Don’t think positive!

Sometimes I just want to punch people in the face when they ask me to think positive. Stay positive they say. What a brilliant idea.

I’m not angry though. I just chose to use those words to express how stupid it is to tell people stay positive and how frustrated I get when I hear that.

Yet sometimes you should be angry. Sometimes you need to compel people to be afraid of you and your potential. It’s not good to always be positive. Sometimes you need to force others to be afraid from you.

It’s like someone holding your head under the water and they guy next to you tells you think positive. I’m pretty sure even the one holding your head will punch that person.

I guess sometimes it’s because they don’t understand the difference between being positive and being hopeful. In worst situations you don’t need to be positive, you need to be hopeful. It’s hope that will move you forward, not positivity.

You can be fearful yet filled with hope. Fear is normal. It’s a defense mechanism for us to so our best to get the results we need, in stressful and less-likely-to-win conditions. We should learn to use it properly for better of ourselves.

Being positive is for idiots. It makes us weak while those who are not positive, are doubtful and handle their fears and anger, do much better and actually accomplish something.

I’m not a positive person. It doesn’t mean that I’m unpleasant to be around or I’m not likable or evil, it just means I just don’t give up trying. I don’t bow down to the situation I am in and I don’t accept the idiocy that everything is going to be better just by staying positive.

I actually work to reach what I want. I do what I need to do and for that I get what I want. I learned to manage my fears, turn my anger to energy and force, control my stress and turn it to focus and strength, and finally handle them the best I can to reach my destination.

I don’t want to be positive. I want to be accomplished.

You are worthy

Watching Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I know all those saviors needed one thing to become a hero and that was being worthy of helping people and selflessness. What made those people recognized as heroes is that they put aside their differences and accepted their weaknesses yet became whole as a team, became strong, and defeated most impossible enemies.

I love Marvel movies because they make me feel hopeful. They teach us something that maybe other movies can’t even mention and that’s how a simplest act can make an impact complex and big enough to save the entire world.

Most of the times I hear people worrying about not being enough to do something or not being worthy of acting in defense of people, I just remember how some normal human beings with just one or two special talents could save the world in our favorite movies.

It’s true that those are just movies but the lesson we learn from those movies are real. I believe millions of people fighting against a common enemy are far more stronger than a team of 10 people with robots or magic.

These fighters for freedom are worthy. Worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer, worthy of becoming an Avenger, and worthy of becoming the leaders of war for freedom.

I remember someone telling me a wonderful story about our true value: a while back someone gave a watch to me. He handed me a wristwatch. I opened the box and it was a beautiful watch. It wasn’t super fancy but it was attractive. I brought it to home and put it in my desk drawer.

Couple of months later I opened the drawer to take something out and I saw the watch sitting there. I looked at it again and I thought it costs a few hundred bucks but for some reason I did a web search for its price and when I did I nearly passed out. The exact watch came out, it was worth over 10 thousand dollars.

It was from a very famous prestigious watchmaker. I’ve seen a lot of other watches that cost several hundred dollars but because of the manufacturer this watch was extremely valuable. You could put it side by side of other watches and you wouldn’t see much difference. Looked average, ordinary, copied. On the surface it looked the same.

But what gave it its value was who made it. Sometimes we don’t realize who we are because we see other people just like us. We may look average, ordinary, like nothing stands out but there’s something about us that makes us extremely valuable.

We’re not a copy, or a knockoff, we are original. We can’t get any more prestigious than what we are now. Nothing is more valuable than what we are.

Never think of yourself as worthless or incapable. You are capable of holding an entire chain together and doing the impossible. Simplest act from you can affect the whole system, the whole universe, and result in doing the absolute impossible.

You are not a single person, you are what the chain needs to remain intact. You, alone, can’t do anything but you are what the chain needs to remain intact. You may be the first part of the chain or the last one, either way, you are doing greatest work you can.

Never think of yourself as worthless or not valued. Never think that you are alone or you can’t do anything because you feel lonely in your situation. Think about how you inspire others or how you can start something amazing enough to change everything.

How does Fediverse work?

As Elon Musk took over Twitter, people are migrating to alternative social networks. One of them being Mastodon, it is a decentralized social network based on a protocol named ActivityPub. This protocol is what Fediverse is built upon.

But we don’t want to talk about the technical stuff behind the Fediverse. What we want to talk about is simply how Fediverse and/or Mastodon work. Mastodon is just a part of Fediverse, not all of it. Fediverse is a word built by mixing the two words of federation and universe.

