Sunday, August 29, 2004

I've experienced few things as aggravating and strange as a bagpipes playing Yankee Doodle Dandy over and over again at 8:00 in the morning. Add to this that I am currently in an Arab country, and you have a whole new dimension of wierd.

For two months the source of the above noise salad, the American School, has been one of the primary banes of my existence. Only consistent in their inconsistency, workers at the school kept odd hours, sometimes working until late at night, other times working through the weekends, and sometimes random spurts of activity in the middle of the day, followed by maybe a day or two of respite. Under ground tunnels, scaffolding that makes no sense, and high high walls. And always when they decide to come around, there is some god awful noise, some nerve scratching movement, some inexplicable turn of events.

the part of my brain that sees conspiracies at every turn is now vying with that part that superstitiously reads signs and metaphors all around.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

When Iran calls for an emergency summit among Muslim countries to discuss the crisis in Iraq, are they doing anything more than making a self-important gesture as a regional power and as a self-appointed moral arbiter?

But who does the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, think he is fooling when he responds to the Iranian offer by saying:

"It is a domestic matter which must be solved in keeping with the law and the sovereignty of the state. That is why Iraq will not join any attempt to internationalize the matter....Accepting the proposal would amount to an interference in Iraq's domestic affairs and would open the way to meddling in internal problems of other neighboring countries".

"The sovereignty of the state", for god's sake? Did Zebari forget that his country is occupied? Did he forget that his country is occupied precisely because the sovereignty of his state was violated? And as for opening the door for "meddling in the internal problems of neighboring countries", please, I mean wasn't that one of the motivations behind the war? Advocates of the invasion couldn't have been more explicit on this point.

I suppose Zebari is taking his cues from his boss Rumsfeld, who complained some time ago that the reason behind the unrest in Iraq was the presence of "foreign fighters".

For once, I'd say I agree 100% with Rummy the dummy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The plan, afsaneh reminded me the other day, was to blog from here. ok, so i flaked. but now i am back to blogging, i think.

R.'s father told me the other day that during the 15 years preceding the American invasion of iraq, he had many occasions to observe and even deal with the Mujahideen-e Khalq. Their behavior, he told me, reflected that of a completely matriarchal society. Once the Mujahideen came to his office to make a contract to obtain something or another they needed for their compounds. After some hours of explanations and negotiations with the men in his office, one of the Mujahid's made a phone call to tell their boss to come down to R.'s dad's office.

So some time later, a well-protected woman arrives, and all the dudes get up to greet her, after which point they start explaining to her the terms of the contract in persian. Once the men finished their explanation, the woman turned to R.'s dad and said in English "thank you, sir, but we don't accept." and that's it, all the dudes got up and followed her out.

R. and his dad also said that this type of matriarchal pattern was evident in everything the Mujhadideen did in Iraq. They'd see tanks, for example, that were driven by a woman while the men sat around. Young children were sent off to boarding schools/houses in europe, lest they distract their mothers from the work of the organization.

anyway, i dont know what to make of all of this. i've read that putting women at the head of the command structure was actually masoud rajavi's idea. So how is one to understand an apparently matriarchal structure that is in fact put in force by a single man? Then again, regardless of who initiated it, the structure may in fact have taken on a matriarchical life of its own....

ok, well, that is all i can manage for now. it will take me a while to warm up back to my old pace.