Saturday, February 02, 2008

Obama '08 and Feb 5th

When Jess told me Obama was coming to Minneapolis on Saturday I was ecstatic. I was above the moon when she scored us tickets to the event. I had a prior engagement to go to in the morning and so did she but at half past noon I was on my way to pick her up. "Ten minutes left before the doors open. Hurry Leyla!" yelled Jess excitedly. We walked to the Target center discussing the different candidates and where they stood on issues. Jess was undecided but all I needed was reaffirmation. Target center had people everywhere. There were lines for waiting list people, lines for green tickets, lines for E ticket and gold tickets. The line snaked a mile long. Almost down to the I-94 exit for Olson Memorial Highway.

People stood in the cold stomping their feet trying to stay warm. There were people of all ages, from 1 year olds to 60 year olds. Talk about a change? This was an amazing sight to see. Minnesotans braved the cold to listen to Baraka Obama speak. 20, 000 people had gotten the tickets before hand while there were 10,000 more on the waiting list. The Target Center, which doesn't even fill up during a basketball game, was full to the top bleachers. Obama openers included Minneapolis Mayor R. T Rybeck, Keith Ellison and Lady Freeman. He spoke eloquently and talked about issues he believed in from veterans rights, college affordability, health care, war, foreign policy, poverty, economic issues. Baraka peppered his speech with comedic moments that made him seem like one of us.

Obama's father left the family when Obama was only two years old. His mother raised him while going to school and working. Obama recounted instances when he was on food stamps. Obama watched his mother die from cancer at the age of 52. He watched as his mother's face bore the worry lines from reading letters from insurance companies trying to deny her health reimbursement. I feel that he takes a lot of things that many Americans go through with him wherever he goes. He is young and inexperienced but maybe thats what America needs. A person who is untarnished and still idealistic.

For all the Americans who can vote in the upcoming November elections, remember Feb 5th is caucus day. From 6:30 pm -8:00 pm. Please go out and vote for the candidates of your choice. More Americans watched Superbowl than voted last election and thats a horrible statistic. We need to exercise our civil rights. So please find out your caucus center and go vote!

Friday, February 01, 2008


Last night I went with a couple friends of mine to watch Persepolis. I normally don't go to movies in the middle of the week but I couldn't pass up a chance to watch a foreign movie at an independant theatre.

All I knew about this movie was that it was a girl's story during the Islamic revolution in Iran. I was not prepared to deal with a tragiccomedy that mirrored the life of my Iranian friend. Marjane Satrapi released a comic book in France in 2000. The movie was in french with English subtitles. Most of the scenes in the movie are memories of what she was told as a child and what she saw.

Marjane is a descendant of the royal emperor of Iran before the Shah's regime. She moves from being curious, idealist to depressed to realist. The profound thing for me was that at the beginning Marjane thinks she is a prophet and has personal conversations with God but after the desolutism she goes through she chases him away. At the end it is God who provides her salvation by sending her back when she has given up on life.The movie shows the relationships she makes and breaks. More than that it is a journey of self discovery for Marjane, whose parents are Marxists.

Scenes of her wearing hijab and "punk is not dead" jacket,walking the streets of Iran in search of banned music. Marjane rocks out to classic rock in her house as the country goes through a purging. Marjane watches as people around her change and die. Her uncle is imprisoned and requests to see her. Marjane braves this prison visit at such a tender age but what is told to her stays with her. Her relationship with her parents is unique and her grandmother is a character to say the least. Definately a must see movie and a must get when it is released. By the by the movie is banned in Iran.