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Dara Naraghi's graphic novel Lifelike is now available in both digital and print editions. Click here for more info.

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Archive for the ‘iran’ Category

So a United Arab Emirates mosque paid Iran 5.8 million to weave them a ginormous Persian rug. The sucker measures 60,546 square feet.

“The carpet, adorned with green and cream colours, was made in 18 months from 38 tonnes of wool and cotton by 1,200 weavers in three villages in northeastern Iran…There are 2.2 billion knots in the carpet, which was made with the best wool from the southern Iranian town of Sirjan and from New Zealand in 25 colours using 20 different natural dyes…”

Odds and Ends

A couple of quick links to throw on the blog on my lunch break…

  • Disaffected! – A free game from Persuasive Games, the description reads: “A videogame parody of the Kinko’s copy store, a source of frustration from its patrons. Disaffected! puts the player in the role of employees forced to service customers under the particular incompetences common to a Kinko’s store. From a new series of persuasive games we call anti- advergames.” Tom, I think this is for you!
  • From the “Jargon Watch” section of Wired magazine, December 2005: “Weblogistan – n. The Iranian blogosphere, where activists go to vent anonymously in the face of Iran’s oppressive regime. Weblogistan is now so vast that Persian is the fourth most widely used language on blogs.”
  • The Flash, from TV to comics – Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, the producers/writers of the 1990 live-action The Flash TV show, will be the new writers on The Flash comic. I have to say, I have fond memories of that show, even though it only lasted a year and had some heavy-handed Howard Chaykin episodes in the mix.

Graphic novel taught at West Point

Check out this MSNBC/Newsweek article about the “mainstream” movement of graphic novels.

“In order to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, cadets from the class of 2006 must study Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel “Persepolis,” a coming-of-age tale set during the Iranian revolution. It’s a wise choice for the syllabus, not only because it is such a compelling read but because the simple black-and-white frames of Satrapi’s family saga will likely give the cadets a better understanding of Iran than any academic text, newspaper report or strategy paper ever could. “Persepolis” shows Iranians not as banner-waving fanatics or higab-covered shadows, but as individuals—funny, fraught and often fearful of the strange, powerful forces unfolding around them.”

And here’s an interesting figure:

“In the United States, sales of graphic novels have leaped from $75 million in 2001 to $207 million in 2004.”

The article mentions art comix greats such as Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware, covers the recent Hollywood fascination with comics, and of course there’s the obligatory Art Spiegelman bit. Overall, it’s a nicely written article, well worth a read.

(via my old buds at 4ColorReview)

Daily Musings: Day 139

Today is the Vernal Equinox, aka the first day of spring where night and day are nearly the same length.

It’s also “Nowruz”, the Persian New Year. The year 1384, if you follow the traditional (i.e. pre-Islamic revolution) Iranian calendar.

Iran’s (or Persia’s) ancient religion, now more or less defunct, is called Zoroastrianism. It’s estimated to be between 3000-3500 years old. It’s also believed to be the first monotheistic religion in the world. Despite my general dislike for any sort of organized religion, the reason I’m mentioning Zoroastrianism is because I happen to like its basic tenant, as summarized in its motto:

“Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.”

If you think about it, religion or no religion, that’s all we really need to strive for to make this a far better world.

Happy new year.

Your political moment of the day

Courtesy of my favorite columnist, Steven Grant:

“Is Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons? Was Syria behind Hariri’s death and the Tel Aviv bombing, and is the country trying to develop nuclear weapons? Damned if I know. What I do know is this guilt-by-insinuation stuff is no way to conduct international relations. It’s an excuse for anything. Evidence has got to be the minimum standard if we’re talking about sending Americans into foreign nations to possibly die. We’re already seeping on two fronts – Iraq, where our ultimate legacy remains to be determined, and Afghanistan, the war we still haven’t won but never talk about, where our legacy is mainly resurrected tribal warfare and the renewed prosperity of the heroin trade – and stretched thin as it is. We can’t afford many more fronts, particularly among populations likely to be hostile after “liberation.” And when Condi announces that Syria is “out of step with where the region is going,” when increasingly it looks like the administration is trying to fulfill the scheme developed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al in 1998 to depose Saddam Hussein and use Iraq as a military staging ground to effect regime change throughout the Middle East, despite their insistence to the contrary when the accusations came up as the sabers rattled over Iraq.”

Another earthquake hits Iran

“SARBAGH, Iran – A powerful earthquake toppled mud-built homes and flattened villages in central Iran on Tuesday, killing at least 270 people and injuring 950, officials and state-run television said. A senior official said the death toll could top 350.”

Despite the tragedy, the quake wasn’t as strong as the magnitude 6.6 quake that hit in 2003, destroying the ancient city of Bam and killing 26,000 people. Still, if you are able to donate to international relief agencies, it would go towards helping the survivors rebuild their homes and lives.

I recommend Relief International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Mercy Corps.

Daily Musings: Day 61

(full disclosure: technically, this entry is two days late as I’m post dating it on Monday. I didn’t get a chance to blog last week due to a crazy new year’s weekend)

It’s good to know old habits die hard. By habits, I mean “professional wrestling”. And by “good to know,” I really mean “sad to realize”.

I was flipping through the stations tonight, trying to (unsuccessfully) find something good to watch, when I happened to catch something on a WWE wrestling show. A typical bulked-up wrestler…wearing a traditional Arab headdress, the kuffiyeh. Beside him, shouting insults at the audience, was a middle-eastern looking guy dressed in a suit, his “manager”, I’m assuming. I just did a quick search on the WWE website and it looks like these bad guys are Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari, two supposedly “Arab-Americans”.

I never got into wrestling when I was younger. I know, it’s odd for a kid growing up in the 80s, especially one who was a huge comic geek. After all, what’s wrestling if not the four-color world of archetypal comic book superheroes and supervillains played out live in front of an audience? I think it was the lame pretense that everything you saw was “real” that turned me off. Or maybe it’s because I had no interest in watching muscular dudes beat each other up. Regardless, my familiarity with the “old school” wrestlers is limited to a few of the ubiquitous ones like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

Oh, and The Iron Sheik. Because he was supposedly an Iranian. And, of course, the bad guy. Because, you know, the Iranians were the enemies at the time, so hating one of their representatives was de rigueur.(Though if I recall correctly, many years later when the general population had forgotten about the American embassy hostage taking in Iran and the attention had shifted to the first Gulf War, he suddenly because an Iraqi. I’m sure someone like Tony could correct me if I’m wrong about that.)

So anyway, my point is that despite everything that’s been going on in this country since 9/11 in regards to opening a dialogue about global understanding, cultural diversity, bigotry, and intolerance, it’s sad that our “entertainment” can still fall back so easily on tried-and-true ethnic stereotypes. And you know what, I get that it’s just wrestling. It’s supposed to be cheesy and crass and over-the-top. I’m not saying that we should look to the WWE to lead the way in cultural enlightenment. But still, watching a couple of jackass actors portray fanatical middle-eastern “heels” while the camera pans across the Mississippi Coast Coliseum to show tens of thousands of red necks fans chanting “USA. USA. USA.” just made me feel sad and ashamed. Because I’m middle eastern, and I’m an American. And that’s the kind of shit that neither side needs.

(Not to mention that the supposedly “Arab-American” Khosrow Daivari was actually speaking broken Farsi, not Arabic. Now, Iranians are not Arab, and Arabs don’t speak Farsi. So there’s a disconnect there somewhere. But I suppose that’s a minor detail. After all, those towelheads all sound alike.)

News from my mother land

So my friend Tony spotted this odd story about my birthplace, Tehran, Iran. Seems the government is desperate for ways to combat the enormous traffic congestion and pollution problem, and have come out with a novel scheme. They’re going to stage a two-week trial of only allowing cars into the capital on certain days depending on whether the license plate ends with an odd or even number. Check out these statistics:

“Tehran is one of the world’s most polluted cities, with the air carrying an estimated 200 different carcinogens. Each resident inhales between 7.3 and 9.1 kilogram (between 16 and 20 pounds) of dust per year, according to a recent study.”

That’s right, all you whinny bitches in LA, how about them apples?

Blogging Gives Iranian Women a Voice

Interesting little article.

“Take one exasperated Iranian woman. Add a computer. Hook it up to the internet. “And you have a voice in a country where it’s very hard to be heard,” said Lady Sun, the online identity of one of the first Iranian women to start a blog – a freeform mix of news items, commentaries and whatever else comes to mind. Initially created to defy the nation’s tight control on media, these web journals have turned into a cyber-sanctuary – part salon, part therapist’s couch – for the vast pool of educated, young and computer-savvy Iranians.”

Also, check out this story: 137-year old Iranian woman enjoys high morale. There’s really no way to verify the veracity of this story, but heck, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Persepolis 2

ArtBlog reports on two new graphic novels from Random House. This one caught my eye:

“Pantheon will release Persepolis 2, the sequel to the hugely successful Persepolis 1 on August 31st in hardcover for $17.95. Persepolis 1 was the story of writer/artist Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq. Persepolis 2 picks up where the first volume left off, with Satrapi leaving Iran for Europe for a time, then returning to her homeland.”

Help for Iran’s Earthquake Survivors

If you are so inclined and have the means, here are a couple of other charitable organizations that are helping out in Iran: Mercy Corps (select “Iran Earthquake” from the Gift Designation drop-down box) and Relief International.

Earthquake Hits Iran

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit the south-east section of Iran on Friday. Early estimates place the death toll between 2000-4000 people, but unfortunately that is sure to rise as rescue efforts get underway. Aside from the tragic loss of lives, nearly 2/3 of the houses in the city of Bam and the 2000 year old historic citadel of Arg-e-Bam have also been destroyed. You can read more details on any of the major news sites, such as BBC News, Middle East or CNN World.

Luckily none of my family members or friends live in the region, but I’d like to urge anyone who has the means to consider donating to the relief effort via the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.


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