Between democracy and theocracy

What is a vote worth in Iran?

30-Apr-2008 (13 comments)
The question is why Iranians participate in a "manipulated" election. The answer is simple. Voting is a rational choice: the benefits of participation outweigh its costs. Procedurally speaking, participation in elections prevents total domination by the theocrats, increases transparency and ensures a modicum of circulation of elites at the lower rungs of the system. Of course there is always an outside (but real) chance of a sudden upset. It is true that the system is altered to benefit theocracy, but a bit of luck and a huge landslide can overwhelm the theocratic stopgaps and lead to historical victories>>>


Whisper of a lover

Kalbasi's anthology of love and loss bears witness to a passionate and sorrowful longing

30-Apr-2008 (2 comments)
Seven Valleys of Love, compiled and translated by Sheema Kalbasi, is written with a piercing clarity and a profound intensity of emotion. Her ability to preserve the integrity and poetical sensibility of the work is evident in her mastery of language, editing, and translation. Seven Valleys of Love is a vibrant celebration of extraordinary women’s voices. The colorful and lively verses in this dazzling collection emerge as small, quiet explosions out of the shadows of hopelessness and seek to inspire and restore peace, hope, and harmony in its people >>>


Personal faith

Reza Pahlavi and the question of religion

30-Apr-2008 (2 comments)
Reza Pahlavi has by and large been reticent on the issue of religion. He mainly mentions it in order to reiterate his belief in an Iran where the separation of Mosque and state are absolute. In a part of the Middle East where religion runs deep roots within the collective consciousness of the population, playing the religious card seems to be a powerful temptation for a leader who wishes to unite the masses under his flag. Nevertheless Mr Pahlavi during his long and arduous campaign has consistently refused to give in to any such temptation. >>>


Who brought down the Pahlavi regime?

Two words: 'oil' and 'foreigners'

30-Apr-2008 (51 comments)
Why did the Pahlavi regime fall? Theories are out there aplenty. Was Khomeini too tough? Were the Iranian people simply too unhappy with the regime? I don't think so. Let's have a different look! We know where Iran was around the time of the Islamic revolution. Much of the Iranian diaspora longs for those days. They consider the last years of the Pahlavi rule as Iran's best time ever. I have never been truly nice about the Pahlavi regime, but I must acknowledge the reality, that both during Reza Shah, and also Mohammad Reza Shah, Iran saw its greatest modernisation process in its modern times (not talking about thousands of years ago)>>>


(Delicious) Mixed nutz

Babak is back! Funny new animation series on Tapesh TV

30-Apr-2008 (one comment)
Mixed Nutz is a television comedy about a group of kids who feel like they just don’t fit in. Much like our hero Babak, who is shy to tell people he is from Iran, Michael, the redhead feels he is boring and no one wants to be his friend. Two new immigrants include Sanjay, who just came from Mumbai and Adele, a half-American, half-Austrian girl who has traveled the world so much, she doesn’t even know how to make friends. Jae, Briana, Saman, Sousanne and the parents round out the fun cast of a show that is simple in style but has a strong message for people of all ages >>>


Violent past AND peaceful present

Roadmap for the Foreign Terrorist Organizations List

29-Apr-2008 (73 comments)
In the Mojahedin's case, its designation should not be based on the group's political stance or worries about U.S.-Iranian relations, nor should it be a reward for its reports on Iran's nuclear activities. Over the past three years, the State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism have cited no alleged MEK terrorist activity since 2001, yet have increased allegations pertaining the group's non-terrorist activities. The 2007 edition of the Reports, due out by the end of April 2008, is bound to continue this trend. These allegations... are not related to the legal criteria for terrorist designation and are probably meant to discredit the MEK.>>>


Citizen Obama

Transcendence of identity politics?

