Friday, December 26, 2003

Damn Earth Quake

60% of Bam in south eastern Iranian province of Kerman is destroyed, 5000 t0 20,000 are dead. The beautiful ancient city of Bam (Arg-e Bam) is gone for good. All a good heart can think of now is to donate some money for the survivors and gestures like that. No amount of money can reverse the terrible destruction. Nothing useful can be done after such a devastating disaster.
There were many things to do though, before hand, when it was clam but experts knew that a quake might happen sooner or later. Many things could be done to make the buildings safer and reduce the casualty rate in case of a disaster like this, were there proper management, efficient system, and caring people.
Every time a quake happens somewhere in Iran - and that happens almost once a year - one cannot help but think that Tehran may be next. If it happens in Tehran, they say the death toll can be even higher than half a million. After it happened, help some wounded survivors if you can, provide shelter to some, count the corpse, or just sit back and sigh. Much more useful things can be done before hand though.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmass and Happy Holidays

Friday, December 19, 2003

What if ...
What if the US has already captured Usama Bin Laden? What if some proves of Iraqi WMD has been already found? What if Bush is keeping these secret for the right day? What if right before the elections his administration announce these achievements as the winning cards in the election game? Huh?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

This one I posted on Pedram's Eyeranian weblog as an answer to some heated comments. Thought it wouldn't hurt to post it here too, for the sake of record. A couple of sentenses are added.

The US is guilty of many sins. That is right. But that doesn't explain everything. First of all, as far as foreign support for Saddam is concerned European countries especially France, Germany and the former Soviet are far guiltier than the US. France and Soviet Union gave him advanced weaponry and signed every sort of contracts with him to the last minute. German companies gave him Chemical weapon technology. Taking advantage of weak or corrupt regimes is part of the international politics. Do not solely blame US because many other governments would do worse if they could. We are living in and unfair world. Face it.
Last but not least, let us put the blame where it really belongs. The people. The same people that create and cherish their dictators. If people change a little bit then their political systems will change a whole lot. In most cases people truly deserve their rulers. Iranians still deserve Mullahs because they have not changed enough. Americans too deserve W. or men as low as him before they wake up and realize the true value of their freedom. The same applies to many other nations and their good or bad political systems.

I blame Iraqis the most for keeping Saddam in power for such a long time and am against the US led war because democracy and human rights cannot be militarily enforced.

Dear Iranian fellows, please give up this "Daei Jan Napel’on"-like conspiracy theory. Look inside for the roots of our political and social misery. I would recommend reading Doctor Zibakalam's "Ma Chegune Ma Shodim" (How we became who we are) book as an start.

Why a man carries a gun?

It is said that when the late Shah fled Iran in February 1979, Saddam said something like "Shah always carried a gun. A man carries gun for a purpose. When the time comes he has to use it." Implying that he should commit suicide rather than running away. He is now captured alive himself. With a pistol next to him in his hiding hole. What an unbelievable moment especially for the Iranians who remember the difficult days of war against Iraq.
You finally captured him alive, my dear Americans. Make him talk. Make him interview an experienced reporter. Make him say things that will become lessons for the future. If at all history can teach any lesson.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Good morning Iraq
Those who follow events of Iraq should really go watch (or re-watch, if they saw it long ago) the movie 'Good Morning Vietnam' . I couldn't help making links.
I love it when Robin Williams shouts into emptiness 'but we are here to help.' and when the director allows the young Viet Cong to speak for himself 'You are the enemy'.
None gets to prove the other one wrong.
I saw Apocalypse Now a while ago but it belonged to past. Didn't apply to anything in the present time. This one though have something to say about our times.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I changed my idea. He is so pathetic. If I ever get a 20 second chance to meet Khatami, I will spend it on a long deep sigh for him.I will probably shed a couple of tears for him as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Recently I have thought a lot about what I would do if I ever got a 20 seconds chance to talk to Khatami face to face. After reading this I am left with no more doubts.
If I ever get 20 seconds in private with Mr. "reformist" president of the Islamic republic of Iran I will slap him really hard on the face. That will take about 2 seconds. Then I will spend the remaining 18 seconds to watch his stupid mouth bleed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


First they didn't deliver one out of two baggages of M when she arrived in Dallas on 24 July. Then they made us call several places to find someone to listen to us. They gave us 3 different phone numbers and 3 different fax numbers, one of which did not even exist. Then they refused to pay M. liability for the necessary items that she had in her baggage and she now had to buy again. Then they made us fax the list of baggage contents with their estimated value 3 times to 2 different fax numbers.
Finally, a couple of days ago they sent us the letter announcing that the baggage could not be found accompanied by a check of $640.
Honestly the stuff in that baggage was worth at least four times this number. plus the were invaluable items in the baggage such as an old hand-woven table cloth (termeh) handed down to M from her great grandmother, our wedding candle sticks, and about 30 photos of M. from her childhood and teenage-hood (no negatives). They say this check has been written in compliance with IATA convention.
Why should the little guy like me or my wife feel lost in disputes like this? Why shouldn't the laws and conventions be written in a way that the big deal corporations who are responsible for the loss feel the pain?
I mean, what on earth I can do to get the big arrogant Lufthansa to listen to me?

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Being TA is much better than being RA. I am switch back to being a TA (teaching assistant) 5 semesters of being RA (research assistant). It is a time consuming job specially when I have to supervise 5 lab sessions each week and grade lab reports for more than 80 people. In the meanwhile, I have to find time for my research work. Yet, I am happier than before. Unlike when I was RA, I get people to talk to and interact with, a few hours a week. It feels much better.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Notes in haste
1. South California is a beautiful place. I had visited Orange county and its vicinity before but this time we had so much fun together with M (my wife). In 10 days we visited Coronado Island (next to San Diego), Lass Vegas, and camped 3 nights in Yosemite national park, not to mention a few beaches and beach towns along the way from Anaheim to San Diego. I will post a couple of pictures as son as I develop them.

2. How could we travel with empty pockets is another story.

3. So many creasy and often stupid stuff have happened recently. How dare white house to expect help from the UN. Worse of all, did you here that the republicans in the congress are planning to force the White House to make sure every investment for rebuilding Iraq comes from either Iraqi oil or international investment? (I heard it on channel 8 news). You know, the similarity between these politicians and old whores is that both know no shame. Only the latter is quite harmless. Shame, shame.

4. I have so much to write about but since M arrived my life style has changed and I often have another thing in priority. I need to make myself more organized.

5. Our apartment looks at west and gets so warm in the afternoon. last month electricity bill was $105.97. My expectation was around $40.

