Saturday, December 14, 2013

I have a dream...

I have a dream...

This sentence has a special meaning for the people in the United States, but I believe it should also be held dearly all around the world. It should not be taken lightly, it should be practiced, taught, told, and reminded constantly during days, weeks, months, and years. It is a beacon of light to guide us to a better place, to make us dream bigger, better, higher, to reach for what is beyond reach.

For this reason, the idealists around us, who we make fun of most of the time, must be respected and valued. For without them we will know what we don't want but we will never know what we want.

This caught my attention a few days ago during the group drawing for the world cup in Brazil. After it was determined that we are in the same group as the mighty Argentines, the flocks of Iranians took to social media to unleash their misplaced and distorted angers and exacerbations on pages of Lionel Messi and Fernanda Lima, so much so that Facebook page of Fernanda Lima had to be deactivated. Then, came the time for the other flock to take it to the internet again and try to undo the doing of the first group by desperately trying all sorts of different methods to apologize. From who? From what? To prove what? It seems that the Iranian nation has lost its moral compass these days. It seems that they all know what they don't want, for the past few decades and even the past century all their decisions have been based on what they don't want and through that they have lost their vision for the future, for what they really want to see happening. Every person has an opinion on this but without a clear vision.

It seems that every person is holding a piece of the puzzle but no one wants to accept the fact that they only hold one piece and not the entire puzzle. The only way I see is to come forward and start defining these ideals, these goals that we want to reach and try to reach them. I have seen time and again that even in the most simple matter of freedom of expression, everyone claims that they respect it and believe in it. However, when the time comes to act on it, they have such a distorted notion of this fundamental concept that what they actually do is the total opposite of freedom of expression. After the paradox and irony is explained to them, they start putting exceptions and exclusions from this principle.

And it is like this for everything.

So to begin with, I'll try to write different pieces, mostly to myself (after all, I'm one of them) and try to define clearly what freedom of expression and freedom of speech is and if there is any limitation in it.

Let's see where this will take us. Hopefully to a better place. I have a dream after all.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Ordinary People

It has been almost two years since I wrote my last post in here. Meanwhile, I have written a few posts elsewhere trying to figure out what I like to write most. That has helped but now, I am deciding to make these into more specialized blogs. I have a technical blog, a hobby blog, and this one, which I like to assign it to posts that have a more serious tone to them.

Starting today.

And the reason that caused it is this article in The Atlantic.
It is no secret and I don't think the article has tried to conceal it either that there are a lot of people in higher echelons of Iranian regime that have western education. Mohammad Reza Aref, who was the vice president from 2001 to 2005 and who ran for presidency in this year's presidential elections has a PhD from Stanford. I actually took his Information Theory class in Sharif University of  Technology in Tehran, Iran. Javad Larijani, whose brothers basically run the country, one being the head of judiciary and the other one the head of legislative branch, was finishing his PhD in Math at Berkeley when the Iranian revolution happened. Rafsanjani travelled through US when his brother was studying there. And the list goes on and on. So, I find no surprise there. The regime is filled with people with Masters or PhD degrees from universities out of Iran. Some of them of course are fake and some aren't. They see it as a prestige to show off when they are running for office. And if somebody doesn't have it, they go and try to fabricate it with any means possible in any major possible. I highly doubt, even for someone like Rouhani, that there is any scientific passion caused him to go and write a dissertation and earned his PhD. The only explanation I can find is that he, like others, needed this degree to make himself look academic and presentable to people. Now, why do people care? That goes beyond the scope of this short passage but I should get to that some other time as well.

So, I believe that having this many PhDs in the Iranian government is neither surprising nor helpful. It doesn't even show any qualities or qualifications necessarily. And I don't think this even helps them understand the west better. I actually find an inverse trend. Some of these people, after coming to western countries become even more extreme, in the sense that they try to define their identity, primarily because they can't understand the new culture and can't blend in. So they turn against it and see it as the source of their problems. I guess they too, like a lot of other nations, are fascinated by America and the west and fearful of them at the same time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alexandra!

