Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Cool! somebody has put my recent post about the role of media in Clipmark. Check it out, and hopefully express your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Return of the Exam-Man

I am finally back after a long time and after a month full of exams and projects and applications! My GRE was much better than what I though it would be but maybe it wasn't as I first planned it. The reason is pretty simple as a matter of fact: in the last two weeks leading to the test I found out that I have two other exams, one the day before and one the day after the exam. And just when I finished that horrible week of exams I found out I have two other coming the next week and when I was almost done with them I found out that TOEFL expires in two years and mine has just lost its validity a week before.
But now it is much more relaxing. I should just hand in a project by the end of the week and then fly to Norway next week to begin my christmas vacation. Meanwhile I have a lot of half written posts that I should finish and put them here.

An evening with Jay Leno

It is really sad and frightening what the world is driving itself into. It seems that we are heading towards a real mess full of misunderstandings and animosity. And it is not like just a simple misunderstanding between two friends. This is the kind of deep painful misunderstanding that has thickened through the years and it has speeded up in the last three or four years. What seems to worsen the case is that it seems everyone is ok with this and no one is stepping forward to make a move and make things better. Among all these the media is playing the role of the match for this pile of dry firewood.
A few days ago I saw one of Jay Leno's programs. Well! The whole center idea of this episode was making fun of Iran's space program. Making fun of things is ok in a comedy but to give wrong data to make people hate a country where most of the Americans are already considering it enemy and especially in this offensive cruel manner where it tends to insult the whole country does not seem fair. Of course, what else is fair now?
Anyway, it is not funny any more to call an Iranian, Mustafa. First of all, it is more an Arabic name and word than Iranian and I have told you how they feel when they are told they are Arabs. And second, it is one of the titles of prophet of Islam, Muhammad. So it is an insult to a religion than to anything else.
When someone from Middle East sees this it really annoys him, not because of the insults and making jokes out of them but maybe mostly because they are doing it by giving misleading information and introducing them in a totally false way.
This I think is the most serious problem of our world today. Although we claim that now we live in a small village of world and the distances have shortened by the means of internet and media, at the same time we hardly know each other very well and we are full of prejudgments and misunderstandings. And the very means that should have helped solve this problem has turned to worsen it: the Media.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Test Center

Last time, three years ago, when I wanted to take the GRE exam I had to travel to a whole new country and change from car to minibus, then to a bus and then to a plane to get there.
Now it is only five minutes away, BY WALK!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


trio , trisome , or triple ?

Friday, October 21, 2005


Knowledge of French language is helping me a lot this time in GRE. If last time I knew this much french I would have definitely got much higher in my verbal. A simple example might clarify what I have in mind: one of the words is Arboreal which means "of connection with trees". Now how should I guess this might be the meaning? But knowing that tree in french is "arbre" the rest seems so obvious.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I don't know if you know or have ever heard of Philip Glass. He is a contemporary music artist whom I heard one of his compositions in an Iranian film called the Pear Tree. At the time I had no idea who the composer of that soft magical music was. But the music was one of the best parts of that movie which is among my favorite Iranian films. Then about three months ago, while watching a documentary on Pop Art, I heard it in the background. Has it happened to you too? ofcourse it has, when you want something so bad you would do anything including a lot of crazy stuff to get it. So there I was spending several hours in the public library, checking the film again and again, looking in the names of music used in the film and searching for them in the same library. The investigation probably didn't exactly payed off as expected, because I couldn't find the exact piece, but I found out that the name of the artist is Philip Glass and during these last weeks every week I have got one of his CDs from the library. His music seems very simple, described best as minimalistic, although he himself doesn't like the term. It consists of a few simple rhythms which iterates, repeats and transforms gently. There aren't any events in it and it is more like an ever changing and at the same time unchanging sound of a breeze of wind or a flow of water. Among them there are some pieces called glasspieces and also some dance pieces which are all great!

Many Thanks!

A-Lumpen-Proteriat and Tilotamma, Thank you both, for your great advices. It seems that talking about Times was a very stupid thing to do. To be honest, at that time I just took a shut. I had know idea what to read. And by the way, I totally agree that New Yorker is much better than Times but I haven't been around any New Yorker magazine, ever! However I have always wanted to read one. I have to go find one very soon very fast.
And Princeton Review is great! Both links are very useful. Now the only problem is the time. A month: enough or not enough, that is the question.

Fear of GRE

Last night I spent an almost crazy night! With an evening gathering which they call it a "soirée" or "pot basket" for the basketball team, both boys and girls. We were about fifteen people sitting aroung a big table and trying to hit each other's glasses with everything we could like a real basketball player does!!
But other than that I must say I have to start working on this GRE thing! and specially the analytical part. I think I must start to read some professional articles, but I'm not sure from which magazines or newspapers. I think I might start with New York Times and Time. I've also got a book and some list of words to begin study for the verbal part and the rest is a piece of cake or else I hope it would be. Anyone, any advices?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Almost Fallen

This Saturday night it was SUPAERO Gala night again and unlike last year where I was lonely for most of my time in school, this time I arranged to go with my newly found friends from this year's master program. One of them is a Lebanese girl from a Japanese and Syrian origin. She had invited some of her other Lebanese friends from Paris to come to gala. And just like last year among the 12 bar-theme which they had in Gala there was a bar-theme of Oriental music with Indian and Arabic music and Arabic belly dancing that was beautifully performed by a girl. So we sat down and began enjoying the Arabic music and dance the way they enjoy it in Beirut, and soon three other Arab students joined us, two boys and a girl from Morroco. Although sometimes I almost could feel a little tension between the Frenchs in that room with our group but I learned to ignore it. But I must confess that in the beginning it was not at all that easy. First when I saw a woman watching at our group with a not-very-nice look on her face I wanted to show them that I'm not Arab and even though I'm sitting here with my friends this is not we used to do when playing our music but then I realized I'm being shameful! The very thing I hate is happening to me. This is a room of orietal music and these people are part of this world and all those who are here are here by their own choice and we are providing them the real atmosphere that the whole thing is about; so the hell with whoever dislikes it and still sits there!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

filling the Gap

It has been a long time, hasn’t it ? I don’t know the reason why it took so long to come and write in here again but instead, right now I have a few good reasons to continue writing regularly for a while and I mean only the english weblog. I may start to write my other two weblogs too but I have to look for other reasons to start them.
Well ! let me fill you in with what has happened in here for me during the last two months or so. Life has gotten much more complicated for me in here, I can say ! The internship which I have started in this two months in the Signal Processing Lab in here doesn’t seem to go very well and I really need to increase my efforts. But the good news is that the proposal which I did during the summer as part of my internship and most of its technical part was done by me has been accepted by Eurpean Space Agency. We are going to celebrate it some time in the end of this month. I have involved myself in a lot of school activities mainly sports, so all my evenings are full now and another result of this involvement has been to get to know a lot of new people through these activities. I have also made some new friends among the new master students. Other than these my relationship with my friends from the last year, my Iranian friends has grown and thus has made it more complicated to manage. This caused in lesser time which I spend with them but it is good time anyway.
Also there was an eliptical eclipse in 3rd of october. Toulouse had a good position with 78% of sun covered but Madrid in Spain had the best position which I missed to go with our astronomy club. And it was completely cloudy that day in Toulouse although I managed to take two to three pictures from instantaneous gaps between the clouds.
I have started sending letters to a list of professors which I’ve made from US universities asking them to see if they accept any new graduate PhD students for the next year. Fortunately today I got two very positive responces but one of them has asked if I can take GRE test again and improve my results in analytical part. That seemed a good idea but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to manage to be ready for it or not. I have to start memorizing words and writing essays so I would be ready for the next month. I’ll have to work hard ! And writing in my weblog will be a possible practice for my english writing. I’ll have to choose some hot topics in the news these days and discuss them in here !
As a result of these things going on around me I missed an opportunity to interview with a german reporter about blogs. It was supposed to be a program in german radio. I couldn’t respond to him in time and when I responded it was already late. It seems that I keep loosing my chances to interview with the reporters. I don’t know if it is even an important thing to mention it in here or not.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New year

