Monday, June 22, 2009

IRAN: Maz Jobrani's serious reflections on Iran ...

Maz Jobrani is an American comedian of Iranian extraction who has toured with the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.

He has also visited Australia.

Here are his personal reflections about the current situation in Iran ...

Dear Friends,

The recent events in Iran have had me glued to the TV, the internet and anything else that can give me updates on what is going on in the country of my birth. When I was 6 years old in Iran, the revolution of '78-'79 happened. I remember having to have our lights off by a certain time for curfew and how the police would drive by and flash their lights into our homes to make sure we weren't causing any trouble. I also remember one time running into our basement when we heard gunfire coming form a protest close to our home. At the time I was a kid and had no idea what was going on. I just thought it was cool to be hanging with my mom and family in the dark in the basement. For a 6 year old it was an adventure - like being in the Bat Cave.

30 years later I am being bombarded with images and clips from the protests in Iran that remind me of my youth. As someone who is not in the country and watching from overseas I must say that I am emboldened by what the people of Iran are doing these days. No proof has come out to show that the election was actually stolen, but the obvious signs do point to voter fraud. In breaking it down on some of my shows I've been saying that it seems in a country of 70 million people, Ahmadinejad got 75 million votes. Voter fraud? Divine intervention? You be the judge.

Anyway, I am writing this e-mail to express my solidarity with those within the country struggling to have their voices heard and their votes counted. It has been too long that the people of Iran have had to live like 5 year olds being monitored by "adults" who tell them what to wear, how to act and what they can and cannot do. The last time I was in Iran was just over 10 years ago and I remember leaving my mother country feeling depressed. I remember coming back to the US and making sure I appreciated the freedoms that we have here. I remember thinking that the people of the world should be guaranteed these basic freedoms which do not exist in Iran.

I hope that you will keep this struggle in your mind and support them in any way you can. I have changed the image on all my facebook and myspace accounts to the image attached here. Please do support by at least using this image on your facebook and myspace pages. I also know that many peaceful rallies are taking place around the world in support of this movement. If you have the time please do join in these marches.

Last, but not least here are a few links that I found interesting and helpful:

1. This video comes from Iran where at night the reformists are yelling "God is Great" in support of the movement. The woman speaking on the video breaks down towards the end and she keeps asking "where is this?" Responding to herself "This is my country Iran." It's actually very moving if you can have a farsi speaking friend translate.

[I think the translation is as follows (this isn't mine by the way; I found it next to the YouTube video).

Tonight the sound of God is Greater can be heard louder and louder than previous nights
Where is this?! Where is this place where everything has been blocked?
Where is this place where people are just shouting the name of God?
Where is this place where the sound of God is Greater can be heard louder and louder?
Everyday Im just waiting to see if there will be more and louder voices at nights?
My body trembles
...and I wonder if God trembles too?
Where is this where weve been imprisoned so innocently?
Where is this where no one gives us a helping hand?!
Where is this place, where we are getting our voices heard worldwide through our silence?
Where is this place where the blood of its young people is shed on the streets..., where people stand and pray on their blood?
Where is this place where its people are named Gangsters & Thugs?!
Where is this?
This is Iran. This is my land and yours!
This is Iran]

2. This video is a Brazilian expert on Iran who breaks the situation down very well.

This last one is a song that a friend of mine put together. It has some explicit lyrics, but I hope you enjoy.

All the best,


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Peter Phelps said...

Hi Irf,

Bought your new book and was so fascinated I read it in a single sitting. Finished at 2am. Interesting annecdotes about Hilaly and the fractious nature of Australian Islamic organisations.

And although you mention it several times, if you are going to do a book on the Libs, can it please include a bit more truthfulness that John Hyde-Page's effort. I mean, seriously, how many meetings of the YL Right at City RSL ended with us running down the street slapping AAFI stickers on peoples' cars?

Your Mum and Dad sound like a wonderful parents.

Peter Phelps said...


You may also want to check out an article of Stratfor about the elections. The basis proposition is that the current situation has nothing to do with "moderates" and "conservatives" and everything to do with power and money within the Iranian elite.

Essentially, Ahmadinejad is a 'hair-shirt' populist who had the temerity to question why the existing clerical [I know you hate that word, but..] elite happens to be so wealthy while the rest of the country ain't so rich? His chief target is Rafsanjani. Not surprisingly, that sort of populist talk has a degree of resonance with the large majority of poor people in rural and regional Iran.

Mousavi, on the other hand, is simply a stalking horse for Rafsanjani. He's no more 'moderate' than the rest of the Iranian leadership - if he were then Khamenei would never have allowed him to be a candidate.

Essentially, the battle is between who has the power and the money, not some Westernised 'good guys v bad guys' morality play. And, amazingly, Ahmedinejad comes out of the article actually looking a bit more like the sort of person a populist democracy would elect than a monied elitist like Mousavi.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting perspective.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Labor backbencher Michael Danby, the only Jewish MP in Parliament, described the comments as offensive not only to the Jewish community but to former and current Australian military personnel.

"I felt sick to my stomach sitting in federal parliament hearing some of these comparisons," Mr Danby said.

"Dr Phelps has attempted to equate an Australian who served in Iraq with someone who was a Nazi concentration camp guard at Belsen.

"This is deeply offensive not just to the Australian Jewish community but to all of our World War II diggers and airman who fought to defeat Nazism.

"It's also an astonishing attack on our servicemen in Iraq."

It's a sad world when your Young Liberal Nazi mate Peter Phelps has the gall to compare our soldiers to Nazis in an attempt to discredit an Australian Army Officer especially when he Peter Phelps is a public servant spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers money on political advertisements.

And you attack a journalist who unlike you or Peter Phelps is a normal sane respected person just because that journalist is jewish and objects to Peter Phelps.

Peter Phelps comes on this blog when he isn't creating scandals and disasters. It's interesting that he remains your chum. Birds of a feather really do flock together. Once a teenage Nazi Young Liberal always a teenage Nazi Young Liberal.
8:25 PM
Anonymous said...
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
9:14 PM
Irfan Yusuf said...

"And you attack a journalist who unlike you or Peter Phelps is a normal sane respected person just because that journalist is jewish and objects to Peter Phelps."

Er, did I criticise Danby for his comments on Phelps? Where is your evidence I did this? Or is it just invisible voices between your ears telling you this?

"Peter Phelps comes on this blog when he isn't creating scandals and disasters. It's interesting that he remains your chum. Birds of a feather really do flock together. Once a teenage Nazi Young Liberal always a teenage Nazi Young Liberal."

The far-Right faction was instrumental in pushing people like me out of the Young Libs and the Liberal Party. I'm not sure if Phelps is still part of that faction. I know many of those he was allied to in the early part of this millenium were.
1:33 PM
Anonymous said...

"PRIME Minister John Howard has spent nearly $2 billion on government advertising and information campaigns since coming to power 11 years ago.

A Sunday Age investigation has found that just weeks from calling an election, the Government has 18 advertising campaigns on the air, with a $23 million climate change campaign to air after this week's APEC conference.

The Sunday Age investigation has also shown that since the last election in 2004, Mr Howard has spent a record $850 million of taxpayers' money on government advertising. The Government disputes this figure. "It's probably closer to $400 million," said Peter Phelps, chief of staff to Special Minister of State Gary Nairn"

Peter Phelps said...

Whoever wrote that last post is clearly deranged. And a coward, who's too afraid to attach his name to his defamatory remarks.