Are we all perhaps linked by invisible bonds? Do the actions of one affect others, even if those others are far away? Our lives and the universe itself may be all part of a single mechanism in which all creatures and events are 'entangled' with one another.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Heal The World (R.I.P. Michael Jackson)

What a week this has been! First, Ed McMahon, then Farrah Fawcett, and now Michael Jackson.
Most shocking to me was to hear of Michael's death earlier today, as it was the most unexpected. After all, Ed McMahon was 86 years old, Farrah Fawcett had been battling cancer for some time, but Michael Jackson was planning to hold a series of concerts in London in July. There was even talk of a possible "Jackson 5" reunion tour.
Generally, I don't listen to a lot of music, and don't keep up with all the latest artists, but I have always been a fan of Michael Jackson's songs, and his dancing was amazing. Being neither a singer nor a dancer, my opinion may not count for much, but I doubt there will be another talent like him for a very long time.
I chose the following video as a tribute to Michael Jackson, as well as a call out to all people of the world, to work towards peace and freedom for all the people of Earth. In particular, I am thinking of the brave protesters in Iran who have been risking their lives to achieve a greater degree of freedom. My previous post here (below this one) is an account by an Iranian Twitter user, who has not been heard from in more than 24 hours, and the last few "tweets" seemed to indicate some possible trouble. I hope this is not the case.

Michael Jackson may be gone now, but the spirit of his music can live on and inspire everyone to try to "Heal The World"!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Diary Of An Iranian Student

The following is an account of the day's events in Tehran, Iran as told by a University student, relayed via Twitter. No changes have been made in spelling or grammar. The term IRG means "Iranian Revolutionary Guard", and the Basiji are a militia group acting in support of the government.

I, like many others, have been following the accounts offered by these courageous people who are risking their very lives in pursuit of greater freedom for themselves and their fellow citizens.
Each line was a separate "Tweet", but taken together, provides an emotionally moving tale of those who are fighting against an oppressive regime.

it was a nightmare, I can barely breath & my face is burning, Masood got shot in the arm & Shayan's brother is missing

I don't know where to start with, first they attack our peacful memorial gathering in front of the university with water gun

the university's doors were close, we couldn't run everywhere! & then they start shooting tear gas at us

they were so many! riot police, normal police, intel, IRG, Basij! I managed to scape, but they captured so many people

all routes to Azady square were blocked & if anyone stopped walking or walking slow they hit him/her brutally

there was no safe path, people were walking in cycles between all variety of security forces

I think they made fun of people, don't go here, go this way, not that way & for no apparent reason suddenly attacking random people

we tried our best using all known shortcuts for reaching Azady SQ were mousavi was, but ended up in face to face with IRG

they weren't just the ordinary police or motorcycle riot guard, they were soldiers holding MP5 supported by reinforced military cars

we didn't realize for a moment they started shooting at people, the gun's sound was like a toy gun, not loud & the soliders were smiling

I was going to tell masood they are using fake guns for scaring people! until people started screaming in agony

we were at Nosrat st, and that part of that damned street had no were for covering

we ran as fast as we could in the opposite direction, at the same time basiji bastards started to hit fleeing people

I think I saw 2 or 3 people lying on the ground in blood & IRG started to move them, probably hide them.

I lost masood in the crowd in upper streets of Nosrat the irony was everything was calm there & people overthere shocked by the looks of us

it was the biggest disadvantage for us today, police & basij managed to cut off people and prevent them from gathering

they also attacked & arrested anyone with any green symbols or mousavi's pictures

damned government also armed street thugs & Afghan workers with anti riot shields & wooden or electric batons

most of them wearing in house clothings & I think they were really enjoying attacking people

apprently when I was wandering in Laleh Park searching for water Shayan managed to take Masood to a local Doctor

I'm safe, and last time I checked masood he was at a friend's office with some of the students & he was ok.

it looks some people are still out there, I can hear a chopper passing by

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sea Of Green

Protests continue in Iran over the disputed election results, as hundreds of thousands of people march in the streets. There have been a number of deaths and many more injured. While the protesters have tried to maintain a peaceful manner in their march, pro-government militias and military have fired into the crowds. Reports from Twitter users in Iran state that demonstrations will continue tomorrow as they march in memory of those killed. It's being referred to as a "Sea Of Green", because people are wearing green as a symbol of change and solidarity.
Below are a series of photos from Iran from the past few days. Be aware that some of these photos contain graphic images.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

History Repeats Itself

My previous post about the attempted uprising in China 20 years ago seems to be replaying itself this week, only in the country of Iran. After an election that many people felt was "rigged", protesters took to the streets to demand a recount. Tensions have escalated, with both pro-government supporters and backers of the opposition candidate demonstrating. As with the "Tiananmen Square Uprising" , many of the protesters are college students, alongside many others, calling for more freedom and a fair election.
Earlier today, the Iranian government banned all foreign journalists from reporting on the streets, threatening them with arrest. Other foreign reporters have had their visas revoked and must leave Iran. Some Iranians are using Twitter and other internet tools to try to get the news out to the outside world, but the government is blocking more and more of those methods. I just read a recent Twitter update from saying that pro-government militia, known as the Basiji, are approaching a college dorm in Tehran. Another Twitter user in Iran says there are reports that Tehran University will be attacked tonight.
All this seems eerily similar to the events 20 years ago in China. News blackout, followed by a brutal crackdown on protesters--I sincerely hope the events in Iran don't end up in a massacre in the same manner as happened in China.
I have been trying to get news updates on CNN's and Fox News' live feeds on their websites, but they both seem to be more interested in blabbing on about celebrity gossip and other nonsense, than reporting any "real news". The Huffington Post blog has a "live blogging" going on that is updating fairly often and is a pretty good source for news right now.
Oddly enough, I am off in a few minutes to attend a local "Tea Party " protest outside the New York State Capitol in Albany. But my thoughts are with the brave citizens of Iran who are trying to gain a little freedom and fair elections.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tiananmen Square Massacre-20 Years Later

It's hard to believe that it has been twenty years since the Tiananmen Uprising that lead to the brutal crackdown by the Chinese government that resulted in the deaths or imprisonment of thousands of Chinese citizens. Many of the people gathered in the Square were college students and others who were staging a demonstration calling for greater freedom and democracy in China. Over a million people gathered in Tiananmen Square in an effort to be heard by government leaders in their plea for greater freedom.
I remember this day well, back in June 1989, because I was watching CNN report on the growing protests. At that time, CNN had a news bureau in Beijing and was reporting live on the demonstration. As I watched I hoped that this massive demonstration would lead to some real reforms and more freedom for the Chinese people. It felt like what I imagine the early days of the American Revolution may have been when a small group of dedicated men risked their lives to throw off the oppressive rule of a despotic King George III. At one point, the students even raised up a replica of the Statue of Liberty, right there in Tiananmen Square! I stayed up all night, until about 4 AM Eastern Time, not wanting to go to sleep until I knew how this would turn out. Chinese authorities then cut off all outside news sources and CNN was forced to turn off its direct broadcast from Beijing.
It wasn't until the next day that the true horror of the massacre began to be known.
Many people today were either too young to remember this event and even those who were old enough seem to not be concerned since it happened so far away in a country they knew little about.
Below is a video made as a tribute to and reminder of the Tiananmen Massacre:

BBC News has an excellent timeline of the events in Tiananmen Square here.

This is a very significant historical event and needs to be studied and remembered for a number of reasons. The most important being that all people on this planet have the right to be free from oppression and live their lives as they choose.
Throughout history there have been governments and so-called "leaders" whose lust for power and control over others has lead to horrible oppression , wars and the death of millions of people.
Second, but equally important, is being aware of the nature of governments to restrict the rights and freedom of its' citizens and to insure that it does not happen. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

At the time of the Tiananmen Massacre, George H. W. Bush was President, and I keep expecting him to come forward and make a speech, perhaps warning the Chinese government against a violent crackdown on the demonstrators, but he said nothing, until after the brutal slaughter was over. Perhaps it would have made no difference, but I felt that a strong word of protest from an American President might have at least made the Chinese government temper its response to the protesters.
Most Americans don't think that such a thing as this brutal assault on the citizens could ever happen the "Land of Freedom". But just take a long look at some of the things that have happened in recent years, right here in the United States. An undeclared war, started on the basis of lies and propaganda, illegal unwarranted wiretaps and spying on peoples' phone calls and emails, the torture of "suspects", held without benefit of legal counsel or trial, and many other violations of the Constitution.
Most of these unconstitutional infringements on the liberty of Americans was instituted under the Bush/Cheney regime, under the guise of protecting us from "terrorism", all the while restricting or eliminating the rights of the people. In the last election, we were promised "change", but our new President, Barack Obama, has done nothing to reverse these abuses of power and unconstitutional laws. He has supported the use of unwarranted wiretaps, protects those who used torture by refusing to even investigate those responsible, and continues wars of aggression, even expanding those wars into neighboring countries, such as Pakistan.
Maybe its time for the American people to take to the streets, as those brave Chinese did 20 years ago, and demand that their government and their leaders restore the rights guaranteed to them in the Constitution of the United States.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kindle! Kindle! Kindle!

No, that's not some kind of "war cry", nor have I gone crazy (more than usual, anyway). It's just my excitement at finally being able to place an order for the Amazon Kindle2 eBook reader. Been wanting one of these since I first saw the original Kindle when it came out in 2007. Now that the new Kindle2 is available, I couldn't hold off any longer. Well, I did have to wait until I was able to afford it, otherwise I would have gotten one the first day they went on sale back in February 2009. As an avid reader and lover of books, as well a major tech geek, this device combines two of my favorites things.
The Kindle2 can hold up to 1500 books--that's like a small library you can carry with you! You can also get newspapers, magazines and blogs on it, and it even plays mp3 files (should you want to listen to music while you read). And one of the coolest features is that you can order and download a book on the Kindle in about 60 seconds! From almost anywhere, since it uses the Sprint's Whispernet service and it has a simple web browser as well.
Lots of other great features too, but I'll probably post about it again when it arrives. Got an email from Amazon yesterday saying it has shipped, so it shouldn't be too long before I have it!