A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Naughty Clerics

Iranian religious law on sex is not much less strics than for instance Catholic rulings. A big difference is that the muslim clerics are allowed to have wives and be sexualy active. It's still fun to catch them in what is essentially a human need, but for regular Iranians might mean imprisonment, lashes or a deathsentence.

Here's a nice write up of the last two major scandals:


Glad to see they are participating in the sexual revolution as well!

Friday, 30 January 2009

George Clooney and Iranian Sex.

In the past days I've been working on articles on Iranian sexuality and how it will rock the Theocracy, both for this blog as well as well as other publications. I don't have the illusion that the topic or its approach is very new, but I didn't think I'd find an article that almost literally opens with my words: "COULD sex unseat the mullahs?"

This article is a review of Pardis Mahdavi's book Passionate Uprisings: Iran's Sexual Revolution, but also talks about the poetry of Hafiz and Khayyam as well as George Clooney's adventures in Iran in the film Syriana and what it shows about Iranian society an outsider would rarely see. Some of the last lines of the article are a line of dialogue by Clooney: They let a few young people march in the streets; the next day they close down 50 newspapers. They let a few satellite dishes go up on the roofs, but it doesn't meant the ayatollahs are surrendering one iota of control over that nation.

All in all, a very interesting read: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24670520-7583,00.html

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Iranian Sexual Revolution

I've thought long and hard about what can change a country like Iran around. For sure a revolution is needed, but does it have to be a political one? I have my doubts. Politics have brought us the mess we are in, and because of this most of Iran's young population has no interest in it. However, there is something more interesting and even far more potent available to us: the power of Sex!

It's what most if not all young Iranians enjoy (at the very least to talk and think about). It's not a wonder organised religion fears it as much as it does. Also, it's an influence that's very hard to keep out of the country, as the need for it comes from our very genes. It's even harder to suppress if you think about all the Mullahs involved in scandals (which could be kept out of the papers, but pop up now in blogs).

I'm going to have so much fun writing about this issue in the next few months, watch this site!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Israel burning

What madness eh? Who knows what the future will bring. Well, let's ask the wise men of today.

To understand who some of the players are in Israel and Palestine, and how losing the support they receive will affect the playingfield, read this article on Hamas: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

But also the profound article by Uri Averny: http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html

In this article he states that America is slowly but surely turning away from supporting Israel.

And now for something completely different, the Libyan dictator Qadaffi writes an article in the New York Times suggesting (yet again) the one state sollution for Israel and Palestine: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/opinion/22qaddafi.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

Ok, enough articles, listen to some music by Idan Reichel.

Friday, 23 January 2009

The Baghdad Blogger Returns!

Whoa! Remember the Baghdad Blogger, mr. Salam Pax, who gave us daily updates before and during the war from within the warzone? He's back! (and has been for a while, but no one told me before). Here's a link to his new blog: http://salampax.wordpress.com/

And here's a heartbreaking article of him and his return in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/15/salam-pax-baghdad-blogger


And now to distract us from the foul stench of politics, some music that twangs the strings of our hearts. I present to you, Concha Buika. My new love in Flamenco.

Yes I know it's a Jazz bar she's singing in. And yes, I also know she's black. But this is the Flamenco of the 21st century. Happy listening.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Photography and journalism

Every so often I post a link on my blog to a photography site with pictures that inspire me. One that frequently returns, in the hope that more and more readers will get hooked to his site, is Life Goes On in Teheran. This monthly updated site contains pictures that were taken by the mobile phone of a young artist recently returned to Iran from living in the States. At the moment the blog is travelling through Europe. Come on, get hooked already!

Want to go out yourself and record/shoot/write? I just found what could well be the definitive guide to multimedia journalism. Have a swagger to this site: http://advancingthestory.wordpress.com/

Monday, 19 January 2009

An Update (Finally)

My apologies for the long delayed update. I was not being lazy, merely swamped by the incredible task of overseeing the production of 30 hours of radio programming on Human Rights in Iran, the first daily hour being broadcast on the 31st of January! So don't forget to tune in via www.radiozamaneh.com . I'll post a banner to the programme's site as soon as it's done.

But to make up for my lateness, here's a triple whammy update for all you folks.

A) Let us celebrate the sisters who are rockin' it in the motherland. A bit over a week ago the one million signature campaign, a grassroots initiative that has rocked the establishment in Iran has been awarded the Simone de Beauvoir award for its tireless action. Many of this campaign's activists have been locked up and harrassed in other ways. Here's a write up about the award with links to the campaign:


B) Check out this wonderful Iranian/Swedish singer "Laleh"

See how she is a famous Iranian singer with black hair and wonderful features unmutilated by plastic surgery? Quite a rarity I've been told.

C) OnzeManInTeheran, a great blog by the Dutch journalist Thomas Erdbrink, has a great entry about why a Dutchman decided to open a hotel in the desert city of Yazd. Funny article in Dutch: http://onzemaninteheran.com/?p=572#comments

Monday, 12 January 2009

Pablo Neruda

There's so many happy things I want to talk about: Musicians I've discovered, projects I'm working on. I want to talk about friendship, sexuality and romance. But who can talk about these issues when the world is burning? Or maybe it's talking about these issues that will heal the world, I'm not sure. At any rate, here's what Pablo Neruda wrote not so long ago, when it was the civilized west slaughtering its brothers and sons.

I'm Explaining a Few Things

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate.

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives.

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain:
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.

And you will ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land.

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Gaza music

When faced with such barbarism one of the few sane ways to react is music. Have a look at this clip of Palestinian rappers from Gaza and Israel. Rap is doubly good because not only does it as music show it's actual people suffering in the occupied territories. It's also much safer in the stress-release department than throwing rocks or joining an Islamist militant resistance group.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Poem

by Jiri Mordecai Langer (1894 - 1943)

The poem
that I chose for you
is simple,
as are all my singing poems.

It has the trace of a veil,
a little balsam,
and a taste of the honeyof lies.

There is also
the coming end of summer
when heat scorches the meadow
and the quick waters
of the river
cease to flow.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


You could do worse than read this article to gain some perspective on the current war in Gaza:

"To understand how frightening it is to be a Gazan this morning, you need to have stood in that small slab of concrete by the Mediterranean and smelled the claustrophobia. The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other, jobless and hungry, in vast, sagging tower blocks. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean, and Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall – as they are doing now with more deadly force than at any time since 1967 – there is nowhere to hide."


Saturday, 3 January 2009