It is Earth Hour here in Laguna Niguel as I decided to share some final thoughts. It has been a profound month and profound quarter in many ways. The depiction of Nowruz above was beautiful in spite of the horror faced by an estimated 20 Million Iranians based on reporting I saw. In spite of profound challenges both personally and professionally, I am one grateful dude in every which way I could imagine--and closing out the quarter with a bad case of the flu was not helpful. One highlight was to have been able to once again serve in the special elections and being once again witness to Democracy in Action:
But today is also a very distressing anniversary: The day that Khomeini ordered his so called referendum that formalized the establishment of the fascist Islamic Republic--I remember the day as folks went out to vote here in Southern California on that horrible day of infamy--and it was reported as a point of pride by one of the regime's mouthpieces on Telegram:
Discussing politics will be left to the pages of the Daily Outsider as we will hit the ground running starting in April. I remain excited about the prospects in spite of the odds--as I look forward to the possibilities. There is no other choice!!!
It has been horrific to be witness to the floods in Iran. However, what I caught on Instagram from Shiraz was so full of hope that I decided to share it with this mid-week editoin of #RandomThoughts here in my Virtual Corner--I agree with Mohsen Sazegara that all of us must be focused on supporting all who have been victims and then hold the Regime to account--I have underscored it and this from Tavana noted how as all were swept away, only the incompetent officials were kept in their posts--and meaningless gestures like endless meetings, pleadings of poverty (as exemplified by the 1st Vice President) and a meaningless walkabout by the Revolutionary Guard Commander:
It was quite disappointing to see this as well too as well:
I caught this very insightful 25 minutes which I view as quite optimistic as Iran begins a new year on a very tough and challenging note, though:
As I conclude these brief thoughts, I will note that #WeWillReClaimIran as I close out this mid-week reflection with a beautiful tribute to Nowruz in Kurdish and Lori--two of the beautiful dialects that is part of the beautiful Iranian Mosiac and as I pay tribute to the Royal Family of Iran:
It has been quite a week at the Daily Outsider as I am keeping fingers crossed about sharing some reasonably decent good news. In the meantime, the work at hand continues. It has also been a joyous time having been witness to the joy and beauty of Nowruz. BBC Persian, Iran International and other Farsi-Language Broadcasters had quite a party--and what was so amazing was how the average Iranian Ordinary Face was dancing, singing and having fun in spite of all that the Regime tried to pull off.
I had the pleasure to be supportive of my Aunt over the Week-End as she was at Mission Hospital and I was witness to how they yet again lived up to that mantra I captured above. As the hospital resonated with the music celebrating the birth of a bay, it reminded me of when my Son was born as I eagerly await his decision on where he will attend College--How time flies!! As I was working away, I was quite amazed by the email I caught below:
The team at Taghvim.com has been tracking the countdown!!! I had no idea that 19 countries (that's almost 10 percent of the members of the UN) recognize Nowruz as a National Holiday. This is as the UN has also designated Nowruz as a day of celebration as well. The Smithsonian in Washington had a celebration this past Saturday and I captured their beautiful "Haft-Sin" which signifies renewal, hope and optimism. I am jealous as mine does not even come close to this!!
I wanted to do the traditional jumping over the fire that signifies to let go of the past, burn it off and look ahead--I did not have a match to light something--and being a serving a City Official, it simply was not right--so I did it "Virtually"!!! But, I could not help to remember the less fortunate in Iran right now captured so beautifully by this:
This depicts a child bringing her doll to her parents as she wishes them Happy Nowruz--to underscore the unspeakable hardship Iranians are facing right now. There is a day that does not go by as I review the Telegram Channels--it is just heartbreaking. This is as I pay tribute to all the political prisoners including the lioness of Iran, Nasrin Soutodeh, who has officially received her sentence and has decided not to appeal it to underscore the injustice that prevails in Iran today. As one simple ordinary face, I salute Mehdi Felahati who paid such a beautiful tribute to her as he called her the most courageous person of the Iranian Year 1397. One of her crimes: the decision to accept the case of some 6,000 people accused of supposed security offenses. Jafar Panahi, the acclaimed Film Director, called her a Modern Day Gandhi or Mandela--I could not agree more. That's why the Regime is so afraid of her. I caught this (in Farsi) on the Tavanah Telegram Page based on updates from her husband who's also facing a prison term:
I continue to be in awe at the resiliency of Iranians in spite of it all as I leave all w/this beautiful 2 Minute celebration of Nowruz:
What I got from the American Red Cross made my day:
Thank you for being an American Red Cross platelet donor. Your platelets may be a lifesaving gift to patients in need, including cancer and trauma patients, individuals undergoing major surgeries, patients with blood disorders and premature babies. After first ensuring local needs were met, your donation on 02/26/2019 was sent to UC San Diego Health - La Jolla Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, CA to help patients in need. Your donation made its way to save lives. Platelets have a very short life span – only 5 days! It's critical for us to collect platelets continuously to ensure they're available for patients when they need them. Your ongoing donations are greatly appreciated. If you're eligible to give again, please schedule your next donation today!
