Thursday, May 8, 2008

George Clooney in Tehran


One of the recurring themes in the US presidential debates is how to deal with Iran. The sheer misconception that American politicians have about Iran, categorizing and stereotyping it in a way that it would fit their narrow minds, is fascinating. I do however hear them, once in while, confessing that they do not have a comprehensive understanding of the intricate and complex interplay of social political and economic factors in Iran.

For example, would they believe that today , in Tehran the capital of the Islamic Republic , in one of the major freeways which is now practically always congested with traffic, there stands a large billboard advertising for Omega watches by depicting a picture of the American celebrity and writing in English George Clooney's Choice. I've recently seen the ad on the back of a local magazine as well. Although I am sure the local Omega dealers and Iranian municipal authorities are well aware of Clooney's critical stance vis a vis the American administration, nevertheless here is an American advertising for a Western brand in the political and economic hub of the Islamic Revolution!

What I mean to say is that Iran is a country with diverse climate and landscape, rich diversity in flora and fauna and above all a diverse social and political fabric which depicts a complex interplay of views and attitudes. Iranians are now more literate, more educated and more informed about local and global affairs than ever before.Those matters need to be kept in mind in dealing with Iran.
Iranians today are proud of their identity , their national heritage and their revolution, however their leaders realize that much needs to be done to fulfill the expectations of the people and that of the youth who aspire much more.

6 comments:

Amanda said...

well! ... here's an idea:

since Iranian's favorite Irish POP singer Chris de Burgh is coming to Iran to hold a huge concert at the Azadi stadium in Tehran this summer, why don't you invite George Clooney and other such American celebrities (critical of WAR) like Sean Penn or others to come to Tehran for that occasion? ... this could be the beginning of many more grass-roots popular efforts at diplomacy with America! sorta like the Ping Pong Diplomacy with China, but this time it can be called the "POP Culture Diplomacy"!

you're right about American politicians not knowing much about the mentality of Tehran's urban youth, so why not show the world what a huge POP culture enthusiasts these Iranian kids really are??!!!

i'm serious, why not ask Chris de Burgh to bring a couple of his American buddies to this concert? i bet George Clooney would come! ... and i bet Iranian girls would go crazy at the sight of him!!!

anahita said...

please read this:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=91730

an interesting article about the realities of Iranian politics!

apparently the writer (Ahmad Sadri) is as big an "eternal optimist" about IRI's prospects for eventual course-correction, as i am! :-)
thank God, i'm not the only one!

kathy said...

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail.aspx?id=55009§ionid=3510208

I just read this news about the achievements of Iranian women in Seoul!

God, I'm so proud of my Iranian sisters! so proud, so proud, so proud, i can't even express how much!!!

http://www.iribnews.ir/News/Video/152560_c2182094.wmv

and i'm so moved by this video of their welcome ceremony at the international airport in Tehran!
i can't stop my tears as i watch this, and having been away from Iran for 21 years, i'm so incredibly shocked and so very pleasantly surprised to hear the old national anthem of Iran, i.e., "Ey Iran" being played in the background of this video!!!!
i'm so moved, so hsappy, so proud, and so impressed by the incredible leaps Iran has made over the past couple of decades (in spite of all the sanctions) not only technologically, scientifically, and culturally, but also politically!!!! to be playing "Ey Iran" in public???????!!!!!! where are Dr. Mosadegh and Mohandes Bazargan to hear this and be as jubilantly ecstatic about it as i am right now????!!!!

this old national anthem "Ey Iran" was such a taboo, and singing it was so frowned upon during the first decade of the revolution (before the reforms of the Khatami era), that i can't believe my ears when i hear it now being played at the airport!!!!!
for years, all of us expatriates who left Iran (due to what we saw in IRI as anti-nationalism, anti-Iranian culture, and backwardness of an Islamic fundamentalist regime), we all sang this song in our gatherings as a reminder of our love for Iran, or even as a sign of protest to the unpopular IRI regime, but now it's back!!!! Now Iranians are freely playing it at the airport!!!! unbelievable!!!!
I'm sure this is all thanks to Mr. Khatami! if i'm not mistaking (of course i don't know much about the changes in Iranian society over the past 21 years), but i think Mr. Khatami was the first government official who allowed our beloved "Ey Iran" to be played in public for the first time (during his presidency, at the "Man in a Chocolate Robe" event that Iranian youth had organized in his honor), i believe that was the first time after a long time that "Ey Iran" made a come-back! the first time after the political loss of our nationalist government of Mohandes Bazargan in 1980!
Of course in this video, we only hear the music and not the song itself, but it's still amazing!!! just AMAZING!!! Thank God!!!
PAAYANDEH BAAD KHAAKE IRAN-E MAA!

i hope we can soon hear other nationalistic revolutionary songs of 1979 being back on-air over the radio waves of Iran, like the one about Dr. Mosadegh:
"dar bahaare aazaadi, jaaye Mosadegh khaali"!
which means: in the Spring of freedom, we miss Dr. Mosadegh!
and now let's add to it that we miss Mohandes Bazargan as well: "jaaye Bazargan khaali"!!!!

