Sunday, August 9, 2009

Governor Crist's dilemma: whom to choose as Senator Martinez's replacement?

How does a governor appoint a replacement for the Senate seat that he himself will be running for in less than a year? This is exactly what Florida Governor Charlie Crist is facing after Senator Martinez announced his resignation on Thursday.

Let's see what Governor Crist's options are:

1) He could appoint himself as the replacement.

2) Or he could appoint someone else.

Easy enough? Not exactly.

Option #1 could easily alienate voters for next year's primary. I'm sure Governor Crist believes that he is the right person for the job, but appointing himself could also cast him as a self-nepotist to the voters. Did I just invent a new word? Anyway, is it really possible for him to have an unbiased opinion of himself?

Option #2 is not exactly easier than #1. He is expected to appoint a fellow Republican, a person who is not only projected to run for the seat come election time, but will also be a very winnable candidate. Someone that will be the Republican nominee! Wait! That means beating Governor's Crist for the nomination. How could he appoint someone to beat him for the job? Conversely, how could Governor Crist appoint someone that he is sure of beating in the primary? It's a lose/lose situation for him. Can you say conflict of interest?

I guess option #2a would be to appoint a placeholder for the seat...not really fair to Floridians. They deserve a lot better than that. Option #2b would be to appoint a Democrat to avoid the crises that options #1 and #2 would cause. Not very sensible either.

I wouldn't want to be Governor Crist right now. Your thoughts?

p.s. Back in December 2003, then HUD Secretary Martinez resigned to run for the Senate seat.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This day in Iranian history

August 5, 1906 - Official date of the royal proclamation by Mozaffar-e-Din Shah (Qajar monarch) for the formation of Majlis (Parliament) and the drafting of Constitution, finally paving the way for a constitutional monarchy after a hard-fought campaign by constitutionalists. Fast-forward exactly 103 years to August 5, 2009, an illegitimate President's inauguration in front of the same Parliament.

Have we digressed since 1906? Not exactly. We have actually made significant progress, moving one step forward and then sometimes couple of steps back. Or one step to the left and a couple to the right. The net result has been moving forward. We just always had to blaze our way through the path to reform, making mistakes along the way. That's all. Not perfect by any means, but effective nonetheless.

Constitutional monarchy, oil nationalization, 1953 coup d'etat, 1979 revolution, reform movement, June 12 coup d'etat,...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My thoughts او

I drafted this exactly a year ago after I read an article about Dr. Fatemi's letters from prison and his courageous spirit right before facing firing squad.

I thought it's fitting for these days.


اشکها جاری میشوند و گرچه بعد از مدتی خشک میشوند و شسته میشوند زخمی بر روی صورت به جای میگذراند. زخمی که با تکرار اشک ریختنها آنقدر کهنه و عمیق میشود که کم کم به استخوان میرسد. آنوقت است که در واقع نتیجه دیوانگیست! دیوانه وار به در و دیوار میزند. زمین و زمان را به آتش میکشد تا اینکه هستی را نابود کند

و

بالآخره نابود میکند. سکوت خرابی به او آرامش میدهد اما بعد از مدتی درد آن زخم کهنه برمیگردد. اشکها دوباره جاری میشوند و... و

آری. این است سرنوشت ملت ما و اگر کسی حتی بخواهد در مورد درمان این زخم صحبت کند نابودش خواهند کرد

دوشنبه، ٢٤ تیر ۱۳۸٧

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Putting things in perspective

So today when the nurse was getting ready to put some iodine on my left arm to draw blood, she noticed some mosquito bites. Because of possible allergic reactions, she informed me that she'll have to draw blood from my right arm if I want to donate blood today. All of the sudden I became irritated and uneasy. Last time a nurse insisted on using a vain on my right arm, I ended up being in a lot of pain with no blood flowing into the tube while the nurse was constantly moving the needle looking for the vain. The result: a lot of pain and no gain at all. That stopped me from donating for over a year.

Suddenly, I came to my senses. So what if I experience discomfort? So what if the nurse tries my right arm and is unable to draw blood? This is nothing compared to what's happening back home. Nothing compared to the sacrifices my brothers and sisters are making these days. So I offered my right arm.