It is always such a nice surprise to see a friend after a long time; Specially a friend with a contagious laugh! I saw Alex and talked to her for about a minute but for a while I could still hear her voice and her laugh. So Shirin and I could not contain ourselves and every time she laughed, we started laughing as well. One feels just blessed to be surrounded and to know such people. It is specially heart-lifting in these days of depression and emptiness.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Up and Down

These days are not passing easily at all. By saying this, I don't mean they are bad. But on the other hand, I'm not sure about anything in my personal life anymore.
I am having ups and downs in my daily feelings more than ever. Fortunately, the downs aren't that down but still, this much fluctuation has gotten me worried.
Over all, though, I think I am satisfied. Life itself is interesting enough to keep me going.
I hope I can write here more.
I hope I am doing the right thing,
I hope I can go traveling next year,
I hope I won't get disappointed,
I hope...
Hope

Personal

This is probably the first personal note I'm going to write in here. The reason is first, it is easier to use the already English keyboards to write English rather than Persian, and second, I feel some of my new readers may be from my friends here in Penn State for whom English would be a better option.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

O! A president is born.

I am deeply moved. I really am!
And let me say this without any shame that my eyes actually went wet a few times in the last 48 hours watching all the emotion and reactions of the people in the streets and on TV. It is a historic moment, or at least we'll know about that in the coming years. May be it is a little soon to judge about how much people will be proud of their choice and how some people will be disappointed.
But the atmosphere was unforgettable. The sensation, the scene of all the young generations standing in long lines to cast their votes was like a sweet deja vu for me. I was very happy and proud to be here in this moment of American history.
It took me back to 1997 when Iran's young generation rose up and chose a relatively unknown man, a young man who was so charismatic and intelligent that he captured the hearts and mind of millions of people in just a few months and with those millions beat the other candidate which had all the support of the conservatives and ruling class. The feeling was enormous. As a first time voter I felt the hope in each and every cell of my body. The news of his overwhelming victory brough joy to my face and tears to my eyes like the other millions who voted for Khatami just like the way Obama's victory today brought back those memories along with new joy and tears.
A long time has passed since that time. It now looks like a century ago. The hope has died in my country but it is very alive here in United States. I am sure he will not let them down.
At least, I have hope...HOPE.
Hope is a dangerous thing, but also the best of things!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Every night is another story

A reader of this weblog had requested from me to write about the daily life in Iran. I don't know how accurate or true these writings will be but I'll try to write some of these daily experiences as I remember them soon in here. After all, it has been 5 years since I was living in Iran.

Cryin' won't help you know

I came across this very interesting blog called Lily in Iran about an American delegation visiting Iran and now that they are back from their trip a few days ago, one of them is sharing her experiences with us of her visit to my home country. This was the second time today that tears came to my eyes by seeing something on the internet about Iran. Am I becoming too much of a sentimental person? I hope not!
And the first one was while watching the trailer of a documentary movie about the terrible earthquake in Bam, called "Bam 6.6"

Visit

A lot of things has changed since the last time I wrote in here but also a lot of things has not. Life goes on but it has certainly been much more easier, fun and with less stress.
My parents visited me for a month in January and it was without a doubt an unforgettable month, both for me and for them. It was also a unique experience for them too, being in US for the first time and visiting cities like New York and Washington DC. I'll always remember being in the National Mall in Washington DC with them and feeling a certain connection I had never felt before. The whole thing was kind of strange. Until then I was always their child, always needed their support and care and they were the ones who looked after me and supported me no matter what. But this has definitely changed. Now it is more a relationship of a kind of friendship, or even more than that. It was as if I was taking my little brother and sister or my nephews to sightseeing and taking care of them. Now I was the one who knew around and showed them how to do things. It was weird and also brought a certain deep caring in me for them.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Columbia University

Finally I got rid of my previous advisor and although this semester my work has tripled but I’m a much happier person compared to last year. I’ve never been busier and this feels really good. Most of the days, I go to work at 7:30 or 8 and I come back at around midnight. I have to confess though, that not all of it is occupied by research. I have made a busy social life for myself as well. I am a secretary of a club and I have to help organize a lot of events. It helps to meet new people and get to know them which is always enjoyable.

