Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Iran Delegate Criticizes Afghanistan Troop Surge

At a Hague meeting on Afghanistan attended by US's Richard Holbrooke and Iranian representative Mohammad Mehdi Akhoondzadeh, the Iranian rep stated that, "the presence of foreign forces has not improved things in the country, and it seems than an increase in the number of foreign forces will prove ineffective." The delegate added that resources should be focused on building Afghanistan's military forces.

Mr. Akhoondzadeh also mentioned Iran's willingness to combat drug trafficking and reconstructing Afghanistan's infastructure. Afghanistan's drug problem has shown to be Iran's problem as well. Iranian officials say the drug war has cost their nation over $600 million in the last two years. Drug clashes have claimed 3,700 Iranian security officials and injured 11,000 in more than 12,000 clashes between traffickers and police officers between 1989 and 2003, according to Iranian statistics cited in a UN report.

Is an Iranian Nuclear Option Good For The Middle East?

Haneen Zubai, elected representative of an Arab party to the Knesset has welcomed Iran's alleged quest for a nuclear weapon as a means of providing a balance to Israel's regional military domination.

Not that I believe that Iran is developing nukes but I'm sure the Knesset had to pick their jaws off the ground after reading Ms. Zubai's interview.

Shuruq Festival Screening Recap

Shuruq Festival screening this last Wednesday went very well. Much thanks to Amel and Ayman for making things happen. We filled the room out despite fears of campus security interupting the over capacitated festivities.

Question and answer was predominatley questions about my incident with Homeland Security and bboys in Iran. It would be great for Hossein Battle from the film come to screenings to speak about breakin in Iran but we'll see who from Iran we can bring for the next big screening.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama Nowruz Message?

Earlier today I said to myself, "Man it would be a good idea for Obama to make mention of Nowruz or call up President Ahmadinejad and wish him a happy new year."

1/2 of those things actually happened! UNPRECEDENTED and WELL DONE!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Haft Seen

tarting the new year with positive energy and productivity is often challenging, but it's a must.

Seeing as I will be in NY this time next week I'm excited to attend Shuruq.

Starting my life in Los Angeles has been a big change from my life in Tucson. I miss my friends but I'm glad my parents have followed me here.

Stress can kill.. I sincerely believe that.

Some things in cannot be presented literally. It won't speak to the heart.

Strength of the heart does not necessitate strength of the mind.

Struggles of the past will always resurface in the present.

Miranda July Lectures on Art.Cult

After finishing this Miranda July lecture I wanted to start writing up a storm. Her talent is amazing and incredibly natural.

“you’re not as bad as you think you are but you’re not as good either.”

Monday, March 16, 2009

US downs Iran drone. Khatami drops out of race.

US jet fighters have shot down an unmanned aircraft in Iraqi airspace. This is one of the first of reported military actions during the relative silence of allegations that Iran has been intervening in Iraqi affairs.

Former President Seyed Mohammad Khatami drops out of race. There are reports he will back former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mr. Mousavi was prime minister of Iran during the 1980's, and was reportedly a close confidante to Ayatollah Khomeini.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Colbert's Non Consensual Iranian Suit Endorsement

This speaks for itself. Big ups to the Colbert Report research team.

FBI Shoots Itself in the Foot with Muslim Americans

My experience with the feds isn't the brightest of paintings but don't take it from me... This article sheds a lot on the current landscape of the relationship of the Muslim American community and American intelligence agencies.
In 2007, Niazi reported suspicious behavior by a new Muslim convert in his mosque, who he said was talking about jihad and suggested planning a terrorist attack in conversations with others at the Islamic Center of Irvine. He and a mosque official filed a report with the Los Angeles field office of the FBI. The FBI then told mosque officials that they were investigating the matter, and the mosque successfully got a three-year restraining order against the individual.

Niazi reported that FBI officials later contacted him to ask him to be a paid informant. When he refused, he said they threatened to make his life "a living hell." Niazi was arrested last week on charges related to lying on his immigration documents and was released yesterday on $500,000 bail.

[Read more]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fighting Addiction With Varzesh Bastani

I came across this video on YouTube about a program in Tehran that uses Varzesh Bastani as a way to rehabilitate drug users. The man who is speaking in the clip, Reza Rezai, wears a t-shirt that reads "Always Exercise, Never Become An Addict" and mentions briefly that Varzesh Bastani is not only a physical exercise but a conditioning of the spirit. Mr. Rezai also goes on to speak about family and upbringing in staying away from drugs but I want to focus on his previous statement.

Just as drug addiction is a physical illness, it is also a spiritual deficiency that needs to be replenished. Varzesh Bastani, or "the exercise of heroes" has a strong theme of spiritual unity that can be derived from the multitude of rhythms and vocals performed by the "morshed." Just as the trainer transitions from each physical exercise he is driven and inspired by the morshed's lyrics and rhythm.

In my limited experience with those who abuse drugs, their initial problem which leads them to drug use is generally a feeling of having no purpose and a spiritual void. Both physical and spiritual exercise can have a profound effect on those who abuse drugs or who are at risk. I'm unsure if this program is still active in Iran but I hope it is still alive and well.

Good Lord

When I saw Brother Ali in 2002 opening for Slug in Tucson I never thought he would become one of my favorite rappers. I was way wrong.

Good Lord indeed

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gaza is a "Closed Zone"

Yoni Goodman, the Israeli director of Academy Award nominated Waltz with Bashir created the short animated film Closed Zone to make a statement about the plight of Gaza's civilians.

I applaud him for making this given the obvious consequences of making such a film as a an Israeli and a Jew.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Media Plays Iranian Nuke Scare

The media games continue in covering Iran's nuclear ambitions. I was alarmed to see this floating at the top stories today before the rebuttal from Defense Secretary Robert Gates was included in the story. With all of this coverage on Iran and nuclear capabilities, why is it so rare that we see a mainstream broadcast media channel actually speak in depth about what building a nuclear weapon actually entails? Probably the same reason so few media outlets did critical reporting on Iraq's weapons prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

[Read up here]

In other Iran hype....

Annette Bening attempts to mend US-Iran ties

Iranian-American journalist jailed

Islamic Finance Laughing All The Way To The Bank

"Islamic financial institutions, he said, had not been hit as hard as their western counterparts because they did not invest in toxic assets.

Banks run in accordance with Muslims laws on interest payments and the sharing of credit risks are seen by many as fairer than traditional banks, less focused on profit and kinder to the communities they work in."

One can't help but laugh at a world that consistently insults the Islam as a backward religion and savage culture and then takes a lesson from that same tradition in the form of finance. Let's not forget that modern mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine were all revolutionized by the Muslim world when the West was just poking around in the dirt. Muslims may have their fair share amount of problems but we still have things to contribute to those who wish to listen.

[read more]

Excited About TV?

I've been looking forward to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for about a month since I've been following the blog. I'm not a huge fan of Fallon but I would tune in (or at least check the site) often to see the Roots.

Jimmy is taking TV to the next level incorporating social media into the show more than ever before. This is the first time I've been excited for TV in a while.