My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian Voices

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Her own portable world. You might feel that such works acquire added significance in a country deprived of its basic freedoms, but that they do not matter much here, in a free and democratic country. I would respond simply with a passage from Huckleberry Finn, in which Huck contemplates whether or not he should give up Jim. They each combine a heartrending blend of courage and vulnerability that defies glib answers, smug formulas, and simplistic solutions.

How many of us today would give up Sunday school heaven for the kind of hell that Huck ultimately elects for himself? And we need to write about this. We need to recount what happens to us and to others when we strive to save ourselves from despair, to remind ourselves that tyrants of all stripes cannot confiscate what we value most. The zealots may come in many garbs; they may rail and kill and mutilate in the name of progress or God. But they cannot rob us of our ideals. They cannot steal away our elemental humanity. There must be fidelity to a goal, and purity of heart, values fundamental to salvation and triumph.

Too often we conclude that we are practical creatures, essentially political animals. But in us, there is a far greater impulse —a longing for what I will bluntly call the universal. For it is here, in what I like to call the Republic of the Imagination, that we are most humane. When I moved from Iran to America, I discovered otherwise.

It took me a while to get the message. I was fourteen when we came to this country. In my twenties, I began a career as a newspaper reporter. Sitting in that cavernous, brightly lit hall, watching hundreds of black Americans applaud a message that seemed radical to me, I felt that I had stumbled into a parallel universe.

But I was also pleased. After all, he was claiming me. Our daughters were in kindergarten together in St. Petersburg, Florida. We were meeting several other moms at a local fern bar to talk about school.

My sister, guard your veil; my brother, guard your eyes

A lamp suspended from the ceiling cast a yellow glow over the table. The restaurant was noisy and dim. As we perched awkwardly on high stools, I mentioned that our principal was concerned about the dearth of nonwhite parents on the school council. State law required diversity. Julie looked at me. An uneasy silence descended on the table. Julie looked selfconscious. After a moment, we returned to criticizing the phys12 ical education program. When the meeting was over, Julie and I exchanged cordial good-byes. Even so, I never felt the same about her. Not just because she challenged my self-perception but because she saw me as a color first, a person second.

It was an experience that felt new no matter how often it was repeated. Growing up in Iran, I was often described as sabzeh— olive-skinned. But I never felt disenfranchised by the cultural emphasis on fair skin. In college, I learned to see myself as a dark-browed, dark-eyed, dark-skinned creature. As a reporter, I discovered that I was well received in the inner city.

Realigning myself to the view of society at large was clearly a matter not only of self-protection but of self-advancement. Yet I could not bring myself to relinquish the racial framework of a lifetime. I was astonished when an Iranian friend, more assimilated than I, told me she was going to march in a rally on behalf of persons of color. I liked the idea that American notions of race were the problem. But in my heart of hearts, I knew the truth was less benign. If Iran was a color-blind society, it was because almost everyone was the same color.

I was no more color blind than Julie of the fern bar. If I was having trouble making the transition from one racial framework to another, it was not because I was above the fray but because I did not want to relinquish the privileges accorded me in one framework and denied me in the other. In Iran, we worship, slogans notwithstanding, the khareji, the outsider. By this word we mean not the Afghans, Arabs, Pakistanis, and Turks who are our neighbors but the white Americans and Europeans who have held sway in the region since the Ottoman Empire. Growing up, I envied friends who ordered their clothes from the Spiegel catalogue.

At school, a classmate with an Irish mother ranked as minor aristocracy.

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I was jealous when my cousins were sent to school in England. The whole family was agog when Caroline, an American friend, came to stay with us in Tehran. Unlike other Americans we knew, Caroline was uncomfortable with her elevated status. The Iranians in the waiting room, expecting her to jump to the head of the line, looked on with resignation and resentment. My American husband and I were in Isfahan with our two children when my son developed an eye infection.

A friend prominent in the city sent us to a pediatrician he knew. I also recall a relative of mine explicating the inherent superiority of the West. A doctor, he was inordinately proud of his brief tenure in Germany during his youth.

His audience of assorted other relatives nodded wisely in agreement. There was no doubt in their minds that my half-American child was superior to an Iranian one. This tenuous link to the global ruling class permits Iranians to look down on the other peoples of the Middle East, most notably the Arabs, who had the temerity to defeat the faltering Persian Empire in the seventh century.

