Monday, March 31, 2003

A Question
from all who are familiar with Iran's history to some extent:
who would you name as the three most mysterious Iranian figures of all time and why?
(posted by Farid)

An American would like a word with you

Sometimes we need to declare our beliefs and thoughts loudly. If you are Antiwar, it does not mean that you support Saddam. Cowboy Kahlil writes
I was not a tool of Saddam Hossein, nor any enemy of the US. I won't be bullied into shutting up my opposition to the policies they set or the course they chart by the shouts of any who would call me a traitor. I'm a free man in a free society that grants me the right to raise my voice in opposition, to print my criticisms and to assemble with fellow citizens in protest of what this government does.
...Yes, I am aware of errors past US government leaders have made that caused pain, specifically to the Iranian peoples. I bear some shame for that and apologize for that because I became an adult 7 years before the Shah was driven from power and I lacked the worldliness to know what my government was doing in my name then.
And [Saddam] Hussein is one of the greatest examples of cowardice ever, launching more wars of aggression against his neighbors than any other Arab leader. But it's not his military adventures that make him a coward. It is his refusal to lift his boot off the neck of his own people, his choice to use repression and brutal intimidation, and his fear to submit to a truly unfettered election where his popular support can be fairly measured. That cowardice is shared by other Middle East leaders, too. Yet in a few places, some are displaying the courage to take the first steps toward such freedom. In Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, and to a lesser degree, Syria, I happily note that some measures of civil advancement are being demonstrated. Yemen, sadly, lags well behind.
I despise bloodshed, even though I feel no great fear of death. Whether it's a US soldier, a Palestinian child, a Zimbabwean family, or a Bosnian woman, when I read of their deaths, I grieve with the families who suffer such losses. And I mourn the Iraqis dying for the crimes of their government and from the bullying nature of my government.
Should you wish to contribute something to the world, look for the finest among you. The Iranians contributed math to the world. It has poets and artists and scientists who contribute; why not share that with us more? We can stand a little more enlightenment and civilizing, too. It would benefit far more than the provision of hate, revenge or terrorism that has characterized its contributions of recent decades. I'm sure there's many such positive contributions that each of the Arab nations could add.

(posted by Iman)

Modern Patriarchy!

Avi Shalim (professor of international relations at Oxford University) in his latest article 'Liberation' is not freedom in observer writes
The fierce resistance that British and American troops have encountered must have come as a very unpleasant surprise to Tony Blair and George Bush. They assumed Saddam Hussein was so unpopular and isolated that the Iraqi people would welcome the troops as liberators and help them to overthrow his regime. But the popular uprising has not materialized.However much they detest Saddam's regime, a great many Iraqis view the coalition forces as invaders rather than liberators. Blair and Bush seem unaware, or only dimly aware; of the crucial role Iraqi history plays in shaping popular attitudes to the conflict. Iraqis are not an inert mass whose sentiments can be switched on and off to serve the agenda of outside powers
Iraqis are a proud and patriotic people with a long collective memory. Britain and America feature as anything but benign in this collective memory. Blair has repeatedly emphasised the moral argument behind the resort to force to depose an evil dictator. Over the past century, however, Britain rarely occupied the high moral ground in relation to Iraq. The US has even less of a claim on the trust and goodwill of the Iraqi people after its calamitous failure to support the popular insurrection against Saddam and his henchmen in March 1991. .
…It was abundantly clear Saddam was a monster in human form. Britain did not manufacture this monster, but it turned a blind eye to the savage brutality of his regime. Britain also knew Saddam had chemical and biological weapons because Western companies sold him all the ingredients necessary.In March 1988, Saddam turned on his own people, killing up to 5,000 Kurds with poison gas in Halabja. Attacking unarmed civilians with chemical weapons was unprecedented. If ever there was a time for humanitarian intervention in Iraq, it was 1988. Yet no Western government even suggested intervention. Neither was an arms embargo imposed on Iraq..
On 28 February 1991, Papa Bush gave the order to cease fire. Britain was informed of this decision but not consulted. The declared aims of Operation Desert Storm had been achieved: the Iraqi army had been ejected from Kuwait and the Kuwaiti government was restored. But Saddam kept his deadly grip on power. After the ceasefire, Bush encouraged the Iraqi people to rise up, only to betray them when they did so. When the moment of truth arrived, Bush recoiled from pursuing his policy to its logical conclusion. His advisers told him Kurdish and Shia victories in their bids for freedom may lead to the dismemberment of Iraq. Behind this theory lay the pessimistic view that Iraq was not suited for democracy and that Sunni minority rule was the only formula capable of keeping it in one piece. Once again, the Iraqis were the victims of cruel geopolitics.
In calling for Saddam's overthrow, Bush Snr evidently had in mind a military coup, a reshuffling of Sunni gangsters in Baghdad, rather than establishing a freer and more democratic political order. As a result of his moral cowardice, he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Saddam stayed in power and continued to torment his people, while Kuwait remained a feudal fiefdom.
This is a very fact that Iraqis’ experience of oppression by Saddam and betrayal by the Western powers, it is only natural that ordinary Iraqis prefer to let the two sides fight it out among themselves. Iraqis mistrust the intentions of the West, and a history of failures supports their attitude. What many westerners see is that their leaders are going to liberate Iraq. But they do not know that Iraqis hate both sides equally! They won’t thank coalition forces for their help. Iraqis have not invited US and Britain to liberate them, as they did not ask them to support Saddam. Iraqis know that West has come there because of their own interests. It is predictable that the real liberate and democratic state will be a threat for US foreign policy. Shiahs are more than 60% of population. US believe that they are real threat for foreign interest since they have independent structure. They follow their religious leaders. So they can be dangerous. They have shown that a Sunni government is better option. Also independent Kurdistan territory is dangerous for Turkey a secular state that can survive with army generals support.!!. I think western politicians believe that the Democracy has different meaning in Middle East. West is honest and they know what they do. They will install a particular democratic system, which should be kept by force since Iraqis do not know what is good for them. They are immature. Modern type of Patriarchy!!.
(posted by Iman)

the ghost of tom joad

Men walkin' 'long the railroad tracks
Goin' some place, there's no goin' back
Highway Patrol choppers comin' up over the ridge

Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretchin' round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sIeepin' in their cars in the southwest
No home, no Job, no peace, no rest

The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls prayer book out of his sleepin' bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waitin' for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
Got a one way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathing in the city aqueduct

The highway is alive tonight
Where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Waitin' on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom Said; "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry new born baby cries
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a pIace to stand
Or decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes mom you'll see me."

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad
(by Bruce Springsteen)
(posted by Farid)

Sunday, March 30, 2003

That’s for love, and it’s still the best
"I wanna share something with you and this is not heavy and it’s not to imply that you don’t already do it, it’s just a reminder to all of us. The first chance you get, do something nice for someone. It doesn’t take all that much, you can smile, say good day, hold the door open, and don’t wait around for a thank you, you don’t need it, because when you’re alone, you’re gonna feel so good, and that’s only a part of it. Because of you that person will go out and do something nice for someone else, and that person will do something nice for someone else, and it will spread and this whole world can wind up doing nice things for each other, and we can be the one who started,let's start it. That’s for love, and it’s still the best , and everyone can use it." (Roy Clark, live from Branson )
(posted by Farid)

Trip to the North of Iran


I was away to meet my friend in Rasht in the North of Iran. I really needed a short trip to change my mood. Crisis in Iraq has disturbed my concentration. But my friend and I were talking about war all the time!! Today morning we went to see beautiful scenes of Lahijan. It is between Rasht and Ramsar. It has old traditional houses with sloping roofs. Tea farms are the attraction of Lahijan(unfortunately it was rainy and we could not go there). It is said that tea was brought from India about 1900. Tea is a part of Iranian's diet. I drink 10 big glasses every day!. We went to the tree-covered hill and I took several pictures. This hill is called Devil Mountain but I do not know why.

(posted by Iman)

Friday, March 28, 2003

Democracy in Iraq!!

