June 30, 2003

First Nations!

One of the first contrasts between U.S. and Canada, is the way an immigrant is treated and the ensuing ramifications of this experience. Having experienced both countries as a newcomer, I have had a front row seat to this episode. In U.S. an immigrant, particularly the first generation with language and cultural difficulties, is never allowed to feel at home and is always treated as a second class citizen. This starts from their first encounters when instead of the usual extended greetings and niceties granted to everyone else, they are automatically confronted by the dreaded "where are you from" question, up to their civil and civic rights such as taxation without representation and full participation in the democratic process.

I attribute part of this predicament to the way native communities are viewed, treated and dealt with in the U.S. I'll give you an example;

Today I was talking to a co-worker, a middle-age woman I don't normally deal with much and we were at most on a hi-bye level up to now. We were assigned a common project and while on a break, she asked me (yes THAT question): "where are you from?" and quickly followed by "are you Indian?". I get that a lot in the warmer months of the year as California sun quickly turns my olive skin into a dark bronze brownish color, making me look more South Asian than anything. I replied "no, I'm Iranian" resisting the urge to say "eyeranian". She replied; "oh, my husband is Indian, I don't mean from India, but he is..." then she used one hand to outline an imaginary headgear, circled her mouth tapping her lips with one hand and moaning a sort of a song, while trying to do a sort of a dance with her feet, then continued "you know? Indian".

I was so embarrassed. Mostly for her in that she is in love (presumably) with someone from a different culture and has children that carry some of his genes and heritage, yet the only way she could speak of his ethnicity and traditions was to imitate that ridiculous dance. This obviously is the only image she has of the background her husband comes from.

In comparison, not many in Canada would even use a false term like "Indian". That murderer Columbus may have made a mistake 500 years ago, but do we need to repeat his mistake over and over again? Native Canadians have asserted their rights in many different ways, and despite attacks by various right-wing governments, they still make gains in an struggle to achieve justice and equality. This in effect has minimized this forged European-Canadian sense of who belongs here and who is a transplant from some other land that in reality has no business making other transplants feel as if they don't belong or that they are somehow less native than those who only became "natives" themselves not long ago.

Another term you will never hear there (at least I never did) is "tribe" in reference to native communities and their various segments. To most Canadians, it is fraudulent to consider France, Britain, Spain and Portugal of the era as countries, while sometimes larger and more complex communities of natives are considered tribes. After all, the entire concept of "nations" as we know it today is not that old and in that time, most countries were still a lose collection of various cities, town, villages and people, often undefined by any specific borders or common civic institutions. Very similar to the way Natives conducted their affairs.

So, the Cree, Sioux, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Shoshone and Seminole (amongst others) are all considered "first nations". In the case of Canada (a nation comprising of many other nations and peoples) the British and French are credited as "founding nations", but are equal with all others who came afterwards to help in building of a single nation.

I salute Canada's First Nations for their bravery and resilience to stand up for their rights and in the process, making a positive change in the lives of other Canadians. May you achieve what is morally yours, starting with this types of measures.

Posted by Pedram at 11:48 PM | Comments (20)

Joke!

An old Egyptian man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, Abdul, who used to help him, was being held by the FBI for aiding and abetting terrorists. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

Dear Abdul,

I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.

Your Dad, Mohammad.

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Dad,

For heaven's sake, don't dig up that garden, that's where I buried the biological weapons.

Love, Abdul.

At 4 a.m. the next morning, F.B.I. agents and local police showed up and dug up the entire area without finding any weapons. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.


Dear Dad,

Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love, Abdul.


*Thank you BN

Posted by Pedram at 11:33 PM | Comments (2)

Monday Morning Motivationals

You didn't think I'd forget, did ya?

Source

============================================


Plan your days and work your plan. Before leaving your
office in the evening, or first thing in the morning,
outline your day. Review your schedule, choose your most
important activities, and FOCUS on them! Every single
morning, I list the three most important things I need to
do that day. They may be work or play or something in
between, but they are my CHOICES and once committed to
them, I don't go to bed until they are done.


============================================

'Be faithful in small things because it is in them that
your strength lies.'
-- Mother Teresa

'Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of
choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing
to be achieved.'
-- Jeremy Kitson

'We don't know who we are until we see what we can do.'
-- Martha Grimes

'Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the
whole staircase, just take the first step.'
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Pedram at 11:23 AM

June 29, 2003

Wise Hostage!

The "hostage crisis" and the ensuing 444 days of illegal imprisonment of U.S. embassy staff in Tehran was a national and international tragedy that will have ripple effects for years, both in Iran as well as abroad. For one thing, their release or "October Surprise" mess helped revive a whole new generation right-wing ideologues under both Reagan administrations, as well as Bush Sr. and now Jr. reign.

I have only met two of the actual hostages in person so far and found them to be at total opposite points of view regarding the entire ordeal. One was deeply bitter and eventually sued the Iranian government and won. The other had a very interesting philosophical view towards the whole personal nightmare he was part of, not holding any grudges, somewhat sympathetic and still very gracious towards Iran and Iranians.

Today I came across this article by yet another one, via a link on BuzzMachine. I do not know Bruce Laingen but it is obvious that he did not waste his years of being stationed in Tehran and shows a very insightful grasp of the politics there. I wish more westerners, particularly U.S. citizens and administration people would listen to reasonable voices such as Laingen's, instead of hawks like Karl Rove, Michael Ledeen and Rob Sobhani. Here's an excerpt from his article:

Regime change in Tehran is inevitable. But it must come from within. Iran is not Iraq. It is big; it is populous: 70 million and counting. It is overwhelmingly Shiite. Its people are culture-proud and intensely nationalistic. The current student unrest is symptomatic, but there is little evidence of a burgeoning public movement sufficient to press revolutionary change. A quasidemocratic process and an evolving civil society work to keep political agitation largely under control, with the Basij and other militants put on the streets to curb student unrest. After the climactic events of the revolution and the eight years of devastating war with Iraq, there is little public readiness for institutional upheaval. Nor is there any evident alternative leadership of any stature among the students or other opposition. Change will come, but it can and should be "soft" change. Playing our cards wisely, there are ways we can encourage it.
Posted by Pedram at 11:48 PM | Comments (6)

June 28, 2003

A Couple Of Notes!

I was watching this television show about how forensic investigators used the style of writing from some notes left with a victim to find a suspect and eventually bring him to justice. It is true that each of us have certain writing style, very unique to ourselves. These guys used the usage of abbreviations, composition, active/passive sentences, use of adjacent, nouns, fractions, brackets, capitals, hyphens, punctuation, etc. to compare and eventually find their man. This would obviously apply even more to someone with certain volume of writing or perhaps a book out there and makes it easy for the experts, as well as curious amateurs to guess/find the actual writer, even if pseudonyms are used or there's no other identification marks.

On a different unrelated note, one of the regular readers wanted me to pass along this information; She apparently has done her homework and discovered that according to the web site for Publisher's Clearance House, the country of Botswana is in desperate need of some democracy, so she has taken it up to write them a new constitution, choose suitable future presidents, members of parliament and heads of judiciary, armed forces and security police. After all, she is a software engineer from Palo Alto which makes her perfectly qualified to offer her expertise in such matters. If you are interested to know more and can read Setswana, contact me and I'll forward your information to her. She is also available on private consulting basis for a nominal fee, so if you are from one of the desperate backwards third world countries in need, let me know. She'll even bring her own Coke as well as Pepsi bottles.

Posted by Pedram at 10:18 PM

More Mini Polls

Here are the results of the rest of archived eyeranian mini polls:

In the least favorite opposition figure, Rajavi just barely beat out Pahlavi with 37% and 33% of the votes. Nourizadeh was a surprise 3rd at 16% followed by "anyone on LA TV's" at 7%. O-Hum got more votes than Bani-Sadr, 5% vs. only 2%.

Next was the question of how we should react if Iraqis choose an Iranian style theocracy as their form of government; 45% said we should respect their choice, while 29% suggested bombing Baghdad again and 16% believe we shouldn't let that happen (who said Neo-Cons don't read this blog?). Other choices got 10% of the total votes.

I guess most of you consider me "progressive" (42%) and "liberal" (21%). "Funny", "Left" and "Dangerous" also got some votes. On the other hand, most voters labeled themselves as Middle/Neutral (33%) and Liberal (30%).

If Iran was free tomorrow, an overwhelming 97% of you wouldn't vote for Reza Pahlavi. You are very smart folks!

Most Iranians (57%) who voted did not want U.S. intervention in Iran. The same also applies for most Non-Iranians. Maybe surprising, 34% of voters were Iranians who wanted that intervention. I guess we can all live in an utopian fantasy.

Almost half of you said you love every part of this blog at 47%, while 24% loved the political stuff and 18% prefer others' comments.

I've also closed the questions concerning how often you visit this blog as well as your favorite electoral systems. To see those results, along with the ones on top, click on 'View Stats" at the bottom of the poll box, then click on "View Archives".

I don't think I need to remind anyone about how unscientific and limited these mini-polls are, so I hope nobody takes the results too seriously. However, it is a fun way of seeing what and how other visitors think. I'll be posting some new ones, look for them.

Posted by Pedram at 09:45 PM

June 26, 2003

The Convention

Thank you all for being generally positive towards the idea of Iranian National Convention. Just a couple of notes:

- As much as I may like to, I think it is foolish to consider the old blood of Iranian politics dead and irrelevant. Particularly since some of them are still held in high regards by people. Example? Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan is as old school as it gets in Iranian politics, yet they still have substantial support amongst the Kurds and to ignore them is ignoring probably one of only two voices of Kurds (along with Komala) that could be present. Another example is certain National Front figures who despite their own faults (and perhaps solely based on the eternal popularity of Dr. Mossadegh) just could not be ignored. I think the groups that ARE in fact irrelevant need to be present more than others. Let people see and hear them and decide once and for all who they are dealing with.

- Yes, some may refuse to attend. So what? If they refuse a free tribune to speak directly to their people after 20 years of hiding, they are either stupid, have nothing to say or are afraid their hidden agendas will be out in the open. Exposing all and every one of the three would be a good thing. Wouldn't you love to see free journalists question Massoud Rajavi about his reasons for marrying Bani-Sadr's daughter? Yes, it may seem like a small issue, but I think you can tell a lot about how you value human beings, their relationships and especially women by repeating the answers he has offered in the past. He won't come? His loss.

- I can't control what happens inside Iran. I don't know what movements/leaders may or may not emerge from there either. I can advocate/try to organize/push for this here and not there, and to not do it because of what may or may not be going on inside Iran would be unwise.

- Let's not be so negative people. What has negativity gotten us over the last two decades? If you don't feel it is a worthy cause or is a waste of time, please have the courtesy of not trying to talk others out of doing something either.

Posted by Pedram at 11:40 PM | Comments (3)

Mini Polls

I have closed and archived a few of the "Mini Polls" you randomly see on the right side of this page, below links. Here are some results:

On the question of who your least favorite opposition figure is; Rajavi just barely beat out Reza with 37% and 33% of the votes respectively. Nourizadeh was a surprise third at 16%, followed by "any one on LA TV's" at 7% and even O-Hum (where are they now?) got 5% of the total votes and beat Bani-sadr at 2%.

I'll post more of the results tomorrow!