No, I did not feel like I was being heroic or anything. I also did not feel particularly ashamed of being irritated. I just put things in perspective...the best I can do these days.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't expect any posts for a while

I'm busy constantly monitoring the events in Iran on facebook...posting links and providing news updates!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Too busy monitoring what's going on!

My head is spinning. I'm shocked, numb, yet not really surprised. Hard to tell what's happening there right now, but something ain't right...worried about bloodshed...try to post links to reports that I find somewhat credible. Until now, I've been too busy and occupied trying to make sense of it all. We will never really find out exactly what happened!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who will be Iran's next president? - my predictions

Iran's seventh president will not be elected today, because none of the four candidates will win a majority of votes, 50%+1.

President Ahmadinejad will win a plurality of votes only by virtue of being the incumbent. He will then be followed by Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rezaei.

Next Friday, Mousavi will beat Ahmadinejad in the runoff. It won't even be close.

What do y'all think?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One man's thoughts about the presidential elections in Iran

The following is a series of Facebook statuses from my childhood friend in Iran. He brings up valid points and makes the reader ponder even if you don't agree with him.

They start from May 30th and end today. His mind goes through a series of twists and turns. I find it very interesting! It's actually not as long as it looks.

Enjoy!





چرا کاندیداهای ما هرکدام یک رنگ از پرچم ایران را از بقیه جداکرده اند و آخری مشکی را ازکجا اضافه کرده است؟

به قرمز و زیبایی گل سرخ و توت فرنگی و سرخی لبان یار میاندیشم و احمدی نژاد و ... چهار سال دیگر؛ یک احمدی نژاد دیگر کافیست تا پایان همه کارها و راهها

کار ما شاید اینست .... که در افسون گل سرخ شناور باشیم

چرا وقتی میشه بعد از حد کثر 4 سال از شر خیلی چیزها راحت شد 20 سال صبر کنیم تا برسیم به چشم انداز! من بین بد و بدتر هیچکدوم رو انتخاب نمیکنم اما هرکسی بدتر رو انتخاب کنه باهوش تره؛

بنظرم احمدی نژاد مرديست كه برای گفتن حقايق اين دوران سی ساله از آبروی خودش هم مايه گذاشت و حتی آقای موسوی هم نتوانست پاسخ مناسبی در مقابل سوالات او ارائه دهد ولی در كل توجه دوستان را به تاييدات هردونفر به تمام بيكفايتيهای 30 سال گذشته جلب ميكنم! همه اين 4 نفر به نوعی از بيكفايتيهای خود و منش سياسيشان و همينطور 30 سال دروغگويی و دخالتهای ديكتاتور مآبانه آرمانگرايان و انقلابيون در قانون و حتی قوانينی كه خود وضع كردند

هيچكسی به اندازه احمدي نژاد از شجاعت بيان و جسارت گفتار در ميان دولنمردان گذشته تا كنون ايران ندارد؛ گو اينكه برخي دلايل و براهين ايشان ظاهرا كذب محض است ؛ اما در باطن نشان از اسراری دارد كه حقيقتا از نزديك آنها را لمس كرده ام هرچند مدركی براي اثبات آنها هم كسی نتواند ارائه دهد حقيقت حقيقت است و بهترين دليل همان وضعيت فعلی است؛ كه برايند اين سی سال حكومت بسته

اينكه احمدي نژاد و موسوی برای دفاع از خطاهای خود دخالت رهبری وقت خود را به عنوان شخصيت فراقانونی اعلام ميكردند مساله ايست كه نشاندهنده آلت دست بودن ريس جمهور است و نهايتا تداركاتچی

احمدي نژاد مساله اش دفاع از خودش بود در مقابل اتهامهايی كه كانديدای معرفی شده هاشمی رفسنجانی به او ودولت وارد كرده بود و بسيار هم هيجان زده بود و اين نشان از صداقت او دارد ؛ آقاي موسوی از ابتدا تمام سوالات احمدی نژاد را با وارد كردن اتهامهای مختلف بي پاسخ گذاشت و خونسردی او نشان از تعليم ديدن در مكتب رفسنجانی است يادمان باشد دروغگويان حرفه ای در خونسردی كامل بدون بروز دادن تلاطمات درونش دروغ را مثل راست بيان ميكند

