Thursday, July 19, 2012

That Awkward Moment When

That awkward moment when a Malay girl tells you she's seen the film About Eli, but you still haven't.
That awkward moment when your Israeli pal signs petitions to free an Iranian political prisoner, despite you.
That awkward moment when your German friend has clicked like on the Farhadi's page but you haven't.
That awkward moment when you can blog in English easier than you can blog in Persian.
That awkward moment when a few Iranians ask you where are you from, eventhough your face is so Iranian.
That awkward moment when your Arab mate tells you there's something un-Iranian in you.
That awkward moment when you get back to Iran after 3 months and you hear you look like foreigners.
That awkward moment when your friends are all non-Iranians, including the closest ones.
That awkward moment when %99 of your facebook status updates are English and is not in Persian.
That awkward moment when you don't read any news about Iran but you follow American election news.
That awkward moment when you can't remember what was the last book you read by Iranian authors.
That awkward moment when you cook foods which are not very Iranian.

This list can go on, but can't remember more. However, the good thing is I'm blogging about Iran, to show the brighter side of it to the world by this micro media. Don't know how much I was successful, but I'll try.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Her Eyes According to His Eyes in My Eyes

Bozorg Alavi
The book "Her Eyes" by Bozorg Alavi is not the most famous book in Persian contemporary literature, but is a notable book according to critics. It's also been translated into English but still, not as famous as books like "The Symphony of the Dead". I read Her Eyes at the age of 17, the last year in high school, when everyone was making herself ready for the university entrance exam, called Concour in Iran, from a French word which means "competition" (If you're Iranian you probably hate this word, which is very understandable). 

Not to get away from the main point, my problem at that time was and still now is that this book really wasn't as great as I expected. I feel it's been a bit over-rated. In better words, if somebody had erased the author's name from the cover and had given me the book and told me to read it, I'd have thought the story is just a shallow love story written by those amateur young wanna-be writers. This makes me a bit guilty to feel like this about a book which is considered the finest novel of a writer who was also politically active and spent some of his life in exile in Germany. And was also Sadegh Hedayat's pal.

I still remember the day I finished this book. It was days before Persian New Year and the classes weren't taken seriously by both the students and the teachers and you had plenty of time to do in the mellow atmosphere. I was sitting at my bench silently, and closed the book and put it on the desk with the big picture of Bozorg Alavi on the cover gaping somewhere in to the air. The girl who sat in front of me turned back and saw me finished the book asked how it was, with a bit of smile. She was a bit strange and I couldn't understand her or like her. I don't know which one was more annoying, the girl's nasty smile or the disappointment after finishing the book. Whatsoever, I replied "It was nonsense".

Now after some years, I'm thinking maybe I read the book too rapidly. Maybe I didn't look for the deeper meaning of the sentence, maybe I was under the influence of liking western literature more. But I think this isn't totally true, because at that time I also read works by Sadegh Hedayat, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh and enjoyed their work very much. However, I think I'd give this book another shot and read it one more time, as I said about Suvashoon before.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Voices Which Aren't Very Effective Voices

[Foreword: For some reasons in this post I wouldn't mention the names of the people I'm criticising, although some of them are well-known and you might have heard of them or recognise them by reading my criticism. I don't mention any names mainly because my argument is not basically about disapproving the speech of two or three special people, but because I want to form a wider picture to say: lack of influential voices is greatly felt in some specific areas of human rights in Iran]

It was some days ago I was scrolling down my facebook page when I saw an update about LGTB rights by an Iranian female activist in my newsfeed. I noticed the last comments under the update and saw there was a hot argument going on. There was a person who was arguing against what the activist had written and of course was using meaningless logic, but what this activist wrote in reply to him made me raise my eyebrows. She used a very vulgar phrase in her comment, and I was a bit taken aback. Frankly, I didn't expect this. I was thinking with all her anger and irritation, she'd use logic and convincing sentences in her comment, which was absent there.

My question is, was that really necessary to talk like that? Yes I can understand we want to flip the table sometimes hearing some people's bigotry and ignorance, but as an activist, as a person who is considered a person to look up to, to be a role-model, was that really appropriate to use that language?

Watch how Ellen DeGeneres nicely defends herself and talks mockingly about a group of people calling themselves "One Million Moms" without using any impolite words:

"My haters are my motivators"

Or watch here how Rachel Maddow, MSNBC host interviews a man called Richard Cohen who wrote a book claiming gays can be cured. See how she questions him and put his own words in front of his face and asks him what the heck are these he wrote, and very ironically at the end of the interview wishes him success in his "personal" life[I love Rachel's smirk, and her face in the second part of the interview at the end when Cohen talks about his successful marriage with his wife is so funny, not to mention how she frowns at him at the beginning like what is all this rubbish you wrote in this book]

So, by watching just these two videos we can say it's not really hard to destroy your opponent by keeping calm and using polite words. If not, then what the difference is between you and the bigot who throws abusive words here and there?

Next thing:

It was last year when I was reading an interview with another famous female activist. She has a PhD degree as far as I know and has had many lectures and speeches defending the rights of those who has been deprived of their rights. At the end of her interview I read: "I believe homosexuality is a choice, and we all kind of choose our orientation..." I was badly surprised and shocked. Is this what has come out of the mouth of the person who claims to be an activist and has a PhD? Congratulations.

Another example:

This one is old as hills, I read it in 2005 I think. Those days there was a hot debate about homosexuality among Iranian bloggers and each one was dwelling on his/her own ideas. There was this young Iranian woman with a famous blog, and based on her blog posts I can say she considers herself a feminist, also based on her master degree she was taking in one of American universities. Anyway, to cut a long story short, she began her debate in favour of gay men by this sentence: "well I know that part of body was created and is used for pooping...". I must say gay men can't be happier to see their rights being defended by a text beginning with this sentence. What else?

I can continue but I think this is sufficient. Also, I drew my conclusion at the beginning of my post. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Shaghayegh, The Flower Forever in Love"

I wrote about Mt Damavand poppy field before, just want to add that the name of this delicate flower in Persian language is shaghayegh. You'd definitely find pronouncing this word very hard if you're not a Persian speaker because of the two "gh"s in one place (reminds me of that joke which is about a person whose language doesn't have p, ch, g and zh and they died pronouncing the word pezh-gach). It is also a name for girls. One of my friends is called Shaghayegh but she shortened it to Sherry when she went to the US! I think I'm lucky my name sounds like that car so internationally speaking everyone can pronounce it.

I took the title of this post from a very famous song by Dariush Eghbali called Shaghayegh.

Anyway, let's take a look at this wonderful place full of shaghayeghs:

All these pictures belong to Mehr News Agency.

The Age of Boredom

There are just days I feel I cannot move fodward in my life. I just feel like a slug getting stuck in the mud (do slugs ever get caught in t...