I am asking about a November night I was in the kitchen holding a jar of pomegranate paste, Finding my way through a long forgotten recipe. He was busy With his numerous affairs, And a wall of fog in between!
I am asking about a November night It was cold and gloomy He, busy; three thousand miles away I was in the kitchen Holding a jar of pomegranate paste When the thin glass of the kitchen window quivered, When my loneliness attacked,
I am asking about a dark, lonely, feverish November night When the cold breeze of autumn tapped on my shoulder, He was busy with numbers
When I trembled under the freezing fear of fall When I let go of the jar When I was attacked When I was covered with blood And There is no blood like the pomegranate’s blood
I am asking about a November night When I was attacked When I broke the jar He was busy, lost and three thousand miles away
Dear God What was your alibi, in that November night?
The second biennial of CINEMA∃AST film festival ended today: Thanks to my friend, we spent the past couple of days hoping from screening to presentation and vice versa. It was a very lively festival. The screenings covered a vast collection of short, documentary and feature films from Middle East.
I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave was co-directed by Hala al-abdallah and Ammar el-Beik. The film was a rough collection of memories by three Syrian women living in exile. The story formed stage by stage and shaped a mosaic-like image with many blank spots. In addition to the ambiguity that these missing pieces created in the story, consciously or unconsciously these blanks gave a universal touch to the humanitarian part of this semi-documentary.
From Iran 6 films were exhibited. Tehran Has No More Pomegranates by M. Bakhshi, Traveler of Horizon by H. Bahrami, POW 57187 by V. Zara-Zade, Cocoon by B. Shahravan, Mainline (Khon Bazi) by R. Bani-etemad / M.Abdolvahab and also The Day I became My Mother a co-production between Iran and Turkey directed by Annem Oldugum Gun.
Besides these independent films I also watched:
American Gangster (2007) directed by Ridley Scott: it was indeed the best performance I saw from Denzel Washington. The story had a simple line. I am so glad that the movie didn’t fall for Frank Lucas’ biography and that indeed created a great thriller.
Gone Baby Gone (2007) directed by Ben Affleck: I should say Ben Affleck is doing much better as a director rather than an actor and Casey Affleck as Patrick Kenzie was a good choice for a young private detective. My vote is B+ for it.
What caught my attention in both these films was a huge number of great performers in supporting roles, which made the films believable. In his short life in the movie John Ortiz was amazing.
PS.1 I am wondering if there is any mental sickness regarding graduate thesis and dissertations: I am rereading, rewriting and constantly changing what I had wrote, finished, presented and got graduated by.
PS.2 Also these days, I was happily surrounded by Bibi Huryeh and IMovie rearranging a Photo-Clip: Lack of Photoshop or/and Image-Converter was the biggest torture, but nonetheless it was a fun project.
PS.3 The CINEMA∃AST film festival is organized by ART∃EST.
Couple of years ago, no, it was exactly 7 years ago, I was in one of Abbas Abdi’s speeches in one of the Teacher’s colleges in Tehran: he, who at the time was a well-known reformist, explained Iran’s political situation on the issue of socio-political reform by giving a very interesting and funny example. He said: “our situation is like this: we, the reformists, are trying to play chess with an opponent who is a boxer and knows nothing about chess and is using his fist instead of his mind to win.” He continued: “Our religious conservatives are boxing with us on a chess board.”
All this came to my mind when I was listening to NPR’s Day to Day (November 5th) report on a new sport called Chess-boxing. In this sport the athletes swap between six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing, and can win in the ring or by checkmating their opponent on the chess board. An American finalist of the Word Chess-boxing Championship in Berlin who lives in San Francisco was also interviewed on the program.*
The apparent irony between my memories of Abdi’s speech and the NPR’s report aside, perhaps one should inform Abbas Abdi and the other reformists about these new athletic strategies, particularly when the match is against the newly born fundamentalist government. The crucial point is that the reformists should be cognizant of their limits. While they are wasting most of their efforts on whom among them should get the high chair after the most probable war, their opponents are working on both their chess and boxing skills to become the champion of their populistic agenda and win every battle within the country. As we know it is not them, fundamentalists, who pay and suffer from the crisis of a war.
A Self-reminder Note: And so the real reform should start from within: when Iran’s most noticeable reformists cannot put aside their differences and get together with other social, political an intellectual groups inside the country the loss in every stage becomes inevitable.
Who are these others whom everyone ignores? These are the large group of hardworking and educated social and political activists who, in more than 2 decades, have been the main target of the regime’s violence, whose rights have been denied as unwanted apostate and second-rate citizens. These are people who, in the best case, have been pushed aside both by the regime and the reformists. Here I should emphasize that many of today’s reformists were Islamic revolutionaries/conservatives in the beginning of the Islamic republic. This is what reform really means: a gradual change; but shouldn’t this change be a responsible one? Responsible means make a mistake, but for God’s sake don’t repeat the same one. Responsible means be tolerant and not ignorant of others who work on the same front as you do.
And on Art but connected to Life :
Here are the first sentences of André Breton’s article, “Originality & Freedom”, published in the journal Art in Australia (1941-42):
“Human thought today is greatly humiliated. The book of history has opened wide before our eyes, and with a rapidity, which we can scarcely comprehend; its white pages are being filled with frenzied writing. Suddenly all of those past events which we had been accustomed to consider purely from a speculative of theoretical standpoint, such as wars, religious conflicts, crises in government and the rise and fall of culture – all that which up to the present had been for us a beautiful but dim and misty revelation of the heroic past – has now become for us a living actuality, a poignant presence incorporated in our beings”
Just keep in mind that this publication was dated two years after the Second World War began in Europe. To our misfortune André Breton’s criticism is still valid today. Today also human intelligence is under a rapid humiliation. Indeed, our beings relive what is not too far away to be called history but nonetheless it is the past. Once again our conscious is failing to learn from its mistakes.
The Thinker (Le Penseur), Auguste Rodin, 1902-04 designed was based on Dante's Devine Comedy for the Gate of Hell I took the photo in an exhibition in Istanbul, June 2005
Before 5:01 this morning; before I read the news, before I finished the loads of translations, Delaram meant what it actually means in Farsi. Delaram meant sweetheart; it meant the one who brings peace to Del (heart).
It is 5:01. I forgot to add AM. Although that AM wouldn’t make any difference in my translations, I like to have it there. The translations are done and sent. I am tired and sleepy. Yet I cannot allow rest to come to my burning eyes, to my freezing fingers and my numb toes. Somehow resting means nothing after 5:01 AM. After reading the latest news about Delaram Ali’s sentencing.*
After 5:01 AM
The time has passed 5:01. I forgot to add AM. Although it was not this AM that made the difference in my translation. After 5:01 AM Delaram means Star, it means Violet, it means Spring.** After 5:01 AM I am a translator: the translator of time:
Delaram means the Sweetheart of Resistance !
The Blue Hesitation, Bandar-e Anzali, Summer 2007
*Delaram Ali is one of the 33 women’s right activists who have been arrested in the peaceful gathering of 2006 Hafte Tir Square; June 2006’s protesters demanded changes on the constitutional inequality that affects women's and children’s life and safety tremendously. Delaram Ali was sentenced by the appeal-court to two years and six months imprisonment. Read more on BBC News, BBC Persian, Inside Iran and Lady Sun.