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Monthly Archive: April 2005
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April 24, 2005

Driving and Democracy
Ali Zuashkiani  [info|posts]

dandd.jpg Many of us may have experienced sitting beside a careless driver while he is zigzagging through traffic. We usually feel uncomfortable in such situations; however, some of us would have shown the same driving style when driving. This may seem awkward and paradoxical yet is true. People typically do not like risking their lives when someone else is steering although they are more tolerant when having control over their situation. The more freedom of choice one has the more tolerant he/she is about the risks imposed on him/her as the consequence of his/her decisions.

The table below is adopted from book RCM II written by John Moubray, it explains this fact for the case of existing risk of death. As you see, people can bear 1000 times more risk of being killed when they have total control over the situation compared to cases in which they have no control and choice.

When I saw this table, it came to my mind that maybe it can confirm the tendency toward democracy and freedom. People feel more comfortable in the democratic societies and can tolerate more difficulties compared to authoritarian ones.


April 22, 2005

Kerachian Award for Best Photograph!
Yaser Kerachian  [info|posts]

Award.jpg Anyone who has studied in a university in Europe or North America knows that there are many different scholarships and awards which are offered to students. These awards are very diverse and are not only for those with the highest average. Many of the them are also given not by the university but by different foundations and institutions. Sometimes it is named after a person whom the sponsors would like to appreciate.

Disappointingly, there are very few scholarships or awards in Iran and those few that exist are not diverse. They are moslty for those who get good grades. In contrast, in Europe and North America you may get awards for good research, extracurricular activities, teaching and many other things.

In Iran, we have the tradition of donating money to poor people. Why not thinking more modern and initiating the idea of donating money for awards and scholarships? For example, those of us who have graduated from the same high school or university can get together and establish awards for the current students of our school. Five of us can each pitch in $20 (the money for a dinner) and establish an annual $100 award to the best research paper, or even the best photograph taken by a high school student. We can call the award something related to the year of our graduation, or maybe to honor one of our teachers of the time who may have been retired by now. Such small contributions to the schools where we have spent our adolescence could give us a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction, not to mention how much they can motivate students in their work and study.

April 21, 2005

The Tree that Remembers
Babak Seradjeh  [info|posts]


Stimulated by the suicide of a young Iranian refugee in Canada, Masoud Raouf, a former political prisoner himself, set out to make The Tree that Remembers. It consists mostly of stories told by other political refugees in Canada of their suffering in the jails of Islamic Republic after the 1979 revolution.

I saw the movie two and a half years ago at VIFF 2002. I had a short note on it then, in my now defunct weblog. Yesterday, I saw it again on the Documentary Channel and thought it important enough to write a less shorter note.

The movie is a collection of personal narratives. The participants relate, some in broken English, what they have gone through. As such it lacks historical and political perspective. On its own, it may seem dry and pointless. That is a pity, but I don't think this is a weakness given the constraints of a short documentary and the personal angle of the movie. In particular, if it is put in the right background, say, in a special-focus festival or festival section, it can serve as a poignant reminder of the lost chances of a young and restless generation of Iranians.

The film has been extensively awarded. The visual imagery, however, is not the best one can expect. In one sense it is quite successful: closed-angles, close-ups and restricted spacial environments combine together to make the visual equivalent of the impression given by the spoken stories. Raouf puts in his paintings in an attempt to convey some of the emotional charge of the subject matter and certain prison sets are visualized in a minimalist fashion in studio. Other than that, though, one is essentially offered only people telling personal stories and every once in a while shown a piece of newspaper or a still photograph or a short news clip of the revolution era. If Raouf could overcome this shortcoming, his documentary would make a significant contribution to giving a voice to the Iranian refugees. In its current format, it is probably better suited for the written media, perhaps an illustrated book.

Despite its shortcomings, I do recommend watching The Tree that Remembers to Iranians and non-Iranians alike; the latter may ask for the input of the former to fill in the gaps mentioned above.

The film's ending credits are accompanied by a nostalgic—to me at least—bitter-sweet song, Autumn is Coming, sung by Shirin, one of the characters. It is a well-tuned coda to Shirin's and her prison-mates' grim past.

The Tree that Remembers, Canada, 2002, 51 min
Director Masoud Raouf
Executive Producer Sally Bochner (NFB)
Associate Producer Ravida Din (NFB)
Cinematographer Ali Reggab
Editor Yurij Luhovy
Music Eric LeMoyne, Mark Goodwin

April 20, 2005

I makes mistakes, therfor I am!
Hamed Seyed-allaei  [info|posts]


It is about too be or not two be. It makes mi happy if I writ becuase it make me fill that I am. How els I can make mistakes in order to prof my existing? This are the chippest mistake that I can ever to make, so lets do it. If you does it I will loves you becuse I loves pepoles who exists. How can I love you if you doesn't exist? Indead I hate people who does not exist at all very much. Lets products some mistakes! Let show the word that we are, we was and we will be! lets loves and is loved in return! don't make war, make loves! and as the famouse F1 driver said: "go fast, but don't crash". But I say:" Don't go fast, but crash".
Besid, a world with mistakes is a very beter palace to live, very very better than a word with perffection becuase you are not alon, becuase you loves pepole and they loves you very much. becuase they luagh at your mistakes , and pepole likes two laufs. So lauf at my mistakes and let me luaf at yours, let has some funy thing.

Green, White, and Red Velvet
Kaveh Khodjasteh  [info|posts]

Velvet revolution in Iran apparently needs lots of needles to sew.