در كل نمايش كمدی هيجان انگيزي بود كه ماهيت نظام را برملاكرد

هر كدام كه رئيس جمهور بشوند فرقی نميكند اگر بخواهند نظامشان بماند بايد اقتصاد بازار آزاد واقعی را راه اندازی كنند. لازم دارند اقتصاد آزاد را به سمت توليد و حمايت از توليدات صادراتی هدايت كنند چون ميزان استخراج نفت ما ديگر فقط صرف مصرف داخلی ميتواند بشود پس فرقی نميكند كدامشان بشود مجبورند برخلاف گذشته كه فقط فيلمش را بازی ميكردند مجبورند واقعا به آن بپردازند

به این فکر میکنم : احمدی نژاد با فاش کردن خلافهای دیگران تنها گذشته افراد را زیر سوال برد و عملکرد آنها را و نه دیکران؛ رضایی ، کروبی و موسوی با زیر سوال بردن احمدی نژاد و نسل جوان طرفدارش نه تنها اورا بلکه اهداف آموزشی انقلاب را که از ابتدا پیاده سازی کردند زیر سوال بردند! ممکن است بگویید دیگران هم نسل جوان بعد از انقلاب هستند اما واضح است هیچکدام از این دیگران در سالیان گذشته از آموزههای آنها طرفداری نمیکردند

مخالفان احمدی نژاد (کاندیداهای دیگر) مبانی اعتقادی خود را نفی میکنند زیرا آنچه احمدی نژاد کرده درسهایی است که پای منبر این آقایان فرامیگرفته ؛آنها گذشته خود و عملکرد خود را نفی میکنند همه میدانیم یک گزاره شرطی فقط در یک صورت همیشه صحیح است وقتی که قسمت اول گزاره همیشه نادرست باشد . آیا آنچه منجر به ظهور و بروز احمدی نژاد و انتخاب همفکران او شد ، عملکرد و آموزه های مسئولین پیش از او نبوده است!؟؟؟؟؟

همه کسانیکه احمدی نژاد را محکوم میکنند در اصل آیده آل ها و اهداف اسلام انقلابی و انقلاب امام خمینی را نفی میکنند ؛ نمیخواهم انقلاب را به نفع یک گروه خاص مصادره کنم ! نه اما بیایید صادق باشیم برایند آموزه های 24 ساله قبل از احمدی نژاد باعث شد تا مردم او را انتخاب کنند؛ اما نمیدانم چرا عوام که بسیار هم احساساتی هستند؛ فقط به احساس زمان حال خود فکر میکنند و نمیخواهند کمی هم به عواقب بعدی تصمیمات خود بیاندیشند؟؟؟؟!!!؟

می اندیشم برای اینکه غده سرطانی را از بدن بیرون آوریم نیاز به عمل جراحی داریم

آیا تا بحال فکر کرده اید چرا مردم به احمدی نژاد رای دادند 4 سال پیش؟ آنها از اصلاح طلب نما ها قهر کردند! چون آنها هم مثل احمدی نژاد بعد از انتخاب شدن آرای مردم را برای خودشان مصادره کردند و همه چیز را بین هم فکران خودشان تقسیم کردند؛ موسوی هم مستثنا نیست! بخصوص که ایده ای برای حمایت از نهادهای مدنی مستقل ندارد؛

شما بگویید با شرکت در انتخاباتی که نتیجه ای جز رشد طرفداران ایده آل های انقلاب ندارد بهتر نیست به کسی رای دهیم که جدی تر و سریعتر به سمت این ایده ها حرکت میکند؛ چرا میخواهید اینقدر به کندی و با اتلاف وقت انقلاب را پبگیری کنید؟احمدی نژاد از هر لحاظ کامل ترین شخص برای این مقصود است؛

با آسپیرین بچه ها نمیشود سرطان بدخیم را معالجه کرد؛ موسوی همین آسپیرین بچه هاست

معلومه که بیمار سرطانی از شیمی درمانی و جراحی خوشش نمیاد؛ جامعه ما هم از احمدی نژاد خوشش نمیاد!

