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Happy Birthday Canada!!

I will see you in a fortnight, but for now, Happy Birthday!!

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Henry Rollins on his visit to Iran

CBC’s “The Hour with george strombolopolous” is one of the more interesting shows on the great canadian channel. They always have great guests, and he is not afraid to ask good and interesting questions.

Here is a show where he interview the always-interesting Henry Rollins. He recounts in the first part of the interview a trip he made to iran several months ago. Enjoy:

04:38 – February 09, 2007

If you are interested here is the Second Part of the Interview.[tags]the hour, cbc, henry rollins, iran, US, interview[/tags]

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God i miss hockey

thanks to duncan for giving me the heads up on this lovely bit of canadian hockey. God i miss watchign the leafs …

03:41 – January 04, 2007

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  • Filed under: Canada, sports
  • Something to Chill your blood

    Here is a very chilling article from Global Research

    It is a thoroughly researched paper detailing the recent military movements in and around the Persian Gulf, as well as teh Eastern Meditarreaniam, by US and NATO forces.  Showing what it calls the slow but sure march towards a war in the middles east (i.e. Iran and Syria).

    The reading itself is scary enough, if for nothing else other than it rigour and detailed analyis.  But as a canadian citizen (i should say soon to be ex-citizen if this is actually true … ), i was shocked, depressed and then not so shockd considering who is at the helm in ottawa, to read teh following.

    The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is actively collaborating in this military endeavor. 

    Canadian foreign policy has been steadily and successively militarized by two successive governments.  

    The government of Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal) implemented the “three-dimensional policy” of the “3-Ds” (“Diplomacy”, “Development,” and “Defense"),  adding a military component to Canadian foreign aid and development assistance.

     The 3-Ds brought Canada into performing as more active role in U.S.-led operations in NATO garrisoned Afghanistan. Despite the public protest, Canada has become an integral member of the Anglo-American military alliance. 

    Canada's involvement is not limited to Afghanistan as suggested by the press reports and official statements.

    Of course according to this article, all NATO forces would be involved in this.  I hope, with all i can, that these reports which are increasing in frequency on an hourly basis almost, are simply machinations of paranoid and over-analyzed minds…but…that's what we thought before the iraq invasion as well…..

    [tags]iran, US, war, middle east, invasion of iran, persian gulf, NATO, lebanon, israel, canada, stephen harper[/tags] 

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    Slowly the details are being released, but it appears that yesterday, in a Columbin-like attack, a man of 25 went on a shooting spree at a Montreal College (Dawson College).  To this point the only fatalities are one student and the shooter himself (named Kimveer Gill).  Although many are still injured (19 so far) and many in critical condition. 

    I don't think the details are very clear yet, but you can find coverage of it most canadian papers such The toronto Star, or the Globe and Mail.  According to these reports, the portrait painted of the young man, was that of an anti-social depressed youth, fan of metal and gothic culture, disenchanted with school, work, and life in general. The Star apparently managed to trace him to this weblog on the website for VampireFreak.

    Unfortunately Montreal seems to have a very bad record. Memories of the slaughter of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique at the University of Montreal, at the hand of Marc Lepine.  That event went unexplained since the gunman in the end killed himself, but the question hung around and has left its mark on canada.  And then it happens again. 

    You know, for me, the worst part of it all, is not going to be the questions it is going to raise, no, i'm far to pessimistic; it is rather that i know that soon, some politicians, of harper and his ilk, are going to start using this tragedy for further pushing their policies on the nation.  I just can't help wondering, when it is that someone (in the conservative media?) is going to start putting the word terrorist or something like in the same sentences as stories relating to this event. 

    I mean, let's be frank about it, the guy was of Indian origin, with dark skin.  There are going to be many who are not going to care whether he was even born in canada or not, the colour of the skin and the name behind the man will suffice.  I hate the fact that this is what comes to my mind, and that i have become such a cynic, but i can't help it.  

    i hope that such a thing does not happen, but if it doesn, it would be only another bit of misrepresentation by the media, in the wake of many other.  In the meanwhile, this leaves Canadians with even more questions about our society, and where it is heade:

    • What could drive a young man of 25 to such a point? Why would he feel so isolated and hard done by in his community.
    • Where would this man be able such guns? Are we going closer and closer to the american level of firearm availability in the society? This is a very serious issues i think, and i hope that it will be addressed.  Sadly i feel that as dramatized and mediatized as this event will become, no one is actually going to do anything constructive, but rather just interpret events to push forward their own agenda. 

    here are a few other links perhaps on the web which could be interesting. 

