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Socialnomics

an ‘interesting’ video on the rise of Social Media, and the shift in Paradigm that they are entailing.  I’m not sure i have an opinion on this yet:

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“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”   – Asimov

Another day went by in the unrest in Iran.   News came through early on about the results of the peaceful demonstrations of the night before and brutal violence of the security forces and Basijis, leading to the death – according to Tehran province governor – of 7 demonstrators, and 8 deaths according to medical staff and doctors at the hospital treating the victims (see video below).

Personally, before i go further i have some questions for Mr. Ahmadinejad (i dont doubt that there are a few million of us, each with our own questions).  First of all, i found his comment describing the protesters as ‘riff-raff’ ( i can’t find a link to the article/speech, would welcome if someone has it), oddly reminiscent not only of Sarkozy’s “racaille” comment, in 2005 sparking the paris riots, but also, of Shah’s similar comments, which in some ways sparked, or at least fed the revolution.  The Iranian people do not like being belittled or discarded with such epithets.

Secondly I would like to know, if you, Mr. Ahmadinejad, claim and believe this was a free and fair election, Why do you need to arrest opposition politicans (and here)?

Why do you need to arrest the country’s Human Rights Activists?

If you won then Why do you need to arrest the peaceful demonstrators?
If you won, then why do you need to shut down the country’s conventional and internet communication lines (and here and here)?
If you won then Why do you need to tell International media to shut up (and here)and kick them out or to arrest them and beat them up?

Why do you need to kill your own future, your own university students?
If you won, then Why do you need to kill your fellow countrymen who are protesting peacefully (also, see videos below?
Shouldn’t the president of a country LISTEN to its citizens, isnt that what democracy is about, and after all its YOU who said Iran has the healthiest democracy in the world?

—//   HERE ARE A LIST OF INTERESTING ARTICLES AND READING MATERIAL REGARDING THE CURRENT SITUATION

  • Getting back to Andrew Sullivan, he has been one of the most active livebloggers of the situation in Iran, and at least personally i’m very thankful to him.  (i really would like to know what makes him tick).  But he has been so with the spirit of the Green revolution, that at one point yesterday he was citing Rumi on the liveblog!!!

–// A COLLECTION OF VIDEOS FROM YESTERDAY AND TODAY (WARNING SOME FOOTAGE IS DISTURBING)

Another example of beautiful, peaceful, march of the protestors, in Tehran (jam-e jam):

Another (HD) video of the attack on the Basij base that had fired (and killed) some protestors:

SKYNEWS footage of yesterday’s demonstrations:

Doctors and nurses on protest:

Young protestor is shot in the stomach (disturbing video)

More violent attacks against protestors (disturbing):

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This is quite interesting and fascinating.  This is a letter from Ayatollah Montazeri, arguably the most senior cleric of the Islamic Republic (and one time supposed successor to Khomeini), regarding the stiatuion.  Thanks to Andrew Sullivan and “Views from the occident” for the text:

In the name of God

People of Iran

These last days, we have witnessed the lively efforts of you brothers and sisters, old and young alike, from any social category, for the 10th presidential elections.

Our youth, hoping to see their rightful will fulfilled, came on the scene and waited patiently. This was the greatest occasion for the government’s officials to bond with their people.

But unfortunately, they used it in the worst way possible. Declaring results that no one in their right mind can believe, and despite all the evidence of crafted results, and to counter people protestations, in front of the eyes of the same nation who carried the weight of a revolution and 8 years of war, in front of the eyes of local and foreign reporters, attacked the children of the people with astonishing violence. And now they are attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and Scientifics.

Now, based on my religious duties, I will remind you :

1- A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views. I fear that this lead to the lost of people’s faith in Islam.

2- Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.

3- I invite everyone, specially the youth, to continue reclaiming their dues in calm, and not let those who want to associate this movement with chaos succeed.

4- I ask the police and army personals not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children. Today censor and cutting telecommunication lines can not hide the truth.

I pray for the greatness of the Iranian people.

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  • Filed under: analysis
  • Well here is somethign new which certainly adds a whole new twist to things.

    In a radio interview with RadioFarda, Mohsen Makhmalbaf – the celebrated Iranian Filmmaker – speaking as a spokesperson for the Moussavi camp, is saying that the night/morning after the elections, the moussavi headquarters were informed by the Interior ministry, that they’d won,  and that they should prepare their victory speach.  The supreme leader as well as several reformist papers were also informed of this.  Then at one point, suddenly, all mobile devices of the moussavi camp are disconnected, as well as a more widespread loss of connexion, and the next thing you know, we have the results of Ahmadinejad’s victory (winning exactly 66% percent in every single voting location, statistically odd, if not impossible as mentioned in teh previous blog post).

