Thursday, April 29, 2004

Word to the wise: on days when you are not feeling particularly emotionally stable, stay far away from the work of the late, sad, and soulful Fereydoun Foroughi.

now excuse me while i go listen to Ghasedak and this live recording of Do ta Cheshme siah dari another 12 times in a row.


and, now, maybe an hour or so after writing the above, i feel the urge to write for you the lyrics of ghasedak (to which i have been continuously listening) along with another one of my quick translations.

First, the persian version:


marge-an laleheye sorkh
kafan-e khande be rooye lab bood
kard-e on ayeneha
shabah-e fajehay-e dar shab bood

mordan-e on shaparakha
koshtan-e ghasedakha
khabari az shoomi kar midad
nafasash naleyey gham dar sar midad
ashian roo be kharabi miraft
tan-e poosede gavahi midad

khoob be een harf nemiandeesheed
ke kafan bayad bord
ke nafas bayad dad
va be jaye hameye boodanha
hameye didanha
lahzeha mande be yad
shekle andeesheye marg dar oost
hameye hasti-e oo rafte be bad

mordan-e on shaparakha
koshtan-e ghasedakha

oo saraseeme be donbale talafi miraft
be delash zakhme ghadamhaye tajavoz mande
oo nadanad ke pey mordane khod
mikeshad harche esalat bagheest

marge-an laleheye sorkh
kafan-e khande be rooye lab bood
kard-e on ayeneha
shabah-e fajehay-e dar shab bood

mordan-e on shaparakha
koshtan-e ghasedakha

And here is the translation below. Persian, of course, is a largely gender-neutral language, so insert whatever gender you wish, i will go for "she".


the death of that red tulip
was the shroud of laughter on the lips
the dust on the mirrors
was the ghost of a tragedy in the night

the dying of the butterflies
the killing of the dandelions
was an omen of what was to come

her breath was a sigh of agony
the nests turned to destruction
her withered body gave proof

she did not contemplate this:
that shrouds must be carried
that breaths must be given
and that instead of all the beings
all the seeings
moments remain in the memory

the idea of dying has taken shape in her
all of her being has gone with the wind

the dying of the butterflies
the killing of the dandelions

in her confusion she sought to make up for it all
in her heart remains the wounds and footsteps of rape
she doesn't know that following her death
she will take with her whatever authenticity and honesty remains

the death of that red tulip
was the shroud of laughter on the lips
the dust on the mirrors
was the ghost of a tragedy in the night

the dying of the butterflies
the killing of the dandelions

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Like many of his fans, I was really disappointed when i found out about Seyyed Ebrahim Nabavi's show for Radio Voice of America.

but that guy's sense of satire is so brilliant that i couldn't bring myself to boycott him. i mean, i don't follow his stuff on Voice of America, but i still check his regular posts on the Gooya Newsletter.

anyway, his list of "political diseases" was so funny and accurate, that i can't help but post my hasty translation below. For the original text in Persian, just click here.

Political Diseases
by Seyyed Ebrahim Nabavi

Given the existence of numerous political diseases that have arisen from an excessively contaminated environment, lack of preventive care, and the old age of the patient (i.e. the Iranian political scene) as well as the lack of medical treatment, some of the diseases existing among Iranian political groups and forces have been identified as follows:

Strabismus: The patient suffers from errors in vision and cannot apprehend reality-- the Iranian Left abroad.

Stress: A sense of constant worry and anxiety--the people of Iran.

Schizophrenic Disorders: Having dual or multiple personalities--Intellectuals in general.

Depression: feeling hopeless about the future, lack of motivation accompanied with staring at walls and fences, a constant desire to sleep--the Reformists.

Post-Partum Depression:A sense of impotence in relation to the post-birth situation, lack of appetite and constant fatigue in the face of the duties the patient must perform--The Reformists after the election of the 7th parliament.

HIV/AIDS: The destruction of the body's immune system and constant feeling of weakness. This disease may remain dormant for years but suddenly break out and peak--The Tudeh Party.

Tirchnosis: Feeling weak accompanied by constantly feeling hungry and over-eating, tendency to persecute others and to shed numerous worms--The Judiciary Branch.

Earwax Blockage: Swelling around the ear drum causing the inability to hear various and dissenting voices--The Guardian Council.

Alzheimers: Loss of memory, forgetting the past, and making bizarre claims that do not match the blood group of the patient's political party--The Leaders of the Islamic Republic.

