is no other accessory I love more than a nice pair of glasses. Purses are carried under my arm, shoes are on my feet but eyeglasses are on my face, adding a frame, personality, a different style. When I lived in Berkeley, I used to walk around Shattuck after class and go into the glasses store just for the heck of it. I fell in love with thousands of models.... from the trendy black plastic ones that make me look smarter than I am, to the nice metal frames that would be perfect for class, to the light white frame sunglasses that create the perfect contrast with my dark skin.>>>


The resurgence of tolerance

Photo essay: Liberty Sciences Center showcases contributions of the Islamic world

What is refreshing is that less than a mile away from the WTC site there is an exhibition at the Liberty Sciences Center (part of the Liberty State Park that contains the Statue of Liberty) entitled "Islamic Science Re-Discovered". It is beautifully assembled and shows the contributions of the Islamic world to sciences and technology. >>>


Murder & order

Ending life knowingly

History proves to us that capital punishment always has been an answer to the gravest crimes. Regardless of cultural differences, religion or race, the notion of "eye for an eye" is known to all mankind. Somehow there is almost no state or tribe that doesn't have a smudge in its history regarding capital punishment. I have always wondered what it is that makes us civilized people think that only by giving a name to an act we are exempt from the main character of the action. We call it capital punishment because it is executed under a certain law by known executors and in accordance with a verdict. But the act itself remains the same as first degree murder. It is still ending a man's life knowingly.>>>


How religion was reformed in the West

The Reformation

I'm Just Saying: The reformation of Christendom began in the 16th century, agreed by most, to have been started by Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk. Luther felt that over the course of the many years in power, the Catholic Church had fallen into corruption and had deviated from the truth of the Bible and Christ. I'm Just Saying: In 1517 Luther literally nailed his "95 Theses on the Power of Indulgences" to the bulletin board on the door of the Wittenburg Castle church, which officially started the reformation process. In his Theses, he objected to the many false doctrines and malpractices, that troubled not just him, but many Christians of the time, as they saw that the Church had become distant from what many felt were the true teachings of Christ.>>>


Global man

The multi talented genius, Naanaam

It was 2003 I had put my few months old daughter to bed and was browsing through Iranian Times when I came across a collection of poetry. The poems frustrated, angered, and amazed me at times. The collection titled "One Should Not Sleep with Juliet and Not Be Romeo," and the poems were simply incredible. I followed his works and a few years later included some of them in the Other Voices International Project. It was then that I received e-mails from some American poets who believed they were the works of a literary genius. This voice belongs to no one but one of the most controversial contemporary poets of our time, Naanaam>>>


Scary and exciting

Sarakhs' new album "Mordad 85"

In late 2000, an Iranian homegrown alternative band, Sarakhs, made it's debute with the release of Mordab. Mordab and other singles such as Vasvaseh and Raz marked the beginning of a phenomenon called, Iranian underground music. Although Mordab never made it to the commercial arena, it became one of the most widely acclaimed Iranian Alternative albums on internet. Fortunately, Sarakhs' new work will not leave fans disappointed. It is Sarakhs at its best. A milestone in Iranian alternative music and an example of originality in sound and lyric. The new tracks showcase the band's talent and give the fans what they're looking for: something very different>>>