Saturday, May 10, 2014

This is Iran, and her women!

Three news titles have caught my attention today and I found them neo-resistance worthy:

1) The Iranian government has appointed the forth female governor in another one of Iran's rural (and interestingly, Sunni) regions. I will post her picture when I find it, but the previous three are:

(1) Masoomeh Parandwar (Sistan & Baluchestan, Hamoun)

(2) Homeyra Rigi (Sistan & Baluchistan, Ghasrghand)

(3) Marjan Nazghelichi (Golestan, Bandar-Torkman)


2) A peaceful demonstration was held in one of Tehran's central intersections, some female citizens (according to pictures I have seen) expressing their concern and "questioning sleazy men who tolerate their wife's immodest attire"!

It reads: Proud men have modest wives.

3) Journalist in exile, Masih Alinejad has started a new facebook campaign, that has amassed over 100,000 fans in no time, called "Stealthy freedoms of Iranian Women". On the page, women post Hijab-less pictures of themselves taken in Iran. I post a picture of Massih Alinejad, herself.

Masih Alinejad in Iran
Alinejad, early days in America (refugee after 2009 election)

Massih Alinejad, 2013.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Are you wondering about Norouz etiquette?

Between March 15-April 1st; you are likely to witness a certain level of excitement in your Iranian (or other Persian) friends and colleagues. It is because their new year starts at the moment of Spring Equinox. The equinox fall on March 20 or 21st, and this day is called Norouz, nowrouz or Norooz. Since 2010, this day has made it to the UNESCO's list of world's cultural heritages.  This is a very old tradition; at least 25 centuries old, judged by the sculptures in Persepolis.

Some of you might wonder what you should do or say on this occasion. First, note that Norouz is NOT a religious ceremony. It is a celebration of nature. Therefore, it is an occasion for EVERYONE to celebrate and to cherish.

This is a very big deal for Persians; and it would be well appreciated if you acknowledge the occasion; and join in the festivities.

What I love most about Norooz is that it is a day that you are supposed to let the grudges go; you let the sorrow and pain go and make a pledge to do well and to intend well.

On this day, we don't exchange gifts (although the elders in the family would give a few crisp notes to the youngsters), so if you are invited to a party, you don't have to bring anything. But parties are not common either. All we do is that we pay a visit to each other, short visits, enough to have a couple of cookies, a cup of tea, some fruit; and then move on to the next visit. We have to visit as many friends and family as possible; starting by age or those who are recently (less than a year) bereaved. 

This is a really simple ceremony; simple and ancient.

Join in the mood; smile, laugh with them, be happy and positive on this day, and wish your Persian friends a "Happy New Year". As simple as it is, Norouz is a HUGE deal to them, in meaning and concept.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy 1393!

Well, I made a little error decorating Ash Reshteh, and thought it's year 1394!!

It's quite funny that for an entire year, I have been thinking that I am one year older than what I actually am!

I pray for peace.

This is a year that I am very optimist. Not just about Iran, but about the whole world. I think we are AWAKENING. We have avoided many wars; and we don't seem to be so war- and capitalism-prone anymore. There is always a bright side to all darkness. And this is the lesson I have learned since my last year's horrible adventures, which also ended at about this time last year.

Life is only going to be exciting.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Obama, why did you have to speak in such a way to make me vomit?!

So this will be the big headline on Sunday:

Iran and 5+1 reached a deal!

Good!

But Obama, I listened to your live address, and, not exaggerating, not figuratively speaking, I vomited and shouted "Eff you USA!"

I know your address was to appease your rabid dog in Tel Aviv; and his puppies in Congress. I know you KNOW that I ran is not after any nuclear weapon, and you know what if it were, it would only be in order to prevent thugs like you and your "friends and allies" from illegally blockading its assets and its revenues and from imposing "crippling sanctions" on it for refusing to succumb to your hegemony!

What the hell was with that tone of yours! The posturing! Don't you feel like a bully after this address? A rough and scruff bully, unsophisticated, uneducated, biased, prejudiced, narrow minded! Don't you see Netanyahu in the mirror, when you wake up to look at yourself before history? Didn't you feel like a bigot when you delivered this 'live" performance?

You want world peace, Mr Obama? Well, dismantle your oil-sucker corporations; your auto-industry that is in unholy alliance with them. Stop your militaristic economy; and let go of your war-profiteering heritage!

You want world peace, Mr Obama? Well, stop hookering up with Saudi Arabia and Israel!

You want world peace, Mr Obama? Speak peacefully; and do NOT accuse countries of pursuing a bomb, while turning a blind eye on the most criminal, UN-defying, genocidal, land-stealing, war-profiteering of all Middle Eastern governments: I-S-R-A-E-L!

I cannot express, clearly enough, how I DETEST your address ...

I know this deal will benefit Iran in the long run.

I know Israel is mad, not with this deal, because it is peanuts; but mad with the direction these negotiations have provided and the priority that they scream: "the US wants a piece of Iran's pie". (Seriously, lifting sanctions on "Auto industry"; and not aviation? Why, GM wants to compete with the Korean, the Japanese and the French auto-industries in making sure Iran's home-grown industry dies with "Pride"?)

But, next time around, adjust your rhetorics.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Something bigger than a phone call, after 35 years ...



A few days ago, at about the same time that the president of Iran was landing in NYC, I hovered above Manhattan, heading South to Florida, armored to fight an old battle. Comfortably seated in front of a large Boeing, looking down on the green land of the New England, the Potomac river, the Philadelphia farms--the Empire, densely populated with a republic who champions and cherishes freedom and hard work, I wondered how was Iran's president processing the landscape on his first official voyage to NYC.

My personal observations (and numerous similar stories I have heard ever since), have poisoned me to think America is a rotten place--ironically over its health-care/welfare/labor politics/policies about which the Americans themselves have grown wary enough to hopefully seek change. I also remain convinced that America's potential to change is the best hope that humanity has got!

Change, the slogan that brought Obama to power in America.
Change, the slogan that brought Rouhani to power in Iran.
Change from the exploitative and confrontation logic of George Bush and Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
But most importantly, Change, the unequivocal demand of millions of world citizens who are tired of burning in perpetual cold wars, suspicion and animosity.

I think the biggest CHANGE factor is in the modes and manners of communicating with the "other".

Despite what everyone calls a "cautious approach", I believe what is before us is larger than just good old diplomacy, it is a realistic honesty that is perhaps marking a new form of diplomacy.

In this new world where we have become accustomed to voting for future pop stars with a mobile phone, where we are 'like'ing and 'tweet'ing our next presidents; the diplomatic game also needs to be played on open stage, as a "reality" popularity context. People will buy more eagerly, what is before their eyes, raw and naked. And this is how I think our new world shall begin; through OUR demands for transparency, and our expressed opinions.

This is a first example:

In an unprecedented move, upon being appointed, Iran's Foreign minister and Nuclear negotiator, Javad Zarif, set up a Facebook account (triggering debates in Iran's censors about un-filtering access to facebook and its beneficial function). On his facebook, with 315K fans, Zarif keeps us up to date about his activities--sometimes as mundane as falling asleep in a meeting due to jetlag. When he accepted the job, he posted:


Hello friends, 

I have accepted this job, asking help from god the almighty, and with the hopes of serving the people, elevating the reputation of Iran and Iranians, and improving the international situation towards reducing the economic pressure on [my] dear people. 



I Thank you who have extended your kindness to me and I hope to be deserving of your gratitude.

I will try to keep my connection with you, and I hope to be able to report to more or less frequently, on this page and through the web site of the ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Of my intelligent, gracious and considerate friends who visit this page, I request sincerely and insistingly, to not turn this page into a forum of complaints or (god forbid,) insults directed at individuals, groups, parties, ethnicities and religions; and to seriously avoid political slogans that are hurtful to others and distract us from the chance of dialogue and understanding. With due respect for all opinions, should I encounter such, I will remove them. But you will agree that we will not have time to monitor all the expressed opinions, and hence, we take no responsibility for the content of the statements. 
I look forward to your guidance and your prayers. 
This attitude is a major break-away from the old attitudes of Iran's ruling elite:

1) By daily reporting of his activities as a Foreign minister, he is educating the general public about the nuances of diplomatic relations. This is the first step in opening a window into the operation of a state, for a society that has historically distrusted its governments, treating them as extraterrestrial or puppet entities. Not only does he report, but he also reacts to critical or constructive views. For example, after Obama-Rouhani's phone call triggered an angry reaction from the hardliners in Iran who invoked the memory of the War and the Blood of the martyrs, he quickly responded (albeit indirectly, and without any confrontation) by acknowledging the week of the Sacred Defense, expressing his respect for the war veterans and stating that half of the foreign ministry staff were war veterans and that he hoped to uphold all the values for which those martyrs had died.

2) By joining the social network, this minister is seeking the opinions of the people, and although he puts up a request for respect and tolerance, but he does not dictate any mode of behavior, nor he states any strong or dogmatic opinions of his. He even addresses those, who may be potential "bigots" as "the intelligent, gracious and considerate". More importantly, in a country where cartoonists used to get punished for depicting officials in critical drawings, Iran's new foreign minister "shares" cartoons of himself! This "embracing" attitude was also on display in the second half of Rouhani's speech in the UN.

3) He puts on display one of the finest of Persian mannerisms. He is thoroughly courteous, and humble, he puts his faith and his powers in god's hands and he asks for understanding, forgiveness and guidance from his audience. With this humility, he sets a new tone to the voice of a nation that has gone coarse in the past 35 years shouting death-to-X,Y,Z slogans. What the western pundit calls "charm offensive" or "charm onslaught" is nothing but Persian mannerism. This is how people treat each other in Iran, no matter how deep the mutual distrusts and the feuds. (in fact, to request a phone call with Obama was a perfectly normal and polite thing to do in our culture, because Rouhani had first refused to meet face to face with Obama and it was only normal to make a later phone call. This is also a break from the hostile and impolite tone and actions taken towards America in particular (and the west in general) in the past 35 years.

This honesty could be heard in Obama's UN address as well:
All of us must recognize that peace will be a powerful tool to defeat extremists throughout the region and embolden those who are prepared to build a better future. And, moreover, ties of trade and commerce between Israelis and Arabs could be an engine of growth and opportunity at a time when too many young people in the region are languishing without work. 

So let’s emerge from the familiar corners of blame and prejudice; let’s support Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are prepared to walk the difficult road to peace.

[...]

And while we recognize that our influence will, at times, be limited, although we will be wary of efforts to impose democracy through military force, and although we will, at times, be accused of hypocrisy and inconsistency, we will be engaged in the region for the long haul, for the hard work of forging freedom and democracy is the task of a generation. And this includes efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like Iraq, Bahrain and Syria.

[...]

[T]he United States has a hard-earned humility when it comes to our ability to determine events inside other countries. Now, the notion of American empire may be useful propaganda, but it isn’t borne out by America’s current policy or by public opinion. Indeed, as recent debates within the United States over Syria clearly show.
The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill. 
I believe such disengagement would be a mistake. I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree. But I believe America is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.

I think I agree with Obama ...

But what is significant in the events of the past few days is that these politicians have risen above the politics (without disengaging from politics) to be the voice of the people who have invested a hope for change in them. What is significant is that "we", the people, do have a voice now, that we are heard by the politicians who want to make it to the pages of history (perhaps not the lobby-paid Majlis/congress(wo)men), that when we say we won't die in vain, we are taken seriously; and that politicians are more eager to gamble on winning our approval, than to gamble on winning a war. No attack was launched on Syria, none will be launched on Iran, and nor on Israel.

For 35 years, I grew up in a poisonous and paradoxical stand off with an enemy-friend, America! For the past 8 years, I have been fighting hard, here, in neo-resistance, to make sure my country would not fall victim to the malicious desires of the mis-translators who are still banging their war drums.

And since a few hours ago, I have been sniffing the fragrance of PEACE ... but more than peace between Iran and America, what matters to me is the peace between Iranians and their government. This is just the beginning. If Iran and America have 35 years of hatred to iron out; Iranians and their government have 350 years of distrust to fix. But Rouhani's on the right track. And even to his subtly distrusting critics, he seems like someone who has been on the right track from start.

Netanyahu is huffing and puffing, but we must turn our eyes towards Russia now ... potentially a more dangerous friend than is the current enemy (or the bargaining leverage?), Israel ...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013, at 10:34 AM: GO OBAMA GO!

I have goosebumps ...
I can just say Obama's speech has left me speechless ...

R E S P E C T  !

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Follow the Anti-NeoCon neo-resistance on facebook

Canada has got a group of not-so-talented NeoCons running it these days. They provided an exemplar model of hypocrisy. To debunk a few of their myths, vis a vis "The Iranian Crisis", a collection of related links, and mini-analyses are presented on this page:

We are Ashamed of Harper's Foreign Policy

https://www.facebook.com/AshamedOfHarpersForeignPolicy


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Exposing Canada's hypocrisy in calling the Iranian election 'meaningless'

This is a letter to PM steven Harper and his righthand man in foreign affairs, John Baird.

Mr John Baird & PM Steven Harper

 In response to the momentous victory of the Iranian people in another historical election held on June 14 2013, you have shed crocodile tears for our "freedom" and have followed to call our election "effectively meaningless".

 Sir, what is effectively meaningless is that you speak of "freedom", "human rights" and "due electoral process". Your government is proving to be the most despotic and deceptive government that Canada has ever experienced.

When democratic process becomes too arduous, Mr Harper is known to resort to passive aggressive behaviors manifested in the form of proroguing the parliament (twice) and running away when the heat on the senate scandals became too roasting. This, is "effectively" like running the country with a supreme leader. In fact, we hear you have been recently losing members of caucus who have been vocally critical of how dictatorial you expect them to "represent _their_ constituents"!

These are a few quick examples of your hypocrisy:

Your government, boasts of human right defense and pretends to champion freedom of religious practice globally, while cozying up to Christians behind closed doors.. The Star describes your duplicity on religious freedoms as follows:
The government protests that its sympathies are not selective. It throws in references to other beleaguered minorities — the Falun Gong, Tibetans and Uighurs in China, the Shiites being massacred in Pakistan, etc. 
But its word won’t be taken seriously unless it tells us what it thinks of the following: 
The Rohinga Muslim minority in Myanmar, suffering a systematic pogrom about which even Nobel Laureaute Aung San Suu Kyi has been shamefully silent; the Muslim minority of 175 million in India, whose plight is being addressed by the government of India itself; Kurdish and other minorities persecuted in Iran; the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, whose rights are routinely put down by force; and Hindu and Sikh minorities in Malaysia and Indonesia, who are barely tolerated; The Shiites of Lebanon, who constitute a plurality but are systematically denied proportionate electoral and other representation; the Shiite majority in Bahrain, persecuted for decades by a Sunni monarch who has brutally crushed their pro-democracy demands; and Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority discriminated against by the ruling minority Alawite sect of the dictator Bashar Assad.
How about election fraud? 

