Till He Comes

Iranian music ensemble, Dang Show, play an interesting and different rendition of an old Iranian song, "Migoreezad," which is based on an old Azerbaijan folk song, Sari Galin. Very refreshing and different. I loved their new music. I hope they go far.


"There's a small hole in my heart
Around which sadness sits these days."
"I hope the hole in your heart would heal soon."
Crackles and static
"Aha's," and silences
Sobs muffled
Worried eyes hidden
Shaking hands concealed
Aching arms
Without a chance for an embrace
Botched goodbyes
A crater sits
Where there once was a hole.
November 2009
San Francisco, California


Going to see Leonard Cohen!

I am soooo excited! I have an invitation to go see Leonard Cohen tomorrow night! I'm soooo excited!


Sholeh Zard and Philosophy

So, I am turning a year older this weekend. I don't particularly wish to be reminded of it, not so much because I care that I am older, but because the extra attention usually embarrasses me! All day today I had to stay home and prepare an important project for a deadline. My kids went to celebrate their youth and Mir Hossein (our cat) and I spent the evening together, where I worked and he took a nap! Just to take advantage of the time, and also to prepare a dessert to take to my friends' house tomorrow night, I started making Sholeh Zard.* Here's a picture of my work in progress as of 30 minutes ago.
My cousin, Azar, had called and left me a message yesterday. She said she had dreamt of my mother. She said my mother had been in a lavish party in my house, where everyone was very happy, celebrating something. All day today I remembered my mother and missed her, but was happy to know that she is with me. I'm not sure what my mother was celebrating, but I am sure of what I celebrate in my home tonight. I celebrate a life full of wonderful experiences, good friends, loving family, and hope. Yeah, I have noticed the double chin and the small wrinkles around my eyes, too! But hey, those are my medallions which remind me just how long I have been around with all the different chances I have had at a good life. For the new year in my life, as in the year past, I don't wish for things and money. I wish for health and peace on earth. I wish for freedom for Iran and for hope for America. Things which are priceless and which can make for more hopeful nations. Hopeful nations can achieve anything. That's my wish.
*I looked for Sholeh Zard recipes in English. There were tens of options available, but none of them seemed to quite prepare it like I do. This one is the least different from how I prepare it.


Nostalgic Today

I found this sweet video clip and I would like to share it with you. A Canada-based band named HamAva has performed Simin Ghanem's 1975 song, Parandeh, The Bird. It is a really beautiful song, full of personal nostalgia for me. The singer does a very good job of singing a song originally performed by what must be one of the most powerful female voices in the history of Iranian music. She doesn't take chances with an imitation, but stays true to the music, sounding sweet and vulnerable. I searched for this HamAva band, but couldn't find anything on them. If any of my friends in Canada know about them, please do share

If you want, you can listen to the original rendition of this song by Simin Ghanem here. Believe it or not, this song was written by Hassan Shamaizadeh. What has happened to that great music man?! How come we never hear songs like this from him any more? This is all we hear from him these days! Nothing wrong with it, but he is capable of so much more. I mean there are thousands of composers who can write this, but not nearly enough who can write this. Just wondering!


History Written on Clay

I went to listen to Professor Matthew Stolper's very engaging lecture about the Persepolis tablets at UC Berkeley this afternoon. What a nice and funny man this very distinguished scholar is!

Since I posted my earlier blog about the lecture, I have heard from a very interesting man by the name of Mr. Charles Ellwood Jones. It is an honor to find out about people who have so much interest in Iranian heritage which is now really world heritage. In his profile, Mr. Jones says: "I am the Librarian at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU. From July 2005 to February 2008 I was the Head Librarian at the Blegen Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Before moving to Athens I spent twenty-two years as the Librarian at the Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago."

You can follow news about the Persepolis tablets and developments in the case through Persepolis Fortification Archive Project's blogs here. Before I left I told Professor Stolper how proud I was of his life's work, dedicated to research about Iran, thanking him for all his hard work.


UC Berkeley Lecture: Embattled Tablets

You can't love Iran and not care about what has been happening over the past few years with respect to the priceless Persepolis tablets in custoday of University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. A lawsuit threatens to claim the priceless collection which has been kept on loan from the Iranian government since 1933. Those tablets belong to Iran and to humanity. They should never be considered the appropriate medium of severance pay to anyone. If the Iranian government is found guilty of any crime in a court of law, they should be responsible for monetary payment of damages. These tablets or any Iranian heritage artifacts are not suitable choices for settling such liabilities.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. Professor Matthew Stolper from University of Chicago's Oriental Institute will give a lecture entitled "Embattled Tablets: News from the Persepolis Fortification Archive Front" at UC Berkeley's Department of Near Eastern Studies, 254 Barrows Hall. I am going to attend this lecture. If you live in these parts and you can, please come and join me.
Photo shows Professor Matthew Stolper examining one of the Persepolis tablets.
Here's an excerpt from a 2006 article about the collection and the impending case. You can read the full article here.
"In a small, dark room on the Oriental Institute’s third floor, Matthew Stolper puts thousands of ancient Iranian tablets under the microscope. Studying the unbaked clay artifacts over the course of 25 years, Stolper, the John A. Wilson professor of Near Eastern languages & civilizations, has translated many of the tablets—their slanted lines are mostly Elamite cuneiform. Taken together, the circa-500 bc documents from the ancient capital Persepolis—excavated by OI archaeologist Ernest Herzfeld in 1933—form the “records of one office palace bureaucracy handing out basic foodstuffs,” Stolper says. “Food, wine, grain.” The records follow “people traveling through the region on business from the Mediterranean coast to India: ‘So-and-so gets so much barley and so much beer.’ When you connect them all, you get a complicated network.”
"If a group of litigants gets its way, the tablets may be split up and sold at auction, the proceeds compensating survivors of a 1997 Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Five American survivors and four family members won a 2001 U.S. court case against Iran, which trained and supported the terrorists, and were awarded more than $400 million in damages. Because Iran doesn’t accept U.S. court jurisdiction, the plaintiffs’ lawyer looked elsewhere for assets: American museums holding Iranian artifacts." (Read the rest here.)

Autumn Around Me

This is my season. Something about the Fall makes me happy, energetic, and very very romantic! These days I am spending a lot of time in my home. I am glad to report that my surroundings are better organized than they have been in a long time and my kids are fed generally better food! Northern California autumns aren't quite like they are on the East Coast or where there are the four seasons. We only get specks and small splashes of color and folliage in our area. Just the same, it is evident if you look for it. Here's a picture I took of the trees just outside my house yesterday. You can see the specks and splashes of color changes.
And of course it won't be a proper autumn without a pumpkin. More decorations will be coming soon! See? We do have color changes on the leaves! Beautiful!
This is how autumn happens in a pot! I love those heart-shaped leaves!
And last but not least, blessed is a home on a rainy autumn day which has a sweet cat asleep nearby, delicious tea brewed, and love of family surrounding its every corner.
I have such a home. As I take stock of my "harvest" for this year, despite some losses and setbacks, I have to admit that I continue to have it really good in life! I am grateful for my gifts in life. Looking back at my life, I see it was a great idea to plant those seeds of love wherever I could. My harvest again this year is plentiful, complete, and continuous. Happy Autumn y'all!


Aah Mother...

Can’t begin to imagine
Can’t begin to feel
Mother’s loss
Mother’s rage
Boy smiles

Boy walks

Boy tells of school and marbles

Mother’s delight

Mother’s love


Boy loves

Boy hurts

Boy laughs

Mother’s pride

Mother’s love


Boy goes

Returns never

Boy is dead

Mother’s loss

Mother’s loss


Boy repents

Boy cries

Boy implores

Mother’s rage

Mother’s rage


Boy and noose

Boy and noose

Boy and noose

Mother’s doubts

Mother’s doubts


Boy and prison

Boy and pain

Boy and shame

Mother’s choice

Mother’s choice


Boy and noose

Mother and bench

Boy and life

Boy and death

Mother and memories

Mother and rage


Boy and airborne bench

Mother and revenge

Boy suspended

Boy ended

Mother’s moment

Mother’s remorse


Two boys dead

Two boys gone

All mothers’ loss

All mothers’ shame

Read here for Behnoud Shojaie's story.

From Grieving Mother to Murderer

I am appalled with Behnoud’s execution. There is no way anyone can convince me that this child did not have the potential to rehabilitate. I am mother to two young men. I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that a seventeen year old boy is a child. Behnoud was a child offender and still a child when he was executed after spending four years in jail and walking up to the noose six times. My mother’s heart says that to me.
The victim, Ehsan, was also a child. My heart wept for his mother who saw her son off one day and never saw him alive again. I cannot begin to imagine what pain and agony she must have gone through over the past four years. The worst thing anyone could have done for Ehsan’s mother was to let her decide the life and death of her son’s murderer, Behnoud. As if dealing with the immense loss is not bad enough for a grieving mother, she has had to continually search her soul for forgiveness for Behnoud. As it turned out, she could not find it.
I feel so sad for Ehsan’s mother. She will never be whole again. She is now a murderer herself. True, the law won’t come after her and she can live just like any other citizen for the rest of her life. But I am a mother and I know that by choosing revenge over forgiveness, Ehsan’s mother has forever put herself in the solitary confinement of loss, grief, shame, and remorse. Whereas up until yesterday Ehsan’s family had been affected with the unimaginable grief of a child’s loss, starting today they will have to carry the burden of having taken another person’s life. Ehsan’s mother will soon know, if not already, that Behnoud’s death is not going to bring Ehsan back, nor make her cope with his loss any better. I can only imagine that that family is now completely destroyed.
Death penalty is inhumane and Qisas Laws are savage. My heart weeps for Ehsan and Behnoud. My heart weeps for Iran.

Dinner, Art, And Friendship

O.K. I am going to keep my promise and slowly start to tell you what I have been up to over the past few months! To start, I am going to look at my millions of photographs and share the interesting ones with you. These are pictures from dinner preparations at my artist friends Faranak and Kourosh's home in San Jose. I had the good fortune of being invited to their lovely home in September, along with a very small group. Kourosh was the chef and I want to show you what artistic dinner he served us!
First he prepared the plates with endive leaves, filled with seafood. He and Faranak had made a very delicious mashed potatoes, too. String beans were added to enhance the presentation color and taste. An art project was unfolding before our eager eyes in the kitchen! Grilled salmon was added last, and the plates were painted with a balsamic vinegar sauce. Watch Kourosh add the parsley garnish, too!
We sat around and enjoyed the delicious and beautiful food and the wonderful company, talking about politics and life, telling jokes, and chilling. It was really a wonderful evening. A big blessing in life is having good friends and finding opportunities to to build new friendships. The art and the delicious food are only an added bonus! And of course, knowing a man who can cook like this is not to be underestimated as a personal treasure! I am so lucky!



این عکس از مجموعهء عکس هایی است که کسی در خوزستان گرفته است. آن را از سایت ایرانیان برداشته ام. برای دیدن عکس های بیشتری از عکاس، به صفحهء پیکاسای وی مراجعه کنید.
مسعود عزیز می گوید :
سلام ای کسی که یادی نمی کنی از کسی حتی به یک کلیک!نمی گویی در این خراب شده چه بر سر فلانی و بهمانی آمده است؟از خودت هم که چیزی نمی نویسی الا با قطره چکان.از آغاز رکود اقتصادی اشاره ای به مشکلاتت داشتی ولی دیگر خبری ندارم چه می کنی و در چه حالی هستی.روبراهی؟در این ایام نکبت بار اما امیدوار،راستش حوصله نوشتن هم سلب شده است.گویی فریز شده ایم.اخیراً داستانکی خواندم از احوال هموطنان غربت نشین که در آن یکی به دیگری می گفت:تا بزبان مادریت ننویسی در میهنت کودکی به دنیا نمی آید.حرف غریبی است ولی محض رضای خدا هم که شده دوکلوم فارسی بنویسحرفی بزنخطی بکش.
و من می گویم امشب به فارسی می نویسم تا در میهنم کودکان زیبا به دنیا بیایند. من ایرانیم. معلوم است که به فارسی می نویسم. فقط در این خانه به انگلیسی می نویسم تا حرف کودکان و زنان و مردان زیبای ایران را به دیگران، به غیر فارسی زبانان هم بگویم. مسعود عزیز بداند که لحظه ای از فکر ایران و هموطنانم دور نیستم. این روزها همه کمی کلافه و نگران هستیم اما نباید یادمان برود که ظرف چند روز کوتاه در تابستان امسال، ملت زیبای ایران چه رشید و چه شجاع و چه صلح دوست به چشم همهء جهانیان آمد. این روزگار نیز می گذرد و به روزهای بهتری خواهیم پیوست. امشب حافظ را باز کردم و این آمد:
چو باد عزم سر کوی یار خواهم کرد
نفس ببوی خوشش مشکبار خواهم کرد
بهرزه بی می و معشوق عمر میگذرد
بطالتم بس از امروز کار خواهم کرد
هر آب روی که اندوختم ز دانش و دین
نثار خاک ره آن نگار خواهم کرد
چو شمع صبحدمم شد ز مهر او روشن
که عمر در سر این کار و بار خواهم کرد
بیاد چشم تو خود را خراب خواهم ساخت
بنای عهد قدیم استوار خواهم کرد
صبا کجاست که این جان خون گرفته چو گل
فدای نکهت گیسوی یار خواهم کرد
نفاق و زرق نبخشد صفای دل حافظ
طریق رندی و عشق اختیار خواهم کرد

با آرزوی پاییزی سرشار از امید و برداشت خرمنهای مهر و دوستی، شاد و سرزنده باشید دوستان عزیزم

Of Hope

Mohsen Namjoo and Golshifteh Farahani sing "hammash delam migireh" (I long all the time) in Milan Italy. I love Namjoo.

It's Friday night. I know I have been lazy in keeping up my blogs. I have been writing, but not here. I'm going to write again. I have missed it too much. So much has happened that I haven't told you about, mostly good things. I've had to learn more than a few lessons since April of this year when I was laid off my job. I have had to adjust to some major and some minor changes, but all good in the end. It's been an emotional time for many Iranians living outside Iran, just as it has been for Iranians inside Iran. There is all at the same time a lot of fear and hope and concern about Iran. I think about my friends in Iran all the time and I follow the news with interest. Certainly nothing is the way it was just a few months ago. I may not have been the only one to go through some changes. I feel the whole world has changed in drastic ways and it will never go back to the way it was. Maybe that's a good and necessary thing. Maybe things always change at this pace and I never took notice before. All I know is that it's not the same as it was before. It is better, I think. It seems to me that everyone in my circle of friends and family is moving forward with a new awareness, with more knowledge. I can only hope that this awareness delivers us all into enlightenment and a more positive state.

It was a calm and quiet Friday night. My sons have already gone to bed and my cat is sleeping right next to me. Namjoo sings and I reflect. Pretty blissful. I want to thank people who came looking for me, banging on my door, sweet Mina, lovely Aida, and the ever thoughtful Masoud. I have missed you all. I'll keep on writing here, sharing pictures and stories from the summer until I catch up. I want to tell you about hope. I want to tell you about love. There is so much I need to tell you. I will.


A New Arrival

Last June, two nights before the Iranian presidential elections, he showed up at our house. He was sitting on the front walkway, refusing to leave. It was obvious he was a house cat, familiar and comfortable with people. I wouldn't let him in the house, hoping that his owners would come and take him away soon. I know what it feels like to lose a pet, even if temporarily. I wanted him to stay outside so that he could be seen by his owners who must be frantic, I thought.
I had had a painful time separating from our cat, Oskie, or Asghar, when I left Iran in 2006. I still miss my gorgeous "hanaee" (henna colored) cat who is staying with a family in Karaj. But I also knew that I didn't want another pet, not yet. This cat which had invited himself over was getting on my nerves. I could see my younger son getting quickly attached to him and I was desperate to find his family. We posted "Cat Found" signs in our neighborhood. My next door neighbor posted an announcement on Craig's List, and I finally managed to convince my son to take him to the local animal shelter to see if he had an identification chip or if anybody was looking for him. For some strange reason, it turned out that nobody was looking for him. My son left contact information at the animal shelter, but didn't leave him there, bringing him home again.
The events in Iran were unravelling fast, first the elections, then the demonstrations, then the violence, and finally the grief and outrage. My older son joined us and we stood vigil to what was happening in Iran, much like millions of other people in the world alternating between pride and respect and outrage and sadness. The cat stayed and became a member of our family. He is a loving cat, peaceful and trusting of people. He sits by me all the time. This is a picture of him, taken this morning while he was taking a nap by where I sit to work at the dining table. When I get up to go to another part of the house, he follows me and comes to sit wherever I am. He is a new member of our family now. His name is Mir Hossein.


Making music in heaven now

Iranian composer and santur master, Parviz Meshkatian has passed away. This news made me very sad. I post here the santur piece from his "Dood-e Oud" album, which I believe is the happiest piece of music he wrote. Doud-e Oud was one of the first pieces of music written and performed by Tehran Symphony Orchestra after a four year silence had befallen Iranian music right after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian music suffered terribly during those years, instruments were broken and musicians were sent into hiding. This album, sung by Master Shajarian, was one of the first musical pieces which were produced to herald the beginning of a new era in Iranian music. That's the kind of musician Parviz Meshkatian was back then, courageous and creative. What a loss for Iran. Here you can listen to Shajarian's "Ay Yousof-e Khoshnam-e Maa" from the same album, this one is a bit melancholic, but it is one of my most favorite pieces of music by Shajarian, on a poem by Molana.

Rest in peace and play music in heaven now.


The One Two Woman

Santurnavazan Ensemble perform "Ze Ba'ad e Ma," (Beyond our Path) at Tehran University's College of Literature, 2005. This beautiful and uplifting piece of music was recommended by my friend, Bahram. Lovely and interesting variation on the way a Santur is played. Great work!

I threw the dice

Watching the result
A one and a two
I looked at you
And you looked embarrassed
After all your doubles
I smiled
Making do with the tiny move
"I'll take it!
Better move like a turtle
Than to remain stagnant."
You looked puzzled
For the joy exploding nearby
In the form of a big smile
On the face of the woman
Celebrating her one and two.


I played backgammon in the moonlight last night. It was great fun, said the One Two Woman.


To Do List

My friend Rojan performs a new rendition of the old-time Iranian song, Morgh-e Sahar. You can see more of her music here (I love this one! It makes me so happy every time I listen to it.) and here, where she performs with Pournazeri brothers of Shams Ensemble.

It's Sunday. My older son is home for the weekend. A cup of tea, a window to the green branches of the tall trees outside my window, and a whole day of planned chores await me. I'm still buzzed with a writing class I attended yesterday. I have several pieces of writing in the works and just as soon as I have made a dent in my endless list of long-postponed projects today, I will get busy with the writing. I plan on leaving at least one of them here. I hope you all have a peaceful Sunday. Go and embrace and kiss all those who matter to you in your life. That is the number one item on top of my "To Do" list today. It's been too long.


Time for Freedom

Iranian American duo, Mozane, perform "Time for Freedom." Here's their MySpace page. Nice song. I'll be along later to write something. Have a beautiful day/evening everybody!


From San Francisco To Kashan

My friend, filmmaker Sabereh Kashi, has an exciting new film project in the works. Here is a first version of her film, "My Home of the Last Seven Millenia." In it she tells the tale of her return to Kashan from San Francisco, in search of a childhood memory. Congratulations to sweet Sabereh for her amibitious and loving project.

(Does anybody know what to do with the "chopped off" display screen of YouTube links on blogspot?)


