White Balloon

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

Sunday, November 26, 2006

For Babak Bayat

Iranian film music composer, Babak Bayat passed away in Tehran this morning.

Salute to you sir! salute! You kept us alive for many nights and days. Your music was one major aspiration of playing piano for me. Still whenever I take the time to sit and touch the keyboard, the flow of your chords are sensible in my hands. Of course your name was quite appealing to me since it was my brother's name too. I remember how much we talked with Majid about your magical skill of writing unique and memorable melodies. And a few months ago, when I was searching in the pile of cassettes and CDs in music store of Tehran, I suddenly found one great collection that I wanted for years: A collection of film music by Babak Bayat.

For many of us, it started with "khoroos zari, piran pari". The songs and whole story line was unique and certainly shaped many of the metaphorical concepts in my mind. And then, you came with "Soltaan o shabaan". That magical mixture of sadness and joyful and dreamy music. That music became the soundtrack of my life for a while.

Then, we listened to "Sokoot Sarshaar az naagoftehaast" with the warm voice of the great Shamlou. Your typical small string orchestra with strong hits of the cello and the rain drops of the piano of Andrea Arezoomanian. That music, that poetry and that voice: How to put that joy in words?!

We the young travelers of an unstable land, took all our hopes and dreams and our ideals to the dark rooms of cinemas. We sat there, laughed and cried and learned about love and life. Iranian cinema became our window to our ideals and dreams. And your beautiful music massaged our joy of that silver screen: Shayad Vaghti Digar, Aroos, Noghte Zaf, Kashti Anjelika, Pardeh Akhar, Mosaferan.... Then there was "Piroozi dar Chicago", when for the first time we heard the magical sound of "Saxophone" on the streets of Tehran. We walked home, humming your music after a memorable night of our life with a hope that our country might get closer to our utopia. It was certainly a nice dream.
Salute to you sir. Salute to you and a few others who kept that dream live for us. Be Dorood.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Iraq, Lebenon and my skeptimism about the Middle East

The situation in Iraq is shame for America and some of the middle eastern countries. Hundreds of dead bodies are scattered around each city. How many families are mourning these days? How long the wounds of these shameless power struggle going to stay in the minds of people? The land is filled with the message of hate. Brother killing is the trend of the day. It is impossible for me to analyze the situation in my mind. How many attacks? How many suicide bombers? How possible is it to recruiter these many suicide bombers to go and kill moslems. In the Palestine, despite all the frustration and tough conditions that exist in places like Gaza, these many bomber do not exits. What's going in Iraq? They say these are non-Iraqis. But what sort of brain washing mechanism should be there to encourage these many young people to go inside mosques, markets and kill moslems.

Lebanon is also in a fragile and shaky situation. I was reading one Farsi blogger who writes from Beirut. Things are so tense on both Hezbollah and Anti-Syrian sides that small bit of craziness that lead to a long civil war. Still my hope is that both the Hezbollah and the anti-Syrian sides show some sort of wisdom and avoid a head to head confrontation. Unfortunately both sides of the conflict are counting big time on their foreign supports. Hezbollah's leadership has lost its independence and is completely acting as a token force of Iran and Syria and the Anti-Syrian faction is not going to accept the polarized state of Lebanon and the deep influence of Hezbollah on a big part of the population.

Despite the loss of the US election, it is difficult to imagine that influence of the Neo-Cons in the region is going to be weakened. Specially that US is one part of the story and years of destructive policies of these people have given so much power to their indirect allies in the region that things can be not be easily rolled back. To clarify: I see Ahmadinejad as an indirect ally for the neo-cons in region. The alliance is not a directly negotiated alliance. It's an indirect support that these people have for each other to gain power in their localities. 9/11 was not only an attack against freedom in America. Its indirect effects went all around the world including Iran. The stupid aggressive and arrogant policies of neo-cons in the middle peace gave a strong boost to the power of corrupt militias and revolutionary guards who were waiting for a golden moment. Naive and passive policies of the progressive elements in Iran added to such a boost. A few weeks ago, it was surfaced to the news that right after the occupation of Iraq, the reformist Iranian president (Khatami) wrote a letter to the US leadership and asked for a mutual dialog to resolve all issues between two governments including the recognition of Israel. Apparently the master of Neo-cons in White House (Cheney) has cut any discussion about such a letter and has simply ignored it with the excuse that "we don't talk to the evil".

All I want to say here is that it's naive to believe that the US Congressional election is really an end to the recent trend of Neo-Cons arrogant policies in the region. The undemocratic nature of the affairs in the middle east, still can act as a way to boost the Neo-Cons and generally all extremist elements (eg: Ahmadinejad) to a large extent.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Back Again

I have become some how obssesed about writing in a way that I end up not writing at all. School is stressful as usual and I'm getting ready for the main PhD exam that is a month away.

So much (At the same time so little) is going on in the world: The US election was a relief after years of continious depression. But I should say that I'm still not really excited about many of the democrates who are substituting the republicans. In our state of PA, the new Senator Casey turns out to be a super conservative that makes wonder what change can I expect him to make. I actually voted totally Green in the election, probably because the Democrates victory in all offices were secure.

Things are quite messy around me these days. There is a sense of unstability in many of my dear ones and tensions and stress level is quite high domestically. Tough to really control it all. I try to look back and think what has been going on in the last month and I have tough time to rememeber what I really have achieved. So much of ongoing stress.

Not that much of movie watching. I only watched the Squid and the Whale that was supposed to be a strong independent movie, but I didn't enjoy the movie at all. The satire was not really funny and to some extent depressing. The movie was about a divorced family situtation, but it simply focused only on the sexual side effects of the divorce at the surface and shallow level.

So, I guess it's clear now that I'm going through a an uneasy period. When will it be over? I don't know. But I know one thing: I need to stay focused, work hard and don't lose hope. It's gonna be over.
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