This semester I’ve also taken the responsibility of being a TA of a lab. This on the other hand is a totally new experience. I have to deal with more than 40 students directly and their grades are in my hand. The grading process, however takes forever to do. Every time my mother or father calls to see how I’m doing my unchanged response to them is that I’m busy grading!

The only thing which I’m trying to forget about is the political situation of Iran. I try to escape the conversations which involve telling my opinion about the current situation and the Iranian president who is absolutely hopeless. The future of my country seems darker than ever and I personally don’t see any shade of hope. And this is hard for me to say because I’ve always been someone positive with high hopes about the future of myself, my country and the world overall. Someday even I used to believe that even if the situation seemed to be bad I will be able to change it even single handedly. Today I’m far far away from that view.

And this week’s events specially the one in the Columbia University with Ahmadinejad giving his opinions about the world was embarrassing for me as an Iranian and also shameful as an academician.

I’ll write more about this later.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Imagine

Today I got this very nice comment from an American fellow which was very encouraging for me. This gives me the idea of writing more about the things I see in here and my views of the current situation. If only I can help one or two people to get to know my home, my country, and the world I'm living in better, then this blog has definitely served its purpose.

********************************************************************************

Yesterday, I was dreaming that I am waking up, from a nightmarish dream, to find that every thing I’ve been witnessing in the past years has never happened. To find out that Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, is a highly respectful guy who is taking his clergy clothes off to reveal a tux underneath and to see that Ahmadinejad takes off his mask from his face to reveal a handsome Jewish guy who for all this time has played a joke on us and Iran is actually a democratic peaceful country situated in a peaceful middle-east. To find out that Bush and Ahmadinejad are best friends and to see that Iraq war has never happened and Saddam Hussein is actually a very famous Arab comedian in Broadway scenes. To find out that 9/11 was only a special effect trick that was in a bad sci-fi movie and Bin-Laden is actually the name of a famous monkey in the Royal Zoo of Amsterdam.

To get surprised by the fact that Iran is a actually a very well respected country in the world who is trying to spread the peace which is already well established in the world and to see that tourists from all over the world come to Iran to see its historical and natural beauties and the economy is booming.

To find out that Africa is actually a very rich powerful united country where there is prospers and beauty all over it and starvation and war are words which can only be found in history books.

To realize that this all has been an outcome of a bad flu and fever I’ve had and now it is all over and we now have our future generations to raise and everything is at its own right place. And we no longer have to worry about every small details and obvious rights of our daily life and struggle to hold on to those small remaining of what we call basic human rights.

…I just hope I can really wake up and not just dream it.

I talked to my mom a few minutes ago. There are 4 or 5 marriage ceremonies back in Iran and several of my best friends are getting married and I can’t even go and visit them. The visa problem makes it impossible to even go out of US and visit the neighboring Canada. And worst, my mom told me that they can no longer hold mixed ceremonies where men and women can dance together. This is a tradition in my hometown for everyone to dance and having separated marriage ceremonies make no sense. The pressure to control every aspect of our lives is getting worse and worse and it seems that nobody cares anymore. I was very sad to hear it but my mom sounded like she doesn’t really care. And I don’t really blame them. They have come back from their rights throughout these years, one step at a time and gradually they have got used to it and besides, it is their home and their country. The worst condition of it is better than the best at some place else.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My home, My country

I had written an article on Iran for Orato.com but it hasn't been published yet and I am not even sure if this is what they want, so for now, I decided to put it in here and wait for the comments and feedbacks I'll get from it in here. I just hope the length does not tire you and you read it until the end. So here it goes:

Our views of US



When I decided to write this I didn't have the faintest idea of where to begin! And it wasn't because I didn't have any topic or subject in mind but because there were so many of them. And as you will see I've tried hardly to cover as much of them as possible.

I was born two years after the revolution, the same year Iraq invaded Iranian frontiers and triggered an 8-year war. I'm what they call the child of revolution or sometimes maybe the child of war. Having experienced the bitterness and problems of the war and the limitations of living in a society filled with Islamic and revolution teachings and symbols I can say my generation have seen it all. Although this might seem a very hard condition from outside but for us inside it, it was an ordinary daily reality. So I'm going to try and express some of the thoughts that I think might be common among the majority of my generation and interesting for you.