Lunch with Lotfi

One day last week I went to have lunch with my friend, Professor Lotfi Zadeh, in Berkeley. I picked him up in his office on campus. I have written about him before. Inventor of "fuzzy logic," Lotfi is a Professor Emeritus at Berkeley's EECS department. He still goes to work everyday, keeping with his huge network of contacts worldwide. As charming and dashingly clothed as ever, my 88-year-old friend made me laugh and think as is a tradition between us. We had Prsian food at Alborz and talked about the Iranian elections and what is happening in Iran. With his very philosophical view on life, he made light of a grim situation.
Lotfi is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, though he was raised in Iran, where he attended school and university. His anecdotes, reflective of his wonderful sense of humor, always includes something about Russia and Russians. He told me a joke about the 1996 Russian elections during which Boris Yeltsin was re-elected. He said as the polls had closed and they were counting the votes, a Yeltsin aide came to see him late at night and said: "Sir, I have good news and bad news." Yeltsin asked him to give him the bad news first. The aide said "The bad news is that your opponent has 60% of the votes." Distraught, Yeltsin asked: "What's the good news, then?" His aide said: "The good news is that we've got 80% of the votes!"
Lotfi is a delight! We spent a good time talking about life, relationships, and politics. Disarmed again with his wisdom and charm, I can't wait go see him again.
You can read the other posts I have written about him here and here.


Last Seen Wearing A Green Ribbon

The mother looked in
The sleeping child breathing slowly
Face framed by sheets in the dark
Softly she said “Wake up Sohrab”
The day’s hope and excitement ahead
The shower ran
Bread was toasted,
The sound of the slowly boiling kettle
The green ribbon tied
Heralding the start of a momentous day

~ ~ ~

As the crowd flowed and moved through,

Everyone a drop in a sea of green

Taking tiny steps ahead

Shoulder to shoulder

The telegraphic words and looks

Transmitting meanings and messages

Through the deafening roar

A nod of reassurance

A tiny smile

~ ~ ~

The crowd grew greater and wider

And in an errant second they were pulled apart,

Separated by the sea,

Tiny and black clad among the trees,

She watched him happily engulfed, foam on the wave,

She lost sight of him

The crowd took him

And she stood there thinking

“This wholesome crowd will protect him”

“He will be safe”

~ ~ ~

She waited

And waited

And didn’t hear the key turning in the lock

And couldn’t hear his familiar footsteps down the hall

And melancholy swiftly turned to despair,

She became a soldier searching

The young man who was last seen wearing a green ribbon

She looked

High and low

Low and low

She asked “Have you seen my boy?”

“He was wearing a green ribbon”



A month

~ ~ ~

The news came

Stark and short

And the crowds gathered again

Hailing the end

Carrying gladiola

Wearing black ribbons

~ ~ ~

The mother looked in

The sleeping boy forgetting to breath

The shroud framing his man’s shape

Softly she said “Wake up Sohrab”

Her life’s dread and grief ahead

As the crowd prayed

The smell of camphor and rosewater

Mixed with the sound of sobs and muffled tears

Marked the start of a barren life

The life of the mother without her son.


For Iran

U2 perform "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" in solidarity with Iranian people during their 360 degrees world tour in Dublin, Ireland on July, 24th, 2009. Amazing performance.

Today I am going to the San Francisco Mega Rally in solidarity with Iranians. It will be at the Civic Center Plaza on McAllister Street from 12:00 until 4:30 p.m. (catch BART to Civic Center station). Join us if you can. Do it for Iran.


Our Iran

"The Three Iranian Sopranos," Nasrin Asgari, Shirin Asgari, and Kamelia Dara, perform Iran-e Maa (our Iran) at their 2008 Vancouver concert. The song is composed by Hamid Zargarzadeh. I need to find the poem to this song.

And so, life goes on. For someone who is "in between jobs," I have been terribly busy this summer. It is no longer possible for me to say why my heart has been heavy. Is it my personal stuff and the job situation, or is it what's been happening in Iran? I just know that my heart has been heavy. But everyone's heart has been heavy of late. I'm going to start writing here again. I have a lot to tell you. Soon.

"boro baba!"

My friend calls and wants to gossip about her coworker. While I am on the phone with her, I have abandoned my feverish hourly search for news and information about Iran, in order to pay full attention to her. I sit there and listen to the same words being repeated over and over again, but I can’t really hear or understand a word of what she is saying. My mind is elsewhere, thousands of miles away, where people are running through the streets, scared. Any moment another one of them may be hit with a bullet. She says: “…and I would like to know why Steve takes issue with my being ten minutes late in the morning but he never asks Tina how come she comes in at 10 at least twice a week... .” And all I want to do is to stop her and this phone call while yelling: “boro baba!”
I realize I can’t just sit at home and do nothing other than watching the news. So I agree to go out on a second date with that guy. He is talking about his ex-wife again, the one who hurt and tormented him for years, leaving him scarred and scorched beyond recognition. Somewhere in that long few paragraphs he is uttering he says “and I was wondering whether you would like to come visit my cabin by the ocean some time, maybe next weekend. You know, maybe we can get to know each other better.” And I’m thinking to myself how I would go stir crazy with him and Linda in a cabin, cut off from the world and news about Iran for 48 hours. Though I say something else, something polite, all the while I’m saying in my mind: “boro baba!”
I open the mailbox. There is another offer for free panties from Victoria’s Secret, not to mention a Macy’s discount card for 25% off everything. There is even a card from Clarins summoning me to claim my free facial, free samples, and free gift package. There is a catalogue for courses in my town’s adult education center, and three catalogues from my favorite mail order stores. As I toss everything into trash, remembering the sea of people exposed to sticks and bullets in Iran, I send the vendors a short mental message: “boro baba!”
“What would you like to do for the celebration?” my best friend asks. As she rattles off the options and suggestions, it takes all my might to thank her, ask for a rain check, and postpone all celebrations until a time when I feel able to enjoy the occasion and all the hoopla. Is that a pout on her face? Sheesh, now I have to apologize and explain and justify myself. As I do, I send my friend a cryptic message in my mind: “boro baba!”
I show up to the protest and two minutes into the affair I hear two people behind me, fighting over the flag, one insisting to the other that this is not “our flag” or “my flag” or “Iran’s flag,” I can’t remember now which one he says. Standing there, thinking that I have come to the only place where I might feel slightly better, standing next to others who feel the same dread and anxiety as I do, I tell myself how much I wish I didn’t have to utter the words here, too. Alas I have to do it. This time, though, I say the words out loud, “boro baba!” and I’m ready to fight over this, too. I tell the guy to cut it out and let people do whatever makes them feel better, telling him that the other person is free to express himself whichever way he wants and it’s not right for anyone to tell him which flag to like or dislike. I know I am in the right place and in the company of my kin right there and then, when I hear the other guy look me in the eyes and say: “boro baba!”
I published this on iranian.com on July 19, 2009.


