Thursday, September 28, 2006

The two U.S. officials of Afghani descent, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and President Hamid Karzai, are among the most snappy dressers in the political arena. Khalilzad's style is a standard suit and tie look, but he is always so well-put-together and well-groomed that I can almost smell his excessive cologne through the t.v. screen. And Hamid Karzai, he always looks like he just stepped off the fashion runway: he has a great eye for fabric and design, and the color green, which I take is his favorite, is particularly flattering on him.

But poor Hamid Karzai is looking a bit sallow these days, and I can certainly see why:

The U.S. Military is reporting a tripling of Taliban attacks in Eastern Afghanistan, Taliban attacks on government officials are on the rise and are getting more and more brazen, such as the assassination earlier this week of Ama Jan, the long time women's rights activist and a provincial director for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, and now Karzai is having such a huge spat with Musharraf, that even their mutual sponsor Mr. Bush can't seem able to mediate.

In fairness to Karzai, Pakistan deserves a lot of scrutiny for the unrest in Afghanistan, and Karzai is helpless to do anything anyway. I mean how can a guy who still has to use "American bodyguards because he can't trust his own people" have a substantive leadership role in his country?

The more important question is why Musharaff (bi-sharaf) is not being held accountable for what is going on. Why is it that U.S. officials feel fine with throwing around groundless accusations about Iran and the daily massacres in Iraq, but the obvious link between Pakistan (or perhaps more accurately, Pakistani territory) and the rise of the Taliban is only given the mildest lip service?

The double standard applied to U.S. allies is not only appalling, but it also totally undermines U.S. credibility. Saudi Arabia is another obvious and over-used example, so today I'll leave them alone, but what about some other U.S. ally, say the Philippines? Have you ever heard any U.S official condemn the political assassinations in the Philippines? How many institutes and websites and radio stations are funded by the U.S. and/or the Netherlands to follow and fight political repression in the Philippines? I venture to say zero for the Philippines, but I can name off-the-cuff at least 10 examples of these types of institutes/radios/websites that are oh-so-concerned with Iranians (and yet they love iranians so much, they never take a stance against sanctions or war on iran).

There are a lot of lessons for Iranians in these double standards, not the least of which is to link our social justice struggles with those carried out in seemingly faraway places, like the Philippines.

As for Karzai and Musharraf, I suggest that the latter refrain from making uncouth comments concerning Canadians when he is being interviewed by the Canadian press; and Karzai, well, he should consider either a dab of blush or a foundation with a rosy undertone to give him the appearance of good health and humor because I'm afraid he's not going to be feeling well on his own for awhile.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

1. Maybe because I spend so much time monitoring the activities of people whose mentality seems eternally lodged in the 1970s, i've become stuck on one particular iranian 70s star: Marjan. I think she rules, in a 70s kind of way, of course. So have a listen and enjoy, but be careful it is addictive.

2. Speaking of the 70s, I recently had the chance to watch a bunch of episodes from the American series Good Times and I was shocked at how it critically took up so many important social and political issues. Set in the notorious Chicago Cabrini Green projects, the episodes I saw managed to be funny and directly critique racialized poverty, inflation and oil politics, and the rise of the surveillance society. Can you imagine a show today doing that?

3. On a final pop-culture note, let me fast forward to the present. I'm not a huge fan of Carlos Mencia's humor because although I know the trends in this type of comedy circuit are about pushing the envelope and crossing taboo lines, I still can't stomach some of the things he makes fun of. Having laid out this disclaimer, I will link to his video Dee Dee Dee. I can't help it, these days I see, read, and hear so many things that have me going around singing to myself "dee dee dee". Watch the video and see what I mean.

1. Maybe because I spend so much time monitoring the activities of people whose mentality seems eternally lodged in the 1970s, i've become stuck on one particular iranian 70s star: Marjan. I think she rules, in a 70s kind of way, of course. So have a listen and enjoy, but be careful it is addictive.

2. Speaking of the 70s, I recently had the chance to watch a bunch of episodes from the American series Good Times and I was shocked at how it critically took up so many important social and political issues. Set in the notorious Chicago Cabrini Green projects, the episodes I saw managed to be funny and directly critique racialized poverty, inflation and oil politics, and the rise of the surveillance society. Can you imagine a show today doing that?

3. On a final pop-culture note, let me fast forward to the present. I'm not a huge fan of Carlos Mencia's humor because although I know the trends in this type of comedy circuit are about pushing the envelope and crossing taboo lines, I still can't stomach some of the things he makes fun of. Having laid out this disclaimer, I will link to his video Dee Dee Dee. I can't help it, these days I see, read, and hear so many things that have me going around singing to myself "dee dee dee". Watch the video and see what I mean.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fakhravar Answers his Critics: They are all Jealous of Me

Neo-Con poster boy amir-abbas fakhravar has sunk to a new low, and since I have previously announced this blog to be an ad-hoc Fakhravar watch, I see no other choice but to report on it. For those who can read persian, you can check everything I will speak about on his newly inaugurated blog
.

As Fakhravar comfortably hangs out somewhere in the DC area trying out new hairstyles and dreaming up lies to feed the unsuspecting U.S. media, two Iranian activists suffer in prison: the elderly lawyer Nasser Zerrafshan and the recently re-arrested Ahmad Batebi.

Following Fakhravar's shameful self-promotional activities with the U.S. neo-cons after his "escape" from Iran, both Zerafshan and Batebi made public statements condemning Fakhravar and denying their support for his claims about Iran and Iranian activists. Batebi's statement can still be found on his site here, and Zerafshan's letter has been posted on a number of sites including this one.

Fakhravar's responses to Zerafshan and Batebi's condemnations would be quite hilarious, if it were not for the fact that they are utterly disgusting.

Are you ready for his explanations? here we go:

A) In addressing Zerafshan, Fakhravar resorts to referring to the respected activist as "the old man" and claims that the only reason Zerafshan has spoken out against Fakhravar's charlatan tactics is because of jealousy. Yes, folks, jealousy! According to Fakhravar, Zerafshan was so enraged that Fakhravar and not him had been granted a PEN literary award that he wrote up the said letter as an act of revenge. Go ahead and read Fakhravar's post if you don't believe me.

B) Fakhravar's response to Batebi's letter is even better, and by better I mean worse. Since his statement on the matter was made in the comments section of his blog and I can't link to it directly, I am copying and pasting the entire comment further below. You can always go to the comments section and find it for yourself.

In the case of Batebi, Fakhravar does not blame jealousy, at least not Batebi's jealousy. He accuses Batebi's wife of fabricating the statement and attempting to cause a rift between Batebi and himself!

Here is the accusation, in Fakhravar's own words:

آقای بهزاد مهرانی
نامه ای که با نام احمد باطبی نوشته شده، در واقع توسط سمیه بینات نوشته شده است. قبل از دستگیری احمد، خیلی مفصل با هم صحبت کرده بودیم و قبول کرده بود که این یک اشتباه و سوÂ’ تفاهم بزرگ بوده است. در این مورد آقای ایرج جمشیدی و خانم غزل امید که شرح مکالمهÂ’ من و دوست قدیمی ام احمد باطبی را شنیده اند، میتوانند بهترین شهود باشند (خانم غزل امید از کانادا چند روز قبل از دستگیری احمد، conference call تلفنی بین من از واشنگتن و احمد از تهران را ترتیب داده بود و خودشون به مدت پنج ساعت شاهد گفتگوی من و احمد دربارهء این نامه بودند.)
اگر دوستانی و خود سمیه بینات صلاح میدانند من در مورد علت رفتار زشت سمیه خانم و دلیلی که ایشان تلاش کرد بین من و احمد فاصله بیاندازد و اسراری که سعی دارد به این شکل پنهان کند، در یک نامهء سرگشاده صحبت کنم. منتظر جواب شخص سمیه بینات خواهم بود


So while Batebi, who Fakhravar claims is a close friend, is in dire condition in jail and his poor wife Somaye Bayanat is knocking on every door to secure justice for her husband, Mr. Fakhravar decides to attack Somaye and accuse her of deceptive behavior.

what a prince!

Mr. Fakhravar, we are watching you. And we wont let you or your sponsors manipulate the struggles of Iranians working for social justice to further your own ends.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Until I read it on Haji Washington's blog, I had forgotten that today marks the anniversary of Saddam's attack on Iran.

