Monday, April 21, 2003





Nothing better than ending on a high note! Yesterday was this site's busiest day since I installed a counter, partially due to the unfortunate arrest of Sima Motallebi. I promised a few days ago some major changes to my blog and here I am delivering on my promise: Consider this the last post on this blog.



I've Moved!



Starting today, you can read my blog here.


If you need to re-adjust your links (which are greatly appreciated), my new URL is www.eyeranian.net . Please stop by the new site and don't forget to leave me some feedback also. Thanks Blogger! You guys certainly made starting a blog extremely easy.





Sunday, April 20, 2003







With the suggestion and help of my friend Hossein Derakhshan, we set up a petition to protest the arrest of fellow Blogger, Sina Motallebi. The petition can be found here.


Please also add the following link to your sites and blogs everywhere. Only with an organized and co-ordinated international effort could we make a difference and support our common right to say what we want, where we want, particularly on the internet.







Thanks for all your messages of support. Now let's spread the news.






 


 





You may have noticed his blog listed on the side as webgard. Sina Motallebi, a blogger, writer and journalist was summoned by authorities yesterday in Tehran and is reportedly arrested, partially for the content of his Persian blog. This is the latest in a series of assaults against freedom of expression by the government of Iran. His wife Farnaz originally posted the news of his arrest but has since removed it from the blog. Sina himself had posted details of his summons the day before. I see this as an opportunity for all bloggers to unite and organize towards a worthy cause. We should all speak against limits set by certain governments and organizations and stand for our common fundamental right to free speech. Limiting Sina's rights in this fashion should be viewed as an attack on all of us. Let us come together and find ways to spread the news and coordinate our efforts in this endeavor. Leave your comments here or contact me by email if you are "in".






 


 

Saturday, April 19, 2003











An Afghan man gets a massage inside a public bath house in Kabul on April 1, 2003. Most of the people in Kabul do not have access to hot or cold running water in their homes. Closed down under Taliban rule, about half of the capital's 66 public baths have been rebuilt with funds from the European Union.      REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw



An Afghan man gets a massage inside a public bath house in Kabul on April 1, 2003. Most of the people in Kabul do not have access to hot or cold running water in their homes. Closed down under Taliban rule, about half of the capital's 66 public baths have been rebuilt with funds from the European Union. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw





I don't think you'd find too many people who were born in the corner of the world I was born in that would have no memories involving the public baths. There are stories, legends and anecdotes associated with what was at one point a social institution and yet another place for the community to come together and socialize. This of course is before my time and before television (and now the internet) replaced many "normal" human interactions. My memories mostly involve the worker or "dallak" that had 6 toes on one foot, the occasional glimpse into the women's change area as a passersby would make the drape covering the entrance move slightly away, an ice cold Coke after the washing part and before the getting dressed part, and my grandfather's stories of meeting weird beings or "ajenneh" who lived in the bathhouse and if you got there too early in the morning, you'd see them frolicking around.

I have no doubt that there are about a hundred other more sanitary and efficient ways to get cleaned, but none of them were as much fun, adventurous and interesting than the local public bath house.

Oh, I almost forgot my memories of the area used primarily for a sort of public hair removal meeting and my uncle's calls for the remover of choice: "vajebiiiiiiii!!!!...."





When do you know you are truly a Canadian at heart? When you use "back home" somewhere in your conversation and actually mean Toronto, not Tehran.




 


 

Friday, April 18, 2003


I don't get it. When I first added my "comments" section to this blog, it was partially for those who hate me or what I say to get an opportunity and a public forum to post their points of view. I particularly wanted their "die" or "kill yourself" opinions here, so others can understand how savage and violent (dangerous?) their vision and philosophy is. However, for whatever reason, they still only choose to "hate" by e-mail and in private for most parts. Here is an example (and a rather mild one):

Fred Diamond (presumably from Canada) sent me this: "That's the funniest bit of Islamic propaganda I've read in a while. You should be ashamed of yourself, preaching such garbage. I'm neither a Christian, nor a Muslim so you can disclude any bias. I'm interested in both truth and reason, and your column has neither. May I suggest that you kill yourself in the name of Islam so that you may be a true martyr. sincerely, Fred Diamond".  I don't know what particular column I have written he is referring to, as he fails to mention it. (By the way, is "disclude" an English word? Excuse my ignorance as this is not my first language)

There are lots more like him. Folks at WhiteHouse.org, a satirical site that posts articles such as "Bibles & Hand Grenades: Christian Love Packages Arrive in Iraq", got so much of it they started posting them on their site. The funniest part of their messages, are those who actually think the site is "official" and write to either compliant or applaud a certain section or particular government position. I often laugh out loud reading their posted e-mail.