Where is my vote?

People of Holland show their support for people of Iran.


Statement by a group of Iranian bloggers about the Presidential elections and the subsequent events

۱) ما، گروهی از وبلاگ‌نویسان ایرانی، برخوردهای خشونت‌آمیز و سرکوب‌گرانه‌ی حکومت ایران در مواجهه با راه‌پیمایی‌ها و گردهم‌آیی‌های مسالمت‌آمیز و به‌حق مردم ایران را به شدت محکوم می‌کنیم و از مقامات و مسوولان حکومتی می‌خواهیم تا اصل ۲۷ قانون اساسی جمهوری اسلامی ایران را -که بیان می‌دارد «تشكيل‏ اجتماعات‏ و راه‌ پيمايی‌ها، بدون‏ حمل‏ سلاح‏، به‏ شرط آن‏‌که‏ مخل‏ به‏ مبانی‏ اسلام‏ نباشد، آزاد است» رعایت کنند.
۲) ما قانون‌ شکنی‌های پیش‌آمده در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری و وقایع غم‌انگیز پس از آن را آفتی بزرگ بر جمهوریت نظام می‌دانیم و با توجه به شواهد و دلایل متعددی که برخی از نامزدهای محترم و دیگران ارائه داده‌اند، تخلف‌های عمده و بی‌سابقه‌ی انتخاباتی را محرز دانسته، خواستار ابطال نتایج و برگزاری‌ی مجدد انتخابات هستیم.
۳) حرکت‌هایی چون اخراج خبرنگاران خارجی و دستگیری روزنامه‌نگاران داخلی، سانسور اخبار و وارونه جلوه دادن آن‌ها، قطع شبکه‌ی پیام کوتاه و فیلترینگ شدید اینترنت نمی‌تواند صدای مردم ایران را خاموش کند که تاریکی و خفقان ابدی نخواهد بود. ما حکومت ایران را به شفافیت و تعامل دوستانه با مردم آن سرزمین دعوت کرده، امید داریم در آینده شکاف عظیم بین مردم و حکومت کم‌تر شود.
پنجم تیرماه ۱۳۸۸ خورشیدی
بخشی از جامعه‌ی بزرگ وبلاگ‌نویسان ایرانی
Statement by a group of Iranian bloggers about the Presidential elections and the subsequent events:
1) We, a group of Iranian bloggers, strongly condemn the violent and repressive confrontation of Iranian government against Iranian people's legitimate and peaceful demonstrations and ask government officials to comply with Article 27 of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Constitution which emphasizes "Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam."
2) We consider the violations in the presidential elections, and their sad consequences a big blow to the democratic principles of the Islamic Republic regime, and observing the mounting evidence of fraud presented by the candidates and others, we believe that election fraud is obvious and we ask for a new election.
3) Actions such as deporting foreign reporters, arresting local journalists, censorship of the news and misrepresenting the facts, cutting off the SMS network and filtering of the internet cannot silence the voices of Iranian people as no darkness and suffocation can go on forever. We invite the Iranian government to honest and friendly interaction with its people and we hope to witness the narrowing of the huge gap between people and the government.
A part of the large community of Iranian bloggers
June 26, 2009


Peace for Iran

American rapper Wyclef Jean sings for Iran and Iranians.


Mohammad, Be Safe

This is Mohammad. He is one of my regular readers. I received a note from one of his Facebook friends today. It said that Mohammad has been missing in Tehran for the past week. Mohammad, full of love and hope for life and for Iran, is missing. I am devastated. What can I do? How can I help him? I have been sitting here feeling helpless and so, so sad. All I can do is to gather all my might, and send thoughts of love and peace for Mohammad in Tehran. He is not alone. There are hundreds of other people like him who have been arrested over the past week. On this night, I pray for all young people in Iran. I pray that they are safe and strong. I say a special prayer for a good friend, who has so much love and thought to spread, and shouldn't be in a prison. He should be talking about all the wonderful things he knows about Iran. He should be with his family and friends. Prison is for criminals, not for the most beautiful people a nation has. I pray for his safe and speedy return to us. Join me in the prayer if you can. I pray for Iran tonight.


Happiness in a cup

Caffe macchiato at Musical Offering in Berkeley.
If I could name the shape of happiness,
If I could show the place of happiness,
If I could describe the smell of happiness,
If I could convey the time of happiness,
If I could elaborate the taste of happiness,
I would tell you
That happiness is a cup of caffè macchiato,
At my favorite coffee shop in Berkeley,
With two fresh madeleines,
An internet connection,
And the world in my hands
Maybe sometimes,
Happiness happens on a Saturday,
Even if you stayed home, jobless, the week before
Maybe some days,
Nestled in your chair,
Fighting anxiety and fear,
There might be a message
That stirs excitement and hope
Sprinkles a smile on your face,
And grabs your heart with joy,
At the thought of love.

I did it my way

I went to vote at the only polling station designated for Northern California this afternoon. There was a huge crowd waiting to vote. Apparently, 800 people had voted in the morning hours and the polling station had run out of ballot sheets by noon. Everyone was told to wait while additional ballot sheets were flown in from Los Angeles. I waited alongside many others for several hours before I was able to cast my vote. People were tired and upset with the inexcusable delay, but they wouldn't leave until they had voted. Even news of Ahmadinejad's win didn't seem to deter anyone from the wait. Several hundred people waited in lines and received tiny slips of paper which showed them entitled to receiving a ballot sheet. I asked an official how many additional ballot sheets had been received and he said "600." So, in all 1,400 people could vote in Northern California today. I don't know whether anyone was turned away when they ran out of the 1,400 ballot sheets, but I was determined to cast my vote, so I waited.
When I finally made it to the room at Emeryville Hilton Hotel to cast my vote, after receiving the stamp in my birth certificate, I was directed to another table where I had to leave a fingerprint on a sheet of paper in return for a ballot. I asked the young man who was taking care of me why the event had been planned so poorly. Afterall, a very large Iranian community lives in my area and they should have anticipated a large turnout. The young man made some apologetic noises and went on to say: "Well, really, I doubt any of this would make that much of a difference, as the results have already been announced." I had bent down to ink my finger when I heard this. Slowly I processed what I had just heard, and straightening up, I said to him: "Young man, you have no right to say that. You are an officer at a polling station which is still open and has to operate according to rules and regulations. I am a voter who is participating in an election. It is quite possibly illegal for you to tell me what you just told me. Furthermore, it is insensitive and inappropriate of you to mock my attempt to vote in an election I see so important, and after waiting for several hours for you to get your act together. Do you see how ridiculous your statement is?" He said: "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
I voted today. Lackluster and seemingly futile, I am not sorry I did. For all the shame and humiliation and concern I have felt over the past four years, the only thing I could do was to cast my one vote. I could do no more. I did it. I don't even have any hopes that my one vote would be counted correctly. But I did the only thing I could do.


