Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tajik Girl Challenges 7-century Mindset by... Singing

Sometimes we cannot realize that heroes and heroines live side by side with us and, alas, usually we discover it after they demise.

But it's better to notice it right now that we got one of them alive, lively and young or as AFP reports from Kabul, "sultry", who succeeded to put an end to ages of women's imposed silence on the stage in Afghanistan - Manizhe Dowlat.

We must recognize it and thank her for such a rocking bravery. She had to overcome fears of a war-stricken country like Afghanistan swarmed with blind-minded "puritans" stuck in the 7th century and she did. She went to cure the wounds and maladies of her own Persian sisters and brothers in Kabul and Mazar-i Sharif as the first woman after woeful domination of Taleban and Taleban-alike beings to unvail her face, hair and tastefully dressed figure as a free human being, sing and dance to show a better way to enjoy one's life.

I don't care a button if any financial or vested interests were involved in this perilous adventure or not. It sounds really preposterous to indicate that issue here indeed. All professional performers use their talents as means of their financial independence and self-preservation. But not all of them were ready to face the challenge of visiting their stuck and hapless siblings to take some remedy of music and joy for their exhausted souls. This step for a young and attractive girl like Manizhe derives from some extents of selflessness as well. And the sense of patriotism too. I am proud of you indeed, Manizhe. Well done, sister!

PS. The AFP report is hidden in the title and could be visible by a click of yours. Although it goes a few days back, but good things never age.

Thursday, January 26, 2006



by Kambiz Arman

With Russia’s apparent blessing, Iran is pressing ahead with efforts to forge stronger ties with Tajikistan.

Tajik President Imomali Rahmonov paved the way for an expansion of bilateral ties with a January 16-17 visit to Tehran. During the trip, Tajik and Iranian leaders issued a Joint Declaration on Broader Relations, as well as signed agreements providing for Iranian assistance for several Tajik infrastructure projects, including construction of the Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric power station and the Shahristan Tunnel.

"Iran and Tajikistan are one spirit in two bodies," Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying after he welcomed Rahmonov. "Broad and deep grounds have been established for bilateral relations and there are no limits to the expansion of relations."

The visit showed that the deep-rooted cultural ties between Iranians and Tajiks are capable of overcoming political-religious differences between the governments. Rahmonov is a Soviet-style secularist who has acted steadily to curb the influence of Islam in Tajikistan’s politics in recent years. Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, is the product of an Islamic puritan movement that wants to restore the guiding principles of Iran’s 1979 revolution. Following Ahmadinejad’s victory in Iran’s 2005 presidential election, some Tajik political analysts predicted a downturn in Tajik-Iranian relations, citing the two governments’ apparent ideological incompatibility. Ahmadinejad has proven such predictions wrong, however. Some observers speculate that US and European Union pressure on Iran over its nuclear program prompted conservative Islamic leaders in Tehran to set aside long-standing political and religious considerations in their search for international allies.

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist tragedy, Tajikistan developed into a forum for US-Russian geopolitical competition. The Rahmonov administration initially embraced closer ties with the United States only to later distance itself from Washington and return the country to Russia’s close embrace. Last October, Moscow and Dushanbe signed a far-reaching strategic cooperation pact that sanctioned the establishment of permanent Russian military bases on Tajik territory. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Given Russia’s dominant geopolitical position in Tajikistan, local observers say it is unlikely that Rahmonov would have made the trip to Iran had he not had Russia’s approval. Moscow has emerged in recent weeks as one of Iran’s main backers in Tehran’s ongoing nuclear dispute with the United States and EU. In an interview published by IRNA on January 24, Russia’s ambassador to Tajikistan, Ramazan Abdullatipov, offered a vigorous defense of Iran’s peaceful intentions concerning its nuclear program. US and EU leaders believe Iranian research is geared toward developing nuclear weapons. Abdullatipov stated that Russia would resist calls for UN sanctions against Iran and would maintain nuclear cooperation with Tehran "in accordance with previous agreements," the IRNA report said. Iranian officials have reacted positively to a Russian proposal under which Moscow would enrich uranium for Tehran’s use.

Iran had extended an invitation to Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, to visit Tehran at the same time Rahmonov was in the Iranian capital. Karzai declined his invitation blaming "bad weather," "technical problems" and his need to prepare for the donors’ conference scheduled to be held in late January in London. Political analysts suggest Karzai stayed away from Tehran so as not to jeopardize Afghanistan’s ability to attract economic aid from Western donors.

