Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rosa Parks

Yes. Rosa Parks. I always admire her for the woman behind the myth: the one who was active in the NAACP and the Women’s Political Council; the one who was one of many women looking for an opportunity to get arrested for not giving up her seat. I admire her for not just being tired, but for being organized.

Recalling the incident for "Eyes on the Prize," a 1987 public television series on the civil rights movement, Mrs. Parks said: "When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.' "
Her arrest was the answer to prayers for the Women's Political Council, which was set up in 1946 in response to the mistreatment of black bus riders, and for E. D. Nixon, a leading advocate of equality for blacks in Montgomery.
Blacks had been arrested, and even killed, for disobeying bus drivers. They had begun to build a case around a 15-year-old girl's arrest for refusing to give up her seat, and Mrs. Parks had been among those raising money for the girl's defense. But when they learned that the girl was pregnant, they decided that she was an unsuitable symbol for their cause.
Mrs. Parks, on the other hand, was regarded as "one of the finest citizens of Montgomery - not one of the finest Negro citizens - but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery," Dr. King said.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ramazan Ramadan

Tagged as:

We’re about halfway through the mandated public fast. You can’t eat or drink in public unless you are a traveler or are sick. And then you better be in a hotel or a hospital. So imagine my joy when I was offered tea at a recent meeting. What a pleasure it was!

I think that many more women than men fast. “They think it will help them lose weight,” a friend explains. I’m not so sure. There is a kind of community that the fasting creates. It really is a pleasure to wander the streets at sunset. Someone is always out offering sweets, fruit juice, or porridge. Everyone watches the same serial: the story of a woman possessed by the devil. I have only caught bits and pieces because I do not have an antenna. Got one today, but now I only have 2 channels.

“Islam should be left to the individual,” a taxi driver ranted yesterday. “All of this fake fasting and public sanctions are ridiculous. They have taken away our personal relationship with the religion and made it the law. It’s too much.” And on and on and on he went…

“Wow. He talked a lot,” I told K.

“One thing’s for sure: he wasn’t an intelligence officer.”

“He didn’t give us any time to talk,” I laughed.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It can’t get any worse...

Oh yeah? I can think of thousands of ways that things can get worse. There is no rock bottom, I can guarantee that. There are only ledges on the way down. Get yourself on one of those ledges and hope that you can pull yourself up.

I have been accused of being biased against Iran by one of my recent readers. I think that if you read the entire site you will see it is 100% bar aks (opposite). I am in a funk now. When you get in a funk, everything goes wrong. Here’s a small list: crazy, vindictive landlords who want to get us arrested for giving notice; broken promises; missed deadlines; bad communication; out and out lying and purposeful misunderstandings; hospitals and death. Oh and politics. There is always that when you can’t find anything else to depress you.

“We are borderline clinically depressed,” K told me this morning. “I saw a program that described all of our symptoms.”

Us and just about everyone else in this country…

“Many of our friends are leaving the country,” a friend tells us. “They feel like the last eight years were a sham – that we are back at square one.”

“They have discovered 300 million dollars of corruption in the oil ministry,” K tells me.

“They’re scratching the surface.”

I remember before the war with Iraq when reporters and blogger" were saying that Iraq was not preparing for war at all. Iraq did not prepare for a war that most believed was inevitable. On the other hand, rumor has it that Iran is preparing for war: a war that most believe is, in fact, unlikely.

They are dragging out the negotiations: giving themselves time to build relationships with the Russians (oops! Soviets! Or uhhh Russians) and the Chinese and god knows what else. Some Iranians I speak to believe that the regime will eventually come to an agreement about the nuclear issues, but I am not so sure. Why would they come to an agreement with the EU and US when China doesn’t care about their nuclear ambitions or their human rights record?

“All of our clients are from China,” a lawyer tells me. “We don’t open the doors for Iranians even. They are never satisfied with our work; they call at all hours of the day and night; they don’t like to pay; and they are inefficient. Our Chinese customers love us. They have money. For them, we are cheap.” (The lawyer wasn’t commenting on foreign policy, nuclear power, or anything else but his business.)

On the other hand, there seems to be a shrinking sense that nuclear arms will make Iran more respectable. What could be causing this diminishment of enthusiasm? Could it be that most Iranians wanted to believe that the nuclear program was, indeed, peaceful? Could it be that they are now realizing that it is not entirely peaceful? Could it be that the regime may be thrilled with its new-found friendship with China, but that most Iranians look to the West when they see their future? Could it be that Tehran’s metro construction has struck water and caused the near collapse of a busy street?