Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Iranian executioners have gone awry ... But Iran gets a new legend, Ali Saremi!

Ali Saremi, the 62 year old prisoner, is killed.

He was hanged yesterday; abruptly, without due process, when his family was awaiting news--because they had heard rumors of their father's execution, yet they had hope that the rumors were unfounded as the legal procedures that would indicate his execution was imminent were lacking.

Their fears came true when two ambulances stopped in front of the Iranian Bastille, the shameful Evin, when the chants of Hossein Hossein rose, just before the morning prayer, marking the orgy of the blood thirsty executioners of the regime, Ali Saremi and another activist, Reza Sharifi Boukani (whose 'abhorring' crimes allude me and the search engines!!!) were dead.

0) Political opposition!
1) speaking in a memorial ceremony, at the mass-grave of Khavaran, remembering the genocidal execution of thousands of Iranian prisoners (Sorry that I must use this term in a blog about my country, but this is when a lot of Iran's political youth met their death because some "asshole" decided they were blasphemous and did not believe in Islam!)

2) traveling to Camp Ashraf in Iraq, to visit his son, a member of MEK which is the armed resistance group, that is loathed by many Iranians for their violent tactics and the incompetence and selfishness of their leaders, who seem to have imprisoned these runaway kids in Camp Ashraf! (throughout this blog, I have not hid my hatred for the leadership of this group, and have not shied away from criticizing them with all contempt ... but no affiliation, no crime calls for a human to call another human, I LOATH the killers, I loath them ...)

He has been on and off in prison, since 1989 ... recently, he picked on Ahmadinejad, and remained defiant when his execution sentence was announced ...


I am incoherent, because I am too upset ... I am upset because I KNOW all these sudden executions are scare-crows ... Ahmadinejad, the fucking Ahmadinejad and that IDIOTIC judiciary system think they are instilling fear in the hearts of the cattle ... the cattle who is to suffer hunger and unemploymengt after their "economic" revolution!!

But they are WRONG!

Saremi's daughter is ironically called Zeynab--and she has written a short moving piece that crystalizes the sentiments of us! I say ironically because Zeynab was the sister of Imam-Hossein. Imam-Hossein is the icon of shiite resistance, the man who chose death over life under shame of complicity with tyranny. Zeynab spoke bravely and passionately on the body of his martyred brothers, when they were killed some 1300 years ago, on "ashura"! Even more ironically, Asura event were commemorate just two weeks ago. And, what more? During, this month, "Moharram", Muslims are prohibited from war and killing!! So much for the champions of Shiism in the world, so much for the Islamic Republic of Iran, so much for the followers of Hossein!!

Zeynab Saremi wrote:

I write this letter, for the noble spirit of my father to hear!

My dear father, I wish I knew if you felt our presence behind the Evin walls! In the cold of the winter we shivered, while the guards had taken refuge in their heated vehicles.

Father, I had come to see your moon face.

Father, I had come to let them punch me, mother and my sisters in the heart, but let you remain to defend my country!

Father, it didn't take more than 20 minutes before two ambulances that were marked "inspectors" pulled over, around the dawn; and before entering the iron door of Evin, the chants of Hossein Hossein Hossein broke the cold silence of evin; the call to prayer rose and merged with the starry moonlit night.

My entire body froze inexplicably, we sensed the goosebumps on our body and faces, and after the prayer-chant the guards left, and we remained ...

Father, I saw you fly away and leaving us behind; but we have not stayed behind, look at your footsteps ... all the world has come to march behind you, even with broken heads ...

Father, I love you from the bottom of my heart, I love you, I love you ...

Zeynab Saremi
Dec 29, 2010

Every decomposing body in the grave fertilizes our Green garden of eden ... these serpents will be driven away ... this is the courageous plea of Saremi's daughter, who breaks my heart to thousand pieces, shrapnel that will defeat these fascist invaders out of Iran, mark my word.

(Translated by Naj.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Execution, Iranian style!

They have sentenced a Kurdish student activist to death (on the bogus charges of armed encounter with the IRGC). His execution, which was to take place yesterday, got stayed! But, the IRI has arrested all of his family members and no one knows where they are (see this for English) and what is going on! In the meantime, they may have started preparing another execution stand, for another Kurdis student, Reza Sharifi Boukani, in the shadow of the media attention invested in Habibollah Latifi!

Why now?!

Remember the "economic reform of Ahmadinejad"? Well, from what I hear, this economic reform is going to starve and unemploy many of those 58 million Iranians who are already on the beggar's list (and will receive 40$ per month in compensation.) The little militant boys don't want trouble and as always, killing the Kurds and the Balouchis is the best scare-crow. These are the least internationally supported minorities. And the Persian Iranians can easily turn a blind eye on their execution because, well they are advertised as militant secessionists, and god forbid if anyone questions the territorial integrity of Iran ... And these are not women either to get the feminists mobilized, but they are good examples of how fierce and scary the Iranian regime is. People who believe in the fearfulness of their governments are obedient and manageable.

Anyways ... Happy holidays to you too!

Monday, December 13, 2010

On the sacking of Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs:

I didn't like this fellow, although compared to Ahmadinejad he was mellow. But, the haste with which Ahmadinejad fired him (while he was on a diplomatic trip abroad), and his resolve to f%#k up universally, compells me to SCREAM:


Really, don't look for any deep meaning into this, and don't expect any analyses. Ahmadinejad doesn't make rational decisions ... the psycho!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is Iran's fanatic and corrupt judiciary succeeding in priming Iranians to vengeance? Studying reactions to Shahla Jahed's execution

Last week, the criminal court decided to carry out the punishment of death for a woman (Shahla Jahed) who was accused of killing the wife (Laleh Saharkhizan) of her famour soccer-player lover (Naser Mohammadkhani).

This was Iran's O.J Simpson trial; except that here, there was a woman to prosecute, and evidence for the potential involvement of Mohammadkhani were all slipped under the rug.

Judging from the videos of her court proceedings, this woman, Shahla Jahed, did not seem mentally fit, she seemed to have a dependency complex, a bit of megalomania, and plenty of exhibitionism. In other words, not only the likeliest scapegoat, but also the one who could compromise Mohammadkhani's facade most, with her public outcry of love and devotion to him. (In Iran, men are allowed to marry up to four times and have as many temporary marriages as they wish, but the practice is HIGHLY frowned upon in the stoic Iranian society).

I didn't care about the trial, the gossip, and whether she had actually committed murder or not. I am opposed to death penalty, for ANY reason, so death sentence hanging over her head unsettled me as it does for anyone, anywhere in the world. But, what has been occupying my dreams and nightmares, since her killing, is the fact that according to the Iranian/Islamic law, the family of the victim have the right to pardon the killer. The victims family carried their revenge desire for 9 years, during which, due to doubts about the trial, several execution stops were ordered. In Iran the execution of the first-degree murderers is carried out under the will and by the hands of the victim's family; it is they who pull the chair off. As draconian, even that did not surprise me.

What has been eating me up since, is the fact that it was the teenager son of the victim who was given the "honor" of killing this young woman; in presence of his grandmother--who refused to pardon the crying-begging Shahla on the gallows, and his father--who was the main culprit as far as having married a second woman temporarily and having fueled the fires of jealousy that burned both his wives, when he happily took off to London and to Quatar, living his life as if nothing had happened--and then claiming victory when the judge gave his second wife a death sentence!

That a teenager carried out this execution is unforgivable. I have been getting into all sorts of arguments to insist that this is where personal and political merge, but where the act of the individual can neither be excused, nor explained or blamed on the corruption of the government and inadequacy of the system.

Beside that, many sociologists and lawyers have been discussing this case, and many argue, convincingly, that
  • The somewhat unexpected execution of Jahed was another one of IRI's "threatening" maneuvers, on the eve of Student Day.
  • Since the conservatives have dominated the spheres of power, especially with the appointment of the new head of the judiciary, another one of the Larijani crooks, a notable increase in public and cruel forms of executions has been observed. The sociologists argue that this is by design, and aims to desensitize the population to violence, thus reducing the cost of institutional violence for the government, which has by now a 'good' track record in atrocity.
  • The other concern is fascism, of which the Iranian leaders today do not shy away. Cruel nations are the ones where fascism can root easiest.

But, how cruel are Iranians?

To answer this question for myself, I surveyed reader-reactions to this event on one of the first sites that reported the execution: Jame Jam. Jam-e Jam is a conservative newspaper and an offspring of Iran's notorious broadcasting organization; one of the first internet news sites to launch in Iran. 137 responses were recored. Of these, I included 120. (the rest did not address the issue of death penalty for Jahed, they were mostly complains about comments not posting fast enough). I colourcoded the responses:

15% Red (18 comments): people who were happy about the execution and who thought revenge is the right of the victims, and thought that this execution will set an example for other women to not stray off!

36% Yellow(44): people who thought the main culprit was the soccer player, Mohammadkhani, and wished for his trial, although a handful said they wish it was him hanged and not his concubine!

48% Green (58): people who deplored the act of revenge, some respectfully and some not so respectfully, reminded the victim's family that having a teenager Kill is unacceptable, and that in Islam (citing Imam Ali, the first Imam of the Shiites) forgiveness is emphasized just as much as right to revenge for the killing of a blood relation.

I let the picture do the rest of the talking.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia

Update: I have been trying to catch bits and pieces from these 250,000 cabels, and one thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is the RACIST media spin, which is trying to divert the damaging attention from the US department of foreign affairs and instead scapegoat the "dubious Arabs" and the "dangerous Persians" ... all concerns I expressed a few hours ago before North America woke up are becoming more justified. There seem to be a concerted effort to demonize Muslims (Arabs) and through their eyes, justify a war against Iran, selling it as: "see it is not only Israel who is afraid of Iran; all the neighbors wanted bombed too" ... clever Zionists, huh? Well we are more clever than you!
End of update

Initial reaction
Well well, my facebook world is flooding with angry and nationalistic messages about the recent Wikileaks: Saudi Arabia urging a military attack to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.

And then came concerns of Robert Gibb, that such as these leaks are undermining the plight for democracy and worsen the human rights situation in Iran. This concerns, coming from Robert Gibbs the White house spokes person made my brows hit the ceiling: "what the Eff??" THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IRAN'S DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT!!!!

To link ANY policy regarding Iran's nuclear program to the Green movement is TOTAL hypocrisy of Mr Gibb, especially in the light of the following leaked piece of information:

¶7. (S/NF) Regarding the recent election in Iran, MBZ (Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan ) cautioned that Mir Hossein Musavi is no different than Ahmedinejad when it comes to their nuclear ambitions, 'same goal, different tactic.' In this respect, he regards Musavi as more dangerous than his competitor, as at least Ahmedinejad was 'an open book.' He reminded Secretary Geithner that Musavi and his advisors are part of the same group that took the U.S. Embassy in 1979.

A few minutes after all these reports, a Saudi Arabian friend of mine sent me a little message. If you are curious what Iranians and Arabs think about this, am copy pasting our little exchange about this issue:

The Iranian Naj:

The Saudi Arabian friend of Naj:
While I agree with you... and believe that stoking such ethnic tensions could be in part behind this... I hope most people realize that there is a difference between the actions of governments in the middle east and the feelings of people. Most Arabs I know have very little direct contact with Iranians, the exception being Iraqis. Almost all the Arabs I know, which does not represent them all obviously, feel identified with the Iranians as a people and sympathetic to their causes. I am sure that news like this, if they believed it, would anger them about their own governments.
The Iranian Naj:
The problem is that we Iranians know very little about Arabs and have seriously distorted stereotypical notions that can easily get ignited by documents such as this. I think the problem needs to be understood from two angles:

First, that the Arab governments harbor hatred for the Iranian one is not necessarily untrue. Iranians need to understand WHY that is. In my view it s because Iran has a more vocal and more dynamic pro-democracy movement, compared ot other countries of the region and this unsettles the Arab governments.

Second, that which is referred to as "arab street" does aspire to the Iranian model, and this not only unsettles the arab governments, but the scare-crow, Israel. However, reports such as this exacerbate the anger of the pro-democracy Iranian activist, who used to fight shoulder to shoulder for Palestinian rights but are recently let down and dismissed by their fellow Arab activists who have branded their movement as an American interventionism, turning a blind eye to the HORRENDOUS violations of social, civil, and human rights of Iranians.

Reports such as these, therefore also undermine the Iranian green movement, and give the Iranian government extra excuse for putting the screws on all Iranians.

So, the bird flock is killed indirectly:
  1. The Iranian democracy will not get actualized => this relaxes the arab dictaorships.
  2. The anti-arab sentiments of the Iranians are fueled => increases the antagonism between Iran's anti-Israeli government and the Iranian people.
  3. The more unpopular the Iranian government becomes at home, and the further the military attack becomes likely, the more extortionist the armsdealing princes become.
  4. The indignation about the war agenda of the American economy and the Israeli "neediness" gets shifted to fellow muslims, the fellow muslims become further radicalized =>Islamophobia gets further justified.

I think over all, the outcomes of such leakages CAN be positive if people put their nationalistic "reactions" aside, and sit to think of the implications of these and how one can reap benefits from such reports. How one can change the course of history. My fear is that most people don't take time for that, and the cycle of hatred, misunderstanding and retardation will continue."

Of course, I am wondering why no one has mentioned Haaretz piece on the not-leaked, rather by-Pentagon-published documents about the Tipped Kettel Operation: The truth about Israel, Iran and 1980s U.S. arms deals.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Censoring an Iranian Love Story, a self-reflexive satire about the IRI-imposed postmodernism of the contemporary culture

This is a book by a rising figure in Iran's "third-generation" novelists. The 53 year old author is Shahriar Mandanipour, whose books, nine of them, saw a brief window of opportunity during the reformist era of Khatami's presidency (but were banned until then and afterward). Two years after the crowning of Ahmadinejad and his cultural assassins, Mandanipour gave up living in Iran. An American university (Brown) has provided him (and many other international writers) a fellowship to write free of fear of persecution.

I picked Censoring an Iranian Love Story two days ago, because of the riveting reviews (such as this one by James Wood in the New Yorker) and read it with a hawkish scrutiny.

