Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm back

Happy holidays!

I have been collecting souvenirs to offer from Neo-Resistance. I wish I will also be able to share them in the next few days.

The NIE report followed by Ahmadinejad's explicit apologies to the nation of Iran because of his fiscal mismanagement, financial failures, international blunders that have embarrassed Iranians were enough to put my political mind to rest. That the idiots of the two sides have begun to lose feathers can only but serve the humanity for better. After that, I could enjoy family and Iranian landscape for the rest of my trip, until my mom called a few hours before our flight to tell me Bhutto was assassinated ... democracy, indo-pakistanian style! (Putin is the man-of the year of Time's magazine. call him dictator all you wish, but democracy in certain parts of the world WILL NOT exist in its occidental style. I am no expert on these matters but democracy in Pakistan seems to be a top-down colonial order, which keeps failing PERPETUALLY, no matter how hard the Oxford-Harvard educated elite try ... anyways I think peasant/feudal societies do need/seek a dictator ... the fact that political power/mind remains in certain families (Ghandi's of Bhutto's, for example) speaks to me of a disconnection between the common-man and their destiny that contrasts the much stronger bond they have with a "god-like" figure, who (by virtue of money, family tree and (western)education) can think and act on their behalf as they encounter a world beyond the borders of their tradition/hierarchical orders.

This was a fruitful trip: initiated on scientific mission (which ended very nicely and inspired plenty of admiration and respect for Iran in the eyes of one of the leaders of our scientific field); overlapped my little brother's wedding; allowed traveling to some of the most historical cities of Iran (Mashhad, Esfahan & Kerman); and last but not least afforded a chance to see Iranian's creativity on display.

The picture above is of selected works of my 8.5 years old niece that were exhibited in a "creativity" gallery (below). They are rich in color and complex in texture. The abundance of high quality (and very affordable) art material (all made in Germany) in "toy stores" in Iran puts a few drops of shame on my North American forehead! If you know where to buy cheap and high quality (no made-in-china trash please) creativity stuff for kids, please let me know.

19 comments:

betmo said...

welcome back! i look forward to your insight as always- and no, unless you buy locally and probably expensively, you won't find anything remotely like what you describe :)it's priorities you see.

Servant said...

Welcome back. I missed you a lot, and your ability to stir the pot.

Ahmadinejad's apologies? Where? When? Where are the links? You haven't been reporting, so there hasn't been any news!

Get busy! You can only get so far with a pretty face!

:))

Naj said...

Hi Betmo,

Thanks for confirming my own sad suspicions. I do look like a fool when I bring gifts to my niece, here we have no choice, it seems, but buying cheap stuff! In Iran, there is NO-WAY anyone would buy a Sony made in China, or pens made anywhere but in Germany!

Servant,
yes I know I haven't been reporting. Two reasons: BAD internet connection, and family/traveling agenda.

Ahmadinejad came on TV, talked admitted to Iran's 17% inflation rate, acknowledged "a big mistake" that banks were allowed to print money without central bank's coordination, talked about the role of dollar devaluation that offset the higher oil prices, and asked for Iranian's forgiveness that he has said things he didn't have to say, promises he didn't fulfill and things like that. The begging forgiveness is partly ceremonial, as people who go to hadj are supposed to seek forgiveness before going to god's pilgrimage, but he sounded as if he aknowledged his guilt.

Listening to his interview, however, I realized the man is full of bullshit. He is a populist in the worst sense possible, i.e. he is creating a mess of Iran's already chaotic bureaucracy wityhout having ANY clue how to fix it. There were so many "mishaps" and "mistakes" that he said had happened with"out" his knowledge that one wonders if this man has any clue how to run the country!

What he does, is to hand in "short-term" loans to people who do not qualify, to fire bank managers who refuse granting certain loans, to change his mind about things on a monthly basis and he lies!

In the past 11 months, I have been to Iran three times. Everytime, there is a new regulation with respect to exit-taxes. and everytime, the memo is sent out "just a month ago".