6. We have to go shopping now. there is no meat or onion or fruits at home. Rokhsat.

Friday, August 01, 2003

I hope no genetics knowlegable read this

Some say before the end of this century, sex will be only a means for pleasure. People will not resort to sex and natural pregnancy for the purpose of reproduction. Babies will be produced in laboratories primarily from sperm and egg received from couples. But over time genetic engineering tools and advance cloning techniques equipped with sophisticated computer programs will be employed to combine genes from two (or more?) people to compose a baby as they wish. What gender would you rather for your baby? Which one of you guy's eyes it should have? what about its chins? or its nose? or mouth? Do you want it to be as poetic as its mom? or as inquisitive as its dad (I am just assuming opposite sex parent for the sake of simplicity. The idea will work as perfect for same sex parents)? etc. etc.
I was brainstorming on this idea the other day and I came down to the issue of economical and political aspects of human reproduction centers. How will different societies run such centers?

1. Centralist or socialist countries: This countries will regulate the process of human reproduction by putting the h.r. centers under government control. Government will announce related anual plans in terms of more necessary gender, sort of talents needed, etc. each year. Applicants will have to submit written requests and wait in a queue for their turn. If the gender they ask for is not approved then they have the option to cancel their request (paying related fees) or to go for the other gender. Each new baby, in addition to parent genes genes, will have some government supplied genes or gene modifications to comply with specific future needs of the society reflected in the government's latest version of 'roadmap for social improvement' report.
At one point the government decides to modify genes of the new babies so that they will not be capable of natural reproduction when they grow up.

2. Liberal capitalist societies: Artificial reproduction will be a profitable business. Two giant companies Baby Plus (their slogan: When it comes to babies we mean business TM ) and New Age Superman (Slogan: We can make a superman out of you TM ) compete in this field. BabyPlus ridicules New Age Superman for being sexist while New age Superman accuses BabyPlus of being too materialistic and emotionless in their creed.
Government will tax reproduction applicant based on desired gender to balance the percentage of men and women in the society. Discarding natural reproduction capabilities in created babies will be scientifically possible but human rights activists will argue for a long time whether to grant freedom of choice to parents to decide if their child should not have such ability or to leave the freedom for the human to be.

P.S. I was just kidding.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam Hussein's two sons, suffered more than 20 bullet wounds each in their final stand against American forces, US military pathologists said today. The Gaurdian

Do Americans see what they are doing? They have given these two guys the kind of tragic hero's ending. The story that was released by the American officials has every element that pro-Saddam activists in Iraq can use to make a very touching heroic tragedy about their death and successfully spread it among Arabs. What kind of propaganda is it? One can make a classic greek tragedy out of it.

Uday and Qusay were hidden in a house around Mousol.
* The bad guy's heroic story would say: They didn't give in. They didn't escape. They remained in their country to form a resistance movement and fight the invaders.

Americans were informed of Uday and Qusay 's presence in that house by some locals.
* The traitor character.

A group of soldiers 200 men strong, equipped to their teeth surrounded the place.
* That is natural in a tragedy isn't it? The enemy outnumbers the hero!

They tried to contact the people in the house but the residents of that house didn't respond.
* The heroic tragedy will go: Those brave men didn't surrender. They'd rather die.

They called for a helicopter.
* The story will go: Even with 200 fully armed soldiers they were still afraid to face our heroes and look them in the eyes.

Each of Uday and Qusay's bodies received 20 bullets.
There was a 14 years old among the dead. ...
* Just imagine how much the bad guy can put in his tragedy to make it a long lasting epic around these two evil persons death. It will make them look inevitably like heroes.

What will the good guys do if such counter propaganda really occurs? If the pro-Saddam people in Iraq call that story a symbol of Iraqi resistance? An Iraqi Alamo?

People who have studied Saddam's character say that his big dream was to be remembered as a heroic, noncompromising Arab leader. Right now he is likely to wish to die like a hero and since the fall of Baghdad Americans often times sound like they wouldn't mind to give him just that kind of finish.

Something tells me it is increasingly important for Americans how to finish these people and what kind of stories to tell around their death.

She is asleep. She has jet lag. Hush...
She does'n know this blog yet. No one who knows me in person knows that I keep a blog.
I am going to tell her this evening.
But now quiet. Let her sleep for a couple of hours.
hshshsh ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I suddenly recalled an article that I had read years ago in Iran-e Farda monthly that said according to some big deal western socialist socialogist*, totaliterian regimes do not open up or fall solely by internal pressure. It claimed that foreign pressure is always necessary to bent or break such systems. I've got to find more details about that theory but I don't even remember the name of that socialist socialogist. It will be an interesting study with conjunction to the current situation in Iran and all this Iranian analysts/intellectuals/bloggers such as Eyeranian who warn foreigners (read Americans) not to intervene in Iran's affairs.

* Thanks to Babak.

Why do I blog so light lately
The summer semester is approaching its end and I have delayed papers to write and I have been in the process of moving into a new apartment and buying furniture and stuff (used of course) and I have only left some few short comments here and there recently with so many ridiculous spelling mistakes and cannot focus on writing anything useful for this blog and best of all,

my wife will arrive tomorrow :-)

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Mortazavi's route to success
As a judge Saeid Mortazavi shut down numerous newspapers and put many journalists behind the bar. The entire country of Iran hated him. So, he got promoted to Tehran's public prosecutor.
Now he has allegedly murdered an Iranian-Canadian journalist and the world hates him. Good thing he is not an ayatollah otherwise this time he would have gotten promotion to become the head of Iran's judiciary system.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Sorry Tony, I still hate that war

Few days after Saddam was ousted I wrote in this weblog that even finding WMD could no longer justify that war. Simply because Saddam didn't use them to save his own neck let alone using them for terrorist purposes inside other countries.
Personally, I hated that war because:
1. Starting a war in the name of liberty is the worst type of hypocrisy.
2. I hate and am scared of the crule idea of preemptive strike.
3. The US ignored and humiliated the security council when it opposed the US. By doing so, America set a very bad example for the small countries. Previously, the US had vetod many of the security council's resolutions approved by the majority of the members. In some cases the US was the only opposing member. The first time France promised to veto something, the Americans simply abandoned the council and got so mad at the French!
I may be happy about Saddam's destiny. We may even see a better Iraq in the future but ENDS DO NOT JUSTIFY MEANS. 'preemtive strike' is a very evil idea in long run, regardless of what comes out of it in short term.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Those early street protests in Tehran a couple of weeks ago acted like a small fire that prevented the big fire of Jully 9. Don't you think?

Thursday, July 10, 2003

'The war on the web '
In Google type 'weapons of mass destruction' then click the 'I'm feeling lucky' button. Read the page that will apear carefully. Then take a look at this article in the Gaurdian.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Laleh and Ladan Bijani - the conjoined iranian twins- both died after two days of operation to separate them :'(
source The Guardian.
I had seen them several times in my school days in Iran. We went to the same university.
What a sad piece of news to start the morning with.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Why they crack
This is from the June 30 issue of the Time magazine , page 29, under the title of "In Cosdoty Why They Crack" source.

