Monday, May 23, 2005

Mostly Links

A)Elections

Was i surprised? of course not. i knew rafsanjani, karubi, qalibaf, and larijani would be cleared to run for the elections long before i saw the announcement of who had been deemed worthy of running. i didn't even know who exactly Rezai was or that Tehran's mayor was running too, otherwise i would have guessed they would get the a-okay as well.

i knew it would pan out this way, but i was still disappointed. angry. even depressed. it is uncool and naive to admit to this, but i was secretly rooting for dr. moin. i dont even know why, it's not like i know much about him and it was pretty obvious from the outset that he wouldn't be allowed to run. still, i think if he had been given a chance, i probably would have supported him, this despite the disaster known as the reform movement and the insurmountable constraints on his authority if he were to win.

but more on these characters and the elections debacle later.

B) My Best Friend

Back in the days when i was an undergrad, i took to signing letters to my best friend with "love in the time of Cholera" in lieu of merely "love". i was going through a gabriel garcia marquez phase, and the gesture seemed in perfect keeping with my goofy sense of humor. so we both took to signing our correspondence as such, later amending it in accordance to whatever seemed to be happening around us at the time "love in the time of el nino", "love in the time of stomach flu", "love in the time of unemployment", etc.

well, i now introduce you to Love in the Time of Coriander, my multi-talented best friend's blog on "writing and food".

on summi's graduation day, i cried. not out of emotion or anything. but because we went to a thai restaurant with many members of her extended indian family who ordered the food to be extra-spicy. i didnt even like thai food at the time, and i certainly couldnt handle the chili powder.

so i just took micro bites followed by gulps of thai iced tea and any other liquid at hand, my eyes tearing up in response to the strength of the spices, and summi literally laughing at me and chiding me with "dude, you should be ashamed, even the white people can handle the food".

it was a low blow, especially since she knew Persian cuisine is not known for being hot and spicy. "for my graduation party next week we are going to an all fish dinner" i responded. Summi hated seafood back then, perhaps even more than i did thai food.

these days, summi loves seafood and i love thai cuisine, and we are ten thousand miles apart. reading her analysis on the finer points of various pad thai is my vicarious way of dining with my best friend.

C)Olive Branch Optimism

OliveBranch, a young activist in his late teens who has contacted me thru this blog, is a founding member of an Australian peace group called "Youth and Students Against War". Him and his fellow activists seem to be working on various solidarity projects concerning West Asia, and they are especially keen on making links with Iranis, Iraqis, and others in the region with whom they can consult on how best to coordinate their activities.

I really think it is important for all long-distance activists to make as many connections with folks on-the-ground and in the region with which they are concerned. it is never a good idea to rely merely on sources in exile or diaspora, since they too are often times disconnected from the lived realities of their "homelands", motivated by the lure of power and money, or simply misguided.

if you don't believe me, try watching the so-called political programming of the "exile" iranian satellite stations. better yet, remind yourself of two words: ahmad chalabi.

anyway, i encourage my friends in the blogosphere, especially those who are located somewhere in West Asia, to contact OliveBranch through his blog.

D)Laila Kha kha kha kha

Just when i was losing hope, she is back with classic lines like:

"I always wanted to be a child prodigy, but lately, I beginning to suspect, I may be a retarded adult" and "Help me, I'm a woman trapped inside of a woman's body".

plus, you get all the details of her recent gigs as a stand-up comic.

E)Ayatollah Connery

Last but not least, check out Mehrdad's latest genius creation.

i remember i started hating sean connery many years ago, when i heard him say something to the effect of "sometimes women need to be slapped".

ironically, it was the shah of iran when he was still in power, and not khomeini, who said something very similar in an interview with Barbara Walters, while his wife, the queen, was sitting beside him. Her eyes were brimming with tears, and she was trying to blink them back from flowing as she listened her husband berate women. It was one of two times (the other being when her young daughter killed herself), that i actually felt sympathy for the wife of the former dictator.