Last night one of my french friends who is doing his PhD brought some beer and we sat and talked about many different things. I can't say I've been very successful with making new friends among the French particularly because of my lack in language but this year tends to have begun quite well in this subject.
Although what I want to discuss here is a vague thing that occured to me while speaking to my friend and after that reading what Salam Pax had to say in his weblog "One day, like in
Afghanistan, those journalists will get bored and go write about Syria or Iran; Iraq will be off your media radar. Out of sight, out of mind. Lucky you, you have that option. I have to live it."

Yeah! Lucky you! I don't want to complain about my nationality but it is a fact that I had nothing to do with choosing it and although I have to live with it, it is also for the same reason that the nationality of a person is neither a subject of pride nor shame. It might take forever for the people to realize this simple thing but at the first sight it seems so unfair. In my case I try to see the bright side. At least I can see it as an opportunity to feel what many others have felt through history dealing this phenomenon and some are still facing this problem regarding the race, the religion, beliefs, birth places and so on.

Anyway, during our conversation when we were telling each other about the trips we have made and he was talking about his trip to New York while visiting US, I realized that it was so unfair and unbelievable that I have to be a person from one of the countries of "Axis of Evil". It is just like a scar which I have to carry around. And it is just because some country's president has decided to defend his country's interests by giving another one bad names!

Ignoring all the above facts I have eventually decided to try applying to a few universities in US and maybe Canada. So if anyone has a suggestion please let me know.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

My Books

I just went to check the weblog of a friend, Hesam. There it was when I saw his writing about five first books that have had the biggest effect on his life. So I decided to take the chance and see what those books in my life are. Well, honestly I didn't get to a clear result. As a child I was used to read books and hear stories. My biggest childhood amusements were those times when my mother bought me books or children's magazines and read them to me or when my grandmother was staying the night and I planned to sleep beside her and make her retell one of her stories for the hundredth time, so before beginning to read I was deeply affected by these stories which I heard during these times. Those were really great times. Then again my interests after that were mostly in history books where I could find great stories and courageous adventures of real people before us. It wasn't important whether these people were living ten years before I was born or ten thousand years before. They were always fascinating. But again there were other books which some really had great effect in my vision of what life looks like. I tried to list five of them which I could remember but that doesn't necessarily make them the top most important ones.

"Childhood, boyhood and youth". My mother was a big fan of Leo Tolstoy and she used to talk about him and his books a lot but most of his books were banned during the first decade after the revolution. So when I started to read, none of his books were available around. Then when I was ten years old one day my mother brought home this book. And so I had the chance to read a Tolstoy book. Although it is a fiction but it is said that he has taken a lot of things from his own life. But even if this was not true the book was great. As a child to read a serious book told by a child and reading his experiences in the years trough which he grows was magical. I felt really close to the first role of the story. There were many similar things which I saw between him and myself and in those that we weren't similar I sometimes even tried to copy him. So anyway I still can taste the bitter sweetness of this masterpiece.

"Desirée", another great real story. Again a book which my mother bought for herself but instead I finished reading it four times during the first year after it entered our house. I read it through those horrible exam nights in one of my worst and nightmarish years of school. But I really enjoyed it and I fell in love with its characters so deeply that I spent the coming year after that studying the French revolution. I finished reading every book found in Iran about the revolution and Napoleon which of course weren't too much.

"The sound and the fury". I have just read this book a few years ago. I heard about this amazing book from my dear friend, Hamed. I read it a year after that and it blew my mind. It had a very simple story of a family in America but told in a very genuinely and genius way. Other than the book itself it represents me everything I experienced in that year specially with this friend of mine, Hamed which made my eyes open to a new world of literature and music. I saw great movies of the last century, listened to great rock music from early fifties until now and books and poems of American writers which I was almost unfamiliar with.

"Little black fish" a must-read book of any child. Written by a young azeri writer who died in his youth before revolution this book has touched the hearts of many children of my generation in Iran. The book itself was beautiful. Other than the story the book was illustrated by simple powerful images which showed this little black fish who wasn't satisfied by the answers his mother and others told him for his unending questions so he decides to explore the world and see it with his own eyes. This story at the end reveals to be a story told by a grandmother of fishes to her thousand grandchildren, all very small fishes. Among them one can't stop thinking and stays awake all night and the story finishes here. It was a story of life filled with examples of the real life. And the experiences and fears and sacrifices which this small black fish deals with and makes, was very moving for me as a child.

"The boy, the soldier and the sea" I mention this book because it seems to be the first really serious book that I read. I was eight years old and the book was about a french boy which makes a friendship with an enemy soldier during the World War II. It was totally different with what I had read before and it was sort of the beginning of a new era for me

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Today I was chatting with one of my friends in Iran through the internet and at the end both of us ended up very depressed. The subject of conversation changed to the situation of Iran in these days and the members of new cabinet which the new president has selected and the result was nothing but an embarrassment! What a shame to have such a government after what we had before. I still can't imagine how we ended up like this. I don't care about other ministers but culture, state and intelligence ministers are a total shame.

Everything in the human life seems to follow a sinusoidal curve with the usual up and downs and every one of them ends sooner or later and almost every time there is a low point after successful moments and at the end of a dark night there is always a shinny sunny day. But this! It is an absolute minimum in this curve of our life, a minimum which would affect the lives of a lot of us, Iranians.

Khatami, although has made some mistakes and has said a lot of weird things in his last days as a president which we didn't expect to hear from him but at least he had the ability to use his mind and to do what was best for the country. I still believe that we need more time to really know what he did for us. Years must pass! And he is still the most popular figure in the last hundred years of Iranian history. Nobody, not even Mosaddegh has received such popularity during his life time.
Here is another article about the new iranian government.

Monday, August 08, 2005

In the Cut

I think sometimes cutting a photo is as important and essential as taking the picture itself and a careful cut can make a photo more effective. I don't want to relate what I said to this photo but this is what I tool in the garden of museum of Rodin in Paris

Cote d'Ivoire

This friend of mine in the place I work who has a Turkish girlfriend is very curious about all the politics and everything going on in the world. He was the first one who told me about the bombings in London and he has a lot of political information about all over the world. This is what I really like about the French people. They have a vast knowledge about everything; even their ordinary people are like this and they aren't ignorant about other parts of the world. In fact they are the most political people I have ever known.