Elections and Nostalgia

Sar oomad zemestoon, or Aaftabkaran, an old revolutionary song is played by two young artists. I love this clip!

I know I said this before--just a few seconds ago, as a matter of fact! Please consider participating in the elections on Friday. Cast your vote to be counted. If even for one day, for one hour, for one minute over the past four years you have worried about a possible attack on Iran, if you have felt shame about things that have happened in Iran, about the way Iran has been represented to the world, or for words that were said by someone else but whose weight you have carried, consider participating in the elections and showing that you care. Be responsible and vote. Iran and Iranians inside Iran need you now.

It's Time!

I am going to vote on Friday, June 12th, 2009. San Francisco Bay Area's polling place information is as follows:
Hilton Garden Inn Bay Bridge
1800 Powell St.
Emeryville, CA 94706
Tel. 510-658-9300
For more information about voting in the US, visit http://www.election88.org/. Make a difference and support the efforts of the millions of young Iranians who have been staying up on the streets, wishing a change.


Following A Bird

My younger son dragged me on a walk this evening. He thinks I am spending too much time indoors and behind the computer. He is right. It felt good to walk with him, talking about many different things. When we came upon a creek which runs in our neighborhood, we saw this lone bird, taking a bath in the creek. I took this picture with my cell phone. Though it was a huge bird, I'm not sure the picture is indicative of his size. What was amazing about the bird was one thick and long white feather sticking out of the back of its head, quite unique and beautiful! I wondered whether that long white feather meant that this was a middle-aged bird, or a particularly wise and knowing one!
As we stood there watching this bird, I found myself touched by its serenity. All by himself, not a part of a couple or a flock, he seemed to be spending some time reflecting on things! He wasn't in a rush, nor did he appear anxious; he was very peaceful. I did wonder briefly about what would a bird have on his mind! I then decided that it really was none of my business what birds think about! I thought instead that I, too, should get out more and go reflect by a creek! The nature might provide some breathing space, a thinking pad, for me. I think I will start walking regularly again. I need to find that which the bird had found and seemed to be enjoying this evening. I must.


I Will Vote!

Photo showing spontaneous gathering of young Iranians last night in Tehran, following the live broadcast of a debate between presidential candidates, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir Hossein Mousavi. Photo from Fars News Agency, Photographer Javad Moghimi.
Whenever I can vote, I do. It is the only way to be counted. Those who boycott elections are never counted. I think participating in elections, even if we are not entirely pleased with the candidates who have made it on the ballot, is a responsible thing to do. That's what I think! Now I am trying to find out where I can vote in my neighborhood. When I have the information, I will share it here!


The Last Wish

After living in the US for a number of years, I returned to Iran in the early 1990’s. During my stay, I managed a software company in Tehran . Here’s a memory.

My Accounting Manager informed me that our bookkeeper, Mr. Alizadeh, was continuing to show very poor performance. He was making numerous mistakes and was not making any effort to improve his performance. She had given him several notices over an eight month period, and she was sure now that Mr. Alizadeh lacked the skills and drive to perform his duties. She said she wanted to release Mr. Alizadeh from his employment with our company. I reluctantly agreed. Naturally, firing people was one of the worst and saddest things I had to do. Mr. Alizadeh was a very polite young man with a young wife and two small children. He was tall, handsome, and extremely pleasant. I had to accept, also, that he was a lousy bookkeeper! I agreed to five months’ severance pay for Mr. Alizadeh, and a promise to give him good references for his future employment. The Accounting Manager went off to fire Mr. Alizadeh.
When the Accounting Manager returned to my office shortly thereafter, she informed me that she had gone through the dismissal process with Mr. Alizadeh, but that he had insisted he wanted to talk to me. I asked her what he wanted to see me about, and she said “He says I want Ms. Kaviani to fire me. If she tells me to go, I will.” Oh brother! I told her to bring Mr. Alizadeh in, so I could fire him, too.
As the two people sat in my office, I went around my desk and sat in the chair next to Mr. Alizadeh. As is customary in Iran , the coffee table in my office had a plate of fruit, serving plates, and a jug of ice water and some glasses. I told Mr. Alizadeh how sorry I was about this whole business; how I wished there had been a way to save his job and to keep him on the team; how I had watched anxiously over all the months he had been put on performance track by his supervisor; and how sorry I was to see him go. I told him I would do everything within my power to help him find another job.
Mr. Alizadeh looked so crestfallen and so sad. I was so miserable, too. He said: “I understand, Ms. Kaviani. Now that I have heard it from you, I believe it. May I ask for a last favor before I go?” I said: “Sure, Mr. Alizadeh, what would you like me to do?” He said: “May I have a cigarette?” A cigarette?!! Phew, I was so relieved! Sure, no problem! I said: “Of course, Mr. Alizadeh!,” offering him one of my cigarettes. I even started to light his cigarette, but he took the lighter and lit his cigarette himself.
The Accounting Manager and I were exchanging anxious glances throughout this time, trying to pass through this very uncomfortable meeting. The two of us watched Mr. Alizadeh while he took one long drag on his cigarette. The inhale was so strong and so long on that drag, I swear half of Mr. Alizadeh’s cigarette turned into ash before our very eyes! We were also making small noises, saying some insignificant things to fill the uncomfortable silence while we waited for Mr. Alizadeh to enjoy his “last wish,” like a convict on death row or something. Mr. Alizadeh was not engaging in any small talk with us. His face had assumed a very dramatic look of sadness and perplexity. He was frowning and kept a stoic smile on his face. Mr. Alizadeh took his second drag, which was just as strong and long as the first one and it looked like the cigarette ended right there. I was feeling so bad about this whole meeting, wishing it to end for all of us to be free of the awful episode.

At this time, Mr. Alizadeh opened his left hand and put his cigarette out in the middle of his palm. Oh My God! What the hell?! I saw this first, so I stood up and took two short steps toward Mr. Alizadeh, while screaming “Nooooooooooo!” I could also hear the Accounting Manager’s echoed “Nooooooo” in my wake. By the time I made it to Alizadeh, he had tightened a fist around the cigarette butt in his palm. Without thinking, or remembering that in the Islamic Republic of Iran, women aren’t supposed to touch men in public, I reached for Mr. Alizadeh’s fist, trying to pry it open to retrieve the cigarette butt and check out the undoubted burn spot on his palm. Nothing doing. He had his fist closed tightly and won’t let me open it. All the while I kept saying “That was a really stupid thing you did, Mr. Alizadeh! Let me see your palm!” In the few seconds which in the super slow motion of bad events always feels like an eternity, when I realized that Mr. Alizadeh wasn’t going to let me open his fist, I reached over the coffee table, picked up the ice cold water jug, and poured water on top of Mr. Alizadeh’s clenched fist. He yelled and jumped out of his chair, because the cold water quickly seeped through his crotch where his hand had been held nearby.