The book is about the struggles of a writer who wants to write a simple love story, but on the one hand the Censor's office limits his literary creativity, and on the other hand the Morality police prevents a realist love story from happening in Tehran. Despite several scenes of magic-realism and surrealism, the book is a mini- documentary/history, and most of its stories and references are real.

The realism of the book is so dominant that I was tempted to give up reading a few times. Not because I didn't think it was interesting, but because it was not new for me as an Iranian. I found it contrived at times. The nagging back-translation (to Persian) in my head annoyed me. The book seemed like a hodgepodge (آش شله قلمکار): pretentious postmodern narrative, with the omniscient voice of the author working constantly to distanciate (borrowing from Brecht) the reader from the "love story" and creating layers and layers of auxiliary stories and explanations of that which constitutes the paradoxes of contemporary Iranian culture. Reading the book, I kept thinking of a conversation I had with a young friend who was curious about Iran and I thought the book should have been called: All you wanted to know about Iran but were afraid to ask.

At times, reading the book felt as being forced to browse through an "Iran for dummies" manual. At other times, I felt forced to float in the stream of his consciousness. Plus, it often seemed to me that the writer is lecturing his wanna-be-writer readers, in a not so humble manner, on the art of narrative. I felt as if I was sitting in a boring never ending workshop or listening to an uncle on opium-high, with a broken tape recorder's zeal asking me: "Ask me, and I tell you why." A few times, I wished I had bought a Kindle version of the book (which would have cost the same 10 dollars) so I could bookmark every time this "dialogue with the reader" was forced; or so that I could count how many of his library-books he was rubbing in the reader's face (actually, it is a good reference for those who don't know what kind of world literature are found in many Iranian households). At times, the book seemed like an inventory of the titles held in a library.

Of course, all this was conducted in experimentation with narrative and even typeset stylization: The letters and words intentionally crossed out, and the reason for each crossing explained, fonts and boldness of letters varying depending which story was interleaved with which.

As much as I could understand the deliberate choices of the "artist" and wanted to empathize with and appreciate the choices, my hostility towards his pompousness (or the pompousness of his translator, Sara Khalili) could not subside, UNTIL I reached page 247 (out of 295) and I read a paragraph from the conversation between the writer (first person) and the censor:

[The Censor]: "But I want you to be able to write an Islamic love story. And if it happens to be postmodern, then all the better. In other words, for everything in it to be muddled and confused and yet for it to criticize modernism, which incites sin. Don't forget, we take no issue with posmodernism. After all it promotes a return to tradition."

It is with this sentence that my ice thawed: Mandanipour was not an eager novice who didn't know the principle of "less is more", and thus hid in postmodernist form because he could not create coherence and clarity. Rather, he was creating the farce of our contemporary culture. And the reason why I was so annoyed by him was because he was doing it so effectively, by holding a clear mirror to things that are so trivial in Iranian lives, that I accused him of resorting to cliche.

In fact, it is not true that he was unable to tell stories straight and classical. His narrative poignancy in page 232 made me fold the page for future readings, when his love-story character (Dara) lashed out at him (the writer) blaming him for his postmodern wishywashy tiptoeing and creating Dara as a sheepish character, who was pathetically deprived of life, education, job and even love because of his political acts and his moral righteousness that prohibited him from raising a shout, lifting a fist, rising to knock down the thieves who were robbing him and his country of wealth. Or on page 217 and 197 he wrote Sara's dreams about the coast of Spain or her wet imagination of a pornographic menage a trois with Dara and her new-rich, IRI-connected suitor, Sinbad as vividly as any romantic best-seller at the airport.

The book is not difficult to read, but it is full of cross-references (which he explains to some extent, to not confuse the reader too much). The core of the story is based on adaptation of characters and themes from three of the most recurrent literary masterpieces of Nizami's Khosrow and Shirin (whose narrative elements are to constitute the love-story to be written), Hedayat's The Blind Owl (whose surrealist "goormagoori" appears as a midget here, who never dies although is always killed, and haunts every single characters of this book), and Kafka's The Trial (whose various prosecutors strangulate the characters of Mandanipour's novel to-not-be-written), there are several auxiliary short stories which document realistic aspects of the life and times of Iranians.

With all this, I have to add that despite my "critiquing" attitude, I had several loud outbursts of laughter. Description of brother Atta, "the basiji who considers himself in charge of all of Iran's sexual organs" (p 284), or the gluttonous ways Persians describe love and love-making (p 28), or description of Oliver Stone's "stupid" depiction of Persian King's chamber with an Egyptian-Arabi-Indian-Iranian-Chinese decor (p 23) and many other graphical and metaphoric depictions made the book fun to read. I also have to add that when I raced to read the last pages, my heart was beating faster. Actually, I spend the entire Sunday glued to it--and only now I remembered I have to prepare for important meetings tomorrow.

Wood writes: "Perhaps we look enviously at those who have the misfortune to live in countries where literature is taken seriously enough to be censored, and writers venerated with imprisonment. What if writing were made a bit more exigent for us? What if we had less of everything? It might make our literary culture more “serious,” certainly more creatively ingenious. Instead of drowning in choice, we would have to be inventive around our thirst. Tyranny is the mother of metaphor, and all that."

I think Wood is right.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nima Yushij: Animating Modernism in Persian Poetry

A comment by a fellow blogger friend on this post prompted me to look into the history of translation in Iran; and luckily I stumbled on this title:

Nima Yushij (or Yooshij) is the father of Persian Modern Poetry, the so called "شعر نو" (She'r-e No). His contribution to Persian literature comes from breaking with the millennium-old tradition of rhyme and length of a given verse, allowing the imagery of the verse determine its rhythm (even that no longer formulated in almost mathematical beats) and length.

Although resisted to by the usual literary dinosaurs, Nima inspired a generation of modernist poets, not only in form but also in meanings they created.

You can read a nice biography of Nima from the Amazon-inside-look at the book (pages 11-62). The Introduction written by professor Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, who has also edited the book. It is interesting to see how the little village boy, who was educated in a French Catholic School, and was influenced by the Russian revolution, by two World Wars, set the foundation of what, according to Karimi-Hakkak, is the only true accomplished modernism in Iran.

There are a few translations (relatively true to the imagery but not to the language, as you need to know Persian to recognize the syntactic playfulness) following a short biography, by Iraj Bashiri.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ahmadinejad celebrates his birthday together with Mohamad-Reza Shah's!

I was browsing; the news port of Iran's reformist minority in the Iranian parliament, Majles, that I came across a post "The event of Mr President's birthday cake"! A quick surf yields brand new information which has fallen off of our radars:

While we were busy mourning the death of our youth who claimed their votes, while we were suffering the agony of our human right lawyers who were jailed and tortured, while our country's workers, manufacturers, farmers were being crushed under the Chinese boots of our fascist militant-capitalists, Ahmadinejad gave birth to "جشنواره تولد شیرین" The festival of Sweet Birth!!