من اصلا با انتخابات این جوری مخالفم ...!!! کجای حرفم طرفداری از احمدی نژاده .... اینکه سیاست یعنی حقه بازی

اصولا دجال دارای يك پيكر است با سر های بيشمار؛ هر كدام از اين سرها يك صدايي دارد كه سليقه يك عده اي را بيان ميكند و هيچكدام از اين سرها استقلال ندارند و برای يك بدن ارتزاق ميكنند

آيا به اين فكر كرده ايد : مير - حسين - موسوی ----- --------------------------باراك - حسين - اوباما

بنظرم اين حسين است كه ارزش دارد -نه موسوی نه اوباما

از دوشنبه تا حالا دارم فکر میکنم با این جمعیتی که توی خیابونها هستند خدا بخیر کنه ؛ الان وقت اغتشاش و حرج و مرج نیست ؛ به اندازه کافی همینطوری همه چی رو هوا هست!!!؛ بعضی ها منتظرن یکی از رو جوی آب بپره دنبالش

در یک انتخابات دموکراتیک پس از تایید صلاحیت نامزدها مراکز قدرت سعی در حذف دیگر کاندیدها نمیکنند : جمع کردن فتوای مراجع به عنوان این که پیروان آنها شخص را ترد کنند یا تکفیر کاندیدا خدشه دار کردن یک چهره هرچند چهره ای که مورد اقبال مردم نیست قبل از برگزاری انتخابات یعنی مراجعه نکردن به آرای مردم و این یعنی حذف رقیب با زور آقایان اگر داعیه دیکتاتور نبودن دارند ملاک رای مردم است ؛ امام معصوم به رای مردم احترام گذاشت

اگر انتخابات یعنی احترام به رای مردم دخالت آقای هاشمی یعنی توهین به شعور و اراده مردم درست این بود که اجازه میدادند مردم منتخب خود را با دادن رای خود اعلام میکردند ؛ هر چند که شخصا موسوی را بیشتر از بقیه برای اهداف خودم مناسب میدانستم و در کل تفاوتی بین این 4 نفر قایل نیستم ؛ اما آنهایی که دم از دین میزنند نباید مخالف خود را با روشهای غیر منصفانه از میدان خارج کنند ؛ این انتخابات غیر دموکراتیک است


Monday, June 8, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives is no longer planning to vote on the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 this week

Well, there is concern that it might benefit hardline candidates in Iran's presidential elections this Friday. What do you think after reading this article?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Majid Varess is back!!!


So here's the story. I wake up late this morning at 4:45 AM (missing the first half of Iran-North Korea game) and switch to Tapesh. All of the sudden I hear this warm and familiar voice that I haven't heard in years. I'm thinking: it can't be him, but the guy is using the same metaphors and his reporting style has not changed a bit. Then the other reporter refers to him as Aghaye Varess!!! No way. Majid Varess has not reported a game in over 26-27 years. It made my Saturday morning. Finally after the game I see his face on the screen. He hasn't changed much. He actually looks good. I quickly snapped a picture with my phone.

It brought back a lot of sweet memories. Hope to see him more often on TV.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Iran presidential elections' campaign ad

Here's an interesting one for Karroubi courtesy of DF.

THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT FOR THE CANDIDATE!

The messages on the posters and the ending credits follow below. Feel free to correct my translations.

Supporting Citizens' Rights

Rectifying Poverty, i.e. Fight Poverty


Nationalization of Oil Revenues


Avoiding Confrontational Conflicts in International Affairs

Unrestricted Access to Information

Supporting Women Head of Households

Condemning Violence Against Women


Education for Everyone

Improving Public Safety

Religious and Ethnic Minorities' Rights


Supporting Non-Governmental Organizations


Public Participation, i.e. Voters'/Citizens' Involvement in Government's Affairs and Decisions


"We Have Come for Change." i.e. We're Here for Change.


"CHANGE FOR IRAN" - Karroubi's campaign logo in red with white letters

"Supporters of Karroubi and Karbaschi"

Monday, June 1, 2009

http://tehranbureau.com/

Very interesting online news source!

Here's a brief description of Tehran Bureau.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Clip from IRI's official news channel - Tehran University political science professor criticizes the Iranian government's policy towards U.S.

This clip is very interesting...it's about seven minutes. The debate is in Persian with English subtitles. I have reviewed it twice with the subtitles and the translation is accurate.

This is a rarity on official state-run TV. Let me know what you think. I'm looking for your comments.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Guess what?! Access to facebook is restored in Iran again!

