Thursday, July 2, 2009

Everything under control in Neverland!

Iran is living in fear & hope these days. Neither being so optimistic, nor pessimistic, I am watching what goes on both the civil society and the upper parts of the government in Iran. Although the regime is trying to show that everything is under control, it has not released lots of journalists, heads of the opposition parties and independent political experts yet; who thinks such society is under control? That’s why after the guardian council announced “the end of the game”, lots of people took it as a sick joke!

Mr. Mousavi, the one who willing or not has been the leader of the oppositions, denied the legitimacy of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government. So did Mr. Karoubi, the second important opposition nominee in the election. It is a unique phenomenon in the history of Islamic Republic of Iran that the opponents do not congratulate the officially announced winner in the presidential election. In his latest statement Mr. Mousavi says: “from now on we will have a government which is in the most horrible situation in its communication with people and the majority of our society including me, do not accept its political legitimacy.” He continues: “In the past days, some individuals and groups asked me to waive my right. Maybe they don’t understand that from the beginning I didn’t want anything for myself; but the matter of the election is not my individual issue. I can not bargain over or compromise on people’s vote. The important things now, are those republic and Islamic manners in our governing system. If we don’t resist now, there is no guarantee that in the future elections we don’t see the unpleasant happenings that we are facing in this election.”

Evene Mr. Khatami, the former president of Iran whom we all know as a moderate and non-outspoken politician, has made a clear speech and strongly criticized the regime for what he named the velvet coup against people and the republicanism of Iran’s state.

On the other hand, although because of the military situation the streets are not filled with the protesters anymore, we can still hear the sound of Allah o Akbar from the roofs of the buildings at nights.

Iran is living in fear & hope these days. Fear for further cruelty against the protesters and detainees, hope for re-defining the word of justice between all the power clashes in the government.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What lies beneath...

Yemeni airline crash, Bernard Madoff’s life sentence, the coup in Honduras, the death of the king of pop, …

Worldwide hot scoops are not rare these days at all. Among all different breaking news in international broadcasting channels, Iran`s 2009 presidential election has remained at the top list for more than 2 weeks. Having heard from these channels, lots of people around the world are familiar with the different parts of election process in Iran and above all, the role of the guardian council and the supreme leader.

At the moment of writing these words, the guardian council has confirmed the results of the election and announced Mr. Ahmadinejad, the official president of Iran for the next 4 years. The story is finished? I don’t think so! That’s why I decided to write about what is happening in Iran. Actually the game has just begun. The most exciting part I mean!

To be continued...

Suggest to read:

"Whether or not this story finishes here, the protests so far have offered great long term achievements for Iranian civil society. Although the first impression might be a huge loss for the people which may frighten them into silence in the short term, the experiences of this uprising has offered a clearer trajectory towards democracy..."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Statement by a group of Iranian bloggers about the Presidential elections and the subsequent events

1) We, a group of Iranian bloggers, strongly condemn the violent and repressive confrontation of Iranian government against Iranian people's legitimate and peaceful demonstrations and ask government officials to comply with Article 27 of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Constitution which emphasizes "Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam."

2) We consider the violations in the presidential elections, and their sad consequences a big blow to the democratic principles of the Islamic Republic regime, and observing the mounting evidence of fraud presented by the candidates and others, we believe that election fraud is obvious and we ask for a new election.

3)Actions such as deporting foreign reporters, arresting local journalists, censorship of the news and misrepresenting the facts, cutting off the SMS network and filtering of the internet cannot silence the voices of Iranian people as no darkness and suffocation can go on forever. We invite the Iranian government to honest and friendly interaction with its people and we hope to witness the narrowing of the huge gap between people and the government.

A part of the large community of Iranian bloggers

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Deaf to Catcalls*

The confrontation with those ones who are assumed to be "bad hijab" has reached its 2nd month in Iran. The recent crackdown against women (& men in rare cases) has raised lots of concerns in the society & even the high rank authorities such as the head of judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi. But the police has turned a blind eye to them all and vowed that it's not a temporary annual plan at the beginning of the hot season. They have announced that this crackdown will be continued in order to guarantee the social security. Along with these police actions, Mr. Safar Harandi, “the minister of culture & Islamic guidance” who is in charge of control over publications, has warned newspapers not to disrupt the confrontation with "bad hijabs". Nevertheless it's not the whole story. There are some other plans on the way to confront badly veiled women & separate men & women in the workplaces.

