Sunday, June, 21, 09

Elections all over again…Iran

Filed under: a moment in my head — theradishpress @ 4:59 pm
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by theradishpress

So, I have been silent on here. Not in other instances, but here. I have a lot going on in my head right now, and I am not even in Iran. I am physically removed from that home of mine. I did not vote either. I thought long and hard about it, and for a while I kept close tabs on this election. I lost touch with it a little ago so much so that when it came to the week of election I did not even realize until a few days before Friday.

My main reason for not voting was that I felt that not living in Iran makes it unfair. Then I thought that does not matter really, because I am still going to feel the effects of election results. These things being said, I do not regret not voting.

And that is not the point of this either. The point of this is to talk about what is going on now. And the truth is, I do not know how to begin talking, well, writing. So I will just write what comes to mind. It may not make sense and I may repeat myself, but I need an outlet. I need my mind to have some sort of outlet, nice for me to have this and not worry about getting hurt.

Iran is a large country, Tehran is a small part. That is in no way said to minimize what is going on there. And I have heard it said over and over again that governments should fear their people. I agree. They should. And good for Iranians for standing up for themselves. They always have. The revolution, while it happened before I was born, was not long ago. I am not so far removed from the revolution as I am from the one in the US. So what that I was not born in Iran and that I have not lived there, nor been there since childhood, the fact of the matter is I feel connected to that home of mine. And I love that home of mine and I love that I am part of a people who refuse to be held down by anyone, especially their own. We, Iranians, do not like to be told what to do, we do not like to take orders, we do not like interference. Maybe that’s why I can relate to some anarchist ideals.

Whether Ahmadinejad won or not is beside the point now. (Also, can we take a moment to not forget that George Bush stole the presidency and we here in the US did not so much as bat our lashes. We should have taken our anger to the streets. We could learn a thing or two from not just Iran, but just about every other nation out there. How sedated are we? And yes, I include myself in this. I am not without fault. We need to all be held accountable.) The point now is that there are a lot of people who are not happy with Ahmadinejad as president again. There are a lot of people who are not happy with how things are run.

I of course cannot help but go back to feeling on the defensive of who I am and where I come from, of how we Iranians, Middle Easterners, Muslims are portrayed by Western media. We yet again are violent people, irrational, crazed, and the list goes on. I am no expert on Iran or politics or Islam or people my age or the revolution; I am only an expert on myself and my experiences and how I am reading the media and watching the media. There is truth to the idea that people are indifferent until things are in their own backyard. I am not indifferent to things in the world, but certainly feel removed. Until now. Now I feel overwhelmed and powerless and I want to help and I feel like I do not know what to do or where to start. I suppose this is some sort of start.

I cannot help but feel some annoyance too at the sudden rush of love for Iran and Iranians that a lot of folks here in the US have. On the one hand it is great to know that folks are paying attention and showing support. On the other hand it feels self-serving, or like the usual colonizing mind-set of  “we know what’s best for you savages.”

There also needs to be a serious analysis of the media – though that needs to always be the case – because everything is so completely one-sided. I am not one to ever take sides with government, and I am not here. and that is it, the media tends to be in support of government and corporate interests, I am not talking Iranian media here. It is old news that the US media is controlled by five corporations. Hello, Fox News is not the only one full of liars and thieves. They just happen to be more honest about … well, about lying. So as I read stories on CNN, BBC, NYTimes, Washington Post, PressTV, etc. I keep thinking, “what is not being told? what has been left out? whose voices are not being shared?” But mostly I think, “whose interests are being served here?”

One thought that crossed my mind, and here comes that orange jumpsuit for a permanent stay in Cuba, is that this is so convenient for the US. Iran is more than vulnerable right now. But having Ahmadinejad as president is great too, because he only adds to already existing tension. He creates turmoil. He will be the end to Iran as it is known. And yes, all governments fall, and I will be the first to say that there is a lot that needs to change in Iran, but who is Ahmadinejad helping anyway?

Tuesday, November, 11, 08

there does need to be change

Filed under: a moment in my head — theradishpress @ 12:31 am
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by theradishpress

I have been thinking a lot about President Obama. I have to admit that I was more surprised and excited than I expected to be at discovering his victory. No, I did not vote for him. I did not vote at all. And yes, I expect him to keep his promises and there are certain things, like his very vocal support of the state of Israel, that I cannot get behind.

That being said, I am still in a pleasant shock that this country elected an African-American man as president. And now that Barack Obama is president it is time not only for him to fulfill his promises, but for his supporters and for everyone in this country to be an ally to him.

Having a black man as president does not negate this country’s past, nor its current state. The truth is that this country would not be here if it were not for the slaves who built it. The truth is that James Byrd was dragged to his death merely for being African-American. The truth is that in Jena, Louisiana a white student was allowed to get away with blatant acts of racism while the six African-American students who defended themselves were accused of violence. The truth is that right now black voters are being held accountable for the passing of Proposition 8. Any person who claims that racism has ended is lying and ignoring the truth.

The election of Barack Obama is an opportunity for all USers to come together as allies and work together to fight racism. We can open communication. We can bring about true change. While some may say this country was founded on freedom and equality, others note that it was also founded on genocide and enslavement. This is a chance for true democracy, for all of us to hold this country and ourselves accountable.

