Well-known Iranian director, Jafar Panahi is in charge of the international jury of the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival and he brought green moment from Iran to the gala.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I watched “Tweeting For Revolution in Iran” program and it truly presents failing of distance journalism at analyzing Iranian uprising. Sometime distance journalism is the only way to get the news out of a country, like Iran at the moment, but at the same time it is imperative to have insider knowledge on events like this. One needs to pay attention to details to get to know real events, critical turning points, and people’s quest that would give one adequate insight to distinguish between realities on the ground and imaginative guess work.
With all due respect to Andrew Sullivan and his colleagues in Atlantic in covering Iranian uprising in aftermath of presidential election, I disagree with some of the points they raised on this program but I am just going to touch on one of them, “spiritual movement” that Andrew brought up. I noticed many people got this wrong impression that movement was some sort of Islamic movement, well, I have news for you it was far from that.
I guess most of you might have seen videos of people chanting ‘allah is great’ (Allah-o Akbar) from their rooftops and it might have given you wrong impression of a new religious movement reminisce of 1979 Islamic revolution. Although the chant is an Islamic prayer, the very same chant that people shouting back then in 1979 but many things have changed since Islamic revolution and above all, people. People are not same anymore.
Why people were chanting ‘allah is great’ then? People didn’t have much of a choice. Frightened of armed forces and Basij militia’s violence they thought if they chant an Islamic prayer, first, it might deter armed forces to break in their houses and arrest them. Second, it could have attracted conservative people and possibly some of Ahmadinejad supporters. But armed forces didn’t really care what people are chanting, they ransacked houses and apartments that sounded or looked suspicious anyway. Third, Mousavi, Karroubi and their trained cadres were pushing for Islamic chants because they wanted to make sure protests won’t go out of their hands and people stay within Islamic revolution boundaries.
In the beginning people were shouting slogans within limited Islamic revolution values but after confrontation by armed forces and Basij militia during violent days in Tehran suddenly people’s mood changed. People saw and heard clergy man sanctioned violence against peaceful protesters in order to keep Islamic regime intact so people remembered the bigger problem is theocracy.
People came to their senses and recalled that they were fed up with Islamic atrocities by clergy men since 1979 Islamic revolution so they chose to chant, “Down with Islamic Republic” and “Independence, Freedom, Republic Iran” instead of the usual “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic” slogan. Mousavi quickly issued a statement on his site and said: “People’s key slogan in the green movement that they chose is ‘Islamic republic, not one word less, not one word more’!” (Literal translation of Mousavi statement on August 1, 2009)
It was too little too late to stop protesters from their real demands, something that suffocated them for three decades and it has been “Islamic” side of republic. Mousavi stressed out on preserving Islamic revolution values over and over, so people challenged Mousavi by shouting against Islamic republic again. It became crystal clear for protesters that they are alone in fight with theocratic regime and Mousavi is not with them. Sadly too many lives shattered to get to this point.
People face a dreadful dilemma; Mousavi backed by some mullahs or Ahmadinejad backed by some other mullahs including supreme leader. Both options are equally bad and people will gain nothing, just they hope that an independent leader somehow emerge out of this crisis to take the lead; someone that has nothing to do with mullahs; a visionary that makes the nation his only mission and leans toward no more than people.
Protests have been fading away; Mousavi and Karroubi haven’t called on people anymore and suddenly Rafsanjani took side with supreme leader, Khamenei. The purge is underway and it will eventually catch others if they don’t come back to people.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Iranian regime like other totalitarian regimes blames others particularly west for their own wrongdoings. Presidential Election took place in Iran and it handled so badly that it didn’t leave any doubt for majority of Iranians that their votes rigged so they protested to the result. Instead of handling the situation with more care, supreme leader showed his teeth and put revolutionary guards and Basij militia “Iron Fist” in front of protesters.
Mr. Ahmadinejad won't answer to Iranians, to the nation that he allegedly became President and he must be accountable to. He decided to put critics behind bars, torture them to make coerce confessions to run show trials. He chose shortcut to dictatorship and yet he goes around and blames others for election crisis.
Now I want to see how west would reply? Are they gonna invite him to a New York tour and give him an international stage to speech to?! Hopefully not although I have learned my lessons hard during past 30 years that I shouldn’t hope for something logical to come out of the nasty secret relationship of Islamic Iran and some countries.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Roxana Saberi shares her insight about her imprisonment in Iran.
While her advices about journalism abroad make sense, I should comment on one of them. When it comes to Iran and other totalitarian regimes that have access to eavesdropping technologies, having a close local friend to check on you is not the best option because authorities can arrest you and your local friend. I recommend having constant overnight contacts with your overseas employer/family/friend.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I guess it was during his early supreme leadership or late presidency period when Khamenei was younger and a little inexperienced during Tehran International Book Fair he wouldn’t mind that state-owned TV reporter to come forward and ask one or two questions to get people to see him on book fair, I suppose.
Although questions were about books and book fair but this time two simple questions about his taste in book, revealed his intentions for Iran’s dark future, nowadays, one might say. I literally translate this questions and answers.
Reporter: “What kind of books do you like?”
Khamenei: “I like police and crime stories.”
Reporter: “Which police stories do you like most?”
