Latest photos of Akbar Ganji
Whatever happens next I have no doubt: Ganji never dies
Ganji has been in the news and in front of the conscious of many Iranians as well as leading international politicians and personalities, world public opinion and human rights advocates for many days to remember now. Scanning Iranian media pages, however, demonstrates the Islamic regime's absolute determination of pretence of no big deal. The latest statement from the head of Iran's judiciary is based on the argument that Ganji has not been helping his own predicament during his temporary release and with his outspoken statements openly questioning the absolute rule of the clerical leader, Ayattolah Khamenei.
Iran's nuclear negotiation strategy under the new conservative administration
Levels of concern reached new highs when suddenly Iran said that the EU 3 countries of UK, France and Germany have until tomorrow August 1 st to submit their security, political and economic proposals to the Iranian government. This piece will be concluded by answering the most important question of all: will Iran under the conservatives continue with the talks or will it ultimately break off with negotiations to continue with its nuclear program?
Cars zooming by on the Tehran streets... Saffron, mint, parsley, and
fresh cream sweets
My son thiks the news is the last episode of "Star Wars"
No one offered a hand to the dying butterfly, not even God
Casa del Mar
Religions are about the difficulty to accept death
For recent elections
That last night in Shiraz
Putting our faith in Geldofs and Bonos
Adam & Eve
Iranians bolt when they see each other
I lean on the edge of grace
The past overlooked in haze
Redeemed by love alone
Never try to understand everything
Kiosk's "Ordinary Man" is extra-ordinary
Well maybe not exactly, but it's a good title for an article, and a good effort for first timers Kiosk and their debut album "adameh mamooli" (Ordinary Man), one of the up and coming underground (literally) Iranian alternative bands, slowly starting to come out into the light. I think for the first time, I have heard lyrics that actually mean something, expressing the growing frustration and boredom with an increasingly materialistic and decadent life in modern day Iran. A refreshing and honest commentary on the superficial social scene Iran has become.
Observing Mossadegh in private and public
Sure, streets and traffic lights have changed, but nothing has changed
After almost eight years, it was finally happening. I was on the Iran Air flight from Amsterdam to my beloved Tehran. The plane was full, and all the passengers that I saw were Iranian. The dude who was sitting next to me was quite a character.A little after I had started the conversation he was telling me about how his female cousin was divorcing her husband because she was caught watching porn and having sex with her husband's sister! I was shocked, of course. I had heard about the spread of lesbianism, but I didn't think I would hear stories about it before I had entered the Iranian airspace. Talking with that dude was fun, and it heralded a fun time.
* Dear Iranian.com, I am writing to congratulate on your 10th birthday. I
hope that in 10 years time you will be based in a free and democratic Iran
with me as king.
This outdated self appointed obsessive model cannot be applied to today's
Hijab in its different forms had begun to disappear with the adoption of Western culture, but the Islamic regime in Iran gave it new life in recent decades. It has also been refreshed by the continued postponement in the resolution of Palestinian conflicts, arrogant hegemonic American foreign policies in its absolute support for the aggressive policies of Israel in its occupation of "Islamic territories", demographic realities, economic problems, corrupt dictators and total lack of democracy in the Islamic world. While the Islamic hijab has become for some women a voluntary rejection of the new world, for the majority it remains still a forced acceptance of the old world.
"Aso Pas" album is one hit after another
The best definition I heard for a friend is in a story told
by our 7th grade Farsi teacher in Iranzamin
My 6-year-old son, Riyan, came home from summer camp the other day, and as usual was explaining what he had done that day. He kept mentioning his new "best" friend, and I asked him who this particular friend was, since I had never heard his name. It turned out that he had just met this kid that morning and all of a sudden he had turned out to be Riyan's best friend. It made me laugh at how easily a new person can become a child's best friend, and got me thinking about my own friends.
My detonating agent turned out to be a Persian-born European-raised boy
Now as I'm standing in front of Amsterdam central station waiting for my darling I am telling myself that as a confident, mature, attractive, young woman, I had no reason to be insecure. No matter if he is 15 minutes late... and has a history of being forgetful, and has called me twice during the week to ask me if we are hooking up on Saturday or on Sunday? And has already blown me off twice... Nope I am just great... by the way I like these shoes ... yes how can he resist me? How can any one resist me in these shoes?
Latest score in the Middle East
Even if you despise Iran's ruling clerics, you have to admire their survival skills, and sheer political brilliance. If the war was designed to promote democracy in the region -- via setting examples in Afghanistan and Iraq - well the results are patently poor. The Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians have not really done anything of substance ... any change has been cosmetic. And Iran's mullahs are firmly in control in Iran. Bush now has as much credibility in promoting democracy as he had after telling the world that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Bush would have been just as happy to oust Saddam with a military coup, and in fact the CIA had tried that approach several times during his father's presidency.
Ganji is committing the ultimate selfless act, he is not willing to live
with out freedom and he is willing to die for it
Ganji has decided that he is not willing to live without his freedom. He is not willing to continue on without the guarantee of his basic individual rights. He wants his freedom of speech and he wants it now. By his hunger strike, now in it's 46th day, he is telling the world that the will and happiness of his children, his wife, his friends and his countrymen come only second to his own happiness in life. He is not willing to compromise his individual rights and persuit of happiness for the sake of others. HE WON'T SACRIFICE HIMSELF FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS.
