Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goodbye? Hello?

Do you still read this blog? Are you an old friend? I feel so disconnected from this blog, from my old friends, from Iran. My life is revolving around other things: science, photography, music, memory, sports, shoes!!

What have I to say? That the IRI's found a solution to population control: executing one convict every eight hours? Yes, some are political too. Often Kurds; those whom the rest of "land-worshipping" Iranians don't really care about; those whom we don't really know, because their language and race, perhaps the 'purest' of the Persians, is hardly ever taught to us, hardly ever promoted --DESPITE THE FACT that they have given us some of our best musicians.

Or, talk about sanctions? What they are doing or not? Sanctions won't do much other than bringing more airplanes down; killing more people in the hospitals; and making some smuggler in Iran, some dealer in Dubai, and some arms-pimp in Israel or Saudi Arabia richer!

No Sanctions won't lead to a "revolution"; Iranians are not the people to risk death because they are hungry; they never have. Iranian uprisings have never been because of economics. Believe me the country HAS seen plenty of hunger .. after all, this is a harsh land, where water is and has always been scarce. There have been and continue to be droughts. People are used to living on little. And people are ashamed to announce their poverty, it is just part of the culture. Generosity is part of the culture. Keeping up the appearance is part of the culture. So, don't hold your breath!

Or should I talk about the Prince who killed himself in cold blood in the solitude of his Harvard education in Boston? The prince, who was much better looking and better educated than the older brother who has been dominating our monarch scenario despite his utter lack of persona and charisma, and his obvious plentitude of stupidity and apathy.

Or maybe I should talk about good things that are happening ... it is irresponsible to portray Iran as a depressed and regressing society, just because its lawyers and human and labour right activists and journalists and filmmakers are in jail! No, like any dictatorship, there are a few who are plucked, the trouble makers. And the rest are given opportunities. If you are willing to pay the price of complicity, you can actually do good things in Iran; for Iran. (I have to dig to give examples, but I don't want to rummage through dirt to find gems.)

So you see, my silence is because I am STUCK! I don't know what to say about my country. In some ways, I have abandoned it. In some ways I am "In Search of the Times Lost" these days; I am tracing my memories back, my old friends, my childhood, I am trying to make sense of them all, make sense of what we were 30 years ago and what we have grown up to become as 40 year old men and women.

Knowing the psych of my fellow Iranians, I have stopped worrying: things will not go terribly bad. What I feared a while back, fear of civil war, is now subsiding as well. But things will not get terribly good either. In other words, Iran will have more of the same, more of the same that it has had in the past 100 years. For a society as Old as Iran, things are not as plastic as one political activist may wish them to be. There are personality and adaptation traits that have become our national haplotype!

What is depleting my blog of material, however, is the emptiness of the cultural scene in Iran these days. The vibrant and creative community that was emerging a couple of years ago is now terribly oppressed or depressed (or sub-pressed, i.e. moved to netherground!). Many artists have exiled themselves; and many who have stayed behind have to put up with the fascists who are the foot-soldiers of the Ahmadinejad camp. In brief, things are turning 'ugly', in an aesthetic sense.

I may have to change the direction of my blog ... I may have to turn it into something more personal, something where I can write "my" story ... after all, I belong to the generation of self-narratives; the author has died and our "reality" may be the most illuminating of political narratives to share.

I have been mesmerized by Marina Abramovic recently ... If she can put herself in flesh on display, and let her spectators DO to her what their (in)humanity is (in)capable of; then why not I put my "virtual" self up for sharing. Perhaps, my neo-resistance must adapt too; must circumvent the boring and annoying scenario that Ahmadinejad's forced upon us?

So I am thinking ... If you read this, say hello. I am terribly lonely these days.


RickB said...


Pedestrian said...

Dear Naj!

I check your blog every night for a new post - as I did just now.

I look forward to reading your stories. I don't see things going terribly bad or good in any direction for a long time to come. I think sharing stories is what the struggle will be about. Trying to find each other amidst an explosion of narratives, seeking sanity and sympathy will become harder and harder ... that makes it all the more necessary.

kellie said...

It's good to read your voice again, and I always read even if I don't comment. (Probably better that way!) Another spring is coming, even if it seems slow - perhaps you help preserve the seeds.

Martin said...

Hello Naj

David said...

Hello Naj :)

I still drop in from time to time. But, I haven't commented for a while.