Posted by Pedram at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

Torture

Over the years I have written volumes of stuff, some of it published and most of it not. Short commentaries, long articles, stories, memories, etc. and in two languages. However there's one topic I have never been able to write about. Nothing, Nada, Nil, Zero, Zilch! That one topic, is torture. Tonight I wrote something for here, yet deleted it before it made it to the "publish" click.

Today is/was United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Something very profound and strange happens to a person after torture. It clearly changes the individual forever, even in limited exposure. This day is dedicated to all those "changed" people and with the hope that their numbers will one day not be on the rise.

Posted by Pedram at 11:39 PM | Comments (2)

June 25, 2003

What to do. I

One of the major hurdles for Iranian opposition groups abroad is an atmosphere of mistrust and caution that prevents them from even having a discussion, never mind co-operating on any common goals. There are many valid and false reasons for this phenomenon and this will not be the proper forum to properly address those. However it is even more clear now that without building bridges between various factions and starting a constructive and plural environment of at least limited collaboration, building a true united front against the tyranny of the regime is impossible.

Having said that, I dont believe we are at that stage yet. Before providing the conditions for each group and personality to talk to one another, we need to provide a situation for each to talk alone. This may sound silly but over the last 20 years, most groups, organizations and individual activists within the political spectrum in Iran, have had very little opportunity to simply talk, present a platform, paint a picture, and address their constituents. Most, if any work in this area has been limited to small gatherings of mostly die-hard fans, plus articles and announcements in partisan newsletters and publications, and with almost no reflection and coverage in the main stream media.

The situation is so bad that even political activists within the community have a difficult time discussing various factions positions at any particular time. This is even more relevant during the dynamic periods of critical change or when a spirited new event is taking place. In short, we need a more accurate picture of where each outfit is standing and what their current view entails to use that information in making some calculated decisions about our future actions.

I believe this is also important from a historical documentation perspective. One of the major problems with the revolution of 1979 was this lack of having solid plans and commitments by various leaders to hold them accountable to at a future date. This was particularly key as it related to Ayatollah Khomeinis positions and platform. Most such statements were only transferred to the masses on very poor quality audio-tapes of his speeches in Paris. Almost no record of most of those speeches are widely available today and I am even told that people have been harassed for having such material in their possession. We all remember Ayatollahs promise to not interfere in politics, return to seminary, turn the future of the country to the votes of its people, provide utilities for free and even deliver a monthly stipend to each citizen for their share of oil revenues. However, very little historical documentation of such commitments are available today.

This time we need some solid answers and particular plans. Nothing like the hodge-podge answers of well let the people decide or lets unite for now and plan later that we hear often. Solid commitments to critical questions; type of government, womens rights, rights of ownership, separation of government and religion, and many more. These statements can also be the building blocks of a democratic coalition, based on transparency and complete disclosure. A, B and C may agree on issues 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 but wish to compromise on 3 and decide that 4 is not significant enough to hinder further collaborations. Or decide once and for all that their views are too diverse to ever merge on certain points and be forced to find other partners or work in isolation.

In that front, I propose a monthly or bi-monthly convention type of gathering, with ALL parties invited. Lets call it Iranian National Convention for now, held each time in a center, resort or gathering place in various parts of the globe. A weekend of speeches and Q&A periods, with particular questions for each gathering. Each group sends delegates to deliver their agenda and answer media questions. Public is not invited as security is a major concern. However, every minute of the meetings is recorded and democratic TV stations can broadcast the events live to Iran and abroad, with print media following with their versions. Let them all come and record their answers, the monarchist, MKO, national front, anarchists of the left, small and large parties, important and not-so-important personalities.

First one is held in a small hotel in Northern Ontario. The topic is It is ten years after the fall of this regime and you are elected president, what are your plans? The next one is at a small chalet in Black Forest area of Germany and the topic is Your views on the most fundamental points of Irans last 100 year history. Then comes the meeting at a resort outside Sidney and the discussions turn to Womens Rights and so on.

It is vital to have the meetings in one place and within a short period in diverse locations for multiple reasons;

1- Focuses medias attention to one event, maximizing coverage. 2- Mobilizes Iranians of various corners of the globe in their local event and its side effects 3- Gives everyone a chance to see others presentations live and unfiltered, 4- Causes further publicity and coverage by non-Irani media. 5- Introduces various personalities to one another and 6- Who knows if X and Y may meet in the hallway between two meetings and strike up a conversation that may lead to much more.

The conventions must be sponsored by an entity such as the European Union or even some member parties and coalitions. U.S. sponsorship will cause further negative reactions and the U.N. has no mandate to facilitate the fall of its member governments. The process continues for the next year or until other steps are taken by majority of participants to decide on collaborating on some common ambitions. After the original series and if need be, other sets of meetings to facilitate dialogue are planned. This time inviting different parties to sit around the table and debate certain issues.

This may all seem simplistic in approach. I agree. However we need answers to some very simple needs at this point and simple solutions are better than no solutions. What do you think?

Posted by Pedram at 11:49 PM | Comments (13)

O' Canada!

The latest supporter of MKO to end her life as a human torch in London last week, was a Canadian from Ottawa named Meda Hassani.

My condolences to her people and coutrymen (in both Iran as well as Canada) for losing yet another bright star in a useless excercise of sensationalistic misconduct.

Hope this was the last of yet another vein tactic.

Posted by Pedram at 11:49 PM | Comments (2)

June 24, 2003

Pepsi or Coke?

It was a cool Friday afternoon in Montreal, somewhere around the fall of 1987. I had taken the overnight train from Toronto to attend a friends wedding that Saturday. I loved taking the train that departed just before midnight and arrived early in the morning as I could sleep most of the way and between all those stops at tiny towns and cities along the way, not wasting any productive time en route. In Montreal I checked into this cute and cozy bed & breakfast I knew. It was clean, reasonable and centrally located right on Rue Sherbrooke.

I spent the morning checking out some of my favorite spots: Place Des Arts, Phillips Square, Bishop Ave., Campus of McGill and Atwater metro station, each one bringing back sweet and sometimes sad memories. After lunch at Pasha, I called a friend to get together for coffee and rehash even more memories. Somewhere between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, I made my way to the sidewalk in front of this large hotel across from my room to wait for her to pick me up. The winter wind that must start somewhere near the North Pole and often flies straight into the streets of Montreal, unobstructed and direct, had already started its annual visit to the city and the weak afternoon sun was no match for the cold air. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck, tucking the ends under my overcoat and prepared for my friend to be unfashionably late. Iranians are always late. I remember somewhere on an overseas flight reading an article about how to conduct business internationally and under Iran it said if you have a meeting with an executive or upper manager personnel and they show up on time, you can be sure he/she is not that important and is definitely not the decision maker. How sad, our secret is out for the world to know. I digressed.

As Im waiting and watching the street for her familiar car, I notice somebody approaching from right. He gets my attention as he is talking to himself, sometimes quietly and then suddenly very loud. He is clothed in what youd recognize as typical attire for a street or homeless person, or whatever the current PC term is. Old stained coat, several scarves, pants that havent been washed in a while and worn dirty shoes. He is probably in his late thirties or early forties, but looks many years older. I try not to stare and look the other way, aimlessly searching for her car again without much success. Suddenly I feel the homeless man standing very close to me. As I turn my face, the man I later find is named Bob has stopped besides me and with a calm voice and very deliberately says Pepsi or Coke? then without waiting for a reply continues to walk away.

Im puzzled and a bit taken back. Before I get a chance to process what just happened in my mind, I see him turn around and again as he walks slowly by me, he turns ever so subtly saying Pepsi or Coke?, then walks away again. This was repeated twice more with Bob asking the same question then walking away chatting with himself, as if he was replying to his own query. Curiosity was killing me and despite knowing what had happened to the cat, I decided that I needed to find out more. So, the next time Bob turned around and got near me, I stepped forward almost blocking his path. Bob stopped, looked up into my eyes and said Pepsi or Coke?. As I asked what he meant, Bob found someone whod listen to his story and we spent the next half hour or so chatting away. Well, in reality it was more like he talked and I occasionally mumbled a noise in agreement or even amazement, then he continued his stories unfazed by my interruptions.

It turns out Bob was an American and an ex-professor from a respected east coast university. He had snapped at some point, spending time in a hospital and then exiled by the community to the streets. Bob wasnt sure how he had ended up in Montreal, just that he had come on a train hitching rides all over the continent as a Hobo. But he had enjoyed Canada and stayed for the past few years. He was articulate and had a large vocabulary. Yet he had difficulty concentrating on a topic and would often wonder off branching into other subjects and issues. It took him going through 15 other topics before he could tell me about his question.

I find out that without realizing it, I was standing right under a gigantic U.S. flag flying in front of the hotel along with about 10 or 12 other flags. Bobs question wasnt really for me; he would ask the same question whenever he came across the Star - Spangled Banner. He had probably done it for years and for all I know is still doing it someplace. The question was in reality his statement about the state of democracy in his homeland. Bob believed the only political choices left for Americans are like choosing between Coke and Pepsi. Both look the same, similar color and general feel, some subtle differences in taste and ingredients, but essentially the same. Hed say but what if Id want a cold beer, ginger ale or even a glass of water? Nope, sorry, not available!

Coke or Pepsi, Democrat or Republican, what is the difference? Really, what is the difference? he said. Of course he would then wonder off, talking about the environment, the economy or corruption of the justice system, but hed end up asking the same question; Pepsi or Coke?

The sound of my friends automobile horn interrupted our conversation. I look over and she is half way out of her car, waving her arms and trying to get my attention. I guess she had arrived several minutes earlier and was tired of waiting while I chatted with some bum. I look back and Bob had already left, walking fast several feet away, once again chatting with himself. He entered and left my life the same way; inconspicuous, understated and very quietly. However, looking back at something so brief and so long ago, he obviously left an impression.

As I read the statements by some of Democratic Party presidential hopefuls, the amount of money pledged already to the 2004 campaign of former Governor of Texas, recall the mess surrounding the election of 2000, think of how many different hurdles and obstacles are there to make it impossible for any credible third and fourth and fifth party candidates to seriously challenge any office, the good old boys network of who you know versus what you stand for and the biased and controlled media needed to get any message out to the average voter, I cant help but think of Bob and wonder if there are any real choices left in America. Real choices besides Pepsi or Coke, besides Democrats or Republicans, besides bad and worst.

Next time a server asks if youd like anything to drink, think of Bob and order ginger ale. Anything but Pepsi or Coke and be assured, as promised by another fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen; Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.


Posted by Pedram at 11:26 PM | Comments (11)

June 23, 2003

Monday Morning Motivationals

Let us focus on one thing and one thing only this week; let's smile more!

You know you feel better when you smile, even if it's faked. You also know that othere people react more positively to a smiling person. So, why don't we all try to smile a few more times this week and see if it causes any subtle or obvious improvement in our general attitudes and surroundings. Deal?

Source

============================================

'Those who do not read are no better off than those who
cannot read', and I would go a step further to argue that
those who refuse to make time for reading are tragically
poor, for they are needlessly holding themselves back.
Brian Tracy argues that reading a few minutes each morning,
on your lunch break or before bed is THE key to success in
any field, and I agree.


============================================

'In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give
up, that makes us rich.'
-- Henry Ward Beecher

'We write our own destiny. We become what we do.'
-- Madame Chiang Kai-Shek

'There are two cardinal sins from which all others spring:
impatience and laziness.'
-- Franz Kafka

Posted by Pedram at 12:54 AM

June 22, 2003

Ledeen Speaks!

