White Balloon

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

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tel Aviv, you're in trouble!

Israeli army is going crazy. What are they thinking? Is this weakening Hezbollah? Shame on Amir Peretz who calls himself the leader of a progressive party!
When they get even their buddy, Condi Rice pissed off and frustrated, that means they are really out of their mind.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Which side of Iran?

It's clear that Iran has had quite a bit of role in the initiation of the conflict in Lebanon. One question is which Iran?
This article from last week of Time magazine digs into this question. I don't agree with the key-players that he proposes (I don't really see Khamenei in full opposition against Ahmadinejad). But I believe that the general idea (probably a fight beween Hashemi-Ahmadinejad) still holds.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Notes of a changing mind :)

I was thinking about people around myself: Reyhan, Babak, Baba, Maman, Azad, etc. and came to my mind how much I do to help them and how little I do. How much I have waisted my mind over these past few years on the world affairs while nothing has been achieved and actually things have got worse. There was a moment of feeling so much helpless about the world, but powerful about improving the world around me.
I'm still quite weak about having a concrete and strong vision about the future and my main wishes of life and maybe that's the reason that my mind get easily manipulated by the current affairs. Dreaming about changing the world, while not be able to change even the quality of life for the dear ones. I constantly live in the future but without having a clear dream of that future? Among all the large bag of my ideals, which one are the most important one? Which one are really the thing that I want to have?
It's very important to have clear dreams, plans and wishes for the future. Where do I want to be? Where do I want her to be? What about our relationship? What's the dreamy setup for 5 years from now? What about my family? And then plan and move towards these. It's definitely not like that now. There is so much distraction, so much confusion and uncertainty and too much of relativism about every move, every judgment. Something major gotta change.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ceasefire Now!

We have a Middle East peace forum in our university that I have been taking part in it since day one last year and of course there is quite a bit of debate on our email forum these days. I wrote the following piece for that forum. Most of it has been said here, but still ...:

This is practically a war between Syria-Iran vs. Israel. As an Iranian, I should express my deep feeling of shame and sorrow for Lebaness, Palestinians and Israelis. I'm ashamed of Iranian government's policies which has resulted in this bloody campaign.

Hezbollah which had a fairly good history in the resistance against Israeli occupations and had an important national role in Lebanon fell into this trap and now lost its credibility. At the same time Israel is also falling into a dangerous trap. My understanding is that they want to use this war to defuse all the Iranian-Syrian influence in the region. Maybe they feel that this influence is the main obstacle for the US to take a serious tough stand against Iran's nuclear file. maybe! Getting back into the Lebanon business is one huge gamble for Israel. It can cause more harm to its security than the Iran's nuclear technology which is still 5 years away from becoming any serious threat (This is what US state department says).

Besides these political matters, I would like to ask my friends to think twice of what they are supporting these days. Guys, I keep hearing the same justifications that the media feeds us. Things like "This campaign is not in response to 2 soldiers abduction", "Hezbollah has been attacking Israel with rocket attacks for months" (these are not exact quotes, but more the ideas exchanged) or calling the current rocket attacks of Hezbollah against Haifa as "resistance"!
I did a search on our forum archive and there was not a single mention of "Hezbollah" or "Lebanon" prior to July 14 in our discussions. If those missile attacks of Hezbollah were this much important to the Israeli friends, how come there is not a single mention of them in any of the discussions here? More than being Israeli, Iranian, Egyptian, Muslim, Jews, etc., we are all human. and there is no justification to the killings of more than 300 civilians (Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinians) in this stupid war. We are not politician to look at the people's lives as pieces of the chess board. A bit of idealism is never wrong when it comes to humans' lives in front of our eyes.

Let's hope and talk about the ceasefire today before it's too late. I personally am calling my local reps to ask for doing whatever it takes for a ceasefire NOW!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The non-changing political cliamte of the middle east

Another failure in negotiations between the major powers of the middle east. The result: another stupid military adventure by Israel in Palestine and Lebanon. It was clear since a few months ago that some circles both in the Palestine and Israel are going to crack the political development path. They tried all sorts of crisis creation: Shooting innocent civilians, Explosion at the beach, one suicide bombing, etc. In all these events both sides keep pointing at each other and generally there is enough chaos in the region that makes any investigation impossible. But on the political side there were signs of progress: Hamas was getting closer to recognition of the Israel and some financial assistance was flowing to the Palestinian territories. On the other side there were signs of progress in the nuclear negotiations of Iran and the government finally took a shape in Iraq. And suddenly things didn't work out: The negotiations failed on most fronts. And a simple stupid acts like taking one Israeli soldier as hostage ignites a new round of conflict that so far has resulted in the death of over 50 people (mainly Palestinians).