These days US administration and other western media are talking about two things; they claim that they are going to liberate Iraqis and then establish a democracy in this country. It seems that many Americans are convinced by this propaganda. These slogans are ridiculous for a Middle East inhabitant particularity an uncertain one!!. I do not have any doubt that they have attacked on Iraq for their national interests since they have broken all international rules and started a pre-emptive war unilaterally. Iraqis have not been important for them; rather, they have had hand in Iraqis’ misery. Many westerners do not know anything about the Middle East, its history, ethnic groups and Islam as a major religion in this region. They only know whatever their media tell them. So it is understandable why they believe that their governments come to Iraq to liberate Iraqis and install, say inject! Democracy in this country. Their politicians tell them that Iraq will be the first country with a democratic system in the region. They are talking about the possibility of helping Iraqis to remold their society into a democratic state with equal rights for peoples of all religions, with protection for individual liberties. Also it is understandable why people who live in a democratic country think that problem is Saddam and if Iraqis get rid of him, their entire problems will be solved. They do not ask their politicians why other countries in the Middle East do not have a democratic state, though their dictators are not as tyrant as Saddam. They do not ask why Islamists win every election in these courtiers and but army generals do not allow them to take power (as we see in Algeria and Turkey). They do not ask why Osama is Hero in these countries (and probably Saddam will be the next one). They do not ask for which reasons these people should choose democracy, though many Muslim believe that Islamic state is the best option. In fact, they bring something for people who did not ask. Iraqis know what they want; they want to get rid of this butcher. But they have not yet thought about the proper political system. Many of them believe if they can find an honest Muslim governor, it will be the best option.
I will write about the cultural and religious matters in Iraq and discuss about the predictable future in Iraq and try to answer this question whether establishing a democratic state in Iraq is possible or not.

(posted by Iman)

Why majority of Americans support this war?

From Pedram
…I remembered the conversation…… I decided to post the same conversation here for you. I've changed names and obvious identifying details (to protect the innocent!), but I don't think that matters at all. None of it is made-up and this is an accurate (as much as I can exactly recall) description of the full conversation. This, I believe, is a typical conversation with a couple of typical Americans. Something very ordinary but to the keen eye very telling.

First the cast of characters: "Ralph" is a 70 something year old veteran of WWII, who has done well in business after the war and is currently in a state of semi-retirement, working only part-time to essentially keep busy. I respect Ralph a lot. Maybe it's my middle-eastern upbringing to automatically respect my elders, or it's just the graceful way he conducts himself as well as the tid bits of interesting stories he comes up with once in a while. "Michael" is a middle-age stout man, running a large department of a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 conglomerate as a V.P. (read middle-manger). Michael is the type that everyone goes to or listens to for answers. Maybe it's just his position of authority or his "radical" past as a 60's hippie. Or maybe it's just the way he pretends to know everything. The setting is a "customer lounge" area, outside Michael's office:

Pedram (Knowing Ralph's love for anything Republican, along with his obsession with "government spending", this is a hot button I can exploit and have some fun with him) : So, $75Billion for war, how much more you think will be needed?

Ralph (Uncomfortable already with my question): Whatever it is going to take...

Pedram: Yeah, I guess shooting so many multi-million dollar missiles gets expensive very fast.

Ralph: Hey, after all, they attacked our country first.

Pedram: They did? when?

Ralph: Well, the September 11th...

Pedram: Ralph, what does that have to do with Iraq? Wrong country my friend. Just because a few Muslims attacked us doesn't make all Muslim countries responsible...

Ralph mumbles something inaudible, he is really uncomfortable with this...

Pedram: That would be like invading China because Asians attacked Pearl Harbor...

Ralph: Well, you probably say this because you are from that part of the world....

Pedram: What does that have to do with anything? What? you are going to discount whatever I say because of my place of birth or shade of skin?

Ralph clearly wasn't expecting such a harsh answer, so he stays quite and stares towards Michael, as to say "help!"

Michael (looking at me): Where are you from anyway?

Pedram: I'm Iranian, which has nothing to do with Iraq. After all we fought one another for 8 years and were enemies of Saddam long before "W" started getting too drunk at frat parties.

Michael: Yeah, I read about that...

Pedram: What? about the war?

Michael: Yeah. I think we made a mistake by backing Saddam.

Pedram (pleasantly surprised by that statement): You better believe it, we not only didn't condemn his chemical attacks, we supplied him with the knowledge and material to conduct them.

Michael: Yeah, I think it was a mistake for America to back him against the Shah..

Pedram: The Shah?

Michael: Yeah, I think we should have supported the Shah in that war instead of Saddam..

Pedram: Mike, you've probably got your facts mixed up. The Iran-Iraq war didn't start until long after Shah had left the country and the Ayatollahs were in charge...

Michael: No, it was the Shah...

Pedram: I think I'd know this.. (I'm cut off)

Michael: No, I just watched this program on TV. It was a mistake for US to support Saddam, they should have stayed with their long-term ally, The Shah of Iran..

Ralph (rejuvenated by his friend's "vast knowledge" turns to me): You don't know what you are talking about...

Pedram gets up, starts to walk away shaking his head in disbelief. This is why we are supporting this war. Well, the majority of us are, so far.
I think that Pedram feels dizzy since he's still shaking his head!. Anyway, what do you think?

Update: Couple of days ago, an American Blogger, Kate , and I got into discussion about the justification for war on Iraq. I suggest reading our discussion , though we did not discuss on all aspects of this issue.

(posted by Iman)

Thursday, March 27, 2003


"If you grew up in the 60s, you grew up with war on tv every night. A war that your friends were involved in...and I want to do this song tonight for all the young people, if you're in your teens... because I remember a lot of my friends when they we were 17 or 18, we didn't have much of a chance to think about how we felt about a lot of things. And the next time, they're gonna be looking at you, and you're gonna need a lot of information to know what you're gonna wanna do. Because in 1985, blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed. Because what I'm talking about here is:
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing....

--Bruce Springsteen, introducing his band's rendition of "War" by Edwin Starr, Los Angeles, September, 1985.

What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War is something that I despise
For it means destruction of innocent lives
For it means tears in thousands of mothers' eyes
When their sons go out to fight to give their lives

What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing

It's nothing but a heartbreaker
Friend only to the undertaker
War is the enemy of all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
Handed down from generation to generation
Induction destruction
Who wants to die

What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing

War has shattered many young men's dreams
Made them disabled bitter and meanLife is too precious to be fighting wars
each day
War can't give life it can only take it away

It's nothing but a heartbreaker
Friend only to the undertaker
Peace love and understanding
There must be some place for these things today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord there's gotta be a better way
That's better than

What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing

(posted by Farid)(since I posted this, I want to say that I don't agree with him on some points here)

Free Expression Award for Hashem Aghajari

Hashem Aghajari is Iranian History lecturer, journalist, disabled veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and active reformist. He was sentenced to death in November for blaspheming, insulting the Shi'ite Imams, and insulting top state religious authorities for a landmark speech on clerical reform. His case is under appeal. For his remarks in June, Aghajari was also sentenced to 74 lashes, banned from teaching for 10 years and banished for eight years.
Index on Censorship has given a special Free Expression Award to al-Jazeera for their special contribution to the free exchange of information during years of crisis in the Middle East. Other winners included: BBC journalist Fergal Keane, Australian whistleblower Tony Kevin and Iranian academic Hashem Aghajari. Index also presented the Golden Raspberry Award for Services to Censorship to Jonathan Moyo, the general in charge of Zimbabwe's war on its free media.
(posted by Iman)

Kami O shin jiru

Music : Rudolf Schenker
lyrics : Klaus Meine

Do you say a prayer when your feeling down
Do you believe that love can turn your faith around
You're feeling high and low, but you don't know what to think
The world is full of saints who live their lives in sin

Don't ask the mirror ball you better ask yourself
I think you know the answers but maybe you can't tell
You'll see it all so clear just take a look inside
The judge you build inside your heart will always be your guide

Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru

Another day goes by and so does your life
You try to make some sense before your time to die
If you feel humility for something that is true
You'll find the secrets of this life deep inside of you

Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru
The innocent won't feel the judgement day

Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru
The innocent won't feel the judgement day

Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru
Kami o shin jiru
The innocent won't feel the judgement day
(postd by Farid)