The Fediverse is a network of connected different social platforms making it possible for users to communicate with each other. For example, they can follow each other or send posts to each other or simply share whatever they want without being forced to sign up on a single centralized social network, or a web site, app, whatsoever.

Mastodon, Pleroma, GNU Social, and Pixelfed are some of these different social networks all connected to each other using the protocol they are built upon. Each of those social networks have many instances or servers. So they are federated with each other and each of those federations are also federated to other federations.

If it’s too complicated for you, imagine earth. We have multiple countries, all having relationships with each other, and within every country, there are many cities which are also connected with each other. Now every city also can connect to another city whether it’s inside the country or outside.

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Obeying the law

You would have to agree with me that all people should obey just laws but I would also say that unjust law is no law at all. And when we find an unjust law, I think we have a moral obligation to take a stand against it.

I do feel there are two types of laws: one is a just law and one is an unjust law. We all have moral obligations to disobey unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much as moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

Any man who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail in order to arouse the conscience of the community on the injustice of the law is in that moment expressing the very highest respect for law.

Laws have been made for us to have a better life, and to provide a good condition for living in communities. At least it is the purpose that we have been told the laws have. However, laws were supposed to trigger the moral obligation of humans toward each other in societies to do good and avoid evil.

Since we made laws zero and one, it is doing more damage than good to the soul and spirit of the original purpose and idea of having laws. Since the creation of classes and since one class made to rule and control other classes, laws have changed to protect the benefits of the master class against other people.

The first two paragraphs of this writing came from speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. when he was fighting against the tyranny of segregation. Many laws, such as slavery, or forced way of clothing, or forced way of eating or drinking (like the prohibition), were unjust and people fought against them for a better living.

It is, now, obvious to us that those laws were unjust and we praise those who risked their life to change those laws. However, at the time those laws were in place, people were told to obey the law no matter what. If everyone were obeying those unjust laws, there would have been no change and no advancement of our condition and living situation.

The laws were made for us to do good and to avoid evil and for us to be able to punish those who do evil in order to have more pure and safe communities. Since we forgot the purpose of the creation of the law, we have been forced to obey bunch of papers written by a higher class with the purpose of control.

The controlling class is now fighting against the very people who respected these laws for a long time and wishes to break them into a new form of slavery. A form of slavery that people are not forced to do what the master class wants by whips but by manipulating them to believe what they do is morally correct and they are obligated to do them for the good of themselves.

The freedom of the minds of people will result in riots and revolutions against these tyrants and modern slave-owners.

My brothers and sisters, we are living in a new slavery and we are bound by unjust laws to obey these lords and masters, but we are morally obligated to disobey the unjust laws forced on us and we are morally and humanly obligated to fight against these masters for the sake of ourselves and the good of people and for a better future.

That is how we respect the law most. That is how we are supposed to treat laws.

Who is NIAC?

While the Iranian people are fighting for regime change, Iran regime lobby in United States, NIAC, is busy trying to reclaim the narrative and making it one of reform, and not regime change.

But the Iranian people aren’t calling for reform, they’re calling for regime change. NIAC isn’t just a group which advocates for US-Iran relations, they are an active body of the Islamic regime.

Now their activists are trying to twist the protests into an issue of forced hijab, or of economic stressors; anything to avoid admitting reality, that people are saying no to the Islamic regime.

Their main talking point is that the left should make an Iran-deal and lift sanctions, as if that’s what causing the protests. NIAC founder, Trita Parsi, and NIAC activists such as Negar Mortazavi and Ellie Geranmayeh of the European Council of Foreign Relations, as well as Hoda Katebi, a hijabi fashion influencer, have all called for sanction relief.

Sanctions have made life harder for Iranians but if sanctions are removed with Islamic regime still in power, none of that money will go to the Iranian people, as we saw during the time Hasan Rouhani took presidency.

It will end up in Syria, Yemen, or Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in hands of terrorists, or maybe in pockets of regime leaders. That is the real reason that NIAC and its activists are lobbying for sanction relief so aggressively.

NIAC (or better called regime reformist wing) want to preserve the Islamic regime at any cost, but the regime cannot be reformed.

The problem is not economics or forced hijab (which the regime caused itself at the first place), it’s lack of free speech, free expression, free press, no due process, torture, corruption, funding of global terror, gender apartheid, and many more issues.

That’s why rich, poor, young, old, men, and women are all protesting in the streets of Iran with one common goal: an end to the Islamic regime. To minimize the protests to hijab or economics is a slap in the face to those who already given their lives in this fight.

Few days ago a consultant to NIAC, Reza Aslan, resigned due to the lack of trust for NIAC in the eyes of Iranian people worldwide. That’s how terrible they have been. They have been known for hurting people inside and outside of the country.

NIAC cannot he trusted.

Occupied

It’s been a month since nationwide protests in Iran started and it seems people are not willing to stop shouting their pains. People are hopeful that this time they can change something, even if not big enough.

People are hopeful, and this is dangerous. Hope is the general source for motivation. Hope can move you forward to the point that you actually affect your environment and change.

Since the start of the protests, many people have joined this movement, including Mehdi Mahdavikia, Ali Karimi, and Ali Daei. These are former football players for Hamburger SV and Bayern Munich football clubs. Some of the greatest ever football players in Iran.

In a country that you can lose everything for practicing your free speech rights, these people speaking publicly against the system is a brave action. They are now under the risk of losing their wealth and their public image in state-controlled economy and media. I admire them for that bravery.

Ali Daei, in an Instagram post, said that “in the current situation, silence is treason” and I agree with him. People have suffered enough from inconveniences and injustices imposed on them by the regime.

Everything is blamed on foreign governments and spies. The regime takes no responsibility on anything. Even with videos showing police officers shooting people, the system doesn’t even recognize its own brutality and claims the shooters are foreign officers in police uniform doing this to spread mistrust in security forces.

I am also tired. I was once a supporter of this regime, under the influence of state media and all the brainwashings done to me by strictly-controlled books and news published by this very government. I regret the time I spent supporting this regime.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if Iraq had won the eight-year war against Iran. Sometimes people ask me about what will we replace this regime with. I always think about it. What will we lose?

The next government, the next regime, can’t be any worse. What will they do? Shut down the internet? Ban free speech? Shoot people? Economic disaster? No emotional, economical, and humane safety? Giving up the independence and freedom of the country? All has happened to us before in this very regime. It feels we are actually occupied by a foreign brutal force.

People live in constant fear of getting arrested and imprisoned for their slightest criticism. I live in fear of getting arrested every time I write or speak critically against this regime, yet the system lies to us, looking in our eyes, that we have freedom.

Supporters of the regime, some living in foreign countries, control what gets published in foreign media. Specially those in NIAC, National Iranian American Council, are constantly spreading the regime’s propaganda. This makes people more helpless, and more angry.

People feel betrayed. Their fathers, brothers and sisters once started a revolution to make things better. They now feel betrayed and lied to by the very people they had hope in. They see the duality of system’s speeches and actions and hear the lies they’ve been told to.

An example is hijab. Hijab is mandatory in Iran but children of some government people and ayatollahs live with freedom of choosing their clothes and way of living in other countries, or privately inside the borders. While the morality police arrests our sisters, they wear bikinis and lie under sun and get tanned in European countries.

People ask, why these people don’t force their own children to wear hijab? Of course their children are responsible for their own actions, but if their children are mature and responsible enough to choose, why they think they can force us to do what they say? Are we different? Are we not humans?

We’re not sheeples, but we’re treated as such. We’re told to use what the regime wants, avoid what regime doesn’t like, speak and act as the system desires, and go where they need us to be. They see themselves as our shepherd and us as brainless sheeples who need protection.

I am disgusted by all of these and just like our football legend, Ali Daei, I think silence is treason.

Yet again, people are hopeful. People are motivated and braver than ever, determined to change the situation. They are moving forward with hope to achieve something greater for people. Hope is beautifully dangerous for the current situation. It can change everything.

The need for decentralized domain name system is much felt

It’s been a while since I have started thinking, or worrying, about my email security. And since few days ago my PGP key was compromised, I’ve been changing my passwords and emails on sites I’ve been on and I’ve been wondering if my email is secure and stable enough.

The thing about current email system is it’s easy to take control of it. Many email providers are resided inside the United States or where US government has jurisdiction over. Even if they don’t reside where US government has power, they probably use a domain name which is controlled by American companies.

We know that if the domain name ends in .com or .net, or many other TLDs, it’s seizable by the US government. It means my website can be seized by US government easily. They don’t even have to communicate with my domain provider, they can simply talk to Verisign (the technical company controlling.com domains) and seize the domain. Same goes for my email provider, Riseup, which has a .net domain.

The stability of the domain names is another problem. Imagine all maintainers, or at least those who control the domain name, get arrested over request for data of a user, and they remain in jail for enough time for the domain to get expired. Why would happen then? You can imagine.

