Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Winding Down 2015: On Our World, #Outsiders & Other Thoughts

Today was a day that was quite a day throughout #Outsiders as we are going dark.  Although I had put my foot down for all to take some time, the work continued and it was surprising the interesting work that was released throughout the network that I supported and facilitated.   

It has been a challenging year.   One of the highlights for me, though, was joining the BBC Newsday program last week as Newsday traveled the United States to get a firing line perspective on Iranian Americans in the aftermath of all that has been going on with San Bernardino and its' aftermath.   One of the team members put together excerpts of it: 

Here is a clip from the show when w/the crew around Westwood Blvd:

This is a clip from when we spoke about Donald Trump and the rise of Islamophobia:

As I was reflecting upon this, I ran across this from one of the greatest Iranians, Amir Kabir.  For those who do not know who he is, he served as Prime Minister under the Qajar King Nasir Din Shah and was ordered assassinated by him.     This thought from him depicts the profound challenges faced as a result of the influence of religion and the loss of reason in Iran.    
A rough translation is:  Iran fell behind when it stopped thinking, stopped exploring, stopped analyzing, stopped being bold and using simple logic and common sense.    As I saw the challenges around the Middle East and listened to Dr. Milani's talk at the Commonwealth Club (featured in the Education Channel), it was quite chilling and tough to listen to.

As part of my own on-going research in support of @DailyOutsider, I caught up on episodes of the Voice of America's Farsi Service Last Page.    The host, Mehdi Felllahati, does a fantastic job to showcase the true reality of the Islamic Republic.   In one of the episodes, one of his guests, the Scholar and Journalist Akbar Ganji, reflected upon the hollow and mythical nature of Shiism and how the development ensued in large measure thanks to the influence of Zorostanianism.   Beyond that, what I found especially shocking was that the 11th Imam did not even have a child and that this whole mythical sense that a 12th Imam is coming to save us all was just conceived as a result of political and economic rivalries--which has persisted in Iran today in a major way due to the very nature of corruption prevalent in the Country.   The Faith of Islam will continue to be strong--no question.   Many--including Sheikh Hamza Yousef--are spearheading a renaissance in the faith that has to persist that I look forward to researching further during the new year.        As I look forward to building on this and reflecting upon it, I was reminded of another colonial legacy thanks to the talk by Dr. Milani:  the term Middle East.    It will be one of the new year resolutions for us to ban the use.

The team has also been hard at work finalizing the Social Media rounds and I have tried to keep up with them (and  yes at times have been virtually breathless!!!).   What I saw on the New York Times captured the essence of our World as we bid farewell to it:   

Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
A selection of the year's most riveting photographs.

This month was also a month that was quite a trying month on a number of personal fronts as I remembered my paternal grandmother who passed away 25 years ago this month.      It was during one of the darkest days that I caught a Movie that was as pivotal in laying the groundwork for DailyOutsider and beyond and that movie was Invictus.       I decided to purchase it for my Amazon Movie Library and as God Bless Africa plays in the background, it was the poem Invictus itself that truly left an impression as it reminded us all:

I am the master of My Faith
I am the Captain of My Soul

This is as I took heart in this--as I wish all a wonderful joyous season and a fantastic 2016: 
“If we had no winter,
the spring would not be so pleasant:
we did not sometimes taste of adversity,
prosperity would not 
be so welcome.”
~ Anne Bradstreet

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