I was on the road most of the week-end on Community Projects--as I also was supportive of the work at The Daily Outsider. I produced two Visual Essays on my engagements throughout the weekend as a new week dawns. It is witness to such that continues to keep me hopeful in spite of some of the challenges this week:
Monday, September 17, 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
I'm a little upset at myself as I try and do a weekly Out & About in here in My Corner. It has admittedly been an interesting and challenging few weeks--but as Today is 9/11, it was important to "drop in" with some brief thoughts
Our team at the Daily Outsider released guidance courtesy of the team at 9/11.ORG about how all can make a difference. As with other days of service and giving, I hope that that all embrace this sense of purpose. Today, also, was not a day to be "overtly" political. As for me--like all around the World of my generation-- I remember that day as if it was yesterday--it is still not believable. I could not help but take comfort in this thought :
Despite all the odds, one has to believe that there is a brighter tomorrow--and it will be better. It is at time very challenging for me to live up to it in light of the headlines I see coming out of Iran--but more on that later on. This is as I also remember another milestone which seems to be so distant now--The Oslo Peace Accords and the promise it represented to all. Rabin, Peres, Arafat, Warren Christopher are all gone--and it seems as if peace seems to be as elusive as ever especially as the Trump Administration decided to close down the Palestine Mission in Washington in the aftermath of cutting funds to UNRWA:
I hope I'm closing this on a rather high note as I continue to believe:
Monday, August 27, 2018
|Nazanin Radcliff as she had to say goodbye to her Child after Furlough|
|Nasrin Soutodeh Goes back on Hunger Strike: An Update from her Husband Reza Khandan|
|On the Moral Bankruptcy of the Islamic Republic: The proliferation of Houses of Prostitution in Mashad catering to Iraqi Tourists|
August 2018 is drifting away into the history books as I am writing this. The team at the Daily Outsider decided to go dark through Labor Day here in the United States as it finished a Virtual Property-Wide tribute to Senator McCain and as the team gears up for September which will be available later on Monday. It has also been an extremely challenging week as I captured what I have noted above from my on-going daily forays on Social Media assessing the latest out of Iran.
I begin with Nazanin Zargari-Radcliff. She was on a trip to Iran to see her parents and introduce her parents to their grand daughter. She has been on the staff of the Thomson Reuter Foundation and was picked up as she was leaving On Iran on trumped up charges and has been detained ever since. I have had the pleasure to be supportive adding my voice to agitate for her release. She's one of a multitude of dual nationals that the Judiciary in Iran has detained--She was all of a sudden given a three day furlough and then again hauled off to Prison. This is as Nasrin Soutodeh has begun an hunger strike to protest her detention and the continued harrasement by the regime against her family and supporters. It is just absolutely irritating to be witness to it.
As the regime continues its' repressive moves to stiffle dissent, protests are continuing. The regime is trying desparate moves including window dressing moves like impeaching the Economy Minister--who has virtually no power as key levelrs of State Economic Power are controlled by the Supreme Leader. What I find absolutely abhornet and sickening is how over the 30 years that the Supreme Leader has been in charge, Iran earned over 1 Trillion dollars in Income from Oil Exports. Yet Iran is absolutely broke. According to the regime's own statistics, out of the 24 Million Households, some 6.5 Million live in absolute povertry. 12 Million Households only have one breadwinner. Over 21 Million People are unmarried as they cannot marry due to the dire economic circumstances. The rate of divorce continues to skyrocket as the regime continues its' misadventures in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq continue. What I found so sickening is how Larijani, the Majlis Speaker (and one of the richest men in Post-Revolutioanry Iran), said how it was an absolute obligation to help the children of Palestine--as Street Children in Iran work in order to support their families with no end in sight. It was even more sickening how the 94-year head of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Janati, noted how he cried at the scene of Somali Children--yet he implores people to eat one meal a day and to be patient as to everything is going to be all right. It was even more horrific as Rouhani, the President, came out and asked people to be patient and to set aside "differences"--as he has presided over a collapse of the currency, inflation continues to skyrocket, laborers are not being paid and the prison rolls continue to expand ever more. I will not even bother to talk about the comical show put on showcasing the fact that they had produced a new aircraft--which turned out to be a repainted F-5. This is as the regime gave me Iranian Sovereignty over the Caspian Sea--even though both Rouhani and his Foreign Minister, the Smooth-Talking Used Car Salesman Javad Zarif, denied it as I underscore the simple fact that #WeWillReClaimIran.
