Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jerusalem morning

I just woke up, and it's still dark outside, but I found it impossible to stay asleep because it's one of those gorgeous Jerusalem mornings - the air is cool and the foggy air is starting to clear up, and the birds are singing. The place where I'm staying has a lovely garden where I sat out last night with a friend talking while the cool breezes start to blow across the city.

5:01 am. Ah now, another morning sound - a bus going down Derekh Beit Lehem! The birds are really tuning up for their morning performance too. The house where I'm staying has a synagogue right next to it, so I would expect to hear people coming soon for shacharit.

5:11 am. I've just been reading the updates on the New York Times Lede blog about what's happening in Iran. It feels much closer here than it did in Ithaca (well, it is closer! but not just geographically). A reader of mine commented on my last post that the Israeli television news did cover Iran extensively last night - I was only listening to the radio so I didn't see it.

5:17 am. Even more and louder birds! Especially some loud crows. I love listening to the birds wake up, it's a pity that I don't usually like to wake up early enough to hear them.

5:22 am. I was just reading a posting by Jeffrey Goldberg about Iran that makes a lot of sense to me:

I understand his point [of Meir Dagan - see here], and yet am repulsed by it at the same time, perhaps because I care mainly about which Iranians have the bomb, rather than whether Iran has the bomb. Maybe this is naive -- and maybe I'm caught up, as a suspected neocon fellow traveler, in the excitement of watching Middle Easterners attempting to free themselves from such an obviously tyrannical regime -- but I have to think that the people flooding the streets in protest are not the sort of people who would want to see their country enter a nuclear confrontation with Israel. Not, God forbid, because they like Israel, but because they're rational enough, and interested enough in the betterment of their own lives, to demand a government that puts a limit on Iran's foreign adventures. I recognize that the people of Iran do not currently shape their country's nuclear policy -- and their country's policies to Israel and the West -- but one can hope for better days, when they do.


5:25 am. It's starting to get markedly lighter out, with a light blue sky coming into view. One of the books that I was reading on the planes over here was Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis II. I still haven't finished it. Her first book is a very interesting personal perspective on the Iranian Revolution; the second one recounts her experiences in Vienna when her parents sent her out of the country during the Iran-Iraq war. I'm now reading about her return to Iran after she finished her studies in Vienna and had some unhappy experiences there. I wonder what she's saying right now about the struggles in Iran.

I just discovered, with a little searching, that in 2005 she briefly had a blog on the New York Times website. She has something interesting to say about Israel and Iran, but it doesn't continue after 2005.

She and another filmmaker have presented a document to Green Party MPs in the European Parliament about the Iranian election:

Brussels, 16 June (AKI) - Two Iranian filmmakers on Tuesday presented a document to Green Party MPs in the European parliament claiming to show that defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had received over 19 million votes in the weekend election.

Marjane Satrapi, Iranian author and director and Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an Iranian filmmaker and Mousavi spokesman, presented a document that they claimed had come from the Iranian electoral commission.

The document said liberal cleric and former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi came second in the election with a total of 13.3 million votes, while president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came third with only 5.49 million votes.

However, there is no certainty about the legitimacy of the document.

"Ahmadinejad received only 12 percent of the vote, not 65 percent," said Marjane Satrapi, who was the director of Oscar-nominated film Persepolis.

Makhmalbaf, a representative for Mousavi abroad, called the declaration of Ahmadinejad's victory a "coup d'etat" and appealed to the international community not to recognise it.

He explained that Mousavi had called him from Tehran, asking him to inform the world of what is really going on in Iran.

"What happened is not an electoral fraud, but a coup d'etat," he said.

Makhmalbaf claimed that Mousavi was informed of Ahmadinejad's victory by the interior ministry and told to prepare a speech.

"Few minutes later, an army general entered his (Mousavi) office, and told him that they would not allow a green revolution (green is the colour used by Mousavi for his campaign)," he said.

"It did not take long, until the State TV declared Ahmadinejad winner with more than 65 percent".

"If anyone asked themselves whether the Iranian people are ready for democracy, the answer is yes, and we showed it by voting, but we were robbed of the vote. Now we need international support."

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