Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All men recognize the right..

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to,and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.

On Duty of Civil Disobedience -Henry David Thoreau

Monday, June 29, 2009

You are not Alone


More than 1000 Iranians in Houston gathered on Sunday, June 21, 2009, to honor and remember brave Iranians who sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy in Iran.Photo by: Farshad R.


Paris, June 28 2009- March in support of Iranians demonstrating for freedom.


San Francisco


Irvine California

Supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi protest in the Turkish city of Ankara June 27.

Frankfurt June 27, 2009

Nashville Tennessee

Sydney Australia

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let Every Man Make Known…..


Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. 

On Duty of Civil Disobedience  Henry-David  Thoreau

Monday, June 22, 2009



State media has confirmed 17 deaths as a result of the protests that followed the disputed election in Iran. But one death, a woman who has become known as Neda, has stood out to protesters - and to the world.

Neda, which may or may not be her real name, means "the call" or "the voice" in Farsi. She was shot yesterday at a protest in Tehran, and her death was captured on video, now widely circulated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other sites. If you wish to see the video, here is a link.

However, I warn you that it is quite graphic. Personally the photo above is enough for me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

From a Persian blog

“I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow.  Maybe they will turn violent.  Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed.  I’m listening to all my favorite music.  I even want to dance to a few songs.  I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows.  Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see.  I should drop by the library, too.  It’s worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again.  All family pictures have to be reviewed, too.  I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye.  All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them.  I’m two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that.  My mind is very chaotic.  I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure.  So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them.  So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism.  This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children…”


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Images from Iran

A supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mousavi is beaten by government security men as fellow supporters come to his aid during riots in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, June 14, 2009. (AP Photo) #

A backer of Mir Hossein Mousavi helps evacuate an injured riot-police officer during riots in Tehran on June 13, 2009. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Following a raid on Tehran University dormitories. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Izmir, Turkey- Open Bazaar in Kemeralti-360

Izmir-Kemeralti-Bazaar in Izmir

Mr. Schopenhauer, Mr. Paine, and My Short Religious Instruction

And the capacity for faith is at its strongest in childhood: which is why religions apply themselves before all else to getting those tender years into their possession. In this way. even more than by threats and stories of miracles, that the doctrines of faith strike roots; for if, in the earliest childhood, a man has certain principles recited to him with abnormal solemnity and with an air of supreme earnestness such as he has never before beheld, and at the same time the possibility of doubt is never so much as touched on, or if it is only in order to describe it as the first step towards eternal perdition, then the impression produced will be so profound that in almost every case, the man will be almost as incapable of doubting this his own existence. Hardly one in a thousand will then possess the firmness of mind seriously and honestly to ask himself: is this true?
On Religion: A Dialogue, Arthur Schopenhauer
When I was in sixth grade in primary school, I desperately wanted Wayne to be my best friend. So, when he told me that his Sundays were spent, not milling around at the shopping center but in Sunday school, I was both impressed and interested. Pastor Peterson, in fact, had only recently been ordained and had yet to acquire a position in an establish church, a church of his own, or, for that matter, even a congregation. For this reason, he would temporarily be giving sermons and classes in the more relaxed but mundane atmosphere of his suburban home.

I suppose, given the world we live in today, such an arrangement- a middle-aged man taking seven children to his basement for classes- would be somewhat suspicious- the opening of a nasty scandal on Fox news. Back then, however, potential molestation was not something anybody thought too much about. That sort of thing was something that happened only big cities. Suburbia, we reckoned, was a safe place for children.
Waking up early on Sunday was quite a novelty and I wasn't sure it I liked it. My mother drove me to Pastor Peterson’s ranch- style home with the required lawn and evergreen trees. His wife was nice enough-big hair and thin wrists, with what night have been a handmade dress. She offered us homemade cookies and Kool-aid and that made her ok in my book. The pastor was a tall balding man with a gentle voice, like Mr. Roberts. He seemed a bit nervous, I noticed, without the smooth confidence of any of my elementary school teachers.

There were about seven of us although I recognized only Wayne. The others appeared to be "regulars" but for me, any time I was in somebody else's home was like going to a museum, only less awe-inspiring.
We all sat in the floor in a semi-circle and the pastor, composing himself for a second, asked, "Does anybody know why were baptized?" Hands shot up in the air like onion shoots. I remained silent and slightly wary.
"We were baptized because..." the little girl paused, unsure of herself.".. so we will go to heaven."
"That's right. Tammy."
"And can anybody tell me what the Original Sin is?"
A much longer spell of silence.
"Adam and Eve. Remember last week?"
"I know. I know." Wayne said. "Adam ate the apple and then, and then, we have original sin."

OverThereI was familiar with that story of disobedience, shame and expulsion- this was something I myself had experienced, though not on such a grand scale, of course. But I was more concerned about the baptism business.
I was, in fact, stunned by this news. Worst of all, it was not merely a theoretical problem because I knew for a fact, that I had not been baptized. My mother had always felt that it was an immoral act to baptize a child before it had become aware of even the most basic tenets of that particular faith. Of course, her Laissez-faire approach would have probably horrified any church, synagogue or mosque.
It seemed to me then ( and to me, now) if God is love , then how on Earth could He condemn a baby to eternal torture? That could not be reconciled and nothing they could say could convince me.. Original sin was thrown out as a lame explanation but this somehow made it worse. A child- perhaps especially a child- can see the fundamental unfairness of being punished for somebody else's mistake.

And besides, take one look at a baby and it is the image of innocence and goodness. When my rejection of this idea was all too obvious, the pastor would fall back on the easy- out. "Sometimes, God asks us to take a leap of faith. Our minds are so small and puny compared to the mind of God, that we cannot begin to understand how it works." But still.. I thought.
Anyway, if that were true and we are all just so stupid that we can not possibly understand the complexity of it, then why worry and create such a strict system and such an elaborate and yet illogical explanation in the first place? Obviously, there was something more going on, I thought.
I don't recall too much about the rest of the Sunday school class. My mind wandered, no doubt. Today they would call it “Attention Deficient Disorder”; back then, it was called “being fidgety.”

The following week, I tried not to dwell on the problem and I especially did not want to share my fears with Wayne. It seemed like quite a heavy social stigma to carry-perhaps I was to be the only child in MacArthur Elementary School going to hell. It just wasn't something you want the world to know.

The more I tried not to worry about it, the more questions arose. For example, according to their articles of faith, you had to be a Christian in order to go to heaven, a rather exclusive club, I thought. But what about the people born BEFORE Christ? Did this mean that countless generations of very good people (but naturally non-Christian) would be roasting on a spit forever in hell? It isn't as though they had had a choice when they were born.

A few days later, after some sleepless nights, I finally worked up the courage to confront my mother. How could she have let this slip-up occur? She was definitely up to the task of keeping me in clean clothes and giving me my lunch money. All for nothing, of course, if in the end, I was to be stuck with forks by hideous demons for eternity. Was it even true? But it had to be true, the pastor had no reason to lie.
"Was I baptized?"
"No." She answered, as she peeled the potatoes in the sink.
"Well, then am I going to Hell when I die?
"Who on earth told you that?" She laughed, but I detected a bit of nervousness there. What was she hiding?
"Well," I said slowly and carefully," when I was in Sunday school , the pastor told me that all babies that weren't baptized would go to hell when they died."
She stopped for only a second to consider this. "You never got to meet your great-grandfather, Joe. He was one of the best people in the world. He was kind and would have given you the shirt off his back if you'd asked. And he was never baptized but when he died, he didn't go to Hell."
I had seen old photographs of the man. He, indeed, seemed like a decent and kindly man from what I saw and from the stories my mother had related. In the photo, he was sitting on a stump, smiling and holding an obliging chicken under his arm. Yes, I thought, how could a man who loved animals. especially idiotic chickens- be sent to hell.

So without question, I accepted this, swallowing the whole explanation as easily as homemade ice cream. My mother in her wisdom was fully aware- as every man of the cloth can easily affirm- that children, when told something with air of conviction, are liable to believe nearly anything.
I believe that any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system.
The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cihangir Cemetery


Şirince is a wonderful little Aegean village. It is 12 kms away from Ephesus or 9 km away from Selçuk. The village name was once Cirkince(ugly). In 1926 a governor of İzmir changed this village name to Şirince(pretty). The village is a perfect harmony of Turk-Greek culture as of the 1920's. Most houses built in 19. century or earlier when Şirince was predominantly a Greek village. On the narrow streets of the Şirince you can see women selling handcrafts of all kinds, olive oil. Villagers also make wine and grow some of the best peaches in the country. Do not leave the village without testing home-made wine of Şirince.


I would suggest going during the week because it can be fairly overpopulated on weekends in the summer. It is a pleasant way to spend a day, sampling the local wine and inspecting the village life.   You will travel from Izmir to Kusadasi , but be sure to get off in Selcuk, from there you can take a minibus (found at the bus station) which has hourly runs to Sirince.  Should you wish to stay overnight, there are some old Ottoman –style houses used as hotels there. The accommodations are quite pleasant but not one would mistake for high luxury. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ancient Wisdom

01We should not treat living creatures like shoes or pots and pans, casting them aside when they are bruised and worn out with service, but, if for no other reason, for the sake of practice in kindness to our fellow men, we should accustom ourselves to mildness and gentleness in our dealings with other creatures.

 From Plutarch’s  Life of Cato

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dolphin Story from Ancient Greece

"Coiranus the Milesian, when he saw some fishermen who had caught a dolphin in a net, and who were about to cut it up, gave them some money and bought the fish, and took it down and put it back in the sea again.
And after this it happened to him to be shipwrecked near Myconos, and while every one else perished, Coiranus alone was saved by a dolphin. And when at last he died of old age in his native country, as it so happened that his funeral procession passed along the seashore close to Miletus, a great shoal of dolphins appeared on that day in the harbor, keeping only a very little distance from those who were attending the funeral of Coiranus, as if they also were joining in the procession and sharing in their grief."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Three By Izzet Keribar

hagia_sophia_2  perge_after_the_rain

   keribarIzzet  Keribar writes:

I started photography in the mid 50's, first great experience in Korea after the war, restarted seriously after 1980. After countless slide shows and personal exhibitions and some flashy international prizes since, I decided to go fully professional in 1998. I love to travel, and to take pictures, I did not lose the joy of photography after becoming pro. I lecture students, organize workshops since 10 years, and keep an office with a very  large photo bank. Now after two months with TE, I realize once more that we all have a lot to learn from others techniques, framings, compositions, use of light, imagination and creativity. I appreciate comments, and also try to give a few useful thoughts in critiques. street_scene_alacati

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/photo932211.htm&usg=__W LpxPYrdyRInocP2tSTi5oG68l4=&h=542

Friday, June 5, 2009

Excuses for a Closed Mind


After listening to Obama’s speech in Egypt yesterday, I was amazed to hear how dismissive regional leaders seemed to be.  I was very discouraged how leaders seem intent on continuing the sad cycles, repeating history and the same mistakes. 

In order to help them in this folly, I have decided to give them a short list of excuses to use in order to reject any prospect for peace and security. 

1.  It is a waste of time to even think about it.

2.  It is not realistic.

3. We have tried it before.

4. We didn’t start this. They did.

5. First, they must do it. Then we will.

6. It can not be done.

7. Why should WE compromise?

8.  We are victims. They are the problem-makers.

9.  Who will pay for it? 

10. There will never be peace in the Middle East until they are destroyed.

11. They are not human.

12.  They cannot be trusted. 

I am sure this is not a comprehensive list but it is a very good start. Anyway, how many excuses does one need to destroy the world?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Story of the Boy and the Dolphin

Pliny the Younger, a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome, is known for his hundreds of surviving letters, which are an invaluable historical source for the period. In the excerpt below, Pliny tells a poignant legend about a boy and dolphin.

1349886_196337_ad9c48f7e1_p There is in Africa a town called Hippo, situated not far from the seacoast: it stands upon a navigable lake communicating with an estuary in the form of a river, which alternately flows into the lake, or into the ocean, according to the ebb and flow of the tide. People of all ages amuse themselves here with fishing, sailing, and swimming; especially boys, whom love of play brings to the spot. With these it is a fine and manly achievement to be able to swim the farthest; and he that leaves the shore and out-races his companions at the greatest distance gains the victory.

It happened, in one of these trials of skill, that a certain boy, bolder than the rest, launched out towards the opposite shore. He was met by a dolphin, who sometimes swam before him, and sometimes behind him, then played round him, and at last took him upon his back, and set him down, and afterwards took him again; and thus he carried the poor frightened fellow out into the deepest part; when immediately he turns back again to the shore, and lands him among his companions.

The fame of this remarkable accident spread through the town, and crowds of people flocked round the boy (whom they viewed as a kind of prodigy) to ask him questions and hear him relate the story. The next day the shore was thronged with spectators, all attentively watching the ocean, and (what indeed is almost itself an ocean) the lake. Meanwhile the boys swam as usual, and among the rest, the boy I am speaking of went into the lake, but with more caution than before. The dolphin appeared again and came to the boy, who, together with his companions, swam away with the utmost precipitation.

dolphin JPG The dolphin, as though to invite and call them back, leaped and dived up and down, in a series of circular movements. This he practiced the next day, the day after, and for several days together, till the people (accustomed from their infancy to the sea) began to be ashamed of their timidity. They ventured, therefore, to advance nearer, playing with him and calling him to them, while he, in return, suffered himself to be touched and stroked. Use rendered them courageous. The boy, in particular, who first made the experiment, swam by the side of him, and leaping upon his back, was carried backwards and forwards in that manner, and thought the dolphin knew him and was fond of him, while he too had grown fond of the dolphin.

There seemed now, indeed, to be no fear on either side, the confidence of the one and tameness of the other mutually increasing; the rest of the boys, in the meanwhile surrounding and encouraging their companion. It is very remarkable that this dolphin was followed by a second, which seemed only as a spectator and attendant on the former; for he did not at all submit to the same familiarities as the first, but only escorted him backwards and forwards, as the boys did their comrade. But what is further surprising, and no less true than what I have already related, is that this dolphin, who thus played with the boys and carried them upon his back, would come upon the shore, dry himself in the sand, and, as soon as he grew warm, roll back into the sea.

It is a fact that Octavius Avitus, deputy governor of the province, actuated by an absurd piece of superstition, poured some ointment 1 over him as he lay on the shore: the novelty and smell of which made him retire into the ocean, and it was not till several days after that he was seen again, when he appeared dull and languid; however, he recovered his strength and continued his usual playful tricks. All the magistrates round flocked hither to view this sight, whose arrival and prolonged stay, was an additional expense, which the slender finances of this little community would ill afford; besides, the quiet and retirement of the place was utterly destroyed. It was thought proper, therefore, to remove the occasion of this concourse, by privately killing the poor dolphin.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

B3ta Imagine Challenge: Third World America

How will we know when the economy has really hit bottom?


Cicero and the Roman Art of Facing Death

Marcus Tullius Cicero January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC

Cicero is generally perceived to be one of the most versatile minds of ancient Rome. He introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary, distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher. An impressive orator and successful lawyer, Cicero probably thought his political career his most important achievement. Today, he is appreciated primarily for his humanism and philosophical and political writings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicero

The quote below is an extract from an essay he wrote for his son, Marcus, while he was in enforced exile. The subject was the beauty of growing old and this particular excerpt deals with facing mortality without fear.

And yet, for goodness' sake, what in the whole human condition lasts for any length of time? Think of the longest of all possible lives; let us imagine we shall attain the age of that king of Tartesessus- I have been reading about Arganthonius of Gades who reigned for eighty years and lived for a hundred and twenty. Even so, I suggest that nothing can be called long if it has an end. For when the end comes, then all that has gone before has vanished. Only one thing remains- the credit you have gained by your good and right actions. Hours, days, months, and years go by: once they have passed they never come again. And what is to come in the future we cannot tell, So whatever life is allotted us, we ought to be content.

And actor need not remain on the stage until the very end of the play: if he wins applause in those acts in which he appears, he will have done well enough. In life, too a man can perform his part wisely without staying on the stage until the play is finished. However short your life may be, it will still be long enough to live honestly and decently. If, on the other hand, its duration is extended, there need be no more sorrow than a farmer feels when the pleasant springtime has passed and summer and autumn have arrived. For spring, the season of youth, gives promise of fruits to come, but the later seasons are those that reap the harvests and gather them in. And the particular harvest of old age, I repeat, is it abundant recollection of blessings acquired in earlier years.

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