Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Father

A historical report on Dr. Goushegir, my father's political activism in Iran Toilers Party.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Today, Evanston, my town, was like heaven!
Have I been in heaven?
Those who have experienced death, would know what I'm talking about.
Heaven smells of a certain fragrance of linden flowers...sometimes it's just a shade of a tree or the music of birds dancing with the waves of a sea... sometimes it's simply pure words... words uttered by a pure child... words like: "I Miss you!"... simple...very simple...uttered by a child who hasn't learned yet what "selfishness" is...and what ME-tism means!!

As you walk under Linden trees near Lake Michigan in a summer afternoon, life can be eternally memorable as "Heaven".

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Great Flood

The Great Flood!
We should really consider reading the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story of Noah and Moses to understand human history!
He saw the great Mystery, he knew the Hidden:
He recovered the knowledge of all the times before the Flood.
He journeyed beyond the distant, he journeyed beyond exhaustion,
And then carved his story on stone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Planned Crime and Punishment

Man robs bank to get medical care in jail.

James Richard Verone woke up June 9 with a sense of anticipation.

He took a shower.

Ironed his shirt.

Hailed a cab.

Then robbed a bank.

He wasn’t especially nervous. If anything, Verone said he was excited to finally execute his plan to gain access to free medical care.

“I prepared myself for this,” Verone said from behind a thick glass window in the Gaston County Jail Thursday morning.

Shade It Black, Death and After in Iraq

Shade It Black, Death and After in Iraq by Jessica Goodell

Listen to her interview in Fresh Air:
"In the Mortuary Affairs unit, one of Goodell's responsibilities was to sort through the pockets and belongings of troops lost in combat. She found all sorts of things — crumpled up napkins, pictures, spoons, letters, even sonograms of their soon to be born children.
Jess Goodell spent eight months in the the Marine Corps' Mortuary Affairs unit, cataloging the bodies and personal effects of fallen troops in Iraq. She now lives in Buffalo, N.Y., and plans to attend graduate school in the fall.

Goodell says that one of the most difficult parts of the job was diagramming the body outlines of the deceased. On the body diagram, she would document identifying marks such as scars, tattoos and birthmarks. If a body part was missing or not found, Goodell was instructed to shade that part of the diagram black.

The job stayed with Goodell day and night during her time in Iraq. "I don't think I ever stopped smelling death when I was in Iraq," she says. "Part of the reason that the smell seemed to linger was ... being a Marine in Iraq at that time, laundry services only occurred every couple of weeks, so even if we were careful and very clean in the bunker, the smell just seemed to cling to us. It seemed to cling to our uniforms. And at least for me, once I smelled that smell of death, I just couldn't stop smelling it."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ghazal Games

Roger Sedarat, an Iranian American poet recently published Ghazal Games a collection of poems in a new form of poetry.

"...Roger Sedarat fuses Western and Eastern traditions to reinvent the classical Persian form of the ghazal. For its humor as well as its spirituality, the poems in this collection can perhaps best be described as “Wallace Stevens meets Rumi.” Perhaps most striking is the poet’s use of the ancient ghazal form in the tradition of the classical masters like Hafez and Rumi to politically challenge the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continual crackdown on protesters. Not since the late Agha Shahid Ali has a poet translated the letter as well as the spirit of this form into English, using musicality and inventive rhyme to extend the reach of the ghazal in a new language and tradition."

A Special Day!

Today, I mean yesterday Sunday June 19, I had a special day watching A Special Day, the stunning Italian movie from 1977 in my friend's house. I had a lump in my throat when I woke up in the morning. My friend was sad too. We had lunch together sitting outdoor in one of my favorite restaurants before watching the film. The weather was still cold. For me at least...
The breathe of death had been creeping inside me since Thursday morning when I heard the news...
The film started...A Special Day...with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in their special day...
How fascinating! A great work of art would always make a day special!

Three Short Plays by Theatre with Accent

In the second reading series by Theatre with Accent we are presenting three Short Plays by Mohsen Azimi, Hattie He and Ezzat Goushegir.
Director: Azar Kazemi
Actors: Bridget Schreiber
Adam Brown
Place: Mess Hall
6932 N Glenwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60626
Neighborhood: Rogers Park

Date: Friday June 24, 2011
Time: 7: PM to 9: 00 PM

Admission is free to the public.