At this time, the staff outside my office, who had heard the commotion, the two women’s screams and then Mr. Alizadeh’s yelp opened the door and came in. The sight of me and the Accounting Manager each on one side of Mr. Alizadeh and his standing in the middle with his soaking crotch must have been so confusing to them.
I had a few other encounters with Mr. Alizadeh before he left our company, though none of them were as dramatic. He did get another job elsewhere and came to visit me periodically for the rest of the time I worked in that company.
I changed Mr. Alizadeh's name.


Musical Surprises

Spring in Kurdistan, Iran, Fars News Agency, May 15, 2009. Isn't this peaceful?
I was at my computer, working on something last night when my older son showed up out of nowhere. He had come home to surprise me! It was a really wonderful surprise! I was looking at him rummage through the refrigerator and the cabinets, looking for and finding food, and eating as though he had been starving for days! He may have been, I don't know! His friends in the Bay Area had driven all the way to Santa Cruz to pick him up and bring him home for the surprise! Later, as I stuck my head in the family room to check in on them, I saw ten young heads sitting all over the place, talking and laughing and listening to music. That was the music I wanted to hear.
My kids have been changing a lot, turning into young men who are showing a lot of characteristics which surprise me alright! All of a sudden, it seems, they have become very attentive and considerate, and that is really a wonderful surprise for me. They have always been very loving in their own ways, heck, I should know, I taught them about love, but there is a new quality, a whole new dimension to the way they love now. They have become expressive of their love, showing it to those around them in words and in actions. This morning, my early rising older son came into my bedroom to say hi as I was tidying up. As we were chatting away, he stepped down the hall and looked in his brother's bedroom, where he was sleeping. When he returned he said all of a sudden: "I love that guy, Mom, especially when he is sleeping like that and he isn't getting on my nerves." A simple announcement, and music to my ears.
Three weeks ago, I received news that I have been laid off from my job. I have been spending a lot of time looking for a new job and thinking how to handle my life and my finances during a most uncertain time in the US economy. Naturally I am sad and anxious, but even in the face of an unknown time ahead, for some reason I don't feel devastated. The night before I received the news, my cousin Mehri called me from Orange County. She told me she had had a dream about my mother. My mother had told her to look out for me (movaazeb e Nazy baash), and had asked her to tell me that she is praying for me, and not to worry. The next day, as I received the news, all I could think about was the message I had received the night before. All through my life, and even almost thirteen years after her death, I have never had a doubt that my mother loved me and has always looked over me. She and my father are the ones who taught me how to love, and I think I have learnt well, I'm almost sure. My solitude and my reflections these days have a peaceful air about them. It's as though all day long I am hearing a beautiful symphony, something that I hadn't heard for a long time because of the stress I had been feeling at work. These days I hear the music of peace.
When I'm faced with adversities, and I have had this particular pleasure many times in my life (!), as soon as the shock stage is over, I try to take stock of what I do have and what it is I am still capable of doing. When I think of the things I have, I can't help but be grateful and happy for holding on to the essence of life, to that which is precious and important, irreplacable and valuable. I am surrounded by loving family and friends, new and old, and extremely valuable bonds of love and understanding. Most of what makes me happy these days in my life has not been made possible with money, so they all get to stay! My life, through all the thousands of tiny and important pieces which comprise it, is a beautiful mosaic of joy and color and love. I'll get through this time, holding on to every single one of those precious pieces, for they were never bought, they were earned. And that knowledge, that reassurance, those floating notes of hope and love, these days make the music of my life.


Down The Road of Love

The quickest and most efficient way I know to tell you that I'm alright is to share a one minute video clip of a drive we took down to Santa Cruz last week. The voices belong to a singer on CD, myself and my older son. The music is a medley of old Khorasani folk songs which my friend Hadi gave me a couple of years ago.

I have been put through the wringer recently, but I'm slowly but surely re-emerging. I have so much to tell you, and I will say it until you get bored with me! You will see. I love you all and I thank those of you who missed me and wrote. It was a good feeling to be missed--I particularly needed it over the past few weeks. Thank you for helping me remember that for every bad thing there are thousands of good things, and that for every malicious person in this world, there are thousands who are capable of love, trust, and integrity. I'll be back with more stuff soon! I love you all. I do. Yes, I do.


The Iranian American Weekend

Kayhan Kalhor performs with Brooklyn Riders

I have been attending the Iranian Alliances Across Borders Conference in Berkeley this weekend. It has been a very good time meeting new people and catching up with old friends. My writer friends in Northern California and one from New York are here for the conference and it's been a pleasure hanging out with them. When we went to dinner last night, it was wonderful to look from one end of the table to the next, seeing authors, poets, artists, and musicians all having an Irani dinner together and talking about life! I am also impressed by the beautiful and intelligent young Iranians who have shown up at the conference, whether to present papers and ideas or to receive them.

I'm planning on going to watch Kayhan Kalhor, the Iranian Kamancheh master, perform with Brooklyn Riders tonight. I will let you know all about it! I will also tell you about the Fared Shafinuri concert my friends and I attended last night soon. It was fabulous! Have a great Sunday everybody!


6/8 blues!

I love Martik. Sorry for the band-e-tonbooni song. It's one of those nights!


Here and There, Life Goes On

Iranian jazz and blues crooner Rana Farhan performs Drunk With Love. Enjoy!

I continue to maintain my Nowruz energy level and optimism! My attempts at keeping my personal space organized has prevailed and I am glad to report that a lot of my former self is showing again, too! Heeh! It actually feels great! I am laughing more and though I am still way behind in my emails and calls, I am very slowly turning things around! In all of this I have a heightened and focused sense of love and appreciation for my family and for my close friends who are loving, loyal, and always kind to me.
April is turning out to be a busy month, with everything from work to family matters to volunteer assignments and events piling up on me with a full calendar again. No complaints, though, as I am now doing many of the things I really enjoy doing and hanging out with people I really like and respect. I will be meeting up with other writers from the Association of Iranian American Writers this weekend, and I'm really looking forward to the IAAB conference, too.
Later this month there will be a music festival for Iranian.com (Saturday, April 25th), and I have agreed to help out as a volunteer for that fundraising event. I will write more about this later. If you would like to help out, please either buy tickets to the concert which will feature Faramarz Aslani, Arash Sobhani, and Sahba Aminikia (and a surprise guest), or donate to Iranian.com to keep this important Iranian medium afloat and alive.
As chance would have it, I will be visiting with Fared Shafinuri and his band, Tehranosaurus in Berkeley this coming Friday! If you live in these parts and are available to meet some pretty talented young Iranians, let me know! I think we will be hanging out in Berkeley during the afternoon of Friday, April 3rd.
Before I sign off, I want to say one last thing. Life does go on. Even after the worst of events. Even after the biggest losses. I wrote over a year ago about my co-worker's visit to my office to tell me about her impending divorce after a long marriage. All last year I have been watching my friend deal with her new life, making progress one day and retreating on another, trying to make sense of her new life. Today she told me she is going on her first date after her divorce. I doubt anything will come of it, but I am pleased for my friend for picking up the pieces of her life, trying to make herself whole again, and moving on. Even the simplest and most mundane things appear hard and impossible for people who are going through traumatic events. A date is a pretty good start, I should think! Yes, life does go on.