Mr. Rumsfeld and his clan, who have the blood of over a million Iranians and Iraqis on their hands for the brutal eight year war that they supported, can now add another 3500 Iraqis per month to the lives that have been lost on account of their lies.

Iran does not occupy any sovereign countries, and will not allow occupation. One day soon, Iraq will also be free from occupation, and the two nations and peoples can begin to rebuild the ties that foreign interests have long attempted to sever.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

1. Chavez calling Bush the devil is not so remarkable, since he is prone to loony tirades against bush, what surprised me is the clapping and cheers that came from the floor of the general assembly in response to Chavez's comments.

2. To the person with the IP from York University in Toronto who has been leaving comments for me: thank you so much. I love to see these reactions from you; they cool my heart, as we say in persian, and remind me why I should make sure to blog as much as I can.

3. This boy likes to talk tough on behalf of an international community (which is neither international nor a community), but a recent poll of 25 nations found that the majority favor only a diplomatic route in response to the manufactured iran nuclear "crisis". I think this survey and the article that covers it are flawed in many ways, it is noteworthy that even when pollsters try their best to frame things in a way to get a certain
result, there is no world mandate for aggression against Iran.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

1. Quote of the day comes from a U.S. Republican Senator: "Ahmadinejad -- I call him Ahmad-in-a-head -- I think he's a Hitler type of person". Ahmad-in-a-head? What does that mean? Are we supposed to find the senator clever for making school-yard jabs making fun of someone's name? You would think that a guy with a name like Voinovich would be a bit more sensitive about the issue.

2. In other unseemly public behavior from a senator, Rick Santorum of "spreading santorum" fame, threw a mini-fit because he is not pleased with the press-coverage he is getting in his bid for re-election. In addition to the regressive domestic policies he supports, Santorum is one of the key figures in U.S congress who consistently favors radical and unrepresentative voices in the Iranian diaspora and throws obstacles in the path of those with a sincere desire to bring about solutions to conflicts concerning Iran and the rest of West Asia. It is very satisfying to see him have to sweat it out and face a tough fight.

3. The war profiteers Halliburton KBR want to be granted immunity like that which is granted to the U.S. occupation forces in Iraq. This audacious demand comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the families of civilian contractors alleging that "Halliburton Co. sent civilian drivers into combat zones to protect its military supply contract". Imagine that, Cheney's Halliburton KBR showing blatant disregard for human lives in order to turn over a profit. I doubt the suing families will have much success against Halliburton, but let's hope it draws some attention to their despicable practices.

Monday, September 18, 2006

1. Read this sentence in the voice of stan from south park: I learned something today!

I learned that the Council on Foreign Relations is an "American Leftist Group".

Who knew?

Well these damn lefties have raised the ire of the lunatic fringe of the right wing because they are hosting a meeting with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad, and really, they've got a point this time. I mean why initiate dialogue with an elected current head of state when you could take the word of the unemployed son of an unelected head of state who has not even visited Iran in the last three decades?

2. The headlines in a bunch of U.S. papers claim "pope apologizes to Muslims" when in fact he said he was sorry for the reaction his speech caused. There is a huge difference between apologizing for his incendiary words and feeling sorry that Muslims reacted with anger, and I wish the U.S. press would be honest enough to reflect that distinction instead of deceiving us with cheap tricks.

3. So the first woman tourist in space is an Iranian and a Muslim. Like oh my gawd i didnt know them mooslims let their women out of the house, much less out of the atmosphere!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Entry Suspended

It seems that Iranians with valid visas and legitimate immigration paperwork are having increasing trouble either gaining entry on those visas and/or having their applications processed.

Following the denial of entry and deportation en masse of a number of Iranian professionals who had been granted a visa to attend a reunion, and after learning of the ordeal of a friend whose re-entry into the U.S. has been denied despite the fact of her holding a multiple-entry visa, Sima and I, along with Safoura, the friend in question, have decided to begin collecting information about similar cases.

The aim is to document and to begin addressing the ordeal of many whose lives stand in suspension as a result of discriminatory immigration practices. If you or someone you know has faced similar problems, please contact me or sima or send an email to entrysuspended@gmail.com.