A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

More Syrian linkage

A great report by a (Syrian) traveler writing his personal observations in Syria.


taken from the blog that in itself is a wealth of information:


Cities rally for and agains Assad


Friday, 12 August 2011

Some Syrian links

Radio Zamaneh interviews a Syrian activist (Persian):


A European blogger updates us on Syria (English):


New York Times talkes about Iraq supporting Syria's Assad regime:


Syria & Iran

Overheard from a Syrian activist during the Egyptian revolts: "If they fail in Egypt, there is no hope for us in Syria". True words and they didn't fail, though what they achieved in Egypt remains fragile and is still in danger of being wiped out by the military council.

What was said about Egypt however, also applies to Syria and maybe to a larger scale. Because of its geo-political position, if Syria fails, there's no hope for the rest of the Middle-East. If people manage to get their basic human and political rights, this is a blow to both Iran and Hezbollah, who lose an important ally in the region. It also shows the people in other regional dictatorships that this type of protest cannot be silenced, even with the level of brutality show by the regime of Assad.

For Syrians especially Iranians have become the cartoonesque bad-guys to be feared and hated. Videos appeared on the internet of (alleged) Iranian forces being captured by demonstrators and questioned about their role in helping Syrian armed forces in squashing dissent. It is important to note that the Iranian post-election protests of 2009 where not shown in Syria. Many Syrians are unaware of Iranians showing their discontent with their government and the large amount of students, lawyers, journalists, politicians and ordinary citizens locked up to this day.

Friends told me of their visits to Paris this week, going to Syrian protests and being afraid to identify themselves as Iranians.

It is instrumental that in this time when our governments find ways of collaborating the Syrians and Iranian people do the same. We don't share a language, but we do share a common dream of democracy, freedom and dignity.


An insightful article on the struggle in Syria here:


Sunday, 7 August 2011


Sometimes blogging gets slow when other things in life take over. The past days however I've been very busy with a (humorous) blog documenting the struggle of me and my brother to get back in shape. If you're interested here's the link to the blog:


Confused? Go to the first blogpost on the blog, it'll clear a few things up.

Here's something else you might find interesting. A recently launched campaign for Assyrian rights:


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Happy Birthday Zamaneh!

Five years ago a man with almond eyes, long hair in a pony tail and a Frank Zappa style moustache and goatee walked into our cultural center Mezrab. After sitting for a while and asking some questions about what we do in our center he introduced himself as Mehdi Jami, the director of an about to be launched media platform called Zamaneh. He was looking for young and interesting people with something to share with the world to join him in creating this station.

I had been a bit sad that summer. My band members had left for a tour of Eastern Europe, and I was alone, working in the cultural center. When the bandmembers returned I said I had a new job: creating a weekly show on world music for this station that broadcasts into Iran through satelite and internet.

In the years that have passed I was always its strongest supporter as well as its biggest critic. It's not hard to imagine why I supported Zamaneh. A young station operating independently and allowing for different voices to be heard and tell their stories. A platform in which both the new generation as well as the old guard was creating shows. How can you not be excited about this? I always defended Zamaneh when paranoid Iranians (and there are oh so many of them) accused Zamaneh of being a mouth-piece of the Mullahs, the CIA or in some cases both. Or when during the post election turmoil of 2009 some thought that Zamaneh should abandon independent journalism and clearly take sides with the Green Movement.

I have also been a critic, voicing my discontent with some programmes, suggesting improvements in other fields, but always out of respect for what was there: a station that, if it survived, would be instrumental in creating a template for journalism that Iran needs: uncensored, respectful, deep-digging, impartial, independent. I voiced criticism not just to be a grouch, but to help improve what I loved and respected.

I'm happy to say that Zamaneh is still around, and still improves on the old formula. There's an operational English site that on a daily basis gives us news about Iran in English:

It teaches aspiring journalists the basics of journalism, it is the only major Iranian news outlet with a page dedicated to Queer issues (homo-emancipation). These are only a few of the reasons I love Zamaneh. Others have their own parts they read and follow. Is Zamaneh today what it needs to be tomorrow? I feel it has a long way to go, but I see it's getting there and I enjoy opening it daily to read the new articles and analysis.

And it did show its fans that it's here to stay. Those who are not pleased with Zamaneh can choose to wish its death (something Iranians are very good at, how many projects did we see come and go while we only grumbled about how bad it was without doing anything ourselves?), or submit ideas, articles, comments and critique, and in this way help to build the platform we can all be proud of.

I look forward to the coming five years!