Omid Memarian

Monday, May 31, 2004

News websites Closed
During the last days many of Iranian news website has filtered bye the governmental departments. For instance, "Gooya" website that is one of the most popular Iranian website in the world is not seen in Iran. Or Iran emrooz. These are first steps of conservatives that started to work in parliament last Thursday. They have said that it is time to be freer in social issues, but it seems that they are following the limitation of political and social sphere and especially civil society. Closing the news websites show the weak point of conservatives in Iran. The contribution of information hurt them but haven’t understand that they can not avoid the access to information… can they?

Friday, May 28, 2004

Next Comment: Conservatives play in two ground
In one square they show their anger against England and American troops and pilices in Iran and in the other hand they try to bargain with them. Here is of face of the coin.

Chalabi and rage of US officials

Ahmad Chalabi charged by US administration with exchanging the confidential military information to Iran.

Americans said that Chalabi have a close relationship with Iranian intelligence service. I wondered when I heard this news. I remembered only a month before US attack to Iraq. Ahmad Chalabi and his friends in National Iraq congress visited Iran. Iran accepted them as a diplomatic group. I and Amir Hossein my friend went there to have an interview with them. The eyes of Chalbi were shining when he was speaking. After his press conference and after all the journalists and reporter left the meeting I had an interview with Kanan Makieh his consultant and the writer of “republic of fear” (or something like this). He was very close to Ahmad Chlabi. He had a meeting with Mr. Powel and Ms. Condoleezza Rice ten days before that. I felt there is a close relation between these Iraqi men and US. At that time some people believed that if they come to the power will play a role of mediator between Iran and US. But now, only a few months after establishing the leadership council in Iraq Americans charge him. Perhaps they have change their program and so their confederates.

Tonight many frightened people of the earthquake spent their time in the parks and public sphere. I saw many cars and tents in the city which was the reaction to gossip that hinted to the coming soon earthquake in Tehran. Nothing happened of course during these hours.
But it was strange that no one of the officials had exact information about this event in Sari and the villages which hurt by last day earthquake. It seems after Bam tragedy and the other similar event it has not contain a lesson or warning for them. Everything happens like the first time. They surprise each time.
The bad governance in the government in all of its administration doesn’t let them to move quickly. That’s a joke here says “the country governs by the God. Because if they did. It must be destroyed sooner.”

The earthquake has happened in Sari. But it has shocked 8 states. It has been 5.5 in Richter scale. People in Ghom cities have left their home and have come to the streets. It seems whom that are closer to God fear more about …. (Just joking!)

It is unstable now it Tehran. The phone lines are busy. I have no access to radio of TV in my office. But it seems that it was only a shock. Tonight will be critical for people in Tehran. My father is preparing radio with extra battery and some essential things for tonight... only for prevention of some ....Woh!!!

Earthquake in Tehran

It is 17:20 Friday
A few minutes ago Tehran was shocked by earthquake. It was unbelievably feared people. I am in my office to work on an article. Suddenly everything was shaking. It took long about 15 seconds. But nothing destroyed. I am looking out of the window. People have come out with their children and are disturbed. A few months ago Bam city shocked once at midnight and then a few hours later the tragedy happened and more than 26000 died. Perhaps it was a message. What do we can? What? I am looking to the old men and women who are in the street…..insecure country in all its aspects. Natural insecure, social insecure, political insecure and so on……

My analytic report about the conservative Mayor of Tehran in his meeting with NGOs has published in Shargh paper.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Last day of reformist Parliament

Today was the last day of reformist MPs in the parliament. Unbelievably it passed very quickly. With many modern and liberal laws that passed in the parliament but rejected by guardian council. What will happen for the reformist then? This is a question that many people ask these days.
Some of the reformists have said that they are going to join civil society organizations. Some of them will join to the government in the rest period of its life. Some will leave country and some leave politic and join to the other activities like economic activities…..who knows?
But liberal men will continue their way to democracy in the remaining openings. Now you can see some of them are getting organized in the newspapers and magazine. Shargh newspaper, Vaghaye and coming soon paper Jomhooriat, are the examples. During these years they have prepared license of institutes and associations to follow their aims in them. I think they will focus on some critical issues like human rights and the other related topics. But at this time I think they are concentrated on the next election of presidency. They are trying to test their last chance. They know that the guardian council can delete the candidates of reformists. But they are trying to introduce some different candidate and individuals who are hard to be omitted. Perhaps the main challenges happen during the campaign for presidency election. Reformists know the last and the least stage for them can be after that but not today. They try not to appeal to risky activities.
They have held many meetings to talk about the strategy for future. During the last years they talked about “Reform” which had not a clear meaning and you can see nowadays even conservatives use it. But they are working on a strategy which has a clear meaning and everybody can understand what it means and how it is achievable. The movement of people who are intended in democracy is one way. It is similar to the way that republican opposition talks about it: “Following pure republic”. And everybody knows what it means.
In all it is a little soon to talk about the strategies of reformist. We have to wait and pass a few foggy months. Perhaps more that it of less than it…

Demonstration against Britain troops

Thousands of Iranians organized with semi governmental organization attended in a harshly demonstration in front of England embassy in Tehran during the last days.
No one of the civil society organization attended in this demonstration. However many of Iranian like the people all over the world are wounded by the savagely actions of American troops but as the conservatives use the human right case of Iraq as a ideological excuse to express their old slogan against US they think that they are not loyal about it. So despite many countries that you can see NGOs and the other similar organization, organize these kinds of objections, in Iran a part of sovereignty push it forward. That is the cause that shows why civil organization don’t join to the protests like this

I was working on my book all day in my room. 12 hours continued. I was listening to the MPs in the parliament who were talking about their feeling in the last day of their work...How grievous was that....

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The taboo of Hejab silently become feeble

A few month ago when sheirin Ebadi won the peace Nobel Prize, she attended in a press conference without common cloth cover that we call it Hejab in Iran. It made a big discussion in Iran. When she was coming back to Iran from France, many people talked about the reaction of government. Because they believed that the cold reaction of governmental officials was because of the behavior of Shirin Ebadi against hejab. Some people thought even the state arrest Shirin, however it was unbelievable.

Because all lights were brightened on her face. She said that Hejab is a rule in the Iran but not out of Iran. “I do the hejab as a rule here but when I come to abroad never do it”, said shirin ebadi. Some Iranian believed that it was better for Shirin Ebadi to use Hejab but some were against this idea. After that the number of women who didn’t use Scarf increased. Last December I went to Geneva with a delegation of non governmental organizations. Beside our delegation a huge delegation of government attended too. 5 women in our delegation put off their scarf when we left Iran. I can say that when the pilot announced that the plane is out of the land of Iran, they did it. During our trip I saw three women without hejab and anly common clothes in Europe there. Three feminist who were there with another cause appeared in public without Hejab( Without Islamic cover on their bodies and heads).
President Khatami came to the conference a two vice president were in the governmental delegation.
Anyway, it seems after the story of SHirin Ebadi the taboo of hejab increasingly becomes feeble.
Now, Shadi Sadr an Iranian journalist has attended in a ceremony to get her prize in NY without hejab again. Her photo published in some magazine and websites. And I am thinking how a symbol of Islamic regime breaking silently. The conservatives will confront with women issues in the early future. They have to change many things. If they do, the concept of Islamic regime will transform. And if they do not, they have to pay the expenses. Are they ready to pay the expenses? Or are they become ready for a big transformation? And the big question is that in the new sphere where their place is?

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Seven Who Create New Pathways for Success
Shadi sadr, my journalist friend has won a prize for the bravery journalism and now is in NY.
You can find some information about her in this website. Congratulation Shadi!

Seven Who Create New Pathways for Success
Shadi sadr, my journalist friend has won a prize for the bravery journalism and now is in NY.
You can find some information about her in this website. Congratulation Shadi!

Yesterday the website of Iranian association of journalists(AOIJ) establisheh. I did all of its work. The association is going to play amore ipmortant role in this field.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Conservative mayor and NGOs in Tehran

Today the mayor of Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad had a meeting with NGOs. Many women NGOS and youth NGOs attended in this meeting. Like the other time, me and some the NGO activists talk about our concerns. First of all a woman from women NGO who works on kindergarten and children said about her feeling to the Mayor. “I appreciate your working and my tears come to my yes when I see you because you really are in the serve of people …..”She said…

Sorry I have to leave but I will write a comment of this meeting for newspaper and also I will put it here….