Tales of two lives via Cowboy Kahlil
He writes,
I want to bring you a glimpse of two lives, lived on the line between our humanity and inhumanity. I don't know if this has already gone around, but it's important enough to consider again, if it has. It is the last emails from peace activist Rachel Corrie to her family, before she was run over by a bulldozer in the Gaza Strip,
Rachel in a remarkable series of emails to her family, she explained why she was risking her life,
…I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere…..”
…. I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees - many of whom are twice or three times refugees…. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can't believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be………This is what I am seeing here. The assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities - but in focusing on them I'm terrified of missing their context. The vast majority of people here - even if they had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon's possible goals), can't leave. Because they can't even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because their destination countries won't let them in (both our country and Arab countries). So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can't get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide.
American marine killed in Iraq
Kendall Damon Waters-Bey was among four U.S. Marines and eight British soldiers killed when a CH-46 helicopter crashed in Kuwait.
..At home, his sisters recalled, he excelled in jokes and cooking. He was always making faces, making people laugh," said 28-year-old Michelle Waters. ""He loved his son," the elder Waters-Bey said. The elder Waters-Bey" said he opposed war with Iraq."I'm against killing for any reason," he said. When asked what he would tell President Bush if he got the chance, he replied: "This was not your son or daughter. That chair he sat in at Thanksgiving will be empty forever.
Michelle Waters, the oldest of the dead Marine's four sisters, criticized the U.S. government for starting the hostilities. "It's all for nothing, that war could have been prevented," she said Friday night in the living room of the family home, tears running down her cheeks. "Now, we're out of a brother. [President] Bush is not out of a brother. We are."
Is there any difference between Palestinian kids who Rachel talked about and Kendall’s son? He will never see his father again. Or Doha. She has lost all movement in her left leg because cruise missile exploded close to her home in Baghdad and blasted shrapnel into her tiny legs. Or innocent Israeli kids killed by suicide bombers. Or many Iraqi malnourished children are put at great risk in Basra, Baghdad?????
(posted by Iman)

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

 Terror,our common enemy

Via Jazz ,
There is a debate over at Cronus Connection , which makes very entertaining reading. Extract below:
Peacenik: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't we?
Warmonger: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry lunatic murderer.
Peacenik: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic murderer?
Warmonger: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.
Peacenik: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, know about and green-light the invasion of Kuwait?
Warmonger: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Quaida. Osama BinLaden himself released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a partnership between the two.
(posted by Iman)

Past record of violations against civilians In Northern Iraq
"Turkish authorities should be taking steps to avoid repeating past violations in any operations in northern Iraq", Human Rights Watch
said "Turkey has a bad record of violations against civilians while battling rebel Kurds in southeastern Turkey. It needs to be taking precautionary steps today, to make sure its troops don’t commit repeat violations in any operations it undertakes in northern Iraq.”
(posted by Iman)

The Battle for Hearts and Minds of Iraq

Seyed writes
To win hearts and minds you have to make yourself humble. You have to open your eyes to the simpler charms of foreign lands and the ancient, proud history of a people. You have to speak their language, not just the words but the understanding that goes with those words. If a trained soldier, fed a diet of confident superiority in their own culture and values, is expected to be the tool by which hearts and minds are won then you've already lost. Sure, there may be specialists and in the long run civilians who can do this job but the first contact leaves a lasting impression. As the war gets dirtier, and I believe it will, the American troops will rashly retaliate at the wrong targets for fear of their lives. It is a natural inclination of any normal human being in the face of great dangers. However, from such actions are blood enemies born. Restraint is paramount and evident in the top-level plans, which we see playing out on the news. However, restraint in the towns and on the ground by troops will be difficult to maintain. It is not a unique failing of the American character, although it is most evident when they are seen in combat. It is no surprise the British troops, generally far more skilled at these measures, are used to clean up the population centers. Winning this war will be more difficult than previously thought. Not on the grand plains of military strategies but on the street and homes of all those affected by it. Once, the war is won, winning the peace will be a monumental task. How large a task will depend on the efforts during wartime. This is not merely a matter of economics, the flow of capital, the reconstruction of infrastructure or the proper sales of Iraq's natural resources. It is a function of how sensitively and with what humility the peace is managed. Historically, American forces have been extremely poor in this regard and this requires a United Nations presence. However, until the handover is completed I expect Iraqi hearts and minds will foremost be thankful for the death of the dictator but secondly wary of the foreigners who hold them, their culture and their way of life in such disregard.
(posted by Iman)

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

All are equal but some are more equal than others!

Amensty Internationl announced
Following the news that US soldiers had been captured by Iraqi forces during the US-led attack on Iraq, Bush said that "we expect them to be treated humanely, just like we'll treat any prisoners of theirs that we capture humanely... If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals."
On the same day, about 30 more detainees were flown from Afghanistan to the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This brought to about 660 the number of foreign nationals held in the base. Most were taken into custody during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan. Some have been held in Guantanamo, without charge or trial, and without access to lawyers, relatives or the courts, for more than a year. Their treatment has flouted international standards. From the outset, the US Government refused to grant any of the Guantanamo detainees prisoner of war (POW) status or to have any disputed status determined by a "competent tribunal" as required under Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention. On the 9 February 2002, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the most authoritative body on the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, revealed that there were "divergent views between the United States and the ICRC on the procedures which apply on how to determine that the persons detained are not entitled to prisoner of war status". The ICRC news release said that the organization would pursue its dialogue with the US Government on this issue. Nevertheless, to this day none of the Guantanamo detainees have been granted POW status or appeared before a tribunal competent to determine their status.
The US has ignored not only the ICRC on this issue, but also the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. More recently, on 16 December 2002, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted that "the authority which is competent to determine prisoner-of-war status is not the executive power, but the judicial power", as specified under article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention.
When the first of the detainees arrived in Guantanamo in January 2002, the Pentagon released a photograph of the detainees in orange jumpsuits, kneeling before US soldiers, shackled, handcuffed, and wearing blacked-out goggles over their eyes and masks over their mouths and noses.
Meanwhile the US continues to hold the Guantanamo detainees in very harsh conditions, most of them confined alone to tiny cells for 24 hours a day and reportedly allowed to "exercise" in shackles for only 30 minutes a week - conditions which Amnesty International believes in their totality amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of international standards. The detainees remain in their legal black hole, unable to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, and with no indication as to how long they might be so held. There have been numerous suicide attempts. Family members are subject to the emotional distress of not knowing how their loved ones are being treated, why exactly they are being held, or when or if they will see them again.
Have you read Animal Farm by George Orwell?
All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others

Meagn Lane reported
Footage of captured soldiers can either be unsensational reporting of a war's progress or it can be distressing propaganda. There's a fine line between the two. The Americans say the men are not covered by the Geneva Convention because they are "unlawful combatants" rather than POWs. As this term has no status in international law, opponents fear they have been consigned to what the Master of the Rolls Lord Phillips has described as a "legal black hole”. Tony blair was asked if captured coalition troops in Iraq could be regarded as unlawful combatants, given claims questioning the legality of the war, he said: "These are troops acting under the authority of the state. They are quite clearly POWs and should be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention."
But in an illustration of the emotional charge surrounding the issue, the anti-war Daily Mirror said there was no difference between the breaches committed by Iraq and the US. "The world should condemn every nation and every leader who flagrantly breaches those rules. Whether it is Iraq or the USA, Saddam Hussein or George W Bush. There cannot be one rule for America and one for the rest of the world." Read more

(posted by Iman)

Totalitarianism or democracy?!
What difference does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
( Mahatma Gandhi, Non-violence in peace and War (1942) vol.2, ch.5)

I love Mahatma Gandhi; he is the symbol of Non-violence or Ahimsa. Let’s pray for a peaceful world. The only thing we can do!
Via Pedram

(posted by Iman)

Islamic Terror and Sharia!!

Dean discusses about Islamic Terror and Sharia and the Future in his weblog. I suggest following their discussions. You will find many worth reading comments as well.