It's been eight months now since I came to US. Prior to that, I was studying in France. I've also experienced the life in Canada and Turkey but among all these countries I have to say even to my own surprise I can distinguish interesting similarities between US and Iran. I may not be able to exactly describe them but life in here and Iran have some closeness in deeper levels although they might seem very distant on the outer side.

The first obvious and a little funny similarity is having two presidents with very similar thoughts. Both of them happen to think that God speaks to them, but it is a wonder why He is telling them two totally opposite things. They can even be considered a little look alike, if only Ahmadinejad decides to shave and put on a suit and tie which I don't see it happening ever.

Both countries, although very different in size, have very diverse climates in different regions and consequently have different and very diverse minorities and ethnic groups which most of the time live in peace alongside each other. But also, just like US, people are mostly conservative, pacifist and religious in small towns and rural areas but liberal in major cities. In both countries a lot of people are extremely proud of their country and their unique history and culture.

Probably a little overview of the relation of these two countries might help better understand the current situation. There are a lot of resources on this topic and there has been numerous articles on the press about it recently so I'm just going to go over some of the things I personally find more interesting.

It all started on August 1953 when a CIA-led coup overthrew the publicly elected prime-minister Mosaddegh and repositioned the king,"Shah Mohammad Reza". Or maybe we can go back a little more.

Before 1953 the view of Iranian people from America was like a savior, helping countries come out of the colonization by old powers. And the Americans who had come to Iran had proven this view of US, some of them like Howard Baskerville actually giving his life for this cause. There were also others. In the website of Urmia University, the university of my hometown, these words have been written to commemorate those Americans who founded that institution:"There they lie in peace away from their homeland, and the testimonial epitaphs on their tombs signify their endeavor and devotion to humanity." But the roots of the good feelings the Iranians have to this day of America albeit all the politics, can be seen more vividly in the story of Baskerville.

Then came 1953. For Iranian people the feeling was like the betrayal of the lover. That ended a friendly relationship between America and the majority of people in middle and lower classes of Iran. That was the departing point of the intellectuals and democratic leaders of the society from the United States as well. Their hopes of restoring the results of the constitutional revolution half a century before was gone. A year later when president Nixon came to Iran so that the Shah could thank him for America's role in the coup d'etat in a demonstration in the university of Tehran by students who were angry over Nixon for America's role, three students were shot death by the royal guard. To this day, that day in Iranian calender is named "the student day". These events in 1953 and 1954 can be viewed as one of the causes of the revolution 25 years later which followed the next year by taking the Americans in the US embassy hostage by the students. Again, although American people have a very bitter memory of this incident, for us, the generation after the revolution, it was just another outcome of the revolution and must be viewed in the frame of that time and the turmoil of revolution. Considering the emotions of the time, anybody trying to stand in those students' way could have just been called a traitor and anti-revolutionist. And 25 years later, today, we, the younger generation, understand neither the reason we are still being blamed for something we had nothing to do with nor the incident itself.


National Culture


That brings me to today and capturing of 15 British sailors and soldiers by Iran. It might be interesting to know that other than United States which has found a symbolic role in our minds in the past 25 years, Russia and Britain have a very strong presence in the nation's mind to this day. Specially the damages the British government has caused in the way of democracy and unity of Iranian people has such a great effect that still most of the people in our previous generation-my father as an example- see the British role in every major political incident in our country. For them British hand can be obviously seen in the political scene of Iran even when it involves other countries such as United States. That is why even for 1953 most of the people blame British and not the Americans for it. But interestingly very few people try to point the finger to themselves and try to stop blaming others for the problems they have had. It is true that foreign countries have tried to interfere in our internal affairs and control our politics but immaturity of a nation so used to monarchy because of the 2500 years of it has had its own effects. But now I think we are a little more experienced although still have a long way to go.