Speaking of jailed Iranian journalists, do you know of Hossein Derakshan? I learned today that he was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison back in September. He was in jail without trial for about two years. I used to read his blog some years ago. Some Iranians call him The Blogfather, as he was one of the first Iranian bloggers and he encouraged others to blog and he taught them how.

I would be interested in reading some of the stories of your life. I encourage you to write them! maybe you could write a book? Your own version of Persepolis perhaps?

Good luck and take care!

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

As is posted om your blog pages:

"I promenade on the silk road. Welcome on my journey."

Continue with your travels, we are following.

Naj said...

:) thank you friends; I am so happy to see you are still checking in on me.

I hope to conjure enough support and energy to gather my stories and my inspirations; to kick myself into believing again that at the end of it, Iran is the site of age-old ideas that belong to the human heritage, beyond nationality and politics.

Thank you for your kind words.

Naj said...


Yes Hoder's case is a very 'funny' one, I'll write about it once I come back from my appointment :)

an average patriot said...

Hi Naj!
So much is changing and not necessarily for the good. I see a lot of people dropping out from one frustration or the other but stick it out!

Demeur said...

It's hard to keep up with all that's going on in the world. I had for quit a while read several Iraqi blogs until they quit posting. I'm finding the same with many fellow bloggers. They've stopped posting or given up completely. As Jim says keep on posting we're still here.

Anonymous said...

dear Neo-R,
I always visit you,Ms. Ped,& Revoutionary Fensenjan (and, cruise thru your blogrolls).Opening up a new thread might be a blessing, given that Iran's struggle will likely continue in hope & pain,to fatigue.
How about a Childrens' Book ?
"Animal Farm 1979"
So, there's no need for you to attend every hanging ; and, if Iran does suddenly blow up, your visitors will let you know.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Love your blog, please continue writing!

Naj said...

Thank you; thank you.

BTL: I laughed at your "we'll let you know if Iran blows over" :D

I think I got a little inspiration by stumbling on a radio show this morning. Let me translate it for you.

Andy said...

Hi Naj

I subscribe to your RSS feed, nice to see a new post here though sad to see that you're finding it hard to blog now. I would be happy with a post a month, don't feel you have to provide a continual stream of stuff - can get that from the news sites.


Anonymous said...

Hello Naj,

You are on many people's favorite bar , including mine.
I tried to come up with a humerous and uplifting phrase to show my gratitude for all that you have done for us ,
but at this point I'm afraid I am going to be my usual dramatic Persian and say : "please" "ne me quitte pas ! " .... Don't you think we have enough on our plates out here , girl ! ?
No goodbyes please ;)


Anonymous said...

Regarding performance art: Shamans invented that, no?

Stop whining - look at France or Korea, boring countries that have not much claim to creativity any longer.

Know that creative periods in human history come and go without reason that is discernible. Iranian Artists have been in a rut for centuries (poetry, music, plastic arts, etc); at least they are now learning to be students again.

In religious philosophy, Logic, and political philosophy Iranians have been quite innovative over the last 100 years. Just look at the works of Allameh Tabatabai and Ayatollah Khomeini.

In empirical sciences, it is too early. And that people like you live abroad does not help either.

Anonymous said...

Please don't stop blogging.
Greetings from filtered-Tehran.

Anonymous said...

Off topic , sorry ... just wanted to share this with you :


Naj said...

Anonymous: actually very on-topic.

Kate said...

I just wanted to say hello - I wander over to your lovely blog to read your stories or posts often. Over the past few years you and Pedestrian help give me a little insight into the complexities ...the beauty...the wonderful culture and history...and the depressing, oppressive regime. Talking with a dear friend in Tehran regularly, I know that daily life goes on ....people work around all manner of challenges and restrictions...and the differences between the public and private life. I just avoid discussing anything that might cause any problems for I try and inform myself through balanced views

Naj said...

Thank you Kate.

As you see, I am all roped back in.

Our job as expat bloggers is not easy.

We don't face threats and jail sentences and prison rapes; but we need to navigate and decipher the news from the multitude of sources which all lack objectivity.

I try my blog to reflect my passion and emotions on matters, but I try to collect and deduce information from little bits and pieces that make it to my world.

As an English-Iranian blogger, who started blogging to prevent war and sanctions with her country, it pains me TREMENDOUSLY that the rulers of IRan are making my case weaker weaker and weaker by their actions.

I thank you for your interest, and I hope our stories motivate you to put pressure on your own governments because much of what the Iranian thugs are basing themselves on is feeding from the hypocrisy of the "democratic" world's positions and interventions in our part of the world.

I hope together we will succeed.