Dear friends,

First, I want to wish a very happy New Year’s Eve to those who celebrate the new years on January 1st (I personally don’t).  I also want to wish you all the best for the coming year.  And yes, the future does look scary, but we should always strive to keep our peace of mind and a hopeful disposition, if only because it makes us stronger and more capable of resistance.

Second, I want to make a very short report about the state of the blog.  Simply put, we are doing better than ever.  And while I cannot go into details of what we did, I am particularly satisfied in the sharp reduction in troll-postings.  Turns out that most trolls are AI not human.  How do we know?  They keep trying to post long AFTER being banned.  Clearly, they don’t even notice that their comments are never posted.  So AI, yes, but not too smart :-)  Another thing which gives me courage and joy is how often our articles are republished (my latest was reposted in French, Italian and Spanish by the Saker community, which is already great, but it was also translated into Russian and Italian by like minded people outside our community (I won’t even count the number of reposts in English).  This, by the way, is also true of our guest analyses which regularly are translated into various languages.  And while I don’t care about clicks and numbers, I do very much care about reach, about the ability to reach not more people, but different people (such as students).  Here I can only thank all those who made this possible!

Third, I have a question for you all: would you want me to make a regular, say monthly, video answering questions from you, the readers?  I was thinking to something similar to what I did for Cynthia McKinney’s students here.  I now have the gear to do more such videos, but I want to hear from you first: would that be of interest to you?

Finally, I want to ask an open question: what, in your opinion, should we do differently/better and what would you want to see on the Saker blog in 2023?

That’s it on my end.

I now leave you with an open thread on any non-banned topic (see here for our moderation policy) and, as always on Fridays, some music!

Hugs and cheers,

Andrei

***

Roger Waters “The Tide is Turning”.  After the end of the Cold War, we all had our hopes very high, and it was a beautiful moment of hope.  It did not last long, but maybe that song will give you courage and remind you that tides do turn :-)

All of us will need a lot of courage to deal with the coming year, so I decided to post a video about courage, dignity and liberation.  So this is Julia Boutros (herself Greek Orthodox) singing a song in honor of Hezbollah fighters.  If Hezbollah proved anything to the world is that resistance is NEVER futile, not matter how small you are.  I hope that this song will inspire many:

Finally, I want to render homage to the country which helped create Hezbollah and stood alone against the entire planet following the Islamic Revolution and who remains an inspiration to all those who resist: Iran.

Yas (Feat. Amin) “Hoviate Man”. With two exceptions (Tupac and Paris), I don’t really like rap, but this beautiful mix of rap and singing is one of my favorite ones.  I am posting the lyrics for your information.

Listen. I want to tell you my intent
They want to erase my identity
The history of the land of the Aryans
Is screaming until we come to it
So now is the time for you to hear
Iran is my land the
The country which after 7000 years
Is still standing
And the hearts of Iranians — still like the sea
Hear this, my fellow Iranian, from YAS
I too for my land stand like a soldier
Hold Iran like a gem in your hand and say
My complaint will burst out like a shot
Let’s stand together and sing our anthem
My sisters, my brothers, my fellow Iranians
Iran’s civilization is in danger
All of us are soldiers beneath our flag
We won’t let anyone spread lies about us
For us Iranians it is our calling
That we wear the symbol of ‘Farvahar’ around our necks
Our unity against an enemy is the cause of their distress
Iran’s name for us is an honor
And our respect for her is like a thorn in eye for those
Who want to injure her

CHORUS:

– Like the thirst of a seed [wheat] for water
– Like the dampness of rain, the smell of earth
– Like you, pure eyes, like the feeling of its earth, for you
– My land. Singing for you is in my heart
– Singing of my land, is my feeling
– My love – the earth of this land — Iraaaan.

You want to say that we came from generations of Barbarians?
So take a look then to Takht Jamshid!
You’re showing Iran’s name in vein
So yours could be written big on a cover of a CD [DVD}?
I’m writing down your intentions in my book
I know why you wrote this film “300”
I know that your heart is made of stone and lead
Instead of using your art to make a culture of peace
In this sensitive air and bad atmosphere
You want to start fishing in murky waters [profiting]
But this I tell you in its original language
Iran will never be spoiled and surrendered
God has given you two eyes to see
Take a look and read the books written by
Saadi and Ibn-e-Sina, Ferdosi, Khayam or Molana Rumi
Always throughout history we were the start [on top]
But now YAS can’t sit down quietly
Let Iran’s name be marred by a few tricksters
I’ll shred your intentions with the “razor of hope”
Who are YOU to speak of the history of Iran?

– CHORUS –

It was Cyrus The Great that started the peace
Freeing the Jewish from the grip of Babylon
Cyrus The Great wrote the first bill of human rights
That is why I carry my esteem and great pride
For my Iran. The history of my land
For the earth of this land which my body is from
Whatever part of the world you live my fellow Iranian
And till your blood flows through you
Don’t allow yourself to be satisfied
That anyone can fool around with your heritage
The history of Iran is my identity
Iran — protecting your name is my good intent

The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA