Category Archives: Communication

international dance

Last week, on Sunday morning while the streets of New York City showed small signs of spring but cold winter winds could still freeze my bones early in the morning, we got on the bus to go to Manhattan for a special event.  The Iranian community in New York (and many other parts of the world) had organized a parade in the city for celebrating the Persian New Year, Norooz of 1387.  I was a part of one of the dance groups representing a nomadic tribe in Iran, the Qashgai’s.  We got ready on the bus and by the time we got to our destination, the sun began to shine to some how help us through.  The wind in Manhattan gets blinding sometimes, especially when you are used to the California weather.  When our bus approached the location of the Parade, we saw little kids with the Iranian flag painted on their cheeks, young people holding the Iranian and American flags together, yelling “Norooz Mobarak” meaning Happy New Year.  When they saw us, the color of our costumes made their smiles wider and voices louder, they waved at us showing their excitement and support.  A huge crowd of Iranians and non-Iranians were gathered on the two sides of the street, holding multi-national flags, cheering us on.  When we started dancing, I was cold in the beginning and my eyes were watery due to the wind.  After a few seconds, I forgot all about myself and immediately melted with the energy of the crowd and what was going on around me.  It was like a slow motion experience, when I was watching the crowd from above.  I looked around me to see my friends dancing with me or the people yelling “dametoon garm, thank you, beautiful” and saw many different faces.  In our group of Qashqai dancers, there was only one Iranian and one half-Iranian, the rest were from all over the world.  There I was among a group of dancers from the U.S., Italy, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Tajikistan, and Iran, dressed in traditional Qashgai costumes, dancing like the nomadic women of the mountains in Iran.  I bet the Qashgai women have no idea that such an international group was trying to be like them in the streets of Manhattan on the other side of the planet.  Next time I go to Iran, if I go to the mountains and stay with the Qashgai’s for a few days, would they believe me when I tell them about my experience in America? How would they feel about it?

 

 

 

 

 

We are living in a magical age, experiencing so much unity and having access to much information is bringing us closer to each other.  Despite the current direction of the governments that try to advocate separation while demonizing others, we are moving toward unity at a fast pace, in my opinion.  I felt this when I was in the middle of the Parade dancing and I feel it today as I see people with many nationalities here in the streets of Berkeley, protesting against the Chinese invasion of Tibet.  I felt it when an Indian taxi driver in New York asked me what this event was about and when I told him it’s for the Persian New Year, he said: “oh yes, Happy Norooz to you and to all Iranians.”  Becoming global does not mean to forget about our backgrounds, cultures, costumes, histories, and traditions.  In my opinion, unity and globalization is about being aware of what a girl my age is going through in Baghdad, what a mother needs to do to survive in Darfur, how a young boy struggles to earn money for his family and study at the same time in southern Tehran, what games children play and what they learn in school in Kabul, how many people spend their youth in prisons in China, and how Qashgai women dance in the mountains of Iran.  We don’t need to travel to all these places to know how; we only need to care and once we sit behind the magical screen and type the name, hundreds of links show up to take us to the places we like.  We only need to care and it is my responsibility to get to know you on a deeper level and go beyond our surficial differences, so that we can together prevent hatred and war in the future and among our children and grand children.  

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Filed under Africa, America, Communication, culture, India, Iran, lessons, life, traditions, War, youth, youth voices

communicating

Today I was thinking about how easy it is to discuss development issues without really having a good look into the lives of those young people whom we wish to affect. We may be in the same country, but the experiences that we face are often very different. It’s misleading, if not dangerous, to think that initiatives that we think are amazing are in fact perfect “solutions” to some problem. In all probability, without an understanding of the dynamics at play in different communities and among different people, these projects are detrimental in the long run. Even more, we can’t ignore the fact that there are many young people who either don’t need assistance (because they’re perfectly happy as they are and in the conditions they live in) or who have become so cynical that they don’t think they are in a position to implement change. These scenarios suggest how critical it is to communicate with these young people and see how they live their everyday lives. I really believe that it’s only through these inter and intra-cultural dialogues and immersions that we can really understand each other and help each other to initiate positive changes in society. I think this is what it ultimately takes to create a global community. In the spirit of communicating as well as celebrating the musical talent of a new generation of youth in the Middle East, here is another beautiful song and clip by Mohsen Namjoo, which happens to be my personal favorite. Listen here.

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one laptop per child

One project that is hoping to bring education to the developing world is the One Laptop per Child program.  It aims to give a $100 laptop (a technological feat in and of itself) that use innovative power sources (solar, hand crank, and pedal-power)to children in developing countries.  The idea is that community-access centers are not enough; each child should have their own laptop.  The organization’s rational is that once the child has ownership of the laptop, it will be something cherished more greatly and cared for, similar to how a child cares for their own pencils or doll.  I recently heard that Intel withdrew its financial and techincal help due to “philosophical differences.”  I’m sure those differences were related to Intel’s profit margin.  The laptops are designed specifically for children and have progams the children can use to learn on what the organization claims, a deeper level.  Continue reading

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youth and communications technology

In our recent trip to Iran I noticed the interesting relationship between the youth and communications technology as means for expressing their ideas and creativity or as a sign of protest against some old beliefs they passionately disagree with.  In a country of 68 million people, the youth in Iran form about 70 percent of the population.  The existing networks of communications among young Iranians now seem to constitute the strongest form of networking that create their own rules and regulations by expressing themselves through visual media, audio, etc.  New means of communication networks which did not exist until a few years ago appear to have changed the way young Iranians think and for the most part have created new opportunities to work with Iranian youth in different fields.   

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Image borrowed from http://www.worldpress.org/

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Filed under Communication, Iran, Technology, War, youth, youth voices