During the last days I was so busy. We held a workshop on “tem working in NGOs” at Monday. But I have many things to do. First of all I have to finalize the magazine that I am working on it about microcredit for youth. Two month ago there was seminar on this issue and I think this magazine will give a complete perspective of seminar in many aspects.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Saeed Hajarian in an interview with shargh newspaper has talked about the strategies of reformists for the future. He has mentioned that they will organize people for the reform in Islamic regime. "We will follow reform in parties, associations and coalitions", Say saeed hajarian."We have to attend in any democratic process like city hall election and parliament election and so on. Because we have to be present in the social and political sphere." He added that if the conservatives don’t delete their candidate, they will be sucssesful for the next presidency election....

Alcohol Drink in the Islamic country

During the last days papers reported about the amount of alcohol usage in Tehran. “ thousands of litres alcohol are bought from pharmacies in Tehran and the other cities. White alcohol is the best seller product.” Say these reports. But nobody knows that the usage of alcohol that is presented in the pharmacies during the last years and specially last year, has not medical application. Drinking alcohol is common in Iran society like many other countries. But it has forbidden after revolution. The head of police hast year announced that more than 1 million liters of alcohol drink discovered by the police agents form the border provinces. It shows the market of alcohol is lucrative. Many people believe this market is under the control of some hidden institution that can bring huge amount of alcohol in Iran and also distribute it completely. Normal people can not do it. In Tehran you can by every kind of famous brand of alcohol drink. Beer, Champagne, Vodka and so on in every brand is available in Tehran easily. Like the other things that was forbidden at the beginning of revolution the dynamic of society push back the wrong polices of the clerics who wanted to bring the heaven for people, but know are importing the ….
In this way, it seems that some alcohol drink factory has established near the boarders. Who knows about the founders of this profitable market in Islamic country?

Friday, May 14, 2004

“Incredible! Incredible! They are really incredible.” Says the editor of “Suddeutsche Zeitung” daily to me during our walking around the Tehran last day. I spent a few hours in a Thursday afternoon in Tehran. She as a journalist who deals to social issues was wondering about her information about the youth in Tehran. Prostitution was another topic that was interesting for her to follow. “I have heard that girls and women come to the streets everywhere to show themselves and…..” She said to me. “ SO they are all over the Tehran.”

The Belgian delegation that had come to Iran at the beginning of the last week, leave Tehran tomorrow. Today I took them to Shargh newspaper and we discussed about many things about the situation of press and journalists in Iran. After that they came to Bazaar and I went my office to arrange our meeting at 5. They came and we had a long negotiating with them about the exchange program and the other related things. As I have found, there are many things that are not understandable for the foreigners when they confront with. …
Simone Susskind that probably you have read a part of my interview with her in the past posts is a kind women and professional in her work. And the delegation is also coherent. During the last week I was busy to organize many things for them. And it took a long time. Now I feel tired but I am happy that this trip was interesting and useful for them. Thanks to god!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Can you sleep well, president Khatami?