Parkinson's Disease: Shaking of hands and body due to very old age, inability to control movement and behavior--Groups working in Coalition.

Hypertension: Feeling constantly hot accompanied by a feeling of agitation and suffocation, desire to quarrel with others and rip them to shreds--The Hardline Right Wingers, Hossein-Allah Karam and friends

Brucellosis: The patient occasionally runs very high-fever, gets the chills, and becomes delirious. The patient becomes well after a while, disappears for several months, and then once again runs a fever-- The Mujahideen Khalgh.

Heartburn: Feeling a burning in one's stomach due to the behavior of others. The patient gets a burning stomach because of what the people of Iran do, begins to shout, and takes to brawling in the streets for no reason-- The Hizbollah.

Rabies: The patient is stricken with the desire to bite others. He foams at the mouth and attacks. Those who are attacked become ill and are in turn stricken with the desire to bite others-- The editorial staff of Keyhan Newspaper.

Nanism: Due to physiological and historical reasons or due to the brain drain, the patient does not grow and is happy with this result---The administrative system of the Islamic Republic.

Multiple Sclerosis: Progressive degeneration of nerves. The patient completely loses his ability to defend himself and cannot make ordinary movements--Mr. Khatami, the respectable President of the IR

Epilepsy: In various situations and for no apparent reason, the patient acts violently and inappropriately, then passes out-- Ansare Hizbollah and the Communist Worker's Party.

Paranoia: Feeling that the enemy is conspiring against you and suffering from delusions of grandeur--The majority of Iran's leadership from the time of Cyrus and Darius to the present have had and continue to suffer from this condition.

Cultural Rashitism: The patient suffers from softness in the bones, when he is sitting he can act normally buthe cannot get up and walk--The Student Movement (in reality the country's student in-action) and the Tahkeem Vahdat

Down syndrome: Retardation, inability to understand, and abnormal movements--Professor Mesbah and friends

Astigmatism: Blurriness in vision and distorted views of history, reality, and the world--the followers of Dr. Shariati and the intellectuals of Melli Mazhabi

Gigantism: Excessive and abnormal growth of the body without the growth of the mind--The political heroes of the nation (I am in no mood for arguments, otherwise I would name names)

Whooping Cough: The patient constantly makes horrendous noises, gets blue in the face, and with his constant noise-making causes great suffering to others-- The Official IRI Media

Gout: Due to excessive consumption of meat and fat over a long period of time, the patient loses his ability to move, constantly sits and can do nothing but talk--The Monarchists.

Melancholia: The patient has strange feelings, constantly imagines things and understands everything in a disorderly and distressed way, his words are incomprehensible, and he is pointlessly enraged--The Los Angeles bases Satellite t.v stations

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

For some reason, i couldn't get the logo below to appear on my side-bar, and i tried no less than 30 times. so i have to reconcile myself to having it in the body of the post.

i have much to say on the so-called 'repatriation' of Afghans, especially when it is portrayed as an orderly and happy return back to one's home, but i have no time to go into it in depth tonight.

for now, it should suffice to say that if a population is seeking refuge in Iran rather than from it, one can only imagine the extent of the misery they are fleeing. It is the humanitarian and neighborly responsibility of the IRI to allow the refugees who wish to remain in iran to do so until the situation in afghanistan truly improves.

Other iranian bloggers have pointed out the hypocrisy of iranians who lament the treatment of iranian refugees in europe and elsewhere but who are silent when the same things happen to afghans in iran.

I think we have to look into what is happening to the afghan refugees in iran and not let this become another PR victory for the IRI (which can claim that is facilitating their joyous return to their homeland) or the United States (which can claim that they have constructed a free afghanistan to which refugees can safely return)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

This morning, I had a good laugh reading the two main news pieces of the day.

News item number #1- I read that a delegation from Iran has arrived to mediate the Sadr situation at the behest of the U.S.

I always say it, but you have to admire the craftiness of the IRI. Only a week ago, Iran held no sway over Sadr supporters but was nonetheless implicated in inciting violence. One week later, they figure, what the hell, we are getting blamed anyway, might as well turn this card game around. So they act the part of diplomats and take the influence they don't have over to Iraq, looking like the perfect little neighbors, ostensibly to help their muslim brothers, but really scoring points with the U.S. and maintaining their stranglehold on the iranian people.

Very crafty, right? So I had to have myself a laugh.

News Item #2- Bush meets and greets Sharon. A chimpanzee and a hog in the White House, and both of them wearing ties that match the Israeli flag. Now, how could i not laugh at that?

