Monday, February 27, 2006

VOA Persian versus Al-Alam TV

Most people are aware of the conflict between the US and the Islamic Republic at the moment. Part of this conflict is currently being fought on air waves via TV stations.

I won't even bother to talk about the thrash LA based Persian TV stations, as I have written so much about them before. These TV stations are on shoe string budgets and thats all one can expect from them. VOA Persian program however, does have a proper budget. It has around 200 employees, if I am not wrong, so one should expect more from it than Persian TV stations based in LA.

Similarly the Islamic Republic of Iran, launched Arabic language Al-Alam TV station immediately after Saddam was overthrown. Unlike VOA Persian however, Al-Alam is is broadcast terrestrially.

Let me just give you one example of how the two operate. Conclude for yourself how gutless one is and how bald the other is.

Its February 11th, the anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Iranian exiles in London have gathered outside the Iranian embassy in London. They are almost all dressed in black signifying a black day in Iranian history. They are handing out leaflets which state this day is the birth of global Islamic terrorism. They are showing the world that not all Iranians are supporters of Ahmadi-Nejad. VOA reporter comes to the demo. She records the demo, the placards, talks to some demonstrators, and the English public who are reading the leaflets and their reactions. Everyone is happy that their effort is receiving coverage, until they see that none of this is broadcast on VOA TV. Why? apparently the goody too good editors in Washington, have decided that the demonstrators and their slogans were too radical in asking for the overthrow of the theocracy in Iran!

Few days later, there is another demo in London in support of the jailed bus drivers in Iran. The VOA reporter once again goes against the norm of most Iranian exile journalists who prefer to receive news while sitting behind their desks, to cover the event. This time the demo does get a few seconds coverage, but none of the interviews with the protesters or the main representatives of the unions. Bizarrely the footage of this demo is also shown in the middle of an interview with some obscure Iranian figure resident in LA, who claims to have a large underground party in Iran, despite the fact that no one has ever heard of it nor does any one know any action ever carried out by this non-existent "party". But most of all what does the London rally in support of the bus drivers in Iran has anything to do with this self proclaimed Iranian opposition figure who obviously suffers with mental problems?

80% of the VOA programs are about non-Iran related news. News about the Philippines, Brazil, Congo... why would I want to watch this sort of thing on VOA Persian, when I can watch them on Euro News. Am I wrong in saying most Iranians want to watch a satellite TV like VOA Persian, to hear about Iran related news?

Now lets look at the other side, Al-Alam TV. An explosion has rocked the Askariya shrine in Samarra, Iraq. Al-Alam TV is quick broadcasting speeches by the Iranian president, blaming the attack on "intelligence agencies of the occupiers of Iraq and the Zionists."

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the powerful Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), a movement aligned to Tehran, appears on Al-Alam and blames U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for the attack. "Certainly he is partly responsible for what happened,".

None of the niceties of VOA Persian - oh we can not show footage when such radical slogans are shouted - boom, Al-Alam does not miss the opportunity, it goes for the jugular as the Islamists in Iran often do and channels all that uncontrolled anger against IRI's enemies.

The Islamists in Iran are winning the media battle on the whole any way. Look at the protests against the Danish cartoons, and how much coverage they got. How the Islamists got so much airtime playing the victim, saying how they felt insulted. Yet the attack on the Sufi shrine in Iran and the way it was flattened and its followers injured and maimed hardly got any coverage in the Western mass media. No one bothered to ask "Were the Sufis not felt insulted?", and no one in the mainstream media bothered to remember that the Islamic Republic has even got a proven track record in attacking its own holy shrine in Mashad for self political gains against opposition groups.

Watching the TVs on the two sides of the conflict, its like watching two boxers in the ring, one is a low IQ dumbo more worried about his nail manicure, and the other one a shrewd mean killing machine. Who would you back to win?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Shabbetai Zevi

I recently finished reading Balthasar's Odyssey by one of my favourite authors, the Lebanese author and journalist, Amin Maalouf; and I am almost through reading The Story of God by Dr. Robert Winston. By pure coincidence both books mention a self claimed Jewish messiah, Shabbetai Zevi.