I digressed, I don't mind hateful and even violent messages, heck I've gotten used to it over the past 7 years. But if you have such strong feelings about a topic, doesn't it make sense to share it with a larger audience? I mean, I'm sure there are others who could benefit from your exposure of my "Islamic propaganda", "commie garbage", "liberal bull-shit" and "socialist scum". That is unless you wish to "disclude" low-lives like those of us who'd read this blog, from your wisdom.


I followed Hoder's advise to sign up for a gathering of bloggers. Although I would have preferred Iranian blogging better than Persian blogging for a name (since there is no nationality called Persian, not all Iranian bloggers write in Persian and many Iranians are not of Persian heritage), but I will love to attend if enough people sign up. Click on the link below, sign up for your city and see who else is a blogger from your area. I'm very curious.


Noticed the cleaned up and more extensive "links" section on the left? Like it? Use it! Also, a BIG change is coming soon, I'm kind of excited. You may not care less. We'll see, soon!



 

Thursday, April 17, 2003





Mojahedin - It's official, they are under attack. Iran's Mojahedin Khalq Organization bases in Iraq are a target of invading U.S. forces. I don't know what you may think of them. They may be a cult, corrupted, confused, even guilty of certain crimes. All I know is that every single one of those members/supporters went to Iraq because he/she loved Iran. Whether they were misled or just plain stupid shouldn't matter much. These are some good-hearted people willing to give up everything they ever own to fight for the betterment of their country and people. Even if they have chosen the wrong path. I don't believe that qualifies for them to be sacrificed this way. Particularly since their leaders are already tucked away safely. They have some strong supporters in U.S., including Attorney General John Ashcroft. Obviously that isn't enough. If you live in U.S., please contact your elected representative and ask them to have mercy on the rank and file members of MKO. The ones with possible ties crimes associated with them can be tried fairly and punished if convicted, but the rest aren't criminals. I know, because some are previous friends, classmates and associates. I wish them well.




Hey, somebody wrote me complaining about how dare I'd mention Alain Delon and leave out his friend and occasional co-star Jean-Paul Belmondo. Okay, there it is. Happy?  PS - Alain was/is still the coolest!




"R" sent this and I must mention it: After all, how could I ignore a band named Persian Carpets that sings anti-war songs! In case you want more, here is more!




I keep wanting to write about the Kurds, but don't get enough time to write something worthwhile. I promise I will, soon!


 


 

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


Don't you find it fascinating that sometimes a small image, a certain sound, a unique scent or just the right touch can bring back so many emotions and memories? This happened to me recently:


I recently had the pleasure of some extended business interactions with Marina Dorell. She is one very attractive, compassionate, smart and interesting woman, with layers of depth and surprising elements at every turn. She was a prominent entertainer and singer from Argentina, that has stayed away from the stage while becoming a very successful psychologist. She has had a very interesting artistic history and was the first performer to record a bilingual version of "Don't cry for me Argentina", for example. More on her at some other time perhaps. What I do want to elaborate on was her latest album. She gave me an advance copy, a compilation of some of her favorite pieces. It came with a small booklet, containing some background on her, along with tons of pictures from various stages of her career. Pictures with everyone from Sammy Davis Jr., The Gypsy Kings and (legendary race car driver) Juan Manuel Fangio to various Presidents, Ministers and Ambassadors. There was one single picture though (and a poorly composed one) that had me drowning in memories. It's this one:



In case you didn't recognize the guy in the middle, it's French actor Alain Delon. When I was growing up, he was HUGE in Iran. It seemed as if he was always huge in Iran. You could put people like James Dean, Clint Eastwood and Roger Moore together and they wouldn't come close to the stature or prominence of Alain Delon. In any role, from gangster, thief, detective, Zorro or the hired assassin, with characters named Jean or Julien or something similar, Alain was the coolest! This is despite the fact that his characters often ended up dead. I even tried smoking for a while, I think mainly because he always seemed to have one in his mouth.



