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Dialogue With USA, Bad Idea… For Iran

by @ 5:42 pm
Filed under: politics — Tags: ,

The latest on the nuclear stale-mate with Iran is a report suggesting that Iran's imminent and reform-minded administration may be interested in direct talks with the US. I am no fan of the Iranian regime but a much lesser fan of the American foreign policy. America has proven time and time again that it can not be trusted. It may fight its enemies but it stabs its friends in the back. Here are some notable figures who trusted America and paid a heavy price for it.

  • In 1953 Mohammad Mosaddegh having established a fledgling democracy in Iran was overthrown by a CIA-backed coup that brought the Shah (Pahlavi dynasty) back to power and re-established western control (exploitation) of the Iranian oil. Mosaddegh eventually died under house arrest.
  • In 1978 America abandoned the same Shah (whom had been called a close ally) allowing the cleric-inspired revolution to establish a new regime in Iran. While on the run or his life from the revolutionaries this close friend was allowed in the US for only a short period and was subsequently forced out of the country. The Shah eventually died in Egypt where a true friend (Sadat) became his host.
  • Manuel Noriega of Panama, a CIA collaborator for many years, was captured after the US invasion of Panama and was imprisoned in Florida. He was eventually returned to Panama and is serving what is tantamount to a life sentence there.
  • Saddam Hussein of Iraq was once a strong ally of the US. He was visited by many American politicians such as Donald Rumsfeld and was financially and militarily aided by the US during the Iran-Iraq war. A few years later the US invaded Iraq, killed his sons, and captured him. He was subsequently hanged.
  • Muammar Qaddafi of Libya was once an enemy of the US. He eventually made peace with the US destroying his arsenal of chemical weapons as a peaceful gesture. His high hopes were dashed however when American planes began to bomb Libya and the American-backed Libyan rebels captured and killed him during the Libyan civil war.
  • Hosni Mubarak, a staunch US ally was deposed by the Egyptian revolutionaries in 2011. America turned its back on its ally by remaining silent even when Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison.

Going by history, it seems safer to be an American enemy than to be its friend. Khomeini of Iran, Kim of North Korea, Chavez of Venezuela, and Castro of Cuba were only removed from power by the forces of nature, proving that keeping the US at a safe distance can extend one's life. Iran should consider its options with the US very carefully. It is after-all a perilous path with proven disastrous results for those who may be tempted to trust the US.

So Long Orumieh (Rezaiyeh) Lake

by @ 3:01 pm
Filed under: environment — Tags: ,

When I was growing up in Iran, one of the places I always wanted to visit the Orumieh (Urmia) lake in the north-western part of the country. The lake was known as Rezaieh lake prior to the Islamic revolution in the country.

People had amazing stories of biodiversity and beauty in and around the lake. The lake, the biggest in Middle East, was apparently so salty that one couldn't even sink in it.

Unfortunately I never got the chance to visit this beautiful part of Iran and the Orumieh lake and apparently I will never have that opportunity. As it turns out the lake seems to be drying up and disappearing forever, thanks to mismanagement, excessive development, and environmental factors.

It takes humanity to destroy such beauty. Shame 🙁

Picture courtesy of TIME's Timelapse project, powered by Google.

 

Shoosh Square, Tehran

by @ 6:39 pm
Filed under: social — Tags: ,

When I was a kid growing up in Tehran, one of the favorite metaphors for an untidy place was to compare it to the Shoosh square in southern Tehran. Actually at one time Shoosh square and street were merely downtown areas but the city had sprawled north leaving the Shoosh area in the south, relatively speaking.

So I always imagined the Shoosh area as a chaotic and super-crowded section of the city. I had never visited that part of the city to confirm my suspicions, not until my recent trip. Tehran has now limited subway service that operates surprisingly smoothly and Shoosh is one of the train stops.

Taking the subway train from the northern Tehran I jumped off at the Molavi street at a location that apparently used to be called the Execution square years ago. Walking around the street it appeared that most of the architecture and structures hadn't changed much in years. Small stores lined the Molavi street and the narrow alleys were home to most of the locals. I hung a right on some road and pushed forward and suddenly there it was, Shoosh square.

Like many rumors and myths debunked by personal observation, Shoosh square wasn't nearly as chaotic and jammed with people as I had imagined. Yes, it was crowded, it was a bit grimy, and somewhat archaic in parts, but nowhere near what my imagination had constructed.

I walked the Shoosh street, visited the fabric stores, the crystal stores, herbs and dried fruits stores, and the street market and capped the adventure by having a couple of cups of tea at a tea-house. Returning to northern Tehran on the subway train, I knew I would be back again to this area for more exploration.

Apple Discrimination

by @ 5:14 pm
Filed under: computers,politics — Tags: , , ,

A few weeks ago my children dragged me into the local mall's Apple store, kicking and screaming where I bought them each a Macbook, a cheap Linux knock-off in a shiny skin.

I am a devout Apple-hater and have been so since 1988 when I had to write a LISP program on a Macintosh desktop. Nothing this company does or produces has ever looked remotely exciting or interesting to me and let's not even get started with the ridiculous prices. I personally own nothing from this company and am proud of that fact.

I could have bought my children very nice Windows laptops at a third of the price, but that wasn't an option. Apple seems to have plenty of people under its spell. They can sell them street garbage stamped with the bitten-apple image like it's some magical product from Venus.

Since Apple has the policy of not selling to Iranian-Americans, I just wonder where the Apple police was on the day I wasted my hard-earned money on their junk.

Apple sucks. Always has, and probably always will.

Radio Golha - Traditional Persian Music

by @ 11:01 pm
Filed under: music — Tags: ,

When I was a young boy growing up in Iran, a favorite radio program of my maternal grandfather was Golha, a variety program on radio consisting of traditional Persian music. My grandfather would take a little rest after lunch and listened to this program in its entirety.

And as I wasn't exactly a quiet kid, getting into all kinds of loud mischief, I was forced to sit quietly and listen to the Golha program along with my grandfather. To say that this was torture for me would be an understatement. How could anyone enjoy such music?

Fast-forward a few decades and I often find myself listening to this program on the RadioGolha.com web site. The radio program has long been gone and many of the musicians are no longer alive, but thanks to the dedication of the RadioGolha.com's webmaster, the old episodes are streamed back to life continuously.

Traditional Persian music is not everyone's cup of tea. I certainly didn't think it was mine either. But listening to this music now magically connects me to the land of my ancestors and to my grandfather who passed away years ago. Rest in peace Agha Joon, and thank you for the unwitting gift of traditional Persian music.

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