Saturday, January 9, 2016

Life and Times of Late Princess Ashraf Pahlavi of Iran in 15 Minutes

A MUST WATCH on the life and times of Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, twin sister of the last King of Iran, who passed away on 7 January 2016

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi of Iran (English version) from Deb Bergeron on Vimeo.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Canto Alla Vita

It has been over ten years now that this song by Josh Groban and Andrea Corr has not seized to mesmerise me for even one single day: Canto Alla Vita (I sing to life)

Enjoy the magic!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Swimming for Seiko

This is Seiko whom I met a few days ago somewhere in London. Seiko was accompanied by her human who had a field of vision of only 20 per cent due to a rare condition.
I asked the owner, Mark, to allow me to take a few portraits of his gorgeous canine friend and he kindly accepted.
He told me that Seiko was helping him get around and the two of them were so good together that he actually decided to raise money for guide dogs pledging to swim a mile in one go.
Here is a link to Mark's page and below you can see one of the portraits I took of Mark's little angel, Seiko.

Seiko, the guide dog

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Visit to Israel Gets Filmmaker “Cleansed” from Iran's Cinema Museum

Screen capture from the first page of Global Voices website ( as of 23.July.2013)
Here is a piece I wrote on the Iranian film maker, Mohsen Makhbaf's recent participation in Jerusalem Film Festival (JFF) that started a heated debate among Iranians. 

NOTE: Although, journalistically, I tried to give voice to both sides of the conversation in the abovementioned report, personally I was among the proponents of a dialogue between the civil societies of both nations in which capacity I see Makhmalbaf's trip as a constructive measure.

Here is a debate [fa] between Nargess Tavassolian who supported Makhmalbaf's participation in JFF  with Sadra Shahab, who signed the open letter criticising the director:

 And this is Nargess's blog post expressing her views about the same subject.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Worth a Thousand Words...

young Iranian wiping the explosion mark of a hand-made grenade off the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great near Shiraz, Iran. CLICK TO SEE THE FULL SIZED IMAGE

I used to believe in a fierce version of Persian Nationalism, some years passed by before I learned the difference between patriotism and nationalism; hence decided to choose the former as a personal principle. Today, however, I am best described as a humanist patriot. I have no idea what I will grow into tomorrow! 

With that introduction, I would like to share a photo I found on a Facebook page named after a man many of us consider a national hero, Cyrus the Great

The dramatic photo depicts a young Iranian using what seems to be his shirt to wipe the explosion mark of a hand-made grenade off the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great near Shiraz, Iran. According to some accounts posted on social media, a group of by-standers described as resembling members of Basij militia had been taunting people who had gathered to celebrate Nowrooz near the resting place of a man they call "The Father of Iran".

I see this in essence as what is upon us as a nation, to wipe off the dirt that has tainted the face of our collective identity, culture and civilisation. We need to reclaim our place in the international arena as a respected people and definitely not as what is represented in our name today. 

Here is footage of the incident posted by citizen journalists on Youtube.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our Noble Aspirations, Shirin Ebadi & I, Ten Years Later

A few days ago BBC Persian aired a documentary (above) on the life of our nation's only Nobel Laureate, Shirin Ebadi. I still recall vividly how as a young student in Tehran I was overjoyed at the news of her great achievement and then developed mixed feelings when I heard my favourite Iranian 'Shir-Zan' [Literally: Lion Woman] identifying herself as a Muslim or when she said her prize belonged to all Islamic states which I, in the staunch nationalistic mindset of my early 20s, wished she wouldn't have. For me that kind of rhetoric suited the clerics ruling over the country ever since 1979, not her. She was to represent us not them! 

All that said, I remember I almost kissed the TV set when she said these words before the dignitaries and journalists from all major news channels around the world: 
I am an Iranian. A descendent of Cyrus The Great. The very emperor who proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2500 years ago that "... he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it." And [he] promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. The Charter of Cyrus The Great is one of the most important documents that should be studied in the history of human rights.
And then, still not sure what to expect from this nice woman who had brought us some pride, I wrote a piece on National Review Online which I - as you might expect - titled "Noble Aspirations". 

Ten years have passed by since those days, Shirin Ebadi faced so much difficulty in her beloved Iran that she had to leave everything behind and live a life of exile. I, that used to call myself Koorosh Afshar, have apparently followed suit and no longer need a pseudonym to protect my safety on this side of the border.

Other things have changed, too, including my views on nationalism and what nation-ness means to me these days; however, I still fervently believe in every word I said back then:
Mrs. Ebadi is at a very critical juncture. She can, with her wise secular words, shatter the suffocating bonds of theocracy, and represent to the world the desires of the Iranian nation. As she faces obstacles in doing so, she should be bolstered by the fact that nothing is nobler than the just, secular aspirations of my nation–or the act of supporting them. She should remember the words of Thomas Paine: “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity."

Oh, and I now have this addition to my personal library. Shirin Ebadi's Golden Cage signed by no other person than herself for a "Mr. Hooman Askary, with best wishes of success!"   :-)