Let us recall the robocall scandals, the automated calls, which warned listeners that the changes would "destroy Saskatchewan values" and pit rural folk against urban dwellers — all without identifying that the caller was the Conservative party. I heard that the courts have recently ruled your party had committed fraud and that the opposition parties are asking accountability, although it seems to be out of the spotlight which is now on your senate corruption scandal? it seems the Iranian government is not the only corrupt one on this planet!

In fact, that the conservative party committed widespread election fraud is now a world-wide topic Some are calling the results of the election nulled, disowning Harper as Prime Minister! Some other are calling your Canada a police state. Does it mean you have to resign? If such protesters flooded the streets, would you boycot Toronto and the riot police that brutalize protesters like in the G-20 summit?

And, how do you think Iranians feel about the "meaning" of a government that has gained power (53% of seats) but only 39% of the votes. Yes sir, 61% of Canadians DID NOT vote for your government.

 How about freedom of press? 
We hear you have begun your conservative assault on Canada's broadcasting corporation. The Globe and Mail: The federal government is taking a harder line on collective bargaining, giving itself sweeping new powers to steer independent Crown corporations on their negotiations with employees over wages and benefits. The main targets are the CBC, Canada Post and Via Rail. The union representing employees at the CBC warns the new powers are a “ridiculous” infringement on the independence of the CBC. of course this is your media policy (see source):
In an effort to maintain “message control”, Prime Minister Harper has made changes to how the government deals with the media.[2] Harper’s media policy has not been well received by journalists or opposition Members of Parliament. Besides the changes in media relations, there is also the belief that Mr. Harper holds a long-standing dislike of the press.[3] New Democrat MP Charlie Angus criticized Mr. Harper’s media relations strategy. He stated: "Harper ran on a campaign of open and accountable government…[a]nd the first thing we see him doing is putting plywood up over all his windows and barring access to the doors. My question is, why? What is Harper afraid of?''[4] The press in Ottawa believe that they are not being given sufficient access to the Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers. Journalists complain that their calls are not returned, that they are given copies of speeches only when they are days old, and that cabinet meetings are held in secret allowing ministers to avoid the press who wish to meet with them after the meetings and ask questions about their portfolios.[5] The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) sought to manage press conferences by compiling a list of journalists who wish to ask questions and then selecting from that list.[6] Journalists walked out of a press conference to protest the new measures. Outside of Ottawa, the government banned the media from attending the repatriation of dead soldiers returning to Canadian military bases from Afghanistan.[7] 
Human rights?

Harper, you champion the human rights of the Iranian prisoners, but continue to support TORTURE in Gunatanamo bay? And then refuse to take back a Canadian born Arab boy by delaying his trial? Of course, your racism justifies arab-Canadians suffering torture in Syria, and then you obstruct compensating them irrespective of the UN's recommendations.

And how about the Canadian aboriginal right? I hear they go on hunger strike to have you respect their rights? 

They say, it takes a liar to know a liar! the fact that you and Mr Netanyahu are so disenchanted by the vanishing of your like, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks volumes of how insincere you are.

Mr Baird, you did non consult the Iranian community whether they wanted to vote in Canada. effectively you STOLE the votes of Iranian-Canadians, on advice from two lobbies, who ironically work together, in Canada and in the US, towards neo-conservative goals. To call the results of an election that has brought 36 million Iranians to the ballot box (a population larger than Canada's) "meaningless", is meaningless. Even if all these 36 million have voted for the Iranian supreme leader (which at least 18 million of them have not) DEMOCRACY commands you to accept their vote.

Mr Harper, how do you differ from Iran's supreme leader in the rigidity of your judgement and conduct?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

IRAN, Congratulations!

Someone said last night:

"When all around you are in chaos and you are able to maintain a sense of order, you have won. My respect to the people of Iran, no matter who wins."


Vote distribution indicates no rigging

Unlike the last election, after which 45 million votes were counted in a few hours; this time the tally is tickling in very slowly.

Amusingly, the News Agency taht I refered to as False or Farce News last time, has been behaving in a very measured way in the past few days. From over a million votes announced, 47% have gone to the reformist, 13% to the independents (Rezayee & Gharazy) and 39% to the three shades of the conservatives: Ghalibaf (the protofascist but popular mayor of Tehran promoting safety and power first economy next) has 18%; Jalili (the fascist, who talks as if abstract jiberish, has crazier followers and makes me wonder how exactly he has been negotiation with lady Ashton ) has 14% and Velayati (the mellow John-Hopkins educated pediatrician turned minister of foreign affairs for god know how long) the rest.

Some reformists are already claiming victory. Some others, impatient with the announcement, are getting into a pouting mode that Rohani (the reformist) must come out a winner in the first round with over 60%. Iranian presidency needs over 50% of total votes, it is likely there will be a second stage of election between the 1st and the 2nd--without any rigging. It is also not unlikely that Rohani would win the first round, but within a 5% margine

I argue that if the "regime" wanted to rig the vote, and if there was a will to engineer results and "appoint" a conservative, then Khamenei would have twisted the three conservatives to coalition. The conservatives did not coalesce. Au contraire, the went at each other, spelling each other's beans, like opposing politicians do!

The fact that there was no united conservative front makes me suspect that Khamenei himself has voted for Rohani. He did present himself, during the debate, as the more capable one.

Curiously, after casting his vote, after making sure that he did not give a hoot about what the west thought about due process in Iranian election, the "supreme leader" stated that no one, not even his family knew who his favorite candidate was. He then insisted that people's vote was entrusted to them and that the ministry on interior had to guard people's vote in good faith.

I don't want to jump the gun, but I suspect Iran's next president will be its former Nuclear negotiator, a doctor of Law, and the former head of the High National Security Council ... Rowhani is not a reformist, but he was endorsed by all who stand on the "opposition" side of the fence.

This is to be a win-win election. Khamenei has already got to show the world that > 75% of Iranians DO want to express themselves through the existing system (but he also acknowledged the NEED FOR CHANGE.) This will give Iran power at the 5+1 negotiation table; it will also disarm the aggressors who were ready to go "liberate" the "great oppressed Iranians" a la Argo!

The reformists won too, because they demonstrated the resolve of their unity, the steadiness of their resolve, and their maturity to put aside all difference and work towards a common goal. According to citizen reports, this election was held without controversy.  In all polls, n Iran and abroad, I heard stories of HOPE and positive attitude. It is obvious that Ahmadinejad is going to be slapped with all blame for the past ... the outgoing little man voted in silence today, but uncharacteristically late, towards the ending hours of election. I wondered if he was forced to vote, but I suspect he will not be invited to dinner with Khamenei anytime soon ...

An Era of political theater (Ahmadinejad's grotesque/macabre) has ended, and I wonder what Netanyahu is going to cook now to hype Iran's "imminent threat"!

P.S. Some facebook comment: "When all around you are in chaos and you are able to maintain a sense of order, you have won. My respect to the people of Iran, no matter who wins." 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Something's puzzling me


What puzzles me is that despite the growing momentum of the reformist-endorsed candidate Hasan Rowhani, making him a serious contender to the supposedly supreme-leader-picked Ghalibaf and Jalili (who is paid attention to by no one other than CNN and his fanatics), they have not coalesced!

Instead, the head of the Baseej and other goons are making threats that they will not let the "fake" president get elected. And by "fake" they mean someone who is not "TRUELY MOLTEN" in the commands of the supreme leader!

The ministry of interior announced adding 5000 ballot boxes (from 125,000 to 130,000).

I can imagine two scenarios:

a) the hardliners have been caught by surprise, and they do not have a unified strategy of how to deal with the huge "green" supported rally behind Rohani. To cheat? To beat?

b) that Hashemi and Khatami HAD guarantees from the supreme leader that Rohani should go forward, under the supreme leaders nuclear-rights auspices.