Anyways, he is in political trouble. The coallition of reformists against him is strengthening (Hashemi and Khatami on the same side). This can potentially suffocate Ahmadinejad's vote. But this can also be a dangerous thing, because Ahmadinejad's supporters "can" be somewhat superstitious, and may believe his manipulative lies that "he is the defender of the poor and the underdogs against the capitalist Hashemi and the elitist Khatami, both of whom are portrayed as pro-west, economically and culturally, respectively."

Interesting months ahead!

Damian Zerek said...

Its great to visit one's homeland to truly get a grasp of what is going on. Glad to see your trip was a success!

RickB said...

She's Back!

That's a talented niece!
I don't think they want a strongman as such, one problem is in imperial contexts autonomous groups have been lumped together into a 'nation' which for ease of management to the empire of the day likes a 'strong' head of state. In time differing groups may ally and form a larger state but we force it on them with usually a military to police the arrangement. So yes we force our model on unsuitable regions and create a super elite far from the feudal areas. Where a person could approach the powerful for redress, advice etc. the new ruling class is too far removed and they also answer to outside interests more than their 'nation'.
The people get caught between a failing old society and a corrupt militaristic imperial client state. There is an emerging society that is neither of those but it's an unknown quantity for- on one side the empire and on the other the reactionary/religious conservatives.

enigma4ever said...

Welcome back...I appreciate your insights into the reports that finally were revealed while you were away....

I did respond to your comment over at watergate summer....please come back when you have time.thank you.

Brother Tim said...

Naj--
So good to have you back! You've been missed. I'm happy your holidays were spent in peace and contentment with family.

And that 8.5 yr old niece is a very talented young lady. If she sticks with it, you will have an internationally renowned artist in your family. You might consider making and posting individual works by her, so we could take in the whole scope of the beauty.

Peace and Grace, Sister.

ddmmyyyy said...

kzwHey Naj, hope you enjoyed the trip - seems you fitted a lot in. It would have been nice to meet-up - but I'd only clocked you were here when it was too late. Another time maybe.

I'm looking forward to further news.

ddmmyyyy

ddmmyyyy said...

kzwHey Naj, hope you enjoyed the trip - seems you fitted a lot in. It would have been nice to meet-up - but I'd only clocked you were here when it was too late. Another time maybe.

I'm looking forward to further news.

ddmmyyyy

Coffee Messiah said...

Always nice to see visual talent! ; )

One has to look long and hard and I too agree, local is expensive compared to the box stores, but then, unique is well worth paying for if'n ya can afford it! ; )

Welcome Back! Cheers!

Naj said...

Damian
Rick
Enigma
Tim
David Mohammad
and Messiah

Thanks!

Good to be back, bad to be so backlogged on home-front duties, though.

Messiah, I don't mind paying extra for higher quality, but the thing is, I CANNOT afford it in North America. And the other thing is, that the SAME local product sells for 1/3rd of the price in Iran, which makes me wonder what kind of trade agreements make low-quality Chinese stuff so appealing (economic, I mean) to us North Americans!

In Iran, if you are rich you buy European brands, if you are middle class, you buy Iranian stuff, if you are poor you buy Chinese!

I have to report, however, that selling chinese stuff instead of Iranian labels is becoming a common business. In fact, now a days, people have to decipher whether the product under Iranian label is actually Iranian or made in china!! The government is alleged to be part of the problem; by either turning a blind eye on the illegal practice, or by facilitating the import of Chinese crap into the markets where Iranian products are gaining consumership.

The sanctions are also not helping the local producers/manufacturers. Again, America is helping in ruining LOCAL manufacturing section in favor of China! One would wonder the wisdom of that act as well!


Brother Tim, Rick
Yes my niece is talented. She is quite good in anything she does, she writes nice essays, she's great in math, she skipped one class and went to the next ... BUT the beauty of it all is that she is not unique in her abilities. In the gallery where they were exhibiting teh works of kids bw 6-10 years of age, there were pre-piccasso stuff that made hair stand on your arms!

My brother used to be a very creative kid when he was young; and he was unique. At this gallery he was thinking how DUMB he was at that age compared to these kids!