My last post on Michael Ledeen caused much discussion. However, one of the comments left was by non other than Michael Ledeen himself.

As my own internet identity had been hijacked and misused in the past, I did not reply to the post considering that it may have been faked. Yesterday I forwarded the post and other information to a known address of Mr. Ledeen to ensure it was in fact written by him.

Michael Ledeen replied today to confirm that it was indeed he who wrote the comment.

I sincerely welcome this opportunity for exchange of ideas, even if I have called him our enemy #1 in the past. I hope his effort to reach out to myself as well as other Iranians (bloggers or otherwise) can provide him with a more accurate image of what needs to be done to help in our struggle for freedom.

I also hope this can be the start of a healthy and contructive dialogue, where both sides can learn from one another and perhaps common grounds can be explored to achieve some of the mutual goals.

My reply can be read by clicking on "Click here to read..." link below. I look forward to your replies and comments, including those by Michael Ledeen and others in his camp.

Dear Mr. Ledeen;

Thank you for taking the time to leave a reply to my original post and other comments on my web log at eyeranian.net.

Your attempt to build bridges of contact and dialogue is commendable, particularly with those in widely opposing points of view. It is also refreshing to see your attempt to engage and exchange ideas with other segments of Iranians society, as in the past this circle has arguably been very limited. Perhaps the utterly false premise of your support and preference for one group over all others also stems from this perception of your non-inclusive approach.

I respectfully enclose a brief reply to some of your comments;

Separation of religion and government is a fundamental step towards democracy. I agree with you on that point wholeheartedly. This is a universal issue and needs to be addressed not only in Iran or even middle-east, but globally. For example, I have been accused of being anti-Israel in the past for advocating such separation for that country also. I do not believe the concept of a Jewish State or even Promised Land which bases its legitimacy of a government or political entity on religious belief and teachings of a particular faith is any more justifiable than the concept of velayate faqih and supremacy of a cleric as the indirect divine representative on earth. The same principal also applies to this country where certain Christian circles, mostly from a narrow section of that faith, have tried for years to impose their religious belief and practices on various aspects of its citizens lives, from reproductive rights, prayer in schools, equality of all before the law and even official holidays.

I am glad you support all the radios, which I assume includes all TV broadcasters also. However, since there are no other TV programs (for example) currently in operation, your support would only benefit the current crop and their limited agenda and points of view. Perhaps a more equitable approach would be to support establishment of new entities committed to diversity of ideas and opinions, or initiating guidelines and checks and balances, backed by an ombudsman/board of review set up for the current bunch to guarantee a democratic and fair representation. After all, if they want my tax money, they should be held accountable to certain minimum requirements.

As for your support of the revolutionaries against what Khamenei and Rafsanjani want, we disagree fundamentally. In my opinion, tyrants reign and flourish in fear and an atmosphere of violence and terror. They thrive in situations where they can dominate by instigating panic and anxiety, while they use force to quash the disgruntled, often using security concerns as an excuse. This has been the pattern of dictators and oppressors world-wide, be it by exploiting the potential affects of a foreign or domestic foe. Khamenei and Rafsanjanis of the world love the violence, chaos and hostility. What they fear and are without a weapon against is a non-violent movement based on logic and careful planning, instead of the disorder and anarchy of a revolution.

Current history of Iran is a prime example for this argument. Regime has had little trouble overwhelming revolutionary types who advocate an uprising or arms struggle (or both) in the past 20 years. Meanwhile the non-violent movement of the masses has steadily grown, using strategic goals and causes sometimes even temporary leaders to make gains, while creating appropriate institutions and grounds to build a positive and permanent evolution into a democracy. This is a point people like Tabarzadi do not understand and as a result fall behind the masses in its steady movement. You recall his unsuccessful but passionate pleas for the students to use his referendum slogans during the recent conflicts, not realizing he was the leader past his expiry date and new demands and agendas where being sought as he was insistent on old ones.

In short, most Iranians have arrived at a common conclusion, violence and the kind of revolution they orchestrated repeatedly over the last century, only caused further restrictions and a turmoil that enabled the unsavory elements to gain power and even steal their movement. This time they want to experience a movement similar to all other successful non-violent campaigns globally and by preparing the groundwork and establishing of a foundation of democratic ideas and principals. That is why you do not see Molotov Cocktails and other weapons used by the students and any improvised weapon is only used in a defensive fashion and to prevent further bloodshed.

Do I think most Iranian people are fundamentally pro-American? No I do not. Much more needs to be achieved to arrive there, besides there is no need for any sovereign nation and people to be pro another nation or people. I would never expect Americans to be pro-Iran either. However, do I think they would want to be our friends and allies? Id say yes. I think a mutually respectful relationship, where both sides are committed to and struggle for the common good of the larger global community, based on appreciation, recognition and comprehension of our differences as well as our common values is beneficial to both parties.

As for differences and similarities between you and myself pointed to in your note, I believe what we fight AGAINST is probably similar. The primary differences are what we fight FOR as well as how we plan to get there. My Experience Living during the last great revolution of the 20th century, and its following 20 years aftermath has taught me to not look for or advocate revolutions. This position, however difficult for someone in your situation to understand, does not advocate stability for the regime either. Gandhi didnt stabilize British rule in India, he shook it fundamentally and eventually uprooted it not by a revolution, but by more peaceful means of negative resistance. Same can be said for Mandela and ANC or Martin Luther King Jr.

Although theres always room for and the need to have Malcolm Xs in any struggle, its the Luther Kings who are immortalized based on their overall success and ability to achieve their goals not by way of violence and bloodshed, but through more civilized methods.

You are correct in that I do not know your sources. That is why I used the facts you had used and presented (plus many more this space would not allow me to offer) to make it obvious to any unbiased observer that these sources are not very accurate. This of course does not mean that you are not occasionally correct on some issues, but weighting the right versus bogus, sometimes ridicules items you have presented as facts (half million demonstration in Tehran, source of recent uprising, most of Isfahan demonstrating, etc.) it is hard to not wonder where this information comes from or how reliable it is. Perhaps your current attempt to communicate with Iranians of different backgrounds, like myself and this blogs other readers, could remedy this situation in the future.

I do acknowledge that you were one of very few people who assessed the current situation in Iran as pre-revolutionary crisis. However, I also believe you are wrong and for the sake of my people, I hope until the day democratic alternatives are put in place and some fundamental questions are answered, an immature revolution does not cause the freedom and liberty of Iranians to be postponed by years or decades again.

We may both be seeing the same tumor growing within and taking over the body of a patient that is Iran today. Your solution is to cut open, dig deep and remove it at earliest possible chance. Others like me see how the tumor has attached itself to other vital organs and effectively controls parts of the brain, heart and other essential appendages. We believe its sudden removal is not only unhealthy, but may in fact put the patients life at risk. Other remedies and precautions, including major lifestyle changes need to be in place, before the knife is used.

In conclusion, if my posts make it seem like I am full of venom towards yourself or others, I apologize. I am highly passionate about the freedom of my people and that passion may at times come across as personal and even hateful. I assure you that is not the case and I believe through a process of healthy dialogue, some common grounds can be found.

Mr. Ledeen, your harsh language of regime change, particularly in the aftermath of war and destruction in Irans two neighboring countries, portrays a violent image that a new generation of Iranians has worked hard to avoid. I urge you to perhaps justify and clarify your points in the future as some who have no good intentions will use this vocabulary to bring further devastations to our homeland.

As to what you can do to help, this is a great start. I hope you continue to listen more also. As you pointed out, it is OUR future we need to and are working hard to build. Our list of wants is extensive and even diverse, but some of what we do not want is;

1 - Any direct and indirect foreign interference, period.
2 Others hijacking our issues. We are well capable of presenting our own points of views. Perhaps give us the opportunity or demand that our voices are also included.
3 The monarchy! As someone suggested recently; this is a system our people were force-fed but managed to throw up. Nobody should be subjected to consuming his/her own vomit.
4 More deaths, violence and anarchy. Let us try it our way, for once.

I thank you in advance for your offer of assistance. There are plenty you could do to help. Ill be writing a series of posts on what I believe needs to be done to help promote democracy in Iran. Please do not hesitate to comment and/or get involved in the discussions. Your point of view, even if fundamentally opposed to my own, is welcomed and wanted. I already look forward to them.

I thank you again for taking the time to get involved in this way.

Sincerely,

Pedram Moallemian

Posted by Pedram at 11:09 PM | Comments (33)

June 21, 2003

Lawyers Unite!


Is there a lawyer in da house that can help me register a non-profit organization with a very small fee? Please contact me: pedram(at)eyeranian(dot)net

Posted by Pedram at 11:31 PM

June 20, 2003

My Quesadilla

So, here I am standing in front of a taco stand and waiting for my Carne Asada Quesadilla. There's a very drunk guy in front of me and a woman in her thirties behind me. The woman has a very strange looking nose and is wearing these very metal braces. The drunk guy is talking to himself. He tries to sit down at a table to our one side but loses balance and starts falling back, missing me and heading towards the woman. She attempts to jump out of the way almost falling in the process. I reach over with one hand trying to catch her fall while making an effort to also stop the drunk guy from hurting himself. They both manage to regain their balance and avoid falling. the woman says thank you. We make some small talk. I look like a hero now. Stand a bit more straight, suck my belly in and fake a macho smile. I pick up one of these free tabloid size papers laying on the table on the other side, pretending to read. Then I come across this cartoon, can't restrain myself and start laughing out loud, making a scene. The drunk guy barely glances at me, the guy behind the register hands me a bag, I look back and the woman is giving me one of those looks. The ones most guys my age with a few extra pounds and a few less hair don't get often anymore. I grab my bag, walk towards the car, still laughing loudly.

Here's the cartoon. Enjoy it:



Posted by Pedram at 11:52 PM | Comments (11)

FT Article

From Financial Times

Iran could yet be a model for the Mideast

By Cameron Kamran

Iran could yet be a model for the Mideast
By Cameron Kamran
Published: June 19 2003 20:22 | Last Updated: June 19 2003 20:22

Continued civil disorder and mismanagement in Iraq have disappointed those who hoped the country would quickly become a beacon of secular democracy in the Middle East. Battered by 20 years of war, despotism and sanctions, Iraq is a shell of a nation that will have difficulty holding itself together in the coming months.

The key to a bright future for the Middle East lies not with Iraq but with its larger and more vibrant neighbour to the east. Iranians elect most of their leaders in free and fair elections for the president, parliament and thousands of local village councils. Iran is the only Muslim nation whose people successfully staged a popular revolution against a brutal dictator. This revolution has often been characterised as "Islamic". This is inaccurate. While Ayatollah Khomeini did become the symbol of the 1979 revolution, Iranians were united more by their opposition to the Shah than by any shared religious devotion. As often happens with popular revolutions, after the Shah's regime fell the mullahs outmanoeuvred other opposition groups to impose their authoritarian theocracy on Iranians.

It is this long experience with imposed Islamic governance that makes Iran unique in the Islamic world. After decades of corruption, mismanagement and repression by a clerical ruling elite, "mullah" is a dirty word for most Iranians. Islam has failed to live up to the ideals of the 1979 revolution and Iranians are poorer and less free today than they were under the Shah. Even respected members of the Iranian clerical establishment are openly calling for a retreat from politics and a return to the mosque.

