My Carnation Revolution

Published April 25, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 3 minutes · 11 responses so far
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« Back to part 1 | Speaking of revolutionary thinking, today, April 25th is also the anniversary of Portugal’s 1974 Carnation Revolution, which took place five years before the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The Carnation Revolution was a single day culmination of a long struggle, but was notable in that in its last stages the revolutionary soldiers and people did not use direct violence, but came together peacefully to overthrow and transform the Portuguese government from a dictatorship to a relatively successful democracy. It has been said that “the population, holding red carnations, convinced the regime soldiers not to resist. The soldiers readily swapped their bullets for flowers.”

Portuguese Carnation Revolution
Image source.

I’d like to read about Portuguese history and the coming of the Carnation Revolution this summer, but as it is said a picture can speak a thousand words– and some pictures of the carnations in the gun barrels in various blogs today remind me not of pages from a history book, but the people I saw last summer in the streets of Tehran. In particular, they reminded me images I witnessed with my own eyes and recorded on July 17th, 2009. Here’s a brief excerpt from my notes:

The past few days people across the country have been anticipating the Friday prayers this week. One of the former presidents, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is scheduled to give the Friday sermon. […] Some commentators have been calling it a potential turning point, «روز مبادا», while others are more hesitant. We’ll see, I suppose. […] Passing through Northern Tehran, I’ve seen so many who have donned black chadors, which is a rather peculiar sight here. But people are waiting for buses, I guess everyone is going to the same place. […] The streets are packed with cars starting near Tarbiat Modares University, in fact I am guessing the 3-5km radius around Enghelab square is fully packed […] Passing through Dr. Fatemi street, the concentration of police has increased significantly […]

In Nazari street… saw an entire side street filled with ambulances. I am not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Seeing the police along with Sepah and plain-clothed Basijis isn’t giving me much reason for optimism. […] It was literally impossible to get into the premises of the University of Tehran… intense security… listened to the speech on audio projectors/radio: the first part covered Islamic history, the second the Iranian revolution, the third current events. I have to think about it a bit more, but for now… I’ll be frank. “Weaksauce” and “disappointed” are all words that come to mind […] Going back to Enghelab Square from South Kargar street, now the streets are vibrating from the echoes of people’s voices…

[…] A police-man just seriously beat some poor guy, likely a storekeeper, sitting on the steps of his store to watch the people passing by. Horrifying. […] I just saw a young soldier in a green uniform walking in the grassy area in middle of the avenue, against the current of people, with a carnation in his hand. He was holding it was as if it was a fragile thing, looking at it, dazed, smiling. I wonder who gave it to him.
Perhaps there is hope yet.

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi

Malaria: an integrated approach

Published April 25, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 2 minutes · 2 responses so far
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April 25th is a rather interesting and historically eventful day. Today is DNA Day, commemorating the 1953 publication of James D. Watson and Francis Crick’s article elucidating the structure of DNA. Today is also the 7th anniversary of the completion of the ambitious Human Genome Project, which while in itself a monumental accomplishment, will be instrumental to the next great leap in the biological sciences.


Global malaria endemicity via Global Malaria Partnership.

World Malaria Day, takes place today in recognition of malaria, a preventable infection that is endemic to 109 countries, leading to as many as 250 million infections each year and one million deaths each year. As with the Neglected Tropical Diseases, which also put two billion at risk, those who are most likely to die from malaria are already the most vulnerable in world, their condition exacerbated by the social and economic burden of these diseases. As I posted in @ntds earlier today “No man is an island… we global advocates must work together to eradicate HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and Neglected Tropical Diseases.” I am an advocate of the vast yet concentrated efforts used to eradicate smallpox, but at the same time, I believe that today, given the knowledge and tools available, we are capable of a much more contextualized response. In my view, given the interplay between these four diseases, tackling one without a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to tackle the others is akin to containing a leaking dam with a finger. It’s not going to be effective over the long term.

I love examining how great transformations occur, and I think in order to eradicate the the ‘Big Four’ infectious diseases that scourge our world, we need a great transformation in how we approach these infections, integrated strategies (as advocated by GNNTD) and revolutionary thinking.

Continue to part 2 »

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi

Earth Days

Published April 24, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 1 minute · Share your thoughts
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Finals are finally drawing to a close, and I absolutely can’t hide my excitement and relief. Although I don’t have any interesting plans for this summer, at least nothing as interesting previous one, the summer will afford me more time for some serious reading and writing. And movie marathons. Can’t forget that.

In the meantime I need to curb my enthusiasm…but happy belated Earth Day. The Big Picture had some pretty incredible pictures up in celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd. I look at some of these pictures and can’t even comprehend how such beauty is possible. To imagine billions and billions of heart beating to pulsating rivers… it will never be overrated to say our Earth is truly incredible.


A poison dart frog of the dendrobates genus clings to a leaf at the Botanic Gardens in Medellin April 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Fredy Builes)

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi