8/15/2007

Freedom of Expression at the Grand Lake

This past weekend I drove by the Grand Lake Theater again. As I waited behind the traffic light, I pulled out my camera to snap this picture (please forgive its poor quality). The Grand Lake Theater in Oakland is one of the best-known landmarks in the city. Not only is it famous for the impressive restoration job that was done to it, but also for the fact that it is owned by a liberal who uses one side of the theater marquee for posting political messages. This week's reads: "We applaud Secretary of State Bowen for exposing the total insecurity of computer voting!" If you go here, you can see tens of pictures showing the different political messages the Grand Lake has displayed since the 2000 presidential election. Regardless of what the messages say and whether I agree with (or even understand) all of them, my Iranian mind is continually engaged and provoked when I pass the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland.

4 comments:

SERENDIP said...

Nazy Jan: Thank you for going to trouble of taking this picture. It's a small but clear instance of how democracy provides and utilizes its intrinsinc (structural) self-correction tools.

Nazy said...

Salam Serendip! I am continually amazed by situations like this. I love seeing people say what's on their minds without fear of consequence. While I know many use their rights to their liking, I wonder how many Americans know what a good, sacred, and valuable thing it is. Fear of prosecution for one's opinions and beliefs has paralyzed so many millions of people all over the world. Apathy where those rights are warranted and safeguarded seems like such a waste. My hope is that someday everyone will be free to say what's on their minds everywhere in the world.

jeerjeerak said...

Oh we do have freedom of expression in iran too... in the cabs!

Nazy said...

Jeerjeerak Jan: Don't you just love those cab drivers in Tehran? They do say whatever they want to say, that's true! I hold that behind every cab in Tehran sits an astute political analyst, worldly and wise! Have you ever wondered why? I think because most of them are individuals displaced by virtue of their economic circumstances, so they are not really professional drivers. For many of them driving a cab is a second job to support their families. Wherever I lived in Tehran, the regular cabdrivers who would take me from home to work or vice versa, became my very good friends. I knew them all by name, and knew what of their personal lives they had shared with me, asking after a wife's health or a son's military service, etc. I think someday "cab drivers in Tehran" would make an outstanding sociology research project. Be good Jeer!