Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Permission Denied

A poster today I saw at university about a female-only camping program in Shiraz planned. The large text over the image says "Permission Denied".

This is how things are going on today in Iranian universities.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thirty Years Ago, In a Galaxy Far Far Away

Thirty years ago, in a galaxy far far away, a movie came to change the world. I congratulate all Star Wars fans on the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Learn, the Direct Way

Today, I took part in a seminar about teaching Esperanto using the direct method ("rekta metodo", in Esperanto), that is in Esperanto and not in one's mother tongue. This method is usually known as the Cseh method ("Cseh" is pronounced "che") after its creator, Andreo Cseh. It was surprising to me to see how well a language can be taught without any tools (even books) and in the learning language itself (in this case, Esperanto). After some thought, I realized it is the very method everyone learns his/her mother tongue with.

In such Esperanto events, it is generally forbidden to use a language other than Esperanto (although, we did forgo this rule many times!). In Esperanto culture, to speak in one's mother tongue in Esperanto events is called "to crocodile" (in Esperanto, "krokodili"). We even had a crocodile to punish the wrongdoers!

The crocodile watched over us not to use a "nacia lingvo"!

The second part of the seminar is being held tomorrow. I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shargh Is Back

Today, I was walking past the newsstand on my usual way to the university and like always having a glance at the headlines, when I saw something shocking: Shargh. Shargh ("East") was a reformist daily that was closed down by the government some eight months ago. The major reason for the closure was this cartoon:

My non-Iranian readers may find it difficult to understand the meaning of the cartoon. President Ahmadinejad claimed that he felt there was a light around him when he was addressing the UN General Assembly last year! As we enjoy one of the world's least tolerant governments here in Iran, the newspaper was immediately ordered to be shut down, and since the representatives of the mighty Allah never make mistakes, they definitely had the right to do so!

Anyhow, as I said, the good news is Shargh is back again. Shargh used to be (and is again) the flagship of Iranian moderate dailies, and probably the most popular among them. Now, after Shargh (and also Hammihan after a seven year ban) has joined the line of moderate dailies again, I guess we should expect another wave of shutting down publications, maybe soon, and this cycle goes on and on!

[Note: Although, I noticed the return of Shargh today, the first issue after the ban has been out on Monday.]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


At the back, you see the Islamic Republic parliament.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The President and Bananas

Today's lunch at university's self-service restaurant was quite good. Guess why?

It is a well known fact that there are "special" occasions in Iran on which everything becomes good; everyone tries to make people happy; all government officials think about the problems of people; public services run smoothly; and, in universities (like other state run institutes) the quality of meals becomes much better! A good example of such occasions is just before an upcoming "election" (they call it an election, not me!), but we're not near an election. So why there was even a banana with our lunch?

It's simple. We had a "guest": the "popular president of the nation", Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Now, one might wonder how he dared to enter another university after he was heavily protested against in Amirkabir University and called a dictator by the students. Did he imagine it would be any different in Elm-o-San'at? No. He is definitely aware of the hatred of students towards himself. And, as one might expect, he didn't show up in the public. Isn't it ridiculous that he visited the university without actually visiting any students? And I don't mean students wanted to see him (we'd rather to see a monkey in the zoo!) but everyone felt it would be great to demonstrate another Amirkabir.

And, by the way, this "popular" president of ours always pretends to be a mere teacher whose only earning is from teaching. It struck me if it is his job to teach students here (and yes, it is a shame, but he is a faculty member of our university), why should he be welcomed by placards? Doesn't that confirm that he actually doesn't attend any classes?