Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I felt awful when I heard about the kidnapping of four Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT) members in Iraq. CPT is just about the last foreign NGO still working in Iraq and they are the only foreign NGO I know of that does decent work in the region. I hope they are released soon and without harm.

I don't know anything about the German woman who was kidnapped along with her driver in Iraq, but I hope they are not harmed and are let go soon as well.

And finally, the victims "we" are not supposed to care about, the ones with no names: A group of Iranian pilgrims were also abducted in southern Iraq, and while the two women among them were released, the four men are still with their abductors.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Haven't written anything on Iraq for ages, it seems, so here a few links for now:

1. Mercenaries, usually called "private security contractors", shoot innocent Iraqi civilians, and make "trophy" video of their executions. The story, as reported by the very right wing British paper, the Daily Telegraph, can be found here.

2. Speaking about Moqtada As-Sadr's followers in the New York Times, Hajim al-Hassani, a secular Sunni Turkmen who is speaker of the transitional National Assembly confirms that "They are the largest group in the Shiite community". Sadr has managed to get 30 of his candidates on the elections list, which means he has the same number of candidates as the two main governing Shia groups.

3. In Cairo last week, in the presence of representatives from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran (but no one from the U.S.), top officials in the Iraqi government, including the President Jalal Talbani, came up with a statement which, among other points, affirmed that "National resistance is a legitimate right of all nations". General statements were made condemning the murder of civilians, but this, they acknowledged, was different than legitimate resistance. The government that came into being because of U.S. tanks, realizes that U.S. tanks mean nothing without the support of the people under their occupation, so they indirectly condone the destruction of those tanks. Ouch!

4. Finally, a very important question: are those who continue to justify and/or support the illegal war against the people of Iraq lying or just stupid?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


شاه کوچولو یا به قول خودش" ملک عبدالله الثانی" خوب همه را فیلم کرده است. چند روز پیش وقتی دیدم که تلويزيون اردن تصوير زنی را به نمايش گذاشته است که می گويد از بمبگذران روز چهارشنبه پیش بوده است ولی کمربند بمب او عمل نکرده به خودم گفتم "ای داد بیداد یکی از زنهای بدبخت عراقی را از صویفیه به زور گرفته اند و او را وادار به اعتراف کرده ند. "

صویفیه یکی از محله های سوسولی امان است. ما بین مغازه ها و رستورانهای غربی و خانمها و آقایون شیکی که در محله قدم میزنند و خرید میکنند زنان چادر سیاهی بر زمین نشسته اند. همه عراقی هستند و اکثر شیعه. بعضی سیگارمیفروشند بعضی میوه بعضی دستمال کاغذی. یعنی هر چی گیرشون بیاید در روی یک سفره یا مقوا پهن می کنند و از کله سحر تا بعد از نسفه شب می نشینند تا بلکه نون روزشان را در بیاورند. چندین بار به بهانه ها ی مختلف با خیلی هاشون صحبت کرده ایم. خیلی داستانها دارند که شاید سر فرصت در پستی دگر بنویسم.

اما حیف که روزنامه ‏نگاران بسیاری که به اردن مییایند هیچ مایل به دیدار این زنان نیستند. آنها دنبال رغد دختر صدام و امثال او میگردند. دوست دارند بگویند که هرکس از عراق گریخته یه جوری به رژیم سابق وابسته بوده و هیچ کس در این جنگ آواره نشده است.

