- I went to wish Dr. Zari Taheri a safe trip back to Japan tonight. Too bad she won't be back for another year or so. Her students in Japan are so lucky. I got home so late, I missed my chance to talk to a dear friend, as I had promised. Life overwhelms me sometimes.
- Reese Erlich will be the Berkeley Lecture Series' guest speaker this Sunday, September 30th at 4 p.m. His lecture is entitled "Will the US attack Iran?" An experienced and reputable journalist, Erlich has reported from Iran (with Sean Penn) and Iraq five times. Erlich's book The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of US Policy and the Middle East Crisis, has just been published. The lecture will be at UC Berkeley, 110 Barrows Hall. Erlich is a very interesting man and an excellent speaker whose lectures I have attended before. It will be my older sister's birthday on Sunday, so I will attend if I can.
- I am really upset with Columbia President, Lee Bollinger, for embarrassing the academic community worldwide. Regardless of what everyone thinks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it was so shocking to see a fine higher education institution invite the President of a country to their campus, and its highest official deliver such a rude political statement, driven not by academic intent, but with hostile words meant to appease Columbia donors and political lobbyists. If Columbia really believed in freedom of speech, one of the most valuable and revered pillars of American Constitution, after receiving their guest with respect, an academic dialogue should have ensued, encouraging their guest to answer questions in a civilized environment, something that could have taught Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a thing or two. How did ridiculing and insulting him enrich Columbia? It only served to feed the media frenzy started by warmongers on CNN and FoxNews, while adding nothing to the dialogue, failing humanity's expectations of a good university. I am embarrassed on so many levels for all that has been dear and meaningful to me, to be ridiculed and brokered for greed. Everything and everybody in Columbia embarrassed me yesterday. I would like to believe that such a blatent "sell-out" of American ideals and academic values would have never happened at Berkeley, had the meeting taken place here. If US attacks Iran, Columbia will forever have to bear the responsibility of stooping as low as FoxNews in facilitating an unwarranted war on innocent people of Iran. I am so upset.
- On a happier note, I forgot to mention that my little car, Shabdiz, has been repaired and returned to me after that last accident my son had with it. Shabdiz is a member of our family who takes me to work and around, needing little, and giving me the only breaks during the day where I can be alone with my thoughts, my music, and my writing (while taking shape in my head). My daily trips into and around Berkeley were very sad without him. I'm glad Shabdiz is home. I am not loaning him to anyone again.
It's Friday, and I am so looking forward to the weekend, when I will finally get a chance to rest a little after keeping a very crazy schedule for a couple of weeks. This weekend I will attend a dinner party in honor of Dr. Zari Taheri, and will go to visit my sisters whom I have grossly neglected for a few weeks. I found this video clip in Nikhang Kowsar's blog a few days ago. It is such a beautiful clip. It is long (under 6 miutes), and the first 2.5 minutes are merely visual, but of incredible value. It shows a famous ballerina, Alessandra Ferri, getting ready to dance. Then Sting joins her and plays the "Prelude" from "Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major" by Johann Sebastian Bach on his guitar, to which the amazing ballerina dances. It is awesome. Watch her arches, that dance, and the expression on that beautiful face. It is truly mesmerizing to watch.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend, full of music, dance, laughter, and sleep! It's Ramadan, so to those of you who fast, ghabool basheh. Regardless of whether you are fasting or not, you can still confess your love to those you love! Do it! Some things in life never get boring. This is one of them. Be good y'all.
My friend, Dr. Jaleh Pirnazar, who is a lecturer of Farsi literature at University of California at Berkeley, took me to see the Iranian comedian, Maz Jobrani in San Francisco's Punchline Comedy Club earlier this month. Maziar Jobrani had been her student in Berkeley, and had invited her to come see his performance. I was honored to be asked along. Maz Jobrani is a fantastic comedian. A very funny man, full of life and an interesting perspective on American life and politics. I believe his efforts in trying to promote understanding and to present Iranians as they are, completely different from the violent and angry portrayal we tend to receive in the media these days, are remarkable. Take a look at this video clip and you will see for yourself. I know that many people can't go to Youtube from Iran. You can watch a funny clip of one of his acts on his website, which I hope is still accessible. Once you get to his websit, click on the picture of the nose in the middle! You will see him on the Jay Leno show, promoting his show, "Axis of Evil." I hope it will bring a smile to your face.
Mersedeh had made an appointment to go see Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam backstage to photograph him for a piece she is doing for Peyk. I tagged along and met him in person. He was delightful and warm, different from his dancer persona on stage, and the articulate and at times arrogant artist who answered questions after the performance. It was a fabulous performance and I want to tell you about it. It is, however, quite late and I will have to be up early in the morning. So I leave you this picture, and I will do my report tomorrow. My ears are filled with beautiful Persian poetry and music. My eyes are happy at the feast of beautiful choreography and delivery of Moshkin Ghalam and his Nakissa Dance Company. It was worth the wait.
* (I deleted the PCCSD links, as they weren't working. )
Young masters Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hengameh Akhavan, and Bijan Kamkar play the timeless Iranian gem of a song.
I am off for the three-day weekend, entertaining long awaited relatives, cooking, and eating with my family, something that is more of a novelty for me these days. I'm around, so time permitting, I will come and check in. I leave you with a song this Friday. It is one of the hundreds of renditions of the timeless gem of an Iranian song, Morghe Sahar (bird of dawn). No matter who sings it and plays it, on a stage, on a CD, in a home and by masters or amateurs, this is a song I love to hear, never getting tired of it. As the song was written for Ghamarolmolook Vaziri by Maestro Morteza Neidavood, I believe it is best sung by a woman.
I hope you all have a good weekend, full of joy and peace. Take a romantic walk in a peaceful place (yes, you can take a romantic walk by yourself, too! Cite poetry to yourself, that's how!), and don't forget to take any chance to tell those in your life that you love them. Be good y'all.
مرغ سحر، ناله سر کن...................داغ مرا تازه تر کن
ز آه شرربار، این قفس را..................بر شکن و زیر و زبر کن
بلبل پر بسته ز کنج قفس درآ............نغمه’ آزادی نوع بشر سرا
وز نفسی عرصه’ این خاک توده را.......پر شرر، پر شرر کن
ظلم ظالم، جور صیاد.......................آشیانم، داده بر باد
ای خدا، ای فلک، ای طبیعت............شام تاریک ما را سحر کن
نو بهار است، گل به بار است...........ابر چشمم، ژاله بار است
این قفس چون دلم تنگ و تار است
شعله فکن در قفس ای آه آتشین.....دست طبیعت گل عمر مرا مچین
جانب عشق نگه ای تازه گل، از این...بیشتر کن، بیشتر کن، بیشتر کن
مرغ بی دل، شرح هجران...............مختصر، مختصرکن، مختصر کن