And in the matter of British sailors, although I didn't approve Iran's decision in capturing them but what came next gradually changed my mind. I saw media in US dealing with this matter and calling them hostages and relating it to the past and American embassy and calling Iranians hostage takers. Well, nobody asked those sailors what they were doing there in the first place. The difference between where they claim they were and Iran claims has captured them was only 500 meters! And then after they were released having a meeting with the president and receiving a bag of gifts (compare the situation with those in Guantanamo and then have a feeling of what handling media means) they said that they were kept in solitary cells and under mental pressures. They couldn't talk to each other and they had no choice but to confess. The very same day Iranian TV showed some films from them playing pingpong and chess among themselves which got almost no coverage in the media. Sky News also showed a film interviewing them before they were captured in which, one of them speaks to the camera about their mission of gathering intelligence information on Iran. This incident made me realize that it is wise to sometimes trust my government even if I don't like it or don't agree with it.

But what is it actually like to live in a society under a regime called Islamic Republic? I have to say basically it is not that different at all! Specially compared to other countries of middle-east Iranian society has a much more modern structure.

I have grown up in a nonreligious parents but both my grandmothers are simple women firm on their traditional and religious beliefs and brought up to a certain culture which is now part of the past. Islam for them is just part of the culture and a personal matter which has no contradiction with the other things in our culture which is now considered forbidden in the new regime. For example mixed weddings and dancing and singing of men and women together is a tradition in our region but that is getting harder and harder to hold such weddings, not because they are forbidden but because every official has his own view of the law and based on his views interprets the laws although the previous government did a lot to decrease this trend. Other parts of the country have their own traditions which might be more religious or less religious generally but that is just part of the culture. And criticizing the government and the regime is a national culture in Iran which has been practiced for a long time, sometimes quietly but mostly open and without fear.


The Revolution


If somebody asks me what is the worst thing about Iran I would answer: "the revolution". If then they turn to ask what is the best thing about Iran I would again answer them "the revolution". The first obvious reason for this is that I've been born just two years after it and through the media and the education and school it has been the center point of my life in Iran. But also what it has done in different aspects of our lives can be regarded as both the best and the worst things happening to my country. Most of the people outside of Iran has seen Iran after the revolution through some scary pictures drawn by the media: American embassy hostages, the angry people shouting in the streets and burning flags, the war with Iraq, the fatwa against Rushdie and a list that continues on and on. So I can assume everybody is familiar with the negative issues of the revolution. But what most of the people forget is what it has done contradicting its own label: "Islamic".

Iranian nation like most of the old nations historically has been a very religious nation. The religion has blended into their culture. This is also true in a lot of other countries even in Europe and United States. So for example Hijab(Women covering their hair) has been strictly regarded as part of the culture. But there has been no law either forcing it or preventing it. So when Reza Shah(the father of the last king of Iran) decided to modernize the country, as part of the process he ordered the women to open their hair. This was a big insult to everybody at the time. Some women choosing to stay at home and never come out as the consequence. That had caused a lot of families in Iran which as I said were very strict in their traditions lose their confidence on society and don't allow their girls to get involved in social activities and get a university education.

However after the revolution, all this changed. Exactly because of this Hijab, families decided to trust the society again and gradually girls entered different parts of society taking parts in every activity. And now, over 60% of students entering universities are girls. This on the feedback caused a generation to change their minds in many issues because of their children ans soften their beliefs. Spread of universities, opening branches in many small cities actually changed the look of those cities because of the students coming from bigger cities and setting a new trend in the way of thinking and in the way of dressing. Cities which traditionally had Chador(a kind of veil covering the women's body from head to toe) as the proper outdoor clothing for women gave its place to much lighter scarfs which got smaller and smaller in size as the years passed. But this was just the surface. Even deep inside, the culture changed. The combination of religion and state in the Islamic republic did the same effect it had done during the medieval years in Europe and so the new generation grew up knowing how to separate those two. And this feedback continues to change a lot of those values that Islamic republic is known to bear them. But now the problem is that people have changed much faster than their government. Although many officials have accepted these changes, there are still parts of the regime who actually believe they can stop and turn back the time and guide the people. But people will find their way and nothing will be able to stop them, as long as a foreign interference would not put an end to it. This is because Iranian people, just like any other nation, no matter how much they may dislike their government, love their country.