We need not be all homosexuals to think seriously about homosexuals and
consider them as ordinary citizens
Ask a Swede about hanging homosexuals in Iran. He or she will not understand your question. On the other side of the world, ask a mullah about marriage between homosexual couples in the civilized world. He will not be able to imagine it. To him a homosexual is a sinner and must be killed (unless the homosexual is the mullah himself). Killing infidels helps to frighten everybody: "Hm? you do not want to accept us? You do not want to be like us? You do not want to accept our rectionary laws? We will kill you."
My aversion towards the subject matter is, in fact, more of a gut reaction,
one that I have typically left unquestioned
It is perhaps unwise to be frank and straight to the point, in my first internet publication, and with a topic like this. The title is innocent enough, an entitled opinion, but the implications about this author, merciless. A bigot and dogmatic essayist, one assumes, perhaps homophobic and conservatively religious also. Either a senior or a juvenile, a shrinking brain or one yet to develop. Yet I choose to voice my view lest I sacrifice honesty and curiosity for political correctness and stupidity. Even in certain intellectual circles, it is apparently less controversial to support the Iraq invasion or to turn away from African hunger, than to appear a bigot. Still I persist.
No matter who is Iran's president our fate will remain the same
According to Iran's Constitution, the Supreme Leader is responsible for the delineation and supervision of "the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran," which means that he sets the tone and direction of Iran's domestic and foreign policies. The Supreme Leader also is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and controls the Islamic Republic's intelligence and security operations; he alone can declare war or peace. He has the power to appoint and dismiss the leaders of the judiciary, the state radio and television networks, and the supreme commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Therefore...
Khatami in the silence of his library
History is witness to the fact that the best kind of unity that traverses
along the entire length and breadth of the Islamic world is obtained on the
back of blood orgies
Little do these terrorists realise that in this day and age our global neighbourhoods have shrunk; events in London or Baghdad are like events in our own backyard, we see misery and wanton aggression being imposed on masses and we detest it. The global pains are common, it is no more a London neighbourhood that is bombed; it is an attack on the heart of confluence of mankind. Such is the cosmopolitan nature of our existence. Egypt, Beirut or Iraq, the pain of human beings in real time is brought within our living rooms, the violent and bloody nature of the struggle stands exposed. Seeing innocent people as victims and canon fodder for the imposition of an extreme agenda.
Well what did you expect?
Cyrus writes: I have had multiple relationships with multiple women sometimes at the same time and I am used to having various forms of sexual acts. But, when I decided to get married, I thought it would be a good idea to marry a pure person. That’s why I decided to marry someone from Iran. But, after a short while I started missing the kinds of things I used to do with other women. I want those liberal sexual adventures! This problem is becoming so big that I am afraid our marriage is about to fall apart.
After watching Iran's 3-0 loss to QPR, I have decided that perhaps I
have a future in football
On Saturday I went to watch Iran (their second string team) QPR (Queen Parks Rangers) in a "friendly". I had only ever watched one football game before Saturday and that was Iran vs America during the 1998 World Cup and that was on TV. So Iran vs QPR was my first live football match. I have always thought football was a silly game, but as I knew a lot of people were going I decided to go along out of curiosity and a misplaced sense of national pride.
According to the many rules of our courtship, Houman was allowed to take
me out only one night of the week
Our courtship started and ended with a problem of names. For a long time in our house that imperious Persian word, khastegari, was invoked only when speaking about Iran and the past. When I turned nineteen it gained new currency. That year I managed to find the most unsuitable of suitors. Houman was thirty-one and lately separated from his wife. Suitors were not supposed to have ex-wives, because Iranians didn’t get divorced (though one of course heard rumors from time to time). Houman was both Iranian and divorced. If he was to exist, we would have to find a name for him.
Human rights scholar or harlequin romance writer?
Recently, Micheal Ignatieff, Canadian author, broadcaster, and director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, was invited to Iran by an Iranian NGO known as the Cultural Research Bureau, to lecture on human rights and democracy. On July 17, 2005, Ignatieff wrote a lengthy editorial about his experiences in Iran for the New York Times Magazine. Instead of asking: “What do democracy and human rights mean in an Islamic society”, Ignatieff asks: “Can democracy and human rights make any headway at all in a society deeply divided between the rich and the poor, included and excluded, educated and uneducated?”
Presidential elections and the media
Moreover, it is perhaps possible only in Iran for the government's mass media inside as well as for its opponents outside to both pronounce victory after an election. The government's media declared victory saying that 60 to 63 percent of the nearly 45 million eligible Iranians voted. The LA-based TV and Radio stations similarly declared victory saying that most eligible voters did not participate. The oppositional media refused to understand that the fate of the Iranian people would not be determined through voting or boycotting, that it would depend on how deep the discourse of reform and modernity penetrated Iranian society.
Highs and lows of Dr. Holakouee's popular radio show
Looking back at the reaction against Akbar Ganji at the Berlin conference
Lessons in Persian II
Beh ghabr-e babat khandeedee. (You laughed at your father’s grave). Expression used when one is extremely annoyed at the ineptitude of an individual or group. Take yesterday when Iran’s national side lost 3-nil to QPR in London. Iran were demolished by a team whose players used the time-honoured strategy of passing the ball to each other and providing a defence. It would be fair to say that “be QPR-e babashoon khandeedan”.
