Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn the Historian who Made History

Goodbye Howard and hello again!
Howard Zinn the historian who made history died today at the age of 87.
Howard Zinn Howard Zinn has long been known as the historian of the American everyman and woman. His groundbreaking work, THE PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, turned history on its head — concentrating on the power of the people to effect change, not just the deeds of great men and those in political power.

HOWARD ZINN: First, I must say this, Bill. When my daughter saw this she heard Marisa Tomei shout to the police, "Cowards, cowards." My daughter said a chill, a chill went through her. She was so moved. And so, when I see this, and I've seen this so many times, and each time I am moved because what it tells me is that just ordinary people, you know, people who are not famous, if they get together, if they persist, if they defy the authorities, they can defeat the largest corporation in the world. Read more...

Read also in Democracy Now.

The Battle for Iran

by Nader Hashemi

Are we witnessing the final days of the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Read more in The Nation...

Songs from Gilan

A beautiful folklore song , from Gilan province , north side of Iran.
Listen to Jomeh Bazar sang by Iranian Singer Sheila Nahrvar. And... by the prominent Iranian classical singer Mohammad Nouri.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

If you need to laugh...

Watch this: A message From Transport Canada
I first found it in my sister's blog!

A knock on the Door

M.A from Iran sent me a shortest horrific story.

"The only person who remained on earth, was sitting in a room, alone. Suddenly there was a knock on the door!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Bitter Fruit of Exploitation!

The Bitter fruit of exploitation
So, once again, beware the terrible simplifiers and remember that through all its suffering Haiti is a country born of revolution, like our own, whose people sing of their forefathers breaking their shackles, proclaiming their right to equality, and shouting "Progress or Death." Yes, there's still more death than progress. It's the bitter fruit of exploitation centuries old. But even if the Devil were at work, there are Haitians determined that he will not have the last word. The last word is the poet's calling. Listen to what was written by Danielle Legros Georges, born in Haiti and now teaching at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She sent us a poem and we asked our colleague Kamaly Pierre, who also has family and roots in Haiti, to read it. Its title: "Poem for the Poorest Country In the Western Hemisphere."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Conflict in Nigeria

Sporadic violence has continued around the central Nigeria city of Jos after four days of fighting between groups of Christians and Muslims.

"There is more than the religious aspect of it. There are two communities - one that call themselves settlers and one that call themselves indigenous communities"


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Edgar Allan Poe's Birthday Mystery!

Edgar Allan Poe's mysterious visitor who left roses and cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe each year on the writer's birthday failed to show early Tuesday, breaking with a ritual that began more than 60 years ago.

Read Poe's short stories and poems

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Construction instead of destruction!

BILL MOYERS: Since the war began, more than 900 Americans have died in Afghanistan. Our casualties doubled in 2009, and according to the United Nations, civilian deaths there have spiraled upward, too, more than 2,400 in 2009, the most lethal year yet.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Congress has appropriated an estimated $72.3 billion for Afghanistan-- and that's not including the $33 billion the "Associated Press" reports that President Obama will be requesting to help fund his additional 30,000 troops.

The National Priorities Project, a non-profit that analyzes how our tax dollars are spent, estimates that, at this rate, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost Americans more than a trillion dollars in taxes. I can't add up all the zeroes it takes to get to a trillion but I do remember that Greg Mortenson said he could build 30 or 40 schools with the money it takes just to keep one American soldier in Afghanistan for a year.

To help make sense of those numbers, on that National Priorities website, there's a "Trade Off" section that breaks down the amount of taxes each state or congressional district has paid for the two wars. For instance, $94 billion have come from taxpayers here in New York state. It then shows you what those dollars could have been used for instead. We could have hired more than a million elementary school teachers for a year, or provided more than 17 million people with a year's worth of health care or built more than half a million housing units. Indeed, with money like that, we might be able to completely rebuild Haiti, ease the misery of those made homeless by that massive earthquake, and maybe even throw in the restoration of New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland and a dozen other American inner cities.

The people at the National Priorities Project have a "Cost of War" digital clock that includes all funding for the wars to date and we'll link you to it via our website. Go to and click on "Bill Moyers Journal." You'll also find there more by and about Greg Mortenson, as well as Thomas Frank.

Bill Moyers in Bill Moyers Journal!

Friday, January 15, 2010

As a Child in Africa,I Learned a Proverb!

Author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson, whose best-selling books THREE CUPS OF TEA and STONES INTO SCHOOLS argues that education is the best way to peace in Afghanistan and across the Islamic world.

BILL MOYERS: But this intrigues me because you've set out over these years to educate young girls primarily. I mean, you do have some boys in your schools, but primarily your goal is to educate young girls. And given the fact that the Afghani and Pakistani societies are so male dominated, that men run the families, they run the government, they run the villages, they run the Taliban, why focus on girls instead of the men who are going to, in that culture, grow up and run things?

Well, it's obviously the boys need education also. But as a child in Africa, I learned a proverb. And it says, "If we educate a boy, we educate an individual. But if we can educate a girl, we educate a community." And what that means is when girls grow up, become a mother, they are the ones who promote the value of education in the community. The education of girls has very powerful impacts in a society. Number one, the infant mortality's reduced. Number two, the population is reduced. The third thing is the quality of health improves. And, from my own observation, when girls learn how to read and write, they often teach their mother how to read and write. Boys, we don't seem to do that as much. They also, you'll see people, kids coming out for the marketplace, have meat or vegetables wrapped in newspaper. And then you'll see the mother very carefully unfolding a newspaper and ask her daughter to read the news to her. And it's the first time that woman is able to get information of what's going on in the outside world around--very powerful to see that. And another compelling reason is when women are educated, they're not as likely to condone or encourage their son to get into violence or into terrorism. In fact, culturally when someone goes on jihad, they should get permission from their mother first. And if they don't, it's very shameful or disgraceful. So when women are educated, as I mentioned, they are less likely to encourage their son to get into violence. And I've seen that happen, Bill, over the last decade in rural areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan. I mean, I could go on all day about this, but educating girls is very powerful. Read More...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

Haiti is devastated by largest earthquake!
Today I heard a horrible news: In Haiti's worst slums, people are eating mud, earth cookies!
"With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau mixed with salt and vegetable shortening."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Marc!

Marc J. Bloch

Tomorrow January 13 is your birthday! I celebrate it in the heart of mirrors, in a dark room filled with fragrant candle lights, in the Purple and Red line trains, in the streets of Chicago near the Museum of Art Institute where we saw Georgia o'keefe’s painting for the first time together in 1987.

I celebrate your birthday for you are an exceptional and honorable author. I know not many in this world have read your novels, poems or seen your photographs. You, like Albert Camus and Fernando Pessoa were a stranger to this false literary world... a stranger among the strangers.
While everyone celebrates the birthday of notorious writers and artists, I celebrate your birthday in this room as wide as the galaxies!

Here I am in a picture you took in San Francisco. I had worn a blouse your mother Vivette P. made for me!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Outstanding International Theatre Festival in lexington, Theatre and Performance in times of Crisis and Violence

Tenth National Symposium of theatre in Academe and the First International theater festival which took place at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia in November 2009 was one of my richest experiences of these current years of being involved with different International literary festivals. Outstanding quality, artistic environment, friendly atmosphere and convenient situation were the characteristics of this festival. It revived magnificent memories of my past experiences and created a dream for a hopeful future for theatre. I felt I was at HOME!
A poem by Rumi constantly resonated in my mind: “Unity is what I sing, unity is what I speak”

Domnica Radulescu
The theme of this year’s festival was Creation and Recreation of the Myths in Theatre-War, Violence, Sexuality, Theatre and performance in time of Crisis and violence. And the four days Festival which was keenly and skillfully organized by Domnica Radulescu (professor of Romance Language, Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies and Founder Director of the National Symposium of Theatre in Academe) began on Wednesday November 11, and ended on Saturday November 14, 2009.
The program contained of several categories: Paper presentations, workshops, lectures, Staged readings, performances and cultural activities fringed to festival.
Although the participants were from richly diverse theatre professions: playwrights, scholars, actors and directors from all over the world, but the focus was mainly on Romanian theatre which brought a broad perspective on Romania before and after the fall of Communism. The presence of Romanian born Matei Visniec , the keynote playwright, and the performances and dramatic readings of his thematically diverse works gave a vivid picture of his unique theatre formed under totalitarian regimes. His plays broadened the knowledge of the audience on the reminiscence of the universality of human experience.

Matei Visniec who lives in France now and writes in French language was born in 1956 and left Romania in 1987. From an early age he discovered that Literature is a road to freedom. “For this rebellious discovery he announced that he likes all kinds of styles and forms of writing except Social Realism!”

Horses at the Window (Trap Door Theatre)
His play “Horses at the Window” directed by Radu Alexandru Nica and performed by Chicago based theatre troupe Trap Door Theatre with Holly Thomas, John Gray, Tiffany Joy Ross, John Kahara, David Holcombe and Beata Pilch was an unforgettable performance in the form of theatre of grotesque.

Beata Pilch, Artistic Director (Trap Door Theatre)

Diana Cozma, director and acting teacher at Babes Bolyai University in Romania conducted a productive workshop on “Plasticity, action and movement” brought European style of physicality combined with Jerzy Grotowski ‘s style of unmasking, revealing of the real substance: a totality of physical and mental reactions. The second workshop was Commedia Dell’Arte led by Norma Bowles, artistic director of Fringe Benefits Theatre Company in California who conducted a vital workshop, using exercises and special techniques drawn from the work of Jacques Lecoq, Philippe Gaulier, Keith Johnstone and Serena Sartori along with Kathleen Juhl from Southwestern University in Texas using Alexander Technique. In their fast-paced, seriously fun workshop, participants had the opportunity to explore and create their own two- person Lazzi (Commedia improvisations) poking fun at sexism, seduction and war, and develop physically and vocally dynamic characters using a large and diverse assortment of Italian and Balinese Commedia character masks.

Norma and Kathleen

The talented and skillful Romanian students of Babes Bolyai University in Festival of One Acts, One Person, And One Train of Action Shows, were amazingly flourishing on the stage in improvisation and different styles of acting. Short plays “Amelia breathes deeply” by Alina Nelega with Diana Turturean, “The Open Couple” by Franca Rame and Dario Fo with Andreaa Mocan and Vlad Muresan, Psychosis by Sara Kane with brilliant acting of Adina Ursu and excellent directing of Domnica, and The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, by Fernando Arrabal with Ciprian Cosma brought a fresh energy of youth to the diverse audience. Ciprian’s piece particularly was a new take on Pina Bausch’s style of expressionist movement and dance.

Guillermo Schmidhuber from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico had a reading of his play “Never Say Adios to Columbus”, Dominca Radulescu of her play “Naturalized Women” read by Trap Door Theatre, Chicago and I had a staged reading of “Maryam’s Pregnancy” a play I wrote in 1989 in opposition to the suppressed autocratic regime of Iran. “Maryam’s Pregnancy” reflects the traumatic life of a 17 year old girl who goes through unwanted pregnancy, the failing attempted abortion and lives under constant fear and terror during Iran-Iraq war in a society where being pregnant out of wedlock brings a severe punishment... (My name was misspelled in the program!)

Maryam's Pregnancy, my play

Joan Lipkin, artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company in Saint Louis, spoke of her experiences of working on three different productions dealing with reproductive choice such as He’s Having Her Baby, a gender reversed pro choice musical comedy and Becoming Emily a dance theatre piece about the life of abortionist nurse Emily Lyons who was badly injured in a clinic bombing.

The main part of the festival was dedicated to Theatre of War where readings and discussions on the theme of war presented several powerful plays and performances. Philoctetes Project had a staged reading from Contemporary translation of scenes from Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes directed by Bryan Doerries . The project was aimed at using Greek theatre as a catalyst to address the human costs of war and the reintegration of warriors into civil life.

Robert Smith and his production of Trojan Women

Trojan Women: An Ancient Protest against Violence Revisited, directed by Robert Smith was an excellent performance. Influenced by the news about the Afghan fundamentalists who threw acid to Afghan school girls, Smith created a piece using music and movement. “When approaching an ancient text,” Smith says “I always challenge myself with what elements of its original staging I can recreate and still connect with a contemporary audience. Two of the original elements I play with in this piece are music and dance. I want to use music and dance to clarify the story of the play.”

Kristijonas Paltanavicius and Katherine Sogolow

Lysistrata Project, adapted from Aristophanes and directed by Katherine Perrault Sogolow, director, writer and singer was a large and empowering production with Florinda Ruiz, Tabitha King, Paten Hughes and the international actors and artists including myself. The production created a happy environment with dance, music, slide show and a wonderful message for unity and peace.

The performance of Caryl Churchill’s play “Seven Jewish Children” and “Seven Palestinian Children” by Debora Margolin were an amazing experience. Both plays created a productive and fruitful dialogue among the audience.

DEB MARGOLIN is a playwright, actor and founding member of Split Britches Theater Company, She is the author of eight full-length solo performance pieces, which she has toured throughout the United States, and is the recipient of a 1999-2000 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. Her play “Seven Palestinian Children” is the continuing conversation with Caryl Churchill.

Caryl Churchill

In addition to the artistic activities the scholar participants presented the latest issues in global theatre from different perspectives. Among them are: Sylvie Ngilla, Christa Bucklin, Jessica Otey, Kolawole Olaiya, Monica Gonzalez, Martha Eads, Kristijonas Paltanavicius, Peter Bryne, Kevin Lawrence, Lynn Marie Kutch, Ileana Orlich, Catalina Flerescu, Less Esiff and Moncef Khemiri. Although Khemiri was not present but his paper “Khamsoun and the Return of Political Theatre in Tunisia” was read in his absence.

He discussed the play Khamsoun (meaning Fifty in Arabic) by Jalila Bakar about fifty years of Tunisia’s history from the country’s independence up to today-- the rise of different Islamists and the social challenges that Tunisia is facing.

We were entertained by several enjoyable programs such as The Best of MOMIX- Dance, Acrobat, Reality, Illusion at the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Julia, a Revelation

Julia changed my life!
I was in Iran in the spring of 1978 when I first saw Julia, a film based on Pentimento, a novella by the prominent American playwright Lillian Hellman. Pentimento is about Hellman’s profound relationship with her friend Julia who worked as an anti-fascist in the years prior to World War II. Challenged and mesmerized by the strong motives in the film, and by the superb acting of Vanessa Redgrave I walked long hours in the streets of Tehran, thinking. The film changed me and my life completely!

Sitting in my room now, I think as if it were yesterday. As I need a new "Julia" --in the essence-- in my life again… Although I've been and I'm a "Julia" for some people...!

After years Lillian speaks about Julia "who exerted her profound influence on her development as a woman and a writer":

Lillian: …As the years went on, she wrote anything on the threat of Fascism and the Nazis, of Mussolini and Adolf Hitler….And the Holocaust was on the way. She couldn’t understand what the world refused to see, what was coming!

