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I was but a small child, a new comer to the United States of America. Escaping the same bearded mullahs who run Iran today, my parents and I started a new life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The drastic change of scenery, along with the blistering cold brought poetry to my fathers lips. As he walked me to preschool in subzero temperatures, I can remember him reciting a poem in Farsi about how life, if lived well, is profoundly beautiful. As the partially frozen snot was coming down my nose I didn’t fully comprehend the message of the poem, but somehow I remember feeling the fuzzy notion that it was deep and powerful. In homage to this vague feeling I would make a sincere effort to show I was tough and that the cold couldn’t phase me. The poem is by Siavash Kasraie and is titled Zendegi Zeebast, which means “Life is Beautiful.” It is less a Louis Armstrong wonderful world type poem(trees of green skies of blues bright blessed days, etc) and more a somber reflection on the dutiful life. Perseverance and hope in the face of adversity will illuminate that the struggle itself is beautiful – that type of thing. In light of today’s struggles for justice and prosperity(from Oakland to Tripoli to Tehran to … ) I find that message to resonate strongly. Advocates of justice everywhere: I believe the underlying ethos of our collective struggle should be one of hope and strength, not cynicsim and despair. I will try to carry that spirit in my work going forward and in the stories and reflections I share in this blog.
Those in my inner circle know that I have divorced the 9-5 engineering life and have moved on to focus my energies on education. I have been active in the outreach organization I started in Oakland (Oakland Science and Math Outreach) and will start a PhD program at Berkeley in the Fall in the EMST program (engineering math science and technology). I will probably end up writing more about this transition as I begin the program, but the short and rough version is that I identified a career in which I can do something social justice related while also building upon stuff I was already educated in and good at (math, engineering, talking to people, teaching math). A few days ago I read an online interview with Shepard Fairey (the artist of obama fame) and he put it very nicely. He said his embrace of street art is a means for him to indulge the many different passions he has; art, activism, politics, pop culture, etc. I feel that way about education, I can indulge myself (how selfish!). But its true, I could’nt be happier. It has an intellectual nerdy theory aspect to it, an activism and political side to it, a social and interacting with the community side, and I’ve chose to focus on STEM so that will draw upon a ton of stuff I’m already familiar with.
With that said, I have to bid Dapper Concepts a sweet farewell. For those who stuck by me through my literary experimentations, thank you very much. Please keep reading me at http://sepehrv.wordpress.com.