RIP Neda

I‘m not going to post a link to your tragic death mask, because, well, this is a family blog.

But I am going to say thank you for your sacrifice.

And I’m sorry.

I tweeted earlier today that the images of your death reminded me of part of the Bertolt Brecht poem, “When Evil-Doing Comes Like Falling Rain,” and now I’m really hoping that no more Iranians will have to be butchered in the street, or die in their father’s arms, for the world community to rise up and demand an end to this violence.


June 20, 2009. politically motivated. 2 comments.

on twitter and the iranian revolution

Demostration in silence in front of governmental TV station ... on Twitpic

Demostration in silence in front of governmental TV station ... on Twitpic

Way back in the first year of this blog, a little thing called Hurricane Katrina happened in this country. I was having kind of a slow week at work, and I sat in front of my laptop, day after day, watching the unfolding of a horror show that was fairly unprecedented in our country.

One of the things that amazed me, at the time, was the online community’s response. I found blogger after blogger who was doing something about the tragedy—the one I remember best being Liz at Badgerbag, whose daily messages from the Astrodome, where she was volunteering, were rage-filled and compelling. It wasn’t just that bloggers were blogging about their feelings—though that was going on too—but that they were actually doing things that helped people, and helped themselves through a period of emotional upheaval.

Flash forward five years to the present day, and it’s now Twitter that is allowing people to ‘do something’ in support of a situation that they are outraged about—theft of the Iranian election. I’ve been watching the hashtags #tehran and #iranelection over the past couple of days, and have been truly inspired by what I’ve seen, which is a community coming together in support of members at risk, who have developed an informal code of conduct (ie—don’t re-tweet using an Iranian’s Twitter ID; if you’re outside Iran, change your time zone & location to Tehran to confuse the Iranian military; change your profile picture to green to show solidarity with Moussavi’s supporters; don’t trust specific newly-created Twitter IDs, as they may have been created by the Iranian government to spread disinformation, etc.).

And that community is interested in viral expansion of support for the Iranian protesters. Within five minutes of the time that I posted a tweet saying that I didn’t know how to change the color of my profile picture, five different Twitter users responded to me with suggestions—2 of whom actually sent me a version of my profile pic in green. In fact, it can be a bit difficult, at this point, to find new info, because so many people are helpfully re-tweeting other’s responses. On the other hand, with the mainstream media being shut out of news coverage by the Iranian government, it’s the first place that many of us have heard about protesters being killed, or about the dorms at Tehran University being attacked by police.

It’s not just a visible show of support that people are manifesting, although that’s important. After reports that the Iranian government was shutting down cell networks and blocking activists’ Twitter accounts, people starting setting up proxy servers, and creating Denial of Service attacks against the state websites. One user even posted a guide on his blog, to explain to other users what they could do to help organizers in Iran. (Edited to add) And here’s a link to set up your home computer as an anonymous proxy for Iranians. I’ve linked to the Mac one, but there’s a Windows version too.

It’s a little humbling, to watch in real time as a father in Iran worries about his daughter, and tweets that he’s just heard that there are military police in the park that she was last in. And it can feel so far away, that park, and that girl—so far away that there’s nothing we can do to help. But every person reading this can do something to help that girl, right now. You can pick up the phone, and call your congressman, and tell him or her to ask the US to intervene. You can wear green to work tomorrow, even though it’s not St. Patty’s Day. In most big cities, you can find a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the Iranians, and you can attend it.

What gives me hope about both of these examples is the fact that people are willing to do something. Social media is giving us new ideas about exactly what to do, but it isn’t capable of making us care about something if we’re truly apathetic about it. The world wants to help.

(Note: Here’s a link to the Twitpic photo above–I couldn’t make it work with html.)

June 16, 2009. meta, politically motivated. 5 comments.

end of the school year

The school year (and my PTA presidency) has taken about 8.3 weeks to end this year. But now, we’re into the home stretch–it’s just here to Friday. Tomorrow, I’ll perform my last official duty as the PTA president–delivering cake to the fifth graders at their commencement ceremony, and flowers to the fifth grade parents who have been PTA activists and whose youngest child is graduating.

After that, mai tais all around!

The kids are enjoying the week of shortened school days, though when I told the Bee that I’d be working at home tomorrow, and she could come home right after school if she wanted to, she complained, “but it’s Pizza Day (at the after school program)!” So now I’ll be trotting down to get them AFTER they eat pizza (but before they get any water play done–as the Bee pointed out to her brother, “we can just turn on the sprinkler when we get home, anyway.)

The kids will be going to the same summer camp this year, for the first time. It won’t be many more years till the Bee is old enough to go to sleep-away camp, and I’m sort of cherishing this moment, as I can see it won’t last long.

June 15, 2009. the joys of PTA. Leave a comment.

thank you, electronic memory

It’s a good thing I didn’t quit blogging this year. Because if I had quit blogging, when the Bee had asked me to help her write about her year in fourth grade, I would have actually had to remember something with my brain. Instead of just coming here and looking at the highlights.

True story.

June 11, 2009. memory. 3 comments.

a crime against boy-dom

Yesterday, I unwittingly committed a crime against boy-dom. I threw out the Potato’s gummy bugs.

Let me back up.

In kindergarten, the kids get a sticker every day that they are ‘good.’ The stickers are redeemable for prizes from the teacher’s prize basket.

I’m not sure exactly how many stickers it takes to get a prize, but it took the Potato a good long while to earn them. And when he did earn them, he picked a tub of gummy beetles. It was a momentary thrill, two months ago when he brought it home and ate 2 or 3 of them.

And since then, it’s sat in our kitchen. And sat. And sat.

So last weekend, I threw it out.

Tonight, for dessert, what did he want?

Gummy beetles, of course.

I told him that I had thrown them out, and he was so verklempt, he threw himself on the floor, in one of those tantrums where you’re trying as hard as you can not to laugh at the kid, because it’s so overwrought.

He sobbed, “it’s not fair!” and “my bugs!” But it wasn’t until he said, “but it took me so long to earn them!” that my heart broke a little.

There may be nothing more sincere on earth than a truly wronged child.

So, what do you think the Potato wanted in recompense? Check out the poll on the side of the page, and vote. And if you want to have your stomach turned, see here.

June 9, 2009. thoughtful parenting. 3 comments.