(This comment has published in Shargh newspaper today.)
“When I was going here, I asked some of the students about their questions from Mr. Khatami. Do you know what did they say, Mr. President? They said that it is better to be silent for all your 3 minutes and then come back and sit. Do you know what it means? It means we have no question of you”… “Why didn’t you leave the power after all pressure and violations? Why?”…. “How unfaithful are you?”…
These are only a few words that youth people used during their meeting with president Khatami a few days ago that is called “100 golden minutes with President.” President that his tendency to speech is decreasing nowadays was thoughtful. This time it was time for youth to talk. Khatami was moving all the time. Khatami was perspired. He was listening carefully during all this 3 hours. He was chocked with tears for several. But his ears were completely open.
National youth organization which had organizaed this meeting had gathered more than 100 youth and 20 of them could ask a question in 3 minutes.
Journalists, writers, poets, actors and actress were there… But the youth which were involved in the social and political changes in the recent years, indescribably impresses the people in the saloon. The youth which president was confronted them for several times during the last years and in some events.
First of all it was time for a student girl to ask her question: “I was going to this meeting and asked my friend to suggest me some question. But no one of them had any question. They told me it is better to be silent for 3 minutes and they come back.” She said. The saloon was full of silent. The walls were watching a girl who was speaking bravely and daringly. “Why were you silent when the conservatives arrest the students 4 years ago? Why were you silent when they attached to the dormitory of the students and injured man of us? Why president? Tell us why?”
The other youth was journalist: “We all liked to hear your voice in many times but you talked in some times which hurt our heart.” She said. And tried to notify a sentence of president during a street demonstration after Iran national footballs teem. “You said that these youth are ruffians and rogues. But they were not. Because, I was one of them. We wish that you were being silent then. But you were not”. She added as she looked a little anxious. “Look at my eyes president! You have to answer the questions….”
And the said many things that brought the tears to the eyes ….it was a day which showed the society that the youth generation is coming with the new behavior and requests.
Their confronting with the resident shows that the youth are going far from the sacred discourse of Islamic regime and expect the equal relation with the officials. It shows the heavenly approaches of the clerics during the years after revolution has made people sensitive about the function and the benefits of clerics in the power. Now they ask what you can bring for us. So youth speak clearly and with explicitness. You can feel a deep objection in their face. Very deep. During the recent years whenever they have found a background to show their felling they have shown their tendency to destroy and criticize everything that has created after revolution.
During this meeting president khatami mentioned that the youth can not talk about the thing that they mentioned, out of the presidency palace. “If you talk about some of these things that you are telling me now, will not be safe, I know.” Said president Khatami. This notice shows us that in Iran we have two spheres. One is the natural sphere which shows the natural request of citizens and now is very critical with the state and the second is under the control of officials and the other organizations.
Now the underground life wants to be appearing and change the second life. So Iran is talented to social changes rapidly… (A part of my article in Shargh newspaper today)

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Women exchange in Tehran: Belgian and Iranian women
The delegation of Belgian activists arrived last night in Mehrabad airport. I and Mojgan and ferry my collegues and coordinators of this trip went to say welcome to them. They came to the hotel and I ate breakfast with them in the hotel. They were interested to coming Iran. This delegation contain NGO activist, journalist, lawyer, cultural expert, academia and so on. In their trip to theran that is a part of exchange program with my organization (volunteer actors) they will some meetings with women in different topics. I had an interview with the head of the delegation simone susskind in Shargh newspaper.
(1st Part)- (2nd Part)

Friday, May 07, 2004

My interview with Simone Susskind will publish in shargh newspaper tomorrow.

The similarities between Iranian civil society and European civil society especially in women NGOs

I had an interview with Simon Susskind President of the Brussels-based organization 'Actions in the Mediterranean' and also an advisor to Belgian deputy prime minister and justice minister Laurette Onkelinx... She had implemented many projects about dialogue between women in many countries. They have an exchange program between Iranian women and Belgian women in next month with my institute. I will publish the complete interview in a Persian newspaper next week. But here is a part of it in English (Only two question and answers). Thank you Simon for your kindness and sorry if it is not high quality edited...

1-Do you think that there are any common points in the Iranian and the European civil society?

You know I am astonished to discover once again. There are many common points between women In Iran and Europe. Until this morning that we met Dr. Jaleh Shadi Talab and she told us how long and how difficult it was for her to establish the women’s study center at university of Tehran. She was telling that when Mrs. Habibi started working as an advisor of president Rafsanjani , she said listen we had one home and now we have two homes .she explained that to get to this women center , she had a fight to get it. They wanted to reach and …. But they wanted a center, a women study center. So at the end, she explained they how had got the agreement of the minister of the education. She had a copy rushed to the president of the university, and finally she said that we will give you one home and he said that we are not giving you any funding ,and you have to have it your self , then she started to find the funding . And then she said that you have to attention to the rules, and she did it. And it is exactly what happened in Europe .it is not different at all. The same fight is going on in Europe .here people believed that we have achieved any thing in Europe. I will give you an example We had once in Belgium, a woman who became a minister in Sweden. She called Ana Lind. She came for a conference. We organized the conference on parity between men and women in Belgium. And she told us that in Sweden they had more women than men in the government. They have 43 % of women in the parliament .but in the field of university professors, 10% of women there are .and so on …. So we had much to do to push the women in these fields like university and …. There is always something that we have to do. And it is also very interesting that some women were saying “what we have achieved for instance”. Really we don’t have women in government, but we have achieved in the medium level a lot. Women in academia, in civil society, we have developed very much in the last year. And this is also very important. So I see many similarities, the tone is different but the way is the same….