Anyway he just told me that the black girl I told about in the previous posts who was from Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has suddenly returned to her country without any notice. She was absent for the last few days and we were wondering where she might be. So today she has written a short email telling that she is in Paris waiting for the flight to go back to Abijon without anything further. We wondered what would be the reason and I thought something emergency might have come up, something familial perhaps. Then from what my friend told me it seems that it is both this and it is not. It seems that her father wanted to run for the office and enter the parliament but she thought it was a dangerous thing to do and it is possible that she has returned to try and change her father's mind. In developing countries politics is always a dangerous thing to be involved in.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


All of us who work together in this small enterprise were invited to general managers's house to have a barbeque dinner with him. I would have loved or even dreamed of such a house. Out of the city, on top of the hill with a great view to the green and yellow colorful wheat harvest on the other hills and small villages on the distance with their old church's tower in the middle, there it was this small cozy house with a rather big garden.

There was a Turkish girl who was the girl friend of one of the French guys in here. He seems to be an interesting guy and I like to get to know him better. The girl's name was Zeinab, originally an Arabic name. So as I'm still not very fluent in French I got the chance to chat a little in Turkish and try to see how much I can speak. It is quite interesting for me that how this country -which I like by the way- looks at us from very distance as though they are a whole superior and other country and it sometimes happen to us too when we talk about neighboring countries. And it all goes back to their studies in school. And also ours and how little they teach us about our neighboring countries and their real culture and traditions and not just what politics of they day requires. It seems that they have known this need in the west much earlier. So to prevent the countries from falling into a situation which will just turn to damage their own lands they have tried to mix their people as much as they could. In France you can see a lot of people from all around Europe or US who have come to take a year of their studies in a country other than their own, to have the opportunity to know another country's culture and to know other people, and at last to come to understand each other and prevent any prejudgment and misunderstanding. And maybe this is all we might need, to put aside our prejudgments and go and live among others and to look at them and to learn from them and teach them and try to find the similarities and common beliefs and make these flourish rather than making distance and looking to others from an unequal point of view.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I must apologize for the post I wrote yesterday. I hate judging a group of people generally. Despite knowing that it is wrong I accidentally fell into it. Yesterday I categorized a group of people living in north of Tehran but I didn't clear it out that what I meant surely isn't all the people but those which I mentioned mostly can be found in that region and also in upper classes of all major Iranian cities. And their concerns definitely differ with those of the lower and poorer class.

But these days maybe these general things might seem insignificant comparing to what is happening to Ganji and also all the nuclear discussions which seems leading to nowhere and I don't think it has to do anything with the new government. I just hope that people realize what is happening and everything turns to be alright for the country which with looking through the last century's history of Iran it seems very unlikely to happen.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Night Club

There was an article in Guardian which I was reading yesterday and which was about Iran, with the name: "Iran: life in America's gunsight". It was obvious that the writer had honestly tried to give a multi-dimensional view of Iran and to cover all the opposing opinions about different important issues currently under discussion in Iran. I can't really judge if he has succeeded or not but it was indeed interesting and it was really one of the most honest articles about Iran published in a western media. But out of the whole thing I found this piece quite amusing:

'Under the "night clubs" entry in the Lonely Planet guide to Tehran are just two words - "dream on" - but every night in the capital there are hundreds of private parties, up to virtual clubs with DJs, bars and drugs.'

"Dream on"! How true! But it is rather sad that now, the only thing that really matters for young people and teenagers in North Tehran is these "night clubs" and parties which are thrown every night. They don't have any other problem and they don't care about the others'. With the money they have they can even buy freedom if that is what they really worry about. And the rest of the country is doomed to struggle to just try to provide daily vital needs of their families and in many cases even worse!

Sometimes I think with myself and see that maybe the people really didn't have another choice when they elected Ahmadinejad. Maybe they really think he can do something for them, and maybe he really can! For this, we just have to wait and see. The truth is when Khatami was elected with a high percentage of votes, we all thought people wanted change. In fact we were correct but in what the change should be everyone had a different opinion. Some thought more political freedom is necessary and some other said social freedoms are more important. But it turns out that there might have been a great number of people that nobody noticed or tended to ignore that just wanted better conditions in their daily living. Although this also can be handled if there is a real democracy established in Iran with a government that can actually do something and fight the corruption and help reducing the distance and huge gap between different classes of society.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


There is something special with the black girls. I haven't seen any nasty thing from them and every one of them which I have met and I have come to know a little more were kind, intelligent and very understanding and compassionate. Right now, in this place which I work and spend my internship there is a girl who is a first year student doing also her internship, her name is Carole and it seems that she is from Cote d'Ivoire. It maybe just my imagination but she always seems smiling and has a very kind look on her face.

The one I specifically and specially have very good memories of was called Lindi. She was my classmate in 6th year of elementary school in Canada, in Dalhousie elementary school in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I remember her extreme kindness and compassion for anyone who was around her. She was always smiling and laughing and made everyone around her share this feeling. It requires a great talent to do that. And I also remember her project in Schools science symposium where she got the gold medal and although I had gotten a silver medal myself I was happier for her than myself and I still remember her project's title: upside down… .

Good old memories! It is incredible how human mind tends to forget the bad memories and keep the special selected ones. It gives you a good feeling to look back and see you have lived your life with a lot of good memories to look back to and to enjoy them whenever you need them. And trust me! We sometimes really need them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Room under the roof

I think now I might have a lot of things to say. I had a very pleasant stay in Paris and enjoyed the company of two of my friends which I knew them from university times in Iran and a new friend which was a really cool guy. The four of us were staying in a room free of charge which I had found and this is itself a whole complete story so may be I would better begin with that. But before: I have added some pictures of my trip to my flickr photos, so take a look if you want.
Two years ago I along with my best friend decided to go to Turkey to take the TOEFL exam. Unfortunately TOEFL is like other American things which are part of American sanctions (since last year they have been taking paper based TOEFL exams in a very limited form in Iran with an agreement with an ETS center in Dubai). This friend of mine is a person that I know since I was an elementary student of 9 years old and since then we have been friends and accepted in the same high school and finally in the same university. But two years ago we knew our paths are becoming more and more distant from each other. So this trip was somehow our last journey together. He is now studying in University of Columbia in New York.
So as our hometown is just an hour from the border of Turkey we decided to pass the border by car to go to the nearest big city and then fly from there to Ankara where we were supposed to take the test and spend a few days in one of my friend's apartment who was studying there.
In Van, the city that we were supposed to take the plane from, when we took the bus going to the Airport we noticed a European old looking man who was asking the help of someone who would both understand English and Turkish, and well, he was lucky! He was about 60 years old or more and he had lost his entire luggage some days before. He was going to retrieve them in the airport and head back to his country. When we further spoke with him in the airport we noticed that he was from France living in Paris and this was a long journey beginning from Armenia, passing through Iran and returning to France. So that was it. We saw him and spoke to him for about 15 minutes and after that in the plane and after landing we didn't see him again although we exchanged email addresses.
So when we came back, there it was in our mailboxes, an email from him inviting us to France. A year after, when I actually came to France he sent us another email asking where we were and what we do and since then we have exchanged several emails but haven't got the opportunity to meet again. This time was no exception since he was going to another country again but he kindly offered us a room in the building where his apartment is and so we had a room under the roof of a nice Parisian building near the Eiffel tower in the center of the city, so what more could we have wanted?
In Iran, we consider ourselves one of the hospitable nations of the world. There are a lot of reasons for that which I'm not sure which one is true and which one is not, but when it comes to real hospitality I haven't heard any Iranian doing the same thing as my friend, Dominique has done for us. Maybe you see this as an exception but frankly, if this is an exception there are a lot of exceptions in France.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Apollo Cheese