    [tags]montreal shooting, dawson college, kimveer gill,  [/tags]

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    War-Mongering conservative press

    This is the type of thing that makes my blood truly boil. This past friday in a report in that outlet of conservative war-mongering lies in canada, known as the nationa post there was a report that Iran's Parliament had passed a law, THAT ALL JEWS AND CHRISTIANS WILL HAVE TO WEAR BADGES IN IRAN! The report, by Amir Taheri,(titled "A colour code for Iran's 'infidels'") explained that:

    Religious minorities would have their own colour schemes. They will also have to wear special insignia, known as zonnar, to indicate their non-Islamic faiths. Jews would be marked out with a yellow strip of cloth sewn in front of their clothes while Christians will be assigned the colour red. Zoroastrians end up with Persian blue as the colour of their zonnar. It is not clear what will happen to followers of other religions, including Hindus, Bahais and Buddhists, not to mention plain agnostics and atheists, whose very existence is denied by the Islamic Republic.

    So, not surprisingly, the 'news' caught on like wildfire. Jewish communities from every in toronto to Israel start to denounce this, and blogs start to spread it, and in forums people start announcing that Iran should be bombed instantly and so forth. Yet you would not have been able to find this in more mainstream press, who are more commited to the 'truth' or at least fact-checking, such New York times, or the bbc or the guardian or so forth. (here is the actual coverpage that the National Post ran on the story. Look at that and tell me the effect it will have on an average reader who browses a paper.) Even those peace-loving world leaders such Stephen Harper and Australia's John Howard were quick to voice their disgust at this. Now it turns out that the Report was False. What a big surprise. In fact that the bill is only something to encourage returnign back to the Islamic dress standards of the past (during the time of Khomeini) for women. In fact (according to NYTimes):

    The bill does not call for police or other bodies to enforce stricter styles of dress for women. Instead, it rallies state agencies to promote Islamic dress and ''encourage the public to abstain from choosing clothes that aren't appropriate to the culture of Iran,'' according to the copy received from the parliament's press office.

    Yes, a bit of a stretch from forcing jews to wear badges. But you know what, the damage is done. Unforunately more and more you see stuff like this. Fox news and CNN are kings of this kind of reporting. You make a false report, then quietly later you retract it and apologize. The point is it has done its thing, it has left its mark on the public's psyche. And more people will have heard the news when it broke, than will ever actually hear of the apology or the retraction. People like this, who write pieces like this, and the papers that publish them, clearly always have an agenda. And obviously they do not care what the repercussions of their actions will be, or perhaps they do, and that is why they do them. Whatever happend to checking your facts? whatever happened to ethics of journalism? You realize that the media is no longer just a reporter of world event but a shaper of world events. It has (in physics terms) have the schrodinger Observer-experiment situation. It wasn't like this. I'm sure it wasn't. There was a time when the media and the press where on the payroll of warmongering megalomaniacs who think it is their crusade to impose their half-wrought lunatic views on the rest of the world. I am so disgusted. UPDATE: Reaction from the Blogosphere It is great to also see a wide reaction from the bloggers to set the events right. You can get great coverage of it from Arash (Kamangir) with an analysis of the bill here. You can also find reports of it at Webgardian and Zharf, as well as Adloyada. [tags]misinformation, press, national post, iran, holocaust [/tags]

