Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Neither of these news items is fresh of the press, and my stomach hurts so i will keep my usual side commentary to a minimum. nonetheless, i think both stories deserve a mention:

**first: The iranian hardline basiji militia have requested that the UN grant them observer status at the US national elections. A basiji spokesman claimed that "By this symbolic request, we want to ridicule the so-called democratic slogans of the American leaders". hypocrites calling out the hypocrites, what fun!


**second: iran endorses bush for president. and why not, i say? thanks to bush iran's two arch-enemies the taliban and saddam hussein were taken out, and iran didn't have to lose a single soldier or pay a penny. it could just sit back, develop its own weapons without much trouble, and watch its biggest enemy get itself stuck in a quagmire while destroying its two other enemies. and the benefits to the IRI don't stop here, but more on that later...

Friday, October 15, 2004

There was an ad in the local paper here that said:

TO OUR IRAQI BROTHERS: New shipments of bullet proof cars newly arrived in Aqaba.

We were talking about how this ad alone captures how wrong things have gone in Iraq.

And the streets here are filled with Iraqi men, women, and children who have set up goods on sidewalks in various neighborhoods, trying to make a few dinars to get by. these are surely not former regime agents and ba'thists (though they too are all over the place). I am talking about ordinary desperate people who were forced to come here either because of the brutal sanctions regime or because of the war of occupation.

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meanwhile, our own compatriots are busy trying to lay the ground work for an attack on iran. and should that not work, well, these long distance warriors have a back up plan: they want Iranians inside of Iran to hoard small currency so as to cripple the Iranian regime!

these people have the nerve to report proudly that: (and here i am quoting their moronic press release)

"Reports from Iran indicate that small stores and shops are already beginning to feel the effect of this nationwide Project"

and supposing these so called "reports" were true? who will be suffering because of unstable economy? the self identified "technocrats and scientists" who designed this project from the comfortable perches in north america? the wealthy clerics who run the country?

no, it will be precisely the owner of the small shops and stores who are barely making enough to get by, the struggling families, the people whose only currency IS the small currency.

you know this project makes me think of the transcripts from a an iranian satellite tv show that ebrahim nabavi posted selections of in his column. here is the translation of the portion i am reminded of:

A man from iran calls the t.v program broadcasting via satellite from the US:

"Sir, I bow before you! Sir, they have been saying that lately one can find no idiots in Iran, it seems they have all moved to America."

The host hung up on him at this point, naturally.

But point well made, my brother, point well made!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Before the friendly game in Iran between the German national team and the Iranian national team, the longtime German football commentator Bela Rethy noted that:

"In all my 24 years as a sports reporter, I have never experienced such football euphoria than what you see in Iran, not even in South America. It is unique."

just like rage can be suppressed for so long, so can joy. the pleasure principle, i suppose. The older Freud may have decided that the death principle had primacy over the pleasure principle, but i'm starting to think that the will to life will almost always triumphs over the will to die.

i mean, i don't want to sound like the fairly interesting, but immensely repetitive and superficial account that Behzad Yaghmaian gives in his book, nor do I want to give some sort of "keep hope alive" jesse jackson speech, but there is a palpable energy in iranian social and cultural spheres that makes me feel optimistic.

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my unconscious life is getting more active than ever. last night i dreamt i was flying while dozens of planes crashed onto the ground and into a teaming river; a giant crocodile that was attacking a house i was staying in by myself; and i also dreamt of a spoiled girl i went to middle school with who used to throw hissy fits without the slightest provocation.

Laila Kha Kha posted a dream and asked for interpretations, to which i obliged by sending a not very convincing response. so i will follow her in requesting insight on the bits and pieces of the dreams i post.

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This just in: yet another Irani is suffering from the savior complex. His name is Said Agha Nazem, and he thinks he is the 12th Shia Imam Mahdi now returned. Not only did his followers decide to attack a police station in Iran with Kalshnikovs, but his supporters in tehran had the nerve to protest about the resulting death of the of some of the attackers!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

For heaven's sake, why can't people just leave Ahura alone?

And, no, i am not referring to that lunatic who had too many people fooled that he would be flying into iran to liberate it, and then backed out based on explanations that were only slightly less contorted than the reasons he gave for going in the first place.

what i am talking about is the shallow and misguided efforts of some iranians who have decided to wage a cultural war on the Islamic Republic of Iran by simply replacing its terminology. Hence the gratuitous uses of Ahura and Ahurayee: "in the name of Ahura this", "by the will of Ahura that", "the Ahurayee soil of Iran", "let us have an ahurayee gathering in protest", and other such nonsense.

It reminds me of what a Pakistani friend of mine told me about Islamists in Pakistan trying to get people to change the way they said goodbye by saying Allah-Hafez (may Allah keep you) instead of the common Khoda-Hafez (may God keep you.

