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The youth of Iran have been absolutely pivotal in the success of the Green Movement. See below for their most recent impact on the newly opened university campuses all throughout Iran.

The youth of Iran have been absolutely pivotal in the success of the Green Movement. See below for their most recent impact on the newly opened university campuses all throughout Iran.

Dear All,

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I hope you are well. Some of you have forwarded Iran related information to me with a hint of “where is window 96?” And some have outright asked! It is so good to know that you are anticipating these windows. It has been a busy time in the semester.

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Let us open window 96 with a delightful music clip from the Jewish community in my own town, Shiraz.

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On a Musical Note

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* Before we got pulled into the post election political whirlpool, I used these windows to give you a glimpse into the diversity of Iran. To be sure the political news is still interesting and very important. However, let us keep our cultural tradition going.

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* You might not know that my historic hometown Shiraz has given birth to some of the best Iranian Jewish musicians. They have contributed not only to Jewish music but to mainstream Persian traditional music as well. The following is a beautiful short video dedicated to Jewish sacred music. I wish it was longer than six minutes. But here it is:

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Break Through with Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury

* After this beautiful musical opening, let me move on to a piece of news about a great scientific breakthrough in Iran. Iranian Scientists in Ruyan Institute, using human embryonic stem cells, have treated serious spinal cord injury in mice. Watch the mouse regaining the power to walk after total leg paralysis: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/watch/player.html?pkg=rc78iran&seg=1&mod=0.

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Iranian Professor is Awarded 2009 “Benjamin Franklin Medal”

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* Professor Lotfi A. Zadeh was awarded this prestigious award for his construction of the idea of “fuzzy logic” and fighting to get this seemingly “imprecise” approach to logic academic respect.

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Khatami on his birthday with his giant birthday cake.

Khatami on his birthday with his giant birthday cake.

An Unusual Cake for Mr. Khatami

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* On Oct. 12, 2009 Mr. Mohammad Khatami the reformist Iranian president (1997-2005) turned 66. He recieved a great birthday gift from his supporters who showed up in his office with an unusual cake. I made a very short slide show for you to see some happy scenes from present day Iran. Click here to see a slide show of pictures from his birthday party: Khatami Birthday Slideshow.

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Tools of Communication

* Someday a study should be done on the diverse and innovative tools that Iranian supporters of the Green Movement have used to communicate their deep conviction to improve the social conditions in Iran. I have included poetry and song clips in these windows. I have even shared images of banknotes with slogans on them. If you look below, you will see a banknote on which a well-known nursery rhyme has been re-written to tell the story of the Iranian economy: selling cheap oil to China, importing useless goods, and allowing domestic production to go down the drain.

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Iran Banknote Comments.001

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* The number of banknotes with green writings on them has reached a point that certain members of the parliament have suggested getting them out of circulation. Given the high percentage of such banknotes, however, the proposal does not seem practical.

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The First Death Sentence

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* It is sad that in a society in which the scientists dedicated themselves to saving lives, politics does the opposite. Unfortunately, the first death sentence has been issued in relation to the post election protests. While the ruling can be appealed, the appeal might fail.  To read the press release from the office of the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center, click on the link below. If the sentence is carried out, the crisis enters a completely new stage: http://www.iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/pdfs/PressReleases/2009/Statement%20on%20execution%20of%20Zamani.pdf

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Grieving Mothers

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* Every Saturday afternoon, mothers who have lost a child in the post election protests, joined by some relatives and friends, hold a quiet walk in the Laleh Park in Tehran. It is one of  the many forms in which the supporters of the Green Movement remind everyone that their demand for a fair election and a democratic government is alive and well. The following is a short clip from Saturday, Oct. 10:

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* You can read about these mothers who are becoming a global icon for justice: http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/oct/mourning-mothers.

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Ph.D Defense Conducted Outside the University

* As you will see in the item below, Iranian university students continue to demonstrate against the current government. The seriousness of these protests became apparent when Tehran Polytechnic conducted a Ph.D. defense in a building outside its main  campus on Saturday, Oct. 10. The reason why this defense could have led to protests is that the main advisor was Golam Ali Haddad Adel, a member of the Iranian Parliament who supports Ahmadinejad. According to the website of Tehran Polytechnic, even though the defense was moved out of the university, Haddad Adel’s name was still not mentioned in the announcement: http://www.autnews.me/node/3576.

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Universities Across the Country in Constant Protest

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* What news services here do not seem to reflect is the widespread nature of the protests across Iran. Below are some short sample videos that the students have managed to capture on cell phones and make available to outsiders:

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Mashhad University:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1061080906191&ref=mf

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Tehran University of Science and Technology:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102631346420319&ref=mf

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Azad University, Tehran:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102620073088113&ref=mf

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Shiraz University:

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Shiraz University Protest

Shiraz University Protest

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This is an article, not a clip describing the students protest: http://www.autnews.cc/node/3420.

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Shahre Kord (Azad U.):

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102616716421782&ref=mf

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* Other major universities such as Isfahan and Tabriz University have reported similar incidents.

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What is Missing

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* An interesting analysis of the recent events in Iran:  http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/oct/whats-missing.

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The Moderate Conservative Prevails

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* While from the outside, the Iranian political scene might look black and white (the hardliners verses the reformists), the reality on the ground is far more complicated. Days ago, Mr. Ali Larijani, a moderate conservative – and an opponent of Mr. Ahmadinejad – won the overwhelming support of his senior conservative colleagues in the parliament to stay in the leadership position. I would not present Mr. Larijani as a liberal by any means. However, in the recent events, he has criticized the conduct of the election, the state-run media, and Mr. Ahmadinejad himself. Here is some more detail of the vote in his favor: http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/parliamentary-speaker-larijani-prevails-over-pro-ahmadinejad-mps/.