I remember being 12 or 13 and going to Tehran's Small Theatre (Koochak) after skipping school and spending half day distributing flyers, writing political graffiti or selling banned newspapers (and occasionally getting arrested as a result), to watch some cool movie, usually starring Alain Delon. Those were some of the most interesting, yet enjoyable time in my life and somehow part of those memories is forever grouped with image of Alain Delon.  I'm sure I am not the only one with fond memories of him or those days, so if you also have similar ones, either e-mail me or post them in our "comments" section. Oh one last thing, in case you are wondering how Alain has aged and what he looks like now, click here.




 




Blogging's coming of age - I'm sure this blogging business started quite innocently as a hubby or a way to keep daily information flow through the next day and/or the next individual. But this story must be marked as a sort of coming of age for any and all blogs.




Just wonderin'... Does anybody know if our beloved Vice President, Mr. Dick Cheney has ever explained what the heck he was doing in Tehran working out of an office across from Mellat Park only few months before his VP nomination, despite grave sanctions by the United States for companies doing business with Iran? Was Halliburton exempt from the embargo? Is he denying his frequent visits and long term stays? Should somebody dig up records of his examination and treatment for complaints of heart pains at Tehran's Day Hospital? I'm just wonderin'... let me know if you do.




 


 

Monday, April 14, 2003


Congress just passed a budget that includes the largest deficit ever in U.S. history. Vital programs are facing substantial cuts and some badly needed projects are no longer on the agenda due to shortage of funds. The Iraqi invasion has so far cost the taxpayers $75 billion, if you believe the official figures and not count the additional funds spent out of secret and semi-secret budgets. Meanwhile, some of the largest U.S. corporations, including Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton, are using overseas tax shelters to avoid paying over $70 billion a year in taxes. Sounds preposterous? As I look at my income tax return forms (ready to be mailed tomorrow morning, the last minute, as usual!) I agree it does, but it's true and people behind The Bermuda Project are trying to bring attention to this issue. Take a look here and decide for yourself.




I've never been too big on Conspiracy Theories in general. Admittedly there are some very interesting ones out there, and I have no doubt that some are actually true. For example, I remember meeting somebody who supposedly had a very high position working inside Area 51 in Nevada and despite my serious attempts to control the urges, I had to ask him if there were any aliens or UFO's in there. His reply? He only said "there are things in there that would blow your mind" and changed the topic quickly. So, as a result of that conversation, I am now convinced something "interesting" is going on there and I don't mean the "aliens" cutting the grass and doing general maintenance for minimum wage.

I said all that to briefly touch on one of the new theories out there. It involves a secret deal for Saddam Hussein and his officials at the Ba'ath Party to hand over Iraq, presumably in exchange for a safe refuge for themselves and their families. Salon.com is the latest media source to publish a story based on this idea. Is it true? Who knows. I do however find it remarkable that the little town of Umm Qasr (not to mention Basra) was still unoccupied after close to a two week non-stop attack, but Baghdad was captured within hours. Perhaps this is one of those tidbits of the truth that will never be fully revealed or acknowledged. Until then, we can all have fun and relay the "theories" as facts. While we are at it, let's look for Saddam at a small village somewhere in Russia. I'm sure some Caribbean island will eventually give him refuge by the time he gets tired of the cold arctic winters.




 


 


Back by popular demand: It's Donald Rumsfeld sound bites and I have a collection of them for you! BBC's Broadcasting House held a competition for listener's favorite Rumsfeld remark and these were the finalists. Remember, this is the man in charge of the largest military ever assembled by human beings. Either get very concerned or just enjoy! Afterwards, maybe you'll get pleasure from an unfriendly game of Rumsfeld Invaders?




No Blood for Oil? - Hate to bring this up again. It almost feels like one of those "I told you so" comments everybody hates. But here I go again; I don't believe the primary goal of Iraqi invasion was/is oil. This of course goes against many other progressive viewpoints expressed by people I respect a lot. However, the most recent postures towards our future "enemy" Syria, as well as a new resurgence of articles and opinion pieces discussing this very topic, has rejuvenated my resolve to stick to what I wrote almost 7 months ago. That piece was intended for Espresso magazine and was also published on-line by my friend Jahanshah Javid of iranian.com. It was basically my view of how I see the Iraqi conflict go, in the immediate as well as long term future.

As I said then, I don't believe the invasion had much to do with "the war on terrorism", Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and ignored UN resolutions. You can now ad "cheap oil" to my list. I do believe there would be easier ways to get to this last goal than to risk your international reputation, alienate allies, transfer almost half of your army across the globe and risk casualties. So, some may ask then why not South Korea instead of Iraq. In other words, if it wasn't for oil, wouldn't South Korea be the primary target of this administration's plans for complete world domination? Well maybe, except that South Korea hasn't developed missiles that could reach Israel yet. You heard me right, I believed then and still believe now that Israel and it's safety and survival is the primary aspiration for the White House' sudden interest in Iraq, Syria, Iran and soon Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Kuwait.

Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of the online publication Slate, recently "the proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it."

The fundamentalists of Christian Right movement (or "Christian Zionists" as they often label themselves) is obsessed with protecting the State of Israel. Not to protect it's citizens or even the people of Jewish faith around the world (after all, they will all perish in their biblical vision of Armageddon, anyways), but Israel needs to survive for the prophecies for the return of Christ to come true. Others within the administration, like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz who don't share this vision but are staunch supporters of Israel, are also using this notion to gain stability for the regime ruling the land "promised" to their people by god.

Do not get me wrong, this isn't meant to be an anti-Jewish (mistakenly called anti-Semitic sometimes) or even an anti-Israeli outlook. After all, I have in the past taken much abuse for supporting Jewish people when they are falsely accused, and even more abuse for acknowledging Israel's right to existence. However, I can't deny the current right-wing administration's fixation and sense of identifying with the extremists ruling the state of Israel's viewpoint in battling what they perceive as current or future enemies. Invasion of Iraq was just the first phase of this movement.

U.S. forces will be stationed in Iraq for many years to come. An all out effort to change governments and replace current foes as well as puppets whose expiry dates have already came and passed, will take place and at the end of it all, those who truly needed help and deserved some support will be ignored. After all, you can't export democracy if you still don't have democracy at home and your flag-bearer was not democratically elected.




 


 

Sunday, April 13, 2003


The bona fide head of the Iranian government, Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani, has done it again or at least is trying to. He is famous for maneuvering the regime through a slalom run, zigzagging between positions and concepts while conducting overnight makeovers, all with the eventual goal of retaining their grip on power. His own image has also transformed from young favorite revolutionary of Khomeini's, to strong statesman, to brutal autocrat, to (the original) "moderate president", to deranged mass-murderer, to older fatherly figure, and now the ultimate facilitator. The story, as reported reads: "In an interview with the Rahbord (Strategy) periodical, published by the Center for Strategic Studies, Iran's powerful former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the two decade-long freeze on relations between Iran and the United States could be resolved either through a popular vote or a decision by Iran's arbitration body, the Expediency Council."


He already knows what the result of any "popular votes" on such issues would be. He also runs and controls the "Expediency Council", so the decision there, is really only his. So, why make the phony gesture? It's in his nature. He has mastered the art of keeping a certain image, while conducting business in the most contradictory direction. However, even his benign gesture should be considered significant and taken seriously. Significant as it may be a window to the future actions and the new diversion he has in store for us. Let's be direct, he didn't wake up one morning and decided to offer a solution to the problems of "relations between Iran and the United States". He, himself was and is a large part of the mechanism that has caused "the problem". If he wanted to fix it, he could've done so years ago. So, why now and why in this fashion? I have a few scenarios and multiple reasons to answer those questions, however all I can say for certain and for a fact is that he is the most cunning, deceitful, ruthless swindler of our times and anything he says or does is only to benefit him and his clan. This is yet another game orchestrated by the grand deceiver and whichever way he plans to play it, there is no good caused by it for most Iranians. Having said that, let's keep an eye on this, as the "game" may be getting to some of it's very interesting parts.     (Also see AP's version)




 

Saturday, April 12, 2003


 


Were Iraqis Celebrating? We've all seen the pictures. Iraqis rushing to topple a huge statue of Saddam Hussein, but having very little luck. A U.S. army heavy machinery is brought in, American soldier covers Saddam's head with the American flag that flew over Pentagon on 9/11 (can you believe they now say that was a "coincident"? I'd say that's the mother of all coincidents if true), which got a cold reception and was then removed and replaced by an Iraqi flag. Then a "noose" is put around statue's neck, pulling it down with Iraqis rushing to damage it as if it was Saddam's face in real life and they now wanted blood. All are jovial and celebrating their victory. Well, the incident happened (very conviniently) in front of Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where most media people were staying. I guess what they didn't count on, was one of the photographer taking pictures, like the one above from his window. So, in a city of millions, how many Iraqis were actually there to topple the statue and have a good time? Well, if you take the troops and media people out of the "crowd" shown above, I think about 100 people are seen. One hundred people out of all of Baghdad's huge population. I'm not going to suggest that most Iraqis aren't happy that Saddam is gone, my point is more towards the media and its manipulation of the news they feed us. We are either VERY stupid, or they believe we are.



More on this story, here and here.

 



Friday, April 11, 2003



 


Today's notes are just random quotes from the former governor of Texas, Mr. George W. Bush. You can read more (and laugh or cry) here. Enjoy:


"I'm the commander, I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation...."


"...as you know, I like to keep expectations low."


"I would like to express my deep condolences for the loss of the Senate."


"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."


"Peace in parts of the world where people have said peace is impossible. I think it is. That's the vision I have."


"My most important job is to defend the homeland, to protect innocent Americans from the deaths of the killers."


"America is leading the world in a titanic struggle against terror."


"I live in a bubble."


"Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes."


"It's a huge honor to be the greatest -- to be the President of the greatest country in the world."


"And that's why yesterday the Secretary of Treasury and I both said that we need to have more stimulus available."


"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test."


"I understand people's willingness to protest, but they should not protest the decisions our coalition is making, because it is in the best interest of freedom and humankind."


"And there's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail. Failure is not a part of our vocabulary."


"My administration has been calling upon all the leaders in the—in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen."


"If a person doesn't have the capacity that we all want that person to have, I suspect hope is in the far distant future, if at all."


"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it."


"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."


"We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House —make no mistake about it."


"This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end."


"Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment."


"I do not believe . . . that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide."


"I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together."


"They misunderestimated me."


"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"


"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses."


"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."


"More and more of our imports come from overseas."


 




 

Thursday, April 10, 2003



Reuel Marc Gerecht, a certified "hawk".


Project for the New American Century, the think-tank behind the current U.S. administration is a collection of idiots. People like Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Zalmay Khalilzad. These guys don't have the slightest clue as to what is really going on in the world but are just obsessed with their own limited sense of righteousness and cruel fundamentalism. I'll give you an example to prove my point:


Last July, Reuel Marc Gerecht, one of their "brains" on the region and a former CIA Middle East specialist wrote a piece for the Weekly Standard to lay out their long term plans for the Persian Gulf neighborhood. The article titled "Regime Change in Iran?" is certainly an interesting read. Here is his estimation of what will happen when U.S. invades Iraq: "Popular discontent in Iran tends to heat up when U.S. soldiers get close to the Islamic Republic. An American invasion could possibly provoke riots in Iran--simultaneous uprisings in major cities that would simply be beyond the scope of regime-loyal specialized riot-control units. The army or the Revolutionary Guard Corps would have to be pulled into service in large numbers, and that's when things could get interesting. The clerical regime fears big street confrontations, afraid that it cannot rely on the loyalty of either the army or the Guard Corps. "


He then recommends the proper response to this impulsive unrest: "The Bush administration should, of course, quickly and loudly support any demonstrators who hit the streets in Iran. America's approval will not be the kiss of death for the brave dissidents who challenge the regime's armed defenders. On the contrary, such psychological support could prove critical to those trying to show to the people that the die is now decisively cast against the regime."


He also has plans for military strikes against Iran: "The administration may have to tell the Russians, sooner rather than later, that their support of Iran's nuclear program is unacceptable. (If the Russians ignore us--and we should try to devise the most painful arm-twisting that we can for Moscow--then the administration ought to prepare for a military strike against the Bushehr reactor facility. Under no circumstances should the United States allow Bushehr to become operational.)"


There's even a direct suggestion to help some allies: "The administration and Congress should ensure by some means that the unfortunately bankrupt National Iranian Television satellite channel in Los Angeles keeps on broadcasting to Iran"


But perhaps what is most telling is his description of his favorite president. Someone he kindheartedly acknowledges as "the most sincerely religious commander in chief since World War II". When discussing Clinton administration's apology to Iran for the CIA's role in 1953 coup against the popular government of Dr. Mossadegh, he says: "It is impossible to imagine George W. Bush apologizing to Iran, or to any country with which the United States has played hardball politics. It genetically just couldn't happen. In that difference of personal chemistry--and for both Bush and Clinton it is certainly more a matter of sentiment than intellectualized strategy--lies the possibility for Bush of greatness in foreign affairs."


A president who will never apologize to "any country" for it's obvious previous wrong deeds? That's the kind of man we'd all like to see run the world, no?


Full text of his article can be seen or downloaded in PDF format here.