Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Only the Lonely Write Blogs

to all my lawyer, architect, artist, university professor blogging friends:

Thus spake the professor of Calgary University, Michael Keren:
Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society, but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills,"

Read more

We Are Iran?

Society itself, not the government, creates change. And there are deep transformations occurring in Iran. Out of sight of much of the world, Iran is inching its way towards democracy.”
- Emaddedin Baghi, an Iranian journalist
(source: Fatemeh Amini)

Here some excerpts that I selected from Amini's review:

“I hate war. I hate the liberating soldiers that trample your soil, home, young and old under their boots. Believe me I love freedom. But that you have to make yourself free. No one else can free you.”

“Death to everybody!
Death to America! Israel! Britain! Imperialism!... Death to your mother, aunt, and sister too!... Death! Death! Death! They have been chanting Death to America and Israel for 25 years… and what have these useless leaders achieved?... Israel is still the bully of the neighborhood and the Palestinians are swamped in misery…. But I can’t get over how we Iranians today are considered the most fanatical people in the world-all because of a bunch of nit-ridden illiterate mullahs… When I was growing up, Haji Yousef, the mullah who used to teach us the Koran.. Would say that ‘Moses taught us wisdom, Jesus love and Mohamed life’… so where did all these death chants come from?”

“Yesterday I bought a turquoise ring…They say it brings you happiness… I didn’t let my boyfriend buy it… I bought it myself. I wanted to be the creator of my own happiness, beauty and freedom… The era of fairy-tale heroes has come to an end.”


Monday, January 29, 2007

Memory cannot be imposed through the criminal code

I came across a survey: Should Holocaust denial be considered a crime or not?

The title of this post is a quotation of Fabio Mussi, Italy's education minister, who disagrees with criminalization of Holocaust denial. He said Thursday he didn't think "memory can be imposed through the criminal code." "It is necessary to 'feel' the memory in order to reject the negation of horror," he added. (source:>

I also came across:

Norman Finkelstein the Author of:

debating (and debunking) Alan Dershowitz.
Well, okey am I going to spend time figuring out who Alan Dershowitz is? The video above gives a glimps.

The unreported

Did you hear that Former Iranian President Khatami and Senator John Kerry meet in Davos? According to Reuter, Iran says needs time to review atomic "timeout" . However, Russia remains commited to ontime completion of Bushehr project.

Did you hear CNN analyse the anti-war demosntration on capitol hill?

I just came across a nice blog The Osterley Times and this title:

Washington Snubbed Iran Offer

drawing attention to BBC's report that
Dick Cheney's office turned down an offer from Iran in 2003, in which the Iranians offered all that the US could have wanted.

Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.

Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility.

But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said.

There's also another post, underlining the similarities between George Bush and Ahmadinejad:

They are Broken Men, so don't let them take us to a new war which links to the Observer.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Global Research

My friend Homeyra alerted me to a number of morbid titles coming out of ma belle provence. This website appears to be filtered in Iran.

The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars and activists. It is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada.

The Global Research webpage at based in Montreal publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis on a broad range of issues, focussing on social, economic, strategic, geopolitical and environmental processes.

Here are the titles Homie sent:
Iran Must Get Ready to Repel a Nuclear Attack by General Leonid Ivashov

Iran: Pieces in Place for Escalation by Colonel Sam Gardiner; (retired USAF)

The endgame in Iraq that can't succeed: Half the military establishment believes that an attack on Iran is likely - By Adrian Hamilton from the Independent, UK.

Israel versus Iran: It's down to Dr Strangelove - By Igal Sarna

Israel's War with Iran, Unabridged version by James Petras

Hegemony and Appeasement: Setting Up the Next U.S.-Israeli Target
(Iran) For Another "Supreme International Crime" 1
- By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

Here's an excerpt of this one:
The ease with which a supposedly independent media in a supposedly democratic society like the United States can demonize enemies and convert third- and fourth-rate official targets into major threats is almost beyond belief. And the collective amnesia of the establishment media enables them to do the same thing over and over again; they never learn, and most important never have to learn, because the collective amnesia they help instill in the society protects them against correction—an unending series of victories over memory in the exercise of "reality-control" (Orwell). This enables the media to serve as de facto propaganda agents of their state while still claiming to be independent watchdogs. Less than three years ago, in 2004, the New York Times and Washington Post were hardly alone in offering partial mea culpas for having swallowed and regurgitated Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Powell-Rice lies about Saddam Hussein’s menacing weapons of mass destruction (WMD),2 thereby making a major contribution to the criminal and costly quagmire they now bemoan (but, along with Bush, still declining to urge any quick exit or meaningful withdrawal.) And yet they had barely gotten out their apologies before they eagerly climbed aboard the Bush-Cheney-Rice-Olmert bandwagon on the Iran menace and urgent need to do something about that grave threat.