Those days Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria’s biography was popular among book lovers who read spy and crime stories. Beria was the chief of the Soviet security and secret police under Stalin which was famous for brutality and being a great player of foreign spy agencies. He poisoned Stalin.
Khamenei knowing too well that trusting anyone over security forces could bring him Stalin’s faith and get him killed so he decided to supervise and take security forces to his own hands even intelligence ministers should have report to him before they go to president that they serve to. Khamenei has combined power and influence of Stalin and Beria at the same time. (FYI two ministers, foreign and intelligence ministers should have Khamenei’s approval and to be loyal to him, before president could introduce them as ministry candidate to parliament.)
I notice that some tried to blame Mojtaba Khamenei, supreme leader’s son for the violence and killings of protesters but in fact, Khamenei himself is the architect of security forces and we should have hold him, Ahmadinejad and security forces accountable for the violence and brutality.
I wrote almost same article in Persian language on August 6 and Fareed Zakaria on GPS took on the crisis in Iran and compared show trial in Iran with Stalinist’s trials. It becomes very clear that Islamic Iran incorporated Stalinist methods in their day to day Islamic dictatorship.
A must see for everyone. Everyone will learn something out of this movie.
I was rightly so caught up with crisis that we have in Iran so I almost forgot everything else including this fascinating movie yet horrible reality that it brings to our attention.
It comes in different languages like English, Arabic, French, German (only subtitle), Spanish and Russian.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thousands arrested in aftermath of presidential elections in Iran. Some of them are famous like Maziar Bahari, Kian Tajbakhsh, Abtahi and so on but most of detainees are just ordinary men and women who merely protested peacefully against fraudulent election results. They are unknown to many of us, they don’t get news coverage and they get worst treatment in prisons.
Interrogators usually keep well-known people in solitary confinement and put them through excessive mental torture. Islamic regime needs them for coerced televised confessions so they get a little different treatment but all in all it is prison and torture.
So now that you hear this news, think of ordinary people that brutally tortured and kept in highly crowded prison cells in a very hot temperature.
Iranian MP, Dr. Pezeshkian criticized brutal torture of protesters and said: “Mr. Rouholamini’s son was the person that security forces knew him but still his fate become this. So we are worried for ordinary people.” (Translation from Persian language news)
Mohesn Rouholamini died in prison, autopsy showed that he lost his teeth and his jaw was broken. His father is a regime insider and advisor to defeated conservative candidate Mohsen Rezaee.
People in prisons need your attention now.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Today August 3, 2009 Protests in Tehran streets. Officially endorsing Ahmadinejad by supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei intensify power struggle among ruling class and people disgusted even more from Khamenei and his clan that were ready in endorsement ceremony today.
These two videos are taken from Valiasr St. in Tehran.
And again when atmosphere gets a little quiet and sounds of defiance hushed down, women take the lead:
CNN picks up on body language difference between this time endorsing Ahmadinejad and last time in 2005!
As I see Ahmadinejad hesitated to kiss Khamenei's hand so Khamenei didn’t hug him affectionately like last time in 2005.
Update: Some say Ahmadinejad had cold so it must be reason. Also NBC analyst has his view on Ahmadinejad kiss on shoulder.
Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei endorse Ahmadinejad’s second term presidency in office today on August 03, 2009. But their body language shows a sign of tension.
Perhaps this tension comes from current crisis over fixed election that leaded to absence of Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami and Rafsanjani in this show and/or it can be over fighting with Ahmadinejad’s choice of Iran’ first vice president that supreme leader forced him to discharge him and make a better choice (in their own perspective though).
I guess the difference between these two is that Khamenei is very well aware of the price that he is gonna pay but Ahmadinejad didn’t quite grasp it. He is happy now.
Update 1: Thousand of protesters heading to streets in protests to fruadlent election results. Fars news (Persian language) reports that "Karroubi a loosing contender showed up among troublemakers provoking demonstrators in this illegal demonstration."
Update 2: Armed forces and Basij militia tear-gas protesters and beat them with batons and clubs.
Update 3: Many protesters are arrested and taken into custody by Basij militia.
She might be too old to breathe easily in a heavily crowded demonstration in aftermath of election result but still she manages to flash victory sign all along young generation in Tehran on June 15. She is just 85 years old.
Q: How old are you?
A: 85 years old.
Q: What are you doing here (in demonstration)?
A: I come to protest and today I come to get my vote back.
Q: Whom do you want to get your vote back?
A: From Khamenei (after questioner says Ahmadinejad) she hesitantly adds Ahmadinejad too.
Theocratic dictatorship regime might repress people with its iron fist for sometime but this voice is not repressible for long time.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
We were dreaming all these years that some day, sometime in near future all people would think like us, they would stand up for their rights as much as we do then we could make a strong move.
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
It was supposed to be a graveside memorial for victims of post-election violence but it turned violent again, police fired tear gas and beat people with batons to disperse them, they arrested many protesters. Even though all people know that they are gonna get beaten or arrested but still they were out on the cemetery and later on the streets.
Following photos except last one were taken at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery just outside Tehran, Iran, Tursday July 30, 2009. Also check out videos of protests in city, memorial park (Behesht Zahra) and more videos.
Photos courtesy of Daylife