The U.S. government maintains that it has not used physical torture in its interrogation of alleged 9/11 planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. So why would the al-Qaeda operative give up his colleague Iyman Faris to the feds? Because, experts say, eventually everybody cracks. The only variables are how long someone holds out and what pushes him over.

Inflicting bodily harm can actually be a poor method of extracting information. A detainee is likely to be so eager to end his pain he will confess to anything, even untruths, notes Rick Smith, a retired 25-year veteran of the FBI.

The most efficient technique is to break down a detainee's defenses, Smith says, then build up his trust. The first step is achieved through a combination of physical discomfort and psychological disorientation. A captive might be subjected to extreme heat or cold, deprived of light or dark, made to squat in painful positions, questioned and fed at irregular intervals, kept awake for hours on end. Most important is confinement in isolation, divorced from all that is familiar. "Human beings want to control their environment," says Ilan Kutz, an Israeli psychiatrist who has treated former captives. "If you can't control it, you lose the coordinates of the self." This, of course, is the plan. It sets the stage for a good cop — bad cop strategy in which the captive comes to depend on the supposed ally as the sole means of comfort and is thus likely to offer information to please him.

Loners, who are used to having few emotional connections, take longer to crack; so do those with deep beliefs, who can find nobility in suffering. Whatever the background of a detainee, as soon as he capitulates, he is likely to tell all. Says Kutz: "The interrogators can say, 'You're ruined to everyone on the outside. You might as well tell everything and let us help you.'"

Extreme heat or cold? deprive of light or dark? made to squat in painful positions? fed at irregular intervals? If these are not torture then what is torture? HELLO!!!
Thanks Lord I lived to understand the true definition of torture.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Life is beautiful

During the past two days all teaching and research assistants in my school received two surprising emails from the administrative assistant. Below you can read parts of those two emails.

Effective September 1, 2003 TAs and RAs will have their employee health insurance premiums increase from $0 to $143 per month for employee only and the cost for any dependents will be double the current premium cost.

Here is information I just received from the Graduate Dean's office regarding Fall TPEG, stipends and orientation.

Good Afternoon All,
I'm sure many TA's and RA's have been asking about the TPEG and stipend amounts. We now have information for the Fall 2003 semester.
The Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG) amount for TA's and RA's for Fall 2003 will be $250.00 - half of what we have been dispensing.

I had just found me a new source of income to earn about $400 per month to pay for the additional costs that we will have when my beloved wife arrives. I was so exited that we will have a smooth start and she will even be able to go to college. All in all these emails will add at least $1200 per Semester to my expenses. With this new expenses I have to pay all the additional money that I may earn from the new source of income to school to maintain the current status. You know, I am beginning to like George Bush. He is truly a compassionate man. He tries hard to make sure American tax payers' money will not end up in the pockets of irrelevant lousy foreigners like myself. That is the true fairness I suppose, with the standards of a compassionate conservative. Now, there might be some american teaching or research assistants also that will be hurt by this new costs but that is a small sacrifice Bush administration is happily ready to make. Viva tax cuts.

On a completely irrelevant note, just last month the news was out that the school of engineering and computer science had hired a new dean with a salary of $250,000 per year.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Without a title

I couldn't help taking a look at the car before ringing the door bell. Parked in front of the door, it looked nice enough for a Toyota Corolla 95 . A tall beefy man with unshaved beard opened the door. my 6 feet bag of bones looked so tiny beside him. His Middle Easter appearance confirmed the Arabic accent that I had detected in our short phone conversation. We didn't waste much time and headed for a test drive. He said he only had about 30 minutes to catch a class in SMU.
In the car I started a more friendly chat. I wanted to know more about the car in the middle of conversation. He was going to SMU for a part time MS program in management. It turned out that he had made his BS degree in my school in early 90s. He was as talkative as many other Middle easters. He was a frank man who didn't care much if the way he stated things would upset others.
"Where are you from?", I asked.
"Syria", He replied.
"Oh, I have been to Damascus twice."
"Really? how did you like it?"
"It was a nice city."
I didn't tell him how small and poor Damascus looked to me and how that ugly night club into which I only wanted to take a look out of curiosity, ripped me off $100 in less that an hour.
"So, where are you from?", he asked.
He tried to show up his information about my country by talking about the chances of an American invasion and the positions of reformer and hardliner politicians of Iran in that matter. He didn't show signs of being in rush anymore. I was now driving in the 635 highway, trying to push the accelerator as much as I could. But it was rush hour and too many cars didn't allow a high speed.
He had been in the US since 1978 and could remember the days of hostage crisis.
"During the hostage crisis these Americans told me 'you fukin Iranian go back home'. I told them 'I am not Iranian, I am Syrian. They said 'We don't care. You fukin Middle Easter, go back home'. I told them 'fuck you! you go back to Europe.' This country does not belong to anyone, you know. This country belongs to God."

After finishing the test drive, we talked a little bit about the price but I didn't waste much time on it. The body of the car had shaken while diving in the highway. I decided not to buy it.

My uncle got stuck in America after the 1979 revolution for political reasons. His two brothers (my other two uncles) returned but he stayed because his friends convinced him that his life would be in jeopardy in Iran for being a communist activist. He was affiliated with the American underground branch of a very extremist Iranian communist party. His job was to gather supporters among the Iranian students in the states. A graduate of mechanical engineering, he worked as a printing factory laborer, ice cream seller and similar small jobs until the 1987 general amnesty made him an American citizen. He married his Iranian girlfriend and established a decent life in South California. He has worked for the Orange county post office ever since. Today, he laughs at his communist past and is very happy that he stayed, when he compares his good economical situation with his two brothers who lived in Iran all these years. His elder son is a wild 15 years old teenager. When I go to South California to visit, he never gets tired making fun of me. I am his weird cousin.
"How did you manage to come to America? Crossed the border with a bag-pack? What will you tell the cops if they catch you? hehehe."
After September 11, as my uncle told me, he and all his teenage friends were very frustrated. They wanted revenge, or they wanted to feel powerful again. They wanted to feel safe again, or maybe they just didn't know what they really wanted. All you could say was that they were very frustrated, according to my uncle. One evening he finally started talking. He said many things. Among all he said my uncle could remember this:
"Those people are all terrorists. That region is all trash. We've got to nuke them. We've got to get rid of them all at once."
I kind of like this cousin. He is very verbal. He can make good poems and songs on the fly. He is a kind that could become a successful hip-hop singer. His own ambition though is to become rich by becoming a lawyer.

What to tell our children as to where do we come from?
For our own rights we beg, behind the closed doors of exile.

My free translation of a line of a song by Dariush, the exiled Iranian singer who has spent the past 25 years in Los Angeles.

Sunday, June 22, 2003


I just found out that the building in the University of Tehran Dormitory that was attacked and destryed by the vigilantes is the bulding number 70. I happened to live in a room in that building in 1995. It was my last semester and the building was only a few months old. Compared to the other buildings of the dormitory, it was very new and fancy. I wonder what has happened to my room. Together with few other buildings, it is located above a hill, isolated and far away from the main dormitory premisses. If the protesting crowd were in the Amirabad (Kargar) street, What the hell vigilantes were doing a few miles away in building 70?

I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope I will never come back.

I am just back from the movie theatre. Watched the movie Frida at last.
How do I feel about it? I feel an urge to review her paintings before I put myself to sleep tonight. Here is a good Internet source for Frida's paintings. Here is another.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

If you can read Farsi then I'd recomment the last couple of posts on this persian humor blog called Navar Behdashti, 1 , 2 (Caution: vulgar language). The first one is reiterates some of funniest Khomeini's fatwa's. The second one about the recent student protests.

Iran's American Martyr: Howard Baskerville

Courtesy of The Iranian

Many thanks to CharlesWT for providing the link.
A couple of mistakes in the previous post: Baskerville was not an orientalist per se. Also, the year was 1909, not 1904. I need to improve my history :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

The American martyr in Persia

A few months ago, an Iranian newspaper had it that Jafari Jozani, the Iranian film maker, had a plan to make a movie about the young American guy who died fighting for democracy in Iran. The story, as given in that newspaper, is that around 1904 this American who was a young orientalist with special interest in Middle East cultures, arrived at Tabriz (the Iranian city at North West corner of the country, near the borders of Turkey). His aim apparently was to gain first hand experience of the Persian cultures. To his amazement, he found Tabriz fighting a civil war. There was bloody gun fight between a group of armed rebellions and the king's soldiers. The rebels, backed by the public, asked for the establishment of parliament and constitution. I bet the last thing this American guy expected in the land of one thousand and one nights stories, was a revolution for democracy. Looks like he got very excited over what he saw because he joined the rebels and sadly died for the cause. That revolution prevailed in 1905 and Iran (then called Persia) got its first parliament and first ever constitution. According to the newspaper, the people of Tabriz put the man in rest in a nice grave and gave him a lot of respect. Since then, they have managed to keep the grave clean and they put flowers on it all the time. Even during the worst years of atrocities between Iran and the USA, they did not reduce their respect for him.

I believe the newspaper was Aftab-e Yazd, though I am not sure. It was sometime in the winter, probably late February. I have also forgotten the name of the brave American man. If anybody nows more about this story please let me know. I tried searching on the Internet but didn't get anything. Looks like Jafari Jozani does not have a website for his company Jozan Film.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I used to be nobody. Then I bought a Nissan Maxima.

What do you think? I am freaking reach? I bought it for only 3000 bucks. It is a 1993 model. Now I am left with no more than $134 in my student checking account till the end of the month. Good thing there is credit card x-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Iraqi monarchists
I really liked this one from Salam Pax. It's so funny and right to the point.

Advanced math problem
Somebody's wife will arrive within the next two months. If we have
1290 - (510 + 70 + 170 + 300 + 100 + 120 + 150 + 80) = 1290 - 1500 = -210
1. The number of tables he will have to wait a weekend.
2. The possibility that INS will expel him for violating the terms of his I-20 status by ilegally working off campus.
3. Some motivational words to give him the courage that he needs the most.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Reacting to the current student unrest and hunted by the fears of a possible popular uprising, Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei last week asked his loyal forces to confront the 'traitors' with sheer 'mercilessness'. Using a cruel word such as 'mercilessness' was new of him. He didn't use to be so cruel in his language before. Is that a signal? I guess the first thing we can understand from his last speech is how scared he is from the present situation. Besides, he knows that oppressive regimes do not fall while they hold the society under strong pressure but often when they start loosening up. Usually these kind of regimes accept changes when it is too late and even then they allow so little of it. When the public asks for gradual reforms they they show iron fist. Finally, when the public thinks of nothing less than subversion they decide to allow some reforms. Consequently, the society which is then like a huge volume of water behind a dam finds a small hole and breaks through a destroys the whole dam. Shah's regime and the former Soviet Union are examples of this phenomenon. Khamenei realizes this and he knows Iran is probably in such an stage right now. He and all people behind him know that allowing reforms at this time means loosing their ass. They know it for sure, the only way to rule for some more time is to oppress. And oppress they do.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Spending evenings, the old style
Last year I took a class on the history of modern art, just for fun and enrichment, you know. Once in the class the teacher, a very well known art historian, mentioned that he used to wonder for a long time how a painter like Degas could produce such a huge volume of art works in a life time. Then, as he said, he had realized that in Dega’s time there was no TV.
To me it is TV and Internet that prevents me from doing anything useful. Especially the Internet, and the worst of Internet? WEBLOGS. Last night the Internet was disconnected and in the beginning I was really missing something. Then after wandering around the apartment for sometime while the thunderstorm was creating scary movie scenes outside, I gradually went back to my old style, more fruitful ways of spending a night. First I browsed through a technical paper that I had in my priority list for quite some time (finally!). Then I grabbed Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird. This guy is such a great novelist. I love his "Slaughterhouse Number 5". That is probably my best favorite novel. I have read it twice in Farsi and once in English. Jailbird is a little boring though. So, I grabbed Jailbird from the bookshelf and continued reading from where I had left a very long time ago. I am telling you it felt much better than reading on the computer screen. From the book:

[Dr. di Sanza's Ponzi scheme was] offering fools enormous rates of interest for the use of their money. ... he would use most of the money to buy himself mansions and ... but returning part of it as the interest he had promised. More and more people would come to him, having heard of him from gloatingly satisfied recipients of his interest checks, and he would use their money to write more checks - and on and on.
I am now convinced that Dr. di Sanza's greatest strength was his stupidity. He was such a successful swindler because he himself could not, even after two convictions, understand what was inevitably catastrophic about a Ponzi scheme.
"I have made many people happy and rich" he said. "Have you done that?"
"No, sir -not yet," I said. "But it's never too late to try."
I am now moved to suppose, with my primitive understanding of economics, that every successful government is of necessity a Ponzi scheme. It accepts enormous loans that can never be repaid ...

Delacorte Press, 1979, ppg. 50, 51

I just hope the student demonstrations in Tehran will not become more violant. This is probably not the right way, or at least, this is not the right time. My thoughts and feelings go to all of those 'emotional young countryman students' (as Hoder put it) who are shouting their frustration in Amirabad street these nights.

P.S Frankly, my head says one thing but my heart cannot accept that what they are doing is wrong.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

What is the difference at all?


