White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Human Rights

Imprisonment of Akbar Ganji is a clear violation of Human Rights.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Presidential Election in Iran (4)

I see all this disqualification and its reversal, a naive political bluff to give a positive image of Khamenie who lacks any credibility and legitimacy among most of Iranians. 8 years ago on this day, Iranian people overwhelmingly voted for Khatami which was a big blow to Khameneie and his gang who did every possible stupid act to get another candidate elected. And over the past 8 years, he's tried several time to ACT as a balanced voice in crucial conflicts... Of course not a bit of success.

Presidential Election in Iran (3)

OK. Dr. Moeen The single semi-progressive candidate who had a chance of winning the election is disqualified. What to say! Surperised? Disappointed? Angry? Just concerned about the days of frustrations, riots and bloodshed in our land! Apparently our dictators never bother to read history!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Media Effect

One advantage (or maybe disadvantage) of our summer housing here in LA is that we have access to cable TV (at our real home, we never pay for TV). So I can catch up with a few shows that people have watched long time ago:

Sex and the city is an interesting show that I watched two of its episodes over the past two weeks. The docu-drama style of the show with the fine performance of Sarah Jessica Parker is quite attractive. The show touches interesting spots about some of the dilemas of the women in the developed countries that with some local differences can be mapped to similar dilemas for people in developing countries. Of course the show is mainly about the emotional and sexual aspects which is a slice of the problem space, but at least has a pretty creative look into those problems. The show is sucessful to picture the busy and complexities of life of the upper class in the 21st century NYC. The main characters of the show are people who have sucessful career in the media, publishing and other industries. While watching the show, the interaction of these ordinary characters with the current social trends (that we usually look at them as the trends that media feeds into the society) is very interesting. In some ways, these people are the ones who create the media content and at the same time we see a picture that is the feedback of that media content on their personal life.

While observing a different picture of life in a large metropolitan like LA, I keep thinking about the ways that politicians and media can touch people's mind in these huge places. The diversity of ideas and reactions to social and political issues are much larger in these types of places and media definitely has a tough time to get people's attention. Just imagine that many people in these types of places are in some way the contributors media and economic and political entities (stock market, Thinktanks, etc). One question that keeps blinking in my mind: In a place like New York, LA, Chicago, London, Paris, etc. are the politicians and the media real rulers of the people? Does the classic view that media is running a country like US, really work in these places? How the same news stories, the same rehetoric, the same logic can be effective for people of a small town in Nebraska and downton Manhatan?

I doubt that I'm clear on these thoughts, just wanted to keep them recorded.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Busy times ....

Although it's summer and I'm supposed to be more free, but the combination of my summer internship and also a conference paper deadline (that I work on it in the evenings), have filled most of my times. If there is any bit left, we try to spend it outdoor. The silly part is that my computer in the lab that I work is a Sun Unix station which does not even have Mozzila on it. I'm not able to read any Farsi page at all and many of the English sites like blogger don't work properly either.

But besides these naggings, life is beautiful here in LA area. The weather is very pleasant here next to the beach and constantly Sunny. it's usually a 30 minutes walk to my work and I guess in a city that on average people spend couple of hours in traffic and commute, it's a blessing to be able to walk to work. I leave more stories about this city for a later chance.

Things are happening so fast in Iranian politics these days. Now Hashemi-Rafasanjani is running for sure. Unless some radical change happens in the reformist camp of Khatami (introducing a better candidate in the last minute which is Friday evening), Hashemi will be the next president of Iran. The turn out in this election is not clear. The regime is very desperate to collect vote and show off legitimacy to the world, but I can't imagine a turn out more than %50. Most of people who are undecided about voting for the reformist candidate (Dr. Moeen), will give up because they are sure that Hashemi is going to be the winner this time.

Nuclear talks of Iran and EU are going crazy and it's clear that this summer, right after election there is going to be a trmendous media coverage about Iran and its nuclear ambitions. For now, US is quite silent, waiting for the elections to be over. And there is also N.Korea which is filling the air with its testing plans. Maybe that's the reason that Iran is going crazy these days and keeps talking about re-starting the Uranium enrichment programs. ...

At least for now, I'm happy to see that the bully diplomat (John Bolton) is stuck with his own party.

Gotta go....

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I'm in Los Angeles for a summer position. After about 10 years of leaving Tehran for US, this is the first time that I live in a mega city like LA. Still it's too early to talk about things here, because so far most of my time has gone to preparing our housing and also my job which started a day after our arrival.

Something strange that I've observed here: It was the first time in the land of shopping and consuming, that I saw the retailer was not able to respond to the consumer's thirst of shopping. We went to Target and Walmart stores to buy couple of basic things like paper towel, trash basket, etc. and we found shelf after shelf empty. The stores were such a mess filled with people who were competing with each other to grab the remaining stuff. For a second it reminded me the years of the war (Iraq-Iran) that stores were like this in Tehran. Yes, LA is really huge with a lot of people.
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