Monday, July 31, 2006
It's a wonder how long are the times of misery and how short are the times of happiness and peace. And to think that some people cherish only few moments of their lives like rare dimonds. And to think that we go on and breath every breath thinking that we had the privlage to enjoy those few moments while they lasted! That once we had it good. Life is an illusion, based on few rare moments and the rest is just lust!
Posted at 02:18 pm by mazdak
Friday, April 07, 2006
Terror Management in the War Zone : Shiites Vs. Sunnis
In the first portion of this entery, I take up the discussion about the Terror Management Theory and explain it in an explicitly theoretical manner. I follow this with a demonstration of information acquired from previous research on the mentioned topic and it's relevance to the current situation in Iraq.
Terror Management Theory ( TMT)
In his 1974 book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker developed the idea that as humans we are inevitably aware of our own impending death. In order to escape this terror, humans develop an illusion of immortality through psychological "buffers" such as religious beliefs, social connections to groups or individuals or through creating objects that would succeed them.
"The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity-designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man." Ernest Becker
Solomon and two of his colleagues, Pyszynski and Greenberg, then elaborated on the TMT by engaging in empirical work with an emphasis on "mortality salience" ( MS). Parallel to the idea of MS, reminding subjects of their mortality encourage them to engage in five frequent behavioural responses. These responses are, worldview defense, harsher evaluations of moral transgressors, increased aggression towards the out-gourps, increased ethnocentrism, and increased self esteem enhancement. Since the length of this entry is limited i will only elaborate on two of thse five "buffers" in response to stimuli that reminds one of their own death.
There have been many attempts to uncover the mystery behind the "adherence to and defense of national idiologies and values and intolerance and hostility towards dissimilar others" ( Leary et al 1997). However, few have sought to ask about the consequences of having a constant reminder of death such as the frequent killings in cities of Iraq and its effect on ethnocentrism and increased aggression against the out-goup members.
Previous research has emphasized on "increased support of one's nationalist, religious, or secular idiology, disliking dissimilar others, supporting ethnic stereotypes, denigrating or distancing oneself towards the idiology of the out-group, ingratiating oneself to heroes or those who bloster the views of the in-group, intensifying altruistic tendecies towards the in-group, or proposing greater punishment for those who violate the norms of the in-group". ( Leary et al 1997).
The events of September 11 have brought the TMT once again back to the spotlights and many papers have been written about the effects of this faithful event on "incrasing in-group affiliation and hostility and aggression towards the out-group and the increased liking of the in-group members who conform the cultural expectations" ( Landau et al 2004). Furthermore, they have concluded that fear of therrorism leads to increased support for standing leaders such as president Bush.
The only observations considering TMT in the war zone included one under the supervision of Dr. Dechesne who applied the TMT to some problems that the multinational troops were having while serving on a peace-keeping mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. The problem was that although Dutch and German troops have been working well together on various joint missions, when they got to Kabul, positive relations seemed to be breaking down and old national rivalries seemed to be coming to the surface. The findings implicated that the higher the soldiers scored on a fear of death scale, the more negative their attitudes toward working with soldiers from other European countries. Another study that will be hinting on the TMT during war time is an upcoming research which will address the promotion of suicidal behaviour in respond to constant reminders of death ( Winerman 2005). Further, although some research has been done with regards to the responses of the trained military occupants in the war zone, nothing has been done to consider the reaction of the lay people who are not trained professionals in dealing with the fear of death in respond to constant reminders of death. Also most researches have concentrated on how the shocking events of September 11 has lead to nationalism and the voting results leading to the victory of president Bush, none has pondered on the out comes of this war on the increased nationalism, intolerance of dissents, hostility towards those who are different and need for heroes in the Iraqi population. Rather, the political policy is to show the unrest in Iraq as an outbreak of a civil war and the invaders ( Americans) are simply portrayed as the neutral foreign party who are risking their lives to promote peace and understanding between people who, up until the point of occupation, were very peacful and understanding indeed.
My ideas convey that being exposed to frequent instances of death will create increased ethnocentrism and aggression against attitudinally dissimilar others just as it has been proven in previous studies. To elaborate on this point i will further discribe the recent conflicts between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq. Just today two suicide bombers caused the death of about 75 Shia muslims in a Shia Mosque.
I think that the attack of the Unisted State of America on Iraq and the removal of the tyranny of Saddam Hossein has created an opportunity for the minority groups to gain a will of their own and the extremists to become more segregated towards the opposite points of their belief systems.
This civil war is being promoted by the two religious groups of Iraq the Shia and the Sunnis. From the blogs I read over time i concluded that unlike the current situation where a division of religious rules over Iraq, previously the Shia and Sunnis used to live together. The mass Iraqi population was brought up to believe that "people who discriminated in any way- positively or negatively- based on sect or ethnicity were backwards, uneducated and uncivilized.. most people simply didn't go around making friends or socializing with neighbours based on their religions" ( Rose' Blog ).