Strip away clerical authority in Iran and what you have left is secular democracy. What is more, you have democracy based on institutions that, unlike in Iraq, are considered indigenous and established by popular mandate, instead of by an occupying power. Iran could be the paradigm for religious reformation and democratic renewal across the Muslim world.

The Iranian experience contrasts sharply with the situation in Arab countries, where political Islam has never ruled and has never been tested and de-clawed. Repressive secular regimes in countries such as Egypt and Jordan ensure that fundamentalism will remain a potent force of popular opposition. While much of the Muslim world still clings to vague promises by Islamic groups of a return to the ideal community of the Prophet in seventh-century Arabia, Iranians look at their situation and know better.

So how do we harness Iran for positive change in the region? The US administration has recently resorted to tough talk to dissuade Iran from supporting terrorism, developing nuclear weapons and meddling in Iraq. But threats alone will probably backfire, forcing moderates to close ranks with hardliners - as happened after President George W. Bush included Iran in his infamous "axis of evil" last year - or giving the mullahs the excuse to crush an emerging civil society.

A more sophisticated strategy of subtle but continued pressure on the Islamic regime, combined with a vociferous effort to encourage the overwhelming opposition to clerical rule, could work. Indeed, the Bush administration has openly applauded the recent wave of student-led protests across Iran. Some maintain that such a strategy will endanger Iranian moderates by associating them with the US, a nation Iranians have mistrusted ever since the coup in 1953, directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, that removed an elected government. But Iranian moderates have been in danger for some time as the ruling clerics have perfected the art of branding proponents of freedom as foreign stooges and rounding them up. The time to fear guilt by association has passed and the US will lose little by increasing its support for Iranian civil society as a whole. But it should do so openly, for the world to see.

If the US believes its troops fought for any worthwhile ideals in Iraq, it should pursue those ideals in Iran, albeit by peaceful means. After all, the country is poised for radical change. Seventy per cent of Iranians are under 30; they have more in common with the MTV generation than with their clerical rulers. They are among the more pro-American populations in the Muslim world and the US needs them if it is to rehabilitate its image in the region. For the sake of their future - and the emergence of pluralist civil societies in the Middle East - the US must act now.

The writer is an Iranian-American commentator on Middle Eastern affairs

Posted by Pedram at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2003

Very Sad

cult.jpg

Two regular visitors have written me complaining about my comment on Massoud Rajavi being "epitome of a cult leader". I normally would not have responded this way, but I think I need to this time.

Just look at the above picture. What other than a cult would drive people to such extremes? Your leader has been arrested by the judiciary of a democratic country that has a pretty good reputation for both protecting refugees, as well as observing basic human rights as it relates to the rights of the accused. Your response is not to gather support for her, lobby powerful allies, collect signatures, hold vigils, and in general keep the spotlight on her situation to guarantee a fair and equitable solution to her predicament. You pour lighter fluid over yourself and light it. If this is not the ultimate act of sensationalism and mind-control to the point that nothing logical makes sense, I don't know what is.

I feel very sorry for them. For them, along with others still in bases in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. They are some of Iran's most loyal and dedicated children, trapped in a cult without any sense of self worth or power to choose a different path. My thoughts are with them and I hope at the end, all is fine for them.

Posted by Pedram at 10:36 PM | Comments (6)

Ringo!

zia.jpg

I honestly am not trying to make fun here, but just want to know for personal reasons. As a bald/balding person nearing middle-age I'm weighting my options and need to know this:

If I get $4M plus the possibility of another $50M to come soon, all to sit in beautiful Santa Monica and broadcast a TV show, then follow Reza Pahlavi wherever he flies to and put together cheesy reports of his speeches and be promised much loftier situations in a possible future, could I possibly buy/order/find a better hair piece than the one employed by Mr. Zia Atabay, the owner of Iranian National Television NITV?

Just curious.

Posted by Pedram at 10:31 PM | Comments (20)

Yes, Canada!

I know I've been kinda too far from Canada and a bit removed from the politics up there. But I don't know if it is Chretien's last ditch effort to leave the office with some sort of a positive legacy instead of being known as the PM with the most cuts to vital social programs including healthcare, or it is the political pendulum swinging the left way, whatever it is he should be applauded for making some progressive decisions.

The latest is his decision to not challenge the court's decision to allow same-sex marriages. I know it is partially because he had no hope of reversing the decision anyways but that has never stopped the Liberals to waste valuable time, energy and money to pursue useless ventures.

So, I applaude him for not being stupid again and offer my condolences to the LGBT community in Canada that now gets the right to marry their loved ones and be miserable like the rest of us.

Posted by Pedram at 10:07 PM | Comments (2)

Links

I know I've done this before and I apologize for repeating the request.

I am finally re-doing the links on this page. Some of you have already sent me your updated new URL's and others asked to be added. I need you to re-send them again. This time e-mail them, please. If you feel like you should be added or want to recommend other links, this is the time to do it. The address is on top of this page.

I thank you in advance and sorry again for the repeat request.

On a different note - Thanks for all those who offered to volunteer with the web design project as well as others who wrote to offer other types of help. Thank you! I'll keep the rest of you posted as to what we'll do next.

Posted by Pedram at 09:54 PM

Mini Poll

You see the little "Mini Poll" on the right column of this page? Well, it is actually 10 different polls randomly displayed with each visit. This is your last chance to be heard, as I am closing a few of the polls and replacing them with new ones. So, be counted and vote now! And after you're done, click on "refresh" and a new one will be there to let you do it all over again! Oh what fun!!!

Posted by Pedram at 09:47 PM

CNN Prostitute

CNN is probably the most prostitute-like news organization in the world. Look at this story as reported by Firouz Sedarat for Reuters titled "Iran Internet Use at Risk from Conservatives". Here's the same story, this time reported by CNN but missing the author's name and with a new sexy title. Anything to get some attention, I guess.

From Hoder's Persian Blog

Posted by Pedram at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2003

Eyeranian of the Year!

Did you know I have a brand new cousin? Ladies and gentlemen, please meet

Max Cyrus Moallemian

Posted by Pedram at 10:48 PM | Comments (11)

Photography

I'm always fascinated by good photography. Photo Voyage is one of my current favorite sites on that topic. If you know of others, please share!

Posted by Pedram at 10:44 PM | Comments (1)

To Gabbar Singh

Jai-and-Veeru.jpg

Just when you thought I was only going to write heavy duty political stuff, here comes something rather shallow!

Looking at this page of Indian LP covers brought back a whole gamut of memories. Particularly on certain commercial Indian movies with their silly plots, fun music and pretty faces. I'm a bit too young to have caught the Sangam or Mother India frenzy, but well remember Sholay and how popular it became in Iran during the late 70's. Who can forget the adventures of Jai and Veeru, hired by that armless military officer in battling the evil Gabbar Singh (how long since you heard that name?) with the sultry Basanti adding an element of femininity and romance. A few years ago while driving around in a cab in Mumbai and Bollywood, I caught myself trying to sing jaan-e-jahaan subconsciously.

Hey, the DVD is on sale, maybe I should take a closer look.

Posted by Pedram at 10:41 PM | Comments (2)

June 17, 2003

President-in-exile in jail

French police have stormed the bases of MKO in that country and arrested about 165 people, including Maryam Rajavi, Massouds spouse and their President-in-exile, along with his brother Saleh Rajavi. The larger compound raided in Vincent van Goghs town of Auvers-sur-Oise is about 2 acres (or 9,600 square yards) large and houses 30 buildings. Not even K members of the organization are housed here and everyone at the compound holds a high ranking position. (Mojahedin members are ranked based on several levels, K stands for Kandid or Candidate members, those who have been principally accepted as members but are awaiting formal initiation.)

Considering the fact that the group is run by only a very limited number of senior members, arrest of 150+ such members is certainly a blow to their ability to function normally. However the key will remain as to the conclusion awaiting Massoud Rajavi. He IS the organization and without him there is no MKO, but the opposite is also true that as long as he is in charge (and he is always in charge, regardless of other organizational formalities), MKO will remain a factor and in its current format, minus some members or in a different size and/or set-up.

I first met Massoud Rajavi as a young kid shortly after the revolution of 1979. In their building in central Tehran, when they were still called Jonbesh (movement) as Rajavi had declared they can not use organization until formal structures were in place, they had a dining room in the basement. The upper floors were all classified by their floor numbers and the higher in the organizational charts you were, the higher you could move up leaving the very top floor (I believe 4th) for the members of central committee and their entourage. I was so young and small that after hanging around for days, nobody cared where I went, but I still had not built the courage to go to that top floor.

Finally I gathered enough nerve to consider climbing that final flight of stairs one day but as I started my ascent, I looked up and coming down the stairs was a group of 6 to 8 people following Massoud and his second in command Mousa Khiabani (later killed in a heavy battle with the regime). He was very nice to me, jokingly wondering how I had gotten to the upper floors as I joined them going down the stairs ending in the lunch room and eating a meal of bread, feta cheese and black fresh dates. After that day my nickname was bacheye markaziat or central committees kid and I got even more access to do as I wanted around that building, including being there on the day Yasser Arafat paid a visit. A few short months later, they evacuated that building and that arrangement was dead forever.

Anyone who has ever met him will tell you about Rajavis piercing eyes. He constantly watches every little detail happening around him and never misses even a single point. He is the epitome of a cult leader, taking away your sense of who you are and replacing it with his own trance almost instantly. A friend once joked that if you ever gave him a 2 hour television spot, he could hypnotize the entire nation of Iran and as much as I hate to admit it, he may have had a point. After all, "brother Massoud" single handedly rebuilt an organization that was at most about 100 member strong to seriously contesting the presidency of the country within a short year or so, before being banned by Ayatollah Khomeini and built a large following after that unseen by other organizations within Iranian left.

I have had my own issues with the MKO. I started categorizing them as a terrorist organization after another incident; I was being interviewed by an agent of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) as my life was threatened again. He turned the conversation to MKO (the threat was by supporters/agents of the government and nothing to do with them) knowing of my connections to various leftist organization. I insisted he doesnt need to worry about them but then he asked suppose Massoud orders all their supporters tomorrow to attack certain targets all over the world, do you think theyll do it? I said without a doubt then hesitated for a second and continued I guess thats why you need to keep an eye on them he just nodded. The truth is if he orders them, they are well proficient in doing anything, including acts of terror and violence. One member has already set himself on fire in protest to Maryams arrest. Who knows what may be next.

But despite my problems with the group, its ideology, structure, leadership and methods, I certainly hope this isnt used to strengthen the position of Iranian government in any way. Furthermore, it would be a sin and a crime if any of its rank and file members are forced to or are handed over to Iran. Let the leadership as well as others suspected of crimes or support of any misconduct be tried in a fair and open forum and if convicted, the guilty must serve their sentence in a place other than where the obvious and only penalty is death.

UPDATE - As of now, June 18th @ 4:20 PM PST, all those arrested except 26 people have been released and at least 4 other people have set themselves on fire with the possibility of one being dead and others seriously injured. I suspect the demonstrations will get even more aggressive if the stuation isn't somehow resolved.