I used to use my own domain for my email address. The thing that worried me, and made me change it, was that there’s a chance that I get arrested over my political activism and my domain will be left with no renewal and I eventually will lose it. Or my domain can be seized by cops and they can redirect my mails.

My domain is my identity online. If anything happens to it, I can lose my identity. Whatever I publish on my site is believed to be from me. What I say or publish is exactly like me myself standing somewhere in the city and shouting them to listening people. What happens if a oppressive regime takes control of my domain or site? They can say anything to anyone and pretend it’s me saying them.

People who read me supposedly trust me. One who takes over my domain can misuse their trust in my name.

It wasn’t a long ago since US government seized some Iranian-owned domains accusing them of spreading misinformation. This power over web, which is basically impossible to be on without having a domain, is dangerous.

A decentralized domain system, something like what we have with Tor Onion domain services is much needed. An onion address is generated by the site owner using Tor network. It is also only available on the Tor network, nowhere else. So you should configure your system to run Tor or use Tor Browser.

At the time, Riseup’s Tor address is vww6ybal4bd7szmgncyruucpgfkqahzddi37ktceo3ah7ngmcopnpyyd.onion. See how it’s different from the normal Riseup.net we use? The domain extension of it is .onion, which is different from .com or .net, etc. It is automatically generated by the Tor Onion service running on the server Riseup is operating.

The benefit of Onion addresses is that it’s truly decentralized and no entity, not even those behind the Tor software and services, control it. It’s directly from the operators of the specific web site you’re visiting and since you can only visit the web site while you’re running Tor browser or are configured to run Tor network on your system, all data sent and received from that web site is encrypted and anonymous. Using it correctly will make you completely anonymous and tracker-free, the way the web should be.

Also, the decentralized domain system by Tor gives people opportunity to have chance of free speech online, what we’re missing for a long time. It is made possible by special privacy practices done by Tor developers, making it possible to have privacy and security online.

However, it will cost you to run a Tor network and not all server and hosting providers will let you run a Tor network on your space. Many will shut you down if they find out about it and others who don’t are very cautious about what can happen to them (who can blame them?), often easily giving your personal data to authorities when requested (or not?),

I admire the work done by Tor. I think they’ve planted a seed and developed what is the foundation of what we need as a decentralized domain name system. However, it is not enough. A decentralized domain name system should be accessible for everybody. We need something like what we currently have with normal TLDs, but decentralized.

People should be able to simply run their own domain without worrying about any inconsistencies. Without worrying about a provider banning their account for saying what the provider wasn’t pleased to hear. People should be able to have their own domain, and a safe space on web, without worrying about a government being able to seize it.

I don’t know how it can be developed or even what aspects it may have. I’m not sure about technical details of it, and I don’t know how it can affect the web we have today. All I know is that it’s so necessary for the sake of all of us.

Everybody is a genius

Everybody is a genius in their own way but it’s the injustices imposed on people that make it look different.

Let’s create an imaginary jungle. We have a lot of different animals in the jungle. We have monkeys, we have tigers, elephants, lions, fishes, penguins, etc.

All those animals have unique abilities and all of them are genius in their own way. The problem is that we want to enforce equality in a wrong way. If we measure the genius of animals but asking for one exam, say climbing a tree, then we’re giving advantage to monkeys and imposing injustice on fishes.

The fish can’t breathe in the air. The tiger may be able to climb a tree but not as good as the monkey. The elephants are dumbest in this measure because they can breathe in the air but can’t even jump.

This injustice makes them unequal.

I believe the only way we can have equality is to treat everybody with justice. All animals are equal in the way we treat them and that is with justice. If we measure how genius is a fish by its ability to swim, and measure how genius is a monkey by its ability to climb a tree, and measure tigers by their ability to run, then we can have a jungle of genius animals with everyone in their designated role and responsibility.

Our societies are very much like jungles. We measure everybody with the same test and we get the same results for it every time. People have their differences and these differences doesn’t make them dumb or incapable, but makes them unique and special in various matters. The situation people grow in has a lot of impact on them and the way they behave is very much affected from it.

When we constantly do a wrong test on wrong people, they will live a life believing they’re stupid. We know people have different set of skills and we know they behave differently in a same situation. Yet, instead of taking advantage of their skills to get the best complex of results, we try to force them behave and react as we desire. This will fail.

A lot of genius people have been wasted. Many artists are victim of not having a chance to glow and dying without ever finding out their true potential. Many athletes were placed in wrong positions and were eventually ruined. Many engineers failed to do what they truly capable of because of wrong tests and measurements imposed on them in schools or colleges.