Jane Fonda and Maximilian Schell

Watch excerpts of Julia a film adapted by Alvin Sargent and directed by Fred Zinnemann.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Seven Palestinian Children"

I met Deb Margolin in one of her readings in November 2009. Her candid critiques on human irresponsibility, her straightforward nature towards art and her warmth for new people she meets, were what moved me the most. It was during the reading of “Seven Jewish Children” by Caryl Churchill and her play “Seven Palestinian Children” where I felt how deeply close I feel I am to her in sober honesty and social consciousness. And…then I translated her play into Persian!

DEB MARGOLIN is a playwright, actor and founding member of Split Britches Theater Company, She is the author of eight full-length solo performance pieces, which she has toured throughout the United States, and is the recipient of a 1999-2000 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.
Deb's play O Wholly Night and Other Jewish Solecisms, a solo piece investigating the recondite and sexy nature of waiting for the Messiah, was commissioned by the Jewish Museum of New York in 1996. In February of 2001, PS122 in New York presented Deb's play Three Seconds in the Key, a meditation on illness, love, basketball and Yiddish, in a workshop production; the play was premiered under the auspices of New Georges at Baruch Performing Arts Center in April of 2004. Deb has been artist in
residence at Hampshire College and University of Hawaii and Zale writer-in-residence at Tulane University, and is currently an Associate Professor of Playwriting and Performance in Yale University's Theater Studies Program. A book of Deb's performance pieces and plays, entitled Of All The Nerve: Deb Margolin SOLO, was published in 1999 by Cassell/Continuum Press. She was awarded the 2005 Richard H. Brodhead Prize for Teaching Excellence at Yale University, and the 2005 Kesselring Playwriting Prize. In 2008 she was honored to accept the Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright Award, and is a proud member of New Dramatists.

Read My Persian Translation of the Play:
"Seven Palestinian Children"
A Play for the other
By Debora Margolin
Translated by Ezzat Goushegir

در ادامه گفتگو با کاریل چرچیل
"هفت کودک فلسطینی"
(یک نمایشنامه برای دیگری)

نوشته: دبورا مارگولین

برگردان از انگلیسی: عزت گوشه گیر
نمایشنامه ده دقیقه ای"هفت کودک فلسطینی" نمایشنامه ای است که دبورا مرگولین در ادامه گفتگو با کاریل چرچیل نوشته است. کاریل چرچیل، نمایشنامه نویس برجسته انگلیسی بعد از شرایط دردناک غزه در زمان بمباران های اسرائیل در ژانویه 2009 نمایشنامه جنجالی "هفت کودک یهودی"را بعنوان جوابیه ای به این حادثه نوشت که برای اولین بار در فوریه 2009 در تئاتر رویال کورت لندن بروی صحنه آمد و سپس به چاپ رسید. این نمایشنامه با استقبال بی نظیر تئاتردوستان دنیا قرار گرفت و اجراهای گوناگونی از آن بروی صحنه آمد.
دبورا مارگولین نمایشنامه نویس و بازیگر نیویورکی و یکی از بنیانگزاران تئاتر اسپلیت
Read More on her bio in Persian

اونو نبوس.
اونو ببوس اما وقتی که پدرش داره نگاه می کنه نبوسش.
بهش بگو که چه پسر شجاعیه.
بهش بگو که دوستش داری.
بهش بگو که چقدر بزرگ و قدرتمند شده.
بهش بگو که پدرش دوستش داره.
بهش بگو که یه روز اون در کنار پدرش مبارزه می کنه.
بهش نگو.
بهش بگو که اونا به خونه مون نقل مکان کردن.
بهش بگو که خونه مون پر از اسباب اثاثیه بود. وسیع بود با در های بزرگ و کوچک و پنجره هایی مثل تابلو نقاشی.
بهش عکس اون درخت رو نشون بده با شکوفه هاش که بوی تن زنان زیبا رو می داد.
بهش کلید خونه مون رو نشون بده که هنوز توی جیب پدرشه.
بهش نشون نده.
بهش تفنگ پدرشو نشون بده.
نه...اینکارو نکن

Read More....
Read it here too
And here...