Forever Under Construction

Random Ramblings

Posted in Activism, Antiwar, Books, Dance, Iran, Music, Random, Thailand, USA by homeyra on April 4, 2007

I just came across a moving review of Lipstick Jihad by Karen, Random Ramblings. She reflects about the relationship and love of Azadeh Moaveni, an American-Iranian (and I should add a successful writer of the Time magazine) toward an apparently problematic country, Iran:

lipstick.jpgThe thing that struck me, though, was her love for Iran. While raised in America, thankful for the privilege she had – she had a very special love and concern for Iran in spite of all of its troubles. Wherever she went, she felt like a foreigner but it didn’t keep her from engaging with the people of Iran, discovering their worldview and hoping for good to come to the country.” And this leads to an interesting reflexion about Karen’s own relationship to her country, the USA.

I left a comment at her blog, and I linked to this delightful post of Shirin. I think what make us to love our country and its people of all school of thought:) – while being totally aware of all the related controversy – is that deep down we were sort of brainwashed to feel compassion, even for those we disapprove. Ok, you might say that this is not very obvious reading the newspapers or watching Fox and the like. Point taken. But we are supposed to usually draw a clear line between the “news” and the people, and all people, not only Iranians, and we cherish this world view and those who have it.

Maybe this is a good time to clarify another thing. I had a few posts, consisting mostly of cutting and pasting articles or book reviews with a very critical view of the American policy. Wrong or right, my assumption is that a handful of politicians do not speak for 300 million people. This is obvious to me.

Anyway, have a look at Karen’s great post.

PS: These two delightful posts by Rita give also a glimpse at the eyeranians psyche:)
On Poets, Rulers & Us, and Pride & Disgrace of Being

Music, Dance: Peyman forwarded the following link: A Fanatastic Thai Dance

Cluster bombs: Sophia informs us that Just Foreign Policy and Jewish Voice for Peace have launched a petition to restrict the sale and use of cluster bombs. Read more 1184.jpgabout the petition here.

Meet the Unpeople: Another very informative post by our very wise PPGG
99 says it in her own style 🙂

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16 Responses

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  1. Random Ramblings said, on April 4, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    […] Random Ramblings […]

  2. musicalchef said, on April 4, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Have you read Lipstick Jihad? Is it good?

  3. homeyra said, on April 4, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    I haven’t read it all as I borrowed the book from a friend for a short while. It is an interesting book giving a good insight of the youth in the capital city.
    See a previous post with some links to good reviews. This will give you a better idea.

  4. Sophia said, on April 5, 2007 at 2:31 am

    One thing I became aware of when I watched ‘Inside Tehran’ is that the social malaise of some described in the documentary is certainly due not to ideologies or politics but rather to the resulting narrowing of the horizon (social and cultural) for people who were used to a larger one or who simply know that there is another one out there, even if this larger horizon wasn’t accessible to everybody, at least everybody could dream of it. Although, the war with Iraq should have played a role. When a country is at war, the daily lives of people are affected. Hopes are held on a standby. The essence of a Human being is the future. We are always living in the future, projecting ourselves in it. And if this future is narrow or not possible because of wars or else, it affects our soul and our mind. I lived during the Lebanese civil war in such a state for six years, it is tough, especially that we weren’t allowed to move much. The country had become a mosaic of rival military factions, moving in it was like walking in a minefield…
    Of course such a situation can foster an extraordinary creativity for some individuals but at the end it is exhausting and costly for the society as a whole…

  5. Karen said, on April 5, 2007 at 2:55 am

    Hey there! 🙂

    Thanks for your thoughts…I think it is so strange that often Westerners portray your people or perceive your people (because of news or whatever) as people who hate us…but in what I have read or seen on documentaries (sorry, it is all I can go by!!! I have no personal experience), it seems like the general populace does not hate the west, but might even be intrigued by us – not to be LIKE us, but just to know us…I wish more of us would take the time to learn about Iran.

