Thursday, November 12, 2009

Settled in My New Life

Last few months were the most busy times of my life... After the adventurous experience of the post July election in Iran (attending some rallies and demonstrations and even riots), my student visa was finally issued in July, so S and I had to pack all that we could from our tiny apartment in Tehran, sell and donate the non-movable stuff, say goodbye to friends and family, whom we were not sure when we would be able to see again, and move to the States within one month or so.

It took us some time to get settled... Thus the reason for me not updating the blog.

And of course everything has changed- or is it? Going everyday to work has changed to going to school which consists of attending classes, and working in the lab. Taking exams was something I hadn't done for a couple of years. But it's good to be student again. I like the feeling much better than being an employee. So now I am finally in a state were I can call myself fairly settled in my new life. And hopefully I'll be blogging more frequently. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Iranians Want

What do Iranians want? Is it really democracy?

well, a group of them do want democracy, without the interference of religion. A group of them want democracy and religion without knowing these two cannot always co-exist. A group of them only want to have enough money to live. A group of them have everything they need for a luxurious living and they only want some freedom.

People who participated in the last week's rallies and demonstrations, may have come from any of these groups. What they all have in common, which is the most powerful engine for their movement, is that they want Ahmadinejad out. So, in one point of view, democracy may not be seen as their prior demand. They know Ahmadinejad is a dictator, a dogmatic self-centered babbling machine, and most importantly a lier. And they cannot tolerate him for another four years.

Now the critical question: would these demonstrators still show any objection to the election results if they believed it was not rigged? The answer is a definite NO. We have a proverb in Farsi which says: "People will get what they deserve" and I've heard it being used a lot during the past four years of Ahmadinejad's embarrassing presidency. They believed people who had voted for him, along with those who had not voted (because of the dilemma), should have suffered the consequences. So in a way they respect democracy. They truly believe Mousavi is the winner, and they want him to take the power out of the hands of their current inept president.

However, through the last four days and after Khameneyi's Friday speech, this movement has taken a new direction. People have known how clerics have been ruling this country for the past 30 years, but now the dictatorship is all in the open. Now their innocent brothers and sisters are killed in the streets. Now, they are blatantly told they have no right to object to anything (be it the election results and a biased Guardian Council) because the dictator says so. Now they are fighting for freedom.

Their most difficult task is to get the other half of the society to open their eyes and see what they've been clinging on as their sacred source of Devine directions, is nothing but a corrupt system of power-loving dictators.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tehran Now

What happened yesterday:

We set up for another peaceful demonstration in the afternoon, but all over the city, especially on main streets different kinds of police forces existed. Along Azadi street which goes from Enghlab Sq. to Azadi sq. (the path of the first rally on Monday last week), Baseeji's and Sepiahi (Revolutionary Guard) would scatter people by beating and tear gas and even stones!! I even saw some Baseeji's with machetes who would run and shout "Ya Heydar!!" Which is really a difficult thing to digest. We are all raised to love Ali (also nicknamed Heydar) whom we Iranians know as the symbol of being a hero, a champion, and now these people using that to kill their own people??

At occasions we had to run for our lives. Everywhere people were trying to gather and form a group and chant "down with the dictator" and "God is Greater". But, there were suppressed with tear gas and batons. We came home before dark but I've heard there were shootings around the city. I have seen youtube videos of people being beaten and killed. I have heard hospitals do not accept the wounded or if they do, Baseeji's will attack people who are carrying them. I've also heard that some foreign embassies in Tehran are sheltering the wounded.

I had a very disturbing day... I cried myslef to sleep last night...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why We Protest?

To put the facts it in a nutshell:
  • Admadinejad has been the president of Iran for four years.
  • He was one of the four candidates in the last Friday's presidential elections.
  • He was announced as the winner in a landslide victory by state media Saturday morning.
  • While the three other candidates submitted their objection to the election results to the Guardian Council, and many authorities refused to recognize him as the winner, he celebrated this win by gathering supporters around a main square in Tehran on Sunday. He called people who object to the election results as "dust and dirt" and "vandals".
  • There has been some brutal incidents of attacking the supporters of his main rival, Mousavi, since Saturday morning. Supporters of Mousavi have been protesting on the streets of Tehran and many other cities to show their objection to a wide scale rigging in the elections, his insult to the supporters of other candidates, his government's brutal reaction to their objections, and beating and killing of their fellow citizens.

