Ali Reza Hayati

ARH’s headshot

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.

Nobody survives with oppression

It has been more than ten days since my people in Iran have started protesting against injustices they are suffering from, triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young girl reportedly killed by morality police.

The government has shut down the internet again and killed almost all messengers and communication services people used and access to any server located outside the country is very much restricted. This has been a common way for the regime to oppress protesters.

A lot of people, including many athletes and artists, have shown support for the people’s fight and condemned the way the regimes handles this situation. The oppression of opposite voices and all the injustices happening made people rise to streets. I even saw some people in national television condemning the way the regime handles the situation. It is known that those who speak in the television are carefully selected to move the government’s propaganda forward.

I can’t stay silent. People are tired and angry about everything they have been through. Every injustice they have been subjected to and every time they have been oppressed because of the the way they think or behave have made them angry. The economic situation is bad, the level of corruption inside the government is very high, the limitations in their life, mostly imposed by outer elements, are felt a lot, and they are hurt that there’s almost nothing they can do about it.

People are hurt that nobody is there to rescue them from all the pain they’re experiencing and all the lies they have been hearing all these times. They can’t tolerate this anymore.

Forty years ago when our fathers started a revolution, they thought they can finally get rid of monarchy and earn liberty. Now people feel they just replaced the old monarchy and corrupt system with another one. People are hopeless but more importantly fearless because they believe they have nothing to lose.

For the past ten days, I have seen many people quote prophet Muhammad that “the country survives with blasphemy but won’t survive with oppression” and believe me people feel very oppressed. It doesn’t matter how the regime explains to them why they’re wrong or how it’s different from what they feel, what people are experiencing and feeling is different.

People no longer accept what clergymen say. They have lost their trust in them. They feel lied to and betrayed. All the trust they had in the system is being torn apart by every single mistake and mishandled situation. The system is damaging itself, it’s exploding from inside, and its shrapnel is hurting people, making them more angry. It’s not their fault but they have been the blame for a long time.

Nothing is more dangerous than hopeless, tired, and angry people, except for fearless people. And my people have become fearless because they have nothing to lose anymore. My people have become the most dangerous now. I feel the same, and I stand with my dangerous people. You should too.

There’s no middle!

Debates are often viewed as two opposing sides finding some common ground in the middle.

However, this framework presumes that both viewpoints are valid and equal when in reality not all viewpoints are, or should be, considered as such.

And sometimes when you concede ground to meet in the middle, you still end up losing. And losing is the correct word. In political debates when you don’t achieve what you’re fighting for, which should be people’s benefits and rights, you’ve lost your fight.

The middle between civil rights and genocide, which means both sides have given up some grounds, is murder. No matter what you achieve, you’re responsible for the murder.

People may have some in common with their political opponent but it’s exactly the differences that matter. Common ground of believing in women rights’ to vote means nothing if one side of the debate is Hitler.

I’m sure we have all some stuff in common with Hitler. Charlie Chaplin had a mustache in common. Animal lovers and pet owners have something in common with him. Hitler even did some good stuff when he was in power.

Hitler instituted anti-animal cruelty laws. He was a well known animal lover, and was accompanied frequently by his pet dog, Blondi, which he killed near the end of the war to test a cyanide capsul to see if it would work if he ever needed to commit suicide.

Hitler instituted laws to prevent smoking in public. He abhorred smoking, and as Führer made laws that made smoking in public illegal in many places.

Hitler helped to start the automotive company Volkswagen. He was a primary endorser of the Volkswagen Beetle, a “people’s car” intended to be affordable for all Germans.

Hitler started the first major construction of the Autobahn, plans for which were divised and badly started by the Weimar Republic. The Autobahn is a prominent highway in Germany today.

Hell he even started the tradition of Olympic runners carrying the torch to the Olympic stadium and lighting the Olympic torch. While people forget the origins of this tradition, Hitler started it as a marketing tool for Germany.

But the fact that he killed millions of people, did war crimes, and committed genocide prevents us from making him an ideal in out political positions. Hitler will always be remembered as a monster he was, no matter how many animals he saved or how many poor people he rescued.

When we talk about political debates, it’s not the wins we care about, because the wins were our basic rights, but it’s the losses that matter, because those are rights we lost.

You either have your abortion rights or you don’t, there’s no middle. Part of your rights is not enough. You either have all of or you have nothing. You either have your freedom or you don’t, there’s nothing in the middle.

Don’t get tricked by those who urge you to sacrifice your rights to accomplish something. It’s a trap to lessen your freedom, trick you to accept less, and finally abolish your freedom completely.

You remember the campaign Jon Stewart promoted years ago? It was “The Rally to Restore Sanity” which was all about people being more moderate. The message of the rally was that if the media stopped giving voices to crazy people on both sides, maybe we could restore sanity.

It was an urged non-partisan cooperation between moderates on both sides. What they forgot was that Obama tried that and found out there are no moderates on the other side.

Jon Stewart believed that the national convention is dominated by right-wingers who believe Obama is a socialist and people on the supposed left (Democrats) who believe that 9/11 was an inside job.

But there weren’t any Democratic leaders who said 9/11 was an inside job but Republicans who think Obama was a socialist? All of them.

It was official Republican policy to claim Obama is a dangerous socialist. Like tax cuts pay for themselves and gay men just haven’t met the right women.

As another example of both sides using overheating rhetoric Stewart cited the right acquainting Obama with Hitler and the left calling Bush a war criminal. Except for thinking Obama is like Hitler is utterly unfounded but calling Bush a war criminal is the opinion of General Antonio Taguba who headed the Army’s investigation to Abu Gharib.

Republicans keep staking out a position that is further and further right and demand the Democrats meet them in the middle, which is now not the middle anymore.

That is why healthcare reform is so watered down. It’s Bob Dole’s plan from 1994. Same thing for cap and trade, it was the first President Bush’s plan to deal with carbon emissions. Now the Republican plan for climate change is to claim it’s a hoax.

Two opposing sides doesn’t necessarily have two compelling arguments. Martin Luther King spoke at that mall in the capital and he didn’t say those southern sheriffs with the fire hoses and the German Shepherds have a point too. He said “I have a dream”, they have a nightmare.

This isn’t Team Edward and Team Jacob. Liberals and Progressives must stand up and be counted and not pretend that we’re greedy or mean or shortsighted as they are and if that’s too polarizing for you and you still want to reach across the aisle and hold hands with someone on the right, try staying there, because they suit you more.

I’m the cow, father of the calf!

In Persian, sometimes curse words are different than other languages. For example, people sometimes refer to another person as an animal. In English you may insult someone by calling them a pig or a donkey, in Persian you can insult people calling them a calf or cow, in addition to pig or donkey.

A principal in a middle school tells this story. He says one day, just few minutes to break time, a gentleman with a nice suit and a very calming tune and behavior walked into my office. He asked to speak with a teacher. He wanted to ask about his child’s behavior and education. I asked him to introduce himself and he replied “I’m the cow, the father of the calf!”

He said the teacher knows him. Tell her I’m the cow, she’ll know!

I was surprised. I told the teacher about this and she was surprised as well. She said maybe he has some kind of psychological disorder. What does he mean? I don’t understand. I asked the teacher to meet the parent and she accepted.

The man greeted the teacher very politely and introduced himself: “I’m the cow.” The teacher greeted him back and replied with a wondering voice: “but…”

The man continued “you know me well, I’m the cow, father of the calf! I’m the father of that girl you called calf yesterday.” The teacher stuttered and said “but, you know…”

The man then started to talk. “You know, maybe my daughter has a problem, and I fully understand that you may get frustrated but wouldn’t it be better to share her problems with me before insulting her? I could help you, even if it’s little, with this problems.” The man and the teacher talked a little more after that.

After their conversation ended, the man handed a business card to the teacher. On it, it was written “Dr. [name]. Professor and Board Member of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at University of [name]”

Few days later I asked him to speak for us and the teachers and he accepted. He delivered an amazing touching speech.

Violence, unlike what we think, is not just physical. Usually we consider hard physical interaction and sexual assault as violence but the reality is that the domain of violence is too wide and it includes verbal violence as well as many others.

When we insult someone, ridicule a race, mock the believers of some belief, when we accuse someone of something that one is not, when we threaten a person, all of these are acts of violence; the only difference is that verbal violence is without bleeding.

Verbal violence kills people from inside. Have you ever seen someone visit emergency room or go to police because he was bullied or insulted?

Victims of verbal violence don’t have scars on their bodies or a sign or mark that shows they were violated. Violence is first shaped in mind, then transformed into verbals and they eventually form physical violence. It affects mental health as well as physical health.

When a political leader calls its opposition dumb and corrupt, we as their followers are getting ready to walk on them or hit them with our cars. Why? Because we no longer consider them worthy of living. We blame them for everything that is fault and we form violence towards them.

When in a stadium, hundred thousand people shout insults and derogatory phrases at the opponents team, we set the stage for the post-game showdown. We’re forming violence against those people.

When we call the opposition movement the traitors and enemies’ puppets, then the physical removal and physical elimination of the other side will be justified for us, because we formed the violence in our minds before that.

When we call women chicks, the next lane driver an idiot donkey, the customer a fat cow, the student retarded, and regular people dumb, all of these will form violence in our minds which will prepare us for physical violence, from fist fights to sexual assault.