Never mind that all those invaders undoubtedly copulated with their new subjects and that the idea of a purebred Persian in Iran today is as absurd as the notion of a blooded Saxon in England. Why quibble when the goal is to have someone to be superior to? The pecking order in Iran has to do with first world and third world, with West and East. Even so, its subtext is purely racial. I moved from Iran to America in , just before the hostage crisis. Only recently have I realized that for many Americans, being from the Middle East is an issue of race, not of nationality or religion.

If it is couched in terms of religion, that is because for most Westerners, Islam is inseparable from race. If Islam had originated among Danes rather than Arabs, would it be seen as it is today: dark, like me, and utterly threatening? Does the Christian faith of killers of abortion doctors, or white supremacists, infuse the religion as a whole with an aura of malice? She caught the expression on my face and looked selfconscious. For a time, I developed a halfhearted interest in establishing my racial credentials. I looked in encyclopedias, studied census categories, and queried experts, seeking evidence for the national conviction that Iranians are the same race as Germans.

What matters to them is that I am not white. In America and Canada, England, or France, for that matter there are really just two races, white and nonwhite. What is most relevant about me in the eyes of some—though certainly not all—of the people I work, play, and live with is not what I am but what I am not. But at some preprogrammed level, we remain ever conscious of otherness.

In times of doubt, it becomes all too easy to interpret actions through this distorting prism. I felt my own smallness even as I spoke the words, but some stubborn part of me refused to take them back. It was easier to believe them, to assign a known cause, even a spurious one, to this disruption of my day. Everyone knows the broad outlines of the ladder of prejudice. White is on top, brown in the middle, black at the bottom. I think of it as race laundering: the right clothes, the right car, the right neighborhood can help compensate for that fundamental imperfection: nonwhiteness.

I have spent nearly three decades in this country. I shed my accent long ago, and my misfit clothes followed soon thereafter. For me, it took the imprimatur of American culture at its best to counteract the sense of inferiority that is epidemic in the postcolonial world.


I am never so American as when I take pride in being Iranian. In the s, while this transformation was still incomplete, my aunt visited me from Iran. For the trip, she replaced her black chador with a long tunic, pants, and a scarf in sober hues. But walking amid the marble and bright lights of an upscale mall in Maryland, she drew the eye of everyone who passed. I longed to walk ahead, dissociating myself from this proof of my otherness. To claim her was to lose the social status it had taken me years to acquire.

Only love—and shame—persuaded me to reach for her hand. I held it firmly in mine—but avoided eye contact with the people we passed. I perform it most often in the service of my children, whose friends envy their ability to speak Farsi, the Iranian coins they collect on their trips abroad, the colorful native clothes we truck out on special occasions. What she meant was that it is a privilege. I take a childish pride in my powers of transmutation. But they are provisional, wholly dependent on others.

Nothing brings this home like a visit to Iran. In , I traveled to the provincial Iranian town of Ahwaz in the oil-rich deserts bordering Iraq. A company representative, a white European man, arrived in Ahwaz on the same flight. In the baggage claim area of the small terminal, I saw him standing in the middle of teeming crowds of sunburned, rustic Iranians: the women in flowing black veils, the men in rough-spun coats and baggy pants. He stood half a head taller than everyone else, dressed in a sports coat and open-necked shirt, staring into the distance as he awaited the flunkeys who would deliver him from the smell of dust and sweat and ripe toilets, the babble of voices rising in Farsi and Arabic, the peering dark eyes.

I spoke to him in English, seeking acknowledgment as a refugee from his own world. He did not appear to have heard me. I stood awkwardly by in my stylish scarf and jacket, as invisible to him as my compatriots.

Even in the car, he would not meet my eyes. It was only when we were inside the house, and I was completely shorn of my Iranian trappings, sporting Gap and J. We chatted over nonalcoholic beer and potato chips, and he looked at me with awareness and interest, lifting from me that mantle of invisibility. That night, as I lay awake in my unfamiliar bed, my heart was heavy. I knew that in winning him over, I had betrayed myself. By way of flattery, we are told that we are Persians and that Persia was a great empire.

Otherwise, we are Iranians. They were discovered after the revolution. To begin with, let it be remembered that Persia is the Greek terminology for Iran. But Iran, for the last four thousand years and for all Iranians, has always been Iran. Since it was February and the temperature was pretty low, I cast a quick glance around everything there was to see before hurrying back inside. At least nothing unusual.