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    My Iran and Me

    They had a very interestin program on Iranian cinema tonite, on ARTE, followed by Jafar panahi's masterpiece "Talayeh Sorkh" (Crimson Gold). And it all brought me a certain realization. The thing is for the last few years iran has become some magical for me. Every time i see any image of iran on tv or in the news my eyes fill with tears. Everytime i see images of tehran, any street that i might recognize, when i hear a name that i recognize, when i see a picture of my beautiful alborz mountains i just become overwhelmed. It's the same thing that makes me so hot and passionate and stressed out about all the political issues surrounding this land, its the same reason i simply cannot see any faults in the land, with its people or politicians. It's my country. It's funny to say that, because i havent been in Iran for almost 15 years now. When i left, i was 13, i had never gone outside of my little neighbourhood in the north tehran. I went through my adolescence in canada, i experienced most of my 'firsts' in toronto, whether it was a first kiss, or a first demonstration, or first day in university, or any other number of these life and character-forming experiences. And even though i love toronto, and i love canada, never in my life, no in my future will they ever be 'my country'. I know nearly nothing about Iran. the land that is there now, i'm sure has nothign in common with the country that i left. Perhaps the Iran that i love is no more than a figure of my imagination. But i dont care. I know that when i do go back to iran, whether it is in a few months, or a few years, i will not care, i will still love that land. Or maybe i won't, i don't know. All i know is that at this moment, as senseless as it may be I feel more connected to this land than anywhere else. I feel so much more for those people whom i dont know, who probably don't need my love, than any other people. It's funny, because i feel towards Iran and its people they way i feel about my beloved wife: I know her to be the strongest and most proud and indepednent person, and yet she is extremely delicate and fragile, and moreover i cannot bear the thought of anyone hurting her, in anyway. That's how i feel about Iran. I try and fight for Iran, and its image and so forth as you see whether its through this blog, or in discussion with people or with the articles i was writing in Shahrvand. And yet i wonder if the True Iranians, those who live in the land, would even care, or not even laugh me. They who are there, who are in the thick of the battle. Those who are there and fighting the good fight, feeling the pain of it, and being suppressed under the oppression, when or where its applied. To them i may seem like a fool, sitting in this free land and talking about fighthing this or that, and yet never actually doing anything. But at this point, this is all that is in my ability. This is how i can fight my fight. It may be a fool's effort, but it is out of love. I always tell myself that if in the horrifying event that the US or any other country might attack Iran, i would go back. I wish i could truly say that i would do that, but i dont know. What could i do that if there. At least share in the pain of it, with my brothers and sisters. But i hope that it never reaches that point. We always have friends or family who visit Iran and come back, and each of them give a different version, most of the time so apart from each other, that one thinks that they visited two seperate countries. But i realize that each person sees only themselves in that country. For us, people who left that land, we all have our justifications, by which we convinced ourselves that our choice was right. I am not saying that it was wrong. But the point is that the way we see Iran when we go back relates to our choice and reason for leaving. I feel as if this is turning into a meandering rant. I guess the point is this: I have not lived in Iran for more than half of my life now, most of adult life was outside of that beautiful land, but yet, wiht each that passes i feel more and more love that land, and i miss it more; even though what i miss is probably far from the actuality of it. But what can i do? This is how i feel.

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    Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

    Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

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  • Filed under: Canada, Iran, Media
  • American Succubus

    Hey Canada, This is what america thinks of us.

    (The succubus in this Fox News clip is Anne Coulter, the second bit is Tucker Carlson of CNN with Carolyn Parish.)
    (thanks to mud for link)

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    A Dogged Return to Toronto

    The delay in reporting has been long, but we’ve been back in Canada, as of last thursday.

    The trip, was in one word, unbelievably fantastic. It surpassed any expectations i could have had. And everything about the trip was awesome, expect for the return back; although the return only served to make the whole affair more memorable, in hindsight.

    So the Tuesday, Anne-Laure was giving a talk at Universite de Marseille, which was due to be finished by 4, and our TGV train was leaving for Paris at 6. Since our flight back was at 10 in the morning on wednesday, we decided to spend the night in the Charles de Gaule Airport, so as to not have to get up at 6 in the morning and lug our luggage around the paris subways in order to get to the airport.

    The only problem was that the benches in the airport were entirely not sleep-friendly. However the problem was somewhat alleviated by the fact that previous travellers had found the same problem also with the metal benches and had wrenched the metal hand-rests down so as to make it more easy to sleep on. However, combination of sleeping in a rather cold airport on metallic benches, combined with the fact that we had to cover as many bags and sacs and cases with our legs and arms while sleeping in order to prevent theft, left us sleeping in a cold distorted manner.

    Naturally we were awakened in the morning by a troop of japanese tourists taking pictures of us sleeping on the benches. Go figure (stereotypes my ass, it’s a way of life for them i guess). Anyways, groggy-eyed and frozen-backed we packed up and ingested our last lovely french croissants and headed for the terminal containing Air Canada.

