Elections in Iran on Friday returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a second term as president. Supporters of challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a conservative reformer, have taken to the streets in protest. Violence has broken out, and people have been shot to death by police. Remarkably, the Islamic republic’s leading cleric, Ali Khamenei, has called for an investigation of the election results. So have other members of the Iranian ruling class.
Regardless of the outcome, the United States needs to stay out of this. Mousavi’s supporters and Iran experts are clear about this. Given the history of U.S. intervention in Iranian affairs since World War II, and the anti-Americanism that was a theme of the 1979 revolution, any effort by our government to promote the opposition is guaranteed to backfire and to help unify and expand Ahmadinejad’s support. This is why Mitt Romney’s remarks this weekend have been self-serving and irresponsible. Obama’s balancing act — expressing doubt about the election’s fairness without taking sides — is the right move for this moment in the chess game. Continue reading
I have not found myself able to write either about my academic work, local affairs, or the wide world — even as I anxiously watch events unfolding in Iran. What I can offer is a discovery in online music.
Magnatune.com has a certain downloadable album of classical piano music — an album that perhaps could not have been made before music went online, and that some will sneer at. Robert F. Tucios introduces From the Lobby of the Cooper Arms this way:
The piano, a bruised Brambach baby grand, lies at rest in a quiet corner of the still majestic grand lobby of the Cooper Arms, one of a handful of resort high-rise beach apartments and hotels to pop up on the shoreline of Long Beach in the 1920′s. This cool ornate interior serves as a communal living room, echoing with activity and sheltering the building’s residents and visitors from the noise of the world outside.
I descend the elevator, say my hellos and walk to the corner of the lobby, music in hand.
I sit down and play for a while.
You can listen to the results here (or here for low bandwidth). Continue reading
I’m in awe of this concert by Jordi Savall in Italy. The music is
French, including something by Marin Marais by English composer Tobias Hume. And I’ll shut up now.
UPDATE: There are three pieces by Hume.
- I don’t know the title of the first one.
- “Deth” (2:54).
- “A Soldier”s Resolution” (4:55), with several section headings that the performer is supposed to read aloud, as Savall does here. The sections evoke marching, the sound of trumpets, the charge, and the “march away.”