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.