The head of Iran’s airports’ police has stated that they have warned people in more than 17000 cases about their "hijab". Commander Botshekan also was quoted as saying that they have prevented 50 women from boarding the plane because of disobeying Islamic dress codes. “We’ve held meetings in the airports in order to explain that our crew shouldn’t serve to those ones who break social, Islamic norms”, he added.

The other controversial plan belongs to “The Council of Iran’s General Culture” that has notified governmental organizations of some instructions about "hijab" & separation of men & women. According to these instructions, all the municipalities have to use Islamic narratives & traditions instead of commercial advertisements showing heavy made up women on the billboards. This subset of “The High Council of Cultural Revolution” has also notified all the offices to decrease any contact between men & women in the workplaces & take women’s "hijab" into serious consideration when employing. Another part of this notification urges “the Ministry of Road & Transportation” to put signboards promoting chastity in the roads & streets.

Even though every one thought the direct confrontation of the police will decrease after all these instructions & social concerns, publishing the picture of a woman on the net with a bloody face showed that the brutal actions are still on the way. Colonel Mehdi Ahmadi, the chief of information center of Tehran’s police, declared that this women was filming from police officers while warning to "bad hijab" ones & when the officers asked her to come with them, a physical confrontation occurred. He also informed the Fars news agency’s reporter of very precise & comprehensive investigations over this incident.

Days after days, we are seeing pure violence & brutal actions in Tehran’s streets. Do these police actions increase the social security in our country? There are lots of doubts about it…what do you think?

*catcall: a loud whistle or shout expressing disapproval of a speech or performance

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Islamically Qualified

Have you got any job? It's a common question nowadays. Being either a quite fresh university graduate or a skilled worker, unfortunately you are not provided with chances to dodge this crucial question.
Finding an appropriate job in the current situation of Iran is gradually becoming much more like a catastrophe than a rational competitive atmosphere in which people are to be selected according to their qualifications for a certain vocational position.
Thanks to not being entirely privatized yet, searching for job vacancies in governmental organizations is still a matter of interest. People are usually likely to choose governmental positions because these positions are far from the risks of those of private corporations.
Since the number of applicants for various careers is not necessarily equal to that of existing opportunities and usually is much larger, there has always been a bottleneck which will obviously justify a selecting mechanism (a good example can be the national entrance contest of universities in Iran, known as Konkoor).
In this case, job interview seems to be a feasible approach and here begins the Iranian part of the show.
Job interview is defined as a process in which a potential employee is evaluated by an employer for prospective employment in their company, organization or firm. In a humanitarian point of view, the interviewer is solely allowed to verify the technical qualities of the interviewee which are to satisfy the requirements of that certain job. In this process, some areas are assumed illegal or at least immoral to enter and asking questions about these areas is generally considered discriminatory. These areas usually consist of age, gender, religion, ethnic origin, marital status etc. While entering these forbidden fields has always been a controversial issue, in our country not only questioning about religion is a major step of interview process, but it itself has its own individual interview session which is generally called ideological interview. According to the statements made by some recently hired employees of a governmental organization, the following questions were commonly asked during the interview session:
1- Do you attend Friday Prayer? What were the issues addressed in the last Fridays Prayer?
2- If during saying prayer you notice that you've made a mistake in the consequences of prayer's steps, what will you do?
3- Do you know what person X did as a disciple of Imam Husein's troops during the clashes of Ashoora Battle?
4- What is your opinion about current issues of the country such as nuclear power?
These questions are samples which will just depict the dominant atmosphere of an ideological interview.
Summarily, the best candidate is the one who is equipped with better Islamic pretending features.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Veiled or not?!

1347 warnings & guidance

117 detainees

59 referred cases to the court

20 sealed clothes shops

47 attached cars

After calling a halt to those who are assumed to be badly veiled, Iranian police have started a confrontation with the women in the streets under the name of increasing the social security! Above mentioned are the statistics for the first day of the challenging campaign, started at April 21.

Along with the launched campaign of the police, you can see some biased TV reports in which, people in the street just accept that "bad hijab" ones have lots of bad effects on the society & even appreciate the police to confront them!

It's not the first year that the police forces are trying to make people obey the governmental dress codes which are said to be originated from Islam. Every year, at the beginning of the hot seasons, such limitative police moves could be seen in the streets. This year, however, it's been started sooner & in a more restricted way as it seems. Also for the first time it is said that the codes for men's dress are going to be announced. Maybe men & women are reaching equality in being arrested at least!

