Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy New Year

My Haft-seen table, as you can see, is still incomplete. My wheat sprouts are refusing to grow properly, and I haven't had a chance yet to buy fresh flowers and gold fish (although I am considering having only symbolic fish this year, the poor things rarely survive the 13 days of new year's celebrations).

But since I probably wont have a chance to post again until after the New Year, I thought I would put this picture for now and wish everyone--especially Iranians, Afghans, Tajiks, Kurds, and Azarbaijanis who celebrate the traditions of Norooz--a very happy spring equinox.


update: There is a saying in Persian that a good year is apparent from its spring. Today, i heard much good news. The two remaining women's rights activists in jail, Shadi Sadr and Mahboobeh Abbasgholizadeh were freed on bail, the political prisoner Nasser Zerafshan completed his prison term and was freed, and the political prisoner Ahmad Batebi has been given a near month's furlough for the new year holiday.

I am really happy that all of these folks will be able to spend the new year with their loved ones, and since i randomly stumbled on this happy new year song by the late iranian singer haydeh, it seemed like it was a sign that I should post it for all to enjoy:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

PMS in the knees and Dead Beets

Whenever I am working too hard or under a lot of pressure, random things impact me in inordinate ways. I find things way more funny, sad, horrifying, etc. than they would otherwise be on days when I am feeling more level-headed. For example, someone sent the image below in one of these informational emails that get passed around on listservs. The idea is to give a visual representation of your body's possible problems and list the ways you can treat them with your food. I crack up every time I look at it:

Why is this so funny? Because all of the ailments are matched with their appropriate body parts, except for PMS, which is pointing to the back of the person's knee! When was the last time you heard someone complaining about PMS symptoms in their knee? But in case you do get those darn PMS knee problems, this diagram suggests that you eat corn flakes.

Here is another image that caught my eye:

I am the least forgetful person I know, in fact, I suffer from too much memory. But somehow I got caught up in doing something the other day and burnt these beats. There was something so lonely and sad about them, with that little one clinging to the big beat, I had to take a picture on the spot.

I have lots of other projects and deadlines to meet in the weeks ahead, so you might be seeing more of these wacko posts for a while yet.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

1. The Iranian nationalist freaks are at it again. This time all the hoo-ha is over the depiction of ancient Persians in a film that is based on a comic book! The stupidity of focusing on this issue at this political moment when so much else is going on should be obvious, but thanks to Nima for taking the time to actually lay it all out.

If these people are so concerned about negative and inaccurate depictions about Iranians, why dont they put together a systematic effort to deal with the relentless barrage of misinformation on Iran and Iranians that passes as news and anlaysis in the western press?

Even the British (the British for god's sake, who have historically been behind like 7 out of 10 anti-Iran conspiracies) have launched a watchdog group to monitor media bias against Iran. This group states that "by monitioring and challenging unbalanced reporting, the Committee hope to ensure that the media are not used to spin this nation into supporting or participating another illigitimate and unjustified military action."

Thank you very much to the Westminster Committee on Iran’s Media Monitoring Group, at least someone has their priorities straight when it comes to challenging mass media depictions of Iranians.

2. Speaking of nationalists with screwed up priorities, by and large reactions by Iranian male commentators on the recent arrests of women activists in Tehran has been stunning, and I don't mean in a good way.

From what I have seen, a number of vocal men whose writings often appear on blogs and online newsletters have taken it upon themselves to cast top-down judgements on the Iranian women's movement and advise them on how they should have pursued their aims. These dudes, who come fom a range of backgrounds and who are in fact the ideological enemies of one another, nonetheless seem to agree on one thing: that the women activists in Iran are not smart or mature enough to articulate their goals and strategies on their own!

The ignorance and arrogance behind these fatwas merit careful consideration and a forceful response, and I am certain that many will be put together in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I should have posted this earlier, but I really haven't had a spare moment, and even now, I am too tired to provide a proper explanation.

Thankfully, other bloggers have been pretty good about providing updated information, and Sanam has collected links of English language coverage of the events.

Please consider signing this petition calling for the immediate release of women activists who were practicing their rights of peaceful assembly as guaranteed under the Iranian Constitution.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

In Iran, even school teachers are hardcore!

Some thousands of people joined demonstrating teachers whose unions have organized gatherings to protest unliveable wages and demand that the parliament act in response to their grievances.

I hope they are granted their well-deserved demands before some opportunists from 10,000 miles away sweep in to hijack their cause and undermine their hard work.

For more pictures of the protest, you can click here or look at this page of one of the Iranian news agencies.