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She understood. It snowed! The East. That word, I think, is the key to all myths. Where is it, this legendary East of our fantasies and dreams and hatreds? So the East is not really a geographical fact. In that case, is Bosnia an Eastern country? This notion would take us from Bosnia to Somalia, and from Morocco all the way to Indonesia—and such countries are to be found on three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia. Is that to say that Saudi Arabia and Malaysia share the same culture? That is one factor, indeed—but it is certainly not the only one. What is a Muslim? Unfortunately, the West equates him or her with Bin Laden, that is, with the most radical of all wretched ideas.

The West turns the Muslim into an enemy. And Iran is a Muslim country.

But how? Iran has extremists, for sure. Iran has Scheherazade as well. But first and foremost, Iran has an actual identity, an actual history—and above all, actual people, like me. Few people ask him, as I have done, for a ride to Qom, the religious capital of Iran. The very name of the city makes Afshin squirm. He suggests a trip to Mashhad instead. I remind him that his brother, Saleh, lives in Qom and that he would be happy to see us. Afshin grunts, starts the ignition, and pulls onto the dry desert highway, reluctantly heading south toward Qom. It is a scorching morning; the heat rising from the asphalt casts an eerie nimbus on the road before us.

Now, people push roughly past clerics in stores, whispering obscenities; a cleric enters a restaurant in Tehran and one can practically hear the hiss rising from the tables. There was 24 a time when a taxi would be emptied so a cleric could ride comfortably. These days, a taxi is almost as likely to run a cleric over than pick him up. But Qom is a city crawling with clerics, confident and in control of the country.

In fact, nearly every Shiite cleric in the world has at one time or another passed through the hallowed gates of the Feyziyeh to be taught the traditional Shiite sciences: Quranic exegesis, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy, rhetoric, and theology. A theocracy suggests rule by God, and as any Iranian will tell you, God is noticeably absent in Iran. In a theocracy, particularly an Islamic theocracy like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban, the Quran is the only constitution. Yet the Islamic Republic is constructed upon a remarkably modern and surprisingly enlightened constitutional framework in which are enshrined fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, education, and peaceful assembly.

It provides for a comprehensive amendment process as well as the opportunity to launch national referendums to decide the course of the country. The clerics relied on their command of personal militias and extensive numbers of Orwellian subcommittees to wrest control of the provisional government from the hands of the capable, if rather dour, technocrats who had been appointed to lead Iran after the fall of the shah.

By the time Saddam Hussein invaded in , the time for debate and dissent over the nature of the republic was over. What had begun as a vibrant experiment in Islamic democracy quickly deteriorated into an authoritarian quagmire—a state ruled by an inept clerical oligarchy with absolute religious and political power. Qom is the heart of that power. Afshin and I arrive in Qom during the noon prayers. The shops encircling the mosque are shut and bolted. There is an expectant stillness in the air. Not even the gray- and white-flecked pigeons waddling across the plaza emit a sound.

It is as though the mosque has inhaled the city into itself in a long, bated breath. A few moments later, a rumble echoes through the square, and all at once a mass of worshippers is exhaled onto the streets. The city bursts to life. Except these students are clad in the elegant dark robes and regal turbans of clerical privilege. The school is usually closed to visitors, but Saleh, who is a cleric and teacher here, meets us at the gates and escorts us inside.

Right away, I can tell Afshin is uncomfortable. He resents seeing Saleh in his clerical garb. These days, there is a tendency, both in the West and in Iran, to view the revolution of as an Islamic revolution instigated at the behest of the Ayatollah Khomeini. This is a historical fiction that emerged out of two and a half decades of postrevolutionary propaganda. Feminists, communists, socialists, Marxists, secular democrats, Westernized intellectuals, traditional bazaari merchants, die-hard nationalists, religious fundamentalists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, men, women, and children: nearly every sector of Iranian society was represented in the revolution.

In the s, Saleh entered the Feyziyeh spurred by the dream of establishing a new kind of nation—one both democratic and Islamic, both quintessentially Muslim and uniquely Iranian—while Afshin fought on the front lines of the battle against Saddam Hussein to ensure that dream would survive. In the s, Afshin and REZA ASLAN 27 Saleh were brought together again, this time as leaders in the energizing reform movement that gripped Tehran in the wake of the stunning presidential election of Muhammad Khatami, whose goal was to unearth the democratic principles of the constitution that had been blithely ignored for more than a decade.

But Khatami proved unable some say unwilling to propel the reform movement to its fruition. He withdrew his support, allowing the movement to disintegrate under mass arrests, torture, and murder. The reform movement fractured, and Afshin and Saleh went their separate ways. Saleh returned to the Feyziyeh to fight for democracy from within the system; Afshin now claims that the system itself is the problem and must be abandoned.

We sip tea through sugar cubes lodged between our teeth, and I ask Saleh to explain the theory behind clerical rule. But the cleric is the one who has spent a lifetime studying the map. He has taken the trip many times. He knows with certainty which is the best way. However, the path will be longer and more arduous. But really, they are both right. It is up to you and me to decide which one to follow. Shiism is a religion founded upon open debate and rational discourse.

Nor has any cleric ever held sole interpretive powers over the meaning of the faith. The Shia have always been free to follow the cleric of their choice, which is in part why Shiism has blossomed into such a wonderfully eclectic faith. It is also why the majority of Shia both inside and outside Iran no longer view the Islamic Republic as the paradigm of the Shiite state, but rather as its corruption.

In truth, the Islamic Republic is neither Islamic nor a republic. It can be described neither as a theocracy nor as a democracy. Iran is something else entirely. Before rising to leave, I ask Saleh one final question. Is this what you fought for? With their guns, they pointed to the naked leg of a female mannequin and stared into the frightened face of the shop owner. And yet because of such attacks—which were taking place frequently in cities throughout the country—shop owners began to systematically direct all their anger and frustration at the helpless mannequins.

They threw the mannequins in storage rooms or locked them up in dark, foreboding attics. This treatment of the mannequins is how I first came to realize that the feminine identity of Iranian women was being violated. The excuse, of course, was the need to protect Islamic laws and revolutionary principles. It was Within a few weeks, the mannequins were lined up in the shops with their elongated skirts.

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Fear was wriggling in their lifeless eyes. Pedestrians, still wearing short skirts, would stop at the windows and laugh at this sudden transformation. In reality, these female mannequins—these inanimate women 30 —were the reporters of the changes that were transpiring in our lives.

The mannequins and the alterations in their appearance became my passion during the very hard and lonely years of the revolution. I felt united with these dolls. The mannequins somehow accurately reflected the systematic aggression against our individual identities. I would talk to these dolls, and I duly wrote down what was happening in their lives. These notes gradually turned into the tale of a series of events that would define the nature, helplessness, and resistance of women under the stormlike attacks that were carried out against them. Meanwhile, these leaders barred female judges from exercising their profession and repealed the Family Protection Act, which guaranteed women the freedom to work, travel, and divorce at will.

This provoked anger and rebelliousness among women, even though, in those early years, not all Iranian women were united in the quest for regaining their rights. Enforcing the Islamic veil as compulsory attire was the most significant step in a succession of laws against women in the first years of the revolution. Before this happened women dressed freely and, in Tehran and other major Iranian cities, many women even followed Western fashion.

Both veiled and unveiled women enjoyed a peaceful life; both were respected for their beliefs. The unveiled women were not socially restricted, and they were required to wear the veil only when entering mosques or other holy places. Young girls and women could appear with or without the veil in educational centers and workplaces. Thus it was this unwritten agreement—which was compatible with every principle of international human rights—that was broken in a historic moment.

It was a few years before we accepted it—and then we did so essentially out of fear. The female mannequins were the first group of unveiled women in Iran who were forced to wear the Islamic veil. And these mannequins slowly made us realize that the social and political history of our country was being turned on its head. The shadow of fear had already stolen the glow of hope from countless young girls and women. Accordingly, they needed to destroy that identity so that their rule would last for centuries to come. Rumors spread rapidly. Such policies, many whispered, were preparing the nation for further repression against the opponents and critics of the Islamists.

The war between Iran and Iraq broke out in Young boys were drafted and required to write their testaments before they left for the front. After their martyrdom, the authorities would publish these testaments—in nearly all of them, the martyrs had ordered women to observe the Islamic veil. Their orders turned to slogans and were inscribed on the walls of cities. Signature: the martyr.

The revolution and the war washed away all the gleeful colors of our lives. Mannequins grew bald, leaving their luscious hair behind in storage rooms. Women, in turn, hid their hair under the imposed Islamic veil. Mannequins had resisted for months before losing their free-flowing hair; for a while, they had even tried to content the martyrs by wearing small triangular headscarves. But those small scarves were not enough. And as a result, the fundamentalists have now begun to dread the feminist explosion that is well on its way. Tradesmen, alarmed by the drastic repression, took action in accordance with the new Islamic orders.