Zevi with the help and provacations of a Svengali figure by the name of Nathan, formally announced on 31St May, 1665 to be the Messiah. As this maniac Messiah moved through the cities and towns on his route, mass hysteria followed him like a modern day celebrity icon. Meanwhile, Nathan, acting like today's PR agents, printed and distributed texts which announced Zevi's mission. All this was enthusiastically received in Jewish communities from Palestine to Northern cities of Europe. In Prague they fasted, in Frankfurt they took continual ritual baths to ready themselves for redemption. Many sold all their possessions and returned to Palestine and some shady businessmen profitted from selling non-existent package deals to the Holy Land.

Zevi set the date, 18th June, 1666 as the day of redemption and the end of the world. When the day came it passed just like any other ordinary day. In order to escape death from the Sultan, Zevi embraced Islam and adopted the name Aziz Mehmed Effendi.

When I was reading all this, I couldn't help but remember our own recent Iranian version of Zevi the saviour, a charlatan calling himself, Ahura Pirooz Khalegh Yazdi or as most people referred to him, Hakha. Like Zevi, Hakha also claimed to be the saviour, not for Jews but for Iran, and like Zevi, Hakha also liked setting dates for huge phenpmenons to take place. In fact he set two dates, one when he was supposed to return to Iran with his followers on 50 charter jets and when that didnt happen, he set another date when a national uprising would finally free Iran.

I can not begin to tell you how much I cringed at some of my compatriots who were mesmerised by this charlatan. The shame I felt when I watched wealthy Iranians, professionals, and others subscribe so foolishly to such an obvious conman. A handsome sum must have been spent just on his TV programs alone.

Just like Zevi, Hakha fizzled out after his deadlines passed without much fuss and most of us have now forgotten about Hakha and his gullible followers. I guess when despair sets and people see no light at the end of the tunnel, they become attracted to some notion of mystic saviour and devine intervention. Having read about Zevi the Messiah, I am glad that Iranians have not been the only ones with such embarassing flashpoints.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Photos of Rally in Support of Jailed Bus Drivers in Iran

Going Back to the Repression of 80s?

I am neither a Sufi nor an MKO supporter in any shape or form, in fact I am vehemently opposed to both cults, but only a few days ago I quoted the famous saying by Martin Niemöller :

"When they came for the communists
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."

See :

It seems the repression of the eighties in Iran, which we all expected with Ahmadi-Nejad's coming to power, is beginning to take place without much reaction from the international community.

The cruel beating of the bus drivers and their families, including their children, the destruction of the Sufi places of worship, and now the execution of the MKO supporter, Hojat Zamani, in the notorious Rejaii-Shahr prison. Hojjat Zamani's two other brothers and uncle were also previously executed by the Islamic regime.

There is also doubts as to whether the 20 year old, female jailed journalist, Elham Afrootan, committed suicide or died under torture. She was due to be shown on state TV in yet another one of Islamic Republic's "recant TV shows" and confess to her "crimes".
Did Elham die under torture? Did she commit suicide not to be subjected to the humiliation of Islamic state TV shows? The international community and the press are not even reporting these things.

The Islamic Republic is testing the waters. If we stay silent now, the clerics will get bolder and more savage than now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

International Solidarity for Irans Bus Drivers

Trade Unions are beginning to show solidarity with Iran's bus drivers, by organising action across the world.

Protests were held today by transportation unions in France, Britain, Spain, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Bermuda.

The Western mass media however, still remains shy of showing any dissent against the mullahs in Iran.

Iran's Communists Attack Sun & Lion Flags in Rally to Support Bus Drivers

To me its so obvious that the Iranian Communists are the other side of the religious Fascists. To them Marxism-Leninism is just another religion. The text written by their holy men, Marx, Engels, ... is treated with the same feverish zeal, that religious fanatics treat their "holy" books.