For Ahmad Shamloo
A poet that does not go away
Today is yet another anniversary for a poet who does not seem to have left us at all. His popularity, as well as his message, is alive and on the rise much more than anytime during his lifetime. It is as if he has hidden a magical potion inside his poetry and that potion is releasing its wonders over time and place. He constantly talks to us over the TV channels and radio stations, as well as the numerous websites and weblogs, without us getting bored or disenchanted. His books are getting reprinted every where, in any place that Iranians live.
there is no romance
I cannot but admire Akbar Ganji for the fact that he is standing so solemnly
in face of dictatorship
Amidst this dismal hopelessness and political setbacks, a man like Ganji is standing tall and calling us back into fight for the basics rights that are so rooted now within our last 150 years of constitutional history. To finalize democracy and rule of law in our country, it takes colossal scarifications and yes lots of luck and historical will and struggle. Nothing comes free. Freedom is not given but taken.
Photo essay: Women in Iran
Aftabeh, democracy and terrorism
Just like “aftabeh” has no relation to the word “aftab” -- democracy has no relation to good government, it only seems that way. Lately, there is a lot of talk about spreading democracy in the Middle East, as if it is some kind of jam. The President of the United States is on the record as saying that the spreading of liberty and freedom, presumably fair elections and market economy, is the antidote to the appeal and spread of “terrorism.” Wrong! The brand of democracy that Bush and his sidekick Rice espouse tends to produce chaos and disintegration.
I usually pray in my shower and in Farsi
I do not pray in Arabic for the very simple reason that I do not speak the language. Sure I have memorized a few prayers over the years, but it's a simple regurgitation of words I do not understand. How genuine is that? The other prayers I know from my Catholic school years may as well be in Arabic too, for they feel no more authentic. I give my family, my friends, and even my co-workers the courtesy of speaking to them in a language I understand, and I always attempt to remain true to my thoughts and beliefs in my interactions, why would I not extend the same honesty when communicating with my God? My words, my tone, and my emotions evolve, both in life and in my "talks" with him.
Responding to a question on a form in medical school
I pride myself on my gut; since I can remember, it was never difficult for me to follow my instincts and commit myself to a pursuit, especially a fulfilling and useful one. My family, well aware of this, made sure that I would cultivate my better instincts. They made me understand that whatever I ended up doing in life, it should be something that would be a vehicle both for my own well-being and that of others. Thus, reciprocity is the bedrock upon which my expectations and aspirations, in life as well as a physician, are built. I get true satisfaction from knowing that one day I will be fully committed in a profession that makes a positive difference in my community.
He belted out tune after tune, the classics, the pop songs, and provided
more than a few funny stories in between
A little over a week ago I was on my lunch break at work, and like all good Iranian children, I called home to check in with my mother. She picked up and began to yell "AGHILI IS COMING!" I laughed and asked what she was talking about, and instead of an explanation I just kept getting "Aghili is coming, Aghili is coming!" What you have to understand is that I, like many children of immigrants, was raised on shoddy VHS recordings of music videos and worn tape cassettes made in Iran during the 70's. Somewhere between the pop sounds of Googoosh and Sattar though, I fell in love with the majestic voice of Houshmand Aghili.
Secular democrats meet in Frankfurt
Depriving journalists of their constitutional rights is not funny
I raise my hands. Someone, I don’t know who, maybe Taraneh or Farideh or perhaps Nazeli, ties my wrists with a thick blue rope. We have all gathered in the small hall of the Journalist’s Union to protest the closure of “Vaqaye Ettefaqiye” newspaper, our newspaper. The first, and at the moment the only paper, that I had written a piece for every issue.
Khatami has ordered an investigation into the sheer variety of Persian
dishes of which Ganji has been deprived
Last week, Khatami offered proof he was still alive by announcing he was aware of the existence of an individual called Akbar Ganji (or so he pretended). No sooner than realizing this non-political prisoner (for there are no political prisoners), was close to death, he dispatched a damning letter to international political and human rights organizations. In this letter he catalogued the food that Ganji could have had had he not been on hunger strike. The alphabetical list of Persian culinary delights, which included ice cream and sorbet for dessert, filled several pages of A4 and was sent by Khatami to the international bodies with the following message:
Amir Reza Koohestani's play in London's Royal Court
Young playwright Koohestani's Amid The Clouds (Dar Miyan-e-Abrha), which runs at London’s Royal Court until July 23, charts the journey of two Iranian refugees travelling across Europe to the UK: the oddly-named Imour (Hassan Madjooni) and the woman known as “the girl” [“een dokhtareh”] (Shiva Fallahi). The story, of which there is little, is largely conveyed through monologues loaded with confused metaphors.
Zarrin writes against America the Third Reich and for Whitman's democratic
vision in some of the most beautiful language to praise his chosen country
I had the pleasure of attending a reading of Ali Zarrin’s Book of I last year. Everyone there was visibly moved and many spontaneously gathered around the poet after his powerful performance. His poetry is about an immigrant who came with a dream to be American and love America, and who now more than ever questions whether this is possible; this drama forms both the underlying sweetness in his poetry -- a naïve ideal underscoring the irony of living in a world in which America continues to be an imperialist nation bent on forcing its consumerist needs on others, even if it means invading his own homeland, Iran.