I just received a response from a friend in Iran regrading my comment on a photo that I made a few days ago. He apologized to me for such a delay in his response due to the restrictions.

And then I just saw this. I guess people have access, for now
.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Confusion over access to facebook in Iran!!!

After the post below, I was informed through two independent sources that their families and relatives have direct access to facebook without using proxies. Through a third party, I was also informed that at least one person in Iran was unable to access facebook.

It appears that
BBC's account was either inaccurate or according to CNN the ban was temporarily lifted a few hours after it went into effect only to be reinstated.

ILNA, the Iranian Labour News Agency based in Tehran first reported it yesterday and has been the primary source of this developing story.

I welcome any of you to provide us with more information regarding this issue, especially from people trying to access
facebook from Iran.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Iranian government blocks access to facebook...

...ahead of the June's presidential elections. Apparently, the move was aimed at stopping a key reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, to use facebook for his campaign. He has over 5,000 supporters on facebook so far.

Not to worry folks. Iranians are no strangers to government's policy of blocking websites and have found ways to access these sites anyway!

Just take a close look at these two pictures!

The caption simply reads:

"Oh how there are so many friends in captivity.
The ones we don't even know.
Or even know their names.
Oh how there are so many.

Wishing for Kaveh and Jelveh's freedom and so many others."

By the way, Saberi arrived on U.S. soil on Saturday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

مرگ بر سیب زمینی Potatoes-for-votes protest blights Iran's presidential elections

This is too funny not to post. Apparently, reformist rivals accuse President Ahmadinejad of using 'bumper crop' of potatoes to lure voters.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

End of Saberi's chapter in Iran

She left Iran today, first to Austria, then probably to North Dakota! She won't be back in Iran for a long time because of what she endured and her bitter experience at the end.

Expect to see her on your TV sets very soon doing interviews!!!

Tarjama/Translation Exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art

Tarjama/Translation

This features several artists from Iran and sounds very interesting. Pass it along to your friends in NY/NJ/CN.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I stand corrected - Saberi is staying in Iran for a few...

...days, her father said. She also thanked her supporters, stating that other than spending time with her family and friends she has no specific plans right now.

Saberi is released and...

...on her way back home, if not here already. We all knew she would be eventually, but now we are so relieved!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

IRI canceled air show upon Russian warning of Israeli plan to destroy all 140 warplanes

This news story is from DEBKAfile, a Jerusalem-based open source military and intelligence website. So I'm not totally sure about its accuracy and truthfulness. It certainly makes you ponder though. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ghobadi awaits Saberi's release because...


...they are a couple!

Bahman Ghobadi is an internationally acclaimed Kurdish-Iranian film director, whose films painfully portray the plight of Kurds in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey while applauding their resilience despite years of facing adversity. Roxana Saberi is an American journalist born to Iranian and Japanese parents, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage in a closed one-day trial last week in Tehran (read the story below).

Ghobadi's new film has gone to the Cannes, but he now says he has no desire to go. He is staying put in Tehran waiting for the outcome of Saberi's appeal.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ahmadinejad intervening in Saberi's and Derakhshan's cases - unusual but encouraging

Apparently, Ahmadinejad has sent a letter to Tehran's prosecutor requesting that Roxana Saberi - who was convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday - must have her legal rights to defend herself. This is a first.

What does this mean? Is this a signal to the west, especially the U.S.? Is this a ploy? Is IRI showing signs of softening up? Or is this simply a showdown between different factions of the government in a presidential elections year? You tell me. I welcome your comments.


In the letter, Ahmadinejad has also mentioned Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger who has been jailed in Iran since November. Derakhshan is an Iranian-born blogger who left Iran a few years ago to live in Canada. While he constantly criticized the policies of the government on his blog, he was also vehemently against a military attack against Iran and was constantly accused to be a an IRI spy by anti-IRI groups outside Iran. He challenged the Iranian government's travel ban to Israel by visiting Tel Aviv and wrote about it in his blog. Last year, he went to Iran for a visit and was arrested. Derakhshan is also famous for being the "godfather of Iran's blog movement."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

IDF and Peres give conflicting signals about attacking Iran, or are they?

Are these two reports really conflicting? One is talking about preparations to attack and the other about not planning to attack. Are preparations to attack and not planning to attack two separate things? Read both news reports and you be judge. I'd like to hear your comments.