Today, a rally was organised outside the Iranian embassy in London, by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, in support of the jailed Iranian bus drivers. The Workers Communist Party of Iran, acting in their usual monopolistic ways, were eager to pretend that this was their rally. They seem to think that they are the only ones who think about Iran's workers and only they are allowed to back Iran's workers.

When other Iranians with their Sun & Lion flags turned up today to support the rally, the Workers Communist Party of Iran members were enraged. They knew that even one Sun & Lion flag was enough to show in the reports that Iranians as a whole supported this rally not just the Left-wing ones. So just like fundamentalists, the WPCI members turned their rage into violence, they physically tried to attack those bearing the Sun & Lion flags in front of the Iranian embassy, and in front of the good people from the ICFTU. But little did they know that those who carry the Sun & Lion flags are not so easily intimidated. To the dismay of the Communists, the Sun & Lion flags remained high and up. Nevertheless, this was yet another embarassing episode by the Iranian Communists/Fundamentalists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Rally in Support of Iran's Bus Drivers

International Transport Workers Federation is organising a demonstration in front of the IRI embassy in London on Wed 15th Feb at 11am in support of Tehran bus workers. If any one can attend it will be much appreciated.

If you are unable to attend please tell all friends and contacts to turn up. It is important now that non-Iranians are supporting our cause, we be there too.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Plight of Irans Bus Drivers Gets a Mention in UK Press

Surfing the internet at lunch time, suddenly I came across an article in the Observer. I was so shocked, I nearly fell off my chair. Someone in the British press finally mentioned the plight of 1300 Iranian bus drivers who were arrested for going on strike. The article even mentioned the harrowing tale of wives and children of the drivers who were beaten up by the Iranian police.

Could the UK press finally be seeing some sense? Could the UK journalists finally realise that Muslim extremists are not the only suppressed people in the world?

Observer's article:,,1707972,00.html

Sunday, February 12, 2006

And more Pics

Some more pictures from yesterday:

Protesters hold placards of jailed Iranian bus driver, Mansour Osanloo.

A huge Sun and Lion flag dwarfs the IRI emblem
at the London embassy.

Iranian protesters outside the Islamic Centre in England
spoiling the celebrations inside.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Some Pictures

These pictures were sent to me by a friend of mine:

Iranian exiles demo outside Islamic Republic embassy.

A young Iranian showing his alleged torture scars at the hand of mullahs

The young man and his friends later broke the police cordon and
jumped over the wall to attack the Iranian embassy in London.
They are chased and arrested by the British police.

Young zealots attack the British embassy in Tehran.
The Iranian police look on to see if the stones are
hitting the target.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Another Cartoon that the Clerics Didnt Like

I wonder how many people remember this cartoon? The Iranian cartoonist, Manouchehr Karimzadeh, had intended to show how the Iranian Football Federation was in effect cutting the arm and leg of the Iranian football players by cutting their training budget.

The cartoonist was sentenced to 10 years jail, massive financial fines and a life ban from working as a cartoonist. Why? because the clerics thought the figure in the cartoon resembled Khomeini!

Karimzadeh received very little international solidarity from the Western media, if any.

Also, does anyone remember who at the time was the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance? Jack Straw's and Western media's beloved "reformist" Prrrrresident Khatami ;) The initiator of "Dialogue Amongst Civilisations" :)))

When they came for the communists
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Snowboarding Pics

Finally got time to download some more pics:

Well, when you have such a healthy day, you dont feel guilty about drowning a few amber nectars and bratwursts:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

One Law for Abu Hamzeh, One Law for Fathers

Here is a summary of British Justice system, and how the mainly pervert legislators in UK have lost the plot.

For seven years anti-terror police were aware of Abu Hamzeh's criminal activities, and evidence was sent to prosecutors "on several occasions" but no action was taken by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Former anti-terrorism officer Charles Shoebridge said he thought no action was taken against Abu Hamza for so long because the authorities had a "misplaced fear of alienating mainstream Muslim opinion".