    Now here is the actual interview (in persian):

    To this point, the only newsource reporting in english, i’ve found is The Real News Network.
    They also have an english translated transcript.  Read it all here.
    Here is an excerpt:

    Behind the scenes the news changed! All the mobile phones belonging to Mousavi’s campaign got disconnected. Also from couple of days ago the SMS messaging were disabled for all the mobile phones. It was communicated to the Reformist [Eslah Talab] newspapers [the papers of Mousavi's political party] that they were the winners but were told that they must refrain from announcing the victory. The campaign’s communications headquarters was shutdown and the responsibility for campaign’s communications was given to me [Makhmalbaf]. This is as much as I know personally.

    Until this point, I have personally received the information directly from campaign communications headquarters. From this point on, the only information I have, are through intermidatery sources.

    For example Mrs. Nooshabeh Amiri informed me that Mr. Majidi has abandoned Mousavi. Majidi has said that I lost hope, and has gone home. He has announced that tomorrow there will be a coupe in Tehran.

    Radio host:
    Mr. Makhmalbaf, this news that you are reporting is very serious. Based on which facts are you making such a claim?

    Makhmalbaf:
    The second portion of the story [the plans for a coupe on Saturday] was conveyed to me through an intermedietary source. It would be better if you talk with Mrs Nooshabeh Amiri, who is the direct source of this news. The portion of story, before the coupe, should be accepted as the truth under my responsibility. I was assigned by Mousavi’s campaign, since the headquarters were closed, the responsibility of communications for the campaign was transferred to me. Because of this, I announced that the victor of the election is Mr Mousavi and even Mr. Khatami had announced that the victor is Mr Mousavi and any other vote that comes out of the ballot boxes is clear fraud. I think that there are two possible theories here, first it could be that they wanted to announce the news slowly, so that the society is not shocked. Secondly it is possible that the minorities and even Ahmadinejad and Sepah have even performed a coupe against Hashemi and Khamenei. This is a very critical situation, and critical times for Iran.

    –//

    • Reports say that many foreign news sources (eg. ABC, BBC, etc) have either had their cameras confiscated or have been ordered out of the country.
    • A report on Javan-e Farda says that 120 members of the faculty at Sharif University have resigned in protestation.

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    Presidential CandidatesWell, its a day later, and i’ve got to admit, i’m still in shock, although i’m sure that i’m not the only person in that.  I’m talking of course about the results of yesterdays’ elections in Iran.  I’ve got to tell you it feels much more like a SELECTION than an ELECTION.

    I’ve spoken with my parents and others regarding this, watched the spectrum of news sources, from fox to al jazeera english, and listened to radio from iran to try and understand what has happened.  While the situation is unclear in Iran, and in Tehran, with clashes continuing in teh streets, the likes of which we’ve not had since the time of the revolution, it is blind hope to think that anythign will change i think.

    But here are just a few a things to think of, which seem not only aberrant, but perhaps hint at something unusual in the works.

    • The reason that Ahmadinejad was able to win the election last time, was due to vast nationwide elections boycott by the youth.  Yet, now, four years later, a disasterous economy later, with the youth rejuvenated Ahmadinejad manages a LANDSLIDE of this magnitude?  It would mean that all the youth that did NOT vote last time, joined in this time, AND VOTED FOR AHMADINEJAD? Seems to go against all that we saw in terms of 100,000 strong pro-Moussavi rallys.
    • According to Hooman Majd (during this talk given about his recent visit to Tehran during the campaign), while the city of Tehran was covered wall to wall by posters for Moussavi, Karroubi, Rafsanjani, etc, … he was able to find two (yes TWO) pro-Ahmadinejad posters.  According to him, this was because even within the Ahmadinejad camp, they had rather given up on Tehran.
      Now, consdiering this, Tehran is a city of 15 million, which makes it around 20% of the COUNTRY’S POPULATION.  And by proportionality, a fair share of the overall number of votes.  Nevertheless, it is reported that more than 50% of Tehran’s votes went to Ahmadinejad, which would mean that nearly all those iranian youth we saw at the pro-moussavi rally’s actually voted for ahmadinejad.
    • With 57% of the vote, The city of Tabriz (captial of the Azerbaijan province) went to Ahmadinejad, where he .  Which is odd considering that Moussavi was born not far from there, and is himself an ethnic Azeri!
    • Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic. has published a short article, showing A graph first published in Entekhab news (which interestingly enough is currently offline, and has been suspended at the time of this writing).  A graph which “shows how the proportion of Ahmadinejad’s victory remained totally stable through every vote update though the night”.  that is to say it remained perfectly linear.  This is considered by many to be a statistical impossibility.
    • Karroubi, got less than 1% of the vote.  In 2005 he got 17% of the vote.  Moroever his birht province, went to Ahmadinejad.  How is such a thing possible?
    • I dont see how Ahmadinejad could get such a landslide victory, unless he’s got the majority of the Woman’s vote.  Somethign which is incredibly hard to imagine, considering his stance on women’s freedoms, not to mention the wide support for Moussavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who accompanied him during the entire campaign, who is a former political scientist and advisor, as well a former university chancellor, and painter.
    • The day before the election, the head of the Revolutionary Guard, issued an ominious warning against what he called a “velvet revolution”, promising that it would be “nipped in the bud”. Now put this together with the incredibly odd coincidence that accordign to Tehran Times,

    The Operation Sovereignty began in different squares a few hours ago to ensure the security in Tehran,”" Colonel Mohsen Khancharli, a deputy head of Tehran’s Police Forces announced.

    The maneuver which began on 5 pm (12:30 GMT) will continue until all votes in the city are counted,”" IRNA quoted the Iranian police official as saying.

    You can’t help wondering, why would you need riot police in teh streets, BEFORE the end of voting, and having such a stern warning days ahead of time, unless the conservatives’ FORESAW a sitaution which would anger the people to the point to have them pour into the streets.

    • Widespread problems with not just SMS services, but mobile phone services as well, not to mention certain reformist papers and websites going down following the end of the elections.

    Anyways, here we are, and in the meanwhile, inside Iran, in Terhan and other cities, clashes continue between the disenchanted voters and the governmental police forces.

    There is no shortage of footage of what has been going on within Iran, all you need to do is go on youtube, and there are tens of videos being uploaded by the minute.  While i dont think of much i (or anyone else outside the country) can do, other than keeping our thoughts with those within the country, i’d welcome any news about activities, protests, demosntrations going on outside the country (i.e. here in paris)

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    Emoticons: say what now?

    Am i the only one who finds emoticons (i.e. smiley’s) not only useless, but also annoying and aggravating?

    What is the big deal about those? Everyone is so happy when new ones are released, or when they’re added to some beloved or much needed service.

    I just dont get it.

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  • Filed under: analysis, rant
  • The Cretan Glance