In the course of time the world has held the memory of the Shah in great
esteem, and history will be a fair judge
The jetliners’ four engines droned at low altitude, wings slanted in a half-circle approach to the runway. The returning king saw the army band, a unit of his beloved royal guard standing in perfect rows, the front line bearing the colors. Worried officials jostled about. A throng, no doubt the welcoming committee, stood meters away from the red carpet where the liner was supposed to stop. In front of the royal pavilion he saw his old limousine kept well during his absence. His wife, sitting by his side, held her face near him. He was about to say something to her when suddenly his attention passed on something unexpected. On the grounds below, the mass of humanity that had come to welcome him reached horizons.
Americans often comment, “Aren’t you lucky?” We nod
out of sheer politeness, but why is it that deep down we don’t feel
It offers little help to remind ourselves of all the people around the world who would give their right arm to change places with any one of us in America. There’s that deep melancholy in our eyes and tears ready to be released at the strum of a ‘Tar’, the lyrics of a sad song or for all that we have left behind. Indeed we are a nation of sufferers who, regardless of the comfort offered us, at times fold inside ourselves in search of the sad memories and find sorrows that we should have left behind and only through such a remembrance do we feel whole.
To the skies, I'm just another rain drop
All the places I’ve been had something to do with fleeing
My freedom knows no boundaries
Marg shod aadat, azaa shod etiyaad
On London bomb attacks
... at a Prague gay bar
Prague is not cheap. At night, I was getting a bit bored since after 6pm -- unless you want to have an expensive dinner in a restaurant -- there's little to do in the cold weather. So, being single and still hopeful that I will find my significant other, I decided to go to some of the gay bars in Prague! After some research in an internet café, I wrote down the addresses and started walking. As I walked, I felt weird and scared, because it looked like I had reached a residential neighborhood. It was weird because usually in other countries you expect bars to be in the center of town along with shops and other entertainment establishments.
On Shappi Khorsandi's "This
I may have to flee to Cancun this year to escape my humdrum existence,
and they want money?
Here's a piece of advice: political problems, like war, civil war or evil dictatorships cause people to flee (that's the "RE-FU-GEE PROBLEM," to say it Dr. Evil style). So if the United Nations is unable or disinclined to address political problems, as it seems to be in Sudan for example because state sovereignty is inviolable, then it should not ask for more money. Let's just see if that Annan can get Mr. Ganji out of jail: let's just see what the modern-day, secularist equivalent of a saint is willing and ableto do. It will say so much about the august body he represents. Aid-shmaid: aid my butt, Kofi!
In other words one should never fasten one's sword out in the open
The frustration and sheer anger of an ever growing segment of the population directed towards the current destructive mindsets has roots partly in the realisation that superficial change of governments and constitutions may not be enough to break us free of the terrible affliction that currently plagues our society; and since the quality of the physical reality around us will only be as worthwhile as the quality of our thoughts and philosophies, then I am afraid they may be somewhat right in their assumption. The most common mistake, however, made in anger and haste by some of our brethren, and one that I myself am no less guilty of, is the direct and open attacks made on current religious mindsets.
I'm not a beggar
What is in this magical word Shiraz that makes everyone sit up and take
Is it the poetry, the wine or the fabulous gardens? Is it Shiraz’s proximity to the ruins of Persepolis or Cyrus’s tomb in Pasargad awakening in us a reverence for the roots of our civilized humanity? What is in Shiraz’s land and water that makes it different from any other place? It has a soil not in any way unique. The oxygen one breathes there is like any other oxygen. The trees and vegetation are not that different from those found in a land of similar climate. And still we know that Shiraz evokes in us feelings and sensations that no other place is able to.
The UN must work to free political prisoners NOW
It was three years ago, when I called Kobi my stepmother and found out that her brother Dr Hossein Ghazian was arrested by revolutionary guards and sent to prison. I actually remember that day very well. It was cold and rainy; when you looked outside the window, you felt a sense of suffocation. Dark clouds had invaded the blue sky. When I heard Kobi's voice at the other end, it was shaky and she sounded very angry. I also felt upset and angry, but helpless. She said her brother was working with Abbas Abdi and several others to gather statistical data for polling they were doing, in order to find out if Iranian people would prefer to renew relations with United States.
Ganji should go home, down a huge chelo-kabab with gigantic onions, relax,
take a shower, have great sex and apply for Canadian citizenship
While Ganji, in his letter, goes on describing a 60s -style psychedelic, perfect, pass-the-joint-around-dude utopian society where there is perfect democracy and we all live in perfect harmony, he has forgotten a few things: A democracy is made for those who are willing and ready to embrace it not for people who are out to screw each other at any chance they get, who hate law and order, who are dictators by culture and custom, who lie and cheat with ease, who have no respect for others' space or opinion, who settle a traffic accident with a good fistfight and who are corrupt and easily bought. We have serious problems here folks and lack of democracy is not one of them.
The jottings of Ali Mashangian
“Can you go back to Persia?”
More photos of Akbar Ganji
Teacher of politics and ethics
Iranians in 2005 World Series of Poker
With only a handful of players left in this years World Series of Poker chamionships in Las Vegas, there were two Iranians who were still in the field as of Wednesday. My favorite Bonyadi finished 41st and won $235,000. Shahram "Sean" Sheikhan finished 11th and won $600,000. You are probably unaware of this, but this is a HUGE money tournoument. Total prize money is $52 Million! More than 5,000 entrants paid $10,000 each to compete. All but a few have been eliminated so far. First place gets $7.5 million
War on terror far from over
Many people were under that impression that by taking the battleground to Iraq and Afghanistan, Western cities will be safer and more secure. But they were totally wrong. Since the start of the war on terror, the U.S.-led coalition has always been trying to defeat Al-Qaeda international terror network and bring their master minds to justice. But to date, the outcome has been disastrous and out of control. Since the war started, terrorist organizations have become more sophisticated, organized and they have spread out their attacks even to the heart of Europe.