Diversity is beautiful. It’s empowering. It gives societies ability to benefit from different and unique set of skills different people have. However, you can’t benefit from these skills and abilities if you try to make everyone and everything look the same. It ruins everything and turns into a disaster.

Iran is a beautiful example of diversity working well. We have Fars people, Turks, Lurs, Kurds, and Arabs living together with no problem. Every one of those people have unique culture, unique physique, unique set of moral values, and unique environment which makes them capable of accomplishing unique tasks. The result of integrating those people had made an amazing society of which everyone is benefited and satisfied.

People benefit from what they can’t have themselves on their own and are satisfied by tasks accomplished by ones who have capabilities. It’s because we expected and understood what those unique cultures and people have and integrated them into a working society. We don’t change them, we don’t colonize them, we don’t divide them, we integrate them into our diverse and capable society. It has been working for more than 3,000 years and it’s still working.

Today, there are protests in the country started by death of a Kurd girl, Mahsa Amini, who was reportedly killed by morality police. Fars people, Lurs, Turks, Arabs, Baluchs, and everybody else are protesting among their Kurd brothers and sisters in solidarity. They see themselves as one nation, one people, and one society not with differences, but with unique characteristics. All fighting for liberty, and that is beautiful.

Is freedom more important than safety?

Every freedom we surrender is a freedom our children will never know existed. History shows humans are willing to die to gain freedom. For thousands of years, as much as we know about myths and legends of wars, people were willing to fight to death to gain freedom and liberty. Either they liberated themselves from external forces or local dictators, people who fought were seen as heroes and those who surrendered were seen as cowards and unworthy.

Is freedom more important than safety? I believe it doesn’t even depend on what you call safety. I know dictators that will protect their citizens from anything, but no person feels safe. Living in fear of losing everything with a simple mistake is more unsafe situation than fear of losing your life to an army of invaders.

Today, we see Ukrainians fighting against Russian invaders. They are willing to die but not lose their liberty. People in Iran are protesting against violations of their liberty and personal and societal freedoms. Many are killed by the cops. There are thousands of marches and protests in United States every year against tyrannical laws and rules and I’ve seen people arrested, tear gassed, and getting shot for that.

For human beings, life without freedom is not worth living. Safety has become a keyword for tyrants to violate our liberties. By safety, the dictator means “keep being alive” and that’s wrong. Safety has a lot of meanings and is multi-dimensional.

Economical safety, emotional safety, health and environmental safety, humanitarian and freedom safety, and protection against anything that can take these away are kinds of safety a human being needs, and without any of them, you’re not safe.

A right is a right when you have it, if anything can take it away, it’s just a privilege and an illusion. Safety is a keyword for that illusion to make you emotionally prepared to lose your rights. And when you lose any of your rights, any, you’re no longer free.

I am a fan of free software. A software is free when it gives the user the four essential freedoms. The four freedoms are 1) freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose; 2) freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish; 3) freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others; and 4) freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.

A program is free when it gives you all these freedoms. Even if you lose one of these freedoms, the program is considered proprietary. A proprietary software violates users’ rights. It gives privileges to some people but violates others. That’s wrong.

Now I know many (if not most) free programs are gratis (meaning free of cost) but sometimes having these freedoms costs you money. Sometimes it costs you effort and work, and sometimes it costs you giving up something else, such as comfort of using a nice interface or smooth progress of work on a proprietary program. I am willing to give up that comfort and pay money to have my essential four freedoms. I know a community of very nice and hard-working people who think the same as me on this.

I believe free programs are much more safe than proprietary ones. When a program is free, and lets you express and practice freedoms, it gives you ability to change it so it works and behaves as you wish. If it has security vulnerabilities, you can fix them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. If there’s a backdoor or a violation of privacy, you can close that door and stop the violation. If there’s a behavior you don’t like, you can change it.

You may not want to change anything but the freedoms are still there to assure you one important matter: it’s you who is in control.

A proprietary program doesn’t let you practice your freedoms, therefore you’re reliant on the developer, the master, to grant you what you need.

I believe this effort, to have software freedom, is much similar to life. In life we sometimes need to give up on some comfort to gain freedom and that freedom eventually leads us to a safe society with individual liberties that collectively will create a safe society where there’s comfort and safety.

I believe safety is a result of freedom. Safety without freedom is an illusion, is a violation of whatever humans stood for, for thousands of years. It’s freedom and personal liberties that brings us safety, not vice versa.

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.