A few observers in Tajikistan express reservations about the benefits of stronger Tajik-Iranian ties. They harbor concerns that Iranian hardliners, acting in the spirit of 1979, could possibly seek to use Persian-speaking Tajikistan as a vehicle for promoting an Iranian-style Islamic revolutionary movement in Central Asia.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Israel v Iran: Family Feud

I liked today's Ecomonist's remark:

"Iran' President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says Israel is an alien implantation whose people should return to Europe or perhaps settle in Alaska. So it is an irony that Israel's President, Moshe Katzav (Musa Qassab), is in fact a Persian-speaker born in Iran. Ditto Israel's defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, who is doubtless preoccupied nowadays with how to destroy Iran's nuclear programme. He is advised by Dan Halutz, Israel's former air-force commander and now chief of staff. Lieut-General Halutz was born in Israel, both his parents in Iran. They seem to have taught him a sense of humour. Asked how far Israel would go to stop Iran's nuclear programme, he replied: "two thousand kilometres".

I think Economist has forgotten to mention it that Dan Halutz has presumably inheritted a very big mouth from his Iranian-born parents too.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Diplomatic Heat Rising Over Iran

London’s Monday meeting of the UN powers signalled the rapprochement of once strictly opposite positions regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. Ostensibly Iran’s latest actions and remarks, such as removing UN seals and resuming research at a nuclear plant in Natanz without IAEA’s approval, refusal of Russia’s proposal to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian soil and threatening to disregard the Security Council’s decision on its nuclear ambitions have provoked the leaders of the veto-holding powers, the US, UK, France, Russia and China together with Germany to discuss the remaining steps of preventing Iran from acquiring its own atomic bomb.

Iran has never admitted to have such a plan. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Iran’s unwillingness to acquire nuclear weapon insisting on the peaceful aspect of his nuclear program. However, Tehran’s passionate contention to save its nuclear program in defiance of international disapproval has caused a wide-spread suspicion over its sincere purpose.

But still, it doesn’t seem that the world’s main powers have a real consensus over their next step. Britain, France and Germany cannot foresee any promising development in further talks with Iranian authorities and prefer to call an IAEA emergency meeting to refer Iran to the UN Security Council. A step that would be approved by the US too. Russia appears to have changed her position slightly as well and seems reluctant to hinder this process. The main reason could be Russia’s lost labour persuading Iran to transfer its uranium enrichment process to Russia’s territory.

China’s position remains obscure and no official statement in this regard has been made by Beijing so far. But China’s UN Ambassador Wang Guangya has been quoted by agencies as saying that referring Iran to the Security Council might toughen Tehran’s position on its nuclear program. According to him, China wants a solution, but referring Iran to the UN, he believes, might complicate the issue. Most experts say that China is not interested in imposing sanctions against Iran, since those sanctions will inevitably damage strong economic ties between Beijing and Tehran. Apart from intensive trade with Iran, China heavily depends on Iranian oil too and in 2005 China imported about 14 % of its crude oil from Iran. According to a Reuters report from Beijing, China would “frown on sanctions against Iran efforts to curb its nuclear program be brought before the UN Security Council, but analysts say it would more likely abstain from any vote than use its veto power.”

“If you look at some of the analogous examples, China doesn’t like to be the sole opposing power in the UN Security Council”, has said Taylor Fravel, a China foreign policy specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Reuters.

It is not only China that is concerned over economic consequences of possible sanctions against Iran. While it is not clear yet if the London talks would lead to imposing sanctions against Iran at all and what sort of sanctions they would be, some observers have likened the possible sanctions to a double-edged sword that would undermine not only Iranian, but all economies around the world. Manouchehr Takin of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London has told The Guardian daily that if Iran stopped exporting crude oil the soaring price for a barrel would hit $100, just because “supply and demand are very tightly balanced”. Meanwhile, Iranian authorities, aware of possessing an oil leverage, do not tend to see themselves in the position of a weaker, at least verbally. Davoud Danesh-Jafari, the Iranian Economy Minister has warned that applying economic sanctions against Iran, which is the world’s forth-largest oil producer, would have grave consequences.

