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tank man 2?
November 2, 2009 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Nerd to power: mathlete takes on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
When Khamenei asked if the audience had any questions, Vahidnia stood up and answered, "Yes, I have some words with you." (via)
posted by kliuless (48 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is there an iconic photo or video to go along with this story? Otherwise Tank Man 2 is probably a bit of a stretch. The dude isn't anonymous either, so it's not like he is in Iranian everyman.
posted by chunking express at 10:52 AM on November 2, 2009


Too brave for his own good.
I hope this gets enough international airtime, so that maybe he doesn't get mysteriously beat up in a jail cell.
posted by qvantamon at 10:52 AM on November 2, 2009


i was comparing sheer balls.
posted by kliuless at 10:55 AM on November 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


.
posted by jefficator at 10:58 AM on November 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


What followed was a 20 minute critique of both Khamenei and the Islamic Republic...

Did Khamenei actually stay for those 20 minutes, or was his "hasty-departure" early on? Because actually, this makes Iran seem more open to criticism than small town USA, let alone any Administration in the last 50 years.

And yeah, guts.
posted by DU at 11:00 AM on November 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow. Such a brave thing to do, if i understand correctly the guy had just won the latest national Math Olympics, and is considered something of a computer programming genius. Wonder what will happen to him now... surely after this it will be very hard for him to continue pursuing his academic interests in his country, exile looks like his best course of action atm.

Video here, but no subtitles so I have no idea how accurate the reporting is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyMavmZD6TU
posted by papafrita at 11:04 AM on November 2, 2009


Forgot to linkify: Video
posted by papafrita at 11:05 AM on November 2, 2009


Youth in Asia!
posted by humannaire at 11:06 AM on November 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


From the first link:

Khamenei dodged the questions and instead called Vahidnia dishonest. He claimed that he receives (and is receptive to) criticism every day, and that he always adjusts his behavior to account for errors.

From Iranian.com:

Iranian state-run TV which was broadcasting live images of the meeting was forced to stop airing the programme for some time.

I'm gonna have to call bullshit on Khamenei on this. But, of course, it's easy for me to do so.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:07 AM on November 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hope this gets enough international airtime, so that maybe he doesn't get mysteriously beat up in a jail cell.

Or worse.
posted by homunculus at 11:14 AM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Quick, let's all turn our icons green in support! And change our location to Tehran, so the secret police can't find the real Iranians.
posted by Nelson at 11:26 AM on November 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


But did he throw his shoes?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:29 AM on November 2, 2009


How do you say "humonguous balls of tempered titanium" in Farsi? Because I suspect it must sound a lot like Vahidnia.
posted by Skeptic at 11:40 AM on November 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Somehow I don't see this working out well for the nerd.
Vahidnia was reportedly detained by security officials soon after the event.
Yeah...
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on November 2, 2009


Did Khamenei actually stay for those 20 minutes, or was his "hasty-departure" early on? Because actually, this makes Iran seem more open to criticism than small town USA, let alone any Administration in the last 50 years.

You forgot the part about going to jail. But yeah besides that, dude's definitely receptive of criticism.

Honestly I'm surprised that some plain clothed republican guards didn't beat the shit out of him. Maybe being arrested was for his own protection...
posted by Allan Gordon at 12:00 PM on November 2, 2009


I blame twitter for this boy's insolence!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:18 PM on November 2, 2009


For a minute there I thought that article was someone confronting Obama about Fox news.
posted by HTuttle at 12:22 PM on November 2, 2009


Quick, let's all turn our icons green in support! And change our location to Tehran, so the secret police can't find the real Iranians.

Snark and call it ineffectual keyboard activism all you want, but the somewhat trivial response online to the events of this summer were, I believe, a pretty amazing and progressive moment for a lot of young Americans. That moment was a huge shift in our perception of the image the media has fed us for decades of The Common Iranian.

Shit, I'm 35. I've been a Zinn/Chomsky/Foreign Affairs/amatuer poli-wonk for years now and even I had my eyes opened to a lot of the realities of modern life and the people over there. It was a huge bridge in our perception.

So did all the Facebooking, twittering, sharing of youtubes actually prevent any of the Iranian crackdown? Of course not, but that doesnt mean that it didnt also have another profound (if less obvious at this moment) net benefit for the future of our relations with the people of Iran.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:23 PM on November 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


Wonder what will happen to him now...

Well, that's a pretty easy one. From the last link:

Rumors say that the student has been arrested.

Whoda thunk it.
posted by splice at 12:24 PM on November 2, 2009


I hope this gets enough international airtime, so that maybe he doesn't get mysteriously beat up in a jail cell.

Vs other places like America where that would never happen.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:31 PM on November 2, 2009


UPDATED at 4:30 a.m. PST on Nov. 1: Despite reports of his arrest, reports surfaced that Vahidnia is okay. He told the Persian-language Alef.ir news agency in a report that appeared in the reformist newspaper Sarmayeh on Sunday that rumors of his detention were unfounded.

He also said he made the speech on his own volition. "I had not coordinated with anyone," he told the news agency. "Even my family had no idea what I was going to say."

He added, "On the whole the meeting with the Supreme Leader was constructive."

posted by catchingsignals at 12:36 PM on November 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's a recent article about hoder: Iranian-Canadian blogger's family pleads for help
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The reports of his arrest are sourced to this article from last Thursday, which calls the reports "unconfirmed." Surely someone in Iran since last Wednesday has mentioned online that such a famous student has been seen/not seen since the event.
posted by mediareport at 12:42 PM on November 2, 2009


Ah, thanks, catchingsignals.
posted by mediareport at 12:42 PM on November 2, 2009


From Twitter: "Mahmoud Vahidnia denies rpts of his arrest" - (in Arabic, so I have no idea what it says)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:44 PM on November 2, 2009


yes, thanks, catchingsignals.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:45 PM on November 2, 2009


Just... wow.

I loved Stephen Colbert's take-down of then-President Bush a few years back, but this is like an order of magnitude more ballsy. Just amazing. A shining beacon of clarity parting the mists.

What an amazing young man. I hope he's okay.
posted by JHarris at 1:00 PM on November 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know how this will work out for Vahidnia, but I hope he realizes his brightest future would now be away from his homeland. Meanwhile, I assume the writers of "Big Bang Theory" are working right now on an episode where Sheldon does the same thing, but probably NOT confronting Obama (even if it has the most comedy potential)... much more likely Schwarzenegger (who they may even get to do a cameo).
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:04 PM on November 2, 2009


The majority of the comments on that article are just disgusting, homunculus. It makes me wonder how many Canadians would prefer a government more like Iran's.
posted by ODiV at 1:09 PM on November 2, 2009


The comments at the CBC, Globe, Star, etc are embarrassingly bad. I'm surprised they allow articles on their sites. I wrote a greasemonkey script to kill them for the Toronto Papers. You can only read so much about Immigrants destroying the country before it gets a bit tired.
posted by chunking express at 1:22 PM on November 2, 2009


Mahmoud Vahidnia: how to say "courage" in any language. Wow, what a brave man.
posted by bearwife at 1:31 PM on November 2, 2009


It will be a good day when all news sites stop allowing anonymous - or all - comments on articles.
posted by jeffmik at 1:32 PM on November 2, 2009


I truly hope he's ok. Being detained after this exchange sounds pretty ominous.
posted by theora55 at 1:36 PM on November 2, 2009


Despite reports of his arrest, reports surfaced that Vahidnia is okay. He told the Persian-language Alef.ir news agency in a report that appeared in the reformist newspaper Sarmayeh on Sunday that rumors of his detention were unfounded.

Uh, ok, but wouldn't it behoove some Western journalists to check up on this?

And boo on the news media... I put in Vahidnia in Google News and only get 92 hits. "Balloon boy" meanwhile is teeming with 10,000 stories, a huge chunk of them new.
posted by crapmatic at 1:37 PM on November 2, 2009


The comments at the CBC, Globe, Star, etc are embarrassingly bad....

I've noticed a marked shift in the comments on the Globe, including comments that insinuate that the Conservatives are paying people to comment. I wouldn't put it past them...
posted by sporb at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2009


mathlete

can we please never use this word
posted by oaf at 1:49 PM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The comments at the CBC, Globe, Star, etc are embarrassingly bad.

You can fix that.
posted by gman at 2:14 PM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Iran Authorities Close Sarmayeh Paper
Iranian authorities shuttered the business daily, which has been critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic and monetary policies.
posted by kliuless at 2:22 PM on November 2, 2009


Here is my script. I stopped using Firefox so i'm not sure if it still works.
posted by chunking express at 3:34 PM on November 2, 2009


I think the article mrgrimm links to is in Farsi/Persian, not Arabic.
posted by lauranesson at 5:36 AM on November 3, 2009


Sorry for the language ignorance/offensive generalization. Despite failing a history of linguistics class 20 years ago, I have near zero knowledge of Indo-Iranian languages (apart from what I just learned this second on the internets).
posted by mrgrimm at 9:33 AM on November 3, 2009


Well, Arabic and Farsi scripts are almost identical. So unless you could actually read the words it'd be hard to figure out what's up. Though, Iranians speak Fasri, so that's what i'd have guessed.
posted by chunking express at 10:18 AM on November 3, 2009


Yeah, sorry, I absolutely meant to cast no aspersions. I only figured out the difference while trying to study Arabic lately, and it took a months-long debate for me and the guy to figure out that "Persian" was an acceptable term along with "Farsi."

Though if anyone's interested, one (relatively) easy way to see the difference is to look for a high occurrence of letters that have a triangle of dots in them, especially if the dot pyramid is below the main characters of a word. The Farsi alphabet has five letters with triple dots, I think, whereas Arabic just has two. Another one to look for is a letter that looks like the non-vertical parts of a letter "K" with an extra line over the top part. That's Farsi for a hard "g" sound, and it's not written in Arabic writing.

/nerdery spygames
posted by lauranesson at 10:48 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Iran police clash with protesters: Security forces have used batons and tear gas to disperse opposition supporters in the Iranian capital, Tehran, witnesses and state media say.

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posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on November 4, 2009


Iran Accuses 3 American Hikers of Espionage
posted by homunculus at 11:11 AM on November 9, 2009


Reading Weber in Tehran
posted by homunculus at 10:42 AM on November 10, 2009


The Farsi alphabet has five letters with triple dots, I think, whereas Arabic just has two. Another one to look for is a letter that looks like the non-vertical parts of a letter "K" with an extra line over the top part. That's Farsi for a hard "g" sound, and it's not written in Arabic writing.

Your theory goes to hell when you throw in the many other languages with the same Perso-Arabic script like Tajik, Pashto, Urdu, or old Turkish and Uyghur. Remember, you can't spell Pakistan without a P!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:05 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just noticed Pollomacho totally came in for the win. I'm truly at survival-kind-of "Do I have any chance at all of reading this?" level. Come on, OLD Turkish? Current Turkish is tricky enough!
posted by lauranesson at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2009


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