3D Miniature Sculpture

from Sayag Gallery by Tannaz

Tannaz, my Internet friend, suprised me with a 3D miniature face of me without ever meeting the real object, and only based on my profile pictures on the social media. No 3D printing and no Inkjet. 100% handmade and baked in a home oven in the size of a thumbnail. Unbelievably detailed and it was her first try ever making face sculptures! Check her Sayag gallery. Very talented. I’m proud. Thank you!

Traitor to the country!

A controversial poster:
This year, SAIH ‘s annual campaign was fronted by a poster spread around all the Norwegian academic cities. Their controversial poster entitled “Beware! They are educated!” shows a group of dictators escaping from protesting students. The illustrated dictators are Hitler, Gaddafi, Mugabe, Kim Jong-il, Stalin, and Ayatollah Khomeini. On October 14 SAIH wrote under “Khomeini in a bad company” that they have received a letter from the Iranian embassy in Oslo. The letter asks them to remove the posters since it illustrates Ayatollah Khomeini among 5 brutal dictators:

[…] “The Embassy of The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly protests against this action and wants your organization to remove this picture as soon as possible”; it is further stated in the email from the embassy. […]

For half a century SAIH has defended student’s right for free speech and this time the organization itself is entitled to the same right: In a press release, they referred to their main objective: “We defend students’ free speech” and announced that they will not comply with the request from the embassy. This press release led to a coverage by many Norwegian newspapers, first and foremost by Aftenposten which cited the embassy’s claim in their article: “You have offended the feelings of a great nation”.

My reaction: Here comes my featured chronicle in Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten entitled “They suppress all the critics” pointing out that in an under any authoritarian regime an embassy represents a government, not a nation:

The Iranian embassy’s intolerant reaction to SAIH’s campaign stands as a symbol of how Iranian authorities suppress all criticism from students in Iran.

This chronicle was followed by an interview with Adresseavisen (The main regional newspaper): “Iranian student supports the student campaign”. I cliamed in the interview that I know of many Iranian students at NTNU who would support the campaign but they do not dare to side with the campaign and its poster, due to the potential risk when they visit their homeland.

Government’s reaction to my article/interview: Some Iranian governmental websites covered the story supporting the action by the Iranian embassy and condemning the poster together with my article. Teribon, an Iranian governmental news portal wrote with a very tense and ideological tone in their article “Iranian embassy in Norway reacted to a blaspheming poster of Imam Khomeini“:

[…] But this was not the end of the story. Nima Darabi one of the Iranian students in Trondheim had an article in Aftenposten. In that text which was fully traitorous to the country [Iran], he supported SAIH’s action. He said that Iranian embassies are not representing the Iranian people and if Europeans are willing to listen to the voice of the Iranian people, they should instead hear it among the angry Iranian crowds protesting outside the embassies. Bringing up the electoral fraud accusations in the recent presidency election [June 2009], he made his article even more betrayal.

Fardanews, another governmental website close to the head of the parliament, cited the same paragraph in  “[Iranian] Greens in Norway, allies with anti-Iranian groups against Imam Khomeini”.


Parazit is an Iranian political comedy show launched by Voice of America in 2008. Three weeks ago I was the exact 200,000th member joining  their Facebook page and I will – according to them – receive a “very very nice present”!

Growing exponentially, Parazit has so far become the most popular Persian page on Facebook with more than a thousand of new joiners each of these days. Given that Facebook is filtered in Iran their actual fans are way beyond this.

Suprisingly a couple of weeks after Washington Post  called them the Daily show of Iran and so did the CNN, Jon Stewart actually invited them to his show. Here it comes:


In the first trip I made home after moving to Norway, I divided my Facebook pictures into two categories: Private, and Public. It happened naturally and I didn’t even think of that. Since then I was asked about the reason by my Norwegian friends quite a few times.

This movie shows the dual life in the past three decades of Islamic dominance in Iran, but still doesn’t show how natural and normal it has become.  It fails to picture how adaptive the human nature is, to cope with a forced situation at the least harm and cost.

Freedom of Expression in Iran, Transfering the Memes of Democracy

A Rising Hope – The People Have Spoken The human rights situation in Iran

  • Where: Samfundet, Klubben, Trondheim, Norway
  • When: Wednesday 13.10.2010, 19:00 – 21:00

Why is one of the most educated countries in the Middle East constantly troubled by Human Rights abuses and suffering? Can they change this? Can we change this? Amnesty International Student Network in Trondheim welcomes you to a theme meeting about the past, presence and future of Iran and democracy development. Speakers:

  • Ulrika Mårtensson (PhD) – Assistant Professor in religious studies at NTNU. Spesializing in Islam.
  • Nima Darabi (PhD student, NTNU) – Student activist and blogger from Iran.
  • Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam (PhD) – is an Iranian human rights activist, University of Oslo, Norway. He was awarded the Norwegian Amnesty International’s Human Rights Prize in 2007.

[nggallery id=6] I just had a talk at the event “A Rising Hope – The People Have Spoken” held by amnesty international in Trondheim. You can download my presentation entitled “Freedom of Expression in Iran, Transfering the Memes of Democracy” here:

Watch, it’s a trap!

Akbar Ganji dreams of a Free Iran:

The misfortune of the people who live in the Middle East, the region from which I come, is that the international conditions have never been conducive to achieving democracy. Quite to the contrary, these conditions have always been to the benefit of the enemies of freedom.


People of the Middle East had been living under the tyranny of secular and corrupt governments, which were all supported by the United States and other Western countries. This context left them recourse to only one political alternative: religious fundamentalism. The United States and the Western world reaped the first fruit of their own deeds with the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and today they face fully grown and powerful trees of violent fundamentalism.

What comes is something in agreement with Ganji that I’d written while ago – before I got to read this article – with few corrections in the terminology:

Here is the warning: As a reaction to secular dictatorship, I think we Iranians were the first nation in the contemporary middle east who actually went into a trap called religious fundamentalism as a political system. We’ve experienced it now for more than three decades and now as the counter-reaction we are about to survive. Sooner or later we’ll overcome a totalitarian religious form of a regime. What concerns me the most is actually about our neighbors: a possible dark future for some other middle eastern states. Pakistanis, Arabs, Turks, other potential nations should not remake our mistakes; democracy is still the only way to resolve. Or else, the failures of the Bush administration will remain in the middle east for a century.

Related @ Nim:

Masters of Persian Music @ Berkeley

I just attended the Masters of Persian Music performing at University of California, Berkeley.

I have no more doubt about their performing skills, that is awesome. As of the concert during the second half I was bored by Grammy award nominees (for the best traditional world music)! That might be due to their monophonic and repetitive use of the very same melody patterns in Shur scale back and forth (dastgāh-e-Shur is a scale close to medieval Phrygian mode). Once they eventually modulated to minor and I noticed that it suddenly attracted every one’s attention around me. Just to know, my seat was in between of two groups of Americans and Iranians.

Their performance was consistent, harmonic, homogeneous, and professional, but there were really no innovation and creativity going on; no more ways of brain tickling. That was just in a way it used to be in one, two, or even three decades ago.

When it comes to traditional Persian music, my taste seems to be developing. Facing recent innovations in poetry, melody and rhythm as well as new approaches of correlating form and content in Persian music has moved it towards a more complicated and challenging scope. I am not talking about updating instruments, changing the orchestration, hiring polyphony or choice of the scales. These innovations can be accomplished within the exact same set of ensembles.

p.s. Their albums Faryad and Without You is available at Amazon.

Berkeley, CA, October 2008
Nim at Berkeley last year

The Dictator’s Dish

The picture shows today’s huge pro-government protest during the rush hour around Azadi square, Tehran to mark the 31st of Anniversary of Iran’s Revolution.

The information that is not shown on the picture is the that most of the attendees around the Azadi square are opposition demonstrators who didn’t dare to carry green symbols because of the governmental high security control. I talked to two of them on the phone today and they regretted playing the role of two additional grains of rice on the supreme leader’s dish tonight!

As a result of new executions and having anticipated vast number of security forces and militia men, the green movement this time employed a highly compromising “Trojan Horse” strategy: the opposition supporters were to dress and act as pro-government demonstrators to safely join the crowd and then later on turn it into a protest; however, unlike the former clear hijacks they failed accomplishing it but adding more pixels to the image.

I wish the GeoEye service was launched/working or we were somehow aware of that on June 15, 2009 when the opposition took to the streets of Tehran (estimated between 2 to 3 million) and many of us pointed the need for a counting method, which could metaphorically be such a big pot of delicious food for the lovers of democracy and peace.

Let’s all be pixels

Introduction: December 7 is the student day in Iran, and like similar events after the disputed election, we expect riots and consequently brutal crackdowns of protesters in many campuses in Tehran as well as many other cities.

At the same date, we students at NTNU, want to make a global image in order to support the Iranian students’ peaceful movement. Many universities around the world will join this program to support non-violent GREEN movement and to show their solidarity with Iranian students and teachers who are in prison due to their peaceful democratic demonstration. We invite you all to join others to be a pixel in this global image!

Besides, there will be a brief discussion panel and live videos of crackdown will be shown.

[nggallery id=2]

  • Time: Monday – December 7, 2009 (16:00 to 18:00)
  • Location: NTNU, Gløshaugen Campus, Central Building, Lecture hall S1 (confirmed)

Notes if you join:

  • Every piece of green that you wear (or bring) will sharpen our image!
  • Be creative! Wear GREEN in solidarity (shirts, wristbands, ribbons, balloons, …)
  • Hold signs such as : “WE SUPPORT YOU”, “WE ARE IRANIANS”, “WE ARE WITH YOU”, etc.
  • Norwegian flags, NTNU logo, etc, are more then welcome

The end result will be a video with all the photo shoots combined, which will be shared on Youtube and sent to Iranian students back home.

Although these global actions do not change anything overnight, but they do render an immeasurable service to the morale of those who are struggling for the democratic project within Iran.

Historical background:

Iranian government stole votes of its own people and announced the election results upside down. The people didn’t give up their right. They protested peacefully and as a result they were killed, imprisoned and raped. They stood by their rights. They exposed themselves to all these dangers and through that they presented their movement to the rest of the world. Now, Iranians not only do not have right to protest peacefully, but also after the supreme leader’s religious dictum on May 19 they might easily get shot by the government’s agents while taking part in any kind of riot, however they still take any opportunity, ceremony and event to express their movement and to eventually take their votes back. Dec 7 known as the student day in Iran is one of those events in a row.

The student day goes back to 55 years ago. During the Shah era, since Iranian police agents fired and killed three students (two marxists and one liberal) inside the campus of Tehran University, the day 7th of December has been recognized as an official day in Iranian calendar called the Student Day. Since then, before and after the revolution, Iranian students, both secular and religious, celebrate this anniversary, protesting against the dictatorship and policies of the government.