    Odyssey: A modern sequelThis was somethign that i sent to a bunch of friends in email some time ago, but has stayed with me. It is part of the Introduction to Nikos Kazantzakis‘s The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, translated by Kimon Friar. Being a huge fan of Kaztzakis after reading his famous and controversial “The Last temptation of Christ”, and “Saint Francis of Assissi” you can imagine my joy when i found an old version of the Modern Odyssey at Elliot’s Bookshop, back in Toronto. I bought, and never read it. I decided sometime ago to find give it a shot, and i was reading the introduction when i came across this, which truly struck me.
    i will apologize ahead of time, for the lengh of this, and i realize that you may very well not really even read the whole thing, but that’s alright. i dont mind. I took immense pleasure in it today, and i just wanted to share it.
    All emphases are added by me, and i’ve occasionally inserted comments in the brackets and in green[ ].
    ———
    kazantzakis“a man, writes Kazantzakis, has three duties. His firs tduty is to the mind which imposes order on disordr, formulates laws, builds bridges over th unfathomable abyss, and sets up rational boundaris beyond which man does not dare go. But his second duty is to the heart, which admits of no boundaries, which years to pierce beyond phenomena and to merge with somethign eyond mind and matter. His thrid duty is to free himself from both mind and heart, from the great temptation of the hope which both offer of subduing phenomena or of finding the essence of things.
    A man must then embrace the annihilating abyss without any hope, he must say taht nothing exists, neither life nor death, and must accpt this necessity bravely, with exultation and song [how lovely ]. he may then build the affirmative structure of his life over this abyss in an ecstasy of tragic joy [ahhh...how lovely and tempting]
    A man is now prepared to undertake a pilgrimmage of four stages. At the start of his journey he hears an agonized cry within him shouting for hlep. his first stepe is to plunge into his own ego until he discovers that it is the endangered spirit (or “god”) locked within each man that is crying out for liberation. In order to fre it, each man must consdier himself solely responsible for the salvation fo the world, because
    when a man dies, that aspect of the universe which is his own particular vision and the unique play of his mind also crashes in ruins forever
    [how beautiful, anthropocentric and narcissistic].
    In the second step, a man must plunge beyond his ego and into his racial origins; yet among his forefathers he must choose only those who can help him towards greater refinement of spirit, taht h may in turn pass on his task to a son whomay also surpass him. The thrid step for a man is to plunge beyond his own particular race into the races of all mankind and to suffer their composite agony in the struggle to liberate God within themselves. The fourth step is to plunge beyond mankind and to become identified with all the universe, with animat and inanimate matter, with earth, stones, sea, plants, … with the vital impulse of creation in all phenomena. Each man is a fathomless composit of atavistic roots plunging down to the primordial origin of things. A man is now prepared to go beyond the mind, the hart, and hope, beyond his ego, his race, and mankind even, beyond all phenomena and plunge further into a vision of the Invisible permeating all thigns and forevr ascending [sounds almost oriental/eastern in its implications, doesn't it?]
    The essence of the invisible is an agonized ascent toward more adn more purity of spirit, toward light. The goal is the struggle itself, since the ascent is endless.
    God is not a perfect being towards whcih man proceeds, but a spiritual concept which evolves toward purity as man himself evolves on earth. he not Almighty, for he is in constant danger, filled with wounds, struggling to survive; he is not All-holy, for he is pitilss int h cruel choice he makes to survive, caring entiher for men nor animals, neither for vitues nor ideas, but making use of them all in an attempt to pass through them and shake himself free [my note: doesn't this almost seems like a personification or humanization of some eastern beliefs? not to mention 'natural law'] he is not All-knowing, for his head is a confused jumble of dark and light. he cries out to man for help because man is his highest spiritual reach in teh present stage of his evolution. he cannot be saved unless man tries to sav him by struggling with him, nor can man be saved unless God is saved. On the whole, it is rather man who must save God [how beautiful....]. …
    …The essence of God is to find freedom, salvation. Our duty is to aid him in this ascent, and to save ourselves at last from our final hope of slavation, to say to ourselves at last that not even salvation exists, and to accept this with tragic joy [so much contradiction, so lovely]. Love is the force which urgs us on and which descend on us as a dance, a rhythm. Injustice, cruelty, longing, hunger and war are laders that push us on. God is never created out of happiness and comfort, but out of tragedy and strife [wouldn't nietzsche be proud?].
    The greatest virtue is not to be fre, but to struggle ceaselessly for freedom [i can't help shaking off the feeling that there is far more latent in that, than is evident on the surface] ….
    ….Nietzsche confirmed him in his predilection for the Dionysian….vision of life: ….of ascending life, of joy in action , of eecstatic motion and inpsiration, of instinct and adventure and daungless suffering, the god of song and music and dance; as opposed to Apollo, the god of peace, of leisure and repose, of aesthetic emotion and intellectual contemplation, of logical order and philosophical calm, the god of painting and sculpture and epic poetry. … however, that though this was for him a predilection and a biased emphasis, it was not at alll a rejection, but rather an assimilation of hte Apollonian vision of life.
    …. he then recounts how Dionysus came out of India clad in multicoloured silks, laden with bracelets and rings, his eyes ringed with black, his fingernails painted crimson. But as the god proceeded into Greece, his adornments fell from him on by one until he stood naked on a hill at Eleusis. Dionysus, the god of ecstatic and visionary drunkenness, had turned into apollo, the god of srence beauty. such, wrote Kazanzakis, is the progress is of art. Ultimately kazantzakis wished to combine the two in what he called the ‘Cretan Glance’. [more on that in a second]
    kazantzakis also took the exaltation of tragedy as the joy of life, a certain ‘tragic optimism’ of the strong man who delights to discover that strife is the pervading law of life, the ‘melancholy joy’ which Wagner discerned in the last quartets of Beethoven [the pleasure of paper-cuts some might even dare say].
    Henri Bergson…For Kazantzakis, as for Bergson, intuition (allied to instinct) is a more penetrating and more Dionysian vision which seks the essence of things, but both based their ultimate hop on the itellect which, as it growns stronger and bolder in evolutionary growth, sems to embody best the highest forms through whcih the elan vital may find its supreeme expression. …. Kazantzakis writes: ‘they ar no successive degrees of evoltuion, they are simply direction whcih the same fermentation took. Difference of quality and not of quantity exists between instinct and intellect. Instinct knows things, intellect the relationship between things. Both are cognitive faculties … intution has the advantage of entering into the very essence of life, of feeling its movement, its creation. But it has one great disadvantage: it cannot express itself.’ Language is an instrument of the intellect. That philosophy which wants to interpret experienc and to understand the essence of things cannot do it with the intellect alone. ‘intellect must therfore work hand in hand with instinct. Only the intellect, says Bergson, can seek to solve some prlbems, though it will never solves them; only the instinct can solve htem, though it will never seek them……
    ‘Life’, write kazantzakis stressing his words by underlining them, ‘is what inspiration is to a poem.
    Words obstruct the flow of inspiration, but nevertheless they exprss it as best they can. Only the humanintellect can dissect words, sor unite them, or delineate them grammatically; but if we are to comprehend the poem, something else is needed; w must plunge into its heart, we must live in its inspiration, …. only then may the words lose their rigidity and inflxibility or may the current rush on its way once more ….
    Like all poets, Kazantzakis is not much a sytematic Philosopher as one who, reachign out the tentacles of his mind and spirit, and garsping whatever might bring him nourishmnt, sucks up all into the third inner eye of vision peculiar to himself alone, and moves the reader with an imaginative view of life so intense as to be, in truth, a new apprehnsion. Basic to all of Kazantzakis‘ visions, as to that of Yeats, has been the attempt to synthesize waht seems to be contraries, antithess, antinomies. [talking about the Cretan Glance] this eye, this glance, between teh eye of the Orient (or Dionysus, who came from India or Asia Minor) and the ye of the Hellenic Greece (or Apollo_, Kazanzatkis called the Cretan Glance.
    He make two distinctions between Greec and teh Orint. the chief characteristic of Greece is to erect the secur fortress of the ego, th fixed outline which subdues diorderly drivs and primivite demons to the dictates of the enlightened and disciplined will. the supreme ideal of greec is to save the ego from anarchy and chaos. The supreme ideal of the orient is to dissolve the ego into the infinite and to become one with it. He writes: ‘odysseus does not, like th greeks, cast a veil over chaos, for he prefers, instead, to keep a sleepless vigil and to increase his strength by gazing into it; yet he never abandonshimself to chaos, for on the contrary, until the very last moment, when Death appears, he stands erct before chaos and looks upon it with undimmed eyes.’ This attitude toward life and death is not Greek, nor is it Oriental.
    He then goes on to trace the origins of his ‘cretan glance’: the cretan bull-fights has no relation to thos of modern spain. [i found this final passage very beautiful] The cretans confronted the Bull – the Titan-Earthquake- without fear, with undimmed eys, nor killed him in order to unite with him (the orient) or to be released from his presence (Greece), but played with him at their ease. “this direct contact with the bull honed the strength of the cretan, cultivated the flxibility and charm of his body, th flaming yet cool exactness of movement, the discipline of desire, and the hard-won virility to measure himself agaisnt the dark and powerful bull-titan. And thus the cretan transformed terror into a high game wherein man’s virtue, in a dierct contact with the beast, became tempered, and triumphed. The Cretan triumphed without killing the abominable bull because he did not think of it as an enemy but as a collaborator; without it his body would not have become so strong and charming or his spirit so manly. Of course, to endure and to play such a dangrous game, one needs great bodily and spiritual training and a sleepless discipline of nerves; but if a man once trains himself an becomes skillful in teh game, then evryone of his movements bcomes simple, certain, and graceful. The heroic and playful eyes, without hope yet without fear, which so confront the bull, the abyss, i call the cretan glance”