The festival is set up to celebrate the birthday of the volunteers, employees and also beneficiaries of a charity: بنیاد خیریه نبی اکرم (Bonyad Kheyriyeh Nabi-e Akram). This charity is run by individuals whose photos are on the introductory page but whose names are nowhere to be found. Don't ask me why. Perhaps they don't like to be googled!

Why are they celebrating the charitable birthdays in the month of October? Because that is when Iran's plagiarist, cheating, vote rigging president is born(Oct 28)! In fact, tor the second time, they shall bake a symbolic cake for him. Already, they are makeing ample media noise about the "unveiling of the Presidential cake". So let me join their festive choir too!

According to the secretary of the "Sweet Birth Festival", these festivities are set up according to Islamic tradition to "uplift and cheer up the society of muslims" from the inevitable stresses of modern lives !!

Of course, it is increasingly clear that little Mahmud wants to declare himself the King of Kings of Iran (or to be more shiite, the hidden Imam himself!).

A few months ago he suddenly started paying tribute to Cyrus the great (after all traces of Iranian dynasties having been removed from school history books.). He also declared the parliament irrelvant and secondary to the office of president--officially challenging the IRI's constitution that insists on separation of the judiciary, legislative and executive offices; and makes the executive office (of president and his cabinet) accountable to the parliament at all times.

And now, this? Taking a page from Mohammad-Reza shah's birthday page?

Isn't it ironic that Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi, the so called despot overthrown by Ahmadinejad's Islamic revolution, was born on 26th of October?! Isn't it ironic that the news of cake-unveiling pops on the sweet-birth page on Oct 26?

Isn't this ironic?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twelve Humanity Departments officially doomed to death

Abulfazl Hasani, in charge of the so called "office of expansion" of the ministry of sciences has announced that the following departments will no longer receive incentives for academic development and expansion. Although, they will continue to accept students, the current curriculum is based on Western schools of thinking, and does not correspond to Islamic Principles. Within the next 5 years, these departments must undergo at least 70% revision. This means 70 percent of current professors will be out of a job within the next five years--a process which has already begun since Ahmadinejad took Office in 2005, and intensified after the election. (Interestingly, according to statistics reported by supreme leaders special representative in December 2009, 70% of Iranian academics did not vote for Ahmadinejad. Many of them were openly campaining for Mousavi or Karoubi BEFORE the election.)

The doomed departments are:
  1. Law
  2. Women Studies
  3. Human Rights
  4. Management
  5. Cultural management
  6. Art
  7. Sociology
  8. Philosophy
  9. Psychology
  10. Political Science
  11. Social Sciences
  12. Education
Not only has the regime been busy "cleansing" the humanity departments, but also they have fired or forced to resignation, noteworthy astrophysicist professors such as Yousef Sabouti ; or Professor Saeed Sohrabpour, the Principal of Iran's top Engineering University, Sharif; or Mohammad Taghi Bathaee, the Principal of the Technical Khaje-Naseer University in Tehran.

In fact, by August 2010; out of 52 Principals of Iran's state universities, 49 were replaced or retired!

In March 2010, The Minister of Science, the plagiarizer Kamran Daneshju (who was also in charge of Election Fraud!) announced that they plan to cleanse Academia of any members who are not faithful to the Supremacy of the leader and operate outside of the regime's interest and agenda.

Such academic upheaval is not unprecedented. Shortly after the so called victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian universities were closed to undergo cultural revolution to 'cleanse' universities from Westernized academics. The cultural revolution coincided with the war. Many of the young men who were deprived of seeking university education were automatically drafted by the Army and sent to the trenches of Iran-Iraq war. (Men can postpone the mandatory military service if they are in school).

The irony is that some of the initiators of the cultural revolution, such as Abdulkarim Soroush and Mostafa Mo'in, are now the victims of the second round of cultural revolution! And some of the graduates of the post-cultural-revolution humanity programs, the ex-IRGC member Akbar Ganji and ex-Intelligence officers such as Saeed Hajjarian have become some of the most ardent opponents of the IRI and the supremacy of the Grand leader!

Knowledge evolves organically; it is an adaptive response to a historic necessity. I am not too worried if they will ban Deleuze or Sartre out of Iranian schools; we will carve existentialist postmodernity out of Molla Sadra (16 AD) or Sohravardi (12 AD)--and this won't be re-invention of the wheel either; would be rediscovery of it! Despotism, in its medieval forms, is doomed. The Iranian despot are better off wearing a more modern cloak.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Translated masterpieces of Iranian novels

This is a growing list of WONDERFUL Iranian novels; all classics. And luckily they are now available in English, German, Dutch, French. I provide a hyperlink so you can investigate them further. They are not expensive, so perhaps it is a good idea to take a break from Iranian bloggers, the contemporary phenomena, and try to understand Iran through the writings of some of the finest writers of the country. ***s reflect my personal favorites. The books are not listed in any particular order. I just list them sequentially, as my search stumbles upon. I will add to this list as I come across other books of note. I have not read any of these books in translated versions; I would love to hear your opinion if you pick one up.

Yes ... perhaps 50 years too late, but Persian literature is finding a place on the world's reading list.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Avec Le Temps

I want to forget my home
the sunny days ... the smell of rice in the back alley ... I want to forget it ... want to forget my roots ... want to never miss it again, never never miss it again ... and never remember I grew up in country where I was denied the right to dreams ...

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Iranian Women Movement

I LOVE this cartoon.

And, I personally think the Iranian women movement will have been better off without that group of feminists who are still stuck in the mud of "patriarchic power balance", "sexualization and objectification" and a whole lot of other nonsense! To defend women's ACTUAL civil rights is one thing, to gender-theorize a cause and become sexophobic is another. Yes, most feminists still annoy me--especially those who act like mormons offering you feminist bibles and texts and memberships and etc ... pfff oh how I HATE the word objectification ...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The family protection law?!?! (+ an addendum)

These days, Iranian women and Iranian women activists are fiercely battling a retrograde legislation that Ahmadinejad tabled in 2007 and is now put to vote.

"The Legislation of Family Support".

Ahmadinejad's objective, as he states is the following:

با عنايت به نقش و جايگاه ويژه نهاد خانواده در نظام حقوقي و تربيتي اسلام و با توجه به غيرشرعي اعلام شدن بخشهايي از قوانين مربوط به حقوق خانواده و وجود خلاءهاي قانوني در اين زمينه و نظر به متشتت بودن مقررات اين حوزه و معلوم نبودن ناسخ و منسوخ آنها که موجب آثار زيانبار و مشکلات عديده اي از جمله سردرگمي محاکم دادگستري در رسيدگي به دعاوي خانوادگي شده است و با لحاظ برخي کاستي ها و نواقص در قوانين موجود حاکم بر نهاد خانواده و عدم تطبيق آنها با واقعيت روز و به منظور تحقق بخشيدن به مفاد اصل (21) قانون اساسي جمهوري اسلامي ايران و در راستاي تحقق سياست قضا زدايي و براي کاهش يا مرتفع نمودن مشکلات موجود در قواعد حقوق خانواده و رفع ابهام ، تعارض و خلاً از قوانين و مقررات کنوني خانواده و در اجراء بند (2) اصل (158) قانون اساسي؛ لايحه زير جهت طي تشريفات قانوني تقديم مي شود

Which basically means: he wishes to un-judiciarize the family law and make it more common-sensical, which he interprets as less confusing. Yes, Mahmoud is a reductionist; he wants everything facile enough to be comprehensible by a fruit-fly!