    I also think it is neat to see what a worshipful people you are…Americans are not – not in the same way…even the Christians, unfortunately. I think God made you that way – and it challenges me, and I wish it would challenge the Christians in the U.S. to see that a country that doesn’t have the same comfort and abundance that we do (do you? maybe I am wrong…) worships whoever they worship (I think it was one of the Imams on the show I saw – I’m sorry – I know little of Islam – trying to understand it) in the middle of the street with far more enthusiasm than most of us have in church on a Sunday morning…now…that is the fault of our people, not our God…but you get my point…I hope haha…and perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on Americans…but it is kind of like Jesus said “a prophet has no honor in his hometown” – I know America so well, I know her flaws soooo well and find them frustrating hahaha…I’m sure if I lived in Iran, I would be doing the same to “her”. Sorry, I’ve rambled…glad to have the dialogue though!!! 🙂 I hope for more too!

  6. homeyra said, on April 5, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Sophia: Living in standby is indeed the lifestyle! Though there are always some smart people who can (afford to?) get over it.
    Lebanon, Iraq and Iran have all been messed up. Other countries too, but somehow differently. Human losses, wasted national resources and few generations of “standby” people are among their common features. And who won anything in the process?
    One constant event in the Iranian society in the last century is an almost systematic “shuffle” of the society, for different reasons. The result as you mention is to live somehow without a future… but still life is there and the society is a forward looking one.
    There used to be some faith in what seemed to be an inevitable progress toward a society with a (western type) set of rules guarantying some freedom of action or security at an individual level to fully participate in the social life. But one can only realize that this same West does all to counter this trend. And the example of Iraq is beyond any argument: a country which is looted, over a million killed or wounded by the Axis of the Willing, which further his action to divide and create as much sectarian problems as it can.
    Monte had a post about women in Iraq, quoting a woman who says: Take the oil. We don’t care about the oil We never got any value from it anyway.
    I shall add that none of these came like a big surprise. In a way it is quite consistent with the past. What surprises me, is for instance when I read from a well intended, educated western blogger – not to mention the country!:) something like: I haven’t made up my mind yet about Iraq! Well, if half a million dead doesn’t help to make up – a well intended – person’s mind, what will? This is something I won’t understand!
    Hi Karen 🙂
    Hopefully ordinary people are busy with their life and don’t wake up each morning asking themselves “who I’m gonna hate today”!
    I must point out that, speaking of Iranians, we know more about the West, Europe or America than the other way. The whole western literature and culture is available: TV programs, books, movies, magazines, records etc. Many people have traveled abroad or know someone who did. After the Iranian revolution many left the country so now everyone has a or a few relatives (or know someone who has one) who lives abroad etc… An American journalist who visited Iran wrote about what he saw in the bookstores: Hilary Clinton memoirs, Grisham, Steel ect … when Sean Penn visited Iran as a journalist during last presidential election he was surprised to be recognized in the streets of Tehran. So the image of what it seems a dark society spending their time in some secret activity is a rather let’s say a strange for us!
    About the “worshipful” aspect: I remember reading an interview of Chomsky when he stated that the American society is more religious than the Iranian one! It is difficult for me to resume the religious aspects of the society. Religion has set, since centuries the moral and ethical rules of the nation. Socially its structures defined a wide set of relationship: gatherings, ceremonies, charities etc. With a lack of serious political parties, religion was what brought people together and since the revolution its role has obviously expanded, and somehow changed. No need to say, debates around this aspect are an open issue.
    Culture, literature and history have given a sense of a sort of spirituality. But again you have those who think that this is our forte, and those who think that this is what has kept us backward. I can also be very critical about the Iranian society, but these days, among this demonizing international campaign, I wont contribute! 🙂
    That’s all that comes to my mind right now… more for later!
    PS: I have often problems with some blogger accounts. I can’t open the comment page. So far I didn’t succeed to write back on your blog.

  7. sophia said, on April 5, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    There is also a big part of western society, especially in the US who has no future. These people know they will never be able to go to get college education and go beyond their lower economic and social status. The American dream or model is an illusion, it lets very few escape their condition but the majority don’t. The American model is made only to let others dream but it is in no way an egalitarian model. It only lets you dream of becoming rich like the others while at the same time maintaining huge barriers between you and the elite. As I said, some succeed in escaping their condition but is the fact that very few do justifies the US as an egalitarian society ? Definitely not in my opinion. I think egalitarian societies can best be found in northern europe…

  8. homeyra said, on April 5, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Sophia, I saw this phenomenon in France in the late 70’s. After 1968 there was a concerted effort to weaken student movements. Universities were dismantled and “atomised”, send to various sub-suburbs… in fact a blow to the ordinary people’s power. This coincides with the anti-Vietnam-war movement. Since, the majority is too busy meeting up ends to have the luxury to have his says in any relevant matter.
    I shall add that it seems to me that the education in many French Universities, is almost aimed to guaranty a very low level one!