Mousavi and his supporters are asking Iranian authorities to hold a re-election and international authorities not to recognize Ahmadinejad as the legitimate president of Iran. They believe he has won the election through a coup arranged by his Ministry of Internal Affairs (holder of the election), Ministry of Communication (disabling text messaging, throttling the Internet, filtering websites, disabling cell phone networks,...) state media, Revolutionary Guard, and support of The Leader, Khameneyi.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Election Countdown:17 days

So, election is near and everywhere people are talking about it. And in less that a month Iranians will decide wether or not they want to have Ahmadinejad four another 4 years in their lives.
He is an established populist which makes a very good candidate in a relatively poor country like Iran. He had all the money from exceptionally high oil income in the past 4 years to spend for his campaign by travelling to poor places and giving out money. Yes... as simple as that... just gathering people and giving them gifts and money, as if he is the owner of a charity institution.
So, in a nutshell, here's the deal. He has the vote of two category of people. These poor people who are so in need of the basics (a situation aggravated by Ahmadinejad's policies) who can not see further than tomorrow, and those who vote to whoever is implicitly approved by The Leader. These two groups constitute about half the estimated number of voters.
On the other hand there are those with the dilemma, who are growingly drawn to voting, because of how much they despise Admadinejad. These people are divided into two groups, those in favour of Mousavi and those who prefer Karoubi. Of course there is a fourth candidate, Rezayi, who is not predicted to play a critical role.
In theory at least, it is not important that people against Ahmadinejad are divided in two groups. According to Iranian election rules, a candidate can only win to presidency if they can have more than half of the votes. So, even if Ahmadinejad fails to get more than half the votes, just because more than half voted for somebody else (no matter which other candidate), there will be a second round of elections, in which the two top voted candidates will compete. Then, one can be hopeful that people who voted against Ahmadinejad in the first round, will vote again, and again against him.
The interesting fact is that, if such scenario happens, whoever is elected instead of Ahmadinejad, will be president, not because people necessarily want him to, but rather because they no longer want some body else. And this is exactly how Ahmadinejad became president in the first place, not because people wanted him to, but because they didn't want Rafsanjani.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Movie: Standard Operating Procedure

The critical question: Given the right circumstances (or better say "wrong time, wrong place" circumstances) aren't we all capable of the worst? I mean, is there anybody who can honestly claim that no matter what happens to them, they will never ever turn into violent creatures?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Moods and Chain Reactions

Some days everything seems to be in their place, everything as it should be. All that happens make sense and I succeed in what I do during the day. But some days... oh some days... nothing fits. Everything is falling apart. From early in the morning crazy people dominate the drivers, I am late for work, my colleagues drive me mad,.. (and you know the rest...). Like the whole world is doing its best to feed my rage.

I have no doubt that this chain reaction of disturbing events goes back to my moods. When anger takes over in me, frustrating events are in action. What I am not sure however is whether my angry mood makes me only notice the disturbing part of all things that happens around me, or it actually CAUSES disturbing things to HAPPEN around me?

On a second thought... is there any difference between the two??

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A bit disturbing, shockingly honest, great performance. Don't watch this if you are afraid of digging into your memories of confusing teenage years. I like Allan Ball's works and this one is no exception. I am tempted to read the book.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

View of Tehran from Tochal

Tehran is not a beautiful city, I must admit. Google Tehran images and you'll see what I mean. Juxtaposition of tall and short buildings and lack of real control over its mushroom-like urban structure has made it not really a picturesque view to look at. But recently I have received this photo in my mailbox which shows parts of Tehran viewed from Tochal, one of several mountains surrounding this city. I found it interesting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yummies: Green/Unripe Almonds

We call them Chaghale Badoom (Badoom=Almond) and almost every body likes them. The are available during the first three or four weeks of spring. The smaller, the more expensive, the easier to digest!!! I like them salted.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Movie: The Hurt Locker

Intense, engaging, fascinating visual language, interesting main character.

Country Dropdown Lists

Did you know that when I am registering in some of the sites that ask about your information like name, gender, age, country, etc., I cannot find the name of my country in the dropdown list? Not much of a surprise, huh? since most internet sites are American and there is an embargo going on. What country would you choose if you didn't have the name of your country listed?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Elections and a Historcial Dilemma

Well, Khatami decided not to be a candidate in favour of the other reformist Mousavi and some other reasons and this has made things more complicated.

You see, for a few years now, people who want to see change in this country have to deal with a dilemma when deciding about voting in the elections. If they do, they have put legitimacy to the whole establishment of the Islamic Republic and its constitution (which many Iranians now disagree with). On the other hand, not participating in the elections puts the power in the hands of fundamentalists and the result would be what happened four years ago; a phenomenon called Ahmadinejad.

Khatami was popular. Many had decided to vote for him despite their disagreement with the whole thing. I have only voted two times for presidential elections and both for Khatami and I had decided to do it again. But now, I am one of the people who know nothing about Mousavi. Older people may know him through his Prime Minister times at the beginning of the revolution but young people who constitute most eligible voters don't.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rick Steves : A Perspective On Iran

Insightful, fun and REAL:

Having a relatively fine knowledge of average american culture through several TV shows that I watch, I really enjoyed the way he compares Iranian culture and belief system with that of Americans.

I must also add that exceptions exist everywhere, and exceptions to what he describes as Iranian culture are growing radically.