به نظر میرسد که رادیو فردا هم از این تیپ روزنامه ‏نگار به اردن فرستاده باشد:

فرنوش رام روزنامه نگاری که به تازگی از اردن دیدار کرده در مصاحبه با رادیو فردا می گوید: به رغم اردنی بودن زرقاوی مردم این کشور از او بیزارند. جامعه اردن مسالمت آمیز بنظر می آید و رشد اسلامگرایی در آن زیاد به چشم نمی خورد. جامعه مدرنی است در مقایسه با بقیه کشورهای دیگر منطقه. زنان در اردن در دولت و پارلمان و تشکیلات و فعالیت های اجتماعی نقش مهمی دارند. حجاب زنهای اردنی از روی سنت های اجتماعی است نه تمایل به بنیادگرایی اسلامی. برخلاف مصر وسوریه و عراق زمان صدام و ایران امروز که پوستر های بزرگ مقامهای حکومت بر در و دیوار شهرها دیده می شود، به ندرت در عمان و شهرهای دیگر اردن تصاویر خاندان سلطنتی به چشم می خورد.

من نمیدانم فرنوش رام از کجا دیدار کرده است چون این اردنی که ازش تعریف میکند هیچ شباهتی به اردنی که من خوب از نزدیک میشناسم ندارد.

1. This really happened today: Within minutes of one another, i saw one guy on a bicycle get run over by a car and another guy on a motorcycle who had just been hit by a car. The first one was really scary, because i heard the breaks screeching and saw the bicycle get swept under the car. I think he was ok though, meaning he didn't die or have obvious injuries. The second guy had already been hit when I saw him, he was on his knees, just staring at his smashed motorcycle.


2. U.S. Army interrogator Specialist Tony Lagouranis is the hero of the day. He gave an interview today apologizing to the Iraqi people and admitting his participation in torture tactics against Iraqi detainees. He also talked about his superiors "cooking numbers" about "foreign fighters" since they were (are) so hell bent on covering up the fact that the resistance is made up almost entirely of native Iraqis.

3. Speaking of U.S. torture of detainees, did you hear the one about the interrogators who threatened to throw Iraqis into a lion's den?

4. Speaking of lions, do you remember Marjan the one-eyed Afghan lion? Like most of the beneficiaries of U.S.-style liberation, he didn't fare very well under occupation either.

5. Speaking of Marjan, isn't Marjane Satrapi just the coolest? I finally had a chance to read the second installation of her graphic novel, Persepolis II, and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

پاریس در آتش



ده روز پس از شورشهای خیابانی در پاریس من این را نوشتم. فکر میکردم که تا حالا یا پاریس آرام میشود یاصدای مردم دنیا (حد اقل در این وبلاگستان خودمون ) در میاید. اما پاریس همینطور میسوزد و ما خاموشیم.

بنا بر پیشنهاد و تشویق دوستان همان مطلبی را که ان روز نوشته بودم را این بار به فارسی مینوسم:

تصور کن که این تهران است نه پاریس که ده روز در آتش میسوزد و یک وزیر ایرانی بود که میگفت این "آشغال ها" باید "پاکسازی" بشوند. فکر میکنید رسانه های بین الملی همچنین سکوت میکردند؟ من خوب میدونم که چه سر و صدای بر پا میکردند. اگر این تهران بود که میسوخت صبح تا شب میشنیدیم که:

جوانان بر علیه رژیم ظالم ایران شورش کردند

واکنش و محکوميت گسترده جهانی در پی سخنان وزیر ایران

آمریکا و اسرائیل خواستار اخراج ایران از سازمان ملل متحده

رژیم اسلامی در آستانه ویرانی

بوش اعلام کرد از خواستهای مردم ایران براي دست يافتن به آزادی، دموکراسی و عدالت حمايت می کند

شورش جوانان نشانی از بی عدالتی و بی کاری در ایران


ولی نه خیر چون این پاریس است که میسوزد از این نوع واکنش ها خبری نیسست.

چرا؟

1. I really like children, especially when they are between 0-8 years old. But i don't particularly enjoy sharing swimming pools with them because:

A)i feel uneasy that maybe i'll accidentally kick them while swimming and
B)i think they are constantly peeing in the water

So i dont feel comfortable and end up getting more water in my nose and throat than i normally would, which, given reason B, makes the whole thing not very pleasant.

