White Balloon

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

Friday, September 23, 2005

Disasters, nature and our duties

The nature is acting up these days in our side of the world. By now means, it doesn't make sense to have 80 degrees weather, here in Pennsylvania when it's almost October! As much as the politicians try to ignore the science behind the global warming alerts, we are observing a clear effects of it in our daily life this year.

These are terrible days for the people of Southern US. The Rita storm is on its way and water has already passed the Neorlean's levee and who know what will be left of this half-ruined city. The enormous destruction of public and private properties will probably cause a slow and weak economy in those southern states for many years. The effects that usually load their weights more on the poor, are going to stay in the area for at least couple of years. The mother nature has been usually nice to America, a land filled with extreme source of natural wealth, water, fertile soil, etc. And historically this is probably one of the important reasons that America became the land of opportunity with the largest economy. At the same time, we are the most polluter nation of the earth with the highest usage of metals, gas and non-recyclable products. I just hope that the events like Katrina and Rita, reminds all of us about the duty that we all have about the protection of our nature. Besides the stupid party-line politics of the republican government, it's been a while that the environmental protection has even been erased from the mainstream discussion of this country. Let's take last year's presidential election for example. Minimum time was spent on any of the debates, talk shows about such an important issue. Just compare it with the coverage of the other issues like abortion or gay marriage. Even John Kerry (comparing with Gore) and generally the Democratic party didn't have any powerful message on that.

Let's hope that our mainstream media give at least half coverage to such vital issues, as they give to the sexual affairs of celebrities. And hope that our politicians give their corporate attachments a little bit of break and think more about some regulations on their destructive policies. I hope George Bush stops telling us "I'll not sign any treaty that put American jobs at risk)", when his policies are putting thousands lives at risk!
And last but not least, we have a duty of pushing our politician with this basic right, by whatever means possible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I'm terribly worried about Iran and its future. The current political developments of Iran's nuclear program and the upcoming UN security of council referal is quite scary. How much should we suffer from the incompetency and stupidity of a group of militia who only benefit from isolation of the country and their political and economic monopoly?
I'm scared of sancation regimes. I keep thinking about Iraq in 1990s and its full isolation from the world and the stupid oil for food program. I think about the closure of international borders, about completion of the police state project of Khamenei and his militia. I think about the shortage of food and medicine. I think about the children with no drinking water and vacination the minority who can fill their bank accounts out of these sanction regimes. I think about the continuation of US presense in the Persian gulf with the excuse of Iran's danger and the billions of dollars that US tax payers should pay for that presense. I'm definitely not optimistic these days! That's what I have learned after Sep 11 in our world.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Photo of the day (maybe the year!)

Don't miss this one. The photo caption that Reuters has put, is the best part!

Monday, September 12, 2005


one of those mondays that I don't even know what to wish! For next Friday? For last Friday? ...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Notes from Edinburgh

I wrote the following notes during the time that I was in Edinburgh, but I never got time to continue them. Anyway, in addition to the notes, here is a set of very beautiful photos that one of the people who attended the conference in Edinburgh, took from that beautiful city and also the events around the conference. And of course me and my dear friend are both present in couple of dance pictures :)

1. Edinburgh is a very beautiful city and has a great unique character. When Paris and Edinburgh are sunny, they are the most beautiful cities that I have have seen. The city is filled with medieval and Renaissance architecture and its historical character has been preserved pretty good. After visiting the national museum of Scotland, I figured out how little I know about the history of Scotland and the reform movements of the Protestants in the church. As a middle eastern who is hopeful for a Renaissance within the Islamic societies, I usually try to map the circumstances of these reform movements to our own society. But of course, there is whole a lot of difference between the worlds and historical conditions.

2. The type of conversation that you can make with European people is definitely more fun for me. Besides the fact that most people are very aware about the current affairs of the world and politics, you can enjoy a lot from random chats, about social and cultural issues. Even talking about sports with these people is easier for (since we both love football (soccer)). But one important difference that I see between the Europeans that I talked here and the Americans that I talk there is: The European fellow knows about the world and cares about it a lot, but sees himself superior to the third world. He or she believes that since Europe is more civilized, it should care about the state of the third world. But I never see this type of superior feeling when I talk with the American fellow. When you get to the depth of American people, you really feel how humble and simple they are about their country and their position in the world.

3. Life in Europe is super expensive.


When I read about this story about the Katrina's aftermath in the neighboring states, I thought about the people of Dogville. Couple of times I wanted to write some notes about the turn of the events after this huge storm. But I really felt speechless, because it was really dificult to digest the situation in 21st century America. From the stupidity of the administration (personally, I didn't expect more from Bush) in early handling of the situation, to the dirty pictures of poverty, rape and violence that were shown to the world. Besides the government's poor handling, one sad observation that I had (in my school and town) these days was how little people talk and care about the misery that has happened to their fellow citizens. The other day, I was thinking about the reaction of Iranian people when the Bam earthquake happened 2 years. At a period that political chaos and corruption has filled the whole atmosphere of the country, I saw and amazing level of solidarity and care from people from all levels of the society. I can't forget the rainy evenings after the incident in Tehran when I saw hundreds of people bringing all sorts of goods and money, and the long lines of blood donations and volunteer sign ups.

Maybe my vision is too much dark towards this society, but believe me: at the time that the propaganda machine of this country keeps talking about democracy and social justice for the Middle East, this lousy economic and cultural condition for the citizens of this country is truly a shame.
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