Now compare this complacent CPS attitude with how the British Justice System treats fathers. The British Justice system denies fathers access to see their children, so the greedy mothers get maximum payments. Fathers can be jailed, have their driving licenses withdrawn, be electronically tagged and soon have their credit card data made available to CSA.

If fathers in Britain get organised and fight back, may be for once the authorities will have a "fear of alienating mainstream male opinion".

Picture of the brave British father who rightfully pelted Ruth Kelly with an egg and shouted "Justice for Fathers not for Paedophiles". And before anyone, like the scum Sun Newspaper, calls this kind of thing extremist, remember how the women suffragates got the vote in UK.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Omar Khayyam is a Drug Dealer

It would be unfair to say the British police is not the best in the world. Of course that does not mean they should never be criticised. I remember in one of our demos, the police told us to bring down some of our placards. They showed pictures of public executions in Iran, and the police thought they were too offensive for the passers by. We also had to refrain from shouting, "Down with Terrorists", the word terrorist, we were told was too provocative. A friend of mine who was intending to travel to Iran, the month after, had his face covered with a scarf, in order not to be recognised, and bizarrely, the police chief in charge that day asked him to either remove the scarf or leave the demo. Police camera men were also taking photographs of us with their big zoom lenses, while we were shouting 'Long Live Democracy'! I was really bewildered by their demeanour on that day. "Do they realise who the real enemy is here?" I thought to myself.

Last week, Muslim extremists demonstrated too, with placards which encouraged to kill people. Most of them had their faces covered, and one of them by the name of Omar Khayyam, was dressed like a suicide bomber. The police did not show the same consistency they applied to our demo.

This morning, it was revealed, that Mr. Omar Khayyam, the demonstrator dressed as suicide bomber, is actually a heroin drug dealer and was on parole when he took part in the demo.
He is in fact serving a 5 year prison sentence for pushing a nasty evil drug on the kids in his neighbourhood. So much for the "noble cause of martyrdom" he was trying to demonstrate.

For me however, he is guilty of a much more serious crime. If I had the power I would have given him a 30 year sentence for bearing the same name as the Persian secular free thinker Omar Khayyam, and thus spoiling a good name. The original Omar Khayyam, loved life, and cared not for the promised paradise in the after life. He lived for the day and said we should treat every day as if we are in paradise. The parents of the British Muslim drug dealer, could not have thought of a more inappropriate name for their son.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mountain Photos

I am downloading the pictures from last week, bit by bit. Here are some of the photos taken on the High Tatras mountains:

On the way to the mountains, beautiful snow all around:

Half the way up:


Didn't quite conquer the mighty Krevan summit,
but I think its better to go 3/4 of the way than nothing
at all:

A welcome break. The steaming garlic soup
and croutons is cold by the time you have paid for it,
but its the variety of spirits (this one plumb spirit)
that keep you warm. Very warm!

Finally getting ready for snowboarding:

The Janosic Koliba

There are many similar words to Persian over here in the High Tatras mountains. For example:

(what) is (chi) or (che) in Persian and they say (cho) .
(where) is (kojA) inPersian and they say (kde).
(woman) is (zan) in Persian and they say (Zhene).
The counting has many similarities too. (Jeden) is one, (Yek) in Persian, (dova) is two, (dow) in Persian and carrying on to 200 which is (divist) in Persian and (dovesto) in their language.

Another similar word is Koliba, a hut, what we call Kolbeh in Persian. There are many restaurants called Kolibehs in the middle of the mountains. They are literally, wooden huts where they serve food, while gypsies play a variety of folk music. They are absolutely gorgeous and cosey places to escape the cold, eat, drink and be merry. I just loved them. My favourite Kolibeh was named after the local hero, Janosic.