Chalabi vs. US
It was so sad and funny at the same time to hear Chalabi critisize the US policies in Iraq in his interview with Charlie Rose last night. He was desperately trying to distant himself from the way things are coordinated there. The man is certainly disappointed. What was he thinking 3 months ago? That he would have an easy walk to power like Karzai of Afghanistan?
I like one thing about him tough. He and his Iraqi National Congress support a federal system and they are inclusive.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Perfect patriotism

This ad appeared on the Satarday June 7 issue of Dallas Morning News. In case the text on the picture is not readable, part of it says: "... stand with the Prestige Ford owner ... as they hold an American flag that was flown by the 26th Marine Recon Unit over Kandahar International Airport during the recent war in Iraq. The flag was raised by the 26th Marine Recon Unit and flew two days and two nights while the airport was under siege by Iraqi forces." !!!

Just in case you have not followed the prime time news during the past two years, Kandahar is not an Iraqi airport but a city in Afghanestan.

I am not even going to touch the issue of taking advantage of patriotic feelings to advertise stuff. It is probably non of my business. Only, it reminds me of an ad, widely broadcasted on several TV channels shortly after 9/11. The ad used D-day (probably the best thing American military has ever done) to advertise, guess what? Jeep Liberty.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

An adventure of a different kind

It was two in the morning. Our bus was driving northward on the Firooz-Kooh road, a narrow and crooked road that connects Tehran to the northern provinces through the rugged Elborz mountains. Iran's roads are very insecure. In average 50 people die in car accidents each day. That is 18000 people a year. First or second in the world. Some of the accidents are due to the quality of the roads, some due to aggressive driving. Many families have lost a loved one to the unsafe roads and streets. My own grandfather died of being hit by a car 8 years before I was born. Then in 1978 his daughter, my lovely aunt, died in a highway accident leaving a 3 years old son behind to be raised by stepmother. Firooz-Kooh road is one of the most dangerous roads of the country.

It was two after midnight, a very bright night. The moon was so beautiful that night. All the mountains and valleys as far as I could see were covered by silver moonlight. Our target? Golestan forest. We were going to camp there for a couple of days. We were actually an amateur climbing group of roughly 16 boys and girls. This time we had decided to treat ourselves to a fun camping in one of the most beautiful forests of the country. Since it was going to be a fun program we called other friends and gathered 38 people. Every seat on the bus was occupied. I was sitting on the first seat with Maziar, talking. Everybody else was asleep except for four pals who were quietly playing cards at the rear of the bus. Every time we traveled overnight, we used to take turns to sit close to the driver, awaken, to make sure he does not fall asleep. One or two persons for two hours. Then we switched. So here we were, Maziar and I, talking together and to the old driver, having a good time. It was such a new and fancy bus. Other times, Maziar or I used to take the duty of renting a bus. We usually found an old bus. Rental companies do not easily agree to send new buses for such country side trips. A few months before, the bus that Maziar had rented broke in the middle of the way and caused a 3 hour delay, a delay that cost us dearly. This time, however, Babak rented the bus. You cannot imagine how much he bragged about the white fancy new bus that he had managed to rent. We were driving downhill. The driver was pushing the brake paddle too often. At one point we could smell the burnt brake shoes that made us worried. But soon we buried all worries deep under the exciting talks about camping. Abir, the one in charge of the program, had promised we would see a lot of wild life. Maybe even bears. It was going to be a lot of fun, if we had gotten there.

It was two after midnight. Maziar an I were quietly talking, trying not to awake others. Suddenly we heard the driver whispering something. Looked at him at once. He was praying desperately "Ya Abalfazl, Ya Abalfazl!" He was panicking. Meanwhile, he was repeatedly hammering his right foot on the brake, firmly but uselessly. The bus was not running too fast at that time. Suddenly there was a flat field at the side of the road. I saw it. The driver saw it too. Maziar yale at him: "Off the road! to the field!" Had he done that, I thought, the bus might have gotten damaged a little bit but we would be saved. But he didn't do it. His bus was so new and fancy, he didn't dare to do it. Maziar jumped to the middle of the isle shouting, trying to wake people up. He thought they would have more chances to protect themselves if they were awaken in the final seconds. The driver tried to change the gear to one.That is the last chance to control the speed when the brake is not working in a manual car. The gear moved to neutral but he couldn't put it in one! The clutch was also malfunctioning. There was a chaos inside the bus of the people who were just awaken. Our speed was constantly increasing. My eyes was locked on the driver. His right foot hammering the brake, his left foot holding the clutch down, his right hand fighting the gear shift, and his left hand controlling the wheel in the crooked, slopy road. The bus was speeding up rapidly. There was no hope, I thought, these were the last seconds of my life. I was supposed to be frightened at those seconds but you know what? I wasn't. I felt surprisingly calm. Believing that I was about to die within few seconds was not scary at all. It just felt like "Damn it. Is this how I'm going to die?" That simple.

The wrecked bus. Picture was taken the next morning by Maziar, who could still walk.

We didn't die. The driver suddenly rotated the wheel and lead the bus off the road to the valley. Surprisingly, it wasn't a deep valley, it was a dry river bank only about 25 feet below the road level. All the tires broke when we hit the ground. The bus slipped on its stomach for about 300 feet, broke a telephone post and stopped just before hiting the high voltage electricity post. By some miracle the bus did not roll over. By some miracle no one died in that wrecked bus. A lot of fractured bones but no death.

For about a minute or so, I was looking the death in the eyes that night and I am telling you: I am not a fearless man but it wasn't scary.

Friday, June 06, 2003

The vivid difference
Here is a big difference between the Iranian society before the islamic revolution of 1979 and the societry after the revolution:
Before the revolution people used to party and drink outdoors, and pray indoors. After the revolution they drink indoors and pray outdoors :-))

It is three days I am trying to write something. It is a memory. It is quite longer than my other posts. I cannot finish it. Why? because my english sucks. I lack a lot of the vocabulary that I need. What is the best way to describe when a car's brick starts to smell bad as a result of pushing the brick paddle too much? Do we say "I smelled the brick shoe burning"? I have quite a few questions like this. Two and a half years in America and I still have so many problem with my english. I hate myself. What else can I expect? I do not hang out with any Americans, I am not a TV fan, I spend the whole day either at a computer or in the corner of my office, alone, thinking and writing. Sometimes daydreaming and doodling, of course. What else can I expect from myself with this way of life? Well, maybe I finally give up and post that writing the way it is. Who cares.