(posted by Iman)

Living For Tomorrow
Music:Rudolf Schenker
Lyrics:Klaus Meine

I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today

Let's make this world
A better place to live
Start to take
Start to give

Love's got the power
To get it done
To stop the pain
Of a killing gun

And even if you say
We're gonna die today
I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today
Cause love will find a way my friend
Whatever it will take
I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today
Why don't we try today my friend
To make this world a better place

Let's make this life
A better life to live
Stop to hate
Learn to forgive
Even power can kill
The human race
If we gave life
A human face (a human face)

And even if you say
We're gonna die today
I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today
Cause love will find a way my friend
Whatever it will take
I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today
Why don't we try today my friend
To make this world a better place (a better place)

And even if you say
We're gonna die today
I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today
Cause love will find a way my friend
Whatever it will take
I'm still living for tomorrow
I'm living for today
Why don't we try today my friend
To make this world a better place

I'm still living for tomorrow

(posted by Farid)

Monday, March 24, 2003

Genocide in the Southern Provinces of Iraq after the popular uprising of 1991

Karbala and Najaf are two holy cities of Shiha. Many Shihas in Iran and other countires wish they would visit these holy places. One of the most important Shiah religious schools is placed in Najaf. (Shiahs have three main religious schools, one in Najaf, Iraq and others are places in Qom (Qom is pronounced like Rome in French!!, the same role in history!) and Mashad in North-East of Iran. During the Gulf War, the US encouraged revolts against Saddam but they did not support Iraqis later. It is said that,
…the forces of Saddam Hussein’s regime began their brutal campaign to suppress the Southern provinces uprising in the first week of March 1991. These forces committed with intent to destroy and kill those who contributed in the uprising. They practiced the following: Arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, arbitrary executions, and enforced or involuntary disappearances. Mass execution and tortures of all who joined, or were suspected to have supported the popular uprising of the first of March 1991. At least 200,000 Iraqis were killed or executed during and after the 1991 uprising. The rate of killing and execution was 2000 persons per day in April and May 1991 and this rate decreased to 1000 persons per day in June and July 1991. The regime killed 5000 combatants when entering Kabala city in March 1991. 111 religious scholars were arrested, tortured or executed. The fates of tens of them are still unknown. The number of Holy shrines and Mosques, which were bombarded and damaged in Najaf and Kabala cities, were more than 141.
Unbelievable!! The reason why many Middle East people are suspicious about the US real purposes!!!. Read more..
(posted by Iman)

An American Liberal Blogger

Cowboy Kahlil writes,
I'm biased, yes. I'm Liberal in my outlook and life practices and am happy to be so. To me, that represents a love of open inquiry, a willingness to criticize government officials without artificial limits imposed by those who demand reverence and obeisance as proof of patriotism, and without some overriding fear of the very concept of government. I believe government can and should serve its country; not the other way around. It's not incumbent on the governed to prove their patriotism; it's the elective and appointive officials in the government who must meet that test. And too many demonstrate their only allegiance is in maintaining their polling numbers and electability. Being a Liberal does not mean I knee-jerk against every conservative position or for some set of liberal positions that a 'proper' liberal must agree to. The Liberal tradition permits me to consider all, and to take positions on occasion that other liberals disagree with. The other core tenet of Liberalism, in my opinion, is its pursuit of fairness for all that tilts more to the weakest members of society instead of the strongest. Note that Liberals never have to qualify themselves as 'compassionate liberals'; that much is a given.

(posted by Iman)

What Middle East nations have not yet touched

“We live in fictitious times”, US documentary maker Michael Moore said , when picking up the award for best documentary for his anti-gun film "Bowling for Columbine."though some were booing him.
"We live in a time with fictitious election results that elect fictitious presidents. We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. "We are against this war Mr Bush. Shame on you. Shame on you!,
"I'm an American, and you don't leave your citizenship when you enter the doors of the Kodak Theater. What's great about this country is that you can speak your mind," "I showed how vital it is to have free speech in our country and all Americans have the right to stand up for what they believe in,"
I donot know whether that election was factitious or not. The US that I know is
"Free trade with all nations, and entangling alliances with none." Thomas Jefferson

Yes! the US is a country that every person can speak her/his mind, but many nations cannot touch it!!. Us ‘s best friends in the Middle East have been regimens that tyrant dictortors run them!!

(posted by Iman)

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Iraq Crisis
Iran to provide services for Iraqi refugees

Iran is planning to provide services for the Iraqi refugees fleeing a devastating war on their country by the US and British military troops. IRNA reported that relief providing teams have been established in the cities of Marivan and Baneh in the vicinity of Iraqi territory to set up camps for the war refugees. Marivan is the location of two war refugees of "Dazli" and "Bahram Abad”. It is predicted that a protracted war would unleash a refugee influx of between 500,000 to 1.2 million towards Iranian borders. Iran is still following a "closed door" policy towards the influx of likely Iraqi refugees but Iranian officials have promised to extend relief to the refugees if their lives are on the line. The UNHCR chief said the UNHCR and Iran would set up 10 refugee camps on the no man's land near the border with Iraq for settling 200,000 to 250,000 possible refugees, mostly southern Iraqi Shiites.Click here to see more pictures of casualties.

(posted by Iman)

Irresistible, unquestionable power

Robert Fisk writes,
There is something anarchic about all human beings, about their reaction to violence. The Iraqis around me stood and watched, as I did, at huge tongues of flame bursting from the upper stories of Saddam's palace, reaching high into the sky. Strangely, the electricity grid continued to operate and around us the traffic lights continued to move between red and green. Billboards moved in the breeze of the shock waves and floodlights continued to blaze on public buildings. Above us we could see the massive curtains of smoke beginning to move over Baghdad, white from the explosions, black from the burning targets. How could one resist it? How could the Iraqis ever believe with their broken technology, their debilitating 12 years of sanctions, that they could defeat the computers of these missiles and of these aircraft? It was the same old story: irresistible, unquestionable power. No doubt this morning the Iraqi Minister of Information will address us all again and insist that Iraq will prevail. We shall see. But many Iraqis are now asking an obvious question: how many days? Not because they want the Americans or the British in Baghdad, though they may profoundly wish it. But because they want this violence to end: which, when you think of it, is exactly why these raids took place.
Challenging question, why?
(posted by Iman)

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Iraqi childern
Will Iraqi children be strong enough to survive?

UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy says ,
”We delivered therapeutic food for more than 400,000 malnourished children, but there are more than 1 million malnourished children in Iraq. We immunized virtually every child under age five against measles. But we did not have time to reach the 6-to-12-year-olds who missed measles immunization when they were younger. Bellamy said there was no way of knowing how many children might perish during war or its aftermath. She said that would depend on how long a war lasts and how it affects civilian infrastructure. But she said the days and weeks ahead would be difficult for children.

War always has catastrophic consequences. It said that one-quarter of children under the age of five chronically malnourished, and some 60 per cent of the population dependent on government food rations. This is a very fact that malnourished children are susceptible to disease. So diseases can spread rapidly during war, when safe water supplies are disrupted, people are displaced from their homes, and sources of food and medicine are compromised.
Bellamy added,” we should all remember that children make up half of Iraq's population. Children will die in this war. That's a fact. The question is how many children we can protect”

Iraq's situation is unique in many ways. An eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and the Gulf War in 1990 greatly damaged Iraq's infrastructure. The country has been under comprehensive United Nations sanctions for 12 years. Since 1996, arrangements have been put in place to alleviate the impact of sanctions on the population. The Oil for Food Programme (OFFP), passed by the Security Council in late 1996, allows the Iraqi government to sell oil and use the revenue to purchase humanitarian supplies.These efforts seem to have stopped the humanitarian situation from deteriorating, but they have not greatly improved conditions for most Iraqis. This is partly because revenue has not been sufficient for comprehensive rehabilitation.
(posted by Iman)

Friday, March 21, 2003

 Humanitarian crisis in Iraq
Humanitarian crisis in Iraq

Related to the current situation in Iraq, in the event of a massive population movement, national societies in the neighboring countries will require external support. Governments and aid workers in the region have been praying for peace while making preparations to assist any Iraqis fleeing the conflict. These preparations, however, have been limited by financial constraints. Most of the 25 million people in Iraq are expected to try to wait out the war within the country, security and food stocks permitting. For those Iraqis forced to seek help abroad, governments in neighbouring countries have been readying their emergency assistance plans with help from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Governments have offered land for refugee camps, while national relief agencies and charitable societies have set aside relief items for possible new Iraqi refugees. But there are many unknowns: how many people, how fast, where? UNHCR has an initial planning figure of 600,000 possible Iraqi refugees, but donor support so far has been insufficient to meet these needs.