Much has been written about Janosic, from being a local Robin Hood, to a freedom fighter who joined the insurgents, with the motto, "Pro Liberate," emblazoned on their banner, to fight the feudal yoke when life became unbearable afer the death of the liberal monarch, "Matthew, the Just", right down to simply being an outlawed rebel who loved life as a free man and made love to as many women as he could.

I must say all versions about Janosic's life appealed to me.

Janosic was sentenced to death on March 18 in 1713, before a vast assembly of people. There the young rebel-chieftain was hanged on the gallows, and his lifeless body was buried beneath it as was the custom of that time.
According to popular legends, Janosic, though weighed down by his heavy shackles, danced the "hajduchy" (a lively folk dance) four times around the gallows, just before his death.

Another legendary story tells of a courier who came directly from the Emperor with his imperial pardon, but it was too late, for the daring youth, who had promised to recruit four regiments of soldiers for the Emperor , was already hanging on the rack. He refused the amnesty with the words, "Now that you have roasted me, you might as well devour me." He is said to have died after being suspended by his rib on the rack for three days.

All nature seemed to go into mourning for this youth, whose merry songs once resounded through the glen. The babbling brooks became silent, the animals in the forest ceased their activity momentarily in silent tribute to their departed hero. A sudden hush came over all, and his many friends, far and near, were overcome by sorrow at his passing.

That is the story in legendary accounts.

Evening Relaxation

After a hard day of snowboarding, skiing, or mountain climbing, how does one rest his sore and aching limbs and muscles. Well they have a very strange way of doing it here.

In the evenings when the temperatures reach -13 C, you run to an outside sauna with just a towel wrapped round your waist. If you are lucky enough and have not slipped on the icy surfaces with your bare feet, you stay for 15 minutes in the sauna with temperatures of 110 C.
After 15 minutes in the outside sauna, you run out again and jump, this time into a freezing pool of water and submerge yourself from head to toe. But believe me, you are out of it as quickly as you jump in it ( I think you die otherwise, well you should). Then its out in the cold again into a natural outside thermal water. This one is meant to be about 39 C. You sit in there and watch the stars in the skies. Something you want to prolong as much as you can, otherwise you have to face coming out again.

This strange relaxation custom is supposed to soothe your sore limbs and muscles. Does it work? I think it does, but I didnt get the chance to try any other alternatives. I was just glad, I didnt come down with a cold the next day.

Caves of Liberty

I gave up trying to use the slow internet connection and the fading computer screen to update my blog. So I made some notes and now that I am back, I am updating the blog.

The day after snowboarding, we drove up to the Demänovská valley, in the Low Tatras National Park. Unfortunately the Demanskova Ice Cave is closed in January, but not far from there is another cave, known as Caves of Liberty.

Entrance to the caves is in the Tociste valley at elevation 870 m. You can access it by zigzag foothpath ( a very icy one) leading from the parking lot, where a height difference of 52 m must be gotover. The cave is created in middle Triasic dark gray Guttenstein limestones of Kriznansky nappe, along tectonic faults by former flow of Demanovka and its lateral hanging ponor tributaries. It represents morphologicaly the most varied part of the Demanovsky cave system. The cave length is more than 8400 m, 7624 m of the cave were measured. Out of the rich flowstone filling, flowstone water lilies and other lacustrine forms / sponge, coral, grape / as well as eccentric stalactites are unique. Mighty flowstone waterfalls and columns, sphaerolithical stalactites and many other forms of stalactites and stalagmites are captivating. There is a thick onflow of white soft flowstone in the Great dome. Underground flow of Demanovka flows through the cave and gets to the surface by the Vyvieranie cave

Our guide himself lived in the mountain. His grey hair and bushy beard gave away his true age, but you would have never guessed it otherwise. All that walking up and down the mountain and the cave made sure he was fitter than the rest of us.

Apart from the cave and the atmosphere in the cave which is undescribeable, the view from the top of the mountain, where the cave entrance is, also breathtaking.