Posted by Pedram at 11:51 PM | Comments (11)

Michael Ledeen Again

I know by now some of you are probably getting tired of hearing about Michael Ledeen. The man I called Iranian peoples number one enemy is not a weightless writer or some idealist trying to sell his notion of Liberation, American Style for Iran and I dont think he should be ignored. Understanding his huge influence, the Washington Post recently identified him as one of only four political advisers to White House ideologue Karl Rove. But you can also look at what Ledeen himself thinks of his importance:

In a recent interview with his buddy Rush Limbaugh, Ledeen answers the question of if the White House listens to him or not, this way: Whether or not the White House listens, it seems that theyve listened to a lot of things about Iran, that I will say. I mean, some of the language and some of the speech is very familiar to me, and really reflects the sort of thing that Ive been pushing for.

Having said that, looking at what he preaches, it is hard not to see him as a dim-witted often deceitful mouth-piece with no real knowledge of Iran or how the system and society works there. His main source of information is always second-hand reports published by various media, plus some dubious facts he is probably fed by a limited circle of biased and predisposed people.

Ill give you some examples; Look at his explanation of what brought on the current student demonstrations in an interview with Fox News (yeah, them!): What happened here, if you remember late in the Cold War, Gorbachev sent troops into Lithuania to put down some uppity people and Vilnius. And he sent in at the time, he just misjudged it entirely, he sent in just enough troops to enrage the people and not enough to really put them down. So there were these originally small-scale students demonstrations exactly a week ago in Tehran. And he sent -- the regime sent security forces in to try to put it down. But they weren't enough to put it down. And so, there started to be fights in the campus area and then they spread into various streets and allies around the university. And by now, there is open fighting going on night after night. I mean people are being killed. The regime is using everything from acid to guns to knives and chains and clubs and so forth, and the students are throwing the usual Molotov cocktails and they have some weapons of their own.

All I can say is HUH? uppity people in Lithuania? What happened to the letter by MPs that started the original move? weapons and Molotov Cocktails? This analysis could have been written by an 8 year old.

Look at how he answers to where Isfahan is: Isfahan is central Iran. And it is the place from which most revolutionary movements have started in Iran. So people watch it with particular attention. And there, most of the town turned out to demonstrate.

What the heck is he talking about? I mean dont get me wrong, I love Isfahan and next to Tehran it is my favorite Iranian city, but how is demonstrations there more important than in Shiraz, Abadan, Yazd or Kerman? I can see somebody saying demonstration in Qom are significant because of the religious background and being a government stronghold, or Tabriz is so important because lets face it Azeris are he political engine of Iranian society, or Mashad because of its role as capital of Astan-Qods mafia, but Isfahan? Most revolutionary movements have started in Isfahan? I must be redaing the wrong history books, I guess. And then "most of the town turned out to demonstrate"? That would certainly mean more than a million as Isfahan is not a "town" but a large city!

But what can you say about a man who last November claimed "something like half a million" Iranians had demonstrated in Tehran. Later, Christopher de Bellaigue, correspondent for Economist who had witnessed the event in person put the number at about five thousand.

Speaking of foreign correspondents, this seems to be the only source he ever uses for his facts. Never talking to any Iranians or attempting to build a dialogue with either activist or even ordinary people there, his current center-piece editorial on Iran uses two sources, both quoted in its first paragraph; France Le Monde and Canadas Maclean's magazines.

In the same Fox interview, he labels the students demonstrating as Wildly pro-American and then claims one of the ways Iranians watch the satellite televisions broadcasting from LA is: I'm told that they can just cut up Coke cans and put them on the roofs and they get some kind of signal. He then estimates that demonstrators are as low as 10 to 15 percent students and 85 to 90 percent just families turning out on the streets.

In the Limbaugh interview he claims his source of such questionable facts this way; "I get a lot of the stuff from Iranians by e-mail and then goes on a limb, stating If we could have an accurate public opinion poll in Iran, we would find that upwards of 80% of Iranians are against the regime. I guess he gets e-mails from all villages and small towns, where majority of Iranians live, to be able to come up with such solid figures.

However the scary part is his prescription for what he advises Iranians to do: Whats necessary is to put millions of bodies in the central squares of the country and demand an end to the regime, knowing that a certain number of them will die in the enterprise. Somebody please inform him that Iranians tried it that way more than once in the last century and still didnt get what they wanted, this time they have chosen a different path. Now wake up and get on with the program. 70s prescription is way past its expiry date and new methods are needed. Of course it wont matter to him as the certain number who will die will not be his brothers, sisters, cousins, mothers, sons and daughters anyways.

In another column, he recently had some advice for what the U.S. needs to do to spread freedom to the heartland of the terror masters in Iran. His three step plan includes:

1- Support the Monarchist Radio and TV stations in LA
2- Build up Iraqi Shiite clerics against Iranian ones
3- We need to get tangible support to the brave people who have called for a general strike... in other words: support Reza Pahlavis group.
(Is somebody still confused about his support of the Monarchist?)

In conclusion, this man with his limited knowledge and biased approach currently yields way too much power and influence where it matters a lot. His skewed vision has very little to do with giving Iranians what they want and struggle for and more to do with what he sees as what they SHOULD do. He is without a doubt the current number one enemy of Iranian people imbedded inside the inner circles of worlds only superpower, and we will not let him forget that for a second.

Posted by Pedram at 11:51 PM | Comments (26)

Leave Iran free ...

For those still confused with as to why foreign intervention is not welcomed, needed or appropriate in Iranian people's struggle for freedom, Goudarz Eghtedari offers an insightful take in his op-ed piece published today in the Oregonian.


U.S. should support Iran's reform movement, but from a distance

by; Goudarz Eghtedari

A week of demonstrations has passed in Iran with students expressing the people's desire for freedom and democracy. The protests look a lot like those that occurred four years ago. Then students for the first time staged demonstrations in the streets of Tehran in support of the reform movement and freedom of the press, which was under attack by the theocratic regime's hard-line judiciary.

Today however, things have changed tremendously. Two neighboring authoritarian regimes have been toppled through the intervention by the United States. That by itself has created lots of anxiety in Iran, especially for the hard-liners among the clergy, who control the judiciary, military, intelligence and practically all the other power strongholds. This time around, student demonstrations are focused on fundamental changes in the country's constitution, including the call for the removal of the position of supreme leader. This change enjoys the support of internal reformists and opposition forces, including a surprising majority of elected representatives. It promises to reform the system toward becoming a democratic republic with separation of religion and state. This call is also endorsed by a solid majority of Iranian expatriates abroad, several thousands of whom, like me, have found their home in Oregon.

Two camps in our administration in the United States also support democratization in Iran. The State Department favors a less intrusive approach, allowing for a leadership to emerge from within the movement, while negotiating issues of interest with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On the other hand, a group of neoconservatives, lead by Michael Ledeen and Daniel Pipe, are calling for a rapid regime change, even if military intervention is deemed necessary. This latter group surprisingly has support of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. It appears to endorse the return to power of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the shah, the last monarch of Iran. Although as freedom-loving Americans it is our duty to support the reform and democracy movement inside Iran, I think we have to act very delicately in this endeavor. The people of Iran are working hard to create change from within the country, and we need to tread carefully to ensure that our good intentions do not end up hurting the domestic movement for democracy.

Iranians are independent-minded and still have the bad memory of U.S. intervention back in 1953, when a CIA-led coup d'etat overthrew the democratically elected government and brought back 25 more years of the shah's authoritarian regime.

The Iranian population's level of political sophistication is astonishing, and a sustainable and viable democracy in Iran can come into being only if it is homegrown and independent from outside forces. America's support for democracy is best expressed from a distance, and getting too close to the movement will only end up undermining the people's tireless efforts, as can excessive external pressure to speed up the process of political evolution in Iran. A more physical U.S. presence, including any military involvement, will strengthen the hard-liner's positions and negatively affect the democracy movement by appealing to the nationalistic sensitivities of the people.

The United States should stand with the people of Iran by expressing support for their democratic aspirations, but without backing any political faction or specific form of government and by making it clear that only the people of Iran should decide the future of their country.

Goudarz Eghtedari of Portland is a writer, commentator and radio producer. He has served on the board of the Oregon Peace Institute and is a guest lecturer at Portland State University, where he is a Ph.D. candidate in systems science.




His original article appears here and he believes his commentary also caused the paper's editorial board to add an editorial endorsing his position.


Posted by Pedram at 10:39 AM | Comments (6)

June 16, 2003

Graphist

Graphic/Web Designer Wanted!

Reading your comments and the level of wisdom offered by most of eyeranian readers, I can't help but to think that perhaps it is time to have them all gathered in one place, writing the fabulous stuff they write and create a source we could all look at for inspiration and insight. I don't like the group blog idea, it seems too unstructured and often becomes the foray of a very limited crowd. On the other hand, web based magazines usually succeed in developing a following and providing bridges and connections otherwise impossible to realize.

So, I want to start one! Already paid for the domain/hosting/etc. and now need someone help me design the graphics and a template that can be used for a long time with minimal know-how. This is a not-for-profit venture, so no money is available (sorry) but I think a lot of good can come out of it and will be a rewarding experience for all those involved.

If you'd like to offer some help, please email me directly at pedram(at)eyeranian(dot)net and I'll share with you what I have in mind.

Posted by Pedram at 10:56 PM

Couple of Links

Jonbesh.org offers pictures of the torched university dormitory in city of Isfahan.

Some interesting comments left on BBC's website

Posted by Pedram at 10:41 PM

Cartoon

Thanks Faramin

Posted by Pedram at 10:35 PM

Exclusive Video

Exclusive video footage of nightly demonstrations, courtesy of Mehdi.

(Right click on the link and hit "Save Target As..." for best results.)

The video is shot from inside a car (by a girl named Sara) and is dark and in parts very hard to decipher but some of the more clear images shows various items on fire, the security police with their crowd control shields, cars blowing their horns in solidarity and of course student protestors with two of them waving a flag of Iran minus the emblem of the Islamic Republic cut from it's center.

Probably closest thing for those of us sitting hundreds and thousadnds of miles away in front of our monitors to try to get a real feel for what has been going on for close to a week in Tehran.

Posted by Pedram at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Monday Morning Motivationals

Yes, it's Monday again. My (and your) favorite day of the week! That's is very exciting considering what an amazing week this is going to be, right? So, let's get motivated and go out there to conquer the world. Who's with me on this?


Source


============================================


Highly successful people work from a 'play book'. They
design a strategy, create a road-map, and follow the path
to their ultimate goal. They know what their most important
tasks are today, what they will focus on next week, and
(assuming there are no major revisions in the plan) they
can tell you where they will be a year from now. They have
a strategy!


============================================


'Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of
things which matter least'.
-- Goethe

'Two little words that can make the difference: START NOW.'
-- Mary C. Crowley

'The reason so many people never get anywhere in life is
because when opportunity knocks, they are out in the
backyard looking for four-leaf clovers.'
-- Walter Chrysler

'What gets measured, gets done.'
-- Edward Deming

Posted by Pedram at 12:09 AM

June 15, 2003

Go Hoder!

Hoder has a very personal, direct and no nonesense style of writing that comes across well in his Farsi blog but isn't often well reflected in his English one. So it's nice when you do see it show up in English as well. I wish he'd write more this way and in English.

I couldn't agree with him more here. Tell me what you think.

Posted by Pedram at 07:03 PM | Comments (3)

Father's Day



Happy Father's Day!

Posted by Pedram at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2003

Stuff

My apologies, I'm just exhausted.

A very busy day and I won't even have time to return a reporter's e-mail, asking for comments about the student's protest.

Did get a chance to do some exchanges with a few "friends" in Tehran and communicate about stuff. Here are my brief observations:

- Tabarzadi, Student-Leader-Wannabe in Tehran is an egotestical idiot.