Indeed, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are appealing for US$ 80 million to assist at least 305,000 people who may be forced to flee their homes. The appeal is being made on behalf of the Red Crescent Societies in Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. As fears grow that the conflict will lead to a refugee crisis, Red Crescent Societies in the region are assisting Iraqis most severely affected by the fighting with food, water, shelter and medical care. Red Crescent Societies are prepared to assist potential refugees and displaced persons as follows: 55,000 people inside Iraq, 100,000 in Iran, 25,000 in Jordan, 25,000 people in Syria and 80,000 people in Turkey. Kuwait Red Crescent is also on standby to assist displaced people. Read more…

(posted by Iman)

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Happy Norooz
Happy New Year and Norooz

In the spring, open your heart to joyous infusions
Like flowers open up, or stay in muddy collusions.
I cannot tell you to befriend this, or drink that
Wit and wisdom display your own solutions.
Strings of the harp sing out the same advice
When worthy, you will reach your conclusions.
Each blade of grass speaks of its life's tale
Alas if self-absorbed you're free from inclusions.
Worry not, else you will lose your precious now
If stuck in day's and night's revolutions.
Though fears are strewn upon the path of Love
Pass easy if free from destination's confusions.
O Hafiz, if fortune upon you smiles
Become prey to that Witness of illusions.
( by Hafiz)

Link via Mojtaba

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Animal Liberation(part 4)
Those who may argue on the basis of this may do this from different angles. They may say that since animals don’t talk, so we don’t have a way of becoming aware of their probable suffering. It is not being denied that a speachless creature could suffer, but that we cannot know their suffering. It is easy to see that this objection is based on the presumption that “I am in pain” is the best possible evidence to know that the speaker is in pain. But is it so? What if the speaker is lying? What would we say if somebody who was badly burned and was writhing and groaning and avoiding any kind of touch to his burned skin later told us that he wasn’t feeling any pain? Wouldn’t we tell him that either he was lying or he was suffering form amnesia? The reason that we don’t believe in what he says is that we think behavioral signs are more reliable than linguistic evidence. Behavioral signs and knowledge of the animal’s biological similarity to us together provide adequate evidence that animals do suffer. Infants don’t talk, but we can tell when they feel pain, since we see their way of behaving in the light of our own behavior, which we know of. Just as we can understand infant human behavior in the light of adult human behavior, so we can understand the behavior of other species in the light of our own behavior, and sometimes we can understand our own behavior better in the light of the behavior of other species. The second way of linking language and the existence of pain is when they may simply say that since language is a prerequisite for conceptual thinking, animals can’t have any thought or intention, which means they don’t have any state of consciousness and in the wake of it any feeling of pain. To me this seems quite implausible. Even it may be that the use of a public language that has syntax is a precondition of conceptual thought, but states like pain , surely , are more primitive than this , and may as well have nothing to do with language.
(posted by Farid)

For unlucky Iraqis

Tehran is cloudy. Streets are crowed and many Tehranis are preparing for New Year. In another continent, Americans are anxious. They have sent their soldiers to Iraq!!. But I am depressed. War is under way. War is a nightmare for me, even when other people talk about it.
It was about 23 years ago, 22 September 1980. We lived in Khoramshahr, a city in the south west of Iran (Khoramshar and Basra in Iraq are placed in either sides of Shatt Al Arab). I was child and did not have any idea about War. I was only thinking about the first day of going to school on 23 September. I clearly remember. It was noon. My father came home and told us that War had started. Many people thought that War would finish within few days. But …

Iraqi MiG-23s and MiG21s attacked Iran's air bases at Tehran and many other important cities. Simultaneously, six Iraqi army divisions entered Iran on three fronts in an initially successful surprise attack, where they drove as far as eight kilometres inland and occupied 1,000 square kilometres of Iranian territory. The main thrust of the attack was in the south, where five armored and mechanized divisions invaded Khuzestan on two axes, one crossing over the Shatt al Arab, which led to the siege and eventual occupation of Khorramshahr. Iraqi armored units easily crossed the Shatt al Arab waterway and entered the Iranian province of Khuzestan. We lost all we had within 2 days, our house, car and.. . We only could take our ID cards and leave our beloved city. But the most painful memory was when I was told that Iraq captured Khorramshahr after a bloody house-to-house fight, on November 10. I wrote this to show you that I've felt all these suffering and I can understand what Iraqis feel these days.

Regarding Iran Iraq war casualties, estimates suggest more than one and a half million war and war-related casualties -- perhaps as many as a million people died, many more were wounded, and millions were made refugees. The Iraqis suffered an estimated 375,000 casualties, the equivalent of 5.6 million for a population the size of the United States. Another 60,000 were taken prisoner by the Iranians. Iran's losses may have included more than 1 million people killed or maimed.

In the second war, Gulf War in 1991 about 100,000 Iraqi troops had been killed in action and 300,000 wounded, while another 150,000 had deserted.
This is the third time that unlucky Iraqis should pay the price of their dictator’s madness. Washington-Baghdad duel has entered a crucial phase. Sad to say, but true, the innocent Iraqis, the real victims of the crisis are unaware what fate awaits them this time. 23 years ago. Iraq was one of the richest and developed countries in the region. After three wars, Iraqis have lost whatever they had, their beautiful cities, nature and also many people. Many children have died because of malnutrition, infectious diseases under sanctions, …most of intellectuals immigrated to other countries. Many were killed in Saddam’s prisons and many other humanitarian problems.

Is there any hope for freedom or only an opportunist butcher is replaced with another dictator and the silent majority of Iraqis continue to suffer. Won’t they walk away after accomplishing their Mission?! Whether this victory can be achieved with minimum loss of life - civilians and soldiers. Saddam does not care about Iraqis, rather he wants to show dead and injured Iraqi civilians in the hope this will inflame feeling in the Arab and Muslim worlds. If he fails in war, he wants to enter the history books as an Arab leader who went down in a blaze of defiance and destruction!!!
(posted by Iman)

International dictatorship!
Reporters Without Borders today warned US authorities not to obstruct the media in its reporting of the expected imminent war in Iraq. Though the US invited more than 600 journalists from all over the world to report from inside the military operation, but journalist have been asked to obey a strict 50-point "ground rules agreement”.
The rules spell out what can or cannot be covered. But the distinction is very vague and commanders of military units are given the final word on whether to allow something to be reported or not. Reporters Without Borders is concerned about rule 6, that permits unit commanders to "embargo" news that may damage "operational security." The range of such news is also poorly defined and the duration of the embargo not stated. Both aspects again depend on the decision of the unit commander!!.Rules 40, 41 and 43, which ban pictures of the faces of prisoners of war and soldiers killed in the fighting, undermine the right to inform the public, the organisation said. It was up to journalists, not the US army, to decide what could or could not be shown, according to the journalistic code of conduct
The organisation said the public had a right to see pictures such as those of the emaciated faces of prisoners in Serbian concentration camps in Bosnia, during the war in Yugoslavia. It expressed concern at working conditions for journalists who chose not to be officially incorporated into the US military operations and who US officials had several times warned could be in danger
Interesting! Freedom is good thing but in situations we define. If it threatens our security, we certainly censor it. This rhetoric is not strange for a Middle East inhabitant. Since in this region dictators use the same logic to justify their oppressions. But this time, it takes place in international scope. Do you know what dictators say to their people? They say that you are immature and donot know your real benefits. So any opposite thought may threaten the national security, say dictators’ security. Anyway, thanks God!! Our orphan world has found a kind and wise father!!
(posed by Iman)

