Mixing politics and art, Canadian style

Posted: October 20th, 2011 | Author: | Tags: , | No Comments »

Rumi ensemble concert
A while ago, I went to a Iranian classical music concert in Toronto. The event was very well organized and the attendance was impressive. After the usual delay in the start of the show we were informed that the Minister of Immigration was going to open the ceremonies and was running late.

Eventually the Minister walks in, hands the artist a couple of memorabilia (which probably ruined the artists planned entrance at the show) and walks right out.

Here’s what I find odd: In Canada, arts is the domain of the Ministry of Heritage and having the head of the department who has nothing to do with arts (but everything with bringing immigrants into this country) smells of political games. Second, if we assume that the minister was genuinely interested his walking out of the concert hall immediately after presenting the award makes me feel even more like they were just playing to get the immigrant vote.

As if to prove my point, the same minister is on a media blitz promoting any art form that has an audience of immigrants.

Note:I wrote the post at the start of September, but never got around to posting it. The timing of the various appearances makes more sense back in September.

31 Years Ago In Iran

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , | No Comments »

1979 revolution It was 31 years ago tomorrow that the Iranian Revolution (sometimes called the second revolution) succeeded in sending the Shah of Iran out of the country. Thus began 3 decades in the history of Iran marked by war [1], violence, and hardships. For Iranians of my generation, those times will not be forgotten and for future generations they will be just another chapter in history.

I mentioned all this, to say that tomorrow Iranians are planning to go out and let out a collective scream against the current government and all things that has made daily life hard for them.

Let’s hope all those who go to make their voices heard come back home safe.

Related Posts:

Free Hoder (eventhough he’s kind of a jerk)

Posted: January 29th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Source: Search Engine

Done with with a touch of humour this piece brings up a few good points. All the more reason more people should subscribe to Search Engine podcasts.

Failure of Social Media Apparent With Recent Iran Unrest

Posted: June 19th, 2009 | Author: | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

The recent elections in Iran have reminded me of something I was pondering for a while.


I listened to an interview with Ethan Zuckerman about
the multilingual web and put it in the back of my mind. But now that the events in Iran are escalating the need for a multilingual web becomes even more important. In the first two days of uprising (June 13 and June 14) there was a lot of news reports coming in from people on the streets. They were filing them on social media (twitter and friendfeed) but mostly in Farsi. The at that point the rest of the world wasn’t able to make the most of these reports. There was even a meme created on twitter about how CNN missed reporting this election: #cnnfail. Slowly as the reports came in English, other sites tried to aggregate the torrent of news. I especially liked what twazzup did with their Iran Unrest site. They were smart enough to notice that more content can be added by search for Farsi keywords and capitalize on this gap.

I now fully agree with Ethan Zuckerman, and think we need the web to become inclusive of all languages. If we can easily and quickly translate between languages on the web, news and information can flow more freely. Of course there are inherent problems in translating various languages, and I think currently without human intervention that can’t be done easily. Case in point is that the site balatarin started to ask for volunteers to translate important Farsi language blog posts.

However, things like this will not take off until the big players get involved. And today I heard that google has entered the game by adding Farsi translation services. It still has a long way to go, but it’s a good start!

Elections in Iran

Posted: June 11th, 2009 | Author: | Tags: , , | No Comments »

In a few hours people will be going to the polls in Iran. I think this will be a historic election, not because of the involvement of people. The people have woken up, and this wave is going to be hard to stop. Whoever gets elected will have to start listening to the populous. Iran has entered the 21st century and I am very excited for it!

And a song that shows an interesting parallel. The song was popular during the 1971 1979 revolution and is now the song of the front runner candidate (not that he’s in any way affiliated with the original movement that represented the song).