Saturday, June 14, 2003
I stayed behind and watched "Dr Strangelove". I hadn't seen it before, the video quality was bad and Dr S was difficult to understand. It was rather eerie. Of course I thought of what would happen if the mullahs got nukes. What would a regime whose ideology is centered around death and martyrdom understand of the notion of a nuclear deterrent?
This morning I read Jon's report and I was glad I wasn't with him! The New York Times report wasn't so good, because they equated basij and ansar-e-hezbollah. Ansar are more extremist and there are many more basiji than ansars. Basij are morality police who set up checkpoints to see if unrelated men and women are together and look for Western music or alcohol. I haven't seen checkpoints for a while now. Ansar don't do anything except beat people up, as they go around on their 1000cc motorcycles (more than 250cc is illegal here, unless you have connections, as they obviously do). But they are both mindlessly obedient to the Leader.
I had a discussion recently about the Iranian price of a Nissan Maxima (~$US50-60000) whereas the actual cost is about half that. The same is true for Kia Prides; the Economist reported that in Syria better quality Kia Prides are sold for less than half of the $US8000 they cost in Iran. The difference goes to the government here, who are thieves. I also talked to a professor about the car accident death rate Hooman commented on below. We agreed that I was wrong because it should be deaths per passenger mile, which means that the Iranian death rate is more than 10 times as bad, because passenger miles are much higher in the US than in Iran. Certainly, there are severe social as well as political problems here.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Therefore the PA has only one answer to the question why Israel decided to eliminate Rantisi now and not several months ago, when there was no dialogue with the PA and when there was no Israeli commitment to the road map - Israel wanted to stop the peace process. ...
Senior PA officials were already talking yesterday about how "thanks to Israel, the Hamas now has another national hero who at least in the near future will dictate the atmosphere."
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Gooya reported that the students had arrested 3 ansars and wanted a prisoner swap :-)
Thousands protest in Iran. I didn't hear about it until I read it on the net this morning. Which satellite TV channel was that?
Last night I went to a house in Darrus to meet a prospective new English student, and the family had four dogs: a pekinese, a daschund, a poodle, and a shih-tzu. My landlord has a dog and a cat, because he has space for them. But my apartment is too small.
Egypt bans "The Matrix Reloaded". "The first film was shown in Egypt, but was criticised by some Islamic newspapers, which claimed it espoused Zionism." Such nuttiness! They see Zionist plots everywhere, just like the leaders here.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Most of the discothèques are on Pahlavi Ave., Baccara, Casba, Cave d' Argent, Le Château, Miami; or on Kouroosh-e-Kabir Ave., Borsalino, Harlem, Bohème, Cheminée, Lane Kaboutar; Markis, opposite the Iran American Cultural Society, Vozara St. The Moulin Rouge at Ferdowsi, Sevome Esfand St., offers entertainment in the local style. Private boxes are available.
Tehran's best cabaret is the Shekoufeh Now, Simetri Ave. The Copacabana, Takht-e-Jamshid Ave., also presents a show.
BARS. Between Shah Reza and Takht-e-Jamshid Aves. there are a dozen establishments of very special character where you can have a drink in the company of charming hostesses. A glass of iced tea sipped in such surroundings will cost you 300 Rs, which is not exactly a bargain.
There are also bars in the international clubs and large hotels. The bar in the Hotel Marmar is very fashionable (once a week, caviar is served on the house; the barman is a great character). Also fashionable are the Xanadu bar (beer on tap; attractive setting) and the Tehran Club bar (open fireplace).
Added suggestions for touring grand-dukes: Boccacio, Roosevelt Ave.; Lido, Shahabad Ave.; Rainbow,Shah Reza Ave. and Forsat St. As a general rule, bars stay open very late.
"Fodor's Iran 1979", by Richard Moore and Peter Sheldon, David McKay Company, New York, pp131-2
Monday, June 09, 2003
I've been looking at the Lonely Planet Iran guidebook... "...wages are lamentable by Western standards..."
Is it possible to measure how curious and knowledgeable about the outside world Iranians are? A review of Amir Taheri's "The cauldron: the middle east behind the headlines" suggested:
"And,yet, it is remarkable how misunderstood the Middle East is in the West. ( The reverse is even more true: as the author of this book shows , Middle Easterners know even less about the West and much of what they know is fantasy!)"
I couldn't find that quote in the book when I looked at it in the US. I think it is true (I need to add many nuances though - later!), but quotes like this about a certain Californian at the Lonely Planet thorntree don't increase my confidence...
``An example of American decadence: Got a neighbor three houses away who has 3 SUVs! One for himself, one for his wife and one for his 16-year old daughter. Each SUV sports an American flag. He also has an American flag attached to his garage and one on a flag pole in his front lawn. He's constantly yelling at his wife and daughter, and he allows his two dogs (German shepherds) to run the neighborhood and shit on other people's lawns. He worships George W. Bush to the point of telling everyone that Bush's profile should be carved on Mt. Rushmore, and he thinks we should nuke Iran because "they're a bunch of commies!". Michael Moore would have a field day with this guy! ''
I saw a lot of SUVs and houses with large American flags and Republican stickers in the Deep South. I'll see if I can find a good picture.