Iranian Health ministry warns against possible consequences of war

Deputy Health Minister said that the possible influx of Iraqis into neighboring countries as a result of a war or other unexpected events seems very likely.
"Taking into account the fact that only a limited number of Iraqis have been vaccinated, we fear the great danger of a spread of contagious diseases that we have not vaccinated our people against. He disclosed that a refugee center would soon be established in the interior ministry in anticipation of the flood of Iraqi refugees in an increasingly imminent war.He said Iran predicts at least 300,000 to 900,000 Iraqi refugees would probably seek refuge in Iran in the event of war, adding that the health ministry has taken contingency measures such as training health personnel who would be able to respond adequately in case of need.
(posted by Iman)

Warning Against Use of Cluster Bombs in Iraq released by Human Rights Watch

Cluster munitions cannot be targeted with precision. They cause damage over a very large and imprecise area, and, due to the numbers used and high failure rate, leave behind a great many unexploded “dud” submunitions that become de facto antipersonnel landmines.
"The use of cluster munitions in Iraq will endanger civilians for years to come," said Mark Hiznay, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch."
During the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and its allied coalition dropped bombs containing about twenty million submunitions, and also reportedly fired artillery projectiles containing more than thirty million submunitions. These resulted in millions of hazardous duds, each functioning like an indiscriminate antipersonnel landmine. At least eighty U.S. casualties during the war were attributed to cluster munition duds. More than 4,000 civilians have been killed or injured by cluster munition duds since the end of the war.

HRW called attention to four particular types of U.S. cluster munitions that have had high failure rates in combat or in testing:
*The Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) with M77 submunitions has had a failure rate of 16 to 23 percent.
*155mm Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) artillery projectiles with M42 and M46 submunitions have had a failure rate of 14 percent.
*Rockeye CBU-99/CBU-100 air-dropped bombs with Mk 118 submunitions. This Vietnam-era cluster munition was used extensively in the 1991 Gulf War and has accounted for a very large percentage of the explosive duds subsequently encountered. Almost 20 percent of the cluster munition duds found in Kuwait in 2002 were from Rockeye bombs.
*The CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition with BLU-97 submunitions had a failure rate of at least 7 percent in Yugoslavia and Kosovo in 1999.
The United States has cluster munitions containing more than one billion submunitions in current stockpiles, including more than 434 million 155mm DPICM artillery submunitions and more than 309 million MLRS rocket submunitions.

It seems that these dangers are both predictable and also preventable. I hope the US and its allies consider these points. Amen!!
(posted by Iman)

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The day of revenge!!
Robert Fisk writes, “ I'll hazard a guess right now.
The journalistic resources being laid down in the region are enormous. Once the invasion starts, they will lose their freedom to write what they want. There will be censorship. We shall see many of the British and American journalists back to their old trick of playing toy soldiers, dressing themselves up in military costumes for their nightly theatrical performances on television. Here's a few guesses about our coverage of the war to come….. Within hours, they will enter the city of Basra, to be greeted by its Shia Muslim inhabitants as liberators. US and British troops will be given roses and pelted with rice – a traditional Arab greeting – as they drive "victoriously" through the streets. The first news pictures of the war will warm the hearts of Messrs Bush and Blair... But in Baghdad, reporters will be covering the bombing raids that are killing civilians by the score and then by the hundred. These journalists, as usual, will be accused of giving "comfort to the enemy while British troops are fighting for their lives".
By now, in Basra and other "liberated" cities south of the capital, Iraqis are taking their fearful revenge on Saddam Hussein's Baath party officials. Men are hanged from lamp-posts. Much television footage of these scenes will have to be cut to sanitize the extent of the violence.Bush and Blair will appear on television to speak of their great "victories".
But as they are boasting, the real story will begin to be told: the break-up of Iraqi society, the return of thousands of Basra refugees from Iran, many of them with guns, all refusing to live under western occupation. In the north, Kurdish guerrillas will try to enter Kirkuk, where they will kill or "ethnically cleanse" many of the city's Arab inhabitants. Across Iraq, the invading armies will witness terrible scenes of revenge, which can no longer be kept off television screens. The collapse of the Iraqi nation is now under way...Of course, the Americans and British just might get into Baghdad in three days for their roses and rice water. That's what the British did in 1917. And from there, it was all downhill…

I think this is the most predictable situation in Iraq during War. Unfortunately, the hope for democratic Iraq is a desirable idea rather than an achievable goal. It seems that many people are preparing to take their revenge on the Baathis. Many who have lost their young sons, their fathers and families…in these years.

Link via Pedram Moallemian
(posted by Iman)

Monday, March 17, 2003

Misconception about Islam or Muslims’ misunderstanding

Sheikh Tantawi has approved a communique issued by the Islamic Center for Research at Al-Azhar University titled "A Call to the Civilized World and to All the Peace-loving Forces," that called for Arabs and Muslims across the world to be ready to defend themselves and their faith.For many Muslims, conspiracy theory is inspiring thought. As the communiqué stated:
” … it is in accordance with logic and with Islamic religious law that if the enemy raids the land of the Muslims, Jihad becomes an individual's commandment, applying to every Muslim man and woman, because our Muslim nation will be subject to a new Crusader invasion targeting the land, honor, belief, and homeland… Our Arab and Islamic nation, and even our religious faith, Islam, are a main target of all the military forces, who are targeting millions of people from among our nation, as well as our faith, everything sacred to us, and all the sources of wealth and power of the Arabs and the Muslims. The first manifestation of this will be the attack on Iraq, the occupation of its land, and the seizing of its oil resources."

I think that they have not yet thought about a simple question whether Saddam is a Muslim when he has killed million Muslims directly or indirectly and invaded his neighbors. Could they ignore his brutal Slaughtering in Kurdistan and the south of Iraq?
It stated
"there is a big difference between terror and Jihad in Islamic religious law. Jihad in Islam means self-defense, and the defense of property and honor. If the enemy invades the land of the Muslim, Jihad becomes an individual's obligation."

But they do not answer this question what they do, if a dictator (who runs an Islamic country), invade other countries? Do they support his actions? I think they miss even simple rules of human rights.
Also there is another basic question, has God sent prophets and religions for human beings or human beings are created for religions. It seems people like Islamic leaders, Muftis and Mullahs make decision about other people ‘s lives; in fact they invite people to worship them in the name of God and his prophet. They have become the curtain between God and his creatures. When a group claims all authority on behalf of God and his prophet, they become freedom takers.
Another Egypt Mufti, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, told
"martyrdom [i.e. suicide] operations, in which the Palestinians blow up targets of the Israeli occupation, are actions that are 100% permitted according to Islamic religious law, and it is forbidden to facilitate [the American forces'] attack of a Muslim country... Any attempt to invade Iraq is forbidden by Islamic religious law and by morality, and Islam forbids it, and even commands its believers to resist attempts at invasion and occupation. Islam is against striking any Arab or Islamic city, whether it be Baghdad or in Palestine."

He talks about 100%. Who is sure what he thinks or says is hundred percent right.
Robin Wright, the global-affairs correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, says,
” In the largest and poorest Muslim countries, moreover, problems common to developing states, from illiteracy and disease to poverty, make simple survival a priority and render democratic politics a seeming luxury. Like their non-Muslim neighbors in Asia and Africa, most Muslim societies have no local history of democracy on which to draw. As democracy has blossomed in Western states over the past three centuries, Muslim societies have usually lived under colonial rulers, kings, or tribal and clan leaders.”

It is usually said that the West has a misconception about Islamic world. But I think the problem is Muslims’ misunderstanding about Islam since many Muslim hold similar fundamentalistic concepts about Islam.
Now compare this communiqué with what Rachid al-Ghannouchi's a Tunisian popular philosophy teacher and speaker says:
"Islam did not come with a specific program concerning our life", "It brought general principles. It is our duty to formulate this program through interaction between Islamic principles and modernity." Believers are guaranteed the right of ijtihad [practice of divine science and theology] in interpreting the Koranic text. Their empowerment is complete since Islam does not have an institution or person as a sole authority to represent the faith [like Muslim leaders, muftis or mullahs]--or contradict their interpretations. "The democratic values of political pluralism and tolerance are perfectly compatible with Islam.Ghannouchi concedes that Islam's record in the areas of equality and participation has blemishes. Previous Muslim societies were built on conquest. But he contends that the faith has also traditionally recognized pluralism internally, noting the lack of religious wars among Muslims as proof of Islam's accommodation of the Muslim world's wide diversity. Citing the Koran, he explains that Islam condemns the use of religion for material or hegemonic purposes: "O mankind! We created you from a single [pair] of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other, not that ye may despise [each other]" (Sura 49:13)"

Maybe because of thinking independently Dr. Hashem Aghajari, a prominent academic in Iran, was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy and insulting the clergy since he merely said in his speech that people are not monkeys to follow clergies!!.