But that was this morning. Now I am sad and angry.

You'd be hard pressed to find an important world event that the IRI hasn't figured how to turn to its advantage: The Russian-Chechnya conflict, the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and now Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Iranian "opposition" dreams up 7,000 years of "Aryan" glory, each day becoming more pathetic and delusional than the day before.

And the Bush-Sharon meeting? Once I read the details of their public statements, I was completely infuriated. Bush calling Sharon's murderous rampages "courageous actions", endorsing the theft of more lands from the Palestinians, and once again denying their right to return to their ancestral homeland.

Ra'ed has managed, as always, to keep his biting humour in today's post on, among other things, what he has called Bush's neo-Balfour declaration. So you should just read his stuff, if you don't do so already.

Talk about delayed reactions. The impact of a piece of news I heard earlier today is just now hitting me, almost exactly 8 hours after it was revealed to me. Someone I respect and on whom I greatly depend on for intellectual support is going somewhere very far, and I'm feeling pretty sad about it.

My best friend, S., who is a Hindu by birth, believes in cycles of 7. It has something to do with Saturn, I think. Well, for me, I am starting to see a pattern in 3s and 4s, depending on what I use as the inaugurating events of change. So this news today, which suddenly seems to have struck me into a moementary paralysis, is an indicator of what I have known and have been in denial of for the last few months: some big change is around the corner, and I just don't know what.....

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

My good friend, Sunil, who runs the radical online newsletter Dissident Voice, sends out emails to let his devoted readers know of updates to his site. Generally, his emails are prefaced with notable quotations.

You'd think that by now I would have grown a thick skin, but I was so stunned by the quotations he sent out in his email today that I had to share them with you. Here they are, copied and pasted from what Sunil sent me:

"Given the virulent nature of the enemy, the prospect of some city father
walking in and getting Joe Jihadi to give himself up is pretty slim .
That's fine, because they'll get whipped up, come out fighting again and
get mowed down ... Their only choices are to submit or die"

-- Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, 5th Marine Battalion in Fallujah, Iraq
(Washington Post, April 11, 2004)

* * *

"We will always be humanitarian in our efforts. We will fight him on
our terms. May God help them when we're done with them."

-- Maj Gen James N. Hattis, First Marine Division commander, email
quoted in New York Times (April 11, 2004)

* * *

"Remaining dissenters must be harshly dealt with. Fear can be a good thing.
How do you think Saddam controlled Iraq all these decades?"

-- Bill O'Reilly, Fox TV's resident fascist and Saddam admirer, commenting
on how US forces should employ Saddam's techniques against recalcitrant

Monday, April 12, 2004

The reliability of the source is somewhat dubious, so take this with a grain of salt: The website of a relatively unknown Iranian opposition group (to which I am not linking because, yes, I hate them that much), is reporting that the brilliantly funny and talented director and actor Mehran Modiri has been arrested.

A recent episode of Modiri's latest t.v. serial, Noghte Cheen showed Modiri's character paying off a law enforcement official. Apparently the implication that an Iranian officer would cross the boundaries of the law was too much to bear, and Modiri has been arrested by the representatives of the same forces that were perceived to have been maligned in his show.

But not to worry, the U.S. State Department has issued a public document stressing its concern for the stifled voices of Iranians.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Look at this exchange between Iranian president Khatami and a reporter as covered in today's edition of the Persian language Shargh Newspaper:

In response to reporters' questions about Mohammad el-Baradei's visit to Iran, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami Said: "As for me, I talked a lot. Last night I also talked. And there are some things I want to do, and god willing, I'll speak with you about it next week".

A reporter who was critical of the fact that the president didn't want to speak with reporters, said: "if you dont speak with us, our hearts will break", to which Khatami responded with: "God forbid your hearts should break! Of course, there are many who break your hearts and break mine as well. But, well, there is nothing I can do about it."

My god! The number of times that Khatami proclaims his impotence in the face of various matters is amazing ("you know my blade doesn't cut", remember when he said that a few weeks ago? "my blade doesn't cut", hmm, some one want to psychoanalyze that?)

Dude, why don't you resign? That winsome smile and those rosey cheeks seem to embitter more people than they charm these days. At least this is true for Iranians, the rest of the world still seems to be honeymooning with the smiling Seyyed Khatami....