And what a threat it is! Admittedly, Iran doesn’t possess a single nuclear weapon, and won’t have one for some years even if it is trying to get one, which its religious leaders vigorously deny. If it got a nuclear weapon it couldn’t use it except in desperate self-defense as both Israel and the United States have many nuclear bombs and superior delivery systems, so that any offensive use of its nuclear weapon(s) would entail Iranian national suicide. It may be recalled that Saddam used his WMD only against Iran and his Kurds, but not even in self-defense during the 1991 Persian Gulf war attack on Iraq by the United States and its “coalition”—the former use was with U.S. approval, the latter case of non-use was because Saddam would have suffered disproportionate retaliation by the United States and his restraint followed. This point is not made in the establishment media, possibly because it would seem to qualify the Iran nuclear menace.

The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel

According to Jim Abourezk, a former Democratic senator from South Dakota:

"every member of Congress and every would-be candidate for Congress comes to quickly understand a basic lesson. Money needed to run for office can come with great ease from supporters of Israel, provided that the candidate makes certain promises, in writing, to vote favorably on issues considered important to Israel. What drives much of congressional support for Israel is fear – fear that the pro-Israel lobby will either withhold campaign contributions or give money to one's opponent.

Writing in the Jan 26 edition of CSM he draws attention to pro-Israelies lobby preventing the Congress from making groundbreaking reforms to ethics rules, by ensuring that one of its most critical functions (taking members of Congress on "free" educational trips to Israel) was preserved.

These trips are defended as "educational." In reality, as I know from my many colleagues in the House and Senate who participated in them, they offer Israeli propagandists an opportunity to expose members of Congress to only their side of the story. The Israeli narrative of how the nation was created, and Israeli justifications for its brutal policies omit important truths about the Israeli takeover and occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What the pro-Israel lobby reaps for its investment in these tours is congressional support for Israeli desires. For years, Israel has relied on billions of dollars in US taxpayer money. Shutting off this government funding would seriously impair Israel's harsh occupation.

He also warns about how damaging the automatic support for Israel is to America's interest." ... the Israel lobby twists US foreign policy into a dangerous double standard regarding nuclear issues. The US rattles its sabers at Iran for its nuclear energy ambitions – and alleged pursuit of nuclear arms – while remaining silent about Israel's nuclear-weapons arsenal."

At a minimum, US policies toward Israel have cost it valuable allies in the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world.

Steps to impeach Ahmadinejad

Guardian reported on January 22 2007 that Mr Ahmadinejad's authority has come under pressure from critical MPs and an increasingly concerned Mr Khamenei.

A week later (January 24, 2007) it reports of re-emergence of Mr Rafsanjani, contradicting widely-held assumptions that his influence had diminished following his presidential defeat. Rafsanjani's increasing prominence follows last month's electoral triumph in topping the poll in elections to the experts' assembly, an important clerical body.

"Iran's beleaguered president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is facing a powerful challenge from his fiercest political rival for control of the country's nuclear and economic policies."

Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pragmatic conservative who was defeated by Mr Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election, is trying to persuade the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - who has the final say in all state matters - that further negotiations are essential to avoid a potentially disastrous conflict with the US or Israel.

Mr Rafsanjani demonstrated his growing influence over the nuclear issue in a meeting today with Britain's ambassador to Tehran, Geoffrey Adams. He told Mr Adams that Iran was willing to submit to "any verifying measures by the responsible authorities" to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, which many in the west suspect is aimed at developing an atomic bomb.

Mr Rafsanjani's conciliatory stance contrasts starkly with Mr Ahmadinejad's defiant opposition to the suspension of uranium enrichment. It is understood that Rafsanjani has formed a committee overseeing the nuclear negotiations. The committee will assess whether the country's international standing has been damaged by Mr Ahmadinejad's radical statements.

According to Mohammad Atrianfar, a respected political commentator and associate of Mr Rafsanjani, "Before the sanctions, Rafsanjani hoped Iran could obtain its enrichment objectives through mutual understanding with the west. But now he thinks we have reached a dangerous point and that a step should be taken backwards in the hope that two forward can be taken later." Rafsanjani, according to Atrianfar, doesn't see negotiation as a sign of weakness; but he wants to limit the impact of the sanctions and get Mr Khamenei and the government to accept that if Iran faces mounting sanctions or a military attack or any crisis which damages the economic life of the people.

Mr Rafsanjani also criticised Mr Ahmadinejad's government this week for failing to privatise state enterprises, a policy agreed under Iran's constitution and supported by Mr Khamenei. He said Iran's economy would be overtaken by poorer neighbouring countries if prized national assets remained under state control. Mr Ahmadinejad - who has vowed to spread wealth more evenly and alleviate poverty - favours a bigger government role in the economy.

Mr Rafsanjani's comments added to a chorus of anger over Mr Ahmadinejad's economic policies, which have been widely denounced for stoking inflation and failing to cure unemployment. Dismay over rising prices has driven supposedly like-minded MPs in the fundamentalist-dominated parliament to launch a petition summoning the president to answer questions. It has so far gathered 63 signatures and needs only a further nine to be effective. Meanwhile, proceedings are underway to impeach four of his ministers accused of incompetence.

"Even though the majority of MPs are fundamentalists like Ahamdinejad, the level of dissatisfaction is much higher than previous governments faced from parliament," Akbar A'alami, a reformist MP told the Guardian. "The criticisms go beyond political groupings. I think it has reached a critical level."