Now, this does not mean that we blindly follow our leader(s), in fact, we never should. After all, this country was also founded on revolution. This does not mean that President Obama should not be held accountable for his decisions either. But this also means that we need to really examine the media, politicians, and ourselves. How do we react to President Obama and his decisions? Perhaps Dave Chapelle’s skit “Black Bush” should be watched a few times by all of us.

When African-American men were given the right to vote they came together in their communities and decided as a community who to vote for. In my own Iranian and Muslim communities I have seen this same method. Voting is not an individual act (as is choosing to not vote) rather something done for a larger community. And so we as a country can learn from this. We can learn from the need that those people in marginalized communities have faced, the need for true democracy.

I expect great things from all of us.

Tuesday, April, 22, 08

elections and lies

Filed under: a moment in my head — theradishpress @ 10:31 am
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I do not like Obama distancing himself from Pastor Wright. That is proof that he is like every other politician, only trying to save his own ass. Maybe he really does disagree with Wright, but to refer to him as his “former” pastor in regards to what Wright said, just seems like Obama is acting as is expected.

Frankly, I do not see what is wrong with what Wright said. One of the biggest problems with this country is the lack of accountability. Take some fucking responsibility for the atrocities that have taken place. Own up to them. Why was I not officially taught about the prison camps Japanese were put in to until I was a junior in high school? Why was I taught that people like Columbus, De Gama, Cortze, etc were heroes? Why was I taught that groups like the Black Panthers and American Indian Movement are terrorist groups? Thankfully, I was getting better history lessons at home. I recently watched The Good Shepard and that movie confirmed for me that I am not crazy. I do not trust this government, and there is no reason I should. I was born into enemy blood and am at risk.

Why. That is the question that this country fails to ask. When I say “this country” I mean the government and those citizens who refuse to ask questions and take accountability. Let’s ask why Pastor Wright said what he said? Why is he angered by the United States? Why? I believe he was sharing his truth. (Also, if at this point people watching TV are not aware that things are edited and distorted…idiots.)

The US government has failed to ask why with regards to the September 11th attacks. And in so doing, encouraged US citizens to ignore that question as well, while this government wages war, more like enacts genocide, upon Afghans and Iraqis. Don’t worry North Korea and Iran, you may get your turn soon.

“Why” is an important question. But it is not encouraged at all. Ever. I remember as a child being told not to ask too many questions. Well, sorry fuckers, I always have and that is *why* I am not voting. That is why I do not trust anyone. That is why I used to have nightmares that this government took my father away and imprisoned our whole family. Not just me and my siblings and mother, extended family as well. (Yet again, Good Shepard confirming a lot of those fears).

I was watching some of the Clinton/Obama debate the other night. First off, I could not help but think of Black Bush from Chapelle’s Show when he keeps saying “you’re skirtin’ from the real issues.” So much time of the Clinton/Obama debate was spent on discussing things each of them has supposedly said about the other, lies about their past, Pastor Wright, etc. They were not being drilled on issues like the war, education, health care. Maybe they got around to that. My blood was already boiling. I will say this, Obama at least tried to move conversation away from personal attacks. Clinton seemed to really relish the opportunity to talk shit, particularly in regards to Pastor Wright.

Again, what is wrong with what Wright said? Of course he is being called anti-American and racist. White people love to call non-white people racist. They love to find the opportunity for some sort of mistreatment by an African-American or Asian or whoever, just so they can pull the classic “reverse racism” bullshit. First off, let’s not forget that there are African-Americans alive today who lived through the whole “separate but equal” crap. Let’s not forget that slavery did not end that long ago. Let’s not forget that 10 years ago James Byrd was dragged to his death in Jasper, Texas. Let’s not forget the Jena Six. And these are only a few of the things done against only one group of people by the United States. Would you care for me to go on about acts committed against the Sioux, Navajo, Pawnee and other tribes? Would you care for me to go on about United States colonialism past and present?

White people do not like to be called out on their racism. They do not want to discuss the things of the past as if they are still relevant to the present and future. But they are. And anyone who has suffered any sort of trauma knows that. Why, for example, did I fear that my family would be imprisoned and my father taken away? I was raised with the knowledge that this country had abused Iranians and Muslims and that we were not welcome here. I was raised with the experiences of my parents. And then, of course, I got a taste for the hatred myself. I was discriminated against by other kids and adults. Maybe because they were also raised with the experiences of their parents. These cycles have to stop. Educating ourselves is one way to do that. Though, I mean this in regard to passing on hate. Passing on mistrust of the US government and passing on mistrust of white people for people of color is not necessarily a bad thing. It is necessary for all of the Others to be able to navigate in this society and survive. And in order to do so, being educated is key. Mistrust is one of the things I was educated in. And maybe, ultimately, in order for there to be true change, this also needs to stop. But I need to see a greater effort from those in places of privilege. I need to see reason for me to let my guard down.

And I have. I have met some truly righteous white people in my life, who work to end racism, classism, and all the isms that have made this country the hot mess of empirialism that it is. And I know that there are some white people who are going to read this and get upset and say “that’s not me!” Well, if it’s not you, ten great. But that is one of the mistakes made by white people, myself included (let’s not forget, again, I am half-white, even if throughout my whole life I have not been treated as such). We distance ourselves from other white people, from those whose ideas and ideals go against our own, particularly when they enforce white patriarchy. But white people cannot keep turning their backs. White people need to stay in the conversation, as NCBI loves to say. Racism is not just an issue for people of color.

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