The most adamantly and loudly opposed article of the legislation is the following:

a) The right to second (third and forth marriage) is no longer dependent on consent from the first wife; rather it is determined by the court, after the man proves he is financially capable of providing for all wives fairly.

b) The matrimony allowance (Mahriyeh, a prenuptial agreement that guarantees the woman would receive certain sum of money, gold, land or other during the course of marriage. However, this sum is only claimed at the time of divorce. Usually, the amount of Mahriyeh is related to the socioeconomic status of the woman--of course there are rampant women like myself who ask for symbolic things of no monetary value, should the marriage fall apart.) is taxable, and the taxation ratio is ad-hoc; and depends on current economic situation of the country!!

c) Presence of a female counsel in the family court proceedings is no longer obligatory.

There are a few other amusing clauses:
  • Medical certificates are required to rule out any of the couple have a dangerous disease or drug addition that could jeopardize the future children (Sounds like something out of a Hitler book!)
  • If a man marries or divorces without registering it, he will be fined between $2000-$10,000.
  • If a doctor issues a false certificate about exclusion of addiction or dangerous illness, his license will be suspended for 5 years.
  • A non-Iranian who marries an Iranian woman without obtaining necessary permissions will be jailed between 91 days to one year! Even the woman and her 'guardian" who have consented to this marriage will be punished!
  • >If an Iranian woman divorces in a court outside Iran, that divorce is not recognized and she will be considered married upon arrival to Iran (and thus dependent on permissions of the husband for every little thing.)
  • A man marrying an underaged woman will be jailed between 2-5 years. If the underaged woman dies as a result of marriage (read rape), the man will have to pay "diyeh" (price of life, monetary) and will be jailed between 5-10 years!

I am now very angry!
Where is that 1-million signature sheet? I refused to sign when I was asked a few years back, but I like to sign it now!

I heard that an acquaintance, whose husband cheated on her, has decided to not follow up with her divorce request; because the first person who made an indecent proposal was the judge of the case who proposed to accelerate her divorce if she agrees to a temporary marriage to him. It seems the sexual harassment and insinuations begin immediately when a woman entertains the prospect of being a divorcee: from the court soldier to the honorable judge ... She has decided to "have the shadow and the name of a man whom she hates, rather than expose herself to indecent proposals." I am sure she will soon agree to her cheating husband marrying his mistress.

A few days ago, the prominent and outspoken woman/human rights activist, Shadi Sadr, who is now forced to exile, stirred a controversy by suggesting that the source of violence and discrimination against Iranian women is not just the government, but a patriarchic culture that permits and promotes men making suggestive sexual jokes with random females (something like the Italian wink!)

I was one of the adamant opponents of her article: (A prick to men) یک سوزن به آقایان ; in fact I suggested (in a private conversation) that Shadi Sadr has made an ass of herself to say such outlandish things, condemning all Iranian men, many of whom are decent and dignified men. But, I was apparently wrong.

First, I realized that she had in fact stirred a lot of guilt and self-questioning in many men who are not as decent and as dignified as my father, brother and husband have been. I realized that a few men whom I respected, who are women activists themselves, acknowledged (with guilt) that they too have made such passes--a manifestation of their masculinity. (I don't necessarily think flirtation is bad, and this is why I disagreed with blanket statements of Sadr. In general, I disagree with a lot of feminism according to which women are to be saved from sexual objectification, with total disregard for how women have used and continue to use their sexuality as a power leverage, especially in Iran).

Second, I came to admit that my disagreement with feminists stems from the particular privileged status that I have enjoyed as a woman in Iran, thanks to growing up with two stubborn as mule grandmothers, a feminist mother, an extraordinary father--who hates sports and war and cries if a tree dies, and marrying an extraordinary man who guards my freedom to be a woman, even to his own disadvantage. To be honest, having pro-women-right men supporting me is why I do not have the same bitter sense of discrimination. Also, I left Iran when I was young, and perhaps too young to suffer the tangible consequences of discrimination. Yes, women of upper echelons of education, wealth and heritage enjoy relative degrees of matriarchy at home, but it is unfair of me to deny how vulnerable they can still be. (Somehow, the situation of IRanian women reminds me of Fassbinder's BDR Trilogy).

However, the current system of laws is established by legislators of lower status. And to be fair, men are not necessarily saints, and many have silently enjoyed some of the backward post-revolutionary legislations. The Iranian revolution of 1979 made it disadvantageous to belong to the elite; anyone with elitist links or inclinations (whether financial or cultural) was put aside 30 years ago. I knew gigolos, with a picture of Googoosh and Hayede in their bedroom who suddenly turned into pseudo-mollahs, sporting a half beard, forcing their wives to take the backseat of the car and having their 5-year old son sit in front (a process that reversed as soon as the man was retired and the wife became the primary bread-earner!).

What is happening today is a return of the same anti-elitist phenomenon. In other words, Ahmadinejad has begun a war of the classes to reap his own (seriously dubious, as far as national interests go) benefits from. Just as some of the early Islamic fanatics had begun to climb up the ladder of culture and wealth, a new revolution erupted (in the form of a post-presidential coup d'etat). Today, a large group of those neo-elites, founders of the IRI, are in jail.

As Mehdi Jami brilliantly points out: there is a new push for making urbanism and modernity disadvantageous and removing people, physically and psychologically, from a city mentality. He suggests, as an example, the recent Police Maneuver: During this Police show-of-force, the last-year protests were enacted mockingly. Men were cross-dressed in green; wore strong makeup and blond wigs, carried some of the Green slogans together with nonsensical ones such as "we want holidays from Friday to Thursday" [this is really ironic since Ahmadinejad's government is the one to announce random holidays, provoking the economists' outcry that the country CANNOT AFFORD to shut down because Ahmadinejad thinks it's too warm or fears protests in Tehran and wants people to picnic outside the city!] In this show, these cross-dressing men in green outfit were arrested by the riot police and by the plain-clothes baton-waving 'basijis' who were dressed in 'more manly' outfits--thus making official the participation of non-uniformed individuals in the so called security enforcement.

If you know Iran's social and traditional makeup you would know that no self-respecting average Iranian man would agree to cross-dress (unless if homosexual). Therefore, the showmen are not the so-assumed religious supporters of the regime! After all, it is a patriarchic culture--where cross-dressers risk their lives. But, in this patriarchic culture, exists a type of men called "laat" (لات). Laat refers to a man, who is unemployed, who harasses women, who dresses up like a rock star who itches for fights, and is poor. This seemingly macho man often suffers inferiority complexes due to his lower socioeconomic status; and his behavior is often a hybrid between masculine and feminine. Perhaps, they can be characterized as a rebel without a cause--but not middle-class, nor necessarily teenager. These individuals often have a criminal record (be it a street fight, a little drug deal, a sexual indiscretion, petty theft) and thus prime candidates to carry assignments that normal individuals will not (e.g. cross dressing for a police show). As Jami point, it seems Ahmadinejad's power today is consolidated in this sector. Because this type is ruthless, the average Iranian (especially if women) avoids them; thus emptying the scene for Ahmadinejad's full force fascism.