There has been a lot of articles and films on Iran specially in the last year or so but almost all of them have been told as a foreigner's point of view. Even if they were biased most of them didn't satisfy me at all, although a film by BBC came very close. I have sensed that all of them follow a trend in media and that is generalization of a country with a few clich├ęs and prototypes. It is as if somebody comes and tries to analyze and explain United States just by observing New York or Los Angeles. That is what has happened with Iran. Iran is just like any other country but it has its own good points and bad points. We may be a small country but with an ancient history having its mark in our daily lives we can claim we are no less complicated than a nation like Americans. We have conservatives, liberals, libertarians, religious, atheists and so on. Also Iran isn't just Persians, another generalization of the sort I mentioned earlier. I am for my part Azeri, a minority consisting 30 % of the whole population. There are also Kurds, Guilakis, Balouchs, Turkmens, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians and many more. So dehumanizing Iran for political purposes which is happening by the western media is just going to make a deep wound and worsen everything. A wrong step in here might turn out with a disaster much worse than the situation in Iraq right now.

To start with a change in usual articles about Iran and to end this one, I now want to talk about a different place in Iran rather than Tehran or Isfahan and that is my hometown. I come from Urmia, a city located in north-west of the country. It is one of the oldest cities of the world, dating back to the early civilizations around 5000 BC and it is believed to have been the birthplace of Zoroaster. It is placed between the border of Turkey and a lake called also Urmia. That is the second saltiest lake of the world. In our region we have very cold winters with about 1 to 2 feet of snowfall, so when I hear an American asking me whether I have ever seen snow in my life and how is it living in a desert among camels, I just have to respond with a grin in my face. But aside from jokes, this is naturally my favorite part of Iran, although I confess that there might be much more beautiful places than this in my country. For example northern part which is what we call the southern shores along the Caspian have the dense and humid and very beautiful forests, the center of the country is where the deserts are located and we have every kind of them, again in the south and south west comes other very ancient sites and cities along the rivers flowing in that region and the famous cities of Isfahan and Shiraz(familiar name? yeah, this is where the wine Shiraz takes its name). What I like about my hometown which makes it my favorite isn't just because it is old or it has beautiful nature and vineyards but also because it is a multi cultural, multi ethnic city.

I have kept mentioning the religion and this is where it clearly shows itself in my hometown. So what does that mean? Iran is a country of diversity and in this country my home town is the symbol for me. Although its different ethnic groups have diminished and through time it has seen different groups having the majority in here but it is still a special one. Because of the location of the city, it resides Shiite Azeris, Sunni Azeris, Sunni Kurds, Christian Armenians, and Christian Assyrians. There are mosques and churches, every kind of them. There is one actually located somewhere in the center of the city which Marco Polo during his travels has visited and has mentioned it. Urmia is surrounded by small villages spread through the vineyards and apple gardens and each of them are known as Christians or Muslims, Kurds, Azeris or Assyrian villages. This kind of living together has caused the people of the city to be known as easy going and soft in their beliefs and accepting guests with open arms.

So now I just hope that nothing would change this from outside and dramatically, even if it being bringing democracy to the country. We as Iranians may know better than anyone else that only we can change and decide the kind of government we want and even now our condition in democracy and the rights of different social groups is much better than other countries in the region and it will even get better as the new generation with its highly educated men and women take and claim their rightful places in the society.



Sunday, March 18, 2007

Neu Rouz( New Day)

A new Iranian year is approaching again. This past year has been very eventful for me, both good and not very good things has happened but the number of them is itself a record in my life. I just hope this year would be similar.

A few days into the previous year's Neu-rouz I visited Barcelona with a group of my friends, with the invitation of my friend, Junko. A week after that I started a one-month trip around Europe. Along with seeing a lot of beautiful and historic places I learned a lot, met a lot of people and came to know myself better. Then on May, I went to Bilbao and spent a few days with my good friends, Ramon and Veronica. That was also unforgettable and nostalgic. I knew these are unique moments in my life. On the way back from Bilbao I stopped at St Sebastien(Donosti) and just wandered in the streets and enjoyed a magnificent city in a pleasant spring day. On June I finally left France after two great years of my life in Toulouse. However, the end wasn't so sweet and ended in some bitter memories. I visited my family after two years. My father, my mother and my sisters, seeing them after all this time had a very strong emotion with it, specially the first moment when I walked out of the exit gate in Mehrabad airport after everyone else had left and there he was my father alone waiting for me.