What should we do? I believe the first thing we should do is learn and practice conversational skills. The lack of conversational skill will result in lack of proper communication, because people won’t be able to word what they mean properly, and then they’ll try to communicate aggressively and violently, because the violence is formed in our minds and the blame is on others.

Practicing communication and conversation and practicing to empty our minds and hearts will help us to act more properly and less violently.

Second thing we should do is to repeat with ourselves that killing people is not just stabbing them in heart or firing a bullet at their head. A man or woman whose personality and individuality is broken inside, whose integrity is violated constantly, whose self-consciousness and respect is destroyed won’t have a normal life anymore.

We should remind ourselves that the opposite movement, the opponent team, the believers in something we don’t believe are just human beings like us. They are affected by their environment and they are formed by what they have been in. We should repeat that forming violence against them is not OK.

We should learn to use the word cow for cows only.

Founding fathers would approve!

A common argument conservatives often throw is that the Founding Fathers would approve of a behavior or political/societal practice. For example, they say the Founding Fathers would not approve of separation of religion and state, which I previously wrote about on a different post.

Aside from how dumb is such argument in any sense, the idea of justifying anything morally by saying someone 300 years ago would approve of it is pathetic.

Conservatives are very eager to say that their practices are humane and what they do is to benefit humans, not themselves or their masters, which I believe are capitalists and money. However, their speeches and behavior show a different thing.

Using the Founding Fathers argument, they should also believe in slavery or segregation. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry were all slave-owners.

Among American presidents, twelve of them owned slaves. Eight of them owned slaves while in office. George Washington is believed to own more than 1500 slaves while in office, combined; each more than 600. George Washington’s slaves were not freed even when he was passing Northwest Ordinance, which banned slaver ownership in north of the Ohio river.

Jefferson fathered multiple slave children with the enslaved woman Sally Hemings, the likely half-sister of his late wife Martha Wayles Skelton.

Despite being a lifelong slave owner, Jefferson routinely condemned the institution of slavery, attempted to restrict its expansion, and advocated gradual emancipation. As President, he oversaw the abolition of the international slave trade.

Founding Fathers were not hypocrites, were they? I’m not sure what to call it but owning slaves while trying to free them seems a lot like hypocrisy to me.

Did Founding Fathers approve of hypocrisy? Should we be hypocrites and justify it using the Founding Fathers argument? How is a moral practice justified because someone in 1801 was doing it?

James Polk became the Democratic nominee for president in 1844 partially because of his tolerance of slavery, in contrast to Van Buren. As president, he generally supported the rights of slave owners. His will provided for the freeing of his slaves after the death of his wife, though the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ended up freeing them long before her death in 1891.

The majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence owned enslaved people. Many southerners who could be considered Founders were pro-slavery. Their children fought against northerners in the

James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution because of his pivotal role in the document’s drafting as well as its ratification. He is also a slave owner, believed to own more than 100 enslaved people.

Madison occasionally condemned the institution of slavery and opposed the international slave trade, but he also vehemently opposed any attempts to restrict its domestic expansion. Madison did not free his slaves during his lifetime or in his will.

When Madison was writing the Constitution, the Fathers did not give women right to vote. They didn’t consider all human beings equal. They did not believe a woman is suitable to work in politics.

I don’t blame them though. Ethics were much different back then. It’s not ethical to restrict a woman or control here today, because we believe in a different ethical system from then, which is a good thing. We don’t get our ethics from 1800’s.

Slavery is just one example of many wrong things Founding Fathers or American presidents did, of course.

Let’s not even mention that those people were all colonizers and they stole land and killed indigenous people of those lands brutally. Let’s not mention their behaviors toward each other, even white people, and other countries. We can even forget about the massacres and anything else.

If you get stuck in an island of cannibals, will eating a human be justified? If all your neighbors beat their wives or daughters, will you do it too? If all of your family members smoke crack, would you do drugs?

I don’t believe a sane person would do anything wrong or immoral just because others do it. Trying to justify a wrongdoing with “but he did it too” seems just stupid, doesn’t it? It’s childish.

Aside from that, why just get wrong things from the Founding Fathers? I previously have explained how Founding Fathers resisted the idea of involving religion in laws.

Thomas Jefferson was a deist. George Washington belonged to a church, but may or may not have been a believer, he was silent about it. Thomas Paine was a deist and an opponent of organized religion in general and Christianity in particular. Ben Franklin was a deist, but sympathetic towards Christians.

Will conservatives shut up about religion, Christianity, and the separation of Church and State because Founding Fathers did as well? I guess not. Maybe they got the hypocrisy from the slave-owning Fathers.