Putting all these stories together (the family law, the indecent proposal of the judge, the police mockery of Iran's urban women--the Green supporters) makes me realize that the Ahmadinejadist vendetta against the Iranian women and their participation in public sphere is serious. One should not be fooled by his media tricks such as appointing a female to his cabinet, or dragging numerous unidentifiable women to fill the empty chair of UN during his ridiculous speech. There is an active plan to make it undesirable for women to work.

I was for long of the opinion that the Islamic Republic provided opportunity for the religious women of more traditional families to join men in economic, educational and professional developments. However, this new wave of Islamism does not even tolerate such participation. When my friend who has just ran away from Iran tells me that if she were sexually harassed, she would never go to the police because god knows how many of these law-enforces would have gang-raped her (and gotten away with it, or had her stoned for infidelity!) then I know that a SERIOUS threat is lurking over women's head: they are intent on making it so unpleasant for women to be 'out', that they will "democratically" choose to stay home ...

So, this is my official announcement: "I am joining the women campaign as of today!"

P.S. I personally think that the Iranian Social Movement should start targeting the judiciary system ... it is in TOTAL ruins ... before fighting the government and the legislator about passing some laws, we should fight the judiciary and hold them accountable to withholding the existing articles of law. Else, the citizens will take the justice in their own hand, leading to an inevitable civil war.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Copie Conforme (Certified Copy) رونوشت برابر اصل

I am just returning from a semi-private screening of this film.

It is directed by Iran's best-known and most advertised (by French intellectuals) filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. He is iconoclastic.

Copie Conforme is full of Kiarostami's signature cinematographs: long monologues in a car, close-ups, very long takes, handheld cameras that disorient and distanciate, and yet a rhythmic marriage of time and space that makes the film work like music. Kiarostami's films crawl up your nerves: irritate you, agitate you, excite and exhilarate you; but give you pleasure at the end, only if you relax, and let your brain stop to make a linear sense, a common sense ... if you enjoy the ride, you will arrive!

I have never written about him, not because I disrespect him or dislike him, but because he is so much talked about, by the orientalist, the exoticians, the in-search-of-a-new-philosophy's that I didn't feel like joining the choir. But, his last film made me appreciate a dimension of his filmmaking abilities which I had not previously experienced. This was his first non-Iranian production and as far as I recall, this is the first time he has directed a cinema-star (Juliette Binoche) in front of the camera. This is the first time he doesn't have to shave his female actor's head to show her without Hijab.

About Binoche and her experience and raving admiringly about Kiarostami's mastery, I won't say much because all her interviews are available online and you can just google them. But I can tell that she deserved every bit of her Canne's award for her performance.

To appreciate Binoche's performance, you have to be able to recognize how easily she shifts through her moods and roles. This is not easy when you have to perform through long takes, muster long monologues, be gazed through the close-up shots, and walk in and out the maze-like spaces and mirrors that compartmentalize the space of the sequence without needing a cut.

Binoche IS a great actor (I have learned to not use word actress, as it is not politically correct!), but this film made me bow to Kiarostami's ability to "mettre en scene": he utilized Binoche next to an opera singer (William Shimell) with virtually no acting experience, to construct a play in three acts, to twist the otherwise banal story of a professional artsy couple with marital issues into a voyeuristic journey through Tuscan and Florentine landscapes. He constructs the story in the most play-full way (even in terms of acting--they are not realist acting at times. Towards the end, the performances made me think of Beizayee actually), and juxtaposes his characters against visually stunning landscapes, lights them and costumes them aesthetically, crowds the screen with brides, and art objects which at times challenge the realism and make us wonder if this is intended to be read as a dream, yet without the cliches of vineyards and art masterpieces and food and tradition, and the exoticism of a writer and an art dealer in the middle of it all.

To reduce this film to visuals is not fair. But, I never offer interpretations about films. Nor do I read them. I suffice to point that Kiarostami does not use the language to tell a story. He rather uses the dialogues to ask questions that may be irrelevant to the underlying narrative of the film. He intends to ask philosophical questions and he asks them explicitly. He offers his views on those questions explicitly too. The beauty of his work for me is that he also injects uncertainty into his own answers by having another character ask another question. His films are full of devil advocates.

This film is not mainstream, if it means that one expects a facile narrative. But it is gorgeous. It happens in three languages. There is a lot of talking and no action; other than Binoche's choreographed moves in and out of frame. This was a jolt of joy in my otherwise down mood! I am grateful to him for making it.

When watching this, I felt he has Frenchized a gentle bit of his early master pieces; like an antology teaser! Tell me, if you feel like that too. I would be more than happy to see him make European adaptations of "Where is the Friend's House?", "Au Traverse Des Oliviers", "Life and Nothing More", and my most favorite: The Wind Will Carry us.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A friend of Neo-Resistance? Then you MUST meet: Revolutionary Fesenjan

She is an Iranian woman, gorgeous like sun, intelligent and passionate and generous with her time and keyboard. She doesn't chicken out like I do; she doesn't hide like I do, she doesn't sit on her liberal ass like I do. She has not given up, like I have.

You want to understand how the so called "progressive [assholes] who meet with Ahmadinejad" are regressive? Then Read her! She lives these stuff; she doesn't imagine them! She lives them!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kudos to Obama

Obama has done and exclusive interview with BBC which will be broadcast soon to Iranians, as Obama's direct reach to the people of Iran. But, I just saw a little excerpt of his statement about Ahamadinejad's 9/11 accusations:

"Mr Ahmadinejad's statements are in total opposition to the reaction of the Iranians, who were first to come out in the middle east condemmning the attack and holding candle light vigils for the victims of 9/11. His statements are a proof of how large the gap between the Iranian people and Mr Ahmadinejad is."


Obama has also rejected the notion of war.

I will post more when I hear the interview.

Obama, I feel for you! This lunatic is REALLY making it hard for you to not become a war-wager; but I am impressed by the clever response you came up with! Bravo!

Why did Ahmadinejad accuse the US government of "conspiracy"? Because that's what himself DOES as the head of government!

That's it! He means it :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Best reaction to Ahmadinejad's nonsensical UN speech?


He is an attention seeker; and says completely outlandish things to get your stupid (as proven by the chain of TV interviews that preceeded this UN event) and sensationalist media all worked up with another freak-show.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Allah-o-Akbar pierces Tehran's evening, despite Ahmadinejad howling

Here are two videos; taped tonight Sept 20 2010; Shahrivar 29, 1389. First women and children and men ... allaho-akbar ... supporting Mousavi and Karoubi and reminding the little dictator and his gang that people are not afraid ... in the second video the guards come, in two vans, and blow whistles to hush people and intimidate them ... the cameraman starts ... ALLAHO_AKBAR ... and more voices flollow ... aerial shots have been fired .... the little circus monkey is in New York. Going from one imperialist media to the next; lying through his ugly teeth and his dirty beard; and scared shitless to be confronted and interviewed by any of his opponents in Iran ... avoiding any media debate in Iran; but pulling his pants up and assuming his sorry self a winner on "imperialist media"... the farce man; the shame of the Fars men ...
Allah-o-Akbar ...
Allah-o-Akbar ...
I am not a woman of faith; but I pray tonight, with all my brother and sisters on the roofs of Tehran ... Allah-o-Akbar ... God is Great ...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Raiding Mousavi's office and promising his trial? The fascist Ahmadinejadists should answer at least "13 million" Iranians!

This is coming from Mousavi's facebook news page:

According to numerous reports the pressure on Green leaders is increasing. Last night security forces attacked the office of Mir Hossein Mousavi and after searching the place confiscated some of the properties including documents and computers. Since few weeks ago and following the brutal attacks on Mehdi Karroubi’s residence by plain-clothes militias and Basij thugs the restrictions on Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi has increased. Security forces have been stationed around Mousavi’s office and Karroubi’s residence and don’t allow anyone to visit the Green leaders. Anyone who attempts to meet with Mousavi or Karroubi is taken away, interrogated and forced to sign a consent that will not return to visit. In addition the chief of staff of Mir Hossein Mousavi's office was arrested few days ago.Also since couple of months ago that the head of the protection team of Mir Hossein Mousavi was dismissed by government the protection team of Mir Hossein Mousavi has been very disorganized. All these new developments are evidence of the future plans of the government in confronting the Green leaders. Based on reports the pressure will escalate against the Green leaders in the coming days and weeks.
Yesterday, on Wednesday, the Tehran prosecutor threatened imminent prosecution of "the heads of conspiracy"--a term referred to Mousavi and Karoubi, the leaders of the post-election protests, by the thugs of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad--who are at each other's throat these days!

Of course, to project fairness and objectivity, on Tuesday, the puppet Tehran prosecutor, Jafari, also stated the obvious that the Butcher Mortazavi is the main suspect of Kahrizak atrocities and two of the escape goats from the Kahrizak guards were sentenced to death--trials behind closed doors! The unstated reason is that one of the young students who was killed in Kahrizak, Mohsen Rouholamini, was the son of an influencial aid of Ahmadinejad and close friend of the Satan-father, Khamenei.

In case the main question is forgotten, this hell broke loose after Ahmadinejadist's number fabrication, that made a vote count that was supposed to look like this, look like that, people (some three million of them) flooded the streets and protested; their silent protest was confronted by the violence symbolized by the shocking images of Neda dying on Camera.

Even if we believe Ahmadinejad's numbers, that Mousavi had only 13,000,000 votes, any arrest or prosecution of Mousavi means that "at least" 13 million Iranians are incarcerated; their demands and rights violated--a recipe for civil war; which incidentally fits well the scenario of these war mongers whose main grudge against Mousavi is not his claims to presidency, rather his not being war-mongering enough.

The biggest beef of the current regime with Mousavi is that at a time that Israel and American armdealers and their Iranian counterparts (like Rafighdoost) were getting rich on the back of a million innocent soldiers dying in Iran/Iraq; Mousavi was the one who concerned himself most with education, with feeding children of my age; and keeping us warm in cold winter nights; when in addition to war, we fought earthquakes and other natural disasters that always plague Iran.

The main problem, currently, is that Israel and the american criminal hawks are drooling over the profitable possibilities of a war with Iran; a war that will give Ahmadinejad's Sepah (IRGC) the absolute power that it wants; because now, there is no Khomeini to listen to his prime minister (Mousavi) and his commander in chief (Hashemi) who convinced him Iran HAD to accept the ceasefire ...

But; my suspicion is that any attack on Mousavi and Karoubi is another nail in the coffin of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad ... these are dead men walking ... zombies who are terrorizing our dreams for now; but their time is soon up ... very soon.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The IRGC denounces the Quods day protofascist attack on Karroubi's home

For once I am going to believe them! They have issued a statement, condemning the attacks, denouncing that the 'pious' Basij or Sepah would have anything to do with such horrendous actions, admitting that these attacks have come from 'divisive and self-motivated' elements; and have finally cautioned that this is a time to be vigilant about any such acts that endanger the country's unity and stability.

Why do I believe them? Well, I believe one part of this. I will explain.

This news was published by the Ahmadinejadist's Fars (False/Farce) News Agency; a snapshot of which is provided in high resolution below.

The "keyword" in the statement above is "velayatmadar" (meaning people who believe in the Supremacy of Khamenei's leadrship) and "hashiye'i" (fringe), !

The IRGC states: "the brave and Velayatmadar Basij and Sepah commanders and employees of Grand Tehran condemn these mindless fringe actions and emphasize that in the current situation everyone has to act with foresight and restraint to avoid providing excuses for the internal division and conspirators."

Of course the fascist Farce news ends the piece by suggesting that the heads of the green movement have to be tried and punished in courts!

What this tells me is that on the weekend, the thugs were out to try the limits of the Green Leader's resolve. The attacks intensified right after Karroubi's wife published a letter addressed at Khamenei, holding him responsible for the harassment. Following this letter, things got worse, and Karoubi's son came out to point the finger directly at Khamenei, suggesting that the intensification of the attacks must have been Khamenei's reaction to his mothers letter. Then, things stopped, apparently be mediation from IRGC. and, Mousavi and his wife, and Khomeini's grandchildren visited Karoubi's house.

The turn of events suggests Khameni HAS intervened and has ordered Ahmadinejad back to his corner (see this article for understanding the relation between these two.) Ahmadinejad has been testing limits of Khamenei's power as well. A couple of weeks ago he appointed his infamous 'lover' Esfandiar Mashayee (for romantic photos see this :) ) as his official representative to foreign affairs. Khamenei was quick to reject the plan, and emphasize that all foreign 'communications' have to happen through the ministry of foreign affairs.

So, why do I believe that this action was not coordinated and ordered by IRGC and Basij?

Iran is a chaotic country. This chaos has gotten worse, with growth of mafia elements in hierarchies of power. When an attack of such shape and scale takes place, it takes a while for the actual security officials (police, for instance) to figure out who is behind the act, who has ordered them, and what are the connections of the attackers. This event, is a prime example of "marionette fascism"; the people who have been firing bullets at Karoubi's house burning the front door of his apartment, beating the head of his security forces to almost coma, cutting water and electricity and land phones from his house, none of them wear uniform, nor do they carry a Basij membership card. I DO believe that.

If you have lived in Iran, you have witnessed how helpless the police is when it comes to dealing with such criminals. The problem is that such criminal acts are connected to higher-ups. However, in this case, the higher-ups don't seem to see eye to eye about the consequences of this action. But, let's also entertain a conspiracy theory: the neoconservative-backed Monarchists and Mojaheds are not too thrilled about Mousavi and Karoubi's leadership; and miss no chance to undermine their legitimacy by stirring hatred about the political executions that took place when Khomeini was alive and these men were at the helm of power. Would it not be likely that these agitations are fnded by the creators of Jundollah and Al-Quaeda?!

Now, disregarding the conspiracy scenario, and focusing on the more likely case of these thugs being Ahmadinejadist puppets, why would Khamenei suddenly send his minions to "condemn" this act and the Fars News to timidly publish their statement in a non-front page?