The only upside of this outcome is that if ever the rotten Islamic establishment
finds itself the target of liberating precision guided missiles, the bleeding
heart "change from within" crowd will whine less about collateral
The catastrophic result of the recent election in Iran should put the nail in the coffin of the "change from within" dogma. Whatever change has occurred, is the exact opposite of what the proponents of "change from within" had crossed their fingers for. The selection of the chief executioner and terrorist Ahmadinejad to president clearly confirms the fact that more than a quarter century of institutionalized terror and looting by Islamist thugs has bent the desperate Iranian masses so far out of shape that their hope for social equity and justice has mutated to none other than a rat race of Islamic piety or pretence to suck up for handouts from the national oil loot.
... no one will explain to me why peace is far away
My daughter is ten. I have included three of her poems written mainly to practice different poetic styles she was learning in fifth grade. All three poems are about war and its effect on all of us as human beings. It made me very sad when I first read them... sad, because I didn't know how much a war so remote to our lives can affect a ten-year old...
Searching for the origins of names off the southeast corner of the Caspian
On any given day, the quaint porch of Whole Foods provides an adequate vantage point for watching the bustle along Main Street in Orleans, Cape Cod. On this 4th of July the deck of the grocery store served us as an observation post for a very folksy parade celebrating the declaration of independence, crass commercialism and individual liberty. Half-hour into the proceeding, I began to muse involuntarily about the etymological origin of the word “parade.” The word has a significant meaning for boys of my generation who paced up and down Shah Reza Avenue waiting for the right moment to buy a censored copy of a girly magazine called “Parade.”
Public art project, Emeryville, California
On Golbarg Bashi's "They
The problem is that my parents' recipe tastes much closer to what I remember
of our Iranian mixture than mine
Once again, I ask my father to give me our family recipe for the Passover kharoset (charoset). He says, “Chop walnuts, almonds and pistachios in a food processor, add apples, bananas, and grapes -- only if you wish--pomegranate juice, wine, and vinegar--as you like--cinnamon and cloves, and dates and even figs--if you want.” Surprised, I ask, “Bananas? When did we start adding that?” I know this is not our recipe because I was in charge of making it every year when I lived with my parents in Iran.
This Iranian women's conference was more chaotic and verbally abusive
I do hope that open-minded women will start coming back to this conference, and 'teach' a thing or two about the realities of the world, and how we need to have dialogue to achieve the change we all want. Or we should start an objective and democratically orientated Iranian Women's Conference which might draw fewer people but will be far more democratic and fruitful? I propose to all who are supporters of this kind of project to urge the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation board to reform! Or we’ll have to break away and start afresh which is a tragedy.
At this rate it won't be long before we will witness in Iran what happened
The fact of the matter is, this disease is just like AIDS but with different words comprising this acronym, it stands for All Iranian Denial Syndrome (AIDS), and we don't know how to treat it. And as long as we don't acknowledge the disease, fixing the symptoms won't cure anything! Sometimes I feel that we don't really want to cure ourselves and we rather live with this disease until death. After all if we get rid of its crippling "Me-Manship" no sorry it's "Me-and-only-Me-Manship" symptoms, what will we do with ourselves all day and all year? Year after year! What will keep us busy and occupy us? And don't you know it ... there is a method to this madness!
Modern nomad's journey through different postings, stations, contracts,
or through the myriad refugee camps, prisons and relay posts
As this modern nomad is forced about the globe, he or she sees clearly that borders are highly selective (hence, random, arbitrary), and almost non-existent for capital and the moneyed. The modern nomads see just as clearly that the First World moneyed peoples who come to visit with armies, rudely help themselves to others’ lands and resources with no shame at all, while preaching the sanctity of sovereignty for their own lands. The modern nomad is the first to point out the similarities between methods used by his own local dictator in rising to power and those used by George W. Bush in his rise to power.
In order to have a hope of achieving peace, at least discuss what the
deeper-rooted motives of the bombers might be
All I’m saying is that if you happen to grow up in a country that’s been kicked around since time immemorial like a football in the Premier league of world domination, you may feel more than a little disempowered as you watch family and friends die around you. You may find yourself in the position of feeling stronger kinship with Osama Bin Laden than men who have killed tens of thousands of your civilian population, given you a curfew, a show election and told you that you are now living in a democracy. Is this not a way to swell the ranks of Al-Queda? Is it out of the realm of possibility? I expect the usual polite answers on postcards.
Akbar Ganji in day 33 of his hunger strike in Evin prison
Finding its way into the corners and secret compartments of my grandmother’s
Four-feet-eight-inches tall, swaths of fabric trailing behind her, she disappeared easily into the packs of neighborhood children. Before ringing each doorbell she would draw the veil around her face, leaving only a small opening for her nose. My grandmother spoke no English, which on this particular night proved a great advantage; from under many folds of fabric she’d croak out “Treeeek Treeeek” and present her plastic sack to the unwitting host. Trick or treat indeed.