A high voter turn out, Khamenei insists, will give him the bargaining chip needed to force the International bullies to drop their carrots and sticks approach, accept Iran's right to nuclear technology, and move forward! The nuclear program IS Khamenei's red line; he will not waiver!

If Rohani wins, both the supreme leader AND the Iranian people will win; demonstrating a rare case of "unity" and compromise in both sides.

Netanyahu may not be sleeping so sound tonight ...


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Atlantic: How Pressure from the Iranian public is reforming the regime

This is one of the best articles I have seen on Iran's upcoming election.

Still, one wonders why, against the memory of failure in 2009, partisans of the reform movement would be willing to mount another run at the presidency. It may be the case that participation in presidential politics has become for many young Iranians a rite of passage, a chance to succeed where others could not. If nothing else, elections provide a regular, if infrequent, opportunity for catharsis.
It is not lost on Rouhani's supporters (nor on Rouhani himself) that some 34 years after the revolution and the consolidation of clerical authority in Iran, voters are turning to the sole cleric on the ballot for change. That Rouhani, a regime stalwart, the close companion of Khomeini, and the former head of Iran's National Security Council today embodies the leading edge of reform speaks to the peculiarities of Iran's democracy. The righteousness of the revolution is at stake, as it always is, during these elections. Iran seeks not only to stand against the United States, but to prove that its version of democracy, Islamic democracy, is the true version. Whether or not this impulse is sincere, the aspiration leaves the regime exposed to reinterpretations of what it means to be righteous, democratic, and Islamic. The creation of new narratives like Rouhani's occurs because of pressure from the Iranian public. The hustle for votes means finding and accepting new ideas into the old folds of ideology. Outside of another revolution, which is unlikely to occur, this is a considerable accomplishment.

Read more ...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The hot market of election debate!

While some Iranians have gotten into a passive-aggressive state with regards to participation in the upcoming election, the debate amongst the 8 candidates is running vigorously.
My wonderful country has no diplomatic ties with Iran, and they have not been collaborating with Iran on facilitating participation in the election for the dual-citizen Iranians who wished to vote (this democratic government, while preaching righteousness over its democratic opposition to the anti-democratic Iran, would not mind to ship back or strip away citizenships from dual citizens.) Therefore, I cannot vote, even if I wanted to!

Thank you democratic nations that decide what version of democracy Iranians ought to practice!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

If I could vote in Iran's election ...

Hold your horses:

Why can I NOT vote? Well because my country has decided to have no diplomatic relations with Iran! So, effectively, the democracy has decided for me to not participate in Iran's so-called non-democratic election!

But if I COULD vote, I would vote conservative! Not for one of those reformer-masked people; but for an old conservative: Like Velayati (or EVEN Mohsen Rezai!)

"Have you gone mad", you think?

No!

My vote will have a very simple and pragmatic reason: these three have been before our eyes for as long as we remember them. Ineffective, and benign. And that is what I like about them. The other two conservatives, the Tehran mayor (Ghalibaf) and the Nuke negotiator (Jalili) who seem to be the hopefuls by design are just too mercurial and mysterious, respectively. The greenish Iranians feel they have to throw their support behind Aaref and Rowhani to fence off the imminent threat from these potential lunatics; and also because of the ideological loyalty they feel to Khatami's 'wave'; or Mousavi/Karoubi's cause. But I think they are wasting an important opportunity.

To vote for the "opposition", which is at the point reduced to Aref and Rohani who will be coalescing sooner or later is to lose a great opportunity to further split the "Right".

Imagine either of these gentlemen get elected (I don't believe they will because the majority of their base is BOYCOTTING). What executive power will they have under the ring of the supreme leader who is adamant to insist on Iran's "entitlement to peaceful nuclear technology"? And would this election not further radicalize, polarize and thus reinforce the conservative camp?

In the past 8 years, we have been observing the major damage these various conservative factions have been doing to their crooked structure. So, why give them a support pole by electing an  opposition against them?!

See, it is simple law of physics.
When your car is sliding in snow, you should never turn the wheel in the opposite direction.
When trying to extract a metallic object from a strong magnet, the dumbest idea is to to move it fast, and in the opposite direction.

I would vote for a conservative because judging from the reformer-Khatami's era, I have little faith that the 5+1 is sincere about the wish to resolve Iran's nuclear issue. They demand total submission and surrended, only to screw Iran after. And Iran under no government will succumb to that. In fact, all candidates, even those disqualified have insisted they will NOT accept the EU/Us bullying attitude. Yes it is a good "explanation" for the facile minds of the population who seeks 'pinky and rosy peaceful solutions' for the complexities of the world. But currently, Iran is providing a perfect boogeyman to advance a lot of militarism and cold war expenditure, so why would the war-based economies of the world lose such perfect justification for their militarist R&D expenditure?

I would vote for a conservative because the previous right-winger has so badly messed up that it is disservice to anyone to be left this elephantine chore of cleaning up.

I would also vote conservative (accepting ahead of time that this election is not to be won by a reformist) in order to eliminate any potential of unrest, protest, and post-election "cheating" discourse.

I think the country's under economically DARK clouds. It is time to vote strategically. And strategy might command to keep a united front, keep calm and vote for a banal, but benign right-winger; like Velayati. This is not a time to play our theater for the world; this is the time to regroup, and reflect. With Hashemi's blow out, the best bet is to choose someone from the Iran-Iraq war-era: Velayati (minister of foreign affairs from 1981-1997) and Rezayee were in the thick of it all. Bloomberg seems to agree with me on Velayati!

P.S. When expressing my reasoning to my husband he said: 'It's good you cannot vote, otherwise you will have been voting for a man from "the first ring of oppression", whose hands are dipped in blood of all those dissidents assassinated abroad, when he was a foreign minister." (In a 2005 interview with the conservative newspaper Baztab, Velayati stated that those assassinations were harmful to Iran's foreign policy--but he has always maintained that Iran had no role in them.)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Iranian Election, Again

Shams al-Emareh; The Qajar King's
tower of power, giving him and his
populous Harem a view over Tehran
شمس العماره
(c)NeoResistance
Simply, I don't give a damn!

Luckily, all the candidates are myred in infamy, and are opposed to each other. So, they can fight amongst themselves, and get their punch gloves bloodied; and annihilate themselves and work towards weakening the position of the supreme leader.

It will be a fun show to watch, but I am not planning to vote.

I voted last time, for the first time because I respected Mir Hossein Mousavi in the previous election (respected him for his performance during the Iran-Iraq was, when he was a prime minister. I respected him also, for having retired from politics into art and architecture).

If votes in Iran were actually counted, I would have considered voting strategically, choosing the thief over the war monger, for example. But votes will not be counted; the election will be rigged through several processes, first of which the guardian council. So, the incentive to get my hands DIRTY is nonexistent. I will not participate in the charade.

While these politicians fight each other, and the enthusiastic anticipating spectators watch them, analyse them, cheer them or boo them--campaigning for the least evil that implicitly promises to tame the supreme leader or the most stubborn one that promises to carry out the supreme leaders wildest dreams, far from the political spotlight, there are ordinary citizens who are working day and night to improve, educate, secure, beautify and build the society, from bottom up, from children. I want to give my attention to them.

Voila! Don't expect me to pontificate on the election. There are more important things to do for Iran.

Monday, April 22, 2013

With doctors like this ...

I came across a facebook horror page "100% fed up"; by a physician republican sharing the following link:
Some Dr Starner Jones, posing smilingly in green scrubs from Emergency Medicine sends a letter to Mr President:

Why Pay for the Care of the Careless?
Dear Mr President
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive Shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive Brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.
While glancing over her Patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medic...aid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.
And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.
It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me". Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear. Respectfully,
STARNER JONES, MD 

I don't know on how many levels this is inappropriate, but are the physicians in this country in the position of judging patients based on their mode of payment, choice of dress, appearance and income?