2. I finally figured out a way to read Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran without putting money in her coffers or without having to embarrass myself by getting it out of the library. I can get online access through an institutional affiliation, so hurray for e-books.

I've managed to get to page four so far, and i've already rolled my eyes like ten times. I'm going to make myself read the whole thing though, just as i'll force myself to read the latest bernard lewis. i'm starting up a running list, i think it is important to know exactly what they are up to. Please tell me if you think there are some must-reads of this type out there that I should be aware of.

But anyway back to nafisi, a very smart and conscientious friend of ours is working on an expose of her. it's very juicy stuff, i'll let you know as soon as it is published.

3. Iranian.com has a link to this little clip about Iran promising not to get nuclear weapons. my favorite lines are "dont think of us as middle east thugs...we're fun loving guys who make pretty rugs" and "we were on your side against saddam...but good luck on your second vietnam".

4. Finally, check out aref-adib's latest genius creation: darth vader in iraq.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I think the interview with the successful candidate probably goes something like this:

--Do you hate muslims?
--yes!

--Do you have experience killing muslims?
--yes!

--Do you have experience killing muslims under the leadership of a notorius war criminal?
--yes!


Do you know who makes up the latest group to be recruited as mercenaries in the war against the Iraqi people? The Serb Red Berets, former members of Slobodan Milosevic's elite guards.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Paris is Burning





Can you imagine the press coverage if it were the suburbs of Tehran, and not Paris, that had been burning for ten nights straight, and if it were Iran's interior minister, and not the French Minister Sarkozy who had described the youth involved in the riots as "thugs" who needed to be "cleaned out" of their neighborhoods?

I can imagine it very well. it would be all over the news, and gloating headlines would abound:

Youth Rise up Against Oppressive Iranian State

World Leaders Condemn Iranian Minister for Remarks about Iranian Youth as "Scum"

Iranian Regime Unable to Quell Popular Uprising

The End of the Iranian Regime Near as Youth Protests Continue to Rage

U.S. and Israel Urge UN to Kick out Iran for "Scum" Remarks

Iran's Youth Say: "We'll Rather Burn Tehran than Have it Under Your Rule"


Anyway, I think you get the point.

But no, it is not Tehran that is burning, it is Paris, in the heart of the "free" world. Apparently, in the "free world", when riots spread from town to town and continue for nights on end, it doesn't indicate persistent, race-based inequalities and injustices, it just means that a whole lot of "thugs" are bent on destruction for no reason at all.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Hand of God



For the full story and the credits for the above photo, see Bush Feels the Hand of God.

PS- Is it just me or does Maradona look like he's had a face lift?

Blog Culture

The Weblogization of Culture--the article is in persian, and i haven't had a chance to read it yet, but here it is in case you are interested in these sorts of issues.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Clueless Snobs


The arrogance of empire never seems to go away, even long after the Empire has been dead, buried, and making a miserable job of trying to resurrect itself.

I was reading this BBC article about Ahmadinejhad firing some of Iran's main ambassadors, and when the article got to the part about now-former Ambassador Adeli, they thought it was relevant to note that he was the first Iranian ambassador to speak fluent English since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

"Hmmm", I wondered outloud (and by outloud I mean in a snotty note to the BBC, "How many British Ambassadors to Iran have been functional, not even fluent, in Persian?"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Request for Reference

Z8un's new post has a link to this blog which claims that Ali Afshari has fled Iran.

So far, I've seen no other news or blog pieces confirming and/or commenting on this.
If anyone reading this knows anything further about it can you please email me or leave me links here?

And while I'm putting out requests for information, here is something I've asked about elsewhere but didn't get much feedback on, so I'll ask again: if anyone knows of decent scholarship on the Cultural Revolution in Iran, please let me know. I'm specifically looking for something that addresses both the reconfiguration of the Universities and the articulation of a new model of national identity.

Thanks a lot and sorry for the boring blog.