Strange thing is, i just read the above interview this morning but last night i had a long extended dream about Khatami, about whom i've never dreamt before. i had an important question to ask him, but i awoke just as he was about to deliver his response. In the dream, I put out this big long disclaimer before I posed my question, and he said to me "go ahead, my daughter". Then my longwinded inquiry tumbled out, and i never did get to hear the response...

on the eve of april 9th

Sometime early last summer, the convicted bank robber Ahmad Chalabi and the other handpicked members of the Iraqi puppet council declared that the date marking the "fall" of Baghdad would from here on out be an observed holiday.

April 9th, Iraqi "Independence" day.

April 9th also marks the 1948 massacre of the inhabitants of the village of Deir Yassin at the hands of Zionist terrorists.

April 9, the anniversary of the massacre at Deir Yassin.

and already a tense april 9th has broken in West Asia.

what bloodbath, i wonder, will the few of us who bother to remember be marking this time next year?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

What can i say? today is political picture day. i just can't resist posting these, even though the first two are almost a month old. check out president Khatami sandwiched between Iraqi puppet council members Chalabi and Bahr al-Ulum (what on earth is Chalabi wearing?) how about this one of Khatami and Bahr al-Ulum closing their eyes as they move towards each other for that one sweet kiss. Speaking of kisses, look at the picture on the cover of Shargh Newspaper showing Nuclear Inspector El-Baradei planting one on Khatami's cheek.

Khatami and the rest of the clerics are looking markedly relaxed now that all hell seems to be breaking out next door, another wonderful side effect of the illegal invasion of Iraq. Faramin mentions the benefits the Iranian regime will be reaping from chaos in Iraq. If you'd like, you can check what he has to say about that here in his April 6 post.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Ok, so this is a totally un-radical and un-cool thing for me to admit to, but I think that Mohammad Ali Abtahi is pretty damn charming (at least on his blog he is). Not to mention that his archive of photos are very revealing. Take for example this picture of Khatami feasting at a party thrown by the King of Bahrain. or the always stern-faced foreign minister Kharazi actually cracking a smile. and is it just me or does Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson,Hassan Khomeini, cut a handsome profile?

Monday, April 05, 2004

I introduced my brother to Peter Sellers, and now he just can't get enough. He's been speaking to me variously as inspector clouseau (from the Pink Panther series) or as Mandrake (the Englishman in Dr. Strangelove) and now he tells me that he's managed to download the episode of the Muppets Show featuring Peter Sellers. what a find!


notice that i have been keeping my meanderings on political issues to a minimum. however, i did find Justin Podur's commentary on the chaos in Iraq pretty thought-provoking, so i'm giving you the link and not saying anything myself. He compares Fisk's analysis with that of Naomi Klein and argues that the latter has got it right when it comes to making sense of the recent spiral of violence in iraq.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Two nights in a row of staying up until dawn and generally being excessive have me feeling slightly nauseated. now with the time changing because of daylight savings, my internal clock is completely off kilter. and all this work i was supposed to finish by the end of the weekend, i guess this means i will neither be celebrating sizdeh bedar or the resurrection party my ex-mormon friend is throwing.

Speaking of sizdeh bedar (or thirteen-to-the-door, as my brother and i jokingly call it), why on earth has the Islamic Republic decided to call it Rooz-e ashti ba tabiat (the day of reconciliation with nature)?

Iranians certainly need to be reconciled with many things, but i wouldn't necessarily put nature at the top of the list. the iranian culture wars--these battles of life and death over who we are and what we were-i devour them with fascination and disgust. it make me feel like a culture vulture, a cannibal, a voyeur.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

If i don't stop reading the ignorant racist comments people leave on some of the blogs i visit, i am going to go insane. i have such addictive-compulsive behavior when it comes to the internet, it is a wonder i don't display similar tendencies in my day to day life.


i live in close proximity to so much beauty it's a shame i don't explore it unless friends come here from out of town. yesterday, we found some great secretish trails that lead to the ocean from atop cliffs that look like they just plunge into the water.


Ever read Samuel Beckett's "Molloy"? Well, Molloy has this thing with sucking-stones, small pebbles he carries around in his pockets and sucks on in a precise rotation designed to ensure that he sucks on all the stones equally.

Whenever i go to beaches with lots of smooth flat pebbles, i get the urge to pop some of them in my mouth. i resist, of course, and satisfy myself with running the smooth stones around in the palm of my hand. my friend, on the other hand, found my description of the sucking-stone habit so enticing that he happily took it up right away. oh the things i introduce to my friends...