Wednesday, October 27, 2010


David Grossman: "Anyone who despairs about the possibility of peace has already been defeated, he has already submitted to the fate of never-ending war"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Reader

This fascinating 2008 movie, based on a remarkable novel by Bernhard Schlink, "tells the story of Michael Berg, a German lawyer who as a mid-teenager in 1958 had an affair with an older woman, Hanna Schmitz, who then disappeared only to resurface years later as one of the defendants in a war crimes trial stemming from her actions as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp. Michael realizes that Hanna is keeping a personal secret she believes is worse than her Nazi past — a secret which, if revealed, could help her at the trial."

Watch a trailer of The Reader

Be My Knife

I'm fascinated by "Be My Knife" a novel by David Grossman.

Here is an excerpt of it:
"...We could be like two people who inject themselves with truth serum and at long last have to tell it, the truth. I want to be able to say to myself, "I bled truth with her," yes that's what I want. Be a knife for me, and I, I swear, will be a knife for you: sharp but compassionate, your word, not mine. I didn't even remember that such a delicate, soft tone was allowed in the world, of a word with no skin (if you say it loud a few times, you can feel salty hard earth as water starts pushing through its veins). You're tired, I will force myself to say goodnight."

And the editor's word on it:
"....The writing is dense, demanding, and full of moments of great poetry and inventiveness, but it can become difficult and obscure. Stylistically Grossman is experimenting with plot and character in the grand modernist tradition, and Yair is reminiscent of the tormented "little men" in the works of Joyce and Beckett."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Viva French Resistance (2)

Holding a placard "Listen to the public's rage" in front of the French Senate in Paris

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Viva French Resistance!

Young demonstrators carrying placards shout slogans during a demonstration against the governmental pension reform in Lille, France.

The paper is so small

How Beautiful the world is
If somewhat lonely
among these stars and rocky planets
Ksenia Nekrasov
Written article by Ryszard Antolak

Solidarity will beat cuts

Photo by Fred Dufour

Mass strikes in France:Solidarity will beat cuts.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


General strike and protests hit France as unions angry with pension reform step up pressure on the government. Strikes and protests are taking place across France, as public workers and students mount pressure on the government to scrap its pension overhaul.

Tuesday’s action has disrupted plane, train and bus travel as well as school and post services. The country also faces potential fuel shortages from ongoing walkouts by oil refinery and port workers. Striking workers have clashed with police in cities across the country, while Nicolas Sarkozy, the president, pledged to crack down on "troublemakers" and guarantee public order. More...

Writing in darkness

I don't know the importance of these lines in the middle of night!
It was the end of a chapter, before starting the beginning. I can't read my own hand writing when I write in darkness: Something like:

"She laughed (walked), then stopped, under the rain."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You start dying slowly

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…

Pablo Neruda

Watch a scene of Il Postino on the relationship between an Italian postman and Pablo Neruda.


Saeid Shanbehzadeh plays Ney. Boushehri folk music.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fred Camper's art work

Fred Camper is a Chicagoan artist, a writer and lecturer on film, art, and photography.
In his most recent art, he is working with portrait images, photos of his friends and then modify using some of the same techniques that he has used in Quarries.
He explains: "For the "Figmented-G" diptychs in both groups, I divide the original image into a grid, then rearrange the cells with a careful intentionality in the smaller panel, sometimes into highly "artificial" patterns. This rearranged grid is repeated in the larger panel with varying reductions in resolution. I hope that in these Likenesses, some of the ambiguities and complexities of what we mean by "human" are both revealed and questioned.

This Friday, October 15, 6 PM to 10 PM; Saturday, October 16, 12 noon to 9 PM; Sunday, October 17, 1 PM to 5 PM, he has an exhibition of his innovative photographs at his studios at 1200 West 35th Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dezful (Sha...r-e Khomoon Desfil)

Recently Our City Dezful "Sha...r-e Khomoon Desfil" A website about Dezful, a city in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran, interviewed me. The genuine tone of the interviewer Hamid Sadeghi Joola was enormously refreshing and evoked nostalgic feelings towards my past in Dezful.

Dezful, the city where I was born in, spent my childhood and early youth, has always been vividly present in my dreams,writings, plays, short stories and poems since I have left it. What is this tie between the city and I which is like a hand connected to the body? Is it the sun? the heat? the smell? orange blossoms? the ancient architectural buildings? Shavadoon? the language? the music? the laughter? the anger? the fight?....or resistance?
Did I learn "Depth" from "Shavadoon" where we wove dreams, found shelter, serenity, peace and coolness?