Picture: AFP/Behrouz Mehri

PS.: It was just a snapshot. You can read more about these challenges about hijab in Iran, in the next days.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Running backward

Sitting here at my desk, I'm hearing the dreamy voice of Mohamad Nouri, a famous, old, pop vocalist in Iran, who is singing about our motherland. Words are pouring out of his mouth & surrounding me like all those memories I've had in this country. All those beautiful scenes I've seen while walking in very ordinary but warm & unforgettable streets of it.

My country isn't in a good mood these days. Not only has our life been shadowed by dark clouds of war, but it also has some other unpleasant sides. The worst one is the lack of hope, I think. Hope to change, hope to see a better situation, hope to live in a better society, in a calmer mood. In spite of all social, cultural & even political reforms we are trying to make, there are lots of people who feel tired. Even lots of our social activists! That is the Achilles' heel of our reformative movements, in my opinion. Not being patient enough to stay and see the result of the ongoing match, lots of my friends are planning to leave the game! Considering the developing market of the English (and other foreign languages) training institutes in these years, we will find out how the dream of living somewhere other than their own country, has been popular among our compatriots. The more educated, young & fresh you are, the more tempted you will get to face leaving! It seems to be ironic that those who can be the only sources of change & reform, are the desperate ones, running away from the deteriorating situation of their country!

As the song is describing the sunrise & the sunset, the rain & the snow, the spring & the autumn of our beloved land, I'm thinking about my friends. Are they happy in their new homes? Haven't they missed any thing in their lives? Haven't been lost in a foreign culture? Hope not!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Blindfolded citizens

The murmuring sound of ambiguity is crawling into the labyrinthine paths of future's ears. Having been surrounded by a state of uncertainty, we have been knocking at all the possible doors as they might be opened to a brighter horizon. There have always been moments in which a mighty push has appeared to trigger a tendency toward giving up everything. Such tendencies are not supposedly considered as unlikely events. Nowadays it is obvious that the number of people, especially that of young ones, who are being grown with built-in adaptability features is increasing. Not being sure to call this increase considerable, I'm almost certain this will be considerable if no consistent change in viewpoints toward calling the certain rights does occur.
Numerous are the occasions within which people face bending of rules while they don't make any corresponding objection. We are not accustomed to pursuing our civil rights; as a matter of fact most of us are not even aware of these rights. Seemingly, we are just taking the primary steps toward citizenship and among the actions considered urgent, exercising our legal rights is one of those of high priority. We're blindfolded citizens.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Having made her will, our Indian guest stepped into the wonderland. Her coming, which had been initially considered as a big risk, as she claimed, was made after clashes between her adventurous character and her husband's concerns about security. Eventually she came and soon after her arrival, those faked images faded away and husband-made concerns turned into unrealistic gossip-based illusions.
Mentioned above was a brief description of an example among thousand others which resembles a quick glance at a snapshot of images of Iran neither completely true nor highly inviting.
Standing like an impenetrable wall, the outer face of our country is not properly representing what is taking place inside. Since the number of English blogs being written by Iranians, especially those of authors who are not disappointed of living within the borders of their own country yet, in comparison with Persian ones fails to build a large fracture, we are just going to add to the holes on the wall in order to create a peep-showlike watching opportunity. We begin with mallet and chisel but we are thinking of a drilling machine.

Finding Neverland

A quick search of the word "blog" on the net shows you that there are lots of them on the fantastic world of wwws. Millions of them in fact! What is our share, Iranians I mean, among all these new ways of expressing minds, thoughts & cultures? Fortunately a lot again! There is a great number of Persian blogs on the net that are showing our feelings, activities & different ways of lives. Times Online says that Farsi is now the fourth most widely used language on weblogs. It is said that there are about 700000 Iranian blogs & at least 40000-110000 of them are active. Isn't it great? Sure it is; but there seems to be a paradox here. Having all these real, written lifestyles described on the unbordered web space, why we can't see any clear image of ours & our country in the world? Why all those tourists who come here for the first time, should be that astonished by our normal & some how modern lives & shout "Oh you are not those terrorists about whom I'd heard!"? Why they hear anything, but our own words directly from us? There is a simple answer: we don't write in English.
Nearly all those Iranian bloggers are writing in Persian, just for other Iranians. There are just very few individuals who are trying to show the real face of Iran to the world through their English blogs. You can find the address of most of them here. You see? The number of those who are inside Iran is so little! Maybe we've been sluggish or didn't have enough confidence to begin to write in a foreign language. But, in the world of communications, those who can't show themselves & their capabilities, can't live!
The blog you are reading is a little step, necessary, vital maybe but not enough. We, all should realize the necessity of direct contact to the world beyond our mother born language & try to make it real. If not, we may regret the lost opportunities of revealing the truth!