Music of Heart and Soul

Fared Shafinouri sings Arianaz in Tehran. This is beautiful music and I'm sure you would enjoy it! Look at the sweet video clip of my beloved Tehran. I found him on YouTube last October. Here's his MySpace page where you can find other tracks of his new album. His music is so sweet and refreshing.

Fared and his band, Tehranosaurus, will be performing in Berkeley this Saturday night. I am going to see them perform. The concert will be the entertainment segment of the IAAB conference. Here's the concert's Facebook announcement. It will be at the Pauley Ballroom of UC Berkeley on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 at 8:30.


The Year of Dreams

My wonderful friend, Kiomars, sent me a group of beautiful pictures of Tehran's Tajrish Square during preparations for Nowruz. I forwarded my gift to Iranian.com where they were published and shared with thousands of other people! You can see the collection here. This photo shows fresh baby almonds, chaghaleh badom, a spring time Iranian delicacy. Thank you Q!
I have been busy doing Nowruzi things! My older son came to stay for a week, during which we hung out nice and easy. He left for Santa Cruz this afternoon, and the house feels empty and too quiet this evening! Though he has officially left home since September, I haven't quite managed to get used to his absence. When he comes home and the house gets filled with the chatter and laughter of my sons and their friends, things feel so normal, and when he goes away, I have to get used to things all over again! Next year by this time my younger son will also be on his way out somewhere, and I will have to get used to that, too! Well, I have decided that the new Iranian year, 1388 is going to be a better year, that it will be my year! Forget about the economic forecasts, forget about some small and big sadnesses brewing in my and my friends' lives--this is going to be a great year for everyone, I can just feel it in my heart!
Come and dream with me, won't you? Imagine a world full of peace, where no one gets sick and all the sick people heal and recover, where pain is just a memory, where everyone will have enough money to enjoy life without fear or worries, where everybody makes the best decisions and everyone does the right thing, where nobody lies and nobody hurts others' feelings, where those who are in committed relationships wake up one day and think to themselves just how lucky they are to be in the company of somebody who loves and trusts and respects them, kissing more passionately and hugging more warmly, and giving more generously! Imagine those who aren't in a committed relationship, getting hit with the thunder of love and finding the one person who would complete and improve them for the rest of their lives! Imagine changes happening for the absolute better, and without pain! Imagine everyone growing more mature, loving, and forgiving! That's the dream I have for this year. That's what I am looking forward to seeing in 1388! Call me a fool, but I am almost certain in my heart that many of these dreams and wishes will come true, only if we keep believing in them. I believe. I do.


Football and Kalleh Paacheh!

I will be getting together with friends and family to watch the Iran-Saudi Arabia soccer game tomorrow morning. I become a soccer fan every time there is a National Soccer Team game and espcially if they are pivotal games such as this one! I wear my Team-e-Melli T-shirt and carry my flag to wherever there is food and people to share the excitement. My brother-in-law has been working on a Kalleh Paacheh breakfast for days. Though I'm not a fan of this particular food, I look forward to the gathering which brings pride, joy, and love to me every time. I hope Iran wins. I'll certainly be doing my part for cheering on the team! Go Iran!

Bay Area Events

If you live in this area, I would like to tell you about a few interesting events.
Tonight I'm going to City of San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's "eid deedani" from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. It is a free art event and Nowruz reception sponsored by Beyond Persia, at the City Hall office of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. City Hall; 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place; Room 244; San Francisco, Ca 94102-4689; Office of Ross Mirkarimi: (415) 554-7630; Beyond Persia: (415) 738-2182; Directions . I look forward to seeing my friends, having tea and shirini, taking a look at great art and listening to live music!
On Sunday there will be a concert by Namaad Ensemble at Berkeley's Julia Morgan Theater. I love their music and am delighted to see them perform here. Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704; 7:30 p.m.
Next Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00 p.m., scholar, author, poet, and my friend Persis Karim will be a guest of UC Berkeley's Institute of European Studies as a part of a year-long public outreach program on Women, Islam and the West. The program aims to place intellectuals, activists, artists, writers and academics in conversation with an informed public to explore the relationship between Islam and Western secularism, particularly as it manifests itself in the lives of women. Persis Karim's lecture is titled, Beyond Memoir: Women, Writing and the Making of Iranian Diaspora Identities, and she will be in conversation with my other good friend, Dr. Jaleh Pirnazar of UC Berkeley. Diesel Books, 5433 College Avenue; Oakland, CA 94618; (510) 653-9965; Get directions.
Next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th, IAAB (Iranian Alliances Across Borders) will have its fourth annual conference at UC Berkeley. "This one of a kind conference brings together academics, artists, activists, students, and community leaders representing some of the most prestigious academic and community organizations in the world to discuss the accomplishments and challenges of the Iranian diaspora community." I will be attending this conference and serving as a volunteer at the Association of Iranian American Writers' table.
Unfortunately, since I'll be at the IAAB conference next weekend, I will be missing a wonderful 13-bedar picnic at Tilden Park, organized by my friend, Enayat Katouli. I urge you all to go and have a good time with many other Iranian Berkeleyans! Enayat says: "Annual Sizdah Bedar will be on April 5th ( Sunday ) At Laurel picnic area at Tilden park again. Join your beloved friends and have fun as always as we have every year. Be there at 11.am and bring your share of food, drink, " Ash Reshteh..." , game festivities....... " Here's the Tilden Park in Berkeley map and location of "Laurel " site.
My other very good friend, artist Farrokh Shehabi and his lovely wife, Linda, will also be hosting a 13-bedar picnic on their ranch in Vacaville on Saturday, April 4th, 2009. If you can find the time to go to Farrokh's annual picnic, you will be sure to have a good time. Please drop me an email if you want to go and I will provide directions.
That's it for now! I will write a separate post to catch up with things. Have a beautiful spring everyone!