- The current Monarchist crop are even bigger idiots (and I'm being very diplomatic).

- Iranians are amazing people times ten (and I'm trying hard to be impartial here).

- If it wasn't for Tehran police, much worst would have happened. THANK YOU!

- An "associate" tells me that the eyeranian has gained the attention of one certain large enemy, to the point that he prints out every post at his office and brings it up in various conversations. To that enemy; No! we have never met in person so I couldn't have asked for an autographed version of your book, please do not lie! When I asked to interview you a few years back, you refused to reply. If you want specifics, I've got 'em. AND respond directly if you've got the chutzpah, I don't talk behind your back, I post it where millions can read it, why don't you do the same? (Hey, how 'bout that interview now???)

- Elbow is doing very well. Thanks for the emails and other inquiries.

Posted by Pedram at 11:12 PM | Comments (4)

Enemy # One!


Iranian people's number one enemy, Mr. Michael Ledeen is at it again. This time in The Wall Street Journal.

Posted by Pedram at 12:15 AM | Comments (13)

Stupid Us!

I guess they feel the need to teach us:

"The United States is considering setting up Farsi-language Web sites to promote democracy in Iran, a senior U.S. official said on Friday."

Reported by Reuters

Posted by Pedram at 12:12 AM | Comments (2)

June 13, 2003

Iran Youth

NPR's morning edition had this report about Iranian youth on their show. There are more than one interesting point in the report, but I think one worth mentioning is the young man trying to hide a guitar and singing and dancing during a climb of mountains around Tehran, so tired of the government and obviously wanting a change (the type Monarchists claim support them and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of foreign troops to return their "king") making it very clear how he feels about foreign troops invading Iran. When asked what he thinks of Americans attacking Iran, he daringly says "if they are brave enough, we are ready".

Posted by Pedram at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Who's Meddling Who?

Who's Meddling Who?

"L. Paul Bremer, head of the provisional US authority in Iraq, has accused Iran of meddling. There may be a certain irony to the head of an occupying authority from the United States accusing Iraq's Shiite Muslim neighbor of meddling... but if there is, it's escaping Bremer. He, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is worried that the Iranians are stirring up Iraq's Shiite majority in support of an Iranian-style theocracy."

Posted by Pedram at 11:07 PM | Comments (1)

Archaeology of the roadmap

Archaeology of the roadmap

"To read through the roadmap is to confront an unsituated document, oblivious of its time and place, says Edward Said"

Posted by Pedram at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Q&A session on U.S. policy

Q&A session on U.S. policy

Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?

A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction.

Q: But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction.

A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.

Posted by Pedram at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

Axis Of The Apocalyptic

Axis Of The Apocalyptic

"The Hindus, Jews and Christians versus the Moslems of the world today and the Confucians of China tomorrow. This is nothing less than the Axis of the Apocalyptic."

Posted by Pedram at 10:57 PM | Comments (2)

Unorthodox Alliance

Unorthodox Alliance

"The idea is supposed to make me tingle warmly: While I sit in my home here enjoying the Friday evening calm, thousands of Christian Coalition supporters will be gathering at the Ellipse in Washington to proclaim solidarity with Israel. According to pre-rally PR, my prime minister will speak by satellite hookup, pleased to have the backing of an American constituency more hawkish than most of his Israeli voters. At least some American Jews, including leaders who once wanted nothing to do with the Christian right, may point to the rally as proof of an important new political alliance. With Israel facing a danger to its existence -- so they argue -- Jews should welcome the help of a group that loudly proclaims its love for the Jewish state."

Posted by Pedram at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2003

Student Protests

For the third day in a row, Tehran is in the midst of random student protests, nightly vigils and occasional confrontations based primarily around it's main university. My thoughts are with all those who will face violence and hope it all ends without unnecessary bloodshed and hostility.

Meanwhile, I love this amusing part of an interview with one of the plain clothes vigilantes arrested by the students and eventually handed over to authorities:

"Majid Bijanloo was carrying a Walkie-Talkie and tear gas (!!!) at the time of his arrest, he told ISNA reporter: "A few of the students arrested me at 6 AM in front of the university".... He added that he does not belong to any military or police organization and any employee of the city now carries a Walkie-Talkie, he also said that he is not an employee of the city(!)... He then claimed that all physicians are allowed to carry tear gas (!!!) and it can be bought in certain areas of the city...he also acknowledged that he is not a physician either(!!!)".

You can see more pictures of the protests, including the vigils, closed-down highways, anti-riot police in full gear and aftermath of night's clashes at Gooya's News site: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

UPDATE - Here are some of the latest pictures (8) (9)

Posted by Pedram at 11:54 PM | Comments (7)

Elbow


This Hurts Bad!


Posted by Pedram at 11:53 PM

June 11, 2003

Regime Change, How?

Remember a few days ago I warned about attempts to patch up relations between the Bush people and MKO? Not that the feud was anything but superficial. After all, MKO's biggest supporter in Washington has been the current Attorney General Ashcroft. But there is still this public opinion thing about cozying up to a group you declared "terrorist" to worry about and that needs some "massaging" by the spin masters who are already hard at work.

Placing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of major and local newspapers has always been one of the ways MKO has managed to push their agenda and they are at it again.

One such item recently appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune. The full text is only available for sale on-line, but you can read a very incomplete section here.

I just finished writing a reply to it and since I am not certain it will get published, you can read it here:

Regime Change, How?
by; Pedram Moallemian

On May 30th, San Diego Union-Tribune, in its sincere effort to provide a voice to those normally excluded by the main stream media and offer a prospective on Middle Eastern affairs by a member of that community, fell victim to a propaganda machine known internationally for fabrication of information and pushing a very narrow and questionable agenda. Furthermore, the space provided by the Tribune, was specifically used to promote a group linked to international terrorism and currently on both State Department as well as European Unions list of terrorist organizations.

In an op-ed piece titled Iranian people want regime change, Massoud Taheri, director of the "Society of Iranian-American Scholars and Professionals-San Diego more on that group later- mixed some facts with an overdose of fiction to portray a violent image of Iranian peoples desires, in their struggle to bring democracy and justice to their homeland and end the tyranny of a theocratic government.

The general premise of the article in describing how a large majority of Iranians want regime change is indisputably bona fide. What is at question is how to get there, who will do it and what will replace it. Taheri presents some dubious facts such as Irans WMDs including a nuclear bomb and concludes that the best way for us to achieve peace and freedom in the region is to support Peoples Mojahedin, a group most western governments consider a terrorist organization.

He applauds Reps. Susan Davis and Bob Filner for endorsing the organization as a legitimate resistance (movement) and believes that some quarters in the Bush administration are ready to remove the terror tag against the Mojahedin.

Taheri repeatedly refers to mullahs (clergy) regime or even turbaned tyrants. I will not use such language, as I do not believe the issue at hand is the difficulty people of Iran have with the clothes their rulers wear, be it a traditional clergy outfit or a suit and tie, but what policies those rulers follow and how committed they are to freedom and democracy. In a liberated and independent Iran of tomorrow, there will be room for mullahs and turban wearers, along with all other sectors of the population to participate in the political and social process and maybe even get elected, if that is a reflection of peoples desires.

Now for some facts; I looked unsuccessfully for Society of Iranian-American Scholars and Professionals San Diego and found no phone listing, street address, web site or other forms of communication. How could other Iranian-American Scholars and Professionals join it, I wondered. It turns out the society is yet another front name for Peoples Mojahedin organization and does not exist outside imaginations of a close circuit of similar minded revolutionaries. The organization also uses other fictitious names such as Iranian-American Lawyers' Association and Moslem Iranian Student Society to lobby congress, raise funds or as in this case, write op-ed pieces for western media.

Iranian National Council of Resistance (NCR) which has a fashionable coalition added to its name by Taheri, is far from a broad spectrum of Iranian political parties and individuals as claimed by him. In fact, over the last two decades, the council has lost more members than gained to the point that over 200 Mojahedin members and supporters were appointed in 1987 to maintain an image of a parliament in exile. Aside from those, the rest of the membership is as follows: Organization of Iranian Peoples Fadaian Guerillas with 3 active members, Association to Defend Irans Independence and Democracy (DAD), Towhidi Merchants Guild, Committed Professors of Irans Universities and Schools of Higher Education, each with one member. So in short, the council is a coalition of 200+ Mojahedin members and supporters, along with 6 of their friends. In other words, NCR and its National Liberation Army of Iran are yet other names for Peoples Mojahedin.

Mojahedin were always proud of their terrorist activities. That is up to early 90s when the tag became much more of a burden and not an asset anymore. Suddenly they claimed others had assassinated the American military attaches in Iran in the early 70s, although only a few short months ago they were bragging about doing it. Some of the explosions that killed current regimes top officials were labeled as work of the same government and yet mortar attacks on office buildings in a very crowded downtown Tehran are claimed as legitimate resistance strategies.

As I look at my handy dictionary, terrorism is defined as; the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments. Even forgetting assassinations and other hostile tactics, the mortar attacks alone should qualify the group as a terrorist organization.

Now lets get to what Iranian people really want. After years of struggle and organizing a number of uprisings and three revolutions in the 20th century alone, Iranians are still denied their ultimate goal of freedom, justice and independence. What they have learned in this tumultuous process is that violence and social upheaval only results in more destruction and instability.

As such, the new generation of Iranians has chosen a new path, the path of peaceful resistance and a deliberate movement towards establishment of democratic ideas and institutions that can build a long-lasting and enduring political system. This system will be based on principals of individual and social freedoms, separation of religion and government, self governance and the rule of law.

In that front they have and will refuse these basic factors:

Direct or indirect interference by any foreign governments, including efforts by the current U.S. administration in forcing a regime change
Return of monarchy, a system rejected twice by Iranians.
Violent and immature overthrow of the regime, as championed by Mojahedin.
An attempt to re-sell the current regime under the guise of reform or by groups advocating such tactics.

Any group or individual committed to these basic principals is welcomed by the Iranian people to join their struggle in bringing democracy to their homeland.

Posted by Pedram at 11:40 PM | Comments (9)

Cartoon

Posted by Pedram at 11:38 PM

June 10, 2003

Long Live Iran

I wish I had a chance to write about this more extensively, but I only wanted to say that I am worried, disappointed and even somewhat angry as a result of what is happening in Tehran.

One of the major flaws in the revolution of 1979 and the main reason for it's ultimate failure to deliver on it's goals, was the way it blossomed and came to fruition immaturely, leaving many stones unturned and missing some vital steps. Close to a quarter of a century later, some questionable entities are forcing their way, causing unnecessary reactions by the regime and ultimately heading towards a similar outcome.

Let me state that as much as I disapprove of the current regime in Iran and as much as I would like the suffering of my countrymen (and women of course) to come to an end at the earliest possible time, another immature "revolution" would be a tremendous disaster that will set the pace of progress towards freedom and rule of the people back by years if not decades.

As Iranians, we have managed to take some fundamental steps towards a proper and legitimate development of our nation over the past two decades. This is just the start of a long road towards the goals championed by at least four generations of Iranian people, instigating 3 revolutions plus many more attempts to achieve them over the past 100 years. We are currently on the right track and any attempt to divert us towards an inappropriate path, can only be described as a catastrophe.

Long live Iran. Long live democracy and freedom for Iranians. Down with the current dictatorship in Iran. Down with those who (knowingly or unknowingly) intend to deny Iranians of their ultimate aspirations.

Posted by Pedram at 11:30 PM | Comments (4)

Cartoon

Posted by Pedram at 10:55 PM

New Homes, Same Folks

Two of my usual stops in the blog world have decided to move to new locations over the past couple of days. I don't know if they are taking advantage of my relative absence to do this or it was in the works and just happened at this time.

Broom of Anger has moved and looks great in it's new home. I'm so jelous I may start posting more pictures too.

Hooman's Scribbles has also moved to my own server and became Whoman, although I'm yet to get a big fat commission check for the referral, oh well!

Many congrats to both bloggers and I look forward to visiting their new sites often. Now only if I get a chance to update my list of links on the right...

Posted by Pedram at 10:54 PM

My Elbow

Spent a few hours at the 'urgent care' section of my HMO thinking that I had either broken a bone or at least dislocated something in my left elbow as I tripped and fell on it today.

Apparently I did not, although I'm wondering if it may have something to do with their inability to take proper x-rays as I was unable to move and position my arm the way they wanted.

It hurts bad for now, but I'm sure it'll improve.

Posted by Pedram at 10:45 PM

Meanwhile

While I'm sort of 'away' for a few days, doesn't mean you can't enjoy some humor, right?

Posted by Pedram at 10:32 PM

June 09, 2003

Cartoon

Posted by Pedram at 10:05 PM

Links

1 - Have I Got Mail by Thomas L. Friedman

2 - Downsizing in Disguise by Naomi Klein

3 - Reflections by Isabel Allende

4 - 41% believe that the US has found WMD's in Iraq

Posted by Pedram at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

Pressing Iran

From Financial Times

Dangers of an aggressive US approach to Iran
By Anatol Lieven

As the Bush administration seeks international support for increased pressure on Iran, US politicians and foreign governments need to take a close look at the dangers of this course. If the US commits itself both to regime change and to preventing Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons by all means, including strikes on Iran's nuclear sites, a vicious circle of pressure and retaliation may develop, ending in full-scale war.


The danger is all the greater because if the US wants to stop Iran developing a nuclear deterrent, it must hurry. European intelligence sources agree that Iran may be within two years of developing a nuclear deterrent, and may be past the point where even an end to Russian assistance to Iran's civilian programme would make much difference.

For the moment, not even America's neoconservatives support an invasion of Iran. Pentagon analysts regard the idea as a dangerous fantasy. However, according to media reports, plans have been advanced for the armed destabilisation of the regime in Tehran by US-backed forces. And there are plenty of historical examples to demonstrate how insurgency in support of regime change can easily lead to full-scale war.

Iran also has the ability to retaliate by reactivating Hezbollah's international terrorist potential or by stirring up the Shias of Iraq. If the US does try to destroy the regime in Tehran, Iran will do all it can to destroy US authority in Iraq. The extent of Iranian influence among the Iraqi Shias is unclear; but Islamist groups among them have ambitions totally at odds with US aims, and a tremendous capacity for mass mobilisation. Combined with guerrilla attacks on US and allied forces in Iraq, this could be all too effective. For by occupying Iraq and destroying the Iraqi state, the US and Britain have laid themselves open to challenge by the one enemy to which they have no effective response - unarmed crowds.

Unrest in Iraq might then encourage a more aggressive US policy towards Iran. If US plans for Iraq collapse, Washington will be sorely tempted to blame outside intervention (read Iran). The temptation will be especially strong in the run-up to next year's US presidential election. Until now, the Bush administration has used military victory and American nationalism with brilliant success against the Democrats. But if a year from now the US is bogged down in an ugly quagmire in Iraq, while terrorist attacks elsewhere continue, this will give the Democrats a chance to turn the tables. In these circumstances, there would be an in- centive for the administration to play up the threat and strike a more jingoistic tone for its political advantage.

That is all the more reason for America's allies to respond with great reserve to US demands for support. Above all, this is a time for the British government to use its influence in the US to avoid being sucked step by step into a repeat of the Iraq war. This time, Tony Blair should categorically and publicly oppose a strategy of regime change disguised as a response to an alleged nuclear threat.

The possibility of a US destabilisation of Iran can only increase Tehran's desire for a deterrent. Britain and other states should certainly seek to dissuade Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. They should do this through engagement, incentives and promises of integration into the world economy as well as through economic pressure. They should also highlight the flaw in Bush administration thinking on the whole issue of nuclear proliferation. For in their obsession with the supposed threat from states, Washington's hawks have neglected the much greater threat from terrorist groups and the societies that spawn them.

States that possess nuclear weapons can be deterred from using them or giving them to terrorists by the certainty of catastrophic retaliation. Suicidal terrorists cannot. Indeed, while terrorists desire such weapons in order to use them, states desire them not in order to use them but as a deterrent against attack. To destroy Moslem regimes may well therefore, far from contributing to the defeat of terrorist groups, actually strengthen them by spreading state arsenals into society.

The most scandalous example of the US administration's inability to understand this danger was its failure immediately to secure Iraq's known civilian nuclear sites, leaving nuclear materials open to looting for almost a week after Baghdad fell.

That an administration supposedly obsessed with the nuclear threat from terrorist groups could have made such an error points to a warped sense of priorities. Saner voices in the US, Britain and Europe need to point this out, loudly and urgently.

The writer is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC.

Posted by Pedram at 09:56 PM | Comments (1)

Monday Morning Motivationals

My most sincere wish for all of you is happiness, health and success during this week and forever after. As for the rest of the world, an end to hatred, violence, hunger and oppression would be a nice start.

Now click the link below and get "motivated" + Don't ever let Mondays be a negative day.

Source

============================================


If you desire to celebrate life and feel good and know joy,
mix small amounts of pleasure (chocolate, a few roller-
coaster rides) with large blocks of time devoted to
pursuing your dreams. Self-discipline, focus, commitment
and dedication ultimately lead to joy. Chocolate (I love
the stuff!) ultimately leads to satiation and regret, while
dedicated, persistent effort on projects that are worthy of
our highest aspirations, leads to 'the good life'. The
choice is yours. Which would you rather have?


============================================


'Be faithful in small things because it is in them that
your strength lies.'
-- Mother Teresa

'In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness
that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us
happy.'
-- Albert Clarke

'Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness
has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.'
-- Goethe

'The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win
you're still a rat.'
-- Lily Tomlin

Posted by Pedram at 12:03 AM

June 08, 2003

Cartoon

"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
Former Governor of Texas, George W. Bush
Radio Address
10/5/2002

Posted by Pedram at 11:16 PM

Captain Ibrahim

Hey, we know they can't find no WMD's in Iraq despite a search that is closing on three months now (time to plant some you say?). Instead, maybe they'll be able to produce "Captain Ibrahim", the guy Powell's people had recorded as proof of weapons hiding and played to the security council of UN. Then again, maybe not.

Posted by Pedram at 11:11 PM | Comments (2)

Pensive Persian

Reza, also known as the Pensive Persian is an Iranian blogger with one of the most unusual blog names ever. His very interesting and well-written blog is titled (ready?): "Musing over the ontological status of a boiled egg".

Well, he is on his way to Iran and hopes to continue posting during his trip. I'll be checking out his blog regularly to see what fascinating new stuff he may post from there. We may even get a new bling bling picture of him standing in front of the Azadi Square, who knows?

Go check him out now!

Posted by Pedram at 11:06 PM | Comments (3)

June 07, 2003

Warning!

Look for a very concerted yet concealed effort to remake the image of National Council of Resistance (NCRI) and it's main - some argue only - member People's Mojahedin Organization (MKO) and an eventual backing by this administration for both. I'll write more as to why I think that is in the next few days, but for now keep your eyes open for well placed commentaries in your local conservative papers along with stories like this to set up the openings of a new public opinion disinformation campaign. This is despite many warnings by those in the know, but you wouldn't expect NeoCons to actually value others' opinions, do you?

Posted by Pedram at 11:16 PM | Comments (2)

Ugly Games

The game is getting dirty and the W administration is showing it can get VERY VERY UGLY. Now they are bringing seperatists into the picture. This is not only ugly, it can also get VERY dangerous. Sad and unfortunate.

Posted by Pedram at 11:13 PM | Comments (1)

No Kingmakers

International Herald Tribune: "Iranians don't need American kingmakers" by; Cameron Kamran

Posted by Pedram at 11:12 PM | Comments (1)

He said so!

"W" says: "I declare that Pedram shall post less stuff on his blog over the next week, as it is really pissing us off."

Not really, just playing host to a loved one and less time to bug un-loved ones. I'll still post stuff periodically and will be back in "full posting capacity" with a few days or so.

Posted by Pedram at 11:18 AM

June 05, 2003

Go Hillary

Despite my dislike of Democrats, I decided today that if Hillary Rodham-Clinton decides to ever run for Presidency, I'll volunteer in her campaign. She just pisses ultra-right conservative so much, I'd love to see her back at the White House.

Posted by Pedram at 11:54 PM | Comments (8)

Targeting Iran

Folks at The Blanket, my favorite Irish on-line publication, have published a fascinating piece on their today's issue called Targeting Iran. It is a well researched collection of facts and numbers, primarily on Iran's relationships with it's neighbors, mostly based on oil exports and it's consequences. Although the article falls short on many fronts, it is nonetheless a great read for anyone interested in politics of energy in that part of the world. Highly recommend it, a must read!

Posted by Pedram at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

Pew Research Center

Okay, here's something really interesting. A well sourced report called Views of a Changing World 2003, War With Iraq Further Divides Global Publics. There are so many facts and useful information here, I'm still trying to digest it all. And here's the sad part, I hate to admit that I was never aware of Pew Research Center up to now. I will certainly be looking forward to more of their stuff in the future.

Posted by Pedram at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

Rob Petition

It appears that I am not the only one irked by Mr. Rob Sobhani. Rob, who was born Sohrab, has managed to irritate and insult people often enough, somebody has started a petition to get him fired. I have had my issues with Rob from the time he ran as a Republican for Senate in Maryland in 2000. There is however one thing I like about him, he doesn't try to hide behind a holier-than-thou persona of saving the world or working for women's rights or stopping dictatorship. He is a NeoCon for two reasons and he proudly defends them too: 1- To stand up for Israel and 2- Make money by robbing Caspian sea area's oil and natural gas. Gotta love that.

UPDATE - Before somebody asks, no this is not my petition and I haven't even signed it, not yet anyways.

UPDATE II - Read comments left by Rob supporters who "signed" it to leave a comment. These guys are just plain funny, and ah so naive.

Posted by Pedram at 11:50 PM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2003

Picture of the day

DM sent me this calling it the "Summit of the Unelected". I can't think of a better description.

Posted by Pedram at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

$2 Gasoline, still!

Could somebody explain to me why am I still paying $2 a gallon for gasoline in California? This is insane!

Posted by Pedram at 10:53 PM | Comments (3)

FCC is WRONG!


FCC Rejects Public Interest - So the FCC decides to allow an even more free ownership rules for all types of media, allowing few larger-than-life players to swallow all their smaller competitors and therefore limit choices available to most U.S. consumers. The move was so blatant and backwards, it even angered some ultra conservatives. Looking at how Clear Channel changed the landscape of radio, I can only imagine what Rupert Murdochs of the world will be doing to television and print media. Here's Ted Turner's - of all people - point of view on this.