On behalf of the hospitals and patients we serve, thank you for being a Red Crossplatelet donor! Sincerely,
Pampee P. Young, M.D., Ph.D. Chief Medical Officer American Red Cross
As I also have been quite busy with commitments at the Daily Outsider and also doing a Nowruz Countdown--In that spirit, I decided to share this I released earlier on Facebook where the Tehran of yesteryear was so beautifully depicted:
I have also been agitating to be supportive of the case of the Lawyer and Human Rights Activist Nasrin Soutodeh and the extremely harsh sentence she was handed down. The tribute by the Director Jafar Panahi (which I will translate by Nowroz) was just beautiful--I just finished adding my name to the most recent Amnesty Petition as I say loudly #WeWillReClaimIran.
On the Road in Irvine at the Chinese Cultural Center
It was quite a week that began with my joining an orientation for the upcoming special election in Orange County tomorrow. I captured the above image while at the Chinese Community Center in Irvine last week. I appreciate the opportunity to once again be witness to Democracy in Action.
What blew me was my morning of service as a Principal for the Day as I hope to reflect upon it soon. I also had the pleasure to represent Our Fathers' Table at a Community Meeting to discuss the mission of the organization and I was so appreciative of the graciousness shown by the Host Organization: Niguel Shores Mens' Club. This is as the weekend started with a Lent Retreat at St. Timothy's that was quite reflective which I also look forward to write about. I will also note that a week is not even possible without my mentioning the work at the Daily Outsider. There are some interesting things going on which I look forward to talking about real soon--it is kind of fun to see the blood, sweat (and yes tears at times) finally coming together.
It has been also quite a week on the weather front in Southern California.. Rain may becoming again--but Laguna Niguel is as beautiful as ever as the #LN30 celebration is continuing onward:
This beautiful Persian Melody captures the beauty and majesty of advent of Nowruz:
I could not help myself but finish this set of #RandomThoughts with this beautiful Hindi Medley - - From the Classic Mujhse Dosti Karoge (which means will you be my friend) from 2002 w/ Hrithik, Kareena and Rani:
It has been quite a month and I'm still catching my breath. I decided to headline this note with a snapshot of the beauty of Iran courtesy of Kaveh Madani on the beauty of Iranian Wildlife. This is as I got word courtesy of Credit Karma about a data breach which underscores the profound challenges we all face in the Wild West we have to deal with:
Collection #2 Combo List breach
Collection #2 is a combolist — someone put together info from individual data breaches and then shared that combined list publicly or on the dark web. This is one of a series of 5 'Collections' of combolists that were sold online in January 2019. This collection has over 3 billion unique records, including millions of exposed emails and passwords. While much of the info came from previous breaches, several million records could be new. Criminals use passwords from combolists to try to gain access to your other accounts. That’s why you should never re-use passwords, especially in places with sensitive personal or financial info — like your banking app, health insurance site, tax software, email account, etc.
February was also the 40th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Empress Farah of Iran captured the predicament of Iran in a moving way:
What was so sickening was this by Ayatollah Khameini as Iran was in a complete meltdown on all fronts:
Despite some of the heart wrenching stories I've seen, what I picked up in February from the Special Representative on Iran was appreciated:
Special Rep. Brian Hook: The U.S. has taken good care of #Iran’s embassy in Washington, hoping that one day we can return the keys back to an Iranian government that cares more about its people and less about its destructive revolutionary ideology. A brighter future is possible. pic.twitter.com/ZQigAhjuss