Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
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.
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
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
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.
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
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
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
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
Ignoring all the above facts I have eventually decided to try applying to a few universities in US and maybe
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
Anyway he just told me that the black girl I told about in the previous posts who was from
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
Monday, August 01, 2005
There was an article in Guardian which I was reading yesterday and which was about
'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
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
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
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
Monday, July 18, 2005
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?
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
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
Thursday, June 09, 2005
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!!
It had happened before, eight years ago, when everybody rushed to the streets after a surprising and critical draw in a match with
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
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
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
Saturday, May 28, 2005
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
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
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
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
During the weekend I took a trip by bike to go along the "Canal du Midi" to the
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
He told me that people of the world had two completely different views of
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
And the pictures!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
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.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
"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
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
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
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"
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
The fact is, although
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
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
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
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
Today, the funeral of Pope John Paul II will be held. President Khatami, after visiting
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
And about Khatami and his attendance to the funeral, I can imagine him saying "Fatiha"* under his lips in
*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
So, for the start, let me tell you about a completely strange thing in
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
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
Sunday, April 03, 2005
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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!