Jul 16, 2018

What to Remember from World Cup 2018

I was very much liked to see a small nation underdog team is going to collect the trophy of FIFA World Cup in 2018, but as sheer bad luck Mario Mandzuki own goal put France ahead of Croatia and that underpinned an ominous augury of loss.

I followed the match live on my mobile phone but I couldn't watch the game live. I watched it later at night when I came from work. The Croatian players had possession of the ball for much of the game but it doesn't actually matter since we have seen the game between Russia and Spain. The Spanish players have dominated the game and played almost 80% of the ball at Russian's field, but just maintaining the ball is not enough. Spain passed the ball 1,100 times, while Russian barely completed 300 passes and it was Spain, finally, at penalty that was knocked out.

I am not an expert but I read opinions and statistics about Croatian previous matches. One thing that caught my attention was that a winning team must be ambitious to win by scoring not dragging to extra time and finally penalty, which was exactly what happened at the game between Russia and Croatia. Having that in mind and then their game with England at extra time, I was not very optimistic, but I did not lose the hope for Croatia to win this year’s World Cup.

Anyway, there is a lot to remember about this year’s FIFA World Cup. We might forget that France won the World Cup and it may not matter at all, but we will definitely remember some upsetting and exciting moments. We remember the painful knockout of the defending champion Germany by Mexico, we will remember Russia's stunning victory over Spain and we defintely will remember the remarkable rise of small-nation teams like Iceland and Croatia.

Other moments to remember is that Japan lost a winning game while 2-0 leading with less than 25 minutes but Belgium's counterattack snatched the win at last with stunning play 3-2 against Japan.

Of course the world will remember the moment when Messi missed a decisive penalty for Argentina that would bring victory against Iceland. Of course the world and the soccer lovers will remember the Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick that did not only earned Portugal a thrilling draw against Spain, but also made history.

Finally, we all remember that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) that was used for the first time in the World Cup. Though the VAR is impressive to be used in the any soccer match, it has one serious problem: There is one person in the field to make the final decision and that's one-field referee.

Jul 10, 2018

Meeting Miss Iowa

I happened to meet Miss Iowa in downtown Washington DC today. I gave her and her mom a mini tour on Pennsylvania Avenue, showed some landmarks on both sides, and snapped a couple of pictures of her in front of the FBI Building. She said she has been following the American drama series called "Criminal Minds" and it features the FBI Building in Washington DC. (I have never watched this show)

Toward the end of our tour when I asked her and her mom what they are in town for, she said she is here for the beauty pageant's event. It was then that I realized what an important guest I have on board and toured. She was so humble and when I asked her to take a photo with me, she delightfully conceded. Her mom took out her white sash from her purse, which the words "Miss Iowa" were embroidered on. Then she draped on her right shoulder to pose for a photo. It was so humbling moment to meet her; alas, I forgot to ask her name. If I were the judge and if I were to appraise her personality, I would give her 100. She absolutely deserves to be the winner of the beauty pageants. Go Miss Iowa!

Jun 29, 2018

An Encounter with a Protester

This afternoon, I was on my way back from the Folklife Festival at the Mall in downtown Washington DC, as I was about to cross the 12th street and Pennsylvania Ave I was flagged down by an old lady named Mary. I got off my bike and went close to her to hear what she was trying to say. She asked me where the National Portrait Gallery is. I gave her the address but our short exchange struck up an interesting conversation in which lasted a couple of minitues.

I asked her where did she come from and has she ever been to DC before. She told me that she was in DC to join the protest against Trump's policy on children's separation from their parents at the borders tomorrow on June 30. I asked her a few more questions on what exactly she thought of immigration and especially child separation and eventually what would she think of illegal immigration and as a protester what she would ask Trump to do. She did not have much to say but her final words were "I am here to protest against Trump," "He is not my president and I don't like him." I asked her whether she reads the newspapers, she said, she doesn't trust the newspaper any longer.