Theatre with Accent is a non-profit theater group in Chicago, mainly for playwrights who have many things to say but very little sources to be heard. This is a cultural “Home” for immigrant playwrights, minorities and those living in diasporas and exile. We will conduct a quarterly public reading series based on selected works, collaborating with professional directors and actors, followed by in-depth discussion with the audience about serious issues raised in the plays.

1- Things are not always the same
By: Mohsen Azimi
Translation: Setareh Behroozi

A free adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's "A Temporary Matter", the play opens with the Woman, a twenty-six year-old wife, a nurse at maternity hospital, arriving home at the end of a workday finding her husband sitting behind his desk writing plays about their own life. Things are Not Always the Same is a journey through life and relationships between women and men in contemporary Iran.

2- On the Lantern Festival
By Hattie He
On the Lantern Festival is a romantic comedy about two characters trapped in an elevator in 100th floor of a high building. The play revolves around the robotic life in our modern time and humans need for connection and fulfillment.

3- Medea was born in Fallujah
By Ezzat Goushegir
A modern adaptation of Medea by Euripides, this short play illustrates Medea, an Iraqi woman living in exile in the U.S. faces Fallujah her birth place being invaded and her family brutally massacred in a violent attack. Medea, torn apart with guilt and disturbances; broken and distressed, takes a brutal revenge.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Today International Voices Project has a reading of ENJOY / ENJOI written by Toshiki Okada, translated by Aya Ogawa and directed by Anna C. Bahow in collaboration with the Japan Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago.
An offbeat comedy of 21 century manners, ENJOY follows the romantic adventures of 20 and 30-something workers at a Tokyo manga cafe. The play explores the Japanese youth culture looking at their future in uncertain economic times.
Listen to Patrizia Acerra interviewed in WBEZ

Place: The Consulate General of Japan at Chicago
151 East Chicago Ave, 10th floor

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Poem by Rumi

These days all I remember is Rumi's poem, the story of Solomon and the man who was terrified by presence of death.

داستان‌ حضرت‌ سليمان‌ با مرد وحشت‌زده و مرگ‌

زاد مردی چاشتگاهی در رسید/ در سرا عدل سلیمان در دوید
گفت عزرائیل در من اینچنین/ یک نظر انداخت پر از خشم و کین
گفت هین اکنون چه می‌خواهی بخواه/ گفت فرما باد را ای جان پناه
تا مرا زینجا به هندستان برد/ بوک بنده کان طرف شد جان برد
باد را فرمود تا او را شتاب/ برد سوی قعر هندستان بر آب
روز دیگر وقت دیوان و لقا/ پس سلیمان گفت عزرائیل را
کان مسلمان را بخشم از بهر آن/ بنگریدی تا شد آواره ز خان
گفت من از خشم کی کردم نظر/ از تعجب دیدمش در رهگذر
که مرا فرمود حق کامروز هان/ جان او را تو به هندستان ستان
از عجب گفتم گر او را صد پرست/ او به هندستان شدن دور اندرست
تو همه کار جهان را همچنین/ کن قیاس و چشم بگشا و ببین


Reading a few pages of my diary written in 1990, I remembered how I had been stunned by D.H.Lawrence's poem "Figs" and the movie "Women in Love" which was based on one of his novels. I saw this movie in my 20s. It's really true that a significant work of art would make us a significant human being.

The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

On Iran

Seymour Hersh on Iran: 'US govt knows Iran has no nukes - it's Iraq syndrome'

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A new Interview

Noshin Shahrokhi's interview with me about my life as a writer pubished in Shahrzad News.

Wounded in Action

"This sketch shows a soldier, who has lost a leg, playing with his daughter as he waits for surgery" Pen and Ink and Watercolor by Ario Mashayekhi

In June 1st, I visited an art exhibition Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopedic Advancement where four pieces of art works by my friend Ario Mashyekhi were included. This exhibition will continue at Cultural Center in Chicago until August 31, 2011.

"All the artists in this exhibition have explored, both literally and figuratively, their feelings toward the loss of limbs and other musculoskeletal wounds- the majority of which are the result of war."

Monday, June 6, 2011

you begin to learn

You Learn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn...
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure...

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth...

And you learn and learn...

With every good-bye you learn.

Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Love & Hope

At age 95 Grace Lee Boggs published her book The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century. Listen to her life changing conversation with Cornell West and Tavis Smiley in Smiley & West. And the history of her activism at WBEZ.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Author Arundhati Roy

Author Arundhati Roy: India's economic success a 'lie'


"He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news. "
Bertolt Brecht

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


"Scream" a documentary by Emad Rasooli about one of the nursing homes in Iran. (In Persian)