Presenting next year's budget, an unrepentant Mr Ahmadinejad told MPs on Sunday that he had controlled inflation and said it was running at 12%. Independent estimates put it at 30%. Critics say rising food and housing costs are hurting the poor, whom Mr Ahmadinejad had pledged to help.

Insiders say anger towards the president is sufficient for a majority of MPs to want to impeach him and remove him from office. However, Mr Khamenei is reluctant to sanction such a step, out of concern for the trauma it could inflict on the system rather than personal loyalty to the president.

Yet if the economy continues to deteriorate, Mr Ahmadinejad's position could become vulnerable, some analysts think. "The supreme leader is absolutely sensitive to the rate of inflation," said Saeed Leylaz, an economic analyst. "He has issued one public criticism, three months ago when inflation was lower than it is now. If it is even higher three months from now, then surely Mr Khamenei will not remain silent."

According to Guardian on Jan. 28 "A petition is being circulated to summon Ahmadinejad for questioning over his economic and nuclear policies, while impeachment proceedings are under way against four ministers.

Emad Afrough, a fundamentalist MP, said parliament would start dictating to Ahmadinejad unless he learnt the art of consultation. 'The political situation is going to force the government to consult more. If not, some issues be dictated to them,' he said. 'The government cannot count on the fundamentalists like before.'

A reformist MP, Akbar Aalami, said disenchantment had reached unprecedented levels. 'This government lacks the maturity to fulfil its legal duties and exercise authority,' he said."

Judeo-Iranian conspiracy!

My good friend Dr V. of the has been patiently hosting a great debate on this topic. I've been having fun with it. (I am predicting that word Israel will provoke a comment by the "e") read On the Iranian-Israeli Alliance and the gullible Arab masses posted on Jan26, 2007.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Visual Haiku: TehranAvenue's one shot film festival

From TehranAvenue film Festival:

In June 2005, Hamed Safaee, a graphic designer and one of the writers of TehranAvenue proposed the idea of "visual haikus," poems that broke off of their written mold and transcribed themselves on celluloid or digital media. This lyrical approach became fodder for a festival: The One-Shot Film Competition . In the following months this idea was further developed -- in the interim of a single "turning on and off of the camera," or any other recording medium, simple images could be captured, without a need for technical acrobatics and or technological props, to get to the essence of the image. The One-Shot Film Festival called for a form of haiku, a sequence of images that is neither a short film nor a photograph, neither a funny report of an incident nor a makeshift collage relying on digital cosmetics -- an uncut and fluid visual poem.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blind Iranian Women Make Movies

I just came across an interesting article in the ZANAN (Women Magazine) by Fahime Khazr-Heidari who reports of a filmmaking initiative by the Iranian documentarist Mohammad Shirvani. Three years ago Shirvani organized a workshop for the visually impaired Iranian women to teach them the basics of filmmaking. His project was aimed at illustrating that visual impairment is not a handicap but a characteristic. By choosing blind women, he aimed at killing two birds with one stone: first to debunk the notion of blindness as disability; second to challenge the myth of women being the "second sex", and particularly incapacitated in the so called Iranian patriarchy.

Shirvani likens his aspirations for teaching the cinematic language to the blind, to that of Louis Braille. The manifesto of "Camera in Place of the Eye" is written and the cognitive, behavioral and spiritual effects of the camera on the visually impaired are to be studied by psychologists and social scientists active in this field of research.Shirvani hopes to submit the results of these investiations, along with seven short films by 7 blind women, to the WHO (World Health Organization), and to coin a model in the name of Iran.

The stories of each of the filmmaking women that Khazr-Heidari has interviewed are tales of perseverance and resilience. Here is excerpts form what they have to say:

Sara Parto, 28 years old, blind since age of 4:
There was always things that I wanted to express. when I wanted to pursue calligrapgy, it was as if the whole world resisted me. There was no one who accepted that a blind person can have their own style. ... I wanted to do art work in a social context, I wanted to be present in society and communicate with people ... in our society, overall men live much easier than women ... but what is interesting is that my brother is blind too, but the individual's character is more of a determining factor. I had it better than my brother. I went to university but he didn't; I wanted to be in the society and he didn't; I was always freer than he was... I left my parent's house when I was 18 and I have been living independently since then. I have always worked. I started by teaching English and Computer. I even didsecretarial work. ... I always wanted to hold a movie camera but I didn't dare, because of my failure in painting I thought filmmaking was impossible too. But, this experience has proven to me that one can do what one wills, and it is not important whether her work is competitive or not in as far as it is original ...

Banafshe Ahmadi, Afghan refuge; 3 years ago, her family has returned to Kabul. She has a bachelor's degree from Tehran University and is doing graduate studies in Al-Zahra.
The biggest gift that this film has given me is "hope"

Shima Kahe, 18 years old, she loves the mountain, dreams of driving, and hates
people's charity, but laughs at their clumsy attempts to be helpful to her.
See, my imagination of light and colour is like your imagination of angels and daemons.