Of all the agony I have been reviewing and assessing, the one that truly sickened me was the third headline as reported by a number of Media--the proliferation of houses of prostitution in Iran's holliest City, Mashad. From the reporting I reviewed, Iraqi men flock to those cities and frequent such houses. Mashad is one of the richest cities there is--and yet such depravity must occur. The two lowlifes in charges there have no sense of accountability for this as no one does in the regime--BBC Persian's Rana Rahimpour noted this as she underscored her frustration about Mrs. Radcliffs' predicament--what we all share. This is just one in the latest in underscoring the total lack of moral legitimacy of the Regime that has continued to torment 80 Million Iranians. It led me to think about and revisit David Brooks' writings to see whether these subhumans in charge in Iran understood even the mere idea of character--which they do not:
Despite all that goes on, there are still rays of hope and sunshine. One example of it was this young man that created a school in Iran to cater to Street Children--and had to resort to an online fundraising campaign due to no funding from the regime--the regime has funds for useless religious institutions, foreign adventures and yet, nothing for schools. As I write this, I could not pull up their website--which has led me to believe that somehow the regime has cut them off as the founders' video went viral throughout the Iranian Diaspora--I could not personally figure out how to support him as his fundraising page did not allow for any foreign contributions.
As I close out August, one thing I was quite proud of was the privilege of being supportive of a gathering of Korean War Veterans of the 40th Infantry Division at JFTB-Los Alamitos. I produced a brief Visual Essay on it which I view as a high note to "book-end" my latest "Out & about":
I will not forget what one of the Veterans told me: I'll do it all over again--Duty, Honor and courage in action. If only the subhumans in charge in Iran truly understood these.
Onward to September with all its possibilities....
Thursday, August 23, 2018
I have been working away on commitments at the Daily Outsider as I reflected upon quite a week, quite a month and quite a year. I decided to feature a talk by one of the leading opponents of the Islamic Republic about the moral bankruptcy of the regime in Iran, Mohsen Kadivar. I note this especially as I saw reports about Nazanin Zargari, the British-Iranian Expat being granted a three-day release to visit her daughter after two years--I was extremely proud of doing my small part to help make sure the World did not forget about her plight.
I note this because Iran is in a State of Flux exemplified by what I released in my Twitter Feed earlier in the week:
|Two Of the Leading Lawyers are Paraded before being Headed to Jail (Courtesy Masih Alinejad)|
|Where are the Children?|
Dr.Kadivar's speech in the aftermath of the Green Movement resonates even more today especially as he point-by-point rejected the assertions by the Islamic Republic especially in light of what he specifically noted how Imam Ali, in his letter in his book (No. 53), about how Democracy and human rights should have been at the heart of it and never violate Human Rights. What I was so disturbed by was how two of the leading Human Rights Lawyers were hauled away in handcuffs and legcuffs in Prison Garbs in front of their families for detention--and as the leading Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Soutodeh continues to be in detention and I saw that her residence was raided in the middle of the night. Although Dr. Kadivar's speech is in Farsi, the speech is very hard to listen to especially in light of the profound challenges Iranians face right now. One key yardstick is simply this: The total collapse of Iran's Currency, the Rial. I nearly broke down when I listened to his speech on how the Islamic Republic has driven Iran to the ground.
It was also quite a 48 hours in the United States in the aftermath of the Cohen and Manafort convictions. The debate continues and the spin continues--but I saw on the Economist that also was extremely problematic--and now as the President just came out and said that if he's impeached, the market will crash & now Giuliani saying that the people will revolt:
|Our cover this week looks at American politics. It is easy to lose perspective amid the twists and turns of the investigations swirling around President Donald Trump. But this week something significant changed. Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former fixer, told a court that during the campaign he was directed by Mr Trump to pay hush money to two women, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election”. Congressional Republicans are now defending someone who would probably be indicted on federal conspiracy charges if he were not in the Oval Office. Should a president be above the law?|
As I have been reflecting upon this profound number of weeks, what gave me hope was what I was witness to in my Community yet again as the Kids went back to School:
Despite the profound challenges, I continue to remain hopeful--I have no choice....
Sunday, August 12, 2018
It has been quite a week. For me, it began with one of my focus areas, Iran as the daughter of the leading Iranian Civil Rights Lawyer, Abdulfattah Soltani, died of a heart attack at the age of twenty seven. He had been in prison for 8 years with no reprieve for parole despite repeated entreaties to the Judiciary in Iran for his release. Her tragic death was captured so brilliantly in this drawing I captured from the Web over the past week--and as I saw images of his daughter's funeral, it was tough to be witness to it. Mr. Soltani climbed into his child's grave to promise this to work as hard as ever to bring smiles to the people of Iran in spite of his grief :
What I also found so remarkable was how he thought about the suffering of the people. As he was given a reprieve to attend his child's funeral, he was leaving prison and ended up chatting with the families of the recent detainees. He implored a newspaper writer who was at his residence to pay her respects to say this: Give voice to the voiceless and make sure that all lawyers take up their cause. This reporter asked--how come in the midst of all such grief you continue to think about them. His response was so powerful: One cannot do anything for those who've gone--but one must do what one can to give voice to the voiceless.
The true depth of the tragedy of Iran today was captured by one of the leading Iranian Experts in the World, Professor Abbas Milani, when he wrote about the level of shame and how the so-called Supreme Leader was such a lowlife--and how her death was on the Regime. Although one member of Rouhani's Cabinet tweeted condolences, the silence by Rouhani and the so-called Supreme Leader was deafening--and as I was finishing these thoughts, I was reading up on the "so-called" agreement on the Caspian Sea that essentially assured Russia's supreme position in the Caspian Sea:
Back here in the US, I had the pleasure to be continually supportive of the work of the Daily Outsider as the network achieves a milestone--and I hope what the team has done will be of interest as the milestone approaches on August 15. It has been quite a journey--and admittedly at times it has been quite a challenging one in many respects--but a journey of service is a humble one ever more. It truly hit home as I was witness on Friday to community spirit in action which I released to my Facebook Wall Friday. It is being witness to such selfless acts of purpose and service that continues to give me a sense of courage and hope in spite of the challengnes including what I caught on the aftermath of Charlottesville which our team at the Daily Outsider decide to release on its' milestone week. I also released it to my monthly Tumblr Corner.
As I was reflecting upon the past two weeks, my mind reflected upon the day I had the privilege to join the USS Stocksdale on its' annual Friends and Family Cruise. Of all I was privileged to be witness to, what I captured below was especially moving:
It is this sense of Honor that will sustain a sense of hope always as I close out this "out & about" with this closing thought:
Saturday, August 4, 2018
|@ USS Stocksdale|
It has been an interesting and challenging week and frankly a very challenging year. But, the need to power on is an absolute fact especially as I had a chance to reflect on it while having the honor to join the USS Stocksdale Family Cruise in my capacity as a member of the City of Laguna Niguel's Military Support Committee. I produced a Visual Essay of the Images I captured as I hope to write about it soon.
As I was on Cloud 9 on all the blessings in spite of the challenge while on the USS Stocksdale, my mind yet again drifted away to Iran and the predicament of the people. These brave souls continue their protests as the ordinary faces ((that we've tried to be a voice of here in the Daily Outsider)). It is heart wrenching as I was seeing reports of babies and body parts for sale so that ordinary folks can put food on their table. Nader Shah The Great, one of the great Persian Shahs (Kings), anticipated this dark period:
He said that Mullahs (the fascists in charge in Iran) must be executed twice--once for a useless life and for being liars and cheaters. This is as today is the day the first of the sanctions will hit Iran in the aftermath of the Sanctions as the Rial continues to collapse and corruption continues to be rampant ever more--as it was so tragic how only around 3,000 People seem to be the elite in Iran today.
The dark clouds over Iran was captured by two of the leading Iranian Singers here:
The dark clouds over Iran was captured by two of the leading Iranian Singers here:
The people have arisen--I hope to be able to continue to do what I can as I join in the chorus to say #WeWillReClaimIran.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
August is here. Despite the profound challenges in our World, I decided to headline my month-end retrospective with a note of hope and optimism in spite of the challenges at hand on a multitude of fronts.
It was another busy month. I was witness to community spirit in a major way as I joined the Laguna Niguel Run in The Park that brought the Community together yet again. This is as I also had the opportunity to be at my Son's High School as we helped facilitate the distribution of Registration Packets:
|At Aliso Niguel High School (@ANHSTealTown)|
I also had the pleasure to join in supporting the Michael Chang Classic in Newport Beach that featured the great Michael Chang putting on a show on its' annual classic in support of the Homeless:
|At the Michael Chang Classic|
I also joined the OC Access Quarterly Food Provider Forum that brought together all food providers and I joined in my capacity as a member of the team at St. Timothy's Catholic Parish. What is critical to note is how all of us at the forefront of hunger in Orange County will continue to get busier.
Beyond some of my own on-going Community Outreach, there is also the continued commitments in support of the Daily Outsider. This is as I was also quite busy with the on-going developments in Iran--it has been so fast moving that it has been frankly dizzying. Here is a sampling of all the discourse over Twitter I captured:
What Professor Milani noted in his two Tweets in Farsi was the utter incompetence and sheer magnitude of the corruption by the current crowd in charge in Tehran on how the value of the Rial continued to collapse and how in fact the late Shah in the End did the right thing and avoided bloodshed. What was also so pathetic and sickening was how the regime played with people's mind. On the one hand, it threatened people with execution and said that all "corrupt" persons will be prosecuted--the problem is that it had to begin with the top. I was not too impressed with Secretary Pompeo's speech on Iran as it reiterated many of the key truths those of us already in the know understand it--as the Travel ban is in effect. President Trump's offer of a meeting was ridiculed by the Iranian Regime Leaders as the protests again gathered steam epitomized by this captured by Radio Farda:
As I was reflecting upon the current predicament in Iran, someone on Instagram posted this from a great Persian Shah, Nader Shah The Great:
He basically says that we must execute the Mullahs Twice--once for a useless life and once for being the fraud that they are and defrauding the poor men and women. I could not agree more as I see how Iran has been driven to the ground. That's why I repeatedly note that #WeWillClaimIran whenever I comment on matters in spite of the profound challenges of the past 40 years. Two of the leading lights of Iranian Music in Exile reflected upon the predicament of the Past 40 years--the lyrics are in Farsi, but the images are striking and its a tribute to the resiliency of the Iranian People.
As I reflected upon the month, though, it was a point of pride and privilege as I joined the ground breaking ceremony at Laguna Niguel's Gem, Crown Valley Park. The City Staff put on a fabulous show in the presence of Community representatives for the new Community Building:
Although I was blown away by what Dr. Tyson noted below, I look forward to doing what I can to be able to make a difference in hoping to elevate the conversation on an on-going basis:
Onward to August with all its possibilities!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
It has been quite a week in our World. I decided to take a bit of a "light" but upbeat stance for this week as I chose two Flash Mob Videos from Beirut and Amman:
This second one from Jordan about Palestine was truly inspiring and beautiful to listen to at the Galleria Mall Jordan. As I listened to these two, it reminded me of the Words of Francois Hollande as he paid tribute to the fallen of the Paris Bombings when he noted how we must sing more and louder ever more. How timely it is as we will sing more and dance more to be a continued thorn in the side of all who will deny us all the right to be happy and to live. I released the first clip to my Facebook Wall and it may have cost me a Facebook Friend--Oh well!!! But this is the true face of the Middle East not withstanding attempts by some of the lowlifes in Iran especially to stymmie people's happiness with recent arrests.
As I was finishing off my thoughts and "book-ending" some late curation work on Twitter, I ran across this On Leadership:
Croatia's 🇭🇷 president gave a powerful leadership lesson at the #WorldCup https://t.co/L2zGuzP86f pic.twitter.com/MYwQLC9MEp— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) July 17, 2018
I retweeted this--if only our current leaders at the National Level understood this.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
It has been an interesting week at the Daily Outsider. For me, the level of respect has grown by leaps and bounds at the non-violent civil resistance that continues to persist inside Iran. It has left me speechless as people continue to find ways to defy the Regime as challenges continues to mount for the ordinary man and woman that the Regime in Iran is simply incapable of solving. I have tried to be optimistic but it is not easy to remain optimistic in the age of Trump as he continues to throw European allies under the bus and praises the President of Russia.
As I am writing this, Donald Trump has landed in Europe and will be entertained in the UK as he will avoid the protests planned for him. On the eve of his visit, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, reminded the President that America does not truly have any allies around the World. This is a crucial remark that is worth noting, "..... First of all, dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many. And, dear Europe, spend more on your defence, because everyone respects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped. Money is important, but genuine solidarity is even more important. Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American President's argument, which says that the US alone protects Europe against our enemies, and that the US is almost alone in this struggle. Europe was first to respond on a large scale when the US was attacked, and called for solidarity after 9/11. European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan. 870 brave European men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland Poland. Dear Mr President, please remember about this tomorrow, when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all when you meet president Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing: who is your strategic friend? And who is your strategic problem?...." This is also as the US Senate in a 97-2 Vote rebuked the President on his stance regarding NATO.
What I did was to take comfort in what Emel Mathlouthi wrote for the Arab Spring. I first saw scenes of it as she sang it on the streets of Tunis where it all began. It seems so long ago--but the words "My Word is Free" resonates ever more that I thought might be a nice moment of reflection--this is also as how the World came together to rescue the 12 Thai Kids stuck in a cave for over three weeks. It is also of note to remember what Nelson Mandela Reminded Us all that I hope all who are in power today make note on the eve of Mandela Day:
Friday, July 6, 2018
It has been quite a month as I worked away in support of the Daily Outsider as the third quarter has begun. I had the pleasure to once again join the City of Laguna Niguel's Run in the Park and produced a Visual Essay on it that I distributed to my YouTube Channel. It was great to see the Community coming out in support of the YMCA and the City. The City's Fireworks yet again was just beautiful to be witness to.
One beautiful scene I was also witness to was the March For Families in opposition to President Trump's Family Separation Policy. Thousands showed up within a week's notice at Portola High School--we all then Marched from Portola High School to the James A Musick Facility in Irvine where we understand 4 of the Mothers were held--I produced a Visual Essay on it.
Once area I've been focused on has been what's been going on in Iran as the Protests have gathered steam. I captured a few of the on-going coverage over the past couple of weeks as the Government in Tehran is clearly nervous in light of President Trump's decision to withdraw from the JCPOA:
|"...Vahid Shagaghi: You impose a Tax on somehow buying Pizza, but someone who receives billions in Profits|
not a single rial (Iran's Currency) was paid in Taxes--A government that was not even allowed to pass its' System of Taxation..."
|Iran Government Spokesman: All Ex-Pats, Please bring your gold & foreign currency back ...|
|Special Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader: It appears that if there is no Government in Tehran,|
The country will run smoother
Senior State Department official: "The U.S. expects all countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by Nov. 4 or risk sanctions." (Nov 4 is also the 39th anniversary of the 1979 hostage crisis.) https://t.co/geKQ9faHgJ— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) June 26, 2018
This extensive graft just in relation to 1/40 mobile phone importers granted access to official rate currency. Think of importers of food, cars, consumer goods, electronics and you'll get an idea of depth of fraud & theft in Iranian economy. These are Iranians robbing Iranians. https://t.co/18ERWHICxj— Mohammad Ali Shabani (@mashabani) June 26, 2018
One company imported 20k iPhones at official $ rate, slapped on 2mn toman per handset & sold 15k of them. Hoarded remaining 5k iPhones. Iran's main enemy isn't Trump. It's corruption & opportunism of those among its own people who thrive on misery of fellow Iranians. https://t.co/dLI9JZAICP— Mohammad Ali Shabani (@mashabani) June 26, 2018
It has been quite challenging to remain hopeful about the state of our World especially as I am seeing challenges with Tariffs. Our team at the Daily Outsider will be on the prowl assessing it develops.
Truly challenging times--but have to remain hopeful!!
Thursday, June 21, 2018
|@ The ACC-OC Continuum of Care Tour 2018|
|@ The Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee Car Wash|
|Two Team Members of the USS Stocksdale On Duty!! :)|
The last three weeks have been challenging to be witness to. I was witness to how the Community comes together as the Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee sponsored a car wash in support of the USS Stocksdale that raised an estimated 3,000 Dollars. I also was witness to Democracy this week as the Community came out in force to advocate for their cause--although the Laguna Niguel City Council voted against the recommendation of the Traffic Commission where I serve on. I also had the opportunity to join the second annual ACC-OC Continuum of Care Tour where I was witness t how the Community continues to do whatever it can to eradicate the cancer of homelessness in Orange County. This was also as I got myself a preview of Graduation as I joined Aliso Niguel's Graduation Ceremonies as my Son was named to the Junior Class Court of Honor--a proud moment!!
My sense of hope and optimism is always sustained when I am witness to selfless souls making a difference--although what was happening On the Border with Mexico and the passage of the Farm Bill really floored me--as President Trump was on a tirade blaming Democrats as his Administration began to take steps to modify the governing case on child detainees after misleading the Public over the past few weeks. I helped finish off a column for the Daily Outsider on it.
Beyond the shores of the US, there is also Iran--a focus of mine. Iran's National Team played Spain--and I caught glimpses of it. Although Iran Lost--the guys should hold their head up high!! I made it a point of expressing my appreciation On Twitter as this captured it all:
This Iranian Actor & Director Wrote that despite not having hardly any games to prepare, sponsors having cancelled (including the despicable move by Nike), the valiant and brave moves by the players would forever be remembered. Another milestone was also achieved: Women were able to watch the game at Tehran's Main Stadium which was another major milestone.
Despite this glimmer, there was another travesty that occurred which was the arrest of this woman on the eve of her presenting evidence of her Client's innocence:
I understood from catching Iran Farda earlier today that she was due to present the evidence in an interview with the founder and Managing Director for the Network, Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh and was detained. I'll be on the lookout to see about her disclosures that I'm hopeful it will be forthcoming.
It has been quite a week--but I retain a sense of hope. There is no choice--is there?
Saturday, June 16, 2018
It is Fathers' Day Week-End. On the eve of Fathers' Day Week-End I began with this I released to my Facebook wall as a tribute to my Dad:
As I would be "kind of" off the Grid and as I helped with some curation work for the properties of the Daily Outsider for Fathers' Day, What I ran across below was so timely yet again thanks to the great work of Jonathan Lockwood Huie. Although all the thoughts are critical, the one that especially resonated with me was the last one from Eleanor Roosevelt-I pray daily I did what I could as an Example for My Son...
There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.
- Hodding Carter
The best inheritance a parent can give his children
is a few minutes of his time each day.
- Orlando A. Battista
Let parents bequeath to their children
not riches, but the spirit of reverence.
If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
- Carl Jung
Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal,
with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.
- John Ciardi
You can never really live anyone else's life,
not even your child's.
The influence you exert is through your own life,
and what you've become yourself.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
I had been a bit "quiet" in my corner as i have been working away on Community Projects & Initiatives. As the W-End Dawns, I wanted to do things a bit differently while being "out & about" with what I picked up while on the "Grid" throughout the Week in support of The Daily Outsider especially during FIFA 2018!!!
If I can stop one heart from breaking,— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) June 10, 2018
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain. —Emily Dickinson pic.twitter.com/s1TGQrV1Dt