29-Apr-2008 (4 comments)
Barack Obama conceded to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Pennsylvanian Democratic Primary last week. Though hardly a surprise to those eagerly following the campaign trail, some might have succumbed to wishful thinking, hoping Obama might be able to ride the wave of past momentum and bring a long drawn out and fatigued contest to a resolution. Alas, for Senator Obama and his avid supporters it was not meant to be, as his rival the junior Senator from New York and former First Lady was thrown a desperately needed life-preserver by the registered Democrats of Pennsylvania>>>


The Spider Killings (18)

This could be the break Ramin had so desperately been looking for

29-Apr-2008 (2 comments)
Azadeh woke up in a cold sweat. For a few seconds, she looked around disoriented at the unfamiliar room in which she had been sleeping. She was lying in a lower bunk bed and someone was snoring on the top. In front of her, another set of bunk beds was erected against the wall, where other women were lying asleep. Her first instinct was to look for Yassi and then, she remembered. The awful reality that her friend was dead smashed her with a hard thud on her forehead like a stone aimed at her with a vengeance from afar>>>


29-Apr-2008 (6 comments)
اميد خاك باران نيست،
درختان اين زمين
آنان كه دگر پوسيده اند
آب را زندگانی چه؟
اميد روشن آنان
زمان است.


Ghost in the house

Fly through our possessions in Genval, Belgium

29-Apr-2008 (12 comments)


Hillary McCain

Clinton supports war for the purpose of promoting democracy

28-Apr-2008 (59 comments)
It seems Hillary Clinton has sacrificed her conscience to ambition. Chinese proverb has it that “he who sacrifices his conscience to ambition, burns a picture to obtain the ashes”. She announced her readiness to reduce 70 million innocent Iranian lives to ashes so that she could imagine her picture in the White House. Hillary’s her lust for ambition will never be satisfied; on the contrary, it seems to grow more inflamed with the prospect of mass murder. After all, this is nothing new to her.>>>


سه مرتضی آوینی

انسانی که «خود» ندارد یا اگر دارد بطرز غریبی با «خود» محصول روشنگری و مدرنیته فرق دارد

28-Apr-2008 (6 comments)
مثل خیلی از ماها، مرتضی آوینی، در واقع سه نفر بود. آوینی اول یک جوان هیپی نقاش و شاعر و خوره‌ی فلسفه‌ و ادبیات است که در دانشکده‌ی معماری دانشگاه تهران در سالهای اول دهه‌ی پنجاه برای خودش بساطی دارد. من بخاطر کنکجاوی‌ام به این قسمت از زندگی آوینی خیلی پرس و جو کرده‌ام و بر اساس آنها می‌توانم بگویم که آوینی آن زمان یک جوان غیرمذهبی خوشگذاران اهل فکر عاشق‌پیشه و دخترباز و اهل الکل و مواد مخدر و سینما و موزیک راک بیتلز و لد زپلین و ریش و موی بلند، با گرایش‌های فلسفی و اقتصادی چپ و علاقه به سبک‌های گوناگون معنوی دنیا، البته با لجاجت و استقلال فکری است. این آوینی بسیار آدم جالبی است که اتفاقا جمهوری اسلامی با نادانی آن را سانسور می‌کند. >>>


Boom? Or bust!

Effects of oil price volatility on government expenditures in Iran

28-Apr-2008 (2 comments)
If Iran’s oil production capacity remains stable its oil revenue continues to rise drastically due to surging oil price. However, there are some indications that Iran’s production capacity may be diminishing as much as 5% per year according to some analysts. If such speculations are true, the growth of Iran’s oil revenue will decelerate through time. But the troubling issue for the government of Iran is not the extent of oil revenues but the fluctuations in price of oil that have been more intense in recent years>>>


به آقای سيد علی خامنه ای

در آستانهء سفر به استان فارس

28-Apr-2008 (35 comments)
آقای سيد علی خامنه ای! اگرچه دون شأن من ـ بعنوان يک نويسندهء گريخته از جهنم حکومت اسلامی ـ است که «دنيادار» ی چون شما را مخاطب قرار دهم، و اگرچه می دانم در بين نزديکان و اطرافيان شما آدم با جنمی پيدا نخواهد شد که اين نوشته را به ديد شما برساند، اما، در آستانهء سفر هفتهء آينده تان به استان فارس، فکر کردم چند نکتهء با اهميت ـ از نظر خودم ـ را با شما در ميان بگذارم باشد تا شايد اين سفر را با اشراف و آگاهی بيشتری انجام دهيد. >>>


28-Apr-2008 (5 comments)
Silent Friday.
Desolate Friday.
Friday dreary as decrepit alleys.
Friday of ill lazy thoughts.
Cunning-wide-yawns Friday.
No-anticipations Friday.
Friday of surrenders. >>>