What should prevents me to think that this doctor (or any practitioner who thinks similarly) may withhold emergency treatment, if a drunk "hobo" is brought to him? What prevents me to speculate that he would say: "oh the pest of the society is better off, dead."

I was happy that I was not the only one appalled by this facebook campaign; when I came across: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janice-taylor/health-care-on-facebook-p_b_719570.html
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/08/1168277/-A-Crisis-of-Responsibility
http://thirdwavewife.com/tag/dr-starner-jones/
http://brennansview.blogspot.com/2013/03/starner-jones-md-medical-domineering.html
http://itsabeautifulwreck.com/2010/09/why-i-dont-care-recieve-health-care-from-dr-starner-jones/
http://swimmingwithapianoonmyback.blogspot.com/2010/03/open-letter-to-roger-starner-jones-md.html

Which made me realized the letter is an old one, it was published in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger on August 23, 2009; it raised public criticism, and to which the said doctor responded with the following

America is Still the Land of Opportunity - For Everyone
Starner Jones, M.D.
I continue to receive numerous phone calls, letters, emails and face-to-face comments about my letter ("Why Pay For the Care of the Careless") which appeared in your newspaper a few months ago. Most people express highest approval for the opinion set forth. Indeed, the truth has an illuminating quality all its own. However, a few have disagreed and all of them falsely assume that a person who holds the views which I espouse must have been raised in a privileged home. Nothing could be further from the truth. I grew up in a lower middle class, single parent home in the rural hill country of Pontotoc, Mississippi. While attending public schools, I paid attention in class and did my homework. I ran with the right crowd and stayed out of trouble. My dedication in school resulted in a full-paid scholarship to the prestigious University of the South in Sewanee, TN. After college, I left to go to medical school with everything I owned in three bags. The rest is history. Motivation, not entitlement, is the key to personal success and happiness in life. 

The "Starner Jones" has attempted a failed attempt at fame by writing a book!! http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Church-Starner-Jones-M-D/dp/1933896922; rated 2/5!

I think this is where his American dream "no business like show business" was crushed!

Whether this Starner Jones is real person or just a cyborg political "probe" is unclear. Given there is no record of his practice, I suspect the latter. But the > 220,000 individuals who have shared this letter on facebook, and the comments endorsing such views, speak something about a large section of the American middle class.

I have been arguing in my previous two posts that the new-pseudo-rich middle class in America, mostly from an immigrant heritage, is the 'class' that carries the weight of this country, both in terms of running the economy and paying the taxes.

This class is raised on the notion that working hard is all there is to life: working hard and making money and spending it. This class nags about taxes and resents the government for favoring the delinquents. This class, so self absorbed in their American dream, are little but slaves of a system that valorizes having-more for the self, than building a society. Instead of raising issue against the high cost of education, against the high cost of health care, against social/labor policy, they complain about the taxes; and take pride in working all their lives for receiving super expensive education and care! Without stopping to question WHY? To "stop" and reflect is a waste of time and money! Which work horse stops to think?

 And as we are confronted with the environmental crisis, the largest blame for which rests on the consumerist CULTURE of this working/consuming/spending/wasting middle class, I can't help wondering WHEN will America STOP to take a deep look at itself instead of finding foreigners to bully/blame?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When it rains, it pours!


Today, the largest earth quake in Iran's history has hit my birth place, the province of Sistan & Baluchistan.

اگه بالااخره یه روزی جنگ بیاد دم در خونه من، و مجبور شم عکاس جنگی بشم، هیچ وقت در مورد عکسام حرف نخواهم زد، توضیح نخواهم داد، کتاب نخواهم نوشت. عکاسی که عکسش نیاز به توضیح و توجیه مضمونی داشته باشه عکاس نیست، مثلا این بابایی که دیروز از انفجار بوستون عکس گرفته و حالا سی بی سی باهاش گفتگو میکنه که 'احساستو در اون لحظه شرح بده'. خبرنگارهای این دوره چه بی عرضه و بی شعور شدند؛ و این عکاسایی که تن به همچه گفتگوهایی میدن، جز فرصت طلب چی اند؟ دوره دوره کلاش بازی خبریه، روسپی گری خبری، به امید ستاره شدن! همه جا هم هست، تو هنر، تو خبر، تو علم. انگار همه ترمز خبریشون بریده. حالا تو ایران زلزله شده، اون هفته تو بوشهر، این هفته تو سراوان. سراوان سبز، سراوان قشنگ. سال به سال هیچکی یه عکس از سراوان ندیده، از بوشهر ندیده، ولی حالا زرپ و زرپ عکسای بلا دیدگی 'شیر' خواهند شد؛ البته اگر خبرگزاری فارس لطف کنه و اون دوربین به دستای چست و چابکشو به منطقه بفرسته، شاید هم نفرسته. چون بلوچستان خاک 'اشرار'ه، منطقه محرومه. اون هم تو مرز پاکستان، که لابد همشون جدایی طلب هم هستن و تفنگ به دست و غیره. شاید هیچ عکسی نبینیم، جز عکس پیرمرد عرب بوشهری که سر آوار هوار میکشید. سراوان، سراوان، ۳۵ سال پیش، ازش رد شدم، سبز بود، دره داشت، قشنگ بود، موز میکاشتند. یا نمیدونم چی چی. درخت نخل زیاد بود. سبز بود. این سفر رو که یادم میاد، از اون سفرایی که مادر میبردم با خودش ماموریت نبود. سفر سیاحتی بود. مادر بابا ما رو دور ایران گردوندن، جاهای محروم، جاهای محرومی که کار میکردن، آبادی میکردن، بین شیعه و سنی صلح میکردن. زمانی که شاه بود، و من بچه بودم، تو یک جیپ، با یک زن، و یک راننده، وسط کوههای بلوچستان. نه دوربین بود، نه تفنگ، نه موبایل. سراوان، زاهدان، خاک من، روح من، مردم بلوچ زیبای من ... شاه رفت، ما هم رفتیم. به کرمان. زلزله آمد. من ۱۰ ساله بودم. زلزله ۷.۳ ریشتری آمد. هنوز وحشت یادم هست. حالا زلزله به زاهدان هم آمده ... و من فقط از ۳ دوست خبر دارم، و هر ۳ تا سر و مر و گنده در امن ترین مکانهای جهان زندگی میکنیم. آخ، گلوم درد میکنه. کاش پیش بابا بودم و برام از سراوان میگفت. شاید دفترچه های یاد داشتش رو که باید روزی کتاب کنم در آمریکا جا گذاشته 
خاک پر بلای من ...
خاک بر سر بی عرضه من

Monday, March 25, 2013

The heart of dystopia, WASHINGTON DC

(c) Naj Neoresistance
My Persian new year Sun rose in Washington DC
My newyear sun rose on Washington DC; the city where I moved to because of first curiousity and next the promise of "sky is the limit". Those who knew me, warned me that I was not the sort to find happiness in America. they were right. I am leaving, in a hurry, there is too much WAR in this city for me to survive it sane or healthy. I must leave.

This city is depressing me. Not because my "free-speaking" led to my prompt termination based on the "employment-at-will" law of DC; but because in every corner of this capital city I look, I am reminded of  WAR.