Scottie said...

good idea Amanda, Sean Penn and George Clooney would be great choices as peace activists and good-will ambassadors from the US!

Mostafa said...

Hi,
* What is the relation between the diversity of flora and fauna and the interplay of views and attitudes in Iran? In particular, how does the former make the latter more complex?
* I am an Iranian youth and I don't ever think about my identity, national heritage, and revolution. Because those matters were/are not chosen by me. I only think how to make Iran a better place to live and this has nothing to do with those matters.

kathy said...

dear Mostafa, may i answer some of your questions? ...
i know where you're coming from, i have many friends inside Iran or those who've only recently left that society, who have very similar attitudes toward their identity, cultural heritage and the revolution as you do! they are often surprised to see such a positive attitude toward IRI in people like me, Iranian expatriates who left that country long ago and didn't stay there to suffer under the grip of a harsh theocracy, those who left their people to mend for themselves in the middle of a war, in the face of economic sanctions, and under horrible dictatorial rule of the clerical class, but now from thousands of kilometers away, are singing the praise of what they see as progress!!! i understand your disillusionment!

but that's precisely why i can see the progress from the so-called "100000 feet view", and you might not be in the position to fully appreciate it! and quite understandably so!
you're living in an imperfect society with many many flaws and short-comings, a society that is still far from being free! what happens to you as an individual or to your society as a whole are still subject to undue control of a particular class who happens to be inherently not very inclusive and democratic by nature, i.e., the clerical class of religious fundamentalists!!!!
but if one can step back (as those of us who've been away from that society actually can) and look at it from a HISTORICAL perspective, looking at it from the point of view of the past 50 years, from the time of Dr. Mosadegh, to the Islamic Revolution, and from the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the Khomeini era (the "sipping of the poison") to today, you might see what i see, and you might actually have HOPE for the future!

probably you don't remember the revolution, and you are also not familiar with the people and the culture of the country you've been told to call the "Great Satan" all your life, and what you have in mind about the West, is either the negative view portrayed in your country's biased media, or the polished and superficial view you get by watching American movies or listening to American media.
the reality is much more complex and nuanced and "paradoxical" than the simplistic view most people have in Iran.

the best advice i can give you, and please take my words as the words of someone who LOVES you and cares about what happens to you and to Iran, no matter how hypocritical that must sound coming from someone who's left her country when things got tough, but i just hope that you might start reading about why the previous generation of Iranians sacrificed their lives to change the Shah's regime and how it all went wrong only one year after the revolution, and who was/is responsible for the derailment of a movement that had so much promise, and also how it has survived the past 30 years? who were the people (from 1997 to 2005) who tried to correct the deviations of a once righteous path but unfortunately didn't have the chance to fully implement their reforms, and how that system can continue to correct itself if you guys inform yourselves of the reality and the TRUTH of your recent history!

you need to stay one step ahead of those who put their own ambitions and greed above your national interests, and rally behind those INSIDE that imperfect system whom you can trust!
and please do NOT trust the American government, at least not until Barack Obama makes it GOOD again!
the same people (like Rumsfeld, Cheney, ...) who armed Saddam to the teeth and made him start the 8-year war with Iran, were also arming the wrong people in Iran's young democracy and that's how the true leaders and intellectuals of the revolution either got killed or got cast aside (like Taleghani, Montazeri, Motahhari, Beheshti, Bazargan, ...)! these same American elites who benefited from an Iranian Revolution GONE WRONG (for the first 10-12 years of it), are now trying to bring back their terrorists (MEK) to Iran, in the hopes of yet another derailment of a path that can otherwise lead to FREEDOM if only you guys stay aware and vigilant, and know who to support (people like the reformists, coalition principlists, and other independent political figures like the Human Right's activists, Freedom Movement, and alike)!
i hope you forgive me if i sound patronizing, like somehow i know better than you do about the society in which you live, of course i don't!!!!
but all i'm saying is that Iranians inside Iran need to have more HOPE! it's hard to be hopeful when life has become so difficult and all your individual freedoms are taken away from you, but believe me, there's HOPE for a much brighter future, if and only if Iran can survive the next few months until November (avoiding "obliteration" and A-Bombs), AND if John McCain does not get elected here, bringing with him to the region the prelude to WW-III !!!
So, when you see President Barack Obama taking the oath of office in January 2009, then go ahead and celebrate, b/c he WILL be in the position to help your IRI "flourish" and make "innovative" progess in all aspects of life!
:-)