Older blog entries for roozbeh (starting at number 42)

Google update: After my previous post, I found a good reason for confirming that Google is actually trying to simplify things for itself instead of just following the US government requirements: Google is already paying for the services of the ".ir" registry, which is an institute founded, funded, and part of the Iranian government. Simply follow this WHOIS link, type "google" in the text box and press the "Search" button.

Yes, they are paying for a "service of Iranian-origin" already, actually a service from the Iranian government. They simply don't like to deal with random Iranian students (or Sudanese, or Cuban, or Syrian, or ... for that matter).

4 Jun 2005 (updated 4 Jun 2005 at 12:51 UTC) »

The Google Summer of Code thing is a piece of shit. This is a quote:

Who is not eligible?

[...] citizens from the countries on the US State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism, which we are bound by law from engaging in commerce with.

Please tell me how this is not racism (or encouraging racism). Not any Iranian, Cuban, Syrian, North Korean, or Sudani student, living anywhere in the world (including the United States), may participate in the program. If the governments of those countries actually sponsor terrorism (I don't say they don't, or they do), what the United States government is doing is "state-sponsored racism".

I'm pissed off like hell, specially since I can't push any single Iranian developer, living anywhere in the world, to try to get involved in Free Software using the very tempting prize.

Update: It seems that some people don't understand how this is racism. It's the "citizen" thing that is racism. Let me translate what the US government is saying: "If you wish to be considered an equal member of the world economy, you should get a passport from another country. We don't consider people born in Iran from Iranian parents equal to people born in Bulgaria from Bulgarian parents."

Second update: Someone on the IRC suggested that it is not technically racism if not applied to a race instead of being applied to a nation, and suggested terms like ethnocentrism or xenophobia (which are not really descriptive of the idea either). But I really believe that if it feels like racism, it smells like racism, and it tastes like racism, it's god damn racism!

Third update: I'm reading through US government material about Iran at their Sanctions Guidelines page and their short overview. Please note that my main allegation is toward the US government practising racism. But at the same time, I am saying that Google is helping that racism by generalizing the discrimination for all Iranian citizens, even those living in, say, the United States. To quote a part of the overview document at the US Treasure website: "Services provided in the United States by an Iranian national already resident in the United States are not considered services of Iranian origin."

It's like having a discriminating law against "black people born slaves" and then seeing people living in that jurisdication voluntarily applying the restrictions also to all black people (to remain on the safe side?). The original restriction is clearly racism, and the voluntary generalization is also racism. That is true even if it has been a mistake from the Google's side: you should take special care when you say these things. If you don't, you are automatically considering all Iranian people sponsors of terrorism. (Ask people who were at GUADEC what kind of terrorists me and my friends were...)

As per Murray's suggestion, I'm contacting Google now. This is of course fighting racism by quoting the exact text of the law: "Dear Sir, I believe I am not considered exactly black because of this certain piece of detail here in the text, as I have only got this blackness of the skin by some disease and both my parents have been caucausians. I only look too black for you at the first glance."

GUADEC: We got the visa (well, not all the six, just five). See all you GNOMies in Stuttgart.
Uraeus: I really appreciate your suggestion of postponing GUADEC for a week. I guess Behnam would definitely be able to get his German visa then...
23 May 2005 (updated 23 May 2005 at 15:57 UTC) »

Well, one likes to just post something and see how he looks on the new Planet GNOME. It looks very nice!

Democracy: Just two more pictures from the people registering to run as President of Iran.
Wikipedia: What Iranians are really good at, is raising hell over even their very small interests, without even understanding what the issue really is. Somebody had created an article in the English Wikipedia about a random Physics-related weblog, and now he has raised his reader community against my request for its deletion, for not being noteworthy.

I really like these comments: "iPN is being deleted from the Wikipedia encyclopedia. [...] If you are interested in the news at iPN, if you wish to return your share of debts for all the efforts of the iPN maintainers, we ask you to provide strong opinion and enough reasons [against the deletion request] on the discussion page of the encyclopedia. We Iranians must have a share in global encyclopedias." (tranlated from Persian, from a banner on the weblog.)

Some user were even misled to believing that Wikipedia is planning to shut down their website (!): "Hi. I am also a Physics student and my English is very bad. [...] Now if you shut down the site what should I and people like me do? It's because you doing these things that the world says Iranians are the most backward. So continue your doings and remain more backward." (translated from Persian from a comment on the article's Talk page.)

Very similar things happened about the Persian Gulf and the National Geographic Atlas. I specially recommend Yaser Kerachian's From caring about our national pride to Anti-Arab racism.

11 May 2005 (updated 11 May 2005 at 13:26 UTC) »
GUADEC (German visa): Just returned from the German embassy. It's 16:40 now, and we were at the embassy from about 9:15 until 15:00 (they had given us an appointment for 9:30, so we had happily arranged a translation party at 12:30, which got cancelled because of the delay).

We sat from 9:30 until about 14:15 in the embassy, a delay which we were completely unprepared for. We should have brought enough reading material, and I didn't even have my laptop because they had seized it at the entrance.

The visa officer who finally met us on 14:15 was very uneasy about us. Our case apparently wasn't straight-forward at all. It was also hard for her to understand what is it that we do exactly in FarsiWeb, and when she finally got it, she asked "So it's something like Persian-enabled Windows that you do?". I believe she very probably worded it that way on her terminal, very possibly using Farsisch instead of Persisch. At the end, she finally told me the consular section can't decide about the case, and they will pass it to the cultural section, since the cultural section is more experienced with things like research groups and universities. I am very hopeful about this, because it was the involvement of the cultural section that gave us a visa in nine days in 2001, without even an invitation letter (we were planning to apply for a US visa in Frankfurt, and all we had was a printout of an email from the American visa officer in Frankfurt).

I am supposed to get a hotel reservation confirmation to them until Monday, which MUST be "a fax with the letterhead of the hotel" (I just emailed Tim and asked for guidance). And they are supposed to tell us about the rejection or the approval of visa request on May 25 (and possibly give us the visa), about 16 hours before our flight (which will be 05:30 in the morning). The travel agency will have something like two or three hours at most, to reconfirm or cancel our reservation. I really enjoy this!

Behnam wasn't able to come to the emabssy because his exit visa (and hence his passport) is not ready yet. He will need to apply on May 17 unfortunately, which may be very late.

10 May 2005 (updated 10 May 2005 at 12:53 UTC) »
Democracy: They have started the registration for the Iranian presidential election of 2005 today. And like always, the general public are massively registering to run, while they very probably know they can't even win the approval of the Guardian Council, of course. These three photos are very interesting (the text on the first man's breast reads "the servant of the people of Iran" and the text on his head band reads "Muhammed is the Prophet of God, Ali is the ruler appointed by God"). Some collections are here: 1, 2, 3.
GUADEC: Wow! The German Embassy has emailed me and given us an appointment for May 11, the day after tomorrow! Wow!

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