And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sounds more than certain that the West needs Iran more than Iran needs the West. His rhetoric about Western “double-standards” in the nuclear question has given him a wider popular base within Iran by turning Iranian nuclear program into a national cause. Ahmadinejad’s statements have found very keen listeners in the region’s Arab countries too. On Monday Amir Saud al-Faisal, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia while visiting London accused the West of partially causing the crisis by assisting Israel to acquire its nuclear arsenal. However, he expressed a hope that Iran would stick to its commitments and pledges not to develop nuclear weapon and called for a nuclear-free zone in the Persian Gulf.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

History Is Being Written

Tonight’s Channel 4 (More 4) insightful drama turned me upside down again by realistically taking me back to the dramatic events of over 2 years ago and mysterious demise of a British weapon inspector Dr David Kelly. The more realistic it was the more painfully one could accept it. The reality that in our world – no matter where we live – justice rarely prevails. Previously highly esteemed poor Dr Kelly could not realize why the government was in a wild fury with its own weapon inspector. The government was nervous about his straight forward talks and contacts with the BBC correspondents, while he was hopelessly pin-pointing at a paragraph in his contract with the British MOD that communicating with journalists about Iraqi issue was among his duties.

And I liked the way the playful, weightless and ruthless nature of Tony Blair was depicted in the drama and blind hatred and stupid aggression of Alistair Campbell.

Some people may praise the British democracy for allowing that sort of dramas to be broadcasted on TV. But what does it change? The drama alleges that the American-led war in Iraq has resulted in more than 10 000 civilian deaths. So what? Does anybody in the American or British ruling machines care about those lives to revise their policies in Iraq?

But the drama shows the war between the BBC and Tony’s government perfectly and the unfair way of the government’s victory orchestrated by a suspiciously anti-liberal Judge Lord Hutton in 2003. I remember those bitter days for Dr Kelly how an arrogant cow-faced member of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee humiliated Dr Kelly and called him “chaff”. And the way the abased Doctor was mumbling his words and how the interrogators were ordering him to speak up. All those moments have been immortalized in “The Government Inspector” that I happened to watch tonight.

But on those days that I perfectly remember up to date we in the corporation could not imagine Dr Kelly’s emotional world and his internal struggle to come out as the source of Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts’ pieces about Iraq and 45 minute warning row, because he as a Baha’i convert believed that Truth was the only way out of any misery. But allegedly he found his own way out in leaving the world altogether with its dirt and cheap values. Who knows what happened to him at the end? Even the drama doesn’t dare to disclose that mysterious moment by risking turning a historic drama into a fiction.

But now we know that both the BBC and Dr Kelly were right and both the government and Lord Hutton were wrong in this tragedy derived from a greater tragedy. No WMD discovered in Iraq, the Iraqi SSO looted presumably by American forces that had it under their surveillance for two weeks in order to make the fact-finding mission impossible, the US and Britain lied to the world community and the both still remain in high alert situation as a consequence of their lies and misdeeds.

That was something to remember for tonight.

As for my own history, following a very amicable talk with one the big bosses of the corporation now I got more peace of mind to leave with. Most certainly, the project is going to remain in London and somebody else recruited for it from Tajikistan to replace me. Halleluiah!If we could rely on his words, it could be one of the rare examples of justice been done.

Friday, January 13, 2006


I’m listening to them right now and can’t believe what I am doing and what kind of pool I’m diving in. Sometimes even I doubt that we speak the same language and how to define whose language is more regular and who has to follow whom? And based on the way we sound, I reckon we even possess different kinds of nasal and pharyngeal textures. Do you remember what Lenin had said about a minority and a majority and who has to obey whom in this case? Thank Ahura I do not cherish communism to be worried about my disloyalty to its ideas. Besides, I know that even there we won’t be just a small minority.

It even hurts more when I think what sort of world I’ve left behind. A world familiar to me and never could I notice any kind of difference between us in there. Throughout last two days I’m leaving in my memories and it seems all my bad memories have disappeared or turned into good ones so quickly. I still can hear beloved voices over the phone and still can see Sima’s tears whispering “please, don’t leave us”. But the wind was blowing faster than we could imagine and taking me away in horror, fascination, disgust, pleasure and all sorts of contrast.

Shall I say now, oh dears, accept my belated heartfelt regret and take me back? Do I really regret it already? No. And I think I am one of those dumbest people that do not feel remorse that easily.

But with their talks during last few days I have seemingly grown fonder of that world and their endless invitations and pledges that the doors of that world are open for me forever… The very bosses that seemed revoltingly cold and indifferent were sending me eye-watering messages and giving heart-melting toasts. A month ago I could not believe that the very people that used to look at me with fear and concern of being bitten or mentally maimed would be queuing to have separate farewell drink parties with their leaving “foe”. To make me feel less offended by their previous behaviour? To make me forget the dirt I’ve seen in their world? To make me forsake their stories as soon as I forsake their world? Whatever was the reason, it overwhelmed me. But if that was the reason, I should have told them not to worry at all. There was no need for such a drastic change of behavioural code at all. I would have forgotten them with their stories on the next day after leaving their world.

