Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving !

A late Happy Thanksgiving!

I was so busy yesterday that I could not post this in time for Thanksgiving. Although Thanksgiving is one of a few real American celebrations/ holidays, I like to add a painting by a French artist, Paul Cézanne here; Mostly because I adore Cézanne and his paintings and a little bit because it has a Reddish-Orange feeling; like Thanksgiving.

Apples and Oranges, Paul Cézanne, 1895-1900

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am a Student. Don't Taser me !

I finished the first draft of my thesis on Thursday. I was happy with the result, happier when I heard my advisor’s comments.

But my swollen eyes did not get better after I heard the news about the UCLA student stunned by Taser gun. Everything on this news was disturbing; the six-minute video, shot by another student, was the most disgusting thing I have seen in years. The story goes that after 11 pm or so all students have to have their ID in order to be able to stay in the UCLA library. Apparently this student did not show any ID and perhaps was not happy that the library assistant is asking him for one. They get to an argument (whatever it was) the library supervisor calls the campus police (security) more than three of them showed up (my guess is there was four of them) and they started to escort the student out of the library when the student supposedly limped and got Tasered over and over by the security. Even after he was handcuffed they still used the Taser gun.

The least one can ask (whether the student was offensive or not) is how the police, apparently the four of them, could find the student a threat after he was handcuffed.

The moral issue is who or what is the subject of the campus security’s protection; the students or the institutes: There are buildings, institutes and agencies in civil societies that are defined by the people within them. Academia is one of those. There are the students who give the real meaning to a university. Whom are we protecting the universities for and from? What kind of a policy allows carrying Taser guns, or any controversial weapon for that mater, within the walls of universities and use them with no conscious on someone who forgot to bring his ID? Regardless of the student’s ethnicity, since I don’t believe that the case was racial (at least in the beginning), I question the judgment of the officer under the vague policy of UCLA for the usage of Taser guns, the judgment that we as a society rely on to feel safe and secure.

I am a student.
I study late at night in the library.
I may forget my ID.

I am a student. Don’t Taser me!

* Two days ago, in a small town in Iran, a student got killed by the Basij (a religious semi -militia group) simply because he was talking to a young woman who later appeared to be his wife. Apparantly the respect for human life is cheap everywhere in the world!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

November's Peace Starts at Sugar Loaf !

I am back from my trip to Sugar Loaf, and yet not done with my works. My three-day trip was a joy from the beginning to the end. My first day in Sugar Loaf was the most exciting one when I discovered some paintings under the Attic of Seligmann’s house. Under the attic they kept some of his works that the Orange County Citizen Foundation considered of no value. Perhaps critics had not praised these works and that’s why they ended up under the attic. I photographed them and studied them during the next day. Before I headed back to Princeton I went around the village or more accurately the Hamlet (a small village of less than 100 residents) of Sugar Loaf. There, I discovered a tiny little Candle Shop, which was founded before 1900. They had only one kind of scented candles with Frangipani, which they liked to call: The Sugar Loaf scent.

Everyone was helpful and nice to me. Thus I started November in peacefulness of Sugar Loaf! No wonder Seligmann decided to live there.

My Breakfast at Sugar Loaf Bed and Breakfast

The Candle Shop at Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf Mountain*

A Private Cemetery in Seligmann’s House**

*It is actually a hill not a mountain. It gave the name of Sugar Loaf to the Hamlet beneath it !
**It is where Seligmann is buried along with the pervious owners of the house.