2-Are there any differences between instruments that women use?
May be this is an advantage. We blow the principle that we are equal. I will give you an example. When I finished my studies at university, it was 1970; the women were not allowed to open a bank account without organization of their husbands. So it is not such a long time, so what we are fighting now, one of the men fought in Europe for instance is two fights. One fight is to get in the political decision making. We are fighting for the parity. We believe that it is important to have equal number of women in the parliament or in the government. This is one fight. The other fight which is not less important is to have agenda mainstreaming, which means that in all levels of the social body, you have taking the consideration this issue of the equality between the men and women. But this is not against men; it is going together with the men. So these are priorities actually of women in Europe. You must know also, until now in Europe, for equal positions, in general, women are 20% less than men, professionally. They have salaries, 20 %, less than men for the same qualification. So this is an important objective also. I see similarities, which are same issues I can see. Also the same awareness I can see in Europe, In the Arab world, in Iran, every where. And I believe that we have to reinforce the networking at the national level. Women have understood that they had common priorities in the society, with the differences or the specifies. The objectives are very similar.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

A film Which has made clerics mad

During the last two weeks ago, screening a film in Tehran had created a big conflict between the Mullahs and the other actors in the Iranian Society. You can not believe its theme in the Islamic regime. Some of the conservatives are trying to ban the presentation of this film. In Mashhad they could stop the show of this film. But the battle is continuing. “Marmoolak” (Lizard) has caused many discuses and the cinema experts say it will break the record of audience in the history of cinema in Iran. “It has sold more than 150 thousands dollars in its first week staging”. One of the “Marmoolak”film makers says to the reporters.
But why some of the clerics are angry and mad about this film?
Let me tell you a short summary of film….
Marmoolak is about a thief in prison who escapes from the jail by dressing clothes of a cleric. The story begins when he goes out of the prison….In the rail road some boys joke with him….in the compartment of the train a mother and her young girl come in and ogling of the cleric-thief- make many funny sentences and moment for the viewers. He tries to be closet to the girl when her mother is sleeping and then you can not control laughing in the cinema. The man goes to a village as a Mullah and the ways which he prays make people laughing. …at the end on the film the thief- cleric- become closer to god and try not to continue his worst behavior again…
I can transfer all happened in this film but I think you can imagine what happen in it.
Let me tell my analysis frankly. If this film was made at the beginning of the revolution, the Islamic regime would kill or arrest all people who were involved in it. Perhaps many of people were against him or even participated in some demonstrations against it. But now, people who go to the movie laugh amphitricha and when the young boys mock with him all people in the movie laugh loudly.
I think they believe the personality of the thief in the cloth of an Islamic cleric. Most of us have seen many of them with these kinds of behaviors beside us. Why they laugh and hurry to prepare the tickets? Because this part of the reality of our society. What is happening? The Iranian society is in the transition period. The sacred situation of clerics that was made at the beginning of the revolution has changed. The behaviors of the leaders and the cleric officials automatically have created a secular people who have not a sacred view to the clerics more. ….Let me finish here and continue this comment later…..

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I had an interview with Andre Gerber one of the Fredrich Ebert Foundation Directors in Tehran. He has talked about the effects of international organizations on development in the other countries especially in developing countries. He has mentioned that they are trying to establish an office in Tehran. This interview will publish in Vaghayee ettefaghieh paper soon. i will tell you the link

How busy was I, during the last week. I promised with myself not to leave writing in my weblog. but I did. Woh!

Monday, May 03, 2004

I am wirting......wait

Sunday, May 02, 2004

I am working on a website for Association of Iranian Kpurnalists. I will manage the website. No itis going to the end for the preparation of content and desighing the pages and so on. It made me busy during the last two weeks. So I think we can update the website with new design and method od editing next week. i will give you its link.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

The meeting of president Khatami had a strong reflect in the conservative’s newspaper. The governmental TV didn’t cover the “100 minutes with president. Last night I attend in a roundtable in BBC Persian about the press day. I talked about some professional issues but Mr. Saharkhiz mentioned some security points. Tomorrow the Journalists will congregate in Association of Iranian Journalists. At 14 to 16. I will be there.

This is the cartoon that one of the cartoonists gave to president khatami during his meeting with youth last Tuesday.