I think the flourishing talent in the youth of Iran is a product of nurture and culture, and the emphasis that the society and parents are putting on arts AND education. Before, the investment in kid's future was only academic, now it is also athletic and artistic. This is a shift of culture, if you ask me!

DDmmYY
I love Iran, David. Every time I go, I fall a little more in love with it. If I could breath in Tehran, I wouldn't live anywhere else; but I have some form of asthma and as much as I have tried, my profession is not something that can be useful in Iran, yet (although I am trying to create a nieche :) )!

If you have not yet, please DO catch the exhibition in moozeh honarhaye maaser. I heard it was so successful that they have extended it. It should be on!

Next time, maybe we can get together. I have been thinking of meeting up with the Tehran Avenue kids as well ... I should be back in September again, I hope!

nunya said...

Welcome back sweetheart!!!!! :)

nunya said...

Hey doll! I missed you & I was starting to get squirrelly. Congrats to your brother, & your niece mmm, maybe inherited something, eh? :)

I enjoyed your hair story, painful for you, but funny to read. Glad you're in high spirits.

an average patriot said...

Welcome back naj!
That is really surprising to me about Ahmadinejad. I wish the chief idiot would do that but the fool thinks he's doing a great job. Glad all went well and here's hoping for the best in 2008 for all of us!

Naj said...

Howdy Jim & Nunya,

Wishing you a great new year too!

Nunya, the best solution to unruly hair: grow it long! I used to have short hair, which I had to style all the time and switch hairdressers anytime it wasn't cut "perfectly" ... now it's long, and pony tail is my best friend, and I don't even cut it more than twice a year ... perfect gypsy look ;) easier on pocket and less time spent on hair doing!

nunya said...

I tried it dear, it looks terrible, & I can't stand hats. I'll find someone who can fix it. Maybye the one before the last woman. I knew I should have gone back to her, she did a good job AND she was interesting.

Happy New Year

Dave On Fire said...

Naj! You're back! :D Happy new year.

It would be good to see Ahmadinajed's apology, I've had a quick google. Maybe, right after NIE, Pakistan's taken the heat off Iran for a while in the Western media, but there's no sign of this story.

Where did this come from though?

but democracy in certain parts of the world WILL NOT exist in its occidental style... anyways I think peasant/feudal societies do need/seek a dictator

Come on, democracy only exists -where it exists and insofar as it even exists there - as the fruits of a long and hard popular struggle. Where a "democratic" system is tacked on to an existing social order it's a hollow sham; it needs that struggle to make it real. But there's no reason why the Pakistani people should be incapable of taking power from their elite, these things just take time (and Western interference certainly isn't helping).

Naj said...

Dave,
Happy new year to you too!

I precisely agree with yoru statement about democracy! Yes, it needs to result from "people's" genunine struggle, nor from their sheepish trust in some rich intellectual who fits the chess board of some imperialist colonizer!

Today, I was hearing that Bhutto's party is in disarray because "her son is only 19 and too young to take over the party" and now there is talk that maybe her husband will replace her!

As I said, when political power remians in ONE family/clan, this speaks to the societies immaturity with respect to democratic process.

The sad reality, however, I suspect is that there is NO void of "real" intellectual and political leadership in Pakistan. What is perhaps lacking is the WILL to play along America's gameplan. something Bhutto was more than willing to do, and something that got busharaf in trouble.

If Americans halted their interference, I am sure Pakistan will not have been in the mess it is now!

But, I repeat again, western-style democracy in a country with literacy rate LESS THAN 50% is a ridiculous dream! That means about 80 million people in this country are ILLITERATE. That is almost the population of France!

over 15% of Pakistan's population is tribal, that mounts to something like 25 million people, twice the population of Holland, I think!

If you get a chance, do dump at your Queen's gate please! She may be blamed for the MESS India and Pakistan are in! Oh actually I think RickB is the one to do it. I know how much he loves her crown! ;)

masbury said...

Great comments and posts! I excerpted a bit from your comment on Ahmadinejad at My Clipmarks. Thanks!