    If i were to ever make my own dictionary, and were forced to define the adjective ‘ghetto’ in it, i would make references to the Air Canada terminal/services/events on the 5th of January 2005. for one thing, the air canada desk is at the end of the same terminal with air pakistan, air bangladesh and a cornucopia of other small airlines. We finally reached our destination and looked up at the big board which announces the flight times and so forth. Every single flight was listed except for canada. instead, in big flashing yellow letters, it was written for people in flight 881 and 871 (air canada to toronto and montreal) to contact their companies.

    Naturally, considering the day and age we live in, my first thought was that terrorists had crashed tugboats in the CN Tower. Then we regrouped and headed towards the air canada desk to seek an explanation. We reach it, and of all the flight desks in the entire airport, it is the only one were no one is present yet. It is Two hours before our flight now and there is no one at the air canada desk to take our luggage and give us our bording passes. we joined the long line of baffled and angry people. Finally the officials arrive. I can only surmise that they had slept in, for they offered no other explanation.

    So you would think our troubles would end at this point. But no. A team of 4 Air Canada people had to spend about 15 minutes to figure out how to organize the seperating cordons, in a proper way. I know you that it is not required to study number theory and combinatorics for this occupation, but i mean seriously… COME ON!

    Finally we go to our respective gate and wait to board. And we wait. And we wait. And we wait. Finally about 5 minutes to our original flight time, we board the plane. (By the way Air Canada is the only airline i’ve seen that flies over the Atlantic with TWO-ENGINE JETS). So we finally board, and we wait. and we wait. And we wait. And we wait.

    Around 2 hours later, our plane starts to move and head for the runway. In the next to me across the isle, was a guy who obviously had some kind of a flight phobia. The two hour wait was apparently really taking a heavy toll on him. Becuse he was gritting his teeth and sweating like a rhino in mating season. i dont know if it was his anxiety or pure unadulterated anger at the delay. Anyways, we finally go and line up to take off.

    Suddenly, with only a Swiss air flight to take off ahead of us, the captain comes on the speakers. He lets out a deep sigh and then with the gravest voice says:

    “as you know we are now ready to taxi onto the runway. But … unfortunatley … i’ve just been informed that a … dog has accidentally been put in the wrong luggage compartment, and as some of the compartments are not heated, we have to go back to the gate and put him in the right place. We apologize for this”.

    At this point i hear a popping sound, i look over and see my flight-o-phobic-angry friend across the aisle, is holding the armrest which he had just wrenched off, in his hand.

    We drive back to the gate and 30 minutes later, we hear the voice of our captain again:

    “So we have managed to fix the situation with the dog, but unfortunately we’ve used too much fuel driving around. So we’ll need to take 30 minutes to re-fuel”. I guess it was good that his girlfriend was with him, otherwise, i’m sure that the guy across the aisle would have torn someone’s head off, probably an air-hostess’s.

    Finally, three hours later, we get ready for take off, and in fact do take off. I won’t bore you (anymore) with the details of the malfunctioning TV system inside the plan, or the fact that the best movie they had to show was ‘Without paddles’. Nor will i discuss the implications of Air Canada’s notion of the word ‘food’. Suffice to say that we landed in montreal at 3.20 PM local time.

    Oh yes, i forgot to mention a little fact. Our connecting flight to toronto, took off at 3.15 PM local time. So, having a bit of time until 5:15, we decided that it wasn’t too much of a wait considering the fact that we had to pickup our luggage and deposit them again for the connecting flight, because we were crossing borders.

    Now, usually my luggage takes forever to come. However this time, it was the first and as i picked up my luggage and anne-laure, at the very same instant a sniffing dog, passed by and took an interest in our luggage. This of course was not due to the large quantities of chocolate we had brought back, but rather the two large corsican charcuterie (sausages) that we had brought back. And i guess the montreal guy didn’t like us, because he told us to go to customs, where they promptly direct us to a side room, opened our luggage and moved everything (that had been delicately packed) around and finally, confiscated the saussages.

    at this point we have to run in order not to miss our second connecting flight. finally we get to it, and an hour later arrive in toronto, exhuasted from our 30-hour sojourn.

    So now we have arrived, and the past few days have served to get us back into the flow of things. The trip was truly fantastic. We took somethign like 400 pictures, which i will slowly start to post on the Photoblog.

    So good to see eveyrone again, and next time if you have the choice….DON’T FLY WITH AIR CANADA!

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