(posted by Iman)

Rachel Corrie
Last night reading this report made me deeply depressed. I could not sleep for a while. Rachel Corrie, a young American peace activist killed by an Israeli army bulldozer. Her family has paid tribute to her concern for human rights and dignity. Many innocent people are killed every day in Israel and Palestine. Is there any end to the human rights crisis? Is peace a dream?
(posted by Iman)

Sunday, March 16, 2003

America's deep Christian faith

Justin Webb the BBC correspondent in Washington gives a report on the importance of faith and religious belief in American life.

I found a worth noticing point: He says,
“86% of Americans believe in heaven and much more pertinent to current world events, is the fact that 76% or three out of four people you meet on any American street believe in hell and the existence of Satan. They believe that the devil is out to get you. That evil is a force in the world - a force to be engaged in battle. Americans will talk of praying as if it were the most normal, rational thing to do” then give us an example that “The jolly plump woman…has a son who is ill - the doctors are doing their best, she says, but she's praying hard and that's what'll do the trick”

It is strange for him but such things in Middle East are normal and rational as well. According to many medical researches on religious healing, it has been shown that this matter is common in the US. Interestingly, Middle East inhabitants have the same beliefs in this regard. Sometimes, I think why people who believe in God and have the same beliefs and attitude toward life, hate each other. Maybe this is the paradoxical effect of religion.
Anyway, does war against Iraq have the religious background? He ends his report with this sentence “Both (Bush and Blair) are religious men but the simple American faith - with heaven and hell, good and evil and right and wrong - appears rather better suited to wartime conditions”.
(posted by Iman)

Good news from Afghanistan

Afghanistan defeat Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in Asian Cup qualifier. Afghanistan’s footballers were out of international competition for 16 years as their country was ravaged by war. Now they come back. Read more
(posted by Iman)

Animal Liberation ( Part 3)
In spite of this approximate consensus on the matter, there may be some people who have their doubts. I believe these people are either philosophers or that they are having a philosophical looking to the issue, and if I am right here , it shows that we regard such inference as justifiable in the case of humans. Still , since I used suffering as the starting point of the discussion, I think it is worth asking what grounds we have for attributing suffering to other animals. Pain cannot be observed itself, feelings are not observable, all we can do is to track them by their signs ; their observable signs. So no observation of pain’s signs,whether behavioral, such as writhing or screaming or physiological or neurological recordings, are observations of pain itself. We can only infer that someone else is feeling pain from various external indications. So the question that arises is that: is there any reason why the same inference should be unjustifiable for other animals? We can observe nearly all the external signs which lead us to infer pain in humans, in other species too, especially higher animals such a mammals and birds. Most of the behavioral signs like writhing, yelping, or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the source of pain and others are also present in animals.There is only one behavioral sign that most of the animals lack, which is a developed language. I dealt with it lightly in the second part when I gave the examples of infants and speechless persons.
(posted by Farid)

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Animal Liberation(part 2)
So if we cannot harm animals or use them for ourselves because of the differences we observe, is there any other reason that can possibly justify the way we treat animals? Are human’s ability to speak or his faculty to reason convincing motives for his behavior? But what can we say about a human infant who cannot reason or speak? Can we treat infants in any possible way we want or use them for any purpose? What about mentally disturbed, retarded or speechless persons?
But if we accept that there is no reason to justify the way we treat animals, do we have any reason that we should change our behavior? In other words we don’t have any reason to make what we do commendable, but do we have any reason against it? Not having a supporting reason for our behavior is a necessary reason for stopping it, but not a sufficient reason. The necessity to observe human rights brings with it the necessity to define these rights and to know about its possible breaches. This seems to be a hard thing to do for animals since we don’t share exactly the same feelings with them and we cannot talk with them to get to know their expectations. Besides that, animals are so varied and as a result different in their needs that makes this task a formidable one. So for now I pick a simple solution to this seemingly inscrutable problem and that is the “sense of suffering”. Though it is only part of the whole thing, it is a starting point for our talk. Only If we agree that inflicting suffering on animals is the breach of their right we have counted animals’ suffering equally with like sufferings of humans. But do animals suffer? I think most of us would unhesitatingly agree that animals like cats and dogs can and do suffer. Those laws that prohibit wanton cruelty to animals consider this as an axiom.
(posted by Farid)

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Animal Liberation(part 1)

A while ago I asked a question about the source of right we grant to ourselves in using other living creatures for our own benefit. Some famous types of liberation have been Black Liberation, Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation, with the latter one thought by many to be the end of the road. History has taught us that we should be more wary of such judgments. Sexual discrimination has been practiced even among liberal circles, which prided themselves on their freedom from racial discriminations. One thing we can learn form these movements is that we seldom are aware of the ways we discriminate while we are doing it. I’ll try to deal with this issue and I need your insights, feelings and thoughts on the matter.
One of the problems a skeptic may have about Animal Liberation is that: if we support Black Liberations or Women Liberation, it is because they are in fact equal to whites and males, but animals are obviously different, and justice is to treat equals equally, so treating humans and animals differently cannot be injustice.
Though it may seem a tempting look at first glance, lingering longer tells us that it is not as simple as this. The first thing this way of looking does is that it commits the non-racist and non-sexist to the belief that blacks and women are just as intelligent , able, etc, as whites and males. Though this can be the case, it makes them vulnerable to any scientific finding against it. Although there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence of genetic difference in these respects between different races or sexes, staking our claim for equality on this assumption is wrong. Moral equality is distinct form factual equality. There is no doubt that humans as individuals have different levels of IQs and any other ability we can think of, but it doesn’t entitle them to exploit each other. So the question is that : why a higher level of intelligence or any other kind of ability should bring with it the entitlement for exploitatoin for the superior side- humans- over the weaker side - animals-, while we have accepted that it doesn’t have this effect on a human-human interaction.
(posted by Farid)

ICC, a grand ambition
International criminal court

International criminal court (ICC) is able to investigate and prosecute those individuals accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of war.
This court will be more efficient, and focused on the leaders responsible for atrocities, rather than on the small fry. The court itself can do little to make them happen without the active support of national governments, who will have to provide it with evidence, enforce its rulings and, most critically of all, deliver suspects to its courtroom.
In addition to The United States, the world’s most brutal dictatorships have opposed to the court. Indeed, two other democracies, India and Israel, have also shared America’s suspicions. China and Japan have spoken in support of the court, but not yet signed the treaty. Russia has signed, but not yet ratified it.
Dozens of countries have said they will do these things, but that promise was easy to make when the court was just a theoretical possibility. The day is fast approaching when the court’s backers will have to prove that their support is real, and not just a pious pledge!!.
The problem in ICC is that the countries setting up the court have not yet been able to agree on a chief prosecutor. Whoever wins the job will require diplomatic as well as legal and managerial skills. The court’s cases will be, almost by definition, complicated and politically sensitive. Some 200 suggestions for prosecutions have already been sent to the court. Early candidates are thought to be rebel commanders in Congo and Côte d'Ivoire. Read more...

