“A Contrast” from Knot Series (Yazd 2011), by Jalal Sepehr
Iran’s Web Censors vs. Google Reader: In the wake of Google’s announcement that it’s going to kill Reader, a fascinating article about the role Reader played in helping Iranians circumvent government censors.
Searching for Shahrzad: Modernity, Sexuality, and Ideology in Iran: An excerpt from the introduction to Professor Kamran Talattof’s book. “In other words, in a relatively short time, a woman who, perhaps due to the Shah’s modernization projects, was able to excel in several areas of artistic and professional activities was also agonized in prison, confined in a hospital, and left homeless in the streets of Tehran. How is it possible? Why did it happen? Why Shahrzad?”
Iran’s Basij Militia Builds a “Resistance Economy”: From Al-Monitor.com, an article about the role the Basij militia – whom most people in the states probably know from their role in suppressing the demonstrations following Iran’s 2009 contested elections – are playing in the Iranian governments efforts to combat economic sanctions.
On Iranians, Drinking Wine, and Cultural Stereotyping: “…Iranian irrationality remains a topos in Western culture. A striking recent example comes in the 2009 movie by Bill Maher, Religulous, in which as soon as Iranians are mentioned, there is a scene of a party and people drinking alcohol out of the bottle in a frenzy.”
President Obama’s Norouz message to the Iranian people:
The reaction of Iran’s media to that message: From one source: “even though in the beginning of his message he focused on the need to solve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program through negotiations, at the end of his message he contradicted himself by speaking with a threatening tone about the continuation of pressure on the people!” And from another: “[The president’s message was] “more than an address to the Iranian people; it was a negative answer to the Zionist régime’s demands that Washington intensify their hostilities against Tehran.”
Reaction of Ex-Hostages to Argo’s Oscar: “Laingen, who was the senior U.S. diplomat in Iran on Nov. 4, 1979, when students overran the U.S. Embassy to protest U.S. admission of the deposed shah for medical treatment, said he could not have imagined that American representation in Iran would still be lacking three decades later. ‘We should be there representing the United States of America,’ Laingen said. ‘We have zilch and that’s not a very good basis on which to have any kind of relationship.’”
‘Cyrus Cylinder’ a Reminder Of Persian Legacy of Tolerance: “On loan from the British Museum, the cylinder is more than 26 centuries old and was discovered near Babylon in what is now Iraq in 1879. It recounts the capture of Babylon by the Persian King Cyrus and his proclamation of freedom for religious minorities, including those who had been brought as slaves to Babylon.”
Post-Punk, Post-Tehran: Yellow Dogs Perform in Williamsburg: Obash describes the situation in Iran [for bands] through an anecdote he likes to tell about two bands who had thrown an open-air concert in an out-of-the-way area of the city for an audience of some 600 people. “The cops came and arrested 200 of them,” he explains, including the band members, who spent the next three weeks in jail.