Today is the anniversary of the first manned moon landing. So Google has changed its logo and has given its link to the Maps section where they have added some images of the moon surface, the part of it where 5 Apollos landed there. However the interesting thing is if you zoom the image to its maximum level, instead of getting a closer image of the moon, what you will get is a closer image of a yellow swiss cheese. As always the sense of humor of the people working in Google has shown itself in the most unexpected place! The best part is they haven't given a slight hint or explanation anywhere! They are crazy, people down there, and I love crazy people!:))

Monday, July 18, 2005


Some days writing about something gets really hard. You decide to write but nothing comes to your mind. Then the only thing you can do is to start writing about why you can't write. After three or four lines something will come to mind and also your hand and fingers will warm up to write even more. Some years ago I remember I was reading an interview with Garcia Markez, the famous Colombian writer. I remember him saying that when he wants to start writing a story or something in the beginning of the day he grabs the pen and starts writing whatever is going through his mind on that moment. After a while nothing remains in his mind that he hasn't written about so then he said he could start writing about what he really wants to write. At that time I found this technique extremely interesting. It really works sometimes.
Some times I feel that I got to have a really valuable thing to say in order to come and write here. But you can't expect to be able to always say interesting things. Sometime just talking about everyday experiences is a valuable thing itself.
On the other hand, everyday we experience a lot of things that some of them might not be said or talked about easily. I had written a post some weeks ago in my Persian blog about the human nature and what really makes us human. The actions we do and the things we say or the ones we don't do or say. Or maybe just both?

These Days

Well! I have finished my courses and supposedly I should have more time to write in here, but the truth is it seems that I'm now even more busy and occupied. As part of my studies in here I must complete a six month internship in a company or research lab and it was completely up to me to find somewhere and as usual the main problem remained the same: Nationality. So right now I have found a very small company which is trying to prepare a full proposal which the outline of it has been accepted by European Space Agency. It seems rather an interesting topic but the size of work is very large especially for me who in these previous months have been on my own, mostly in my room doing the projects which I had and managing my time as I like. Now those days are over and I must obey a very strict time table to be able to prepare a proposal in less than two months. Even this weekend, I was quite busy helping one of my friends to move to her new house. So this is the only thing I could write for now but I still remember that I have to translate the post I had written about friendship from Persian to English and also I will probably have plenty of things to write about next weekend after I come back from my three day visit to Paris.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Back to life

Finally my courses are finished and from now on I will do my project in a small company starting this Wednesday. It seems an interesting job. I have to wait and see. I have a lot of plans for the summer but I'm not sure if I'll have a lot of free time to go around and see different places. My new enjoyment is riding my bike along the canal du midi and in the city. It is a really good and new experience for me; Riding with it through town, going to library, to cinema, to any place you want! Now I feel no need for a car. Even if I decide to go to another city I might go by bicycle, surely it is more fun and healthier. In Iran, a third world country rushing to modernize itself, certain things are forgotten because it is getting more and more important to feed the people with a sick economy that even the high price of oil can't help it rather than building backbones for public sport opportunities. When I was in Iran other than some time long ago in my childhood when we were enjoying riding our bikes in front of our houses there hadn't been an opportunity to ride a bike longer than half an our! The streets aren't at all safe for these kinds of things specially with madly driving style of Iranians. And it is even more fun and wildly new experience for girls which haven't felt the wind in their hair while riding a bike in Iran.
But enough of this bicycle rides. It's five in the morning and I have got a bad fever in middle of summer but I hope to have time to write more in the coming days of my delayed writing subjects in here such as Satrapi's Persepolis series and the concept and rules of friendship.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


What happened? Why this happened?

Did someone do anything wrong? Now that we had a real competition with real campaigns and different ideas how did an ugly man with even uglier thoughts become president? I don't want to write! I don't want to hear the news! I don't want to believe!

But there is still hope. It may not be as bad as it seems, I hope!

Saturday, June 18, 2005


It's unbelievable! It is absolutely surprising and unexpected! I still can't imagine who would vote to Ahmadinezhad! He is getting closer to be in the second position in presidential elections of Iran and he is going to the second round for a run-off with Hashemi. And may be the most amazing thing is that he has got the first place in Tehran and Karaj, the important city near Tehran. This is not happening! It is like a nightmare. He is an extremist and has been a member of the guardians of revolution. A person with military experiences during the war and extremist thoughts about exporting the Islamic revolution to the world! I was expecting to see Hashemi as number one as it happened and Moin and Ghalibaf as number two and three, but this! I still can't believe it. Even Karrubi, the former president of parliament was not expected to get a high vote. But until last night in the first hours he was even number one. The hope for a continuing reform in the coming four years has died for me. We will again take a step back to reconsider our tactics and ways and we will come back. This is a process which eventually will result in a better Iran. Even this election was a good way of practicing democracy with tough campaigns and real competition. This is democracy, to accept the lost and while not on power, reconsidering our ways and in the same time to watch over those who have power and not let them misuse that. After a hundred years from the first revolution of Iran towards democracy we have still a long way to go to practice and practice and getting better in playing with the rules of the game, a game called democracy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

World cup

These are some photos from last night showing the streets of Tehran after the football match where with a vitory over Bahrain Iran gained its third qualification to world cup.

And these are photos which show the step by step victory of a few stuborn women to win their right to watch the football game in the stadium: They Came, They Saw, Thay Conquered!!

Football politics

It had happened before, eight years ago, when everybody rushed to the streets after a surprising and critical draw in a match with Australia which qualified Iran for the world cup in France. And this time I missed it again. I missed all the joy and action in the streets. Last time during the first half of the game I was going back home from school. Just before the start of the game streets were full of people looking for something to get them home as soon as possible. Cars were driving madly to take their passengers to front of their TVs. And just after 20 minutes into the game, when I was still in the streets you could see nobody in the city. Absolutely nobody was there and the silence made you think that the city is dead. But the "renaissance" was on the way. It was an unforgettable match in the history of football games in Iran. There are still some people who live with the memory of that game and those miraculous two goals in 5 minutes which led Iran to the world cup in front of the 60,000 Australians in Melbourne. But when the game finished as I was preparing for the entrance exams of the university I was doomed to stay at home and watch over my little sister while everybody left, some for shopping(in those mad minutes after the game!) and some for work. All the sound and joy from the streets was penetrating inside and seducing me to go out and join the people. Anyway those days past and yesterday just a week or so before the election, Iran again witnessed a street carnival of people dancing and signing in the streets and the police was just watching. Some even have called it the "Green Revolution" of Iran. But the truth is football has always been manipulated by politicians in Iran or at least it seems so. In 1978 when Iran qualified for the world cup for the first time it was during its hottest year of history so everybody boycotted football in certain ways because everyone believed that this is a tool the regime is using to cool down the people. This time it seems that they are doing the same thing. Letting women into the stadium -although just a few of them- after several years of fight over this right, president Khatami going to stadium for the first time after the revolution and dancing and singing of the people in the streets without any interference from the police or hardliners could mean only one thing. It's one week to the elections and they don't want to give the people any more excuses to abandon the elections.