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Upcoming Day of Students Solidarity with People

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* Peaceful demonstrations are planned for the 13th of Abaan (Nov. 4)to highlight the solidarity between the students and the general public in Iran. Clips like this are already circulating. The refrain of the song “hamrah show aziz!” which could be translated literally as “walk with me, my dear!” or metaphorically as “join our movement” is now a hit song:

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* Iranian bloggers are already busy posting images of wall writings and other announcements for the up-coming demonstrations: http://iranisabzpics.blogspot.com/2009/10/blog-post_9991.html.

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A beautiful painting by Ms. Shahverdi. Please click the link to your left for more of her incredible work.

A beautiful painting by Ms. Shahverdi. Please click the link to your left for more of her incredible work.

A Beautiful Exhibit

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* Let’s close the window with a slide show of Ms. Shahverdi’s beautiful paintings. Unfortunately, her website does not provide much biographical information about her. Enjoy her paintings. Click here for a slide show of her work: Ms. Shahverdi Slide Show.

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Don’t forget to share the blog with friends: https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/.

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Good Night,

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Fatemeh

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===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Honorary Co-Chair, Iranians For Peace
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
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Woman voting in the Iranian elections of 2005. Contrary to statements made frequently in the mainstream U.S. media, women CAN vote in Iran starting at age sixteen.

A woman voting in the Iranian elections of 2005. Contrary to statements made frequently in the mainstream U.S. media, women CAN vote in Iran starting at the age sixteen.

Greetings to all.

Thanks again for your continued enthusiastic reception of these windows. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, friends, and students (or suggest names to be added to the list). Furthermore, I would be delighted with any suggestions you might have to make the material more useable in the classroom.

Two personal messages: first very special thanks to JoAnn Achelpohl whose effective management of the listserv enables me to keep it going
during the academic year. Second, if you did not get Window number 3 (or any in the sequence so far) it might be because your mail box was full
at the time that the message was sent. Please let me know and you will receive the window you missed. Now, to window number 4.

Current Issues:

* Mr. Ahmadinejad continues to be a media sensation here. While he
personally contributes to that, the exaggerations and inaccuracies
associated with him are quite remarkable. On Tuesday morning,
August 29, NPR 9 o’clock News played a part of what the audience
was to consider part of an Ahmadinejad heated speech in “defiance”
of the UN resolution. Here is what I heard the Iranian President
say in Persian: “They (I assume a general reference to the west)
say they would like to negotiate with us. Let them do so. We have
no problems with that at all!”  NPR needs a Persian speaker.
* CNN does not seem to have access to the Iranian constitution
either. Iranian women and men can vote from the age 16. Iranian
electoral participation in general elections is around 90% which
is very high compared to many other parts of the world. Now,
checkout the following cartoon posted on the CNN web site
(courtesy of Shadi Peterman who forwarded it to me):
http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/analysis/toons/2006/09/01/mikula/index.html

Cultural Social

* Interesting statistics: last week, my historian/sociologist
colleague Behrooz Ghamari (U. of Illinois) wrote “last year alone
more than 2000 titles in philosophy were published in Iran. Out of
these titles, 1321 were translated volumes and 992 written in
Farsi. This is a six fold increase from ten years ago when only
350 books in philosophy were published.”  Behrooz adds he wanted
to send this information to Tom Friedman who wished a while ago
that “Muslims” would also read the works of western philosophers!
* In this part, I have a “Gift” for you. This is the title of a
beautiful short poem by Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) one of the
most influential poets of the twentieth century Iran. I will
devote a special “window on Iran” to her and her achievements in
the future. In the meantime, let me give you this poem now because
the gift she is talking about is a “window” by which I think she
means openings in the walls of our unquestioned perceptions. This
is what inspired me to call these updates “windows” on Iran. I
have attached the poem “Gift” as a word document (\”The Gift\” by Farrokhzad). Enjoy!

Suggested Reading: Bride of Acacias: Selected Poems of Forough
Farrokhzad
. Tr. Jascha Kessler with Amin Banani (New York: Caravan
Books, 1982). I am not aware of new editions, so the best way to get the
book should be borrowing it from major libraries. Kessler/Banani
translations are – for the most part – excellent.

Visual Delights:

* This week I have many visual delights for you. The first is a
brief tour of three historic Persian churches, two in Isfahan and
one in Qazvin.   http://www.farsinet.com/iranchurches/
* And four sets of art exhibits by one of the most renowned
painters in present day Iran Hannibal Alkhas (b.1930). Son of an
acclaimed Assyrian writer Rabi Adi Alkhas, Hannibal and his family
belong to an Iranian Christian community, one of the oldest in the
world: the Assyrians. He studied art and philosophy in Iran and
the U.S. and, after extended periods of living in either country,
returned to Iran where he has been teaching in the department of
fine arts in Azad University since 1992. Hannibal’s exhibits draw
large crowds in Iran and he teaches private classes. I personally
had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Alkhas in my “Introduction to
Islamic Civilization” in 1997 where he showed slides of his works
and spoke about the place of visual arts in Persian culture.
Contemporary Iranian writers form a central theme in the paintings
of Hannibal Alkhas. In June 1999, he devoted the following exhibit
to Nima Youshij, the father of modern Persian Poetry:
http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=26 and a year later one to
Forough Farrokhzad http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=25
Just to see the diversity of Hannibal’s work, visit his 2003
outdoor sculpture exhibit on the theme of birds:
http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=27 and one of his latest
painting exhibits:   http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=24

I hope you have enjoyed Window number 4.  Let me end with One More
Suggested Reading on contemporary Iranian history: Iran Between Two
Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian
(Princeton U. Press).

Have a great weekend.

Fatemeh
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Fatemeh Keshavarz, Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatuares
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
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