Why do couples still make babies? Aren't there enough people in this world? Why don't they just go to a orphanage, pick a cute baby and adopt it? Isn't that wiser? Do we enjoy life that much to want to force a new human being to experience it? Why do we usually think that we will not love an adopted child like a natural child? Why can't we?
When young couples talk about having baby, they usually talk about a cute little baby that is going to bring joy to their life and give it some meaning! and direction. They often forget that this little cute baby will someday be a grown up. A real individual with all the same challenges and pains as themselves. If they realized that, then they might think more seriously about adopting an already born baby rather than creating one.
Albert Camus said there is but one serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. I think the question of giving birth to a new human being is the second very important philosophical problem.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Today was the aniversary of Khomeini's death, the demagogue who fooled my fathers generation. Was he useful for Iran's history? What about his heirs? Well, on the bright side, even the European history needed the dark ages.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Just before starting this weblog, when I was thinking about a good title, I came up with this idea: "potential Mohammad Atta". It was a reaction to that senator who branded this title to all the Middle Easter students in the States. Very soon I dismissed the idea thinking it might offend some visitors (specially Americans) who did not share my Iranian sense of humor.
A couple of weeks ago I came across this weird persian weblog called Terrorist. This one is not sarcastic at all. The title of the weblog goes like this (all text in the parenthesis is by Jafar):

"Some day they (Arab invaders of 13 centuries ago) called us Ajam. We felt humiliated so, we put on turban to look like Arabs.
They called us Rafezi, so we hid our love for our lord ( Imam Ali ) for many years.
Yesterday the blond people with a hallow civilization based on modern ignorance, put hat on our head to make us western from tip to toe. If someone refused, they called him backward.
For so many years, others attacked and we only defended.
Today they call the moslem who sacrifices his life to fight the cruel and the oppressor, terrorist.
Now I respond all their attack not by defense, but by a counterattack. I shout: I am Ajam , I am Rafezi, I am backward, and I am terrorist"

Tonight when I visited his blog, there was a farewell message there. He will not continue blogging anymore. Looks like his verbal counterattack did not work for him. He is a fundamentalist Shia moslem with a noticeable sense of humor who praised Hamas and Hezbollah but is ambivalent about Al-Qaeda.

Monday, June 02, 2003

She got the damn visa :-) She called me to break the good news one and a half hour ago. She will be with me soon and I will be able to finish my Ph.D.
I have had a couple of things in my mind to write about but I didn't feel like writing a long post during this weekend. I will do it tomorrow.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Naive Columnists
"The ayatollahs are most likely trying to integrate surviving al-Qaeda resources with those of Hezbollah, their own main horse in terror international." Source National Post.
This is one of the stupidest things I have read in the past 2 years. The only other equally naive and stupid thing that I can think of was the Washington's rhetorics about installing democracy in Afghanistan, when they invaded that country.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

My wife will go to the American consolate tomorrow to apply for visa. If they reject her application this time, I will most likely quite the PhD program and go back home to her.

right now I am listening to Freydoon Forooghi, singing:
"My need is to see you every day,
to hear 'I love you' from your lips."
("man niazam to ro har rooz didan-e")

Cross your fingers.

Friday, May 30, 2003

To vote, or not to vote
At the time of local elections in late February, I was to Tehran. I didn't vote, just like most other Tehranis. I, and others believed it was a good punishment for the regime (especially for the so called reformers) to turn our back to them after all these years. In the presidential elections of May 1997, I voted for the first time in my life, just like many other Iranians who thought that was the first serious election since 1979. I voted for Khatami, just like many others. You see, in both occasions I was actually following the wave. Many of the people who voted for Khatami at that time, now think it was a mistake. I don't. But I am not sure if in the February 2003, it was the right decision to boycott the election. I guess time will show. But if someday we figure out that it was wrong, it will be too late to correct the decision. It will be another missed opportunity added to so many other missed opportunities in our modern history. For the future elections, we really have to think about whether or not to participate more carefully.

bureaucratic reason for war
"Paul Wolfowitz, the US Deputy Defence Secretary, said that disarming Saddam of illegal weapons was nothing more than a "bureaucratic reason" for war. ..."
Continue reading here.

Kachal-e Kaftar-baaz
Tonight on ABC, Mike Tyson was co-hosting Jimmy Kimmel's show. They had filmed him with his pigeons over the roof of a building in Harlem. So, that's his hobby. He is a kaftar-baaz (as Iranians say). His method of playing with the pigeons was unbelievably similar to that of the Iranian kaftar-baaz. Kaftar-baazi (playing with pigeons over the roof and competing with the rivals) is a very old Iranian tradition. And he is bald too. So he resembles Kachal-e Kaftar-baaz (the famous character of an Iranian children story). An Iranian Kaftar-baaz is usually infamous in the neighborhood for they suspect he always watches across the wall to the interior of other peoples homes (something traditional Iranians really hate).

Thursday, May 29, 2003

All blogspot weblogs are slow and hard to access these days but not the website itself. I pinged (IP address tonight and every packet was recieved back (0% loss), but when I pinged the (IP address, where my blog is hosted, I got 41% loss.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

WMD found at last?
"The good news for the Pentagon yesterday was that its investigators had finally unearthed evidence of weapons of mass destruction, including 100 vials of anthrax and other dangerous bacteria. ..."
Continue reading at Common Deams News Center.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

A second thought regarding that book: many say Bush the son is following his father's agenda. Considering what has happened during the past two years, the opening paragraph of the book makes some sense. Doesn't it?

George Bush: the Unauthorized Biography
This is a book about George Bush the senior. I have not read it yet but from at the first look it looks pretty nasty. The introduction is titled "Introduction: The American Caligula" and this is the first paragraph:
"The thesis of this book is simple: if George Bush were to be re- elected in November 1992 for a second term as the president of the United States, this country and the rest of the world would face a catastrophe of gigantic proportions."
Those who are already sick of this father and son will enjoy reading the book no matter how much subjective an non-factual it might be. Also, the customer reviews written on this book in are sort of interesting.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Last night at 2 after midnight I watched Clinton on CSPAN giving lecture to a college class in Arkansas for more than an hour. I really enjoy it when this guy talks. You know, when he speaks you get a feeling that he really knows something. Unlike Goerge bush that when talks you quickly realize he has been a C student in the college. Bill Clinton is so damn brilliant. At least that is how he sounds in his speeches.
Tonight we were talking about him after dinner. Mahmoud brought up the issue of Monica Lewinski scandal. He kind of believed it overshadows anything good that Clinton ever did during his time. Rahim was against this. He asked: which one is more unethical and shameful for a president? To commit adultery or to get allowance from your daddy until you are 40 years old? His point was that the latter damages the qualifications of a president much more. I am not sure if this allegation is true about George Bush the son but Rahim made a clever point.
What do I think about that scandal? I am not really sure. What do you think about it?