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is basically saying it's making preparations to be able to launch an aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities within days or even ours of being given the green light. An Israeli intelligence official further stated that Israel would not make the threat without the force to back it.

Yet only last Thursday President Peres dismissed speculations that Israel is planning to attack Iran. He further stated that progress with Iran depended on international cooperation and exploring whether dialogue presented a real opportunity or if Tehran was just stalling.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ahmadinejad's interview with Spiegel

Nothing new or earth shattering. Read the interview and judge for yourselves.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Georg Gerster Exhibition in Manhattan - Paradise Lost: Persia From Above

For the first time ever, 29 breathtaking aerial photographs of old Persia by award-winning Swiss photographer Georg Gerster, taken in the immediate years before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, will be on exhibition at the Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery (LTMH) in Manhattan from April 4th through April 21st, 2009.

A friend of mine loved it. You should definitely go if you live in the Tri-State region. If you are unable to check it out, here are all of the pictures with captions following the press release. Enjoy and pass on to friends.


Iran's women volleyball team participating in Asian championships


They are in a group with Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Australia. Iran is ranked 84th in the world. Their biggest challenge will be beating the 36th-ranked Australia. Vietnam is ranked 73d and Sri Lanka 84th. Rankings are current as of January 2009.

These women are Iran's lionesses. Take a look at this picture. Could you imagine playing a whole game like this?

http://www.mehrnews.com/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=858474

Friday, April 10, 2009

Link to website making a case for voting in the upcoming Iran Presidential elections

This link was sent to me anonymously. It makes a case for voting in the upcoming presidential elections in Iran using data from its own "studies". It also argues that not voting in the last round ultimately elected _____ .

However, the site is in Persian! Pass it around if you find it interesting.

http://ishallvote.org/default.aspx

Israel cries wolf by Roger Cohen

Please read and ponder.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/09/opinion/09iht-edcohen.html


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Iranian Americans have a player in the NBA finishing his first season

First ever NBA player from Iran.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123906169774395129.html

Iran's inflation in 2009, 5th highest in the world - not the shocking part of this news story

Oh no. I'm actually insulted that we're 5th. I was hoping more for 1st or 2d. What's shocking is that Press TV - English language 24-hr. news channel funded by the Iranian government - cites a CIA report for this finding!!! Never thought I would live to see this.

Here. Check it out for yourself:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=87879&sectionid=351020102

AFC holds women's refrees course in Iran

The course will run April 21-24 in provincial capital of Qazvin, 165 km (100 mi) northwest of Tehran.

http://www.the-afc.com/eng/articles/viewarticle.jsp_168624803.html


Thursday, March 19, 2009

RE: NoRooz

NoRooz, “New Day” in Persian, is the traditional new year holiday that was initiated in ancient Iran. Today, it is celebrated by over 300 million people living in greater Iran, roughly the geographical extent of the once mighty Persian Empire.

NoRooz is widely celebrated in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It is also celebrated in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and northwestern China in Central Asia; Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia in the Caucuses as well as Crimea; among certain Iranic communities in Pakistan and India as well as Parsis in India; Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Syria as well as Iran; Balkan ethnic groups with Iranian roots in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia; the countries of Bahrain, Qatar and UAE in the Persian Gulf region among the Iranian merchant communities that have made these countries home for centuries; and Alawis of Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. The extent of NoRooz today even reaches the island of Zanzibar off the Tanzanian coast in Africa, where Iranian merchants from Shiraz and southern Iran migrated during medieval times! Although NoRooz is a secular holiday today, it has religious roots and significance for Zoroastrians (religion of most Iranians before Islam), Bahai’s, and Alawis. Of course, NoRooz is also celebrated by the Iranian diaspora (such as my family) worldwide.

Yet, there is no standardized English spelling for NoRooz. I have seen it spelled at least a dozen different ways! It is celebrated on the day of the astronomic vernal equinox, which usually falls on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. The new year begins with the first day of spring, signifying rebirth of nature as well as the soul. I have always been told that NoRooz is all about humanity’s continual commitment to goodness, love, hope, and prosperity.

Sources: Wikipedia and my own knowledge from many different sources re NoRooz that I have gathered since childhood!