A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

No News Music

Sadly I have no further news yet about either Kambakhsh or Kamangir, the Afghan and Iranian-Kurdish prisoners. While we wait for news good or bad, here's some music you should listen to.

The most famous album to come out of Cuba is ofcourse the multi-platinum recording of the Buena Vista Social Club. What many people don't know is that some of these "timeless classics" are not old songs with unknown origin, they are the creations of Guillermo Portabales, a singer and musician whose compositions more or less created this style of music. Ironically the musician who was responsible for the creation of Communist Cuba's finest export product actually fled the country when the revolutionaries were taking over. So it goes...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Films you should't miss

Yesterday I met a Djinn. It is not a surprise, as I'm looking for them more and more: Men and Women who share my sardonical sense of humor, my cynical view of the world, my sense of wonder and amazement when experiencing art, when seeing a spider build a web, when having sex.

My grandfather was part Djinn, and a lot of it was passed on to my father. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Djinn, so is Hossein Alizadeh. Many greek Rembetika singers and southern Italian tambourine players are Djinns, but so are some of the Kurdish smugglers on the Iran-Iraq border. Obama might be a Djinn, I'm not sure yet, but who is definately a Djinn is the Israeli filmmaker Avi Mograbi.

This year IDFA showed his film Z32, which is about the confession of a Israeli soldier who killed 2 unarmed Palestinian policemen and is looking to be forgiven, but his finest work is probably "Avenge But One of My Two Eyes". Here's a scene from the film. The lyrics from the song that the extreme right winged rock band sings are from the story of Samson in the Old Testament. The filmmaker states that Samson is the first suicide terrorist in recorded history, and finds ir ironic that the Israelis see him as a hero.

The director, Avi Mograbi, didn't go to the first Lebanese war in 1982. As a conscientious objector he spent 1 month in jail. Who did go to war is the filmmaker Ari Folman. Now, more than 25 years after his experiences Folman has turned his past into an amazing film, Waltz with Bashir.

Check out either or both films, Waltz with Bashir is still shown in cinemas in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Holy Crap

You should head to Tori and Kamran's blog right now!!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Save an Afghani Student of Journalism

Remember a few blogposts ago I asked your attention about jailed journalists, bloggers and students? Well, it's time to undertake some action grassroots-style. Let's start off by mailing the Ambassador or Consul of whatever country you're in. As I am a Dutch citizen I will mail the Afghan Consul of the Netherlands.

This is the mail I'm writing them. If you don't want to write a whole new e-mail just copy and edit mine.


Dear Consul,

It is very sad to hear that in a country liberated from the Taliban people are still jailed for expressing views, and particularly in an academic environment. Ofcourse I am referring to the case of Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, the student who was first sentenced to death and now to 20 years in prison for spreading articles in his university.

The current regime of Afghanistan has asked and received the help of the international community to defeat the Taliban and start a democratisation process. The treatment of mr. Kambakhsh undermines Afghanistan's relations with all the democratic countries supporting it at the moment.

I myself was born in Iran and fled the country because of its barbaric treatment of its citizens. As a citizen of the Netherlands I am appaled that my fellow country men are fighting and dying in Afghanistan to root out the Taliban and rebuild the country, when at the same time the government that they support decided to support religious extremism over human rights in the case of mr. Kambakhsh.

I hope you will give this matter your attention and endeavor to free mr. Kambakhsh.

Kind regards,

Sahand Sahebdivani
Artist / Journalist


The mail address I sent it to is the following: afconsulholland2@gmail.com

If you're on facebook please also join the following group:


Spread the word!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Musical Performance

A while ago my mom, Branko Galoic and I were asked to perform for the programme "Obalive" in the Amsterdam public library. We played 4 songs: our own interpretations of classical and popular Iranian songs, as well as 2 songs by Branko. The big star ofcourse was my mom! Sadly the only song they put online doesn't feature her. But hey, Branko and I were not too bad either.

Check out the programme on:


(scroll to the bottom to find the link to our performance).

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A Change is on its way!

America elects its first black president, Rotterdam its first Moroccan mayor, and now a small town in Oregon elects the nation's first openly transvestite mayor!

I don't know about you, but this fills me with wamr fuzzy feelings. The world is slowly turning into the one I want to live in.

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Sometimes I get frustrated being an Iranian. It seems there's great individual Iranians, but as a group we suck. Seriously, look at the country and the people in it.

At those times I fantasize about becoming Finnish. They're so relaxed about everything, and they've got Nokia. Look at how they vent their frustrations:

Finland, take me in your arms!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Thank You for the Music Mama Africa...

Last Friday one of the great voices of Africa, Miriam Makeba, had a concert in Amsterdam. It was our monthly storytelling night so obviously I couldn't go. No sweat, I thought, I'll catch her the next time she's in town. Last night Miriam Makeba, the grand old lady who fought Apartheid and was exiled from South Africa, only to return on Mandela's request after 30 years, played a concert in Italy and dedicated it to the struggle against the Maffia.

This morning Miriam Makeba passed away. She was 76 years old.


This song is part of a live concert she gave for Dutch TV in 1979:

Friday, 7 November 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

Some weeks ago my Posse and I performed at the "No Label" festival in Utrecht. I don't really have a Posse in the classical sense of the word (we don't ride into town on horses to beat you up after you steal our cattle, unless you're really into that sort of thing and pay us well...), but it's a word I like to use. Some guys filmed parts of the show and interviewed the... well... Posse-members. Not mentioned in the clip is their names:

Babak on guitar
Amiracle on percussion
Eyesful beatboxing, on didge and mouthharp
Sieger with poetry and crazy movements

We had a great time!

I was also interviewed, but probably not deemed interesting enough to be included in the video.

And now, for no reason other than it being a beautiful clip of a beautiful person singing a beautiful song:

(Thanks Allen!)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

It's Back!

Apologies for my long absence.

Doctors were cutting in my eye. We're not talking wuss surgery with lasers here, but proper knives and scalpels and swords. Apparently it takes some time to recover from this process, time you cannot pass while reading or writing or pretty much any activity involving seeing things. Anyway... here's the next post.

Go read immediately the excellent thoughtprovoking article written by Tori about how the new America should deal with Iran:


And watch/listen to this, a great video made for/with the post-minimalist classical cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima: