Thursday, May 30, 2013

Persian Opera :The Rain Bird

The Vahdat Opera House is one of the most beautiful and fully equipped in Tehran. We were invited to see the " Rain Bird" or Morque Baran a creation of Pari Saberi a reknown theater writer and director. In one of her interviews she had indicated that her dreams of having a Persian Opera were realized with this work. The "Rain Bird " is based on the legendary story of Jamshid and Zahak. Jamshid is the King of Persia who gets caught in his pride and claims absolute authority and the devil comes to his help through Zahak to oppress the people and to silence any opposition. In face of his tyranny Kaveh the son of a goldsmith and Feriedoon come to fight against the oppression and ultimately they imprison the cruel Zahak. In addition to beautiful traditional costumes and great Persian music performance by the Kamkar Group, the play was laden with beautiful verses of poetry from Hafiz and Ferdowsi as well as contemporary poets like Sohrab Sepehri and Houshang Ebtehaj.

 Iranian arts, music , theater and poetry were all present in one work. The political message of this legendary epic is one of freedom from oppression and tyranny of the rulers and foreign domination; as the aggression of Alexander remains as a historical reminder of the interests that colonial powers pursued in Iran. The performance was excellent and there was a 10 minute standing ovation at the end indicative of the general approval of the audience.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Elections, Suspense and Prayers

Following the disqualification of hundreds of Reformist candidates for the nationwide council elections last month, now the disqualification of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani has astonished political activists on both sides of the political arena. The reality is that the Ayatollah’s candidacy had created waves of hope among both reformists and principalists and among the public in general. Initial polls and predictions indicated that Hashemi would gain more than 57% of the votes in the first stage of the election. The fact that he was disqualified due to old age was the only pretext given for this political act of the Council of Guardians. Many Iranian personalities have objected to this decision and have requested a revision of this decree. Reformists have not decided on the strategy they will pursue in the elections. Council candidates like myself who have filed their objections will receive a notice today on whether they have been qualified or not. Then they can begin the campaign. These three days of Rajab are reserved for prayer and occlusion ceremony termed “Etekaf”, recitation of the holy Quran and prayers are recommended. News of additional sanctions and a new pro Israel bill from the US Senate are indicative of a revived attempt to break the resilience of the Iranian nation. We pray for the well- being and brighter future for humanity.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Countdown to elections in Iran

Countdown to elections in Iran has begun .I have signed up for Tehran City Council elections which will be held next month simultaneously with nationwide presidential elections in Iran. The next council in Tehran will have 31 members according to an amended law. According to official reports approximately 3000 people have signed up in Tehran to compete for 31 seats.
Candidates for presidency have also been signing up since yesterday. Reformists are hopeful that either Khatami or Hashemi Rafsanjani will announce their candidacy and sign up until Saturday. National polls indicated that Khatami still holds the highest rank in terms of popularity for presidential elections. Thousands of political activists have invited Khatami to stand as candidate during the past month. Khatami has indicated that current pressures, constraints on activist and ongoing threats have created an unfavorable atmosphere for his participation.
Rumours and certain reports indicate that Reformists may face challenges in the vetting process even for the city council elections which are considered to be more relaxed and open than other elections in Iran. Even if they are disqualified in the first stage they face the opportunity to appeal and obtain final approval through Parliament oversight procedures .
Internet connections have not been working well recently and observers believe this is related to the upcoming elections in June.
By mid next week the political orientations of presidential hopefuls and Reformists candidates will be elucidated and results of the vetting process will be announced.
Elections are an opportunity for public participation in decision making processes of the country.  I hope the trend of developments will lead to an improvement in social and economic indicators of our society.