So what do our genius cultural warriors and resistors of the current regime in Iran want us to do, start saying "Ahura-Hafez"? Oh no, wait, they wont want the word hafez in there, god forbid, it is arabic in root. they'll have us saying "Ahura negahdar"!

If I were a Zoroastrian, I would be extremely annoyed at the appropriation of Zoroastrianism all over the place. True, Zoroastrianism is one of the foundations of Iranian culture and continues to be an integral part of it, but this doesn't mean that its symbols can be carelessly tossed around.

This backward-looking, knee-jerk attempts at subverting the Iranian regime by just switching its terms are more than just silly. they are dangerous. they encourage that which is racist, reactionary, and irredentist.

Please, we've been down similar roads before, it is time to aggressively speak out against these trends instead of merely laughing at them or ignoring them all together.

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I'm sure everyone has heard by now, but Derrida died. Maybe John Searle will throw a party (if he hasn't kicked the bucket too, that is).

Sunday, October 03, 2004

For the first time in my life, i fainted today.

it was really scary immediately before and sometime after it happened, but i've spent most of the rest of day having fits of giggles over the whole thing.

i've had close brushes before, always over the same two issues: when i am getting poked with needles for vaccines or blood tests or when someone mentions the "c" word (clot) when they are talking about bodily injury.

to get extensions for your visa over here, you have to do some health tests, which we thought was a routine TB screening that would consist of having my lungs checked with a stethoscope. that's what we were told anyway.

well, we were misinformed. point is i had to have blood drawn by the thickest needle i'd ever seen by a highly skilled but ungloved nurse. i was thankfully spared the routine of stabbing i usually have to go through because my veins are too small. but that wasn't enough to save me from the nausea and faintness i always feel in these situations.

R., who routinely donates blood and can't relate to my phobia one bit, was cheerfully rushing me out of the clinic and back to our car. i kept on having to stop and even kneel down, and finally convinced him that i needed to sit on a bench for a while.

anyway, i started to get that super nausea, hot body-cold skin feeling, which is usually the last/worse stage i enter before coming back to normal mode, except this time i guess i went one step further.

the next thing i remember is waking up terrified in a room with R. and an expressionless doctor looking over me. i had no idea where i was or how i got there, so i immediately asked where we were and began to cry (what a bache-nane thing to do, i know, but it was involuntary). R. tells me i "made a party" (his expression for when i act like a jerk) and i begin to laugh.

highlights of what i missed when i was unconscious:

after telling R. "it is going black, it is going black" (which i dont remember), my head and eyes rolled back (but not closed, ew) and i started to make creepy sounds with my breathing.

R. slides me down on the bench, lifts my legs, calls my name. no response.
R. slaps me once. no response.
R. slaps me again, harder. no response.
R. slaps me a third time, really hard. no response.
people gathering, R. panicking more. throws me over his shoulders, runs back to the clinic.
man tells him to take me to the second floor, R. goes up two flights of stairs, man tells him to take me back to the ground floor, R. rushes back down the stairs.
man tells him to take me to office on the left, guy in office on the left tells him to go the office on the right.

finally dr. expressionless gives me a bed, starts calling my name, and patting my cheeks. no response.
curious nurse rubs alcohol under my nose, they call my name. no response.
curious nurse puts smelling salts under my nose. big gasp. confusion. crying.

Highlights of what happened when i came to:

dr. expressionless tells curious nurse to take me to wash my face, even though i still feel woozy. curious nurse only speaks in arabic.

curious nurse to R.: where is she from?
R.: from iran
curious nurse to me: you are irani?
me: (nod weakly)

we go in the locker room of the staff, she turns on the tap, no water comes. (this is reassuring, i think, but i change the topic in my head so i wont faint again). we walk down the corridor to a private bathroom.

curious nurse to R.: you are irani?
R. (not paying attention because he is worried i'll faint again): yes
curious nurse to R.: how come you speak arabic?
R.: no answer
curious nurse to R.: how do you communicate?
R.: no answer.
curious nurse to R.: i mean, how do you speak to each other.
R.: no answer.

i wash my face. thank the nurse. apologize to the nurse. and we walk out again.

i'm still feeling faint. i sit limply on the bench, my head is on R.'s knee. A schoolmarmish woman drives up and starts lecturing R. i think she is concerned about me so i just stupidly smile at her the whole time and can't figure out why R. is speaking to her in a harsh tone.

turns out the woman is a teacher at the school by the clinic who mistook us for students and thought we were being inappropriately affectionate. i think the first thing she told R. was to get his hands off of me!

anyway, that is it. end of boring story.

so it wasnt the best anecdote ever, but every time i think of myself prostrate and looking like a zombi while R. slaps me as people gather round, i can't help but crack up hysterically.