There were a couple of marriages and a lot of parties in my hometown, so I tried to spent as much time as I can with my family and friends, because I knew I would not see them for another three or four years. On my way to US I spent a few days with my family in Istanbul, again, unforgettable memories. But it was also kind of sad. We all knew that these last days are the final days we are having as a family together. My older sister has finished her studies and is trying to get an admission in a European university. My other sister has just started her undergrad studies and here I am in US and my parents are all alone again for the first time in 27 years. I don't know how am I going to deal with a similar case if I become a parent. I know it will be unbearable.

I passed my candidacy exam last month and now that I'm here after one year, I look back at the year passed and I feel I have tried my best and feel no regrets in the decisions I have made during the year and I look forward to the rest of the days.

The threat of war lingers above my country and having tasted the bitterness of an 8-year war, I know that anything short of a peaceful resolution will be a disaster for my country and probably for the rest of the world. But most of all, I'm worried about all the people I know and care about who might get hurt if anything happens.

A more general thought that now in the new Iranian year sometimes comes to my mind is the different cultures being resolved and disappear in each other. World is becoming a smaller place day by day. The consequence is the daily impact of people of different backgrounds on each other. Clash of cultures only lets the dominant one to survive. This is an inconvenient truth and seeing this I feel sad to realize I might be witnessing the disappearance of all the dear things that makes me who I am.

Having a unique new year as the start of spring being celebrated only in a few countries is not that bad by itself. But when being in a different country, the new year comes and you can't really feel anything. There is no atmosphere of new year. You don't see people rushing in the streets to buy gifts and preparing for the new year. You don't see anyone buying gold fish from the boys with the fish tanks in the street corners. You don't feel the renewal of the world just by looking at people. We just try to imitate a new year celebration but the truth is it is just for preventing us from feeling left out.

Last Wednesday, I celebrated the last Wednesday of the year with a few friends. This is part of the new year celebration. We were supposed to make a fire and jump over it but it turned out that making a fire in United States is not as simple as it seems. So we compromised the whole thing and did the celebration indoors. But all in all, it is always great to have friends and celebrate the special occasions with them. We sure had a hell of a time!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Change as a surprise

This post has been written almost two years ago in France.

I completed it and decided to publish it because I still find it true. Some changes on the people I know are strange. When you don't expect to see these changes they strike you completely unexpected and cause a good surprise. One has just happened a few moments ago. My father called and I told him about my trip in the previous days. Before coming here as he knows me well he told me not to go around much and stick to my studies and then I'll have enough time to visit every place that I like or do whatever I want. Well, of course my philosophy in life may be a bit different with that of my father so after just being two weeks in France when I told my father that I'm planning to go to Paris for three days, he told me to seize the moments and travel as much as I like because these days will never come back again! It felt pretty strange to here these words from my father. In all my life I've always seen my father as a man of principles who never compromises his beliefs to anything and he sticks to his word. He has been a point of stability in our family and we have always been able to look up to him although sometimes we have felt that he's being harsh on us but eventually he has been right. Even though we have seen other dads change their attitudes, their looks and their beliefs and behaviors, we have always seen our father to defend logically and calmly from what he believes in every aspect of life and the never changing existence of my father's mustache has shown how consistent he is in his life. Yeah! That is right, his mustache! Last year a French film was produced called “Mustache”.

I didn't see the film but the trailer and the name of the film made me think about my father's mustache and how unimaginable would be to picture him without his mustache. I've had fathers of my friends who have taken off their mustaches after a while and it has always been strange at first to see them change like that, but if someday my father decides to shave his mustache- which I know is impossible- that would make a big shock on us, specially for me, I know it would be unbearable and unacceptable. Maybe I'm being unreasonable but as I said this is a sign of his characteristic which has been an inspiration for us and this would simply crack and crash that picture of him in our minds.

But as I said, he has taken some changes which again is a good thing. In some cases gradually he has changed his way in life to match ours and as we have grown older this changes have become more common as if he is emptying the scene slowly and step by step so that the generation after him can take his place without a problem. I just wish I can be the same father for my own children.

Friday, February 02, 2007

senseless

Shit happens...
It is fourth grade again,
And I passed the exam.