another reminder: building collapsed in tehran

30 06 2008

[By Shideh]   A 7-story building in Tehran collapsed today, sadly killing at least 3 people.  The design engineers and contractors have been arrested and they currently face trial. The mayor of Tehran, Mr. Qalibaf, has blamed the engineering community (Nezam e Mohandesi) for failing to properly oversee the design and construction practice and has requested the judiciary branch to penalize the responsible parties severely.


Photo courtesy of BBC


According to the ISNA news, the city of Tehran has evacuated the buildings around the collapsed structure until they are closely evaluated.

I’m glad that the media is giving this event proper attention and the responsible agencies are under the magnifying glass of national and international news sources.  It seems to me, however, that the city of Tehran, under the supervision of the new mayor, has improved to respond to such failures with a higher sense of authority and strength.  

I personally hope that the responsible parties, either engineers, contractors, or owners who did not design the building properly or did not completely evacuate the building on time after noticing the excessive settlement of the column, will be penalized with no room for bribery.  This is a fundamental step in training the engineering community toward ethical and responsible practice where negligence can lead to such life-threatening disasters. This event reminds me of an old post in which I wrote about a quote by one of my professors here in Berkeley: “you have the power of God in your hands as engineers, you can save lives and can take lives.”


My fellow aghaayoon va khaanoom haye “Mohandess”, let’s remember that with such power, comes great responsibility.


tale of “change”!

28 06 2008

[By Shideh]   My aunt sent me this letter to share with our blog readers.  It is about hope and change and has a strong message for all of us, whether you are from Tehran, Tokyo, Cairo, or Los Angeles, even though the topic is on the existing situation in the United States.  Enjoy reading it and send us your own thoughts and experiences:



On the 28th of June 2008 I made all the possible arrangements to attend a party in Berkeley for Obama. I wanted to participate in that party to unite with the community I felt a part of. Being with the people who are seeking change; who are promoting dignity for mankind irrespective of their race and ethnic back ground. The thought of this understanding coming from American people really excited me for the wonderful world my children and their generation are going to have ahead of them. This all had come at the time when they had lost hope for the future. People of this country were about to have compassion for themselves and for the people of the world. How incredible.


The people at the party were obviously mostly the elite group from Berkeley, fit, outspoken, and open minded of all ages. The refreshments were generously presented along with very efficient display of stickers, pamphlets, T-shirts, etc. It was a wonderful feeling to be sitting with this group under the same roof. The speakers informed us of all that was happening and all that is needed to be done in the few months to come (just a few months). The questions and answers followed the introduction and it gave way to comments about international affairs. 

As one of the speakers started commenting and joking about Iran, I found myself feeling very confused. What is going on here? As the jokes about my country continued, I felt as if the walls of the room were closing in on me. I felt even dizzier when I looked around and saw these well intentioned people, or so they seemed in the beginning, as the same prejudiced people they are trying to oppose. Read the rest of this entry »

earthquake prone tehran (continued…)

14 06 2008

An educational documentary broadcast from inside Iran also recommended by Mr. Alireza Sarvi:

earthquake prone tehran | تهران زلزله خیز

13 06 2008

[By Shideh]   Mr. Alireza Sarvi kindly sent us his article on the earthquake risks that Tehran currently faces; to download the complete article, please click on:  earthquake prone tehran

If you have difficulty downloading the entire file, please try downloading one page at a time as: part_1, part_2, part_3, part_4, part_5, part_6


It’s a great overview of Tehran’s geological and construction history and the risks involved; an insightful and critical study which you may find helpful.

kurdi house

6 06 2008

[By Shideh]   We arrived in Sanandaj at last and greeted their famous freedom statue that most surprisingly looked exactly like a famous dance form of Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam. We stayed with the family of two most precious human beings who happen to work for Shawhin’s dad.  They had a cozy house on the hills of Sanandaj: small, humble, and darvish style, but had a view of the city.  As excited and fascinated as I was with their steep snaky streets and the gorgeous architecture of their houses, doors, and windows, I couldn’t resist noticing their weak construction methods and lack of safety in the case of an earthquake (which is quite likely). What would happen to these people if an earthquake striked? Images of Bam came to my head and it was hard to push them away as I was getting frustrated with my lack of power to help.


Freedom Statue — Photo courtesy of

Read the rest of this entry »


2 06 2008

[By Shideh]   While exploring beautiful Kurdestan:


A friend sent me this clip from a performance by Kuoban ensemble (formerly 40-daf) in Tehran.  It is a combination of Kurdish and Luri music. Delightful yet traditional, proud, and strong. Enjoy: