Sam Ghandchiسام قندچيA Short Note about SCI at this time of Iranian Green Movement

Sam Ghandchi


SCI or soc.culture.iranian was my first Iranian home on the Internet more than 17 years ago in the early 90's. It has been a long time since have posted anything on SCI and unfortunately do not have the time to participate in that Usenet Iranian forum anymore. SCI has changed a lot since the time I participated in it and the Internet has also changed a great deal since those years (1).  


Nowadays social networking sites like Facebook are taking the place of Usenet, although Usenet and SCI still exist.  Thus the SCI that I remember is more, my memory of the days when participated in that forum.


SCI played a pioneering role for many progressive Iranians on the Internet.  In fact, one of the best reviews of that role was written in *Persian*  in March of 2003 by one of the SCI participants of those days, Hooshyar Naraghi (2).


Also in March 2009 I wrote an article in Persian entitled "A Reminiscence of Hamid Ganjineh," where noted my memories of a dear deceased friend whom I met on SCI. He always brought a smile to our face when participating on SCI. Hamid lived in Switzerland and was one of the most active members of SCI who took SCI beyond a newsgroup, and organized intercontinental meetings of participants of SCI outside the cyberspace, across Europe and the U.S. Fond memories (3).


From the first days of SCI, local gatherings of participants, in different countries, were formed, and I personally participated in some of them, especially the ones as early as 1993 at the Chelokababi Restaurant in Sunnyvale of California.


Even scientifically and technologically, SCI contributed to Iran. Jamshid Naghizadeh, one of the SCI founders, was instrumental at the introduction of the Internet to Iran by IPM.  Also Farhad Shakeri, another SCI founder, created the first Iranian web site at Standford University which exists to this day (4).


Nowadays I seldom write anything in English but in those early days of SCI, not only everyday would chat on SCI but many extensive cultural and political discussions happened on SCI and they were all in English (5).


Not only cultural and political discussions, but also human rights action started on SCI from the first years.  I remember the start of the first Internet_based human rights group by the name of IHRWG right on SCI in March of 1994 (6).


The same way the new Iranian uprising of 22 khordad 1388 (June 15, 2009) is being closely followed on Facebook and Twitter in the last 8 months, ten years earlier, on the 18th of Tir 1378  (July 9th 1999) student movement in Iran was followed and supported on SCI moment by moment in 1999 (7).


What makes me happy about SCI today is that whatever has remained of it, despite all the political and philosophical differences, has been supporting the new Iranian uprising of 2009.  True that on SCI, always Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has been active as well, and still is, but that never stopped SCI from acting progressively.


During the heat of political and philosophical discussions, we all had emotional remarks that surely were not the reflection of what we personally could judge about each other, as we hardly knew many participants, especially when we were located in different continents, and for my part, regret many of those encounters.


Also as time has passed and especially with the rise of the new Iranian Green Movement, some of the people one would think as being pro-IRI have shown themselves not to be so.  If were posting on SCI nowadays, would correct some of my views about some of the folks I had encountered.


For example, many of the people who were viewed as IRI lobbyists abroad in those days, today during the new Iranian Green Movement have shown themselves to be working for Iran's freedom from a different angle. One of them being someone who went by the name of "pacifist" when posting on SCI has been working hard to support the new Iranian uprising during the last 8 months. Thus I stand corrected.


Being a person who is not religious, it is very hard for me to relate to the issue well but as noted, in political arena, I see the same issue about the left, when I do not even consider myself a liberal leftist, and I totally oppose the left; but can listen to them and have written about it extensively, although considering myself a futurist (8).


Unfortunately I will not be able to continue discussing these topics on SCI or elsewhere. My best wishes for SCI and all SCIers who are in various places helping Iran and Iranians. 


Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor

February 15, 2010