I just talked to one of my friends. She was telling me that her brother and her friends have danced in the streets until morning, until there was no energy left for them to dance more! I really missed being there.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Exams and Elections

Today I did my one before last exam! There is only another exam remaining and several though projects to do! One of the presentations will be on Thursday and I'm still far behind but I can't resist the temptation to write in here. This is some kind of basic human instinct, whenever I'm under a pressure specially of this nature I try every way to run from it and writing in here is one of them, and boy, is there so much to tell or what! Let me start with the hottest one as it is only an hour old.

An hour ago I got a letter from NBC News to do an interview with them about the presidential elections. But the sad part is that they were coming to Tehran and they thought I'm in Iran. Now I really regret why I'm not there in these days. But that is just one moment. After a few hours I'm going to forget about this and realize how pitiful our condition is with this nonsense election.

They have put us in a really ironical condition. This time no one is sure about the right thing to do. To vote or not to vote! In a multilayer community like Iran even deciding not to vote won't change anything because there is always more than 50% of people who will vote and nobody can blame them for it. They are simply a part of this country which mostly don't expect so many things from a government. No freedom of speech, no extra rights for women, no political freedoms, no rights to criticize the high leaders and none of those things that most of the young generation desires and we write about them in our weblogs. They simply want a president who would be able to reduce the daily pressure which they feel in their mind because of many different issues in their life. They also somehow know that nothing is going to change with this election. Voting today is just a daily habit. They are told to vote, they are also so tired of everything that they don't have the energy and nerve to argue over that, they also know several other things, like for example they know these candidates are all part of the same system which has had the power in the past quarter of the century and all of them have proved the peak of their abilities(if they even have a peak!). So why argue about voting or not voting when there isn't any light of hope even in the far distance? But I have one hope. As most of the people of Iran are already tired of any kind of sudden change or revolution and this process of reform is in the motion in lower layers of the community it will eventually succeed but not in the near future. It might take 20 or 50 years but it will finally succeed because it is a natural process which proceeds with the evolution of people and society. Nobody can force any democracy or a modern way of life to a group of people when they aren't themselves democrat or modern. In order to change a country the people of that country must make that change in their everyday life ,otherwise nobody else can help them.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A footnote for previous post

I think there is some unclear sentences in my previous post which are mostly because of my lack of knowledge in english language. Here I want to explain what I meant by circle of security. What I meant was actually circle of trust! Right from the early years after the revolution the leaders have always put out groups or people which were no more trustworthy. The same thing can be seen in Russia(and how Stalin managed to filter all the people which he thought were on his way to power, among them Trostky, one of the main leaders of revolution) and in France(Robespierre killed everyone who he thought was a traitor and he was also trapped in his own policy). But the top circle of trustworthies in Iran is a one way road. You can go out but you can never come back. I don't know if I could make myself clear enough or not. I'll just say one more things: The Guardian Counsil has disqualified a man who was himself a former member of that counsil and a former presidency candidate! If these people aren't good enough to enter the high rankings of power then who is? There is no one esle left!


I finished Satrapi's first book. I've started reading the second one. I don't know about the rest of the world but her books especially her Perspolis series are very famous in France.

I am a person who is born after the revolution or as they might say I'm a "Child of Revolution" or even maybe the child of war, because I was born two years after the revolution, few months after Iraq invaded Iran to begin an 8-year war. So I have a lot of memories from those early years of revolution as a child but not as clear as my parents might have. The only thing I have seen is the regime of after the revolution and I have been under the influence of what they have taught us, so I don't have anything to compare what I have seen with. But these books are written by a person who in a critical age as a young girl has witnessed both before and after the revolution. So the good thing about these books is that it is a first hand story of an important event and it is told in a simple language so that even a person from another country can easily understand and feel close to it. And although I may not belong to that period but I have a lot of similar experiences in my school or in the streets and inside my house. I think every Iranian can write a book and has a different unique story of her/his own from those years.

But one fact that I can mention in here is that our revolution was like Cronos(Saturn) as like every other revolution which I have studied in history, it turned over his own children and ate them. And it still continues to do so after all these years, only this time the circle of security is getting smaller and smaller. It is so small now that I think it consists of less than fifty people and I can't imagine how this is supposed to continue! What next? Are they going to turn back on themselves and commit a political suicide? In the mythology at last Cronos was killed by Zeus, the future god of gods and son of Cronos himself! But this time there won't be any Zeuses around. But probably a Simorgh might arrive, who knows what lies in the future?

(Simorgh is a legendary Iranian bird with everlasting life and extremely powerful forces which helped Rostam(Iranian version of Hercules) in lots of his dangerous journeys. Simorgh can also be interpreted as "si morgh" which means thirty birds. So it is not very clear that is it one bird with unusual powers or a lot of small birds which have combined there powers?!)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Media Power - part 2

My shoulder is not completely well yet but I decided to finish this so continuing from the previous part:
He told me that people of the world had two completely different views of Iran before and after revolution which both was wrong. He had visited Europe before revolution when he was just a little boy. In Germany, they had asked him if they have an oil well in their house in Iran. The irony was they were a rather poor family. That was what media was showing from Iran: a country of one thousand and one nights with people having oil wells inside their houses and everyone living happily ever after. But that was as always just an extremely simplified and untrue image of a country which like every other country had many different layers and when suddenly one of these layers came to explode in 1979 everyone was shocked because that wasn't what the world was thinking that a people of such a country might do.
After that, several big errors from both sides made everyone in the world against a country which once a lot of people admired it. And the natural outcome was the 180 degree turn of media in the image they were showing of this evil country with everyone mad in it. And as always they are still not right. They always filter the news they are going to show and they always show everything on the basis of what they think previously about it. So in an area where there shouldn't be any feelings allowed in decisions, in lower layers of their work we can easily see that they prejudge the subject of their work. And what is the result? Everyone in the world is ignorant about the other parts of the world and unfortunately everyone is suspicious to the others. And this makes us the center of many misjudgments. It is really hard to be born in two very unfortunate categories: Muslim and Iranian.
And if you search the web for these two the most probable words you'll find are "terrorist", "axis of evil" and "hostages".

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Media Power - part 1

During the weekend I took a trip by bike to go along the "Canal du Midi" to the Mediterranean sea with a friend of mine. As my hand was aching very badly it took us 14 hours to go a distance of 150 km. After that we spent the night in a small city called Bézier and finally the next day we came to a beautiful coastal city called Séte. It was undescribable!

As we had a lot of time during our cycling we talked about a lot of different things. One of them that I found it quite interesting was a discussion about Azerbaijan, Iran and the problems these two have in the world. My friend is from the city of Tabriz in Azerbaijani part of Iran. It is the biggest city of Azerbaijan, north and south, and it used to be the second big city of Iran, where the king's oldest son used to live, but now it is maybe the third or fourth largest city.

He told me that people of the world had two completely different views of Iran before and after revolution which both was wrong. He had visited Europe before revolution and when he was just a little boy.