We must always respect the values that pay attention to humanity irrespective
of nationality, race, gender or religion
Long before September 11, mass scale terror and intimidation was enforced by Islamists resulting in a Middle East that was transformed into an immense human tragedy. In Iran, during Rafsanjani's presidency, thousands of political prisoners were executed in 1988. And the West kept quite. During his recent shameful election campaign, the West did its best to provide him with good publicity, even though he was wanted in Germany as a provoker of terrorism. This is one example of the ongoing intimidation which occurs outside North America without the awareness of global citizens.
The persecution of a minority in Iran
The Mandaeans (known also as Sabians in Arabic) are followers of John the Baptist. They fled East from the Jordan Valley in approximately A.D. 70 and settled in what is now Southern Iraq and South Western Iran. Since the Islamic conquest in the seventh century they have suffered savage persecution by Moslem groups. This persecution has periodically varied in intensity. At present the Mandaean community is estimated to be approximately 5,000-10,000 in Iran.
The thought of going to heaven the next time a suicide bomber steps into
my bus certainly makes me feel secure
The suicide bomber dude will go to heaven where he will spend an eternity indulging the company of at least 40 virgins with the best French wine and creamy Italian food. I, on the other hand, will most likely end up in heaven's ghetto for Moslem victims of suicide bombs. That is not cool. I demand that certain rules change. I demand that if a suicide bomber happens to kill other Moslems, he should share the virgins with his victims.
I went up to her and said, "I know you." What a small world.
I jumped up and said, "I knew it! I came to Abadan for two friendly volleyball games and you were at the stadium." She looked at me closely for a few seconds. I lowered my voice as I said, "Mr. Bahrami was my coach. I was the one who blew a kiss at the crowd when my name was announced and caused chaos as the boys cheered." Her jaw dropped. I quickly said, "The second time I was sent to the bench because I went up the ladder to grab the umpire’s neck to punch him for fouling us!"
Excerpt from "Persian Dreams"
She spread her hairs with desperate desires,
From the police, to doctors, to clerics... what's with the uniform?
Aggressive interruption of unpopular views
On Friday the MP George Galloway was in the BBC Newsnight studio to explain a statement he had made about the terrorist attacks on Londoners who, according to him, had "paid the price" of Britain's role in Iraq. The presenter, Gavin Elser, barely let him speak so I wrote in to complain: Dear Gavin...
Many consider the MKO a nuisance at best and traitors at worst
Anybody who has been in the Iranian opposition movement for any length of time knows fully well that the 'size issue' is one thing that the Mojahedin themselves make a great deal out of. So, any chance we get, we have to remind them and their supporters that size, though important in forcing one's way through the crowds, is only one among many issues that bestows legitimacy on a political organization claiming to have people's interests at heart.
J.S. Mill and American society in the post-9/11 era
Consider, for instance, the barrage of insults hurled at actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in response to comments she made last April. As she stated in regards to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, "it is always useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict." She has been dismissed as an "America-basher", a "wench", and an "idiot". One critic, in a comment issued directly at Ms. Gyllenhaal, wrote, "The slime that is under the tree in the swamp is smarter than you." And, of course, she was urged to move to Canada.
Secular values of 18th century enlightenment are slowly being replaced
It is no longer only in places like Neka, Argu, or Basra where political Islam and religious rule are wreaking havoc but also in the very heart of the secular west and Europe albeit in different and more subtle ways but outrageous nonetheless. Here in Europe the Islamists are 'more civilised'. They demand the 'right' to veil for women and children in France when in the Middle East they impose compulsory veiling by throwing acid in the faces of those who refuse and resist. In Britain, they cry racism and Islamophobia against anyone who speaks out against Islam and its political movement, whilst in Iran and its likes they hang 'apostates' and 'Kafirs' from trees and cranes.
Father addressing son
"Raphael was a genius, even as a child..." The newspapers in Tehran frequently used such stories as fillers in the 1950's, as if to offer the populace some hope. His father seemed to be an expert at finding these articles and as an added supplement he would bring home books on other prodigies such as Gandhi, Lincoln, Mozart, Einstein etc. These books were required readings for his children; the potential prodigies... "Did you hear what I said?" "Yes sir,” he whispered anxiously.
In his book Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Bin Salman harkens to a less complicated era in Persian Gulf politics when the foreign minister of an Arab country like Kuwait could refer publicly to “the Persian Gulf” (p. 103) and a British scholar did not have to abandon his own precedent in order to please a particular fad, benefactor or audience (p. 171, titles of J.B. Kelly’s works). This is not to say that the term Gulf in the vernacular is an absurdity, which it is not. In their internal conversations, the British civil servants uttered the term as an intimate label for a region that shaped their common narrative and experience.
When a society decides to execute a person, every member of the society
becomes a murderer
The great people of Iran have had three big uprising for a better life, in less than a century. Among the basic rights that the Iranian who are for social progress must fight for; is the respect for the life, we must fight all form of capital punishment, no matter where in the world it happens we must protest, we have lost our bravest our most intellectual children under both Shah's and Islamic regimes, hundreds of thousands of us have been subjected to capital punishment, most of us were executed and being executed mainly for our progressive ideas, for outlook.