Mary has travelled from Denver Colorado at the behest of her daughter who is an attorney in Washington DC.  She told me that her daughter called her to come to DC and join her for a protest tomorrow.

As we separated, I started thinking about the expenses of her flight that could be spent on children's shelters and children's education, perhaps, to those children who are now separated from their families at the border. And of course I thought of Mary's lack of recognition and understanding why she was going to protest besides frustration and anger which is now becoming inherent in liberals. It is this anger, frustration, and ignorance that now play a big role in creating a big rift between right and left. The result of this gap is the rise of populism on both sides, which eventually could be a backlash to democracy and liberal values.

Dec 2, 2017

Feeling Absurd

Absurdity doesn't go away, it has recently been persistent in numerous ways. I began to think if it is in fact the existence itself that perpetuates the absurdity. One may wonder weather it is an entity that operates within the sphere of life and if so, wouldn't it be proper to say life is absurd?

Feeling absurd is just like you become part of it. It carries you from one level to another, it passes through your judgement, it blurs the path which you go through, lest you find the trace. You are thrown into an opaque world. You are absurd.

The landscape that absurdity occupies is not minatory, you are not being thrown into a hostile state, it is rather a placid tedium not known to you. Absurdity is a liminal world, albeit not in spiritual sense or something that would include ritual. The climate of absurd world is desolate, dolorous and inescapable. It forces itself into you to do away with your desire to live. Such is the state that I am thrown in.

This is an undated note which I found in my notebook. I thought I should post it here. It reminds me of the Myth of Sisyphus that I read a couple of years ago.

Oct 2, 2017

From the University of Arkansas

In regards to my previous blog post on Bahar Jalali's racist tweet, today, I received the following e-mail from the University of Arkansas saying that Bahar Jalali does not work in their institution. 

The University of Arkansas was contacted by a reader of your blog, http://www.afghanlord.org/2017/09/bahar-jalali-afghan-educator-or-racist.html regarding Bahar Jalali. There is no employee on our campus named Bahar Jalali, so to refer your readers to Dean Michael Miller isn't useful to your cause. If you could please correct this on your blog, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you,
Laura Jacobs
associate vice chancellor
The information is corrected in my previous blog post. I would like to ask the readers of this blog that please do not contact the university anymore. I am sorry that I misinformed you. Bahar Jalali has probably worked their before but not anymore. She may have forgotten to update her Linkedin profile, which says that she currently works there. 

Sep 30, 2017

Bahar Jalali: An Educator or a Racist?

Bahar Jalali is a well-educated Afghan-American woman. According to her Linkedin profile, she has received her MA from the University of Chicago and studied her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at American University of Afghanistan for six years.

I was hoping that those Afghans who grew up in the West have skipped the inherited hatred of the Hazaras, but it turns out that I have been wrong. Here it is an evidence from an American born Afghan woman:

What makes Bahar Jalali, an American born Afghan to harbor such hatred towards the Hazaras who have been persecuted throughout the history? She says that the Hazaras should leave Afghanistan. That is exactly what the Taliban wanted almost two decades ago.

In November 1998, when the Taliban force took over the city of Mazar-e Sharif for the second time, the Taliban/Pashtun governor of Balkh, Mullah Manan Niazi, announced that the Hazaras are infidels and killing them is not a sin. Niazi then gave Hazaras three options: convert to Sunni Islam, leave the country, or die.

It is surprising to read such a racist tweet by an Afghan-American woman regarding the Hazaras who have been oppressed by her people for centuries. She must know better than anyone else what the Hazaras have been through. I can't help but to surmise that she has is a racist and she hates the Hazaras; the same people who have been working hard to rebuild the country. The sons and daughters of the same people whom she hates serve in army and police. In fact, when Jalili worked at American University of Afghanistan, the Hazaras have been protecting her from danger. The Hazaras were security guards at the compound where she held her classes.

I might write another blog post on this, but for now what can be done about it? What would you do to help her learn that she must take responsibility for her actions?
Remember she is an American citizen and she lives and works in the US.