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November 29, 2005

Sargozahst

I translated the poem 'sargozasht' by sohrab sepehri from Marge-Rang and I am going to recite both the fasri and english version in our school's annual translation symposium tomorrow afternoon.


Narrative
By sohrab sepehri

The sea is roaring
no one is visible at the shore, in the sea
there is no darker spot in the sea
that could turn into a boat
if the boat comes close
remained at the shore
the night has poured a boat on its head
in an unclear path, it has taken its body into the bitterness of comprehension
no one is there to arrive
and push it to the sea
and in this time that each pommel of water
speaks with hidden ears
a distressed wave arrives
and tells us of the path
and tells us the tale of a long night;
he had gone fishing that night
to catch from the water
something that was attached
to a dream of a sleep
the morning of that night in the sea
in which no wave was hitting its body against the other
the eyes of fishers saw
a boat in the water that was
giving the news of the bitter accident of the night before
the shore pulls the boat aside towards its sleepy drought
in the same spot that it has been
in this sad moment of stillness
and close to him
the sea is roaring
that wave arrives to say again
of a stormy night
a story that is not too long


November 24, 2005

November 24th, 2001

My mom whom I call Mimi and whom I adore called me last night to remind me that tomorrow is November 24th. November 24th, 2001. It is now a few years that I have tried to forget this date. I dislike remembering sad things.
I never forget my lovely Aunt Mahin’s voice on the phone.
“ Babato bordan” “They took your dad”.
And boom. My life changed. Mimi’s life changed. Leili’s life changed. And Babayee was kidnapped.
It was only three weeks that I had started school in the US, Maryland. I was in 11th grade. Before this doomed day of November 24th, Babyee used to call me from Iran every single morning to wish me a good day at school, to tell me that I will be fine in this new country, to tell me that he misses me and that he loves me. And on November 24th he stopped calling! My life changed.
I would stay up at nights with Mimi who was extremely distressed and sad to call different police stations throughout Tehran to ask for my dad. The soldiers would pick up the phone and talk to me.
“Salam agha, shoma oonja zendani be name Siamak Pourzand darid?”
“ Hi sir, do you have a detainee there named Siamak Pourzand?”
“Who? No. We don’t”
Laugher, masculine hysterical laughter… And they would hang up.
I don’t want to talk about the rest of it. Though, I will…one day soon!
For now I want to focus on the good part. True, Babyee is still in THEIR hand. He is still grounded in Tehran. True, THEY don’t let him join his family. But THEY couldn’t diminish him. He still exists, he still breathes, and he still loves us. He still tells me stories on the phone, stories about when he was young, when he was my age. He calls my age ‘the golden age’. He wants me to never give up, to never feel powerless, and to never consider myself or him a victim.
November 24th, 2001…
Too many days and months and years have passed. We want him back.
Mimi keeps on telling us that she has tried to convince ‘them’, the government of Iran to let her return to Iran in order to be with Babayee or to let him leave the country and join us in the West. Our attempts in that regard have become like a labyrinth with many hollow dead-ends.
After all, who wants to talk about November 24th, 2001 and who wants to listen?

November 22, 2005

Cubans R Cool, indeed!


Hi. It’s been a really hectic week. Papers have lined up for me to write…I think that I am having an intellectual breakdown which means that I read and take notes and all that, but I simply feel that I am incapable of analyzing things. I just finished reading this novel called Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. It is about the Cuban Revolution, exile, tragedies that happened in this one family, separation and consequences of individuals’ ideologies. I have to write a paper about it tonight. Ozlem (my best friend and roommate) and I are now in the library and are going to be here for a good number of hours. I have a feeling writing a paper about this book is going to be hard for me, just because I feel too close to the experiences of all these characters in the book. They all sound familiar to me one way or another. So the process of detaching from the characters and analyzing the novel will be hard process for me. As you can see tonight will be a Cuban party in the library for me! If political situations of countries and their impact on families fascinate you (another words if you are dedicating your academic life to this king of literature like me) I recommend this book.
Now let me tell you a funny story about last night. Imagine a poor sleepy girl who is trying to start a paper at 4 am after having done a million other things during the day. I was definitely falling asleep at my desk. But at the same time I was starving, too. Starvation and sleep depravation were to their maximum altitude. Ozlem was already sleep and as we Iranians say, I think she was dreaming about ‘the 7 kings’ (She was truly asleep). I finally fell asleep on my laptop and when I woke up after a 5-minute-long nap I remembered that I was dreaming about drinking French Vanilla and chewing apple-pie. The answer was obvious: McDonald’s drive-thru! I wore my coat, went downstairs and drove to McDonalds. It was obviously closed. But I didn’t give up. I parked at the order-spot and said, “ Hello, hello. Anybody there. I would like to order a small French Vanilla and apple Pie”. And, of course not even ghosts of the night answered me. I drove back home and turned the volume of the Arabic music up to wake myself up. The man was singing, “Habibi…mansour…jamil…”. That is about all I could understand. I got home and searched every single cabinet in the kitchenette for food. I found absolutely nothing. I finally found one potato from a while ago. I felt like a primitive woman trying to feed her family with one potato. Creativity was now the key. I decided to fry the potato slices. We didn’t have any oil however. But I found a 0 calorie oil spray for pancakes in the cabinet. So I sprayed the can with it. And yes, you could here the sound of the potato slices getting fried. But then since the oil was pancake-oil they got burnt and smoke covered my face. I was afraid that the dire alarm goes off, so I tried to pick up the pan, but the clumsy person that I am, I burned my finger and let me tell you it is painful! I was so furious that I threw all the fries out and went back to my desk to work. Pain had conquered my poor body and my finger was growing in size! Finally at around 5 am I concluded the night with hunger and pain and went to bed! I was planning to wake up at 5:45, but of course I barely made it to my 9 o’clock class. Don’t laugh at me. It’s not like you have not done all these silly things when you were in college!
Thanksgiving is approaching and I am planning to simply stay on campus. Although I have to say that I really miss my mom, my dad and Lily. But alas seeing them all at once is an impossible dream at this point. And seeing them separately makes me even more nostalgic. So for this short break, I prefer to stick with the unread articles and novels that I have for my classes, stay here with Ozlem and get some work done! I will hopefully be able to write some more in here, too.
Oh, one more thing: I really appreciate your kind comments in my baby weblog. I have to admit that your kind notes throughout the hard years of immigration have always helped me keep up my hopes and to proudly survive. Ok, now I have to go back to the Cuban party I was telling you about earlier! See ya!