Two days ago, I conjured the courage to walk up to the Lincoln Memorial. Hoping to hear a bit of trivia I lined up to listen to the park ranger who started by engaging the audience with: "So, have you guys ever been in a fight?" A few raised their hands. I got stomach-sick over the word "fight" and ran away with my camera to find stones to capture in contrasting lights. My husband explained later that the reason why he started his presentation with the word "fight" was because he wanted to mention that the memorial was to symbolize peace after the civil wars, which ironically was fought over the North/South arguments on "freedom to own slaves". And it was on the stairs of this mausoleum that Martin Luther King delivered his dream for JOB AND EQUALITY of the 'slaves', 100 years after they had been 'freed'. And yet, 60 years later, America is still in war, and jobs are tied to the war economy.

We had parked the car a block away in front of The Institute of Peace, the congress-generated organization for peaceful resolution of the world conflicts--I suppose in oil-free nations!

Perhaps it is this little "peace" hypocrisy that makes Washington DC so intolerable for me, the architecture as grand as it may be, is soulless, and fake. I cannot "photograph" it with the same passion I would in the other genocidal capital of the world, Berlin. Germanic architecture (pre-war) doesn't "fake" peace.

I had read that the most spectacular of the Smithsonian's collection would be the Air and Space one. Soon I learned why. In a space that was much too small for the amount and the diversity of "flying objects" on display, nuclear missiles, Mars rovers, German bombers, spy planes, space shuttles, and passenger carriers, crammed together with the Oliver/Wilbur Wright inventions and drawings--much  like a breakfast dish at iHops or any other American deli, where nutrients of little culinary relevance (e.g. pancakes, and scrambled eggs and beans and fruit salad and fried potatoes and bacon) are piled on top of each other to impress the customer with American "generosity".

Impressed, I was, with the foolishness of my kind to find a MARKET for any great invention of mankind: the best market for air and space pioneering, for electronics and communications has been the war industry. For it to thrive, it has been essential to create an unsafe climate, and a sense of patriotic fear (of Iran, Russia, China, American-enabled-Al-Quaeda, even little-Cuba), that would justify pouring more and more of our human and earthly and heavenly wills into making and buying faster, better, bigger killer machines.

Wars make little jobs for little people, and big profits for the big bosses! I admire all of those 'hobos' who have refused to be part of this machinery. And I resent war profiteering, be it for little or big people.

When we finally left the museum (with me in tears, and shortly after, sick with a fever), we noticed a building that looked like Canada's Museum of Civilization. Except that this one was "The American Indian Museum". "Indian"??, we asked! Is it politically correct to use the word Indian? In Canada, they call the 'indians' "The first nation", or "aboriginals", or call them by the name of the tribe or the territories. But they are never called "Canadian-Indian", this would be an insult. But perhaps it is because the Canadian settlers did not quite massacre the aboriginals as did the American settlers. Perhaps because the winters forced them to work with the first nation. Perhaps the survivors of the massacred people would be pleased to be called "American" and postfixed as "Indian". Certainly, I don't know.

But I do often wonder, whether this fascination and obsession of America with weaponry comes from feeling insecure about being in occupied territory; or from all these different wars that America has fought.

There are mass-graves everywhere around DC: the dead of Vietnam, First world war, Second one, Korean, Iraq, Afghanistan ... ghosts everywhere, sacrificial territories everywhere, particularly in Virginia that engulfs DC and houses its Pentagon and CIA ...

America always fights these "JUSTICE" wars, at least as far as the popular consumption goes or the drafting ads suggest. Along the notion of justice comes the machinery of law and order. I have started to understand why "LAW" enforcement in America is such a big business as well.

I learned, through the ordeal at my job, that what I would take fore granted as a simple labor right elsewhere, is nonexistent here. That a hospital like the one employing me, and boasting about a one-time 150 million dollars given to it by Sheikh of Abu Dhabi (his name and not so flattering portrait hanging everywhere in the Hospital) to set up a research center to "focus on pain elimination for children" is spending 40 million dollars/year on legal fees. From what I am gathering on internet, my ex-employers have quite a reputation for getting in trouble with Unlawful Termination. Through my ordeal, more than once have I heard the American-born human resource department employees "apologize" to me for what I am put through, and express desire to move to Canada! That perhaps explains those big weaponed scary guards in front of the hospital door.

In fact the firm of one of the best labor lawyers of this city suggested that I have a high chance to take legal pursuit seriously. She stated that their firm "was intimately familiar with X hospital's labor practices" and suggested their top-lawyer, who would talk to me for 500$/hour, be consulted. Interestingly, although jobless, I do not qualify for legal aid, nor for free medicine (because of the Salary I was promised). To receive any social service in America I need to be on drugs and abjectly poor. This bizarre mechanism explains why the middle-class in America feels so squeezed, and acts so petty when someone talks of social services. Not only do they carry the highest burden of taxes, they are not entitled to any benefits. I now understand the root of tax-resentment in America. It is used to make America GREAT by funding WARs. The average persons like me are left to fend off for themselves, whether they need social, legal or medical care--and we are discardable if we don't play the game. 

40 million dollars/year in LEGAL fees is a little over 25% of the one-time donation amount solicited from some Arab Sheikh, with recorded SLAVERY in his mini-country. But, if hospitals don't mess up, how are the lawyers to make big money? So why would the lawyers help clarifying/fixing the laws of the nation? And if people don't get sick of chronic stress about jobs and wars and bad eating and living habit, or from post traumatic stresses of wars, then how would the insurance and medical practices make big money? So why fix broken systems that keep feeding the populace and create jobs?

I keep asking: where is the common sense?

To make the matters worse for my own depression, I also watched a season of the netflix hit,  "House of Cards", the American version, after I had watched "Upside Down". In the past, I would not have any tolerance for such political thrillers, or dystopic fantasies. I would find them too dramatized, too cartoonish, with agents and officials speaking a certain tone which I assumed was to theatrical or too robotic to believe.

That changed too, ever since I started my life in DC. Dystopia has now a real tone for me, after spending a lot of time talking to various government offices, with people introducing themselves with their agent-code and speaking to me in a tone that has made me pause in a few occasion to ask: sorry is this a human or a voice-robot. No, I am not kidding.

In Washington DC, the hub of the WAR industry, the heart of the "country of the free", I am learning that those who "would NEVER live under the Iranian dictatorship",  would also not risk losing their livelihood that is tied to DoD, Pentagon, CIA or the Hill. For there is this thing in DC called "employment at will", that enables those in the upper food chain, to just fire those below without really needing to explain much. Association with a "careless" "opinionated" person like me might be too impudent for someone's income. It is an illusion perhaps, but it is a strong illusion, one that makes you pathologically paranoid, and forces me to be in the "offensive" and "defensive" simultaneously--it is making me into a fighter, the wrong kind though.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Ode to Life in America


This is the picture of my new home that was to be for the next three years; and it won't.

On the eve of Persian New Year, sitting on my bed, looking out at the dark midday skies over Washington DC, from a window with one of the "most patriotic" views in the country: looking down onto the Capitol Hill, and Washington monument and even Pentagon if I stretch myself a bit, with the Marine Corp graves at walking distance, and the war-supplying BAE systems not too far.

I am posting it because this freshly decorated house was just set up two hours after I received the official letter of my termination from a job that I did not even start. Hubby and I decided to have the little furniture pieces I bought two weeks ago shipped, so I can enjoy a normal home for a few months, vacationing in DC as a tourist.

This is why I call this particular act an ode to life.

We all know life doesn't last for good. We just try to make it decent as long as we live it. And why waste a chance to live a new life for a month as the spring arrives?

My 4-week ordeals in America have been educational and to have joined the American health-care workforce was a great experience (although financially costly and hassling):

Lesson 1: There is no freedom of speech in America!
Lesson 2: Corporates in America are criminal!
Lesson 3: The health-care market in America is scammed by insurance industry!
Lesson 4: American workers are prisoners to corporations, self-censoring, ratting on each other, scared and timid to ask, to question, to challenge anything that is ordered to them from above.