The rouge of their lipstick and their blush evaporated. Their eyes started to appear dead and hollow. A sense of fright nested in their gaze that bore little resemblance to the air of modesty and chastity the Islamic Republic wished to summon. It did not take long for these mannequins to adopt the role of leaders of the repressed women. Ironically, as we morphed into Islamic-looking women, we obeyed a bunch of lifeless dolls. New values were being measured on their bodies first. The shop owners were constantly reducing and severing femininity, in keeping with orders. The sparkle of cheerfulness had fled their style.

The enthusiasm for interacting with the opposite sex was waning among the people. Any attempts to look attractive brought about a sense of sinful dread and guilt. It was the messenger of the repressive orders and reminded women of the lack of charm and bliss in their lives. On the surface, it was as though modernity had given in to religious tradition.

Foreign observers flocked to Iran with journalist visas, exploring the religious centers of political power and the depressed atmosphere of the cities. They were the reporters of the darkness and sorrow that weighed on the transformation of Iranian society. They introduced Iranian women to the world as masses of Islamic-looking shadows represented by the color black. And for fear of the regime, people never let these reporters into their private gatherings.

Thus for many years, the world remained unaware of the conflicting public and private mores in Iran. They believed that Iranians had detached themselves from music, dance, singing, happiness, and their individual identities. They had no idea what was going on behind closed doors. A fictitious image of Iranian women was introduced to foreign eyes. The authorities were claiming that the lips of women were aphrodisiac and their eyes stimulating.

The shop owners were confused and did not know what to do to save their businesses from the attacks of the regime. A diagonal surface replaced the necks of these beheaded dolls, on which the owners had now thrown long and dark scarves. Their spongy breasts were slashed from their bodies. The coils displayed the mutilated gender of the mannequins.

These beheaded mannequins were left with only a round face made out of cardboard. They had no eyes, no eyebrows, no noses, no mouths. The ideal woman for fundamentalists was a woman who did not have eyes to see, a tongue to speak, and legs to run away. Thus they once and for all obliterated every aspect of feminine identity and appearance: lush hair, groomed nails, coal-black eyes, suggestive glances, and scarlet lips. For many years, foreign journalists never knew that liberty, the pursuit of happiness, modernity, entertainment, and even interactions with the opposite sex existed under the cold and repressed surface of the cities.

It took two decades for the world to learn about the schizophrenic existence of the people of Iran, and especially about the resistance of Iranian women. The schizophrenic lifestyle in Iran then became world news. People in Tehran and other cities began to voluntarily invite foreign journalists to their private gatherings. It surreptitiously grew strong. Women learned the secrets of defending their individual identities. They confounded the enforced values and created their own fashion out of the Islamic veil.

Garments were cut shorter and their colors shifted to brighter tones. In , dark pink was high fashion in Iran. And the material of Islamic clothing is now more delicate than it ever was. These changes have taken as long as twenty-six years to occur. To this day, Iranian women have continued to be severely harmed by the regime through sexual discrimination and violent punishments such as detainment, flogging, mutilation of hands and feet, and stoning to death.

No matter—although only tacitly, feminism has now begun to define itself in the individual and social behavior of Iranian women in their everyday lives. So much so that Islamic fundamentalists have become quite helpless in bridling feministic tendencies and seem unable to restrict the feminist demands of their own wives, daughters, and sisters. More than 60 percent of applicants currently admitted to universities are women. Today, both religious and nonreligious women are bent on regaining their individual identity and freedom. Those who adhere to the principle of a religious government are striving to unearth feminist concepts in Islamic texts.

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And those who are advocates of the separation of religion and state parade their feminine identity using Western symbols and social attitudes. They also tirelessly fight to keep their lives private and out of sight of governmental agents. Overall, these two groups of women have inched closer to their ultimate goals throughout the years. They criticize the current situation and claim their rights. They express their dissatisfaction through individual and collective reactions to the regime, without much heeding its threats.

The demand, in and of itself, was significant, demonstrating that Iranian women are willing to publicly tear apart the layer of religious tradition that oppresses them. That house was a monument to his success. The son of a traveling fabric salesman had made good: left the village, educated himself, and settled in the heart of the capital. Our house was where all the extended family gathered for Passover every year.

Our enemies were not in the least alike: the slaves had fought against Pharaoh, whereas we fought against dirt. Yet a feeling of urgency descended upon 3 Alley of the Distinguished. We armed ourselves, as modestly as our ancestors, with an arsenal of brooms, rags, mops, scrubs, and sprays. He camped in the corner of the courtyard, stripped our quilts and mattresses