Monday, February 16, 2009

No Comments

The following is an interview conducted by Amy Goodman with a friend from Gaza , Amer, who lost two brothers last month. Amer is a recent Middlebury College graduate and currently lives in Washington DC. I refrain from making any comments about it. As a "rational" student of Public Policy I try(try hard) to think logically about historic and tragic conflicts of this nature. logic and sensibility fail every time I even begin to analyze these events, these losses, this seemingly never-ending animosity. What is there to do really? I wish Amer patience and strength. Click here to watch Amer's interview on Democracy Now. I wish for peace...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Life Does Go on in Tehran...

This blog is called,
"Life Goes on in Tehran". Many of you might have already come across this blog. But I had not heard of it before and just today a Canadian classmate sent me its link. I find it to be a very interesting and important photo blog. As the blogger states, the mission of this blog is, "To show that regardless of what any president would have you imagine, despite what any media outlet would have you believe, life goes on in Tehran and elsewhere in Iran." Apparently the photographer of this blog that has monthly photo albums of Tehran is a former LA resident who has now returned to Iran. For instance, if you click here, you will see the latest monthly album(Feb. 2009). According to the archives this photo blog was launched in April 2007. I certainly recommend browsing through the photos of this blog.Living in the US for quite a few years, I have realized that as Iranian-Americans we walk such a fine line everyday by both telling the world of the flaws of our country, but also by making sure that people do not think Iran is some awfully backward country that has no sign of civilization or modernity. It is because of having walked this fine line many times during my time in the US that I really appreciate blogs like the aforementioned photoblog. The following is what the photographer of this blog says about his/her reasons for having begun this blog:

"What inspired you to start Life Goes on in Tehran?

When I was leaving Los Angeles, many of my friends were worried for me. They thought I was jumping into a war zone. Soon after moving to Iran I shared a few photos with them and assured them that all is safe and normal. But I soon realized how little they knew about Iran. Their fears and lack of knowledge about Iran is justified and a result of the negative portrayal of this country in Western media -- as well as sound bites from a certain controversial President. So I decided to start a site to remind them (and the rest of the world) that life goes on in Tehran and elsewhere in Iran"

With the best wishes for this photoblogger

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is the Moon More Important or the Sun?

I am reading for an op-ed that I have to write for my Comparative Politics class and I came across a paper called “Realism, Liberalism, and Dilemmas of Strategic Choice” by Arthur A. Stein in Why Nations Cooperate. I really liked reading its first few paragraphs and loved the analogy that it uses to introduce the dynamics of international politics. Given my background in literature, I always almost suffer from the dry nature of essays in political science. Also, the initial simplified analogy reminds me of the history of Iran-US relations. So I decided to share an excerpt of it with you:

“In the village of Chelm the people argue. The moon, cry some, is more important than the sun. But others, fierce partisans of the sun disagree. With the town rent by debate, the elders take up the question. After talking through the night, they decided: the moon is more important. It illuminates the otherwise dark hours. The sun, on the other hand, shines only in the day—when it is hardly needed.
Conflict and cooperation both attend the workings of international politics. In academia the scholars argue. They disagree about which predominates, about which constitutes the norm from which deviations must be explained. Some see conflict as the hallmark of international politics and hold cooperation to be rare of little consequences and temporary. Others believe that international politics resembles other political systems in which there develop norms, rules, and a generally cooperative ambiance. To them, conflict appears unusual. Scholars of both persuasions tend to concentrate their work on developing their presumptions about international politics and how these relate to patterns of either cooperation or conflict. Ironically, neither school focuses on explaining departures from the expected pattern. Rather, both schools emphasize what they perceive to be the norm.
Most basically, national choose between cooperation and conflict and such decisions underlie the entire range of international relations from alliances to war: When, how and why they choose between them, and with what consequences, thus constitute the primary foci of the study of international politics”.

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