Thursday, December 16, 2010

Uproar over WikiLeaks (II)

The United States government is furious over the publication of its classified documents by WikiLeaks and in my previous post I wrote about the role of secrecy in the new world order.  We have entered into a world of communication and openness where individuals are more active participants and this by itself will limit the governmental secrecy. 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Uproar over WikiLeaks (I)

WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of pages of United States’ classified documents to the media has created a news sensation and paralyzing dilemmas for the governments around the globe.  All kinds of proposals are floating about in the news and talk shows on ways of dealing with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, its founder.  They range from assassination of Mr. Assange to creation of new laws with severe penalties to deal with WikiLeaks and any future attempt at leaking classified information.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Interview with Mousavi!

Charlie Rose is a smooth interviewer. He can put his guest at ease and make him feel comfortable, all good characteristics of a skilled talk show host. But his questions this past Monday night, interviewing Mr. Larijani, barely moved to the core issues of freedom of thought, expression and press in Iran.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Master of Spin?

In relation to my last post, “Interviewing for Democracy”, a good friend sent me a link to a BBC article titled “Ahmadinejad, Master of Spin”. This article indicates that my displeasure with the major interviews of the Iranian officials is shared on a broader scale.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Interviewing for Democracy

This last Sunday I watched Fareed Zakaria’s GPS. Part of his program was devoted to an interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani. Mr. Larijani was visiting the UN as the head of Iran’s Human Rights Commission. Mr. Larijani along with his two brothers, Ali Larijani who is the speaker of the parliament and Sadegh Larijani, head of the Judiciary, are part of the influential power brokers of the Islamic Republic. It was disappointing to see Mr. Larijani dodging the questions and arguing his way out.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Stroke of Insight

This talk by Jill Bolte Taylor is truly an insight from inside.  Watch it and enjoy!
 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Catch Up and Join!

Some years ago I took my parents to an Iranian party to visit some of their old friends who were in town. I did not know the host or the other participants. When the party broke out singing one of the national anthems of Iran, I knew that I was in a super “Persian” gathering.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

1953 Coup

The anniversary of the 1953 Coup in Iran is approaching (August 19th) and the drumbeat of the “evils of Imperialist domination” will get louder.  For the Iranians it is a national ritual to call the 1953 coup – that returned the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to power – an American or CIA Coup.  For decades this has been part of an image that associated the United States government and the west in general with the dictatorships around the world; as if these associations were second nature for the western “imperialists”.  Close to six decades have passed, the dictatorships in Latin America and South East Asia have turned to democracies with the encouragement of the West, but the dark image of that event continues to persist in the Iranian psyche.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Would You Bet?

If I had to bet on who won the presidential election a year ago in Iran, I would bet on Ahmadinejad. Am I a supporter of him? Obviously not but with the lack of hard evidence, that is a full investigation of the electoral process, my wager is my summary of what happened a year ago.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Westoxication" a National Illusion

Gharbzadegi is a coined phrase popularized in Iran by Jalal Al-e Ahmad referring to a perceived “national” problem of intoxication or stricken by the Western values – Westoxication. Al-e Ahmad a renowned writer in his book, Gharbzadegi, has diagnosed Westoxication as the national disease. “We have not been able to preserve our cultural-historical character in the confrontation with the machine and its inevitable assault. We have disintegrated.” For him the “machine and its inevitable assault” is the summation of the Western influence. His thesis was stringing together a set of half truth geo-political and historical events, which as a leading intellectual is only indicative of the shallowness of the knowledge among the learned at the time.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Defense of the “Iranian Revolution”?

Is there anything left from that revolution worth defending?  The February 1979 insurrection toppled the regime of Mohammad Reza Shah.   Since that time many, particularly on the left, are struggling to digest that event and its aftermath.  The advocates in general see a continuation of the revolution through the rivalry between the Islamic Republic and the west, especially in its animosity toward the United States.  You can hear the “anti-imperialist” propaganda from the leaders of the Islamic Republic everyday and it is this subterfuge that hides all their failures and keeps them in power.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Leftist Fragmentation

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a friend which contained a chain of discussion between himself and one of his political associates.  At some point in our past the three of us were part of the same organization espousing Trotsky’s variation of Marxists views.   Their discussion was very heated where the subject of discussion was lost among the personal attack on each other – a typical leftist exchange.  A couple of decades earlier both of them were united in their opposition to me.  I have noted my memories of that discussion in another web site (this link).  I am not trying to revive the old disputes, but this e-mail brought to my attention the continuation of the fragmentation of our old organization.  As a matter of fact, this fragmentation was not only our problem but the problem of the entire spectrum of leftists.  They continuously fragmented.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Siddhartha

A subject that I never thought I would be commenting on, Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha. A few nights ago I could not sleep and I watched “The Buddha”, a PBS program, online.  It is very well made. The program through simple voices tells the story of Buddha.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Healthcare War

The Delegates to the Washington state Democratic primary convention are selected through a caucus system. In our 2008 neighborhood caucus meeting, the highlight of argument in support of Mrs. Hillary Clinton was her position for the universal health care coverage. This was argued for by a articipant. I spoke in support of Mr. Obama’s position on the issue of health care. I was not so much interested in his specific promises, but in his approach to the problem. I felt he was advocating the need to take into consideration the specific American realities. To take personal responsibility in one’s own healthcare needed to be a part of the solution. I was thinking of an American solution and betting that he would come up with a vision toward solving this pestering problem.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti and China

Mr. Brooks in his NY Times column “The Underlying Tragedy” enumerates a whole list of issues related to the problems in Haiti. They are all interesting observations, some true and some have a semblance of truth to them. The first among his observations is:

Haiti: Disaster Zone

The recent earthquake in Haiti is just the latest in a chain of natural disasters that have befallen this small, impoverished country. The devastation from these natural disasters is for the most part man made and does not have to continue. My son pointed me to “Haiti: the land where children eat mud” from The Sunday Times. It might shed some light for you as it did for me about the depth of the problem.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hejab or Behejabi

In spring of 1983, during No-Rooz, an Iranian celebration of renewal and visitations, I had an encounter with a mid-level Iranian foreign ministry official, a staunch Khomeini supporter. My brother was in jail in the midst of a broad crackdown on the voices of criticism. I tried to use this opportunity to raise my brother's illegal incarceration with this individual. It was about six months that he had been locked up (lasted for over six years) and we did not have any information about his well being. The lack of any legal recourse and shutdown of free press generally forced families to campaign among government officials and religious authorities to advance the case of their prisoners.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Iran: Convoluted US Foreign Policy

The movement against the Islamic government in Iran has been heating up but the United States and other Western democracies are not willing or are hesitant to step up to the occasion.  President Obama in his recent statement said, “… the United States joins with the International community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens …” referring to the street demonstrations and unrest in Iran.  But that is the extent the United States and other Western democracies are willing to engage as far as the human and democratic rights of the Iranian people are concerned.  Even these types of statements are few and far between.  The Islamic regime in Iran considers the suppression of the civil rights of the Iranian people as an internal affair. Condemnation of these violations when public attentions are focused on them, while these condemnations are not part of the policy agenda, is a strong indication that Mr. Obama’s administration tacitly agrees with this claim of the regime in Iran.