Posted by Pedram at 10:52 PM | Comments (1)

آ مرتضی

Ignore this. It's a callenge to myself to see if I can still write in Farsi. If you can't see Farsi fonts, switch your browser encoding settings to Unicode


بالاخره فرصتی شد چند خط هم فارسی بنویسم فکر نکنید یکوقت مثل بعضی هموطنان گرامی "من فارسی کیلی کوب حرف نزد".

این عکس یارو بالای این صفحه با سبیل خیلی شیکش یکهو منو یاد آقا مرتضی انداخت ( برای اون دسته عزیزان که این را بعدا مطالعه میفرمایند و عکس بالا تا آن موقع عوض شده، فقط لطف کنید و تجسمی حال کنید). !

آقا مرتضی - یا بقول ما تهرونیا "آمرتضی" که همیشه لب جوق بغل سولاخ تیفال همساده ها میشست - یکی از کاسبان محل بود و ظاهری شبیه همین آقا شاید یکذره لاغرتر داشت. بچه های محله هم همیشه دور و بر آمرتضی جمع بودند چون بهشون تاس انداختن، بیخ دیواری یا لیس پس لیس یاد میداد و گهگاهی هم کلی سیخ جیگر سفید میخرید (سیاهش گرون بود) و بچه ها با دستای کثیف و روی سینی کثیفتر میریختند میزدند به رگ. آ مرتضی بچه باز محل هم بود.

"حاج آقا" که شریک دکون آمرتضی بود، هر چند روزی یک وردست یا پادوئی بین ۱۰ تا ۱۵ ساله برای در مغازه جور میکرد. آ مرتضی هم در کمال افتخار با دیدن طرف به همه مغازه های دور و بر ندا میداد و زمانی خاص را اعلام میکرد. مثلا میگفت "۲ ساعت" یا "تا ناهار" یا "قبل اینکه بریم خونه" و غیره. این معمولا پیش بینی زمانی بود که او احتیاج داشت تا طرف رو خام کنه و اجازه بده آمرتضی با غرور بیاد در دکون رو از تو قفل کنه و بره انبار طبقه دوم و "سوار" پسر بدبخت مردم بشه.

این داستان هر ماه چند باری اتفاق می افتاد و تا آمرتضی از طرف خسته میشد یه جوری جوابش میکرد و به حاج آقا هم میگفت که یارو بدرد نمیخرد یا تنبل بود و خرفت بود و غیره، اونهم به درو محل میسپرد که اگه کس دیگری را سراغ دارند خبر کنند و بزودی "قربانی" جدیدی را نادانسته برای شریکش پیدا میکرد. جالب اینکه تقریبا همه محل هم میدونستند و اغلب براشون بیشتر منبع تفریح و شوخی بود و هیچوقت یادم نمیاد بزرگتری حرفی منفی راجع به "عملیات" آمرتضی چه تو روش یا پشت سرش زده باشه. ماهم که خیلی بچه بودیم و فقط شانس آورده بودیم بخاطر موقعیت اقتصادی و اجتماعی خانوادگی هیچوقت مجبور نشدیم برای شاگردی بریم پیش آمرتضی کار کنیم.

چند سال بعد از این داستانها یکبار دیگه یاد آمرتضی افتادم. چشم بند زده توی حیاط محوطه ورودی یکی از بازداشتگاههای اطراف تهران ساعتها بود با حدود ۳۰ نفر دیگه روی زمین نشسته بودیم تا بیان تقسیممان کنند. هر چند وقتی یک پوتین به پا میامد از وسطمون میگذشت و متلکی میگفت یا یکی رو زیر لگد میگرفت که چرا چشم بندت پائین اومده و غیره. ولی یکبار دو تا اومدند که انگار ماموریت خاصی داشتند. چند بار از بین همه گذشتند و یکهو احساس کردم بغل من وایسادن. یهو یکیشون داد زد "برادر، بیاین این یکی رو سوا کنین واسه حاج ------ ، حاجی با این خوشگل مشگلا خیلی حال میکنه". یکهو تو کمتر از ۱۰ ثانیه شاید یک هزار فکر مختلف بسرعت از تو ذهنم گذشت، شاید وقتی میگن قبل از مرگ همه زندگیت جلو چشات میاد هم از همین نوع احساسها باشه. بهرحال یکی از اون فکرها آمرتضی بود و شاید نفرت نهانی که علیرغم ظاهر دوستانه با هم از او داشتم. یادمه بفکرم رسید که این حاجی باید از نوع آمرتضای خودمون باشه که حالا از بخت روزگار مسئول و مراقب هزاران بچه و نوجوان اسیر و بی دفاع شده. دیگر هم لازم نیست وقتهای "تا ظهر" یا "۲ ساعتی" اعلام کنه و فقط نوچه هاش رو میفرسته خوباش رو براش "سوا" کنند.

این بار هم (برای من) به خیر گذشت چرا که معلوم شد منظور بازداشتی سمت راست من بود و تازه یادم افتاد که خودم در جریان دستگیری (بخاطر پخش نشریه) حسابی خاکی و خونی و کثیف شده بودم و مطمئنا در چنین شمایلی مورد پسند حاجی قرار نمیگرفتم.

البته اینها رو نوشتم نه فقط بخاطر یادآوری آنچه در اون بازداشتگاهها گذشته و شاید میگذرد بلکه برای همه آمرتضاهای دیگه که تو هر محله و شهرک و شهرستانی نمونه هاشون حتما هست و در فقدان سیستم قضائی و اجرائی کارا و اطلاعات عمومی لازم و فرهنگ غلط بعضی از ما، هر روز آینده و حرمت پسرها و دخترای ایران رو به بازی میگیرند و بعضا شاید افتخار هم میکنند.

شرم بر آنها.

ببین یه عکس کارتونی کوچولو یهو باعث زنده شدن چه احساسات قوی تو آدم میشه. حالا برگردیم سر مسائل دیگر به زبان شیرین مادریمون : انجلیسی

Posted by Pedram at 10:51 AM | Comments (6)

Sina Update

Hoder reports in his Persian weblog (I'm sure he will post it on the English one as well) that he was finally able to speak to Sina Mottalebi on the phone. Apparently he is doing well and is trying to get over his ordeal. This is despite the fact that he is still facing a possible trial at some point. Sina has said that he has no plans to re-start his blog in the immediate future, but may write as a "guest" on Hoder's. I wish him all the best and look forward to the day he and all others in Iran can say and write what they wish without fear.

Posted by Pedram at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2003

Feminist Troops

"Dr Rice said the White House wanted to see an elected government in Tehran that met Iranians' demands for "a regime which protects the rights of women, which is forward looking and modern".

Isn't Condoleezza so nice to think of our women so much? Now that we've liberated Afghani women, why not the Iranians too? Oh, I forgot. Does this "protection of rights" also apply to let's say Saudi women? Or are "allies" excluded from our concern for women's rights? Here I go again, asking way too many silly questions.

Meanwhile, maybe we'll send our troops to help those poor Iranian women. As Arundhati Roy said of Afghan invasion recently: "...It's being made out that the whole point of the war was to topple the Taliban regime and liberate Afghan women from their burqas, we are being asked to believe that the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission [laughter, applause]."

If you are interested in reading more from Arundhati Roy, I suggest you start with this interview.

While there, also read Chomsky's latest.

Posted by Pedram at 11:50 PM | Comments (2)

Busy?!

No, I'm not getting lazy in updating and adding new posts, just busy with other things. All of them good, I promise. I'm also writing a lot. Maybe somebody will publish some of it and I'll forward a link here if they do. Lot's of good things in the works. But like most things in life, good stuff takes time. Patience is a virtue, I keep telling myself. Now only if I could clone myself and double the hours available in a day that way....

Posted by Pedram at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Where were you?

What was going on in the circles of power during those awful hours humanity came under attack on September 11th? Here's one account of what "W" was up to. Then there's this "cleaned up" version too.

Posted by Pedram at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

Picture of the day


Posted by Pedram at 11:43 PM | Comments (5)

Links A Lot!

1 - The CIA in Iran, The Oily Business of Regime Change

2 - The Iran Debate, Pentagon Eyes Massive Covert Attack on Iran

3 - 'Crude' US rhetoric could boost Iran's hard-liners

4 - An Osirak in the offing

5 - Next act in America's grand imperial drama set to unfold in Iran

6 - No weapons in Iraq? We'll find them in Iran

Posted by Pedram at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2003

AI Report 2003




Amnesty International Report for 2003 and a video overview.

Posted by Pedram at 10:35 AM | Comments (2)

Where R U?

Remember a couple of weeks ago I brought up the issue of lower traffic on the weekends? I now have documented it and am convinced that many of you owe your boss an apology and some money for the time you spend at work reading blogs on the net, along with the possible use of company equipment, bandwidth and time. Then again, if you work for one of the larger multi-national conglomerate corporations, don't worry about it, they owe you and all of us at least this much.

This is the traffic graph for not the past weekend, but the one before. It shows a 75% drop in traffic or "hits" to eyeranian.net from the mid week to Sunday.

WeekendDip.gif

Posted by Pedram at 01:49 AM | Comments (12)

Leftists Unite??

What is normally referred to as "left" is such a wide spectrum of opinions and political stands, it may be time to come up with some new names and definitions. After all, it is often said that "left" came from the British parliamentary system, where Labour and it's allies normally sat to the left of the speaker, in the opposition side. Since Labour now sits on the right both physically as well as politically, maybe a new term needs to be created.

The spacious gamut of ideologies amongst today's "left" even confuses those in the "right". Look at this story and see how happy right-wing Associated Press and NeoCon mouthpiece Fox News are at the fact that radical anarchist types protesting the G8 summit had attacked the gathering of French's Socialist Party (social democrats). Now aside from some common positions, I don't think many would consider the two groups as one, except for those in the extreme opposing point of view. From there, we all look on the side of the enemy anyways.

Now putting that aside for a second, I find this line from the same report rather amusing: "A group of about 350 protesters disrupted a meeting of France'sSocialist Party, tossing rocks through the windows of a conference center and accusing the party of not being radical enough."

Doesn't that sound exactly as something the extreme right would do? Accept and see things my way or I'll throw stones at your windows, destroy your property, hurt your physical body and try very hard to either make you accept and embrace my point of view, or forever live in fear.

Shame on us all.

Posted by Pedram at 01:46 AM | Comments (1)

Monday Morning Motivationals

Before you read the rest of this, please promise yourself something; you'll make every effort to make this week one of the most productive, happy and successful weeks you've ever had. Deal?

Source

============================================


Annika didn't just decide to enter the tournament, hit a
few balls and then go home. She set a goal, developed a
strategy, hired trainers and coaches to help her, and day
by day, she WORKED! Have you seen the 'before' and 'after'
pictures? Annika worked out every day. She trained HARD!
She respected the enormity of the challenge and responded
with discipline, persistence and hard, hard work.


============================================


'The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to
paint the canvas of our lives.'
-- Louise Hay

'A moment of choice is a moment of truth. It's the testing
point of our character and competence.'
-- Stephen Covey

'What you get by achieving your goals is not as important
as what you become by achieving your goals.'
-- Zig Ziglar

'Trust that still, small voice that says, This might work
and I'll try it.'
-- Diane Mariechild


Posted by Pedram at 01:42 AM

June 01, 2003

"Road Map Obstacle"


Posted by Pedram at 09:27 AM