Saturday, December 14, 2013

I have a dream...

I have a dream...

This sentence has a special meaning for the people in the United States, but I believe it should also be held dearly all around the world. It should not be taken lightly, it should be practiced, taught, told, and reminded constantly during days, weeks, months, and years. It is a beacon of light to guide us to a better place, to make us dream bigger, better, higher, to reach for what is beyond reach.

For this reason, the idealists around us, who we make fun of most of the time, must be respected and valued. For without them we will know what we don't want but we will never know what we want.

This caught my attention a few days ago during the group drawing for the world cup in Brazil. After it was determined that we are in the same group as the mighty Argentines, the flocks of Iranians took to social media to unleash their misplaced and distorted angers and exacerbations on pages of Lionel Messi and Fernanda Lima, so much so that Facebook page of Fernanda Lima had to be deactivated. Then, came the time for the other flock to take it to the internet again and try to undo the doing of the first group by desperately trying all sorts of different methods to apologize. From who? From what? To prove what? It seems that the Iranian nation has lost its moral compass these days. It seems that they all know what they don't want, for the past few decades and even the past century all their decisions have been based on what they don't want and through that they have lost their vision for the future, for what they really want to see happening. Every person has an opinion on this but without a clear vision.

It seems that every person is holding a piece of the puzzle but no one wants to accept the fact that they only hold one piece and not the entire puzzle. The only way I see is to come forward and start defining these ideals, these goals that we want to reach and try to reach them. I have seen time and again that even in the most simple matter of freedom of expression, everyone claims that they respect it and believe in it. However, when the time comes to act on it, they have such a distorted notion of this fundamental concept that what they actually do is the total opposite of freedom of expression. After the paradox and irony is explained to them, they start putting exceptions and exclusions from this principle.

And it is like this for everything.

So to begin with, I'll try to write different pieces, mostly to myself (after all, I'm one of them) and try to define clearly what freedom of expression and freedom of speech is and if there is any limitation in it.

Let's see where this will take us. Hopefully to a better place. I have a dream after all.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Ordinary People

It has been almost two years since I wrote my last post in here. Meanwhile, I have written a few posts elsewhere trying to figure out what I like to write most. That has helped but now, I am deciding to make these into more specialized blogs. I have a technical blog, a hobby blog, and this one, which I like to assign it to posts that have a more serious tone to them.

Starting today.

And the reason that caused it is this article in The Atlantic.
It is no secret and I don't think the article has tried to conceal it either that there are a lot of people in higher echelons of Iranian regime that have western education. Mohammad Reza Aref, who was the vice president from 2001 to 2005 and who ran for presidency in this year's presidential elections has a PhD from Stanford. I actually took his Information Theory class in Sharif University of  Technology in Tehran, Iran. Javad Larijani, whose brothers basically run the country, one being the head of judiciary and the other one the head of legislative branch, was finishing his PhD in Math at Berkeley when the Iranian revolution happened. Rafsanjani travelled through US when his brother was studying there. And the list goes on and on. So, I find no surprise there. The regime is filled with people with Masters or PhD degrees from universities out of Iran. Some of them of course are fake and some aren't. They see it as a prestige to show off when they are running for office. And if somebody doesn't have it, they go and try to fabricate it with any means possible in any major possible. I highly doubt, even for someone like Rouhani, that there is any scientific passion caused him to go and write a dissertation and earned his PhD. The only explanation I can find is that he, like others, needed this degree to make himself look academic and presentable to people. Now, why do people care? That goes beyond the scope of this short passage but I should get to that some other time as well.

So, I believe that having this many PhDs in the Iranian government is neither surprising nor helpful. It doesn't even show any qualities or qualifications necessarily. And I don't think this even helps them understand the west better. I actually find an inverse trend. Some of these people, after coming to western countries become even more extreme, in the sense that they try to define their identity, primarily because they can't understand the new culture and can't blend in. So they turn against it and see it as the source of their problems. I guess they too, like a lot of other nations, are fascinated by America and the west and fearful of them at the same time.