But I had to shed some sincere tears (and they were my only once last night) for my beloved people that will remain hovering over my heart until kingdom come. But I am certain about the firmness of our ties proven by so many upheavals throughout the years of togetherness. The ties that grew beyond the walls of that world will hold us tight together further on.

And I believe that we can extend those ties even up to the new world of mine and we’ll finally find a common language and will develop the same sort of nasal and pharyngeal textures to comprehend and love each other. Only if Ahura will remain just beside me. Eydun bad (Amen).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It happened suddenly...

It happened; filled with grief and joy it happened suddenly,
Leaving behind the greatest ploy it happened suddenly.

Amazed amidst its tardiness and speedy turning up
I’m left as an inexpert boy; it happened suddenly.

My tears caught in tricky move: to shed or not to shed,
Sweeping away my doubtful Troy it happened suddenly.

The tenure of the chair was a long-awaited dream,
I dropped the chair as a toy. It happened suddenly.

I’m lost amongst my shame and pride leaving no stone unturned
In order to achieve the joy, it happened suddenly.

The wind is blowing to the East to tell my confidants:
He is with you forever. Oi! It happened suddenly.

11 Jan 2006

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thanks, Sharon!

It seems Arie listened to our advice and didn't rush to Yahuva; started breathing plainly. However, his friends are still breathing heavily and deeply worried, so that Condy had to cancel her official trip to Aistralia today due to Sharon's health conditions. I thought she was somewhere in Jeruselim as well. But nah, she's thousands of miles away, in Washington, watching Sharon's situation "closely". I don't know how closely though. Well done, Sharon! You got very loyal friends. Australia and all this lot can wait until you really get up on your feet again.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Live Long, Mr Sharon!

Just over a year ago he was up on his feet and brave enough to smile at the face of Death that was approaching his biggest ever foe. He was welcoming the morbid steps of Death to take away Arafat. But it seems Death had an eye on him too and it didn’t took too long before it send a cerebral haemorrhage directly into his brain and his brain started puking out contents of his thoughts – blood. In other words, he’s suffering from bleeding inside his brain. The very brain that made him gloat while Arafat was taking his last breaths.

But the situation is absolutely different now. The very George W. Bush that labelled Arafat’s demise as a positive turning point in the Middle East conflict seems utterly terrified. No wonder if he is lashing his dying friend in his thoughts right now. Just because recently Sharon was urged by doctors to diet in order to get rid of some bulk of his 115 kg tummy – advice reinforced by George who also suggested to him to take more exercise. Alas, he didn’t. George’s best friend didn’t listen to his rarely wise advice and didn’t stop swallowing kilos of beefsteak and pounds of pancakes coated with sugar after having some portions of greasy bacon with his beloved Palestinian shish-kebab. And he didn’t lead his own soldiers to any battle for the sake of his own health and some more exercise.

Let us see who we are talking about. The subject of this posting is “a ruthless soldier who would promise to find ‘true peace’”, as today’s Independent put it. A “Bulldozer”. That was Ariel Sharon’s nickname on his good days. The last father of the existing Israeli state and the architect of the massacre of over 1000 people in 1982 at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Lebanon. The person who triggered the second wave of Intifada by a single gesture: visiting the holy Temple Mount in 2000. The very man who started building the Berlin Wall of the Middle East in defiance of the international laws; the concrete fences even higher than the Berlin Wall itself. The Prime-Minister of the 51st American state that is accused of money-laundering and only a day before his brain bleeding an Israeli TV station reported about police investigation on Mr Sharon’s receiving $ 3million from an Austrian casino magnate to cover campaign funding before he took office in 2001. (Perhaps that was what triggered the bleeding.) The person who was terrified from his own evil deeds and had to pull out from Gaza in defiance of his own Likud party. The leader who had to abandon his ruling party just a couple of months ago to form a new Kadima party that needs to grow up yet. That’s the person who is dying and that’s the person who’s made George Bush pray for him. US officials said that even the entire American nation was praying for Ariel Sharon’s well-being. Of course, I doubt it as any sober person on the globe.

However, let’s join all praying people of the world and wish him a longer life in order to show the difference between us and him. Live long, Sharon and live in pain of the consequences of your own devilish deeds. Anyway, you will never be able to get back to politics, while you’ve thrown your nation into the situation of complete uncertainty. Thus, you have not done anything good even to your own nation by intriguing anti-Semitism all around the globe. But you are extremely pitiful now and we don’t want to give a thumb down for you now. Live with pain of your Ahrimanic deeds a bit longer, Mr Sharon, and with bitter consequences of them.