Feb 28, 2011

Iran Opposition Preparing For More Protests

According to a recent news report, the Iranian government jailed two opposition leaders alongside their wives on Sunday, February 27. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had been under house arrest since the February 14th demonstration. The protest on February 14th, called 25Bahman, was organized by Green movement in sympathy for Egyptian uprising but was cracked down by the government.

As Iranian government put more pressure on oppositions, there is some news about the outbreak of a widespread protest tomorrow across Iran.

Social networking sites which belong to the Green movement say that tomorrow will be an important day for Iran - an important day on which people would have a peaceful demonstration against the government that jailed their leaders. Tomorrow’s demonstration coincides with Mousavi’s birthday. The Green movement website has already announced that the tomorrow’s demonstration will follow the same pattern as February 14th and will likely continue until their leaders are released from jail.

According to the BBC Persian website, which quoted from the Green movement website, as nightly protest began, the anti-government slogans have already been heard from Tehran and many other provinces. The Green movement has asked its supporters to peacefully march through streets and reach the squares. It also emphasized that protesters should remain in public places and squares until their leaders Mousavi and Karroubi are released.

Feb 27, 2011

Surviving Under Capitalism

It seems like a ridiculous weekend so far. On Friday night, I twisted my knee while I was playing soccer. The ground was quite sticky so I couldn’t turn my body as quickly as I normally would but my weight went on my left leg and tweaked at 90 degrees. My body was spontaneously rotated and rolled on the ground like a rock loosens from its bed and rolls down the valley. First I thought I tore my ACL or tendon, but when I saw part of my knee had popped out, I pushed it back into its usual place. It went back amazingly but the pain has not gone yet. I start walking for little bit when suddenly it popped up again and I again fell to the ground. This time, I could not move my body, so one of the soccer player called emergency and I was taken to the emergency room at Carlisle regional medical center.

It took me half an hour to do the paper work- imagine if this were to happen to someone who was in a very critical situation, what would it look like. I was pushed in a wheelchair and a nurse drove me to a small white room with a bed. The nurse wanted to help me to lay down on bed but I jumped up on my own and she laughed at my quick jump. I tried to convince myself that I am not that vulnerable. I have been through many kinds of difficulties, and these things are minor things I can easily deal with it.

The doctor came in and checked my knee and assured me that it is not serious; the nerves and muscles had compressed. He advised me to stay off of the knee as much as possible. The nurse brought a pack of crushed ice and wrapped it around my knee, I felt good and was released after almost an hour. When I checked the bill, they had charged me $290, just for touching my knee for less than two minutes.

It gave me a sense of understanding of what capitalism means and how I must survive in this country. I am trying my best to stay healthy, running and doing workouts just to repel any kinds of illness. Now, I am afraid of getting sick here.

It is unfortunate that I’ve also suffered from a ganglion cyst for the past two weeks. That was caused by an incessant period of damn guitar practice. Now, besides crippling, I suffer from a pain in my wrist, especially when I start typing- it torments me like a hell.

Feb 24, 2011

Why Egypt is so important to Afghanistan?

I have been following the Egyptian uprising closely, and besides blogging I have been tweeting constantly. One would ask why I am so curious and care about Egyptian events, which have seemingly nothing to do with my country.

Well, the answer can be anything, particularly including the fact that Egypt is influential on regional level and, more importantly, in Muslim world. It is not clear yet whether these upheavals will put Egypt in a crisis or lead to a prosperous situation However, in any case, changes in Egypt will impact the Muslim world in general and Afghanistan in particular.

According to the BBC, since the 1950s, Afghanistan and Egypt have had a long cultural relationship; there has been a formal educational exchange contract between the countries. Since that time, thousands of Afghan students have been sent to Al Azhar University to learn religious subjects.

The most obvious impact of Egypt is the birth of the Afghan Muslim Brotherhood party, which was founded by those students who had studied in Egypt in 1950s. They were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Today, there are more than 250 Afghan students at Al Azhar University. Ironically, the Afghan government did not pull out these students during Egyptian uprising, though every other foreigner from around the world was pulled out by their governments.

More importantly, the Afghanistan constitution is mostly based on the Egyptian constitution and Egyptian thinkers have been very influential among Afghans. Finally, the most striking impact of Egyptian upheavals on Afghanistan would be the weakening of Islamic fundamentalism because it originated in Egypt and it would fade there. Afghanistan has not been the source of any Islamic fundamentalism movements, but of course it has been a place in which extreme movements could easily grow and wrack and ruin the country very easily.

Feb 8, 2011

I blog, therefore I am

Have you ever heard the saying "I think, therefore I am?" Well, that is a philosophical phrase said by Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher. He simply wanted to demonstrate his existence and to prove that he is capable of thinking, therefore he is alive. I've twisted the phrase to "I blog, therefore I am."

Today, we are in the 21st century and to simply regurgitate what Descartes has already said, we get a palpable meaning of "I think, therefore I am. It goes beyond its existentialism definition. Perhaps Descartes was trying to explore the reason of existence philosophically, but if he had lived today and been able to observe the changes in today's world, he probably would have said something different.

He would see how much the world has changed and, with today's powerful mass communication tools like the internet, everyone has the ability to express themselves and demonstrate that they are because they are able to think and create things. We, as human beings, should be different from other species on the planet. What is that? That could be our identity, the identity that Descartes wondered about and inspired him to say that "I think, therefore I am."

That is what we are, therefore I am; I am to think, to be productive, creative, and innovative. I am because I can think, I can create, I live better, I change things, I can help others and that can bring changes to him or her. Therefore, I am. I blog about the people, culture, society, and politics, because I am. I blog to express myself, to prove that I am, to prove that I can still think, write, and be creative. I blog to let people know how and what I am thinking. I blog because I am interested in politics, culture, and, more importantly, in the issues of the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Feb 1, 2011

Too early to judge Egyptian uprising

Of course everyone is in a state of bewilderment, especially those who follow the news on Egypt's upheavals. For the last hours I have been reading some confusing opinion which were saying that Egypt will meet the same fate that Iran did. It is simply an assumption that doesn't necessarily represent or relate to the major theme but it can be counted as a concern.

We should not be confused or naively believe in what we hear from news channels. They are still struggling to realize what to do, how to frame their news, what their narratives should be regarding to Egypt upheavals. But one thing is clear to us that all these news channels are trying their best to cover the uprising.

One thing has been vexing me for the last few hours that the Western media are trying to portray the Egyptian uprising as a pro-democracy movement. Of course it's up to them what kind of narrative or interpretation they give out to their audience but if we carefully look at those placards and slogans that are expressed and shown for the last days, non of them represent democracy neither Islamic fundamentalism belief that the U.S and other Western countries scared of.

One thing is pretty much obvious that the Egyptian protesters are out there mostly because of their daily concerns that they are angry about. The participants are from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, they mainly focused on a number of issues which are important in their daily life, such as legal and political issues, police brutality, state of emergency laws, lack of free elections and free speech, widespread corruption, economic issues including high unemployment rate, food price inflation and low minimum wages.

Now, it is too early to call it Islamic movement or pro-democracy movement. The protesters will is to simply say good bye with a period of widespread corruption, inequality, oppressive and authoritarian regime which ruled by Hosni Mubarak for 30 years after Gamal Abdel Nasser assassinated in 1970.