November 13, 2005

A Bollywood Saturday in Africa

My friends and I practiced a silly South Asian dance for hours today. There is an Indian film festival in Oberlin starting from tomorrow and we are supposed to dance before the first movie. It’s 12 of us. 6 girls and 6 guys. It’s pretty chaotic. I have a feeling we are going to totally mess it up tomorrow night! But who cares. The purpose is to have fun and it’s definitely ridiculous and fun.
First the guys are on stage and they are pretending to smoke weed. The music starts slow. Then they do some strange moves and stuff that I don’t know how to describe. Then the girls walk from the sides to the stage. 3 on the right and 3 on the left. Then we do stuff that I don’t know how to describe again. Then guys come to us and try to show us that they love us. But we reject them and the process of rejection goes on for a long time. Then they collapse and all fall down on their knees. The girls gather around a circle and make fun of the guys’ needy faces. Then, we feel bad for them and go grab our man from his collar and we all hold hand in a snake-like line and dance. It’s pretty silly. My professors who are going to be there tomorrow night are going to think that poor Azadeh has gone crazy! Oh well! I am only trying to be a bollywood star, that’s all! The age of intellectualism is over. It’s time for some shallow dance.
I didn’t go partying again tonight. I didn’t feel like it. I don’t know though, I might end up going out tonight. I feel like dancing. But the problem is that I don’t want to dance to weird white music. I want to ‘gher’…undoubtedly those of you who are Iranian know precisely what I am talking about!
Tonight we had an African banquet here in Oberlin. It was very crowded and the food was definitely not enough. So we ended up coming home and eating cookies. Chocolate chips…hmmmm. Yummy. Also my Iranian-American friend’s father had come to the banquet tonight. He is a professor in a college in Ohio. This weekend is parents’ weekend in Oberlin. So you see parents following their college kids everywhere. It’s actually kind of annoying. I feel like everyone puts on a show for them. But anyways, my friend’s dad was here, too. And he came to dinner to see me while his son was practicing for a concert that he was going to have tonight. But the fun part was that since his son wasn’t present at the banquet I got to introduce him to my friends. He sat next to me the entire time and interacted with my friends. It felt really good. I don’t know it was as if my dad had come all the way from Iran to Oberlin College to visit me. I am sure he would have if he could. Regardless the fact that Uncle Akbar was there with me and my friends made me very happy!

November 12, 2005

salam salam

Hello. So we have not met yet, have we? My name is Azadeh Pourznad. My nickname is Azi. Nice to meet you. I am 20 years old. I, of course was born in Iran and in my beloved city Tehran. I finished the second year of high school in Iran and then ‘the wind’ brought me to the US. I finished high school in the state of Maryland which is part of the greater DC area. I am now a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. My university is famous for being liberal, artsy and creative. This year is my third year and my major is Comparative Literature. I have two minors in Hispanic Studies and Creative Writing.

I live in an apartment on campus with my best friend who is from Turkey. We have a lot of fun together. Even though we have very different personalities we get along very well. She is very calm and ladylike. I, on the other hand panic about small things and am not as fashionable as my friend and housemate!

Aside from school I do other stuff, too. I tutor special education kids in an elementary school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I love going to this elementary school and spending time with those precious creatures. I am a student senator which means that on Sundays I have to attend 3-hour-long very hectic plenary sessions. I am one of the founding members of the Middle East Student Association of Oberlin. And I am the Public Relations Coordinator of Iranian Alliances Across Borders. This organization is literally the love my life these days.

What else? Oh, yeah. And my parents. My mom is Mehrangiz Kar. She has a fellowship at The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in Boston. My dad is Siamak Pourzand who has been a political prisoner for a few years now. Although he stays in his little apartment in Iran right now due to many health problems, he is officially a political prisoner. My older sister, Lily lives in Canada.

I am extremely busy this semester and since I am a social butterfly as well as an academically ambitious person, I always have a really hard time managing my time. For instance right now I am supposed to be doing school work!

I have many things to tell you. Infinite stories…And of course I also have a paper due in 43 hours. So I have to go right now. But I will be back with stories.