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    rahnema article

    Great Article by Saeed Rahnema

    This was in the editorial section of the Toronto Star today. It is a very well-written and nice article.

    Here is an excerpt:


    Rafsanjani and his associates like to combine a sort of China model (a Communist party leading a full-fledged capitalist market economy, or, in this case, an Islamic clerical oligarchy), and a Moammar Gadhafi model (maintaining a repressive internal status quo while improving relations with the West). Rafsanjani hopes the West would welcome this strategy and this might well be the case…

    ….

    Yet, the more they continue to rule in this manner, the more the Islamic regime is rotting from within and the less it is capable of pretending to be a legitimate popular government.

    This will eventually make them vulnerable to the constant push of the Iranian people toward establishing a truly democratic and secular regime.

    Unless there is an uncalled for foreign intervention, which will rejuvenate this ailing dinosaur, Iranians will eventually succeed in replacing this regime. We should only hope that Americans under the Bush administration understand this simple truth.

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  • Filed under: analysis, politics
  • Missile Defense Test Failure

    Hopefully this will answer any lingering questions in the minds of canadians about joining this stupid waste of money and resources.

    Source: BBC NEWS

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  • Filed under: Bush, US, analysis
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    • "Everyone, I have a very dramatic announcement, so anyone with a weak heart should leave now. Goodbye!" - - - Professor Farnsworth


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