Saturday, May 31, 2003

Iran brain drain article on BBC. I am not sure that going to India is such a big improvement...
"Everyone wants to leave because of the economic problems, because of the social conditions facing young people," [he] said. It talks about English teaching here, but what it doesn't mention is how terrible the quality of teaching in Tehran is... people learn English grammar in school but not how to speak. I've met lots of people who have a degree in "English translation" from Azad Islamic University (four years!) that can't speak a word!! I wanted to talk about this: if you can speak English well, then you can leave, but if you can't, then you are out of luck because the main countries built on immigration (Canada, US, UK, Australia, NZ, South Africa even) are all English-speaking countries.

OK, some pictures from yesterday. I went to Darakeh again, arriving at 6:30am... walked for a few hours, had ash-reshteh, talked about mathematics problems... then I went to a gathering in a walled garden near Tajrish. Remember, "paradise" originally came from a Persian word meaning "walled garden". It was really great. In fact I went into the wrong place at first and it had to belong to a (dollar) millionaire... when I got to the actual place, it was even better and I could hardly believe I was in Tehran... of course, the area is full of magnificent houses no-one lives in... anyway, pictures tell the story best.

Eric Robert Rudolph arrested, I remember reading about this guy and thinking he would never be caught...

The Waldorf transcripts showing how Powell and Straw doubted the evidence... it reminds me of the joke about the preacher's notes... "argument weak here, shout loudly!"

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Apathy in Iran. Finally, an article quoting people who live here. British Airways has 5 flights a week to Tehran now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Iran holds Saif al-Adel. So what was he doing here?

A specialist on US-EU relations says: "U.S. hawks were privately pressing for pre-emptive strikes to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, as Israel did with Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981." Utilitarianism says: if everyone had the same pre-emptive policy as the US, what would the world look like? Would it be a safer place? I suppose looking at the big picture, it is Iran that needs to make concessions now, because the EU policy on Iran is going nowhere. Otherwise the EU policy will become closer to the US policy.

David Warren says Michael Ledeen is the best informed Western journalist on Iran? Is this really what people in the West think? I hope not.

I went through my nedstat links (see that graph over there?) and came to... Iranian or Canadian which has a horror story about a guy who was born in Iran but now has a Canadian passport travelling to the US. From there I went to where's my elephant which had a BBC link about Rumsfeld saying Iraq destroyed its WMD before the war. Does this make sense to you? I'm sure there's a big contradiction there somewhere, someone just needs to write a good web page about it, putting all the statements by Powell, Bush, Rumsfeld, Blix, Ritter etc together.

Disaffected Muslim is interesting. He/she is very articulate, self-aware and self-critical and I pretty much agree with everything he/she says. And I love dogs too! Little Green Footballs writes critically about the Muslim world, but I didn't like the guy's coverage of Rachel Corrie, for example. Just as it's possible for some to be anti-Israel in a kneejerk way, LGF is pro-Israel in the same way.

Wired News writes more about Iranian bloggers.

I patiently await the next International Crisis Group report about Iran. Possibly before June 16 (IAEA meeting), almost certainly before August 5 (one year since their last Iran report).

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Chess in Kabul by Frans M. Hoynck van Papendrecht. Boys and girls get to play, and the article has good pictures too. Khomeini banned chess in Iran until 1988 and then Mullah Omar of the Taliban banned chess in Afghanistan. Note that Kabul is more liberal than the rest of the country.

"Prior to the Ayatollah, Iran, under the Shah, was the only Islamic country that organized chess and participated in chess tournaments, including the 22nd chess olympiad in Israel in 1976 (in Haifa)." (from the above link.)

I went to Kolakchal today and because it was Tuesday there were no people. That deserves pictures too!

Monday, May 26, 2003

Lieberman favours regime change in Iran:

"There's no nation in the world where the government is more anti-American and the people are more pro-American then Iran," he told FNS host Tony Snow. "And that's the equation we have to flip."

So, the USA should make the people anti-American and the government pro-American! Like the Arab countries, in other words...

Lots of other news in links: Iran Says It Holds No Senior Al Qaeda Members; two-faced Iran hiding Osama bomb goons; (what a classic tabloid headline) Iranian lawmakers protest to ayatollah; IIFM membership for Iran; Australian foreign minister's remarks in Iran; Azar Nafisi in The Atlantic; Ruzegar-ye-ma review; (sounds like the profiled presidential candidate would have been much more in touch than Khatami!) Lady Sun complains about having to wear socks.

Lastly, Cannes is going downhill... (switch to Venice)

"The poor quality of the pool this year -- a view shared by many -- raises questions about the French festival's traditional hegemony and festival director Gilles Jacob's unabashed reverence for directors based on their reputations rather than their most recent results."

Sunday, May 25, 2003

SNSC bans publication of letter to Khamenei. (from ibelievethat). How ironic, to ban the publication of a letter which in part complains about the lack of press freedom! Khatami is the chairman of the SNSC.

Sen Robert Byrd writes "The Truth Will Emerge" concerning Iraq (from eyeranian)... the san francisco chronicle writes about regime change in Iran:

"Iran's hard-line government, accused by the Bush administration of harboring top al-Qaida members, poses a big problem for the United States and should be replaced, lawmakers said Sunday."

What would this sound like if we switched "Iran" and "the United States", then changed "Bush" to "Khamenei" and "al-Qaida" to "MKO"?

"According to someone" is an article in which the ombudsman of the Washington Post claims that, despite the Jayson Blair scandal, all their quotes from anonymous intelligence officials about Iran will be real quotes. He acknowledges the problems with anonymous sources.

Finally the Australian foreign minister talks to Khatami and Kharrazi, and it's reported in Australia this way and Iran this way. (Of course Iran Daily plays up the "blame America" angle, can't they think of something new?)