1) Iran is completely cornered internationally; and although we have not been hearing much about it, they have been bending over their nuclear huff-puff behind closed doors.
2) the Israel-Palestine talks; and Mahmoud Abbas showing Ahmadinejad the middle finger before the world press (metaphorically)

Not all of these people who attacked Karoubi's house are there for a paycheck ... some of them are actually really brainwashed. Some of them DO believe that he is a "zionist" (which is what they were chanting in front of his house.). The Khamenei-Ahmadinejad axis is aware that as much as they can count on these hooligans to terrorize people to silence about their civil rights, that they also need to contain them. Iran's megalomanic duo (Khamenei + Ahmadinejad) will HAVE to deal with Israel-Palestine peace; and have no choice but to bite the bullet about nuclear program; this is likely to turn the brainwashed automotons against them.

Whatever the reason, they seem to have lost the battle on this front. Not only has Karoubi stood up taller and braver-offering his head but not wavering his demands; but Mousavi and his wife have shown the same courage by paying him a visit, issuing new statements, visiting more victim's houses ...

I welcome the fact that IRGC has condemned these attacks; and if Khamenei was behind this remnounciation, then he has done something "right" since all things began going wrong. it is good to know such violence is not "officially" institutional. But, should we fear these elements create conditions of infestation for a civil war? I don't think Iran is ecologically suitable for growth and multiplication of such parasites--because the "people" and their green leaders were SMART to not get their hands dirty and to not beging the chaos of retaliation. But brainwashed creatures with psychological deformities are dangerous ... let's pray everyone of those who through a stone at Karoubi's house was paid a sum!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun Facts About the Insides of an Iranian Embassy in "enemy" land!

I dragged me to the embassy with a cocktail of nausea, grudge, tears, swears, huffs and puffs. I went back and forth over the application and asked myself and my husband: "Is it worth the trouble to renew my passport when I never want to go back?"; "Is it sensible to do what makes me puke, filling a form that needs to bear the permission of my husband or father for me to obtain an Iranian passport?"; and importantly, "Is it morally excusable to walk into the devil's territory without raising a concern about Shiva; about Sakineh, about Saharkhiz & Zeidabadi?" ... "would I become complicit, and accomplice to IRI?", was my dilemma.

At the end I decided to go. I talked myself into "the path to peace passes through compromise"; "you cannot abandon your country and give the occupying goons what they really want: your elimination"; "you will learn from the experience and will be able to blog about it."; "you cannot trust any political stability in the next few years and you better have a passport before the administration of the IRI begins going belly up" and etc.

My "souvenir" from this journey through hell is a few fun(ny) observations:

1) The large pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei on the wall was replaced with large pictures of Iranian landscapes, both natural and cultural. The supreme leaders' pictures were minimized in size and positioned opposite the counters; so that only the employees would be seeing their pictures. The applicants in waiting would be looking at the large TV screen positioned opposite the leader figures!

2) The TV was playing Shajarian's music from a DVD; perpetually. This is strange, and it was noted and joked upon by a few of us. Why?
  • Because it is Ramadan, so technically, "happy" instruments such as daf should not be played during the month of meditation.
  • Because Shajarian has recently been openly attacked by the IRI goons (in Fars News). His Ramadan prayer "rabbana" (which has marked the month since I recall) has been officially (and expressly) banned from the IRIB, because the Ahmadinejadists have established Shajariyan is an anti-revolutionary. The row between maestro Shajarian and IRIB goes back to the beginning of election-coup events; when he was in the US and he sided with the people and stated: "The IRI might be able to contain the situation, but will not be able to sustain governance".
  • Shajarian has objected to IRI playing his music for any motivational or entertainment objective.

3) Not only it was odd to play the "music" (and not the prayer) by Shajarian in Ramadan, but also the background images of the songs were bizarre: Persian miniatures; many of Farshchian's paintings which feature a beautiful women handing wine to an old man (like this); or many beautiful women in some form of "spiritual" orgy (like this)! No matter what spiritualism is assigned to Persian miniature (to rescue it from the religious bigots) images of wine and pretty women in Ramadan is quite unusual!

4) There was an English man who was applying for a visa to visit Iran. He was wearing a silly grin as if expecting us to smile back at him and thank him for his curiosity about our weird country! He was much ignored by all.

5) There was another English man who was married to an Iranian woman with colored blond hair. They had two children and were wishing to go to Iran, but someone had warned them that they had to make sure the consulate issued the right marriage certificates for them, as reportedly Iran was not as welcoming of foreign spouses as it was a couple of years ago. They were haggling to get it done soon so to take advantage of cheap flights!

6) There was entertainment: An Arab driver of Rwanda embassy walked in with an invitation card to a party and his CV!! No one could speak Arabic or French to him; so I volunteered. He had hand delivered the invitation card; and he had his CV in case the Iranian ambassador needed a ride to attend the invitation!!!!!! (he was told that all such invitations should come by mail; and that the ambassador didn't need a ride! I smiled at the naivete of Ahmadinejad's international friends; no wonder he feels himself so popular in the world. We keep ignoring that there exist simpletons in the world who are charmed by A.N.)

At the end, the experience was not as bad as I anticipated. The passport officer was amused by "my having brought my 'master' to give me permission to a passport"; he smiled and said such things were only for women who were residents of Iran and didn't apply to dual citizens like me. The employees were kind, polite, well dressed, more handsome than the last group I had met 4 years ago, and were trying to be efficient. But Iranians are not efficient and it was the customers/applicants who were disorderly, unorganized, uninformed, and unable to understand due procedure had to respected, queues had to be respected, service numbers had to be respected, personal spaces had to be respected ... they kept cluttering around the booths when others were served; kept arguing and haggling about their missing documents; kept jumping in front of the counter to shove their gradually completing documents in ... at the end; this experience reminded me that our people ARE the cause of much of our government's inadequacy and inefficiency.

And it doesn't matter how much we nag at Ahmadinejad, the 15-years long western-dwelling Mr Doctor who could not even sort out his photocopies when he stole my turn at the counter and delayed me by an hour, was responsible for the inefficiency of the service I received.

To obtain an Iranian passport cost me close to 250 dollars! Other Iranians were also counting how much it had cost them to travel, to eat, to pay for the forms and etc. People all talked together and although complained; but had fun! Complaining is the seasoning to Iranian taste!

But I appreciated the fact that they played Shajarian, that they provided nice/fresh espresso; that they had removed the omniframes of Khamenei and Khomeini from the walls; that they were polite, courteous, humorous, hard working, civilized. I observed people who wanted to drink coffee stayed in the little coffee corner; and did not defy Ramadan openly--although I doubt anyone in that room was fasting. It is because of this implicit respect for other's belief, that I believe, the most fanatic of the governments will only succeed in annoying us with a few of their trained criminals for a short period of time ... until they too, learn to respect ... in that room, packed together with some 50 Iranians, I sighed pleased: "my country will NOT succumb to fascist war mongers ... we are too fun-loving to take anything really too seriously!"

I am happy I adhered to the principle of "measured compromise"; and I am happy to have a passport again.