Israel has been brutally destructing Palestinians' fragile infrastructure to make the Hamas government paralyzed. And now Iran and Syria have joined the battle by using their Lebanese Hezbollah buddies to do things across the borders and the war has got . Middle East is all like that: Let's talk for a while, if we make progress: good! if not, let's fight for a while to see who has better muscles. then next time when we talk we know where does each party stand!

As I think more, I see that there is still a bit of hope on the political side: Hamas has been careful not to start a new round of suicide bombing. Iraq is still fairly same as before. If things get worse in the next few days, we will see more terrible things like that. And probably a few months down the road, new rounds of negotiations for Iran's nuclear file, Palestine-Israelis, Iraq's unity government, etc...when a few hundreds people lost their lives and their future. It's really a sad and sick power game over the energy and market control!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I watched the last 15 minutes of the game last night. We had gone to watch the spectacular River Dance show in downtown Dublin and as we walked out of the music hall, there was a huge LCD screen on the other side of the street with about 100 people watching the game. And that final 15 minutes turned out to be the golden moments. I was so amazed how the most logical team of the world (Germany) can be crushed in the matter of a few seconds. They did not really cared the importance of the last few minutes and forgot their typical conservative approach to football and that was all Italy needed. That was a proof to unpredictability of football. Although I liked to see Germans play in the final, but Italy's brilliance (Irish effect on my language :)) was so sweet.

And we saw a great moment of joy among the Italians on the streets of Dublin. Hundreds of them were carrying flags and singing. This was a memorable World Cup for me to see the real picture of football crazy Europe.

At the middle of all those celebrations, it came to my mind: despite all the globalization and actually in the heart of Europe which is all about removal of borders and unification of nations: We observe this much of patriotism in football among nations. That's a good hint to the politicians and business circles: There is something underneath all this unified Europe and that's the identity of each individual nation which still sits on top of everything.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Tonight I watched the recent Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm winner: The Wind that shakes the Barley. Coincidentally the movie is about Irish Independence and the resistance against the British. It was quite fortunate to watch the movie in Ireland and discuss it. The starts with the British colonialist brutalities which stems the Irish armed resistance under the name of IRA. An era of fraternity and concrete struggle around a single cause which results in some sort of concession from the British side. But after such a victory, the split starts: Some believe in continuation of the struggle till the full victory or sticking to what's already gained and win the rest in a political non-violent struggle. The movie does a good job in presenting diverse views in the debate. And it's so sad to see that when the split starts the same brothers who were fighting against brutalities of British, do similar acts to their own people. That's the familiar story with most political revolution and struggle.
The movie again brought me back to some basic political and ethical questions about the right judgement about political struggle. The picture that the movie starts with is a totally dark situation that exist in many places in our world. Places that there is no hope for a democratic reform movement and a political change of affairs. Does a violent and armed struggle make sense in those spots? You observe the sufferings of the generation after generation and keep silent for the hope of what? In countries where basic level of even non-violent opposition to the regime is crushed with the most cruel policies, what's there to hope?

Then other side of me says: come on, at least nowadays behind most of violent struggle, there is whole a lot dirty power struggle and what's not really at stake is the future of those generations. I take the Palestine-Israel conflict as a good example that I have been studied better recently in a peace forum that we have in our university: After serious discussions about the foreign influence in both Israeli and Palestinian sides: it is clear to me that those governments that sympathiser with either side, practically don't give a damn about the people in the conflict. I take US for example who is called as huge supporter of Israel: US spends billions of dollars as grants and loans to Israel, but practically all that money is injected into arm sales. So practically the whole Israel thing is a channel to inject a good portion of US tax dollars into US arm companies. Does Dick Cheney who doesn't give a damn about Americans' blood in Iraq, really cares about Israelis' peace?

On the other side, I look at Iran or Saudis who have quite a bit of influence on Hamas and other armed factions of the Palestinian side. How can I believe that these corrupt governments that use every possible violent policy against their own people, have suddenly become so humane to help Palestinians? Isn't Palestine really a channel for these government to impose their regional influence and negotiate their own agendas with the west around the concept of Palestine? So with such a dirty picture, then how can I have any support for the armed struggle of Palestinians? I definitely sympathise with those individuals who are suffering them. I even sympathise with the naive suicide bomber who is so desperate and frustrated with life to do such an act, but the bottom line is that I condemn the leadership who uses the hopes and emotions of their own people for the sake of their power and political domination.

Actually if you talk to Irish people today (south Irish), majority of them don't have any positive view about IRA. They IRA brought a long bloody war for the Northern part which was never won by either side. And along the way, to finance their movement, they got involved in many corrupt activities like drug and arm smuggling that does not really associate with any progressive movement.
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