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies in US has released an article regarding the ICC. Lee A Casey in this 40-page articletried to give reasons why the US has not accepted the ICC’s authority. In introduction, he says,

“One of the most common arguments advanced to support American participation in the new International Criminal Court (“ICC”) is that most of the world’s democracies have already accepted the court’s authority. Of the 87 states parties to the Rome Statute, a clear majority (45) have been implicated in the very worst human rights abuses involving the legal system, including extra-judicial killings, torture, and/or police misconduct resulting in death or severe bodily injury. A full third (29) have been implicated in extra-judicial killings and/or torture. This includes states such as Nigeria, Cambodia, Congo, Paraguay, Sierra Leon, Tajikistan, and Uganda. All institutions, of course, reflect their constituent parts at one level or another, and the Rome Statute guarantees that each member state will have an equal voice in how the court is run. In particular, each state party has a single vote in the Assembly of States Parties, which will select the ICC’s prosecutor and judges. The legal culture of prosecutors and judges from states where human rights remains a slogan, and the judicial system is a tool of repression rather than a bulwark of democracy, suggests that the ICC may not actually prove to be the “most important new institution for enforcing human rights in fifty years.” Only time will tell. Leopards, however, do not change their spots. If the court proves to be representative of its members, then those who genuinely care about law and human rights may find themselves bitterly regretting their support for an institution where the sinners already outnumber the saints.”

There are two challenging points in this article; first, the author rejects the international court because some countries with worst human rights abuses may involve in this system. According to this reasoning establishing any international organization is not possible. Second, when we think that having an equal voice in the court threatens the democracy, how can we accept “Democracy” as the best political system to run a country? Or democracy is a good thing but only for some societies?! What happen if other countries have the same reasons to reject UN resolutions?

(posted by Iman) via pejmanpundit

Listen to the music in "Iranian girl" weblog under:Saturday, March 08, 2003, listen to lyrics or you may find it and read it,I am interested to know your opinion about it.
(posted by Farid)


This wonderful piece is from "First Corinthians 13"(Revised Standard Version)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(postd by Farid)

Ashora in Mathnavi
Molavi has a very interesting story about Ashora, in the book number 6, beginning at verse 778. I recommend reading the poem itself,
so I don't say anything about the story, unfortunalty i don't ahve it in English to put it here. .(Posted by Farid)

The evening of Ashoora
The evening of Ashoora a masterpiece by Mahmoud Farshchian

Ashoora teragedy (the tenth day)
In the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the tenth day of Muharram, Iranians are mourning the death of Master Hussain the third imam of Shiah (1). People congregate in particular places (like mosques) to mourn. Also group of male amateurs (who are veiled into the drama to cover for the fact that only men and children took part in the representation of the Karbala tragedy) perform a religious musical drama!! Ta'ziyeh (or "mourning") dramas had been popularized in Qajar Iran. This traditional performing is the only form of indigenous music drama in the Islamic world. Ta’ziyeh is rarely performed outside of Iran. Interestingly, it is said that these customs are similar to the pre-Islamic customs in Iran.
Iranian girl has written an interesting report about her observations in this day.

(1) Shiah in Islam and Iran
Islam has 2 major sects. One of the most significant of these is the Shiah sect, which believes that it was Muhammad's intention that his descendants inherit the spiritual and temporal leadership of the faithful. These chosen ones, called Imams, or "leaders”. However, the great majority of Muslims i.e. Sunnis rejected such claims believing that the sunna--the "way" or mode of conduct attributed by tradition to the Prophet Muhammad--was a sufficient guide. Sunni Muslims vastly outnumber the Shiah today, and are usually referred to by Western scholars as "orthodox" as opposed to the "heterodoxy" of the Shiah!!!.
Shiahs have been a minority in Islamic world. Although Shiah originated in Arabs, it had evolved into its current situation in Iran and majority of Shiahs live in there. They also are scattered in the south of Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
Shiah has been more than a religion for Iranian and somehow it has been a political tool to make a distinction between themselves and Arabs regarding their nationality. In fact, during the Othman Empire era, Iranian defended their nationality and border by means of religion!!!. I will write about Islam in Iran later.
(posted by Iman)

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Carl H. Rogers(1902-87)
"Carl H. Rogers, best known for his book entitled On becoming a person, was a psychotherapist, not a writer, but he has exerted a great influence on teachers of writing. Rogers originally intended to become a
Protestant minister, but as he tells in on becoming a person, during the course of a six-month visit to East Asia he came to recognize " that sincere and honest people could believe in very divergent religious doctrines."
He returned to the study of psychology, and in the course of time developed the idea that a therapist must engage in "reflection," by which he meant that the therapist must reflect-must give back an image-of what the client said.(Rogers's use of the word "client" rather that patient is itself a clue to his approach; the therapist is not dealing with someone who is supposed passively to accept treatment from the all-powerful doctor.)"
(posed by Farid)


Five minutes after reading this you might be dead. Are you ready?!. Have you made your wishes clear?
Death is the most difficult question that every body may ask. I think the essence of death is not the main question but rather our feeling and reaction is much more important. For example, many cancerous patients ask me “why me?” when they are told you have cancer. You cannot believe it. You feel that you cannot obtain your wishes. Regarding my personal experience (when I was fighting with death for more than 14 days and I could not walk and every night I thought this is the last night), I believe Death is the most frightening matter in every human being’s life. Horrible feeling of loneliness and you know nobody can help you in that situation!!Nevertheless, we can look at this issue through another point of view as the Great Rumi says;

I've said before that every craftsman
searches for what's not there
to practice his craft.
A builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water-carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.
Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don't think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!
Dear soul, if you were not friends
with the vast nothing inside,
why would you always be casting you net
into it, and waiting so patiently?
This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,
but still you call it "death",
that which provides you sustenance and work.
(by Rumi VI,1369-1420)

(posted by Iman)


This photograph was taken by the crew on board the Columbia during its last mission. This photograph was taken via satellite, on a cloudless day. The picture is of Europe and Africa when the sun is setting. Half of the picture is in night. The bright dots you see are the cities lights. The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert. Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and Barcelona, and that's it's still daylight in London, Lisbon, and Madrid. The sun is still shining on the Straight of Gibraltar. The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores Islands; below them to the right are the Madeira Islands; a bit below are the Canary Islands; and further south, close to the farthest western point of Africa, are the Cape Verde Islands. Note that the Sahara is huge and can be seen clearly both during daytime and nighttime. To the left, on top, is Greenland, totally frozen.
Thanks to Homan for sending this wonderful Fantastic photograph.

Update: This photo is fake!. Here it is written that the topography of the ocean floor would not be visible in a genuine photograph!!.
Anyway, Homan sent this artificial picture. Here is my philosophical conclusion:
“ You can trust a intimate friend in your social life, but never trust what he/she says or claims”. Every thing should be tested scientifically!!
Thanks to Angua for sending this correction.

Monday, March 10, 2003

” Earthquake in Tehran”

” Iranian girl" says ” Last night about 2 o clock I woke up by the voice of my parents, saying that they had felt earth quick... I didn't take it serious, just wushed that there will be another bigger one & slept, but at the morning I understood that It was a 4 Richter earth quick"

Last night I was working on my article till 4 Am. I usually don’t have too much concentration on what I read or think to miss even subtle changes. But I could not feel any shaking at all. See! a 4 Richter earthquake!!. Maybe Alzheimer is coming!!! Anyway, don’t worry, All Tehranis are OK.

(posted by Iman)

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Parts of "You get what you give" by New Radicals

But when the night is falling
And you cannot find the light
If you feel your dream is dying
Hold tight
You've got the music in you
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget you only get what you give
...But when the night is falling
And you cannot find a friend
You feel your tree is breaking
Just then
You've got the music in you
Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget
You only get what you give
This whole damn world can fall apart
You'll be ok follow your heart
...We feel the music in you
Fly high
What's real can't die
You only get what you give
You're gonna get what you give
Just dont be afraid to leave
(Posed by Farid)

Saturday, March 08, 2003

On Religious Minorities
I don't know if you are going to set an agenda for a discussion on human rights as I proposed or not, but I just like to mention something about the issue you addressed. Since these human rights are reiterated in Iran's constitution, it seems to me to be more of an issue of law and legal system than anything else. They may as well don't accept some human rights -though they have, at least implicitly by not rejecting it and using it as a matter of pretense- but these are explicitly expressed in constituition. So this can to a large extent be the result of a social taboo on talking about these two minorities and their problems , esp Bahaism , that no one has tried to raise the issue at least in press or other publications-no need to say that the legal system is out of question as they never let a Bahai have a lawyer or such a case gets hearing in a court. Why this taboo exists is a topic to talk about and to search the roots of.(posted by Farid)