I was going to complete this in a few days but unfortunately some part of my shoulder's muscle has been ripped! I exactly don't know how to describe this medical situation in here but anyway, now I can't type one-handed quite easily and I also don't want to leave this weblog without any posts for too long, so I add this unfinished post here and I hope that I would be able to finish it by next week. And by the way this thing happened to my shoulder before going to cycling and it was because of another cycling session!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Lac de Peyrelade

Yesterday I went mountain climbing with my friends. This one was really fun. It had everything one could desire from a complete mountain climbing. Hard parts, snow, beautiful weather, more beautiful scenes, a lake on the peak, perfect food, nice company, throwing snowballs, sliding on snow, feeling the good smell of flowers and lying on grass beside a river. But any low point? Of course! I feel burning all over my skin because of the sun! My face, my arms, even my head! But that is also part of fun! Isn't it? :))
And the pictures!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A380 Photos

This is the text which I wanted to write for the photos I put here, but something was wrong ans so everything I put in here was published in my persian blog. So please in order to see my photos either go to this address or visit my persian blog:

These photos were taken in "Place de Capitole" of Toulouse, the hometown for Airbus and its A380. It was an impressive moment when it took off, and the feeling...

It feels so good when you know you are witnessing something, potentially historical.

First Flight

I was there when it took off. It was so good sharing the same feeling with so many people there. I will write about it tommorow and also I'll put the photos. Finally I got the digital camera! From a small country called Andorra in Pirinee mountains. And a country is added to the list of countries I have already seen, still a lot to go!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mille et une nuit

This may not be my exact story in these days, but somehow it is part of it:

"Woman- Jimmy please say you'll wait for me
I'll grow up someday you'll see
Saving all my kisses just for you
Signed with love
forever true

Man - Joni was the girl who lived next door
I've known her I guess 10 years or more
Joni wrote me a note one day
And this is what she had to say

Woman-Jimmy please say you'll wait for me
I'll grow up someday you'll see
Saving all my kisses just for you
Signed with love
forever true

Man- Slowly I read her note once more
Then I went over to the house next door
Her tear drops fell like rain that day
When I told Joni what I had to say

Man- Joni, Joni please don't cry
You'll forget me by and by
You're just fifteen
I'm twenty two
And Joni I just cant wait for you

Man - Soon I left our little home town
Got me a job and tried to settle down
But these words kept haunting my memory
The words that Joni said to me

Woman- Jimmy please say you'll wait for me
I'll grow up some day you'll see
Saving all my kisses just for you
Signed with love
forever true

Man - I packed my clothes
And I caught a plane
I had to see Joni
I had to explain
How my heart was filled
With her memory
And ask my Joni if she'd marry me

I ran all the way
To the house next door
But things weren't like they were before
My tear drops fell like rain that day
When I heard what Joni had to say

Woman- Jimmy, Jimmy please don't cry
You'll forget me by and by
It's been five years since you've been gone
Jimmy I married your best friend John"

Conway Twitty

Oh, I can hardly bear it. So many memories from the previous six years are rushing to me. So many dreams at night wake me up these days. I wish I can forget everything very soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Two days ago I was cooking in the kitchen along with a French girl who has been born in India but has been in France since she was 5. She has a Tamil origin. As we were cooking our talks came to a point where we were discussing the spicy nature of Indian food as we were adding different spices to the food. At that moment she said something about a fact which I had also thought about it previously.

The fact is, although India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have a huge population but they are never successful in sports. In Olympics or any other games we don't see them gaining the top rankings. She was telling me that this might be because of the food. They eat a lot of spicy food which is not so good for health. This might be partly true but not the whole truth. I like spicy food and Indian food, so I prefer finding another explanation. While playing cricket I found out that this sport is extremely slow and every time only two people are really involved in the game and even then those two are not giving themselves too much trouble to run as fast as they can. At the other hand, I've noticed that Indian people are very peaceful people. They hate to get themselves into any fight or trouble. No wonder that the philosophy of Non-violence (ahimsa) was first began in India and was demonstrated by Gandhi. I have come to realize that Indians and all people living in subcontinent are generally peaceful people. So blaming all this over spicy food might not be a good excuse. I like to see it the other way: They are so calm and tranquil that in order to make themselves more active and challenging they tend to eat very spicy foods!

This idea might be completely wrong but I still like to search for a good explanation for this.

In my last post about Azeri culture of having the girls run away, there were some questions. Some things are so obviously traditionalized that we in Iran most of the time don't notice them. For example in the time of marriage, permission of father is necessary for the girl but the boys can marry without needing permission. This is not just a law but also part of Iranian and Islamic tradition. Recently there have been women who are fighting to change these kinds of laws but even among the women not everyone agrees with the change of law. There is still a lot of time needed to change these traditions. To be honest, it still works in Iran but everything might change in the future. Like the fact that until some time ago having a girl friend or boyfriend among boys and girls was not totally accepted but today a high percentage of boys and girls in urban areas freely have these kinds of relations.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Yesterday I played my first ever cricket game in a beautiful part sunny part rainy weather. But I must admit I found it very boring! After the dinner I was discussing this fact with my friends whom I played with. Although they were admitting this is a weakness and the only weakness but they were very enthusiastic defending cricket. Finally I told them I will play again however I couldn't find a real advantage over other games which could pursue me to prefer this over other sports.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Well, everything is going very naturally in Iran-Israel relations and everything is being as supposed to be.
Khatami denied any conversation between himself and president of Israel during the funeral in Vatican after coming back to Iran. I wasn't expecting him to confirm this news because this would have caused him a big trouble from hardliners in Iran.
Sorry! nothing has changed and everything is the way it was before. When we can't even confirm a simple handshake how can we expect anything to improve?

Friday, April 08, 2005

It Happened

I knew I could count on this man. Despite all the criticism I still believe in Khatami and I think he did his best and he did what he had to do.

Yesterday as I had mentioned here, he shook hands with the president of Israel in funeral of Pope John Paul II and every thing went very well. Actually much better than what I would have expected. They have sit just one chair away and at the end they have shaken hands and spoke in Persian about their birth city, Yazd. It is interesting that these two countries are the only countries in the world which their presidents are both from the same city. Yazd, an ancient city between Isfahan and Kerman and a symbol for special Iranian architecture is the hometown for many cultures and religions. It has the greatest number of Jew and Zarathustrian people in Iran. It is also very interesting that how a lot of high ranking officials of a country which is not considered official by the Iranian regime are born in Iran.


Today, the funeral of Pope John Paul II will be held. President Khatami, after visiting France and Austria is going to attend the ceremony.

Now that I think, I can't think of any thoughts about pope. He has always meant a very old man with a different religion to me and of course a Polish which has been interesting to me. But in recent years whenever I have seen him on TV I have felt that how could this old man make decisions in difficult situations? I have always felt that he is under the influence of mysterious Vatican figures which are now going to select the new pope. And Vatican, the smallest country in the world has always fascinated me. I surely will visit Italy soon and Vatican will be one of the places that I certainly want to see.

And about Khatami and his attendance to the funeral, I can imagine him saying "Fatiha"* under his lips in Vatican for the late pope. It is an irony that how these differences in religions and traditions seem meaningless in these situations. However before that, he will have to deal with the fact that he might be sitting next to the president of Israel in Vatican because of the first letter of their names and he has also to avoid coming face to face with Bush. Stupid politics really! For once, for God sake, leave politics out of this!