What dignity I had evaporated in a cloud of shame this morning
My father-in-law sums it up my reality: "You have nothing. No savings, huge debts and you're not getting any younger." I try to explain that he can't include my mortgage in my 'huge debts', but he won't listen. At least I have my dignity, I console myself. But what dignity I had evaporated in a cloud of shame this morning. Varinder asked me to go to our local supermarket and get some milk for the boys. I had no time to shower so I quickly washed my face and ran out of the house. As I got to my car I was stopped by Mr. Singh who lives opposite our street. His being a Sikh, like my in-laws, means I feel obliged to stop and say hello.
When it comes to being experts, nothing escapes the critical eyes of the
We Iranians are a peculiar group of audience. We invite speakers not to learn from them, but with the distinct intention to prove how little they know. We read only to let the writer know how well informed we are, and we criticize, not to improve anything, but to let the world know how nothing has really improved. We even go to concerts just to let everyone see how much better our sing along sounds, not to mention what good dancers we are!
Letter to father
Snap shot of my experiences on the day bombs struck London
Reach work, drop my stuff, must see what is going on and have the morning rant before getting involved in the day's trading, CNN, SKY etc all have people outside stations etc. walking the streets, reminds me/makes me think of the NY power outage. Then I hear through my headset, which has TV sound piped to our phones about the bus's roof in Tavistock Square and I knew then, it was no ruddy power outtage, it was the same scum as September 11 etc. Anger takes over, reported says bus's roof has been blown away, bus near British Medical Association, blood splattered 15 feet high on the BMA building from the height of the second deck upwards. Anger, anger, barely contain my anger. Shit that is very close to where my best friends work.
Ahmadinejad showcased his small house in a poor neighborhood of Tehran
and flaunted his earthy manners, grooming, and even his ugliness, as the
stigmata of a long suffering servant of the people
The story of Ahmadinejad’s victory began with the no-show election of the City Councils when the reform constituency avoided the polls handing an easy victory to the the new Mayor. Ahamdinejad pounced on the office of the Mayor with the verve and stamina of a hungry cheetah. Having borrowed huge sums from his rightwing allies in Revolutionary Guards and under the guise of service to people Ahmadinejad milked Tehran to gain popularity. He gave generous bonuses not only to bus drivers but also to teachers. He built sports complexes not only for the city but also for universities and schools. He doled out copper cooking pots to religious congregations and gold coins to kiosk operators
On U.S. foreign policy:
Paintings & sculptures
No one is immune to the insane havoc that has been created by our leaders
and those faceless cowards who attacked London
Tony Blair, George Bush and all the others have been speaking with tears in their eyes about how ghastly it is that so many have died today in London (forty and counting). But I cannot, even for a second share Mr Blair’s sentiments that this is just an attack on ‘our way of life ... on the civilised people of the world’. My ‘way of life’ does not condone the terror Blair and Bush have inflicted on the ‘ordinary’ people of Iraq and Afghanistan. It does not make me set the life of those living in troubled lands at lower than my own and those I love.
In 1960s the tools were an IBM typewriter, lots of glue and a ruler for
These were the days, my friend. Following four years in the boring but picturesque city of Bern, Switzerland and then a stay of two years in Tehran at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 1961 I finally got an a new assignment at the Embassy of Iran in Washington D.C., where I had studied a decade before at Geogetown University's School of Foreign Service. America here I come!
Anti-Bahai beliefs are on the decline among the Iranian general public
A personality study of Nasseredin Shah's assassin, Mirza Reza Kermani and
the political fall out
An evaluation at the end of the Khatami era
The friendship that had led us into falling in love gradually has filled
all the empty spaces.
Imagine falling in love with a cartoon character. Imagine then rejecting all other offers of relationship because nobody lives up to your ideal. "It's one thing to hold out for the very best that you can get. It's another thing to reject a pretty much perfect proposition because you are so enraptured by an entirely unobtainable fantasy", said he who proposed. Pretty full of himself, I would say.
Current events in cartoons
And two more works of world fusion
“Sib e Golab” (Sweet Apple), a world fusion work, is my first album produced in 2005, performed by wonderful musicians from Iran and Worldwide. The Lyrics are written by famous Iranian Poets and myself. Unfortunately the album could not be published in Iran up to now due to required state permissions. Yet the CD has found a good resonance within international community.
Meet the new president
A major shift has indeed taken place. Just about all the major (Iranian and international) news organizations have had to admit in their headlines that class had something to do with it. And just about everybody has been sent a rude wake up call from the working classes and the poor from the Iranian poor neighborhoods and districts, regarding the economic justice that still is missing, after 27 years of sacrifices for the ‘Islamic Revolution’.
Photo essay & video clips: Hiking to the beach with friends in northern
California's Bear Valley
Significant change will only come when there is a significant change in
thinking pattern of the voters, especially in the provinces
By definition the Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocratic dictatorship, and as long as Iranians go to the polls whether for the parliamentary or the presidential elections, they are voluntarily and consciously casting their votes for a theocratic and dictatorial system. In effect, all elections in Iran are a call for referendum whereby going to the polls is a yes vote and not going to the polls is essentially a no vote. Who is actually elected, within the larger picture, is almost irrelevant, as far as the system is concerned.
Less than a day after arriving in Iran I can already see to what extent
my visions of the country are realistic or sheer fantasy
Sitting in the plane now as it taxies on the runway, these visions whirl through my mind, and I suddenly realize there is something more practical at hand: I have no experience in tying a headscarf, or roosari as it’s called in Persian. Hastily I wrap it around my head, stuffing the ends of my long hair under my collar, and exit the plane with dozens of Iranians, all chattering away as if landing in Mehrabad airport were the most normal occurrence, oblivious to my wonder, my trepidation, my excitement. I feel like a child, gaping at everything I see.