No one even takes a CHANCE with dissent, not even in Academia. Not even when the main objective of a job is to do frontier work.

I was terminated after 25 days--and despite the fact (and perhaps because of it) that I showed promise to many principle investigators whom I met and greeted over the first 20 days and who proposed potential collaborations.

Why?

I met an American for the first time. He asked what I was doing in DC?  "I came to do research and was just fired". He chuckled: "why, did you try to change something?"

I did.

For instance, having arrived from a happy North European country, I tried to change the culture of the lab from lack of socialization and collaboration. I tried to get colleagues take their lunch breaks at the Cafeteria instead of at their desks. I tried to joke and say a happy "good morning" every morning I arrived, articulating the "good" part with emphasis!

I told them (and my bosses) how the freedom I enjoyed in Europe made me creative, hardworking and dedicated. (To be "free in research" was the promise that lured me to the American job.)

Or, I tried to get people to work together and talk to each other about how to make their individual projects find a common goal, so working together becomes more efficient, fun and productive.

I checked on students who were assigned datasets that they did not know how to analyse (and I tried to provide them the guidance that no one else was technically apt to do). The graduate students were ecstatic that finally someone was there that they could count on. (I was told that I was too negative, by the boss, who never was there except the one time he came to introduce me at my talk, and the next time she came to terminate me!)

I checked on the data acquisition and alerted the responsible person that they were collecting white noise instead of meaningful signals and started proposing to them how to go about fixing that.

I checked on individuals who were delaying the delivery of quickly-doable projects, and provided them with concrete objectives.

I found the lab that I arrived in, in scientific disarray, and I hoped to fulfill the role I was promised: a grownup research associate to mend the technical and the medical aspect of the research together.

I was happy to take the burden off the shoulders of the supervisor who had just delivered a baby (without having told me that she was pregnant when she recruited me for the job. In fact, she asked me to apply--I didn't beg this job.) And despite several disappointments upon arrival, I shielded her out of concern for her peace with a newborn.

And then there was the old-aunti side of me.

I lovingly protested to the pregnant woman in the lab who drank buckets of coca cola every day and tried to console and encourage her to get a doctors note instead of undergoing a dubious safety practice that involved getting sprayed with strange material in the mouth, to learn what to do in the case of a pandemic. I joked that before the pandemic, the stress and anxiety about the hospital "policies" would kill us. After all, I have done a PhD on the load of Stress: allostatic load!

I harshly protested to a technical guy who was handling a little newborn for an experiment, despite the fact that he was complaining of flu-like symptoms all day. He chuckled: "oh this baby has perhaps worse things". The nurse cried, "this is a healthy control". And then, I cried in my office, wondering to myself: "would I be able to survive this methodological disregard for innocent naive defenseless human life?"

And I was shocked to realize, that in a hospital whose mantra is: "watch each other, and report on each other if you think safety is at risk", technicians and nurses were timid to speak up.

Soon, I learned why!

These are the lessons I learned in America.

The final exam, I passed too.

I challenged the limits of freedom in America and realized that if you are independent, do well, and have an opinion that endangers the status quo, you are plucked. As easy as that! No explanation offered other than: "you don't fit our expectations". No compensation to be offered (irrespective of the fact that the recruitment had taken months and that the hospital has spent on lawyers to get me H1B visa, and that I had uprooted me from home to be an alien-worker in America based on my unique qualifications.

It seems that  the corporates in America have set a standard called employment-at-will. You can quit or get terminated any time for no reason, with no recourse. (There is legal recourse of course, if you have evidence that the employer violated the H1B visa term, or dismissed you for whistle-blowing; but only if you are willing to spend time and energy on lawyers. The corruption is so deep, that you need to find alternative ways of seeking justice. Writing research articles and newspaper columns maybe more effective that settling vendetta.)

The ONLY reason why I could afford to challenge the illusion of freedom, was because I was confident of my skills and values, and I had the financial freedom to not be scared if I got sacked. As an Iranian, I also have grown up with the readiness  to die and go to prison and exile to defend JUSTICE and my rights. I did. Test passed!

Of course, in the letter of termination, my boss did not mention that she had told me: "we are firing you because you are arrogant"! The letter of termination also did not mention that I was resisting to be roped into science fiction, resisting the employer's violation of the terms of my H1B visa. Nor did she mention WHO exactly has been "observing" my "disruptive" attitude. She was on maternity leave the entire time I was there. I was helping and motivating everyone. And our only communications were over emails, in which she promised me glory, grace to my demonstrated qualifications and her hopes for me as a potential independent investigator. Would any supervisor with such objective tell people who call for collaboration that "our objective is to shelter naj from distraction so she focuses 100% on a [fictive] method"?

Her support stopped when I raised issues about being sheltered from other scientists, and "restricted" to an unattainable project--and provided technical and scientific justifications for my objection, while providing a workable solution to what I felt was more urgent and essential to do. The tables turned only when I protested to the scientific cage she painted for me--despite the early promise that sky was the limit.

Lesson 5: mediocrity is an asset. And with all "arrogance", in that currency, I declare myself poor.
Lesson 6: you are absolutely FREE to shop and to drive a car. I shopped freely, sometimes going to stores at 11:00 PM! And I have been bombarded by car-salesman telefone calls, when I visited a Volvo site out of curiosity.

This freedom to shop is the reason why freedom to talk is taken away.

People stick to abusive work relations because they need to afford to drive to work, and save for medical care, or save for potential unemployment when they need maternity or sick leave. This is the case of the reasonable ones. The unreasonable ones have credit card balances, mortgages, and car and student loans. The slavery system is well and alive. (and from what I noticed, it is adhered too and dearly respected by immigrants who have come from lesser fortunes and consider the freedom to vacation and get sick a luxury). So of course, a little northerner who starts telling people "freedom fighters, at least ask to read the label of the chemicals they put in your lungs", becomes a non-fit.

Freedom is also restricted because there is a general "always in a military stance" culture that dominates the nation. I consider it a consequence of having established a country on genocidally occupied territory; and on the history of slavery. Countries with dark ghosts in the closet cannot relax, cannot help being paranoid. This is why this is such a gun touting nation.

Frankly, is THIS the America that is going to liberate Iranians?

Is this female freedom, that if a woman gives birth without having accumulated enough vacation and sick-leave days, she will have to go back to work immediately?

Is this freedom that the hospital workers are forced to take flu vaccine, and have to sign a consent form that states: "we have been fully informed of the risks and benefits of flu vaccine and REQUEST to receive it", but if they refuse, they are fired due to violation of the hospital policy? And I focus on flu vaccine in particular because study after study is showing it is NOT a 100% defensive mechanism, and that its benefits are certain for only one group: the pharmaceutical industry. And I refused (out of principle that it was not on my contract) and finally signed a non-consent form, and got the shot to get health clearance, while the nurses who did my shot told me how unhappy they were, and how they wished they had the freedom to dare to raise their voice like I did. How can nurses who feel oppressed and disrespected truly care for patients?

Is this freedom that people have to own a car and drive to work, for 1.5 hours in the traffic, each way, and be allowed no more than 250$/month for public-transportation tax-exemption?

I am already enjoying the freedom from a workplace that by all accounts fits the definition of an old fascist state. I hope it is a singular case. That UAE king has funded this backward organization is telling.

Spring is around the corner. I have set up a nice vacation home and I am going to be a tourist for a while and live in my self-furnished hotel: 70$/night.