Shavadoon, a place dug over forty steps under the ground

The entrance of this house reminds me of my childhood house and my father's medical clinic.

Another Entrance of an old house.

Pela bachiloon. A very old part of the city

Konar tree. We had a one hundred year old Konar tree in our house. Our house is now a school "Dr. Goushegir school" for special students.

Another entrance of an old house.

Monday, October 11, 2010


This week is final week of Disgrace, a provocative play by John O'Keefe at Blankline Collective with the presence of the playwright. Don't miss it! This Friday (October 15) and Saturday (October 16) at 8:00pm at Lacuna Lofts, 2150 S. Canalport, Chicago.
Learn more about John O'Keefe

Etymology of fascism

The term fascismo is derived from the Italian word fascio, which means "bundle" or group, and from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe, was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate. They were carried by his lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.The word fascismo also relates to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates.

The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. Similar symbols were developed by different fascist movements. For example the Falange symbol is a bunch of arrows joined together by a yoke.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly

Last week, I was invited by professor Farzaneh Milani, the director of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, to have a reading of my play "The Bride of Acacias". My trip was intimate, assuring, informative, and hopeful. With her warmth I felt transparent and solid at the same time.
It was raining. A beautiful rain.
I took my journey through architectural buildings to learn what university meant for the inventor of democratic society. It was where I lost her favorite umbrella in the museum. Someone must have found a particular memory in it and tangibly wanted to be protected by its profoundness... and be dissolved in souls intertwined with the shape and color and fabric of it, Perhaps. Rain usually revives the presence of those who are not here anymore, but exist in water and air...

My walk towards University village
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia was designed by Thomas Jefferson as the artchitectural and academic heart of his community of scholars, or what he termed "an Academical Village."
As the phrase suggests, for Thomas Jefferson, learning was an integral part of life. The "academical village" is based on the assumption that the life of the mind is a pursuit for all participants in the University, that learning is a lifelong and shared process, and that interaction between scholars and students enlivens the pursuit of knowledge.

I knew Edgar Allen Poe had lived in one of the rooms around the lawn. I looked for his room. Why? Did he leave something there to be discovered, which made me follow its invisibility and inaudibility?

The room of Edgar Allan Poe has been returned to the 1820s conditions under which he lived.

Then there was opera before delicious Persian dinner with students...The dinner Professor Milani made herself was a total art of gastronomy. ...And the Orpheus...with Shirley Verrett's enchanting voice which always makes me silent to pay my respect to her art.

Picture by graduate student özlem karuc

Then there was a mysterious bond with an exceptional little girl "L". Something unexplainable...something immensely valuable...A gift I received from her...a necklace to put around my neck...Like the rose the little prince tried to protect...

Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his book The Little Prince Quotes: "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Better Stained than Empty!!

Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition, painting by Cristiano Banti

Andrea: We lost our heads. With the crowed at the street corners we said: "He will die, he will never surrender!" You came back: "I surrendered but I am alive." We cried: "Your hands are stained!" You say: "Better stained than empty."

"Better stained than empty.". It sounds realistic. Sounds like me.

Andrea: And I of all people should have known. I was twelve when you sold another man's telescope to the Venetian Senate, and saw you put it to immortal use. Your friends were baffled when you bowed to the Prince of Florence: Science gained a wider audience. You always laughed at heroics. "People who suffer bore me," you said. "Misfortunes are due mainly to miscalculations." And: "If there are obstacles, the shortest line between two points may be the crooked line."

From Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

Sunday, October 3, 2010

To the End of the Land

David Grossman
The Israeli prominent writer David Grossman's new novel "To the End of the Land" describes a parent's passionate attempt to keep a soldier son from harm. But as he was finishing the book, the writer lost his soldier son.
“This book was such an act of choosing life,” David Grossman says of his great fictional creation.
George Packer writes: "On the shelf above his "David Grossman's" desk in the study sit the framed words "I had no idea I was going to write this," and a card with a quote from Margaret Mead: "Never underestimate the ability of a small group of individuals to change the world. Indeed they are the only ones who ever have."

Excerpt from The New Yorker.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Andrea: "Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero."
Galileo: No, Andea, "Unhappy is the land that needs a hero."
From Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

Truth and lie

Galileo: Let me tell you this. A man who doesn't know the truth is just an idiot, but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook.

From Galileo by Bertolt Brecht


Beautiful Iranian music!