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Iran: the temporay reformers, the persistent reform progress
Khatami is a failure. Many people say that these days and I cannot agree more. Despite that, I still belive Iranians campaign towards modernism has a future. It is not over yet. Is this phase of social reforms over? Yes, this is as far as Khatami and his fellow reformers could go. Is Irans campaign towards modernism and social beterment over? No, not at all. It did not start 6 years ago but with the 1905 revolution and even before, and it is not going to stop with Khatami.
In my opinion we are now at a very interesting stage of our history. The religous establishment that acted as a major barrier against most of the modernist and democratic efforts in the past is now exposed to the public. It is loosing its sacredness quickly, even between the most illiterate rural people. Are people depressed and disappointed these days? Yes they are but this will soon change. Remeber the months before the presidential elections of 1997. People were so depresse in those days. Khatami and his felloew reformists did help Iran's history various ways. First, they clarified the political cimate. I remember during rafsanjani's presidency, I used to explain about the left wing and the right wing within the regim as if I knew some secret knowledge. Most people had very little idea about the differences between the ruling politicians. Second, they exposed the hardliners (and even themselves) to the public and broke down the wall of sacredness that stood between them and the common people for many years. They said, and made their oponents say, things that would have only been said behind the closed doors, prior to 1997. This gave the public a lot of invaluable insight. Third, they explored all the potentials of the constitution and (probably unintentionally) proved in practice that it does not have the capacity for any more democratic refoms. The modification of constitution is proven indispensable now. Fourth, these six years were a kind of democracy tutorial for Iranians. At least most people, even in the remotest towns learned how to vote. Sometimes you see serious competitions between candidates in a very small town. This is a very great gift to have in the middle east, unthinkable for most of the people in that region. All these have made iranians ready for the bigger challenges that await them in the next phase. I personally hope for a solution that comes from within the country rather that without.
[I cannot belive I sound so optimistic in this post!]

Monday, May 19, 2003

I promised my mentor to finish some delayed work during the weekend. I sepnt the whole weekend in front of computer but did not accomplish even 1 hour of useful work. The job is still far from over. I am not in any mood to do anything useful these days. This paper writing business is so boring. It is a very easy work for the money that I receive as a research assistant, I admit that. It is a gravy train for me. But still, it is too boring. Or at least it has become too boring for me since I came back from Iran This March, married but alone. I try hard to separate my personal life from the academic responibilities, to be strong, and to keep my mentor happy. yet, I am not always in charge of myself. Now I have to come up with an excuse before I see him tomorrow :-(

Sunday, May 18, 2003

A God of another kind

"I was not a servile little slave
and my way to a heavenly paradise
was not the path of submission and servility.
I deserved a God of another kind,
worthy of a creature,
who does not humble himself
for the indispensable morsel.
And a God
of another kind
I created."

      The Song of Abraham in Fire
      Ahmad Shamlu (contemporary Iranian poet)
Courtesy of

Saturday, May 17, 2003

The riot that we started!
"The food tastes bad" This was the word around the self service restaurant of the dorm. I took the word to our room with the pot of dinner food (we used to eat at room). Students received daily inexpensive food from the dormatory restaurant. We felt it was one of our fundamental rights to receive quality food for a cheap price. It was less than a year from the last food riot in the huge and highly packed dormatory compound of the university of Thehran. It was more than two years before Khatemi, the mysterious years of Rafsanjani as the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In those boring days making some noise over the food quality could be so much adventurous. It was almost the only excuse that students used every now and then to riot. No direct political demonstrations in those days, as if there are so many of them these days!
My roomate and I collected a few other friends and took them to the restaurant. I also took the food back with me . There, our friends received their food. We argued with the workers for a while and then emptied our pots on the floor of the restaurant. Our small riot started from there. For the next hour we marched around the campus, made a lot of noise an collected many students. Our next target? street.
The dorm officials tried hard to stop us or at least prevent us from going out. When they got disappointed the dogs appeared. The small gang of bearded, pro-regime, tough guys that always appeared at this times to scare students. We called them dogs because they were used by the dorm officials to violantly damp student uprisings. they also couldn't prevent us from going out. We blocked the street. I was there right in the middle of it. I didn't know why but I didn't care. Still I am not sure why we blocked the street that night and I still do not care that much. In the last riot we had tried to be very organized. We tried to behave like civilized people who had a justified cause for their unrest. We forced the university officials to come to the dorm. They gave us speaches and asked us to choose representatives, write down our demands and deliver it to them. We did but before we deliver it some of their dogs tore the paper up and threatened us big time. That was all. We got nothing. They ridiculed us. So, this time it was only about outrage, about expression of anger, about yaling in the middle of the street only for the sake of yaling. As far as we could see there were cars, hundreds of them, blocked by us, with angry drivers playing the horns constantly, and boy was that what we begged for?
We moved back into the dormatory premisses only after we were tired (or relieved?). Some more demonstration inside and the story found an unprecedented happy ending. Some smart ass students noticed a half creasy man called Abedi at the spot. He usually hung around the dorm and everybody knew him. They dragged Abedi to the middle of the crowd, grabbed a chair, made him stand on it and had him give one of the most comic reformist speaches I have ever heard. I would say it was as hilarious as the recent speaches of Khatami!
I went back to my room around the midnight wondering if all these was worth sleeping with empty stomach. But hey, my friends and I had ignited a student riot that night.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Where can I find some fairness?
The bombing in Saudi Arabia deteriorated the situation in the Middle East even more. My wife is going to apply again for a US visa next week. She is going to travel to Dubai as there is no American embassy in Tehran. As the past experience tells me, the bombing accident reduces her chance of gettinf US visa drastically. Is this fair? Why should the violance that has nothing to do with my wife and I keep us apart? Why should being Iranian cause so much suffering and humiliation? While in Iran you are humiliated and harassed constantly by your regime. While outside, you are humiliated by the people who do not like the goverment of your country. They drag you to annual special INS registration, their senator calls you a potencial Mohammad Atta, they keep your wife away from you. I am dying to see some fairness in this world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The collision of generations
Webgard has this interesting essay for the Mothers Day.
"They see their kids, the generation that dominates Iran today, and they see them hurting. And aside from blaming some aristocratic cleric figure, they sometimes blame themselves. Sad. To me, and I don't mean to exaggerate but they are the most unappreciated generation Iran has ever had."

He believes we should appreciate our fathers generation more than this. Actually, I am one of those Iranian post-revolution people who blames his fathers generation for being so naive, so simplistic, to be fooled by the most backward group of people into the most backward movement in Irans modern history that created the islamic revolution of 1979. So, not only we do not need to appreciate them more, they even owe us something. They have not made it up for us yet.
I may sound too superficial here but, believe me, if they had learned their lessons from their past history they wouldn't have been fooled so easily.

Inflatable church
This guy has come up with the brilliant idea of an inflatable church
I am not religious at all but I never ridicule religion as much as these religious people do.

Monday, May 12, 2003

I was right. Sina is released temporarily to confront the court (according to BBC persian). I hate it when I am right but I guess the judge will send him to prison at leats for a few months, unless the international pressure and the backstage politics works and they only fine him some amount of money. But even then he will be under surveillance.