Photojournalist's appeal from Kabul
For the past four years, Aina has trained several hundred men and women in eight media and culture centres in the Afghan provinces and Kabul, supporting independent local media in fields such as video documentary, photojournalism, radio, press, and taking travelling educational cinema to the more isolated provinces. I’m writing to you so that the enthusiasm of the reporters, who lost jobs and some of their hopes to share in the emergence of a peaceful, free Afghanistan, will not be betrayed because of lack of funds.
Business, success and satisfaction
"I have two sales executives," my friend said while sipping his glass of gold-label Johnnie Walker. "One would is content with making 3000 bucks a month. But the other one is not. If he makes 3000, he will go for 4, and if he reaches that, he'll aim for 5. That's the way I like it; to make the 'move'. I need people more like him. What do you think?" We were sitting in the bar on the 51st floor of a luxurious hotel with a bird's eye view of the shimmering lights of Dubai, "Middle East's Manhatan".
He is right. California is a good place. It is better than most places,
to be precise. But California isn't home.
There are nineteen peaches on our tree this year. They are small and still green, but nonetheless they are still peaches. Nineteen is a number too few to feel proud of, but enough to appreciate and to remember. This was the first year that the tree had borne fruit -- the second actually, but the first time that the squirrels and birds had not dispatched of the peaches prematurely. The squirrels in particular raised the ire of my father, because they had the habit of only eating half the peach and discarding the rest at the base of the tree in a display of their power and our helplessness. Baba called them Hezbollahis.
I'm the alpha male of this table, the alpha male of Spain, and as far
as I'm concerned, the alpha 17-year-old of planet Earth
For now I just look at her. For now I just look at her, and I look and look some more, my eyes occasionally drifting over to her friends for comparison. There is none. Well, maybe there is, but I am way too infatuated and inebriated at this point to admit it. I stare shamelessly, tirelessly, and as she continues to ignore me I feel my stare softening to a resigned gaze. I take in her jet black hair, spilling past her shoulders and darkening her whole upper body, her radiant brown skin, her soft but assertive nose, the aristocratic lips that deign to speak only when a comment that matches her lordly contempt of all things not associated with her comes to mind, and the eyes that refuse even to go that far and communicate anything whatsoever to me.
Consolidation of the IRI will only help the democracy movement
Little fascists hatch their egss
A Kurdish thought on 4th of July
Southern Kurdistan has reached a developmental level to move one step further, and despite all threats, declare its independence. This act would certainly strengthen the likelihood of liberation of other parts of Kurdistan. It is unlikely that the opponents to the Kurdish cause will be able to prevent such a progress; however, if they plan to attack Southern Kurdistan, it seems justifiable that all Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan sacrifice what they have, and participate in the ultimate liberation of their homeland.
Photo essay: Sydney & Perth
Paintings & drawings
Let's give this "Kaveh Ahangar" a chance
I don't know what it is about men having daughters, who grow up into
young women and all of a sudden dating becomes a huge dilemma
Couple of weeks ago, we made a weekend trip to Kansas City, where I lived for a while. We made a side trip to Wichita, where my very good friend and college roommate, Joseph, lives. He has three girls. The oldest one, whom I'm the Godfather to, is nearly 15. The big guy starts shivering, literally, when the conversation of "boys" surfaces. He simply shakes his head and curses quietly. Happy go lucky, fun loving, crazy roommate of mine, whom I had a world of fun with, goes crazy when we talk about the possibility of a boy taking his girl out some day soon? Why?
While many of us spent the entire last year arguing if Ms. Aghdashlou
is prettier or Googoosh guess what happened? The British team won again!
Don’t despair my friends, time is on your side. You see when you get old you will forget about all of these just like our parents did and the ones before them. When Islamization started by the British the goal was to give the nations of the west Asia the choice of having “Islam” or the “oil and uranium” and the understanding was that you can’t have both. As we say in Persian “you can’t have both -to eat the dates and to keep the donkey.” And since we were dubious about our choice the British decided on our behalf and told us that the best is if we choose Islamic government and they keep the access to the cheap oil and the abundance of the uranium and other resources in Iran.
I am happy for Ahmadinejad's victory because I believe it is
the beginning of the end of a quarter century of tyranny and mayhem in Iran
The Iranian people have spoken, their votes have been hand counted and recounted and the end result is a direct humiliation for the long-time credible revolutionary, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani. Iran is ready to turn the leaf on a new chapter and the Dr. has showed up at the right moment in the annals of history to take the helm of this broken chariot and propel it into the dusty road of the future. The Republic needed to re-invent itself, it needed to reshape its ideals and present it through a new face and a new voice. It was able to find that in the good timing of the Dr.
It is not surprising that the leader of the Islamic Republic
lacks the courage to admit that the poor and unemployed have decided that
they have no hope under the plutocracy of the mullahs
This recent clarion call of the new revolution in Iran expressing itself in an electoral plunge into anything-but-the-current-situation, and a vote for a totally unknown character, was the exact opposite of what Khamenei claimed it to be, i.e. an endorsement of the Islamic Republic. By rejecting the whole kit and caboodle of Khatami's reform movement, the Iranian people pronounced an unequivocal death sentence on the whole regime and gave a vote of no confidence to any possibility of amelioration and dynamism for the present political system.