Do judge a book by its cover

Why not judge a book by its cover? Isn’t the cover there to show what’s in the book? Sure there are some idiots who ruined the true meaning and purpose of cover but that doesn’t change the fact that the cover is there for the single purpose of introducing the book.

One of my favorite comedians of all time, if not my most favorite one, is George Carlin. Carlin explains language and our fear of using straight language very well. He explains how we invent new words to satisfy or avoid our fears.

I think our way of thinking right now is very much influenced from our new fears. Media has a big impact on our way of thinking and media, I believe, is the biggest source of our fears. These fears have changed us a lot and one of its effects is our language.

The sole purpose of language is communication. When we change the meaning behind words, we change our way of communication. We change the way we interact and we change the way we live. This affects a lot of other parts of our lives as well.

Language can also deliver feelings and words are very much important in that matter. New language we’re speaking, the one with newly-invented mild words, fails to deliver our feelings correctly.

George Carlin gives a pretty good example about it. There’s a condition in combat, most people know about it, when a fighting person nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum, can’t take any more input, the nervous system is either snapped or is about to snap, in the first world war that condition was called shell shock.

Simple honest direct language. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along, and the very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn’t seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shellshock! Battle fatigue.

Then again time passed an the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. Hey, we’re up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It’s totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car.

The war in Vietnam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years (at the time Carlin was explaining), and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it’s no surprise that the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. Still eight syllables, but we’ve added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ll bet you if we’d have still been calling it shellshock, some of those Vietnam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time.

Remind me again, why not judge a book by its cover? Isn’t that its whole purpose, to make it possible for us to make a judgement? What has changed and why it has changed? I truly miss the time that we put purpose in things we created and we valued them enough to stick to its good and only change it for the better!

Justifying privacy!

Trying to justify the right of privacy is like trying to justify any other human right. They are called rights, not because you need to justify them, but because we came to a consensus that they are integral parts of a working society. The right to privacy is like the right to not being harmed, your right to free speech or right to freedom. All of these are nothing you need to justify in order to acquire them, you innately have them, period.

You may choose not to use them, but you can never use that as grounds to deny them to others. The answer “because I have a right to privacy” is enough to satisfyingly answer the “I have nothing to hide” paradigm; no justification needed for making use of basic human rights.

Roe v Wade overturned by American Taliban

In a predicted event, SCOTUS overturned the Roe v Wade decision and decided that every state in U.S. should decide on its own about women abortion rights. This overturn holds that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

While those in Germany are abolishing Nazi-era laws, forbidding doctors from providing information about abortions, those in Supreme Court of the United States are bringing them back. While those in Germany are making progress about human rights, Those in United States are taking America back to the Middle Ages. I’m pretty sure if they could, they would’ve burn some women accused of witchery.

“For almost a century, doctors have been forbidden and punishable by penalty from providing factual information about methods and possible risks to women who are considering terminating a pregnancy,” Justice Minister Marco Buschmann of Germany said in a statement.

“Today, this time of distrust in women and distrust in doctors is coming to an end.”

Any criminal court sentences handed down based on the law since October 1990 will also be repealed, and any ongoing proceedings will be discontinued.

However, in America, English speaking Taliban is taking power and enforces sharia laws on people. Speaking of which, neo-Republicans are constantly emphasizing the lie of Christian foundation of United States. I guess they know how to repeat a lie just enough times to make people believe it. After all, they are professional liars from Middle Ages.

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How to become a Republican in modern day

  1. Disagree with Democrats, even if you truly agree with them.
  2. Resist understanding.
  3. Lie.
  4. Be racist.
  5. Claim to be an advocate of freedom while passing laws that violates people freedom.
  6. When you feel there’s no attention on you, spread conspiracy theories; or make them.
  7. Use the word “regime” to scare people.
  8. Claim anything wrong happening is because if Obama.
  9. If you disagree with someone or something, say it’s Marxist.
  10. Anything goes wrong, blame it on Antifa and BLM.
  11. The only science that matters to you should be the ones that may suit your agenda.
  12. Claim to be working for people while in fact you’re serving capitalists and the rich, only.
  13. Claim banning people from social networks is bad, then ban books and information.
  14. Blame every destroyed family on homosexual and trans people.
  15. Spread conspiracy theories like white replacement.
  16. Embrace hypocrisy.
  17. Bully ones you don’t like, then act like a victim.
  18. Claim elections are rigged while you’re in office as a result of those elections.
  19. Get roasted and owned frequently by media that reveals your lies, but never give up and feel ashamed.
  20. Never be good for anything. Serve your masters, yourself, and whatever benefits you personally, and don’t care about anything or anyone. Be absolute garbage.