Thursday, August 23, 2012

Iran Poets Whereabouts Unknown After Arrest

Islamic Republic security forces entered the home of Iran's satirical poet, Seyyed Mohammad Reza Aali Payam, aka Haloo and confiscated his computer and writings and took him away on Tuesday 14th August.

Haloo is yet another popular Iranian poet who has been arrested in recent times. The arrest happened after the recent earthquake in NW Iran, when Haloo derided the regime's pre-occupation with other causes and the apathy the regime showed for the people of Iran, by writing this couplet  in his blog:

Who says we are an untroubled government?
We always care for the problems of the Arab people

Don't keep going on about the earthquake in Ahar
For right now Damascus and Aleppo are our trouble

Haloo also announced on his blog, one day before his arrest, that the Amirkabir Literary Society, where many of Iran's poets recited their poetry to the enthusiast audiences, had been shut down by the security apparatus.

Almost ten days later after Haloo was taken away, there is no news of his whereabouts.

Below is one of his poetry recitals at the Amirkabir Poetry Society, where he is reading one of his masterpieces, "Cowards"

Why is the Guidance Ministry so scared of women's hair?
What is so scary about the flowing hair in the wind?

Put on dark clothes, brown or black
For they are scared of bright and happy colours

They destroy the remnants of our ancient civilisation
For they fear from what will remind us of the past

In Yasuj they fear the statue of Aryobarzan and his sword
[referring to the regime bringing down the statue of pre-Islamic Iranian hero, Aryobarzan]
And in Sari they tremble from the statue of Arash

The same way the Taliban feared from the statue of Buddha
"Our Friend", is also scared of stone, plaster and steel

You have to only kiss his hands and say Yes Sir, Yes Sir,
For he shivers from things like thought, logic and talent

Look the other way and pretend you didn't comprehend
For he fears anyone who has caught on

He is scared of the redness of the flower and the greenness of its leaf
He fears that tall cedar that is resolutely standing its ground

Not only he fears our sharp tongues and our able minds
He is startled by the rebellious aroma of the stews we cook

Then he interrupts his poem and say please remember this poetry is meant for Yemen, don't think I am referring to anyone in Iran! then he continues:

There was a time when he was scared of large crowds
But now he is scared of each single one of us

The same person whose trait is shouting and hurling insults
is so scared when we too want to shout

Strike your blows on our heads and bodies
My dear, when was the mountain bothered by Farhad's axe?

Gone are those days when the gazelle ran away from the hunters
Today each hunter trembles at seeing his own shadow

The dove flies along with the swallow
and the owl fears that it has lost its reputation

There was a time that he who knew, shirked from sticks and truncheons
But now the club fears the heads that understands

Salmon does not fear the fisherman's net no more
Now its the net and the hook that fear the salmon

The pine trees no longer fear the ax and the sickle
For today, its the ax that fears the tallness of the Pine tree

Gone are those days of fear my dear, today its the monsters
Who run away from the children of this ruined land

And I wonder if the day will come
Where this reversal will go on
and it will be the mother-in-law who fears her son-in-law

Laugh my countryman, laugh aloud, These laughters are a thorn
in the eyes of those who fear these happy hearts

Friday, August 17, 2012

Al-Quds Parades in Iran Today

Today is the Al-Quds Day in Iran, the day marked by Ayatollah Khomeini in the Islamic Republic's calendar to show the state's commitment in "liberating" Palestine. There will be parades all across Iran and throughout the world, including London and other European cities. In fact in London, this year, the Advertising Standards Agency, had allowed the advertising for the Islamic Republic sponsored demo to be publicised on the back of London's buses.

The footage below is from the Iranian state TV today, from Khorram Abad, West Iran. Huge megaphones ask the crowds to chant Allah Akbar in support of Palestine, but no one chants back. The speakers repeat the calls for Allah Akbar and still nothing. So the state TV plays Pirates of the Caribbean theme music and moves on

And this one is from Sari, North Iran. This time the huge megaphones chant "The Blood of the Martyrs of the Nation Boil/ The Supreme Leader of Iran Roars", but no one roars back. Everyone is busy talking to each other or playing with their mobiles!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cabinet's Family Trip to Saudi, While the Quake Victims Suffer

Seldom do you come across a government who cares so little about its own and yet places such high priority on someone else's cause. Saturday's devastating earthquake in NW Iran, was another manifestation of such disregard for the people of Iran by the Islamic Republic.

Iran's state controlled television simply ignored the news about the earthquake and carried on with its normal programming. People were mostly alerted about the earth quake via the social media and foreign satellite TV stations. Worse still just to add salt to injury, the IR state TV, in complete indifference to the plight of its citizens in Azerbaijan, started to show one of its few cheap tasteless comedy programs, Khandeh Bazaar - Laughter Bazaar.

Iranians gritted their teeth and whined that had the devastation taken place in Gaza or Lebanon, the state TV would be showing their suffering non-stop.

The fury and backlash was such that even the hand selected and pre-approved MPs for Azerbaijan voiced their anger at the shameless state TV and demanded an apology.

Only one day after the earthquake and while citizens were waiting to be rescued from under the rubble, Ahmadinejad and several of his ministers packed their bags, not to go to the quake zone but to Saudi Arabia, with some ministers like Science Minister and the Guidance Minister taking their family and relatives along with them too for presumably some fun and shopping.

The usual protocol at times like this by other heads of the state, is to rush to the disaster areas and be with their people even if its just for symbolic purposes. Even if they are in middle of a foreign trip, they would cancel their arrangements and rush back home.

Included in this untimely cabinet trip to Saudi, is the Minister for Roads and Housing, Ali Nikzad. One would think someone in charge of Roads and Housing would be the most required official to be on the scene and evaluate the damage, especially if the minister himself is born in Ardebil and Azerbaijani himself.

This disaster once again shows that the people ruling Iran today are nothing but foreign occupiers, alien to our history and to our culture and apathetic to the suffering of our people. No wonder the post-election protesters were chanting "Neither Gaza Nor Lebanon, I Die Only for Iran"

Friday, August 03, 2012

BBC Wrongly Blames Sanctions for Soaring Chicken Price in Iran

The soaring chicken prices in Iran and the ridiculous/condescending statements made by the authorities and religious figures in the Islamic Republic that followed the chicken price hike, made the headlines in several Western media. As usual however, most of them got the headlines right, but when it came to the nitty gritty details, either lazy journalism or other personal considerations let them down. One of the authors, Ali Hamedani, who works for BBC Persian, I  could confidently describe as the quintessential lazy journalist.

This BBC Report however,  didn't even get the headline right and blamed the soaring chicken prices on sanctions! "Growing Anger in Iran Over Cost of Chicken as Sanctions Bite".

The fact is, as the Iranian MP, Ali Aliloo, member of the Majlis for Shabastar, E. Azerbaijan, pointed out in Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly - (Majlis) - the chicken feed had been imported and was cleared by the customs, but it was not distributed to the chicken farms, in order to artificially push up the prices. In an interview with Enekas, Aliloo rightly blamed 90% of the ills in Iran's economy on the 'economic mafia' which is strangling the country. 

The headline in Shomal News  article, asks the question "Who is the importer of the chicken feed?". A very good question. Indeed, who is this sole importer of chicken feed who has caused so much misery to so many hard working families for the sake of profiteering for himself? 

Despite the lengthy article in Shomal News in trying to answer this question and the author's efforts in describing "rent seeking behaviour", mis-spelled as "rent seejing behaviour", no one is still any wiser as to who has the monopoly on chicken feed imports and the power to manipulate the markets for his own personal profits?

The best answer one can extract from the article, are the importer's initials: "M.M"! 

Undoubtedly "M.M" is a very powerful figure within the Islamic Republic establishment, whom no one can touch or even talk about. 

The truth is whether oil is $10/barrel or over $100/barrel and whether there are sanctions or not, it makes no difference to the people in Iran. What is left from all of Iran's riches and resources is always the very bottom of the barrel. The top cream always goes to the establishment elite, their relatives and cronies and to the "liberation movements" and the "lobby of useful idiots"!

BBC Persian reporter, Ali Hamedani, during last year's Al-Quds Parade, organised annually by the Islamic Republic, more interested in cuddling up to the IRIB reporter than reporting the counter demonstration behind him.