PowerSpec computers suck
My computer crashed big time las Friday. The whole weekend I was either watching NBA or struggling to recover my PC system. I finally resorted to formating without any chance to take a backup of my data. It is still not working! The damn thing does not boot up. I will perform a low-level zero fill on its hard disk today. Then I will know if it is a hardware problem or not.
This is not the first time this machine gives me hard time. Never buy a PoweSpec PC, they suck.

Sina Motallebi (the iranian blogger and journalist) was freed today so I removed the 'Free Sina Motallebi' logo from this page. Actually, I only commented it. You never know, they can always call him and put him behind the bar again. This is unfurtunately what the past experience teaches me.

Friday, May 09, 2003

A few days ago my wife, who is living in Tehran went to the Mehrabad airport to catch a flight. At the entrance the security guard (a woman) rushed at her face violantly and impolitely with a piece of fabric to clear up her lipstick! What a shame. Another time, when I was still to Tehran (more than two months ago) we escorted my cousin to the airport one evening. Again those stupid guards did not let Maryam into the building only because they beleived her 'manto' was not long enough! I have seen a lot of these, you know. My generation grew up receiving this kind of humiliation from the regime left and right. I can go on giving tens of examples even worse than the two that I already explained above.
It is not only the offence to my wife that freaks me out, it is the grave backwardness, the shameful lumpenism in the system that once and again makes me sigh for my country and my people. When are they going to give up? to perish? to leave my people alone? I, like many other Iranians, am sick and tired of them. We have had enough. My wife does not deserve this insult, nor anybody else in my country.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

A song for my beloved
Like the dreams of a red rose.
Courtesy of

Tonight the phone card dried out before I get to say goodbye.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

INS special registration

Yesterday I finally went to INS for special registration and here is what happened:
Mohammad acompanied me. He knew the way.We were got to the given address at 11:0am. They directed us to another INS office which we got to at about 11:15am. The guard took my passport into the building but return after few minutes only to say that the interviewer was out for lunch and that I should come back at 12:30 (lunch at 11:15 !?). At 12:15 I was back. The guy was also back so I passed the security and sat down in the waiting room filling out a form that asked general questions about my contact info, my career, the school info, 3 references, my parents names and address, etc. I had done all this and more on April 7 in the US immigration office in Vancouver airport before flying to Dallas, but that is a different story. After fcompleting the form I waited there for about an hour to be called for the interview. There were few other foreign nationals there when I arrived and some others joined us while I was waiting. Most of them were called before me. None of them were from a moslem country. Looked like my business needed special attention and a certain officer was rsponsible for my registration as a citizen of a 'suspected' country. I was hungry and mohammad was waiting for me in the car. At about 1:15 pm the security officer, pobably concerned about my irritated appearance walked into a doore and when she came back after a minute she told me 'He didn't forget about you' to which I replied: 'Really? Thanks Lord'. So, maybe all this time the guy has been working on my case studying my passport and information in the INS database. What was there that made my case so time consuming?
About five minutes later a man opened the same door and called my name. It was the interviewer himself. He was most likely a second Arab (or Indian) American. Every other officers when called a person welcomed him/her by a 'hello, how are you?' He didn't. So, I also didn't say hello. He had put on a very serious and unhappy face. I did my best to show the exact same kind of face. During the 15 minutes interview I tried to use as few words as possible. He took my finger print, looked at my credit card, my I-20 and my transcript of records. Also he typed things on his computer. At one point he turned to me and asked when exactly I had started the school? my answer was more than two years ago. He wondered how could I start two years ago when my visa was issued only less than two months ago!? So I had to explain to him that it was the second US visa in my passport granted to me for re-entry. I showed him the first visa that was issued on January 2001. So, he had not even looked at my passport before he called me!
Also, despite his initial request, I forgot to show him my social security card but he didn't ask me again. I got away without even telling him my SSN.
One of the first things that I noticed in his room was a half full glass of soda and what looked like an untauched aluminume wrapped Whataburger sandwich on his desk! How many meals a day does he have?

Monday, May 05, 2003

The real 'Saving Pte. Lynch'

Here is another version of the Jessica Lynch's rescue story.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Woman and green apple by Bahram Dabiri
Courtesy of Dideh: Iranian fine art gallery.

I just read my entery regarding the earthquake in Turkey (Friday 5/2/2003 12:24 AM ) once again. Frankly, I am not sure if I can take it so easy if (God forbid) an earthquake occures in Tehran. I have left my wife there in addition to my parents, brothers and lots of other relatives and friends. It won't be just another day, it will be horrible, the end of the world for me.

The justification for war in Iraq, the way Bush administration put it, was that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction AND that he was so creasy he would sooner or later use it against America. Some hardliners in White House even suggested Saddam was ready to hire terrorists to smuggle those weapons into the US and use them right there to kill Americans. To preempt this America sent its troops to Iraq, fought for a month and did not face a single use of any chemical/biological/nuclear weapon. Well, looks like Saddam was not that creasy after all. Therefore, even if any such weapons are found now it does not prove anything. The preemptive strike on Iraq is highly questionable now, simply because Saddam did not use those imaginary weapons even to save his regime from invaders let alone using them senselessly inside America.
Otherwise, if America's only intention was to free Iraqis(see 'political snobbery') then why don't they go about freeing all other nations from brutal dictators? There are so many of them.

I am sorry I seem to back Saddam. He was a brutal dictator and I have always hated him. But the philosophy behind the 'preemptive strike' doctrine of Mr. Bush is so scary and irrational that I can hardly force myself to behave every time I here something about it.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Bank of America charges $10 just for issuing a certified bank statement, and it takes 5 days! Is that fair?

Friday, May 02, 2003

Democrassy cannot be installed. It cannot even be fought for. Democrassy is a learned process. It does not need soldiers. To flourish, it needs primary school teachers who understand it well. Democrassy is contagious.

1. It is just another day. Some people died of AIDS, some people died of earthquake, some went bankrupt, some people cried. Some people got married, some people gave birth to cute babies, some made greate furtunes, some laughed. I start this blog in this ordinary day with this useless thaught stuck in my brain: life is still a challenge, like it has always been. And it is still worth fighting for.

2. On the PBS news last night (May 1st) someone was mentioning that the precision bombs used in Iraq were not that much destructive to scare Iraqi civilians enough to accept democracy (he really said something like that!). He believed democracy flourished in post WWII Germany only because the allied countries bombed the shit out of German cities and killed hundreds of thousands of 'guilty civilians'. He belive they were guilty for supporting Hitler, so it was ok to mass-murder them in their homes, so it helped re-establishment of democracy in Germany. Stupidity has no boundaries.

3. Several people died in earthquake in Turkey today. What a sad news. Condolences to all Turkish folks. Yet these things happen all the time. I guess it is just another day.

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