This is perhaps what America can learn from an Iranian: we take FREEDOM far more seriously than you do! FREEDOM is an asset we carry in our heart, in our spirits, and we FIGHT for it with our blood as history has witnessed. In fact, if you would have started to protest like we do/did, your establishments will not have responded to you much kinder than do our draconian ones.

I am wrong? Check the history of police brutality.

My New Year resolution: do something about the academic abuse of power.

Happy 1392!




Sunday, January 20, 2013

What happened to those beautiful pictures from my recent trip to Iran?

I was going to order and post them this week, with my notes, my observations.
And then I heard, they have hanged two poor miserable hungry young felons who had robbed someone at knife point, were hanged in public
The revenge of a regime (I see them as foreign invaders) who thrives to destroy all that is beautiful

The convict, cries in his last moment, on the shoulder of the executioner, as he walks him to the gallows ...

Photo source: ISNA

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"PLEASE" stop the war?!?

Dear "Israel loves Iran",
 I am quite mad at you! I am mad at you because I think you are not doing ENOUGH to stop the war.
"Please" stop the war is not enough!
Why don't you shout "not in my name"?
Why don't you hold Israel accountable to its illegal settlement announcements?
Why don't you hold Israel accountable to assassination campaign, to derailing the peace process? 
Why so TIMID? Why PLEASE? In war, "politeness"?
90 Palestinians are killed in retaliation to 3 Israelis who were killed in response to Israel's assassination of a Hamas leader--who happened to be the negotiator for release of an Israeli hostage. Is this FAIR? Is this something that you like Israel to "please stop"?!
Why begging the murderers to be PLEASED to stop a war that is generated out of their strategic calculations (based on reliability of the desired retaliatory response with toy-weapons from the opposite side)?
Isn't Israel a democracy?
Have you no voice to DEMAND Israel to stop this madness?
Why not declaring solidarity with the innocent victims?
So far they are 300% more on the Gaza side.
Why not sending condolence messages to a family whose three generations were "exterminated" by a bomb IN YOUR NAME?
How about calling for TRUTH and RECONCILIATION?
Have you no voice to speak to the 90% of Israelis who support these atrocities, to make them SEE what is the root cause of this all: "illegal settlements" and refusal to allow a two-state solution go ahead??
What kind of activism is this?
How about calling for anti-war strikes?
How about posting pictures of candle vigils showing you in opposition to war?
And how about reporting on how dissent from this war-line of rhetoric in Israel is tolerated?
How about being genuine?

Thanks Naj

Monday, November 19, 2012

Silence of the lambs: Israel, Gaza and The New World Order

The war raging in Gaza will have direct implications for Iran; but that is not why I care.

The reason why I care is because the war raging in Gaza will have implications for the world.

In 2001, I watched in disbelief on our Hospital's waiting-room TV: a plane smashed into the second of the twin towers. I almost fell: The third world war is to begin.

Ever since, all I have been hearing is the chant of the "new world order", and a clearly failing strategy, a clearly failing global strategy ...

First, Iraq whose oil revenues are not quite as promising any more as is Afganistan's gas fields and virgin mountains, which came next.

Then the eyes glued to Iran. They are still glued to Iran--the 'little' Gaza riffraff may as well be Israel's testing the waters, for uncle sam, for what can be done to Iran, next. (they piloted the bunker-busters in the previous operation, now they are piloting the defense cloud--they cannot test their new technology without Hamas being provoked to shoot at it, can they?)

But that is besides the point. The point that is pricking in my eyes, that is making me cry, is the silence and the complicity of the world.

When 911 happened, a friend asked me "what is wrong with you people"; I had to ruffle her ignorant feathers by explaining to her what is really wrong with people whose lives are undermined by the economic interests of the nations such as hers in which the popular ignorance and political apathy worked in counter-production to democracy!

And now, as the war in Gaza rages, it is the silence of my most progressive friends, the human-right defenders, the activists, the leftist, the religious, the god fearing republicans; it is their indifference to the images of carnage, the photo after photo of dead baby corpses held in the arms of mourning parents; that is the real threat.

Their world goes by; as if nothing is happening, as if the other is none of our business, as if Israel is exercising its god given right to kill indiscriminately to retaliate indiscriminate firing of baby-rockets that have not killed in their entire history more than half as many as Israel has killed in the pas few days.

Eager to support the rights of every student pepper-sprayed on the campus; forefront in sighting for the rights of Iranian women; petition flaunting when the rights of homosexuals are violated; and outraged if someone denies the dangers of the climate change, these active intellectuals are totally mum on the issue of what is raging in Palestine. I wonder WHY? Are they scared? are they uninformed? are they indifferent?

And for others (the not typically involved ones),an illusion governs that the ghosts of injustice will not find political zombies. "The world is too large", they say, "I just mend my own fence and trim my own grass." Wonderful! this is what most of the post-Nazi Germans said to excuse themselves: "we didn't know, we were just simple people." But does being "simple people" exclude us from the world ecology?! Berlin's rubble women will testify differently.

Worse, are the political impostures who wear an air of sophistication and turn their noses up at the "childish stupidity of the middle easterners who are not capable of living in harmony."

I don't know how hard it is for people to see that in a connected world, such as the one we live in, that the political climate will not discriminate when it becomes turbulent. Isn't the Bush-induced economic collapse enough of an evidence? Isn't the rage in Europe awakening anyone? It is even awakening the chinese despite their tightly controlled communist ecology.

And here is the really scary and somewhat prophetic truth: the fights in Israel and Palestine are far from ideological; they are RESOURCE battles in a piece of land with scarce land and water. Their fight is about land and water that is currently exploited by those who have bigger muscles and have first driven away the aboriginals from their ancestral belongings, and are presently pushing to expand further.

There is no denying the fact, even by the Israelis, that what Israel demands is full submission of the palestinians, if they do submit then they will be given bread crumbs! But, do all these bombings and humiliating rhetoric give ANY opportunity for them to surrender in a dignified manner? Would you succumb to whom you consider a thief, to the one who has your grandfather's blood on his hand; and who insists on humiliating you by further pushing you, kicking you and harassing you?

For Europeans, that these "childish" nations cannot get along is a bit of a dilemma. After all, they have survived Nazis, and have managed to make peace with Germany. Hell, Germany who once carpet bombed Rotterdam's harbor is now practically owning all of it--at least in terms of transport loads.

But these wonderfully white gloved members of the universe ignore the fact that Europe has never had to deal with the problem of resources; they solved it by colonizing the land of others, whom they murderously brutalized!

It is just a matter of poor irony and bad planning that the Israelis have ended up colonizing the neighboring cousins. If they were exploiting the land of others in some exotic island, then none of this will have happened, and the arabs and jews will have lived the same kind of superficial 'respect' that the French muster for the English, and the English for the German, and the German for the Dutch, and etc.

But to go back to why would/should we care: because the world is radicalizing, at an incredible speed, towards a new world order far different from that promised by the Bush-co.

This new world order is awakening from a long oppression; the Arab spring which the westerners managed to throw their support behind (out of fear of its ramifications for the sake of the safety of the future's history) are promising a new world order in which the sacrifices and the martyrdom of the "muslims" will pay off.

This radicalization is also happening as the world resources are becoming scares ... you see the cultural trend Israel is setting, and do you feel sympathetic to that, I wish to ask the silent ones!

Since yesterday, since Israel's promise of ground operation, I have been seeing a form of fatalistic cheer leading from the "oppressed" of the world. It is the same sentiment I feel every time the US or Israel 'promise' to annihilate Iran; it's this sense of "you have left me no choice, so bring it on and dig your own grave" ... it is a dangerous cycle; and when this turns into a cyclone, it will blow away all of us who have been taking a pose on the grass ... we are accountable to justice ... and what Israel is doing now is unjust, and so is our silence ...