Saturday, December 28, 2002

Ex-President Aboard Iran-140


The reformist daily has quoted former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani as saying he would fly on the home-made Iran-140 plane to dispel security concerns with the plane. "I will fly on Iran-140 in one of my domestic visits to prove the safety of this Iranian-made plane," he was quoted as saying. A joint venture of Iran and Ukraine, Iran-140 was launched last February during the festivities marking the triumph anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

I can't remember the date, but it was earlier this year. I wonder if he'll remember his promise? "Ukrainian air companies have so far purchased just three An-140s in as many years; Russian carriers haven't purchased any. No nation other than Iran had voiced interest in buying now."

Lastly, "Iran News" is rather scathing...

Friday, December 27, 2002

Kashani says something positive (sort of). Christmas miracles?

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Conversation on the beach from Herzliya, Israel (or "Occupied Palestine" if I'm writing for an Iranian government newspaper). Really scary, I hope the Palestinian (or "Arab" if I'm writing for a right-wing Israeli newspaper) is not representative of his people. If there are any Palestinians out there who are against suicide bombing I can't h-e-a-r them. Have you heard of any Palestinians like Jeff Halper who I saw on BBC World once? (OK, Elias Chacour is the best example I can think of. Perhaps Iranian and Western media is biased somehow, so that I don't hear peaceful Palestinian voices.)

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Crash: Conspiracy theories again.

"...a conservative Iranian newspaper, Jam-e-Jam, speculated that there could have been a "Zionist" (Israeli) conspiracy behind the crash.

"Considering the presence of Russian experts, sabotage is not out of the question," the paper said, noting the presence of Mossad agents in Turkey where the plane had stopped to refuel."

Yes, Merry Christmas everybody. Before I forget I need to link back to the geographical blog index that lists me.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Saudi Arabia teaches children hate.

Sheikh Majed 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Firian recently stated in the Suleiman Bin Muqiran mosque in Riyadh: "Muslims must ... educate their children to Jihad. This is the greatest benefit of the situation: educating the children to Jihad and to hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels; educating the children to Jihad and to revival of the embers of Jihad in their souls. This is what is needed now ..."

Usenet article about Iran crash. "Never put all your eggs in one basket."

Another article about Antonov safety. I wouldn't fly in an Antonov or Tupolev... but it's still safer than the road, no? I vaguely remember something about Rafsanjani saying this year he would fly in a certain kind of plane to prove it was safe... had to be this one, didn't it? I'll try to find the quote.

There was a priceless comment to the previous article:

begin quote

Media coverage of the event in Britain and abroad has skewed decisively in favor of the rioters, with many editorials urging their readers to consider the centuries of oppression Catholics have suffered at the hands of the English. Most dramatic of all was Independent columnist Robert Fisk, who called a press conference to express his solidarity with the rioters before attempting to nail himself to a cross.

The day's events were punctuated by a statement from Pope John Paul II, who, despite his advanced age and physical frailty, had strong words for the British government. "O God," said the Pontiff to the ululating throng below, "shake the ground under Tony Blair's feet. Shoot lightning bolts up the Queen's ass. Destroy your enemies the Presbyterians, the sons of pigs and monkeys."

When questioned about his remarks afterward, the Pope replied, "I got a right to be hostile. My people been persecuted."

end quote

Truly hilarious "little green footballs" piece about the reaction of British Catholics to a BBC documentary.

"Following the broadcast of a BBC documentary suggesting that Jesus may have been conceived as the result of an illicit affair or of Mary's rape by a Roman soldier, enraged British Catholics poured out of churches after evening mass, smashing store windows, overturning cars, and attacking anyone of Middle Eastern appearance. "

Monday, December 23, 2002

While randomly trawling the net, I came across an Iran hostage's recollections. Are there any lessons about or for the Iran of today there?

"[Hossein, a captor] began by telling me that it was all over, that we were all going home, and that Iran was finally going to be free from outside interference so Iranians could have the kind of country they wanted. I responded that it sounded good, but that I was sure it was not going to happen because, in my view, Iranians lacked the necessary self-discipline to keep the past from repeating itself.

Hossein said he did not understand. I noted that governing a nation and permitting at least some degree of freedom (which Hossein and his cohorts always maintained would be the case in Iran) required great tolerance on the part of the authorities. I said that the government of such a country could not lock someone away or execute them just because someone with the power to do so did not like something the person said or did. I told him that rules and laws had to be applied to all citizens equally and that it took governmental and personal self-discipline to make this work. Looking him directly in the eyes, I told him that nothing I had seen, heard, or experienced in my time in Iran gave me any indication he and his fellow Iranians had any understanding of this. The revolutionary government was unwilling to grant its citizens any measurable degree of true freedom, and there was not, in my opinion, a snowball's chance in hell that it would.

Hossein rebutted my comments, using the same idealistic revolutionary rhetoric that I had heard so many times, from so many Iranians. He ended by repeating that all Iran's problems had been caused by outsiders, most notably by America, and that now everything was going to be good in Iran. I did not carry the debate further. He tried to chitchat for a few minutes, but, when he realized that I had no interest in a congenial farewell, he said he had many things to do. He then stood and wished me good luck. I shrugged, and he left."

What was that Santayana quote again?

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Saddam's son wrote a 320-page thesis on the future of the Arab nation. I don't think Arabs have much future, so how can he write that much? If you see any discussion of this on the net I'd be interested to hear of it.

OK, Student's Day passed. What's my evaluation...? Over the last 16 days I don't believe all that much happened. The people are apathetic and weary, "bi bokhar" (without steam). Besides Tehran is too cold for protests. And too cold for me too, but I'll return there soon.