  9. sophia said, on April 5, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    The revolutionnaries of May 68 were from bourgeois families. They joined the workers movement but they don’t know what it is to work with his hands and body and to be exhausted at the end of the day. They are the left of the third way and the new elite in in France and they are so dogmatic. Ségolène is an example. Yes it guarantees no job to have a university degree in France but this is not the fault of universities whcih have excellent professors but no support from the government because France maintained a two ways system for higher education, one with selection for the elite and the other for the people. While it does not guarantee you a job, the university gives you a degree and a mean to make your way in life. But don’t be mistaken, it is not becasue the french university guarantees no job that it teaches nothing. I am in a large part a product of france’s universities and their status is low because France maintains an elitist system for higher education. It needs a little reform to salvage the university, it needs someone who has the guts to dismantle these places of privilege like te ENA and the Ecole Normale and to have one homogenous higher education system…

  10. naj said, on April 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    (thanks homie for writing on listick jihad)

    I think of “The Blood of the Others” everytime I think of bourgeois revolutionaries …

    Speaking of Iranian misrepresentation … one is unfolding right in ffront of our eyes
    There is a consensus in the world that Iranian’s humane treatment of the British soldiers put coalition’s propagandist attitude against Iran to shame. But to hear Blair come out and claim “victory” and start villify Iranians again … is simply disturbing!

    And to doubt Iranian’s hospitality and call that propaganda, too, is disgraceful.

    To others, it seems odd that these people were treated well and they need to seek a propaganda motive in it. No I do not deny that Iran did use this as a PR opportunity. But I am sure if these people were civilians and lost in Iran, they would have received the same treatment. That’s just the way we treat foreigners, we really are not scared of them; rather curious and interested in them.

    It saddens me how a soft and gentle nation can be demonized to the extent that when ‘others’ see their humane face, they fall off their chairs with a big WOW!

    Yes this time around like in the 80s, there were hooligans chanting death to England in front of the British embassy … but they were suppressed by the IRI’s police … a fact that didn’t make much news anywhere …

    Sophia, re elitist system of education, it’s been pretty much like that in Iran too; elite being defined as those with enough IQ and perseverance to rank top on the university entrance exam. The rich, of course, can go get educated abroad or nowadays in private universities in Iran. But I personally don’t think university education has anything to do with being educated! and I feel you both agree with me 🙂

  11. servant said, on April 5, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    So many places Kilroy has never been. Must be nice to travel and speak more than one language.

    I so enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much.

    Now pass the Ketchup.

  12. homeyra said, on April 5, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    La gauche caviar! True, I also studied in France Sophia, at the Belli-Arti! 🙂 I can write a book about the evolution of this peculiar university. I am sure it wasn’t as pathetic in all places.
    Naj:
    The “devilish” side of the country is what accommodates interests stranger to the people. This relatively short sailor episode gives enough material to study the press, the 4Ws: when who wrote what and the chosen semantics! It could be most edifying regarding visions and intentions. For instance, Monte wrote that there was no mention of Murray in the American press. gtg now, more on all that later.
    Serv:
    We were typing at the same time, just saw your message. You mean Kilroy wasn’t everywhere? 🙂

  13. naj said, on April 5, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Homie, I don’t know what you mean exactly, but my mom was saying now she is gonna go and ask to be Mr Ahmadi Nejad’s guest! 😉

  14. homeyra said, on April 6, 2007 at 6:49 am

    No disrespect to Mrs. N, but I won’t get that carried away 🙂

  15. 99 said, on April 8, 2007 at 3:43 am

    I really like the term “Lipstick Jihad”, even though I haven’t worn lipstick for 25 years. 😛

  16. homeyra said, on April 8, 2007 at 10:07 am

    🙂 Seems none of us make the cosmetic factories rich!


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