The frequent encounters with death has shoved the initial indifferences between the Shia and Sunnis to more extreme points, Under the influence of MS each group underwent the urge to identify more closely to the ideologies held by its religious leaders and denigrate those who criticize their popularly held beliefs. The denigration was pursued by suicide bombings and hostility towards the out-group. This in turn led to a civil war in Iraq which indorsed an even more extreme division between the Sunnis and the Shias; now people "pick up their things to move to ' Sunni neighbourhoods' or 'Shia neighbourhoods'" (Rose' Blog). In their Mosques, the religious figures hold meetings that promote poisonous anti- Shia or anti- Sunni teachings and create untrue stereotypes against the out-group.
In conclusion, I am attempting to suggest that frequent reminders of death in the war zone leads to the promotion of indifferences between opposite religious groups and causes an enhancement in the ideologies of the in-group while creating unfavourable attitude towards the out-group. This hypothesis could also be tested on the effects of MS on the attitudes that Iraqis hold agains the invaders ( US Soldiers).
Posted at 01:58 pm by mazdak
An Economy Noble Prize winner stated in his interview that sanctioning Iran will have a big effect on the economy of the World. So maybe the world is getting a bit anxious over the climbing oil prices which reached an stunning $ 70 a barrel on Thursday. But does this really bother the Americans? I highly doubt it, since this will enable the very close friends of President Bush who own the oil economy of Texas richer than ever, selling their oil at $100 a barrel. What about the people and the ridicules gas prices? Well they can always adopt themselves to the existing situations by buying hybrid cars and using more public transportations!
Posted at 01:42 pm by mazdak
Sunday, March 12, 2006
A lot of people believe that Iran was most progressive around the time of Khatami's presidency and a "reform" was taking place. I guess it all depends on how u look at the situation. Yes Khatami's government managed to earn the title of creating a democratic movement in Iran. However, within the 27 years of the Islamic government prevailing I have never seen the roots of Islam digging deeper in to the wide spread culture of Iran than it has today. It is as if the people have come to believe that yes, we are an open minded Islamic country, liberated enough to state our opinions and live as free citizens!
Before Khatami ever came to be a president, people were getting tired of Mulla's and anything associated with them including Islam, but now Mullah's have gain a new image in the society and Islam has become a cherished religion in the country. Even my own uncle who used to utter the most provoking jokes about Islam, Imams and the prophets has an "art work" on the top of his bed that says "ya ali"! ( of course when I confronted him with it he dismissed its importance by replying that after a man in Iran reaches a certain age instead of using Viagra he relies on Hazrate Ali for help!)
Khatami was the key to the survival of the Islamic "Republic" of Iran, a character that has forever sealed his named as a "hero" in the history of Iran; I wonder why in the hell he wasn't elected again! After all he could've provided the foundation for the Islamic Republic of Iran to stay in power for many more years to come!
With the recent "developments" and a buzz for a referendum in Iran, I'm afraid that the people have become to feel so comfortably numb with their position that they will vote for yet another Mullah to ravage their country! Who's to stop them then?!!
Posted at 04:09 pm by mazdak
Just a picture I incountered at Iransara weblog....
"Mullah, an Iranian MP, talking to his cellphone inside the Parliament, where no one is allowed to use his or her phone. Most likely, he is talking to one of his wives."
Posted at 03:14 pm by mazdak
Friday, March 10, 2006
Wednesday Bloody Wednesday
A peaceful assembly of women's rights activists in Tehran turned into a battering scene of violence! "The attack took place shortly after participants in the celebration assembled at Tehran's Daneshjoo Park at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8."(New York, March 9, 2006)
It is ironic that a group of women were beaten up with batons in their effort to display solidarity with women around the world with the aim of elimination of inequality, discrimination and violence, and the establishment of peace, justice and freedom!
Even worse, amongst the women activist was the renowned Iranian poet Simin Behbahani. According to an eyewitness, "Behbahani was beaten with a baton, and when people protested that she is in her 70s and she can barely see, the security officer kicked her several times and continued to hit her with his baton."
Shame on us… Not only we have forgotten our history and identity now we have gone so far as to beating a helpless women in public! Great consequences are yet to come from this brutal act. Just a day after this event took place, a young man felt entitled to beat up a young lady in the streets of Tehran because she dared to reject his unwanted attention! The funny thing is other people gathered around and watched the girl being hit by the young man, some even enjoying the incident! ( sadistic?!)
Yeah perhaps we have become sadistic. In a country where one day women were rulers now they don't have the simple right of rejecting a man. This is the land of Queen Homa, Pourandokht and Azarmidokht. Two of the most famous 7 wonders of the world were inspired by Persian women ( the Mausoleum at Halicarnassusand the Hanging Gardens of Babylon); how could they lose all credibility in such short period of time? Shame on us….
Posted at 07:41 pm by mazdak
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Effects of advertisment on politics
A while ago I was baffled when I read on one of yahoo's head line stories that 70% of American's recognized Iranians as their enemy and agree with a military action against them! This might be yet another one of US's attempts to brain wash people in order to get them wired up and ready for what it has in the bag for Iran! The truth to this poll will of course remain some what of a mystery, it is the effect that worries me the most. Like an over ruled comment in the court of law that may effect the jury, little comments like this can plant the very first seeds of hatred between the lay people of the two countries! ( when a reliable source such as yahoo prints a news it MUST be true!)
In my many attempts to discover what I want to do with my life, for a short period of time I got very interested in advertising. So I learned about all the techniques of persuading people into liking something or becoming dedicated to a thought. I read about the foot in the door, door in the face, reciprocation rule and the low ball technique; but the techniques that the professionals use are less likely to be recognized hence they can deceive people in a more subtle way. The effects however, are respectingly more pronounced.
It all began when the American Psychologist John Watson was fired from the John Hopkins University for screwing one of his students. Having been fired he next moved to advertisement where he used his knowledge of psychology into deceiving people to by products they don't really need. This was really where advertisement in its today's form was born.
The one scholar who attempts to discuss the effects of advertisement on people is Philip Cushman from the University of Berkeley in his paper "" Why the Self is Empty". If you haven't read it I strongly recommend that you do for it is going to change your view of our society! In a nut shell, he claims that the modern self is empty because of "a significant absence of community, tradition and shared meaning" caused by industrialization, urbanization and secularism. Pop culture emphasizes on consumption and in order to fill the empty self people consume goods, calories, experiences, politicians, romantic partners and empathic therapists. This self fits perfectly with the economic political demands to fuel economy by creating a false "need" for non-essential items that become quickly obsolete. To attain this exhausting life style of course we need an uninterrupted flow of money, hence the creation of easy credit! According to Lou Dobbs Moneyline, CNN, as of Dec 1 2004, the US spent 4 BILLION dollars a day through credit cards. In Cushman's view politics too has become a means for advertisement and is not about character and critical thoughts anymore rather its about emphasis on soothing and charisma! ( You can see this in the Media every day, after Bush comes on TV following a blast in Iraq, putting a nice smile on his face while informing the nation that 40 of the US soldiers have been killed!)
The current self is constructed as empty and as a result, the state controls its' population not by restricting the impulses of its' citizens, as in Victorian times, but by creating and manipulating their wish to be soothed, organized, and made cohesive by momentarily filling them up. Advertisements shape our ways of thinking about the world, giving us the "lifestyle solution" and the "political views".
In short, what we learn from the Media is a diluted view of the world formed by the significant powers in a country to shape the minds of its citizens, hence, we have to be very careful about what is being fed to our delicate minds and do a little research before jumping into any conclusion!
Posted at 02:50 am by mazdak
Saturday, February 25, 2006
"Iranian Heritage" becomes the "Arab Heritage"
According to the latest Archaeological news the officials in Iran have decided to fund the reconstruction of some of the "historical sites" in Iraq that were destoryed during the bombings! Needless to say these "historical sites" are not the ones that contributed anything to the human civilization, not the first Ziggurat ever constructed or an endangered Babylonian site, but the tombs of some of the Shia Imams including, Imam Ali- Hadi and Al- Hassan Al- Askari.( I don't even know who the hell they are!)
This is all happening while the ICHTO ( Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization), keeps putting off projects inside Iran that are in need of construction because of lack of financial support! Just couple of days ago the Iranian officials received a sum of money from the Japanese government to finance the reconstruction of the Bam Citadel. If the government has too much money to throw around why don't they spend it on their own ENDANGERED historical heritage?
But the issue bares something else in mind. It is not that the Iranian officials don't have the money to reconstruct Iranian historical sites, the issue lies in the content of the sites! When it comes to the protection of the heritage left to the Iranians from the "kings" the Iranian officials all the sudden face financial shortages. On the other hand, they seem to be more than happy to spend people's money and taxes on the Islamic heritage in other countries!
The aim of the government is clear! The plan is to strip the Iranians off their real heritage by neglecting these historical sites and leading them to destruction while brain washing the people into believing and learning the history and heritage of Arabs! What worries me the most is that when I am explaining the history of Iran to my kids in 10 years there would be no traces of monuments such as the Persepolis or Pasargadae!
The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has already reached this goal to some extend by teaching the kids in Iran a distorted view of our past history and focusing on the Arab history! The organizations around the world are also starting to think of Iranian's heritage less than it's worth. I watched a documentary of Mesopotamia and the history of the Silk Road over the weekend; the documentary started in Iraq then went to Jordan, then completely neglected Iran and jumped into Pakistan and continued to Cambodia and China!
The only conclusion I could draw from all this is that the Iranian officials with the collaboration of the rest of the World are intending to erase Persian history off the map of the Earth and creating an Islamic country whose people have no sense of history and identity! It is hard to believe that Persia the cradle of Civilization has only 7 sites listed in the list of the World Cultural Heritage (UNESCO) while the US has 20! Don't get me wrong , my intentions are not to blame the Americans for coming up with twenty bogus historical sites! I am blaming the Iranian officials for devaluing our cultural heritage in the eyes of the world! Perhaps, like the reporter of the CAIS suggested, if we change the name of our Cultural Heritage to "Arab Cultural Heritage" or "Palestine Cultural Heritage" our historical sites could receive more attention!
Posted at 04:26 pm by mazdak
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Samad's Respond To Ahmadi Nejad
The only Weapon of Mass Destruction Ahmadi Nejad has is his finger!!! The same Weapon that Samad has been threatening us with for the past ... hmm 35 years?
Posted at 11:24 pm by mazdak
Monday, February 06, 2006
So many disturbing events are happening all at once these days that its hard not to associate them with the US's next attempt to bring "democracy" to their new prey Iran. What's even more disturbing is that the news you read about Iran in the Western medias are completely different from those reported by the Iranian news paper such as the Peyknet. In the Western Media the news about Iran consists of all the informations that may justify any abuse that the World is getting ready to bestow upon Iran. In the nutshell everything we see happening these days is the demonstration of the misuse of Social Psychology; brain washing the greater people so that the more powerful governments can engage in any filthy act they desire!
In the past few weeks we have been the observant of the World's attempt to associate Iran with the "axis of evil"! I am not a supporter of the Ahmadi Nejad administration and nothing about his government appeals to me. Never the less I don't think it is anybodies concern to impose democracy on someone else! ( An imposed democracy would no longer be considered a democracy).
We all know that the world is not concerned about those who live below the poverty lines or those who suffer by the dictatorships of their tyrannies. It's all about the damn oil and other natural resources!
What's obvious however, is that the world is attempting to stage a play to justify their next actions against Iran. Two other events co-occurred with the World's Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on Iran. One was the Friday's mysterious sunken Red Sea ferry tragedy, in which the Western Media reported 1,000 "poor Egyptian workers" died. Other news papers however, claimed that most of the victims were the poor pilgrims coming back from Makkah. This alone has caused numerous restlessness among the Muslim societies since the actual cause of the rapid sinking of the ferry is not apparent up to this point. Many of the 401 survivors of the event even claim that the ship's crew had been jumping into a lifeboat to flee rather than staying with the passengers and helping them with the situation. Could this be a conspiracy? Is it possible that this incident was meant to be an event to trigger the anger of the Muslim society so that an idiot like Ahmadi Nejad would walk up the podium and give yet another anti-western comment to focus and intensify the hatred of the world towards Iran even more?
Another recent event that's escalating the situation is the publication of a drawing of Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb, inferring that all Muslim's including their prophet are terrorists! There has been waves of protests across the Islamic world over this "insult". Even in the Iranian Capital, Tehran, about 400 demonstrators tossed stones and Molotov cocktails at the walls of the Danish Embassy. The Iranian parliament of course could not keep queit and has issued a warning against those who published the cartoon, reminding them of the case of Salman Rushdie, and his novel "The Satanic Verses".
The most interesting part is when the Western Media shows the radical Islamic demonstrators and right after shows the image of Ahmadi Nejad the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran bashing the enemies of Islam, hence trying to infer to the people of the world that this is the man who is making the atomic bombs, wouldn't it be just to engage in a military action and stop him from inflicting any harm on the world???
This is all of course happening while behind the closed doors the Bush administration is planning to separate different Iranian provinces. In more details they are striving to creat an area similar to that of the Green Zone area in Iraq in present Province of Khozestan! For those of you who are not familiar with the Geography of Iran, Khozestan just happens to be the Province that contains most of the Oil of the country! Creating a Green Zone in this area would mean that the Iranian government would have no authority over it, hence the Americans can freely pump out the oil and steal it through the Persian gulf.
The speculators assume that the US is trying to support the already existing opposition groups in Iran, uniting the Azerbayjan Turks with other Turks, Balochi people with the Balotch of Pakistan, and the Kurds with the Kurds of Iraq! This way the big "axis of evil" would be divided in smaller countries and it would be much easier for the US to get its way! ( The similar strategy has already been used against the USSR and proven to work!)
So there we have it! The World is taking over another country merely to inflict power and control on them and all that the people of the world are concerned about is whose been scewing Paris Hilton last night!
Posted at 02:39 pm by mazdak