Tagiran

Photos: Iranians celebrate Zoroastrian holiday

Zoroastrian Celebration Sadeh

Zoroastrian Celebration Sadeh

Sadeh is an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated 50 days before nowrouz (Persian New Year). Sadeh in Persian means “hundred” and refers to one hundred days and nights left to the beginning of the new year celebrated at the first day of spring on March 21 each year. Sadeh is a mid winter festival that was celebrated with grandeur and magnificence in ancient Iran. It was a festivity to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold.

Payvand: Photos: Iranians Celebrate “Sadeh” Ancient Persian Fire Fest

Twitter works on technology to evade censors in China and Iran

iran internet cafe

Twitter, the internet social network, is developing technology it hopes will prevent the Chinese and Iranian governments being able to censor its users. […]

Mr Williams, speaking at the World Economic Forum, said he admired Google for its decision last month to confront China over censorship and cyberattacks on its service, but said Twitter was too small to take a similar stand.

“We are partially blocked in China and other places and we were in Iran as well,” he said. “The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about. I am hopeful there are technological ways around these barriers.”

Mr Williams said Twitter had an advantage in evading government censors through operating as a network of internet and mobile applications, rather than as a single website. “Twitter is a network that is accessed in thousands of ways.”

Financial Times: Twitter works on technology to evade censors in China and Iran

(via Wired)

“Why do they hate us?” revisited

Glenn Greenwald:

Note, too, the vast gap between how Americans perceive of their actions (mere “aberrations”) and how so much of the rest of the world perceives of it, especially those in the targeted regions. So much of this disparity is explained by a basic lack of empathy: imagine if every American spent just a day contemplating how they’d react if some foreign army from a Muslim nation invaded and bombed the U.S., occupied the country for the next several years with 60,000 soldiers, killed tens of thousands of citizens here, set up secret prisons where they disappeared Americans for years without charges or even contact with the outside world, imposed sanctions that blockaded food and medicine and killed countless children, invaded and ransacked our homes at will, abducted Americans and shipped them halfway around the world to island-prisons, instituted a worldwide torture regime, armed their allies for attacks on other Western nations, and threatened still other invasions.

Do you think Americans might be seething with rage about that, wanting to kill as many of the people from that country as possible? Wouldn’t it be rather obvious that the more that was done to Americans, the more filled with hatred and a desire for violence they would be? Just consider the rage and fury and burning desire for vengeance that was unleashed by a one-day attack on U.S. soil, eight years ago, by a stateless band of extremists, that killed 3,000 people.

Along those lines, a new poll from The Washington Post today reveals that 42% of Americans favor bombing Iran’s “nuclear development sites” (49% of Republicans; 38% Democrats; 42% Independents), while 33% of Americans favor “invading with U.S. forces to remove the Iranian government from power” (40% Republicans; 32% Democrats; 30% Independents). Although majorities oppose that, that is a rather substantial group of Americans that favors having us bomb and invade our third Muslim country in less than ten years, not counting the places we bomb covertly or the countries bombed by our main Middle East client state. And just imagine how much that support among Americans will increase if the U.S. Government ever starts advocating it and, therefore, the U.S. media even more loudly than now beats the drums of war against Iran.

Glenn Greenwald: David Rohde on the “why do they hate us?” question

Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US

Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of “no first strike.” This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran’s military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates. […]

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.

Juan Cole: Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

More skepticism regarding social networking tools in Iran

Here’s another one: On Wednesday, a reader alerted the Lede to an Iranian government Web site called Gerdab.ir, where authorities had posted pictures of protesters and were asking citizens for help in identifying the activists. That’s right—the regime is now using crowd-sourcing, one of the most-hyped aspects of Web 2.0 organizing, against its opponents. If you think about it, that’s no surprise. Who said that only the good guys get to use the power of the Web to their advantage?

Slate: How the Internet helps Iran silence activists.

(via Metaphorge)

See also: The Kitty Genovese Model

The Kitty Genovese model

I think that one of the greatest fallacies of our time — and one of the greatest leaps in logic that is made again and again by people who involve themselves in the worthwhile struggle to bring equality to all people — is the notion that awareness equals involvement. By providing a way for the world to see the terrible things occurring in Iran right now, we believe that we are somehow “doing something” about the problem — that we are, in some way, affecting change.

I don’t argue that this is sometimes the case. Many times, in specific sorts of circumstances, the rallying cry of “the world is watching!” is enough to defuse a dangerous situation. But many other times, it’s not, and the only person who is empowered or even enervated by global awareness of tyranny and oppression is the person watching events unfold…not the person in the middle of them.

Twenty years ago, the world watched on television and in the pages of magazines and newspapers as a young man, anonymous to this very day, stood in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, as part of a protest that served as a memorial for recently deceased official Hu Yaobang. His act served as a sort of visual icon for the resistence of the common man against the repression of totalitarianism, and is rightly regarded as deeply heroic. It also served to draw international attention to China’s brutal policies of self-censorship and intellectual repression.

Unfortunately, nobody knows what happened to that young man. Given what has been seen in other cases of protest in China, it’s likely that the poor guy is either long dead or serving out a prison sentence somewhere. And in the twenty years since that day, China has made only sporadic and small progress in the human rights arena, despite the efforts of millions of people in government, non-governmental organizations, human rights watchdog organizations, and the simple negative public opinion of probably billions of people around the world, who felt righteous indignation on behalf of that anonymous hero, unable to legitimately protest his government’s actions in his own land.

Zenarchery: The Kitty Genovese model

See also:

Grim Meathook Future

Let Them Eat iPods

Why there’s no such thing as a Twitter revolution

Ten very surprising things about Iran

From the Independent:

Transsexuals are permitted to have sex-change operations in Iran by the decree of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself. The founder of the Islamic republic passed a fatwa allowing one transsexual woman to have the operation because sexual ambiguity made it impossible for her to carry out her religious duties properly. Iran now has dozens of people who have had a sex change.

Full Story: The Independent: Ten very surprising things about Iran

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