Friday, May 29, 2009

Green is the New Fashion in Tehran

Driving in Tehran a sizable number of cars are carrying green ribbons tied to their antennas, there are buildings with green drapes falling from roof to the ground and there are young boys and girls wearing green scarves. Green is all the rage in Tehran, it is the color of MirHussein Mousavi the last individual to hold the premier office and the Prime Minister of wartime Iran. His hair has turned grey, but the youth, who mostly were infants in his days are wearing his color.
Of course Mr. Mousavi's economic policies are an old version of structuralist economic ideas and he speaks of "morality economics". Both are discomforting to those who advocate a rational and fact oriented approach to economy in Iran. However it seems that he does offer a progressive social agenda that would be an step forward. He has promised to stop morality patrols and to give more freedom to the youth. No wonder green is the fashion of Tehran's fashionable.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obama's 100 Days in Iranian TV

This link is a 10 minutes clip from a debate between Dr. Zibakalam and a few other experts in Iranian TV about the first 100 days of Obama administration. It is most interesting, I wish someone to do an English translation. Dr. Zibakalam, Mr. Amir Mohebian, Dr. HajBabayi and Dr. Ashtari were debating. Dr. Zibakalam is saying that Obama administration has implemented changes in its first 100 days, which are significant. He says that shutting down prisons in Guantanamo Bay, focusing on Afghanistan and planning to withdraw from Iraq are most important. In response Dr. HajBabayi says that these are not important since these are new strategic moves to ensure that the United States will be in a better position to control India and Pakistan and to checkmate China. Dr. Zibakalam then asks that what Mr. Obama could have done to persuade Dr. HajBabayi that he is sincere about changes. Dr. HajBabayi answers that he should release Iranian funds blockaded in American banks. To this Dr. Zibakalam answers: "But we do not have any money left in America!".
The significance of this debate is in the single fact that it emphasizes how some groups need a hostile USA in Iran as much as some in DC need a hostile Iran! It is amazing how they actions and words actually reinforce each other's position. On the other hand it is a significant change to have this debate on Iranian TV, so a political scientist, in this case Dr. Zibakalam, can say what he actually thinks about the Iran-USA relations....well this also is qualified as a "change".

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Election and Video Clips

Presidential candidates in Iran are using internet and its venue as much as they can to publish their ideas and their campaign material. One of the most recent ones is titled: "From the past to the future". You can see it here:

The 16 minutes clip suggests Mr. MirHussein Mousavi's candidacy is the next step in Iranian people's 100 years long struggle for democracy. The clip begins with snapshots from constitutional revolution era then continues with clips from oil nationalization movement and Dr. Mossadeq, during which the music is playing "Ey Iran", unofficially considered to be the national anthem in Iran, then it shows the coup against him and his exile and then it moves forward to clips and photos from Imam Khomeini, then offers speeches by Mr. Bazargan, the first primier of Islamic Republic, and by Dr. Shariati, who is considered to be the ideologist of revolution . It covers revolution with movies and photos from 1978-1980 and songs from this era. It broadcasts a speech from Ayatollah Taleghani. Then there is war, reform movement and at the end a few minutes talks, clips and photos focused on Mr. MirHussein Mousavi himself. The clip is a beautiful one and could be considered as a musical history of the past 100 years.
However one has to take some parts of it with a grain of salt; Mr. Mousavi's government banned Mr. Bazargan's supporters' main party; Nehzat e Azadi ye Iran, and his minister of interior, Mr. Mohtashami, turned down their requests for permits for political activities several times and disqualified their candidates for parliamentary elections. Overall many might argue that this clip claims affiliations that one hardly knew anything about them when Mr. Mousavi was the prime minister... although this might be a too simplistic view of history, and main street people are not used to complicated analysis of historical events, which might justify such claims. However one must admit that he remains the man of hour, receiving support from students, intellectuals and old reformists.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

An Iranian Artist and Her Blog

Golrokh Nafisi was born in 1981, or 1360 according to Iranian calendar; 3 years after revolution and in the second year of war with Iraq. She probably went to the first grade in the first year after war. In her sketches she covers daily events, her errands, her activities and the politics of Iranian society. Her realism and use of colors make her sketches to stand out among the best of her generation.
This is one of her works about coming elections. You can see more of her works on her blog: Was Born in 1981...