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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