*Fatiha is a special name for two particular "sura"s of Koran which are usually whispered by those who attend a funeral for blessing of the one who has passed away.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Run-off Girls

So, for the start, let me tell you about a completely strange thing in Azerbaijan. I haven't heard about such a thing in other regions or countries so I assume it is a unique phenomenon.

It is called "qiz qachirtmaq" and it means "to take or steal a girl". Of course this is done with the girl's own agreement. Well, how can anyone take a girl from her father's house without the agreement of girl or someone else in the house? Usually this is done when the father or other members of the family don't give permission for their girl to be wed with someone she likes or for any other reasons. In this kind of situation the boy, with probably some help, makes some arrangements with the girl to take her and hide her for some days. After this, as the girl hasn't returned home for several days, if the father doesn’t let this marriage happen that girl would be dishonored, so the father would prefer to let this happen. Other people of the family might come to get the father's permission. Then, maybe for some time the father won't want to see his son-in-law and his daughter but things get better as the time passes. This tradition (if I can call it a tradition, because I don't know any other word for it) is now very rarely seen. Maybe in villages or traditional families but right now the way of marriages are changing very fast as most of the boys and girls have girlfriends and boyfriends right now. And this might seem strange for a country known for its strictly Islamic laws and traditions.

And for "qiz qachitmaq", in my family I know two of the girls which have done the same thing in recent years and I also know some old women in the family who have got wed in the same way. From those two girls, one of them is my cousin and the other is my cousin's cousin. The second one fell in love with a boy when she was in high school and one day she ran off with the boy after school time. Her father was an old army man and he was hospitalized because of this but after, when things got a little cooler they married and now they have a 7 year old son. On the other hand, the first case was my own cousin. She had a sister older than her but nobody came to their house to ask her father's permission for his older daughter but at the same time the younger sister had several boys wanting to marry her. Her father didn't want to give permission to his younger daughter when the older girl was still in the house. He could not be blamed because that would have caused his older daughter to stay at home for the rest of her life. So my cousin and her mother went to a village near my hometown, Urmia to her uncle's house and the next day we heard that she has run off with her cousin. Her father, my uncle, didn't want to see her for several weeks but now they have a happy life together and they have a four year old son.

And for the arranged wedding and the relation of boys and girls today in Iran I must write another post. For now I think this might be interesting enough to have a whole post for itself!


I've noticed an interesting thing about us, Iranians in abroad. Maybe it is not correct, maybe it is just me but I've seen other examples so I decided to write about it and see how much it might be correct. It has been a little more than six months since I came here and in these six months I have made some friends among Iranians. Three of them have become my closest friends in here. They are among my closest friends either in Iran or in here. At the same time I have seen other students in my school from other countries and it seems none of them have any close relationships with their countrymen in France and in Toulouse. They might have found some French friends but these western people hardly get so close to another person and make a close friendship. They are completely in a different phase compared to easterners like us. I always criticize the weakness of Iranians to work in a group and have respect for the opinion of others but on the other hand they easily make friends and they easily trust each other. Of course this kind of manners has some price to pay but in a foreign country it is really comforting to have such nice people and feel their kindness when away from family.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


13 of Farvardin was passed very well. Much better than I thought and I was expecting. We were supposed to go somewhere outside the city but from early in the morning the weather was very windy and I was pretty sure that our plan is doomed to be canceled. Then my friend called me and told me that we are invited to one of our Iranian friends' house for lunch. We were five guests and the family. All the afternoon we had fun. Then we watched an Iraninan movie and we stayed even for dinner. We joked about this long stay and told them that we can't go back to our homes because as the "13 be dar" tradition we must stay out all day! They are such a nice family that despite my third time with them I felt completely fine and relaxed.
Soon I might make some comparisons between here, Iran and Azeri traditions. Yesterday I was thinking about Azeri marriage traditions. I remembered some interesting ones which I don't think such things exist even in other parts of Iran! And also I am thinking of gathering all the things I have seen in here and has shokecd me as a foreigner. I might put some of them in here from time to time.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Barselona, Paris

It has been our last entertainment and joy! I was talking with my friend yesterday and we got to this conclusion that if we had done all our plans about going around and seeing other places we would have circled earth several times!
Today we did it again. We sat down, four of us, and discussed several plans which we can do in the coming holidays two weeks from now. We checked the hotel prices and we planned where to go and what to see. It is the best thing about europe that you can have a lot of opportunities to see lots of places. But I think even if we don't do any of these trips which we might I would enjoy every one of these discussions. Even if I go to Barselona or Paris or Venise I would enjoy it as much as I do now. Being with some of the nicest people that can be found and talking with them, joking, laughing and discussing different beautiful places or going to see them. What difference do these two options really make? I have seen a lot of places and I know that wherever you go you will find a blue sky above your head and weathers which are very different and at the same time very similar to each other. So the most important thing is the people! The people you are with and the people you meet. This is what I must never forget.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by oxtay.
This wasn't quite a mountain climbing but we really enjoyed some beautiful scenes.

7 and a half!

I forgot to write about the thing that happened to me yesterday. I was supposed to meet my friends at 7:30 in order to go mountain climbing. I had my clock alarm set for 6:45. It was 6:30 that my phone started to ring. I thought well, it is Behzad calling to wake me up a little earlier. As the phone went out after ringing twise I was sure that was the reason. So I woke up without any hesitation. After five minutes the phone started ringing again. This time I answered the phone and I heard some people speaking to each other on the other side. It was that moment when suddenly a fact stroke me: Could it be possible? No way! Today? It can't be! But when my friend asked me where I was, Although I asked him why, before his answer I knew what he was going to say. It was the day they were going to change the clock to summer time and it was actually 7:30! Fortunately the end wasn't so bad. I was ready and packed in five minutes and I even had the tea ready as promised.
We couldn't have wished for a better weather and in the way back we had a very heavy rain shower which was fun seeing it from the other side of the window inside the car.

Wind of Change

I finally gave up and started using one of the usual commenting systems developed by Blogger and this caused me to change the whole template. It was a long time that I had this idea in mind but I didn't want my blogs to have different templated with each other. Haloscan is better for my persian weblog because it handles persian alphabet characters more easily but anyway! I did it.

Yesterday was really great. Actually more than mountain climbing we actually ate! after three hours walk through really beautiful scenes we stoped to eat lunch. We were seven and so everybody had brought something which was enough for almost fifteen people! Next week we have planned to go some other place and stay for night. I really like 2-day programs with camping. I am just waiting for my friend to send me the pictures we have taken with his camera.

Today probably we will go to see "Million Dollar Baby" with two of my friends. I have seen "Aviator" and it really disappointed me. I had more expectations from Scorsese. But about this one, I must say "Mystic River" was a very powerful movie and it seems that Eastwood is getting better in his seventies! Amasing! But the french cinema is something esle. The previous day I saw "La Fleur du Mal", a film by Claude Chabrol. At the first glance it may seem a very simple thriller movie, but when the film finishes you start discovering hidden layers of this film which shows the scandals in fifty year history of a wealthy french family.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mountain Climbing

Since yesterday the holidays of Paques (french name of Easter) has started. A week ago, when at the time of the new year start, we were in Albi, a beautiful small french town, we saw that they have celebrated a celebration or what they call "féte des mort" or celebration of the dead. It was one week before paques. It was interesting for me that even in this celebration how much there are similarities between different nations. Before the start of the new year, in the last Thursday of the year, it is a tradition to go to cemeteries and show our respect for those who are no longer among us.
Yesterday in the restaurant of our university I was talking to a belgian friend of mine which I have found recently and at the end we amazingly discovered the huge amount of similar things between us. But it is really natural, because they all come from the same origin and all of our basic civilization realities come from the great civilizations of the dawn of human civilization, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and the civilizations in the lands which are now called Iran and Iraq.

Tomorrow I am going to mountain climbing after months! After coming here there has been no opportunity for me to go mountain climbing. I have really missed it. I hope I am not too out of shape. But the people who are coming are really great people, some of the best Iranians in this city. The drawback is that after several days of sunny and warm weather it is now raining in here. But it is a good thing to keep the spirit. The worse the weather the better! We will have to deal with harder situation and naturally we will have more fun and we will enjoy it more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Norooz - Part 2

In the last post the thing I forgot to tell about the Haft-Sinn is the apple. Actually apple is not part of the seven special things, but it is usually present in Haft-Sinn just as a sign like the goldfish or the mirror. And the water which people bring from the rivers or springs is also a sign and usually is used to water the "Sabzeh" throughout the Norooz celebration until "Sizdah-be-dar".

So I left writing about Norooz right at the moment when the old year is going to change to new year. At that time the family gathers around the Haft-Sinn and waits the new year to start. Then the parents give their children the first gift of the year which is usually money, because Iranians believe that how your year will be depends on how you start the year. After kissing each other and congratulating the beginning of the new year if they were the younger members of the family they start their Norooz visits with the oldest member of the family and the next few days are spent visiting every friend or relative that they care about. So in these days I get to know some of my far relatives that I might not see them through the whole year. The best things in these visits are the "Eidi"s which the children and younger people get and also I must say so many different and delicious kinds of cookies and sweets. So it is really hard to visit different people the whole day and being offered different cookies and drinks and to be able to control yourself not testing all of them. These days are really relaxing, seeing people in their best clothes in their cars driving gently and everybody is kind to each other. The rest of the Norooz holidays until Sizdah-be-dar is spent in different ways, but most of the families plan a trip to go see other places. So usually Shiraz, the famous city of Hafez and Sa'di, is very crowded and the hotels in this city are all booked even from one month before. The reason is that this city has its best weather in this time of the year and it has many interesting and beautiful things to see.

And at last comes the last day of Norooz celebration. "Sizdah-be-dar" verbally means to pass the thirteenth. It is the thirteenth of Farvardin(First month of Iranian year). As the ancient Iranians believed that 13 is a number for bad luck they wanted to spend this day in the countryside and outside cities and towns to make sure that this day goes well. Today it is just a chance to go to the countryside along the mountains or the sea and spend this day with friends and families, play and again have a chance to try a lot of delicious foods! But the feeling at the end of this day is not so good because you are dead tired and you know that tomorrow everything is going to start again, the work, the job, the studies… and so it is. But what happens to the Sabzeh? Everybody usually put it in the car and take it with them in Sizdah-be-dar. Wherever there is a river they throw the Sabzeh into the river and the river takes these young wheat plants to wherever it can.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Year 1384

Year 1384
Originally uploaded by oxtay.
And this is to complete the below post about Norooz: A very traditional Haft-Sinn. This kind of thing is hard to see these days.

Norooz - Part 1

Yesterday, for the first time in my life away from my family in Norooz, I started my new year along with two of my friends visiting a historical beautiful town near Toulouse. For Iranians, without a doubt, Norooz is the most important celebration of the year and the vacation coming with it is the most awaited one! The word "Norooz" means New Day. Actually preparation for Norooz starts almost one month before, with a tradition called "Khane-tekani" which means cleaning almost everything that exists in a house. So everybody living in a house are supposed to help clean the house upside-down! Then starts the preparation of people themselves with buying new clothes and cooking or buying special cookies and sweets for Norooz. Also among the things that are bought are gold fishes, usually two of them for each house which decorates part of what is called a "Haft-sinn". Haft-sinn is almost a must-be item in every Iranian house during Norooz days. It means putting seven specific things(all starting with the sound "S" or in Persian alphabet "sinn") beside each other on a table which represent the fertility and reborn of nature. These seven objects are

1. "Sabzeh" which is a group of grown wheat seeds tied together

2. "Somagh" (I don't think there is any word for this in English! I have only seen it in Iran and it is something usually eaten with the Iranian traditional food "chelokabab")

3. "Senjed" (This one I don't know in English! I couldn't find it anywhere)

4. "Sonbol" (lavender)

5. "Sekke" (coin)

6. "Seer" (garlic)

7. "Serkeh" (vinegar)

Other than these as I said there is also gold fish and a mirror which in Iranian beliefs is a sign of prosperity and happiness. It was interesting that yesterday for the first day of the new year, Google had changed its logo in Persian page to a "Haft-sinn"!

Then comes the day for "charchanbeh-soory", the last Wednesday of the year. The night before, usually friends or families gather together to celebrate this night. It usually starts by making a big fire. The scenes seen in that night are always really interesting. When you look along a street or an avenue you see fires in front of most of the houses. And if a fire among them was bigger than the rest, after some time everybody gathers around that fire and start talking to each other. Younger people do fireworks. And everybody jumps over the fire. In Toulouse, that day we went to a park nearby, called Pech David. Some of the Iranians had come there. So luckily I had the chance to jump over the fire this year, again! After the fire people go inside to eat dinner. After the dinner again comes the time for youngsters to go out for "Ghashogh-zani" or what we call "bille-bille" or "shal-sallamagh" in Azerbaijan. Boys may wear scarf and put on women's clothing and girls draw mustache and beard in order to avoid being recognized by the friends or families who they knock on their doors. They may get so many different things like colored and painted eggs or cookies and sweets. But they must come back to their house because the next day very early in the morning they should get up to go bring water from a river or a spring nearby. As far as I know this is being done only in Azerbaijani part of Iran. Although now with urban living it is not so easy to do things like this but as early as 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning the streets outgoing the city are almost blocked by huge number of cars going to bring water. And this water usually is brought in mud jars. But, well, some of these traditions are fading or changing to other things as years pass.

After all of these, the most important day finally arrives. Before this day "haji firooz", usually a thin man with red clothes and painted black face, announces the coming of "Amoo Norooz" (uncle Norooz) which will bring spring with himself. But this "Amoo Norooz" is somehow different with Santa, because in fact he comes mysteriously and nobody knows what he looks like. The only fact is that he is very old!!!

But other than these stories, Norooz itself is a very precise time. Actually Iranian calendar seems to be the most precise calendar being used. As far as I know, the Gregorian calendar that is used in every western country has a one-day error in every five hundred years (that is why they skipped the leap year in Y2K). That is one day in every million years for Iranian calendar. And the other thing that I like is the time the year changes. It is not midnight like other countries. It is the time which is exactly the same for everywhere on earth, so in fact everybody can start the new year in the exact same time. The reason for this is that this precise time is based on the movement of earth around the sun and it is the time when the earth passes the Vernal Equinox of its orbit around the sun. This is good because everybody around the globe can celebrate an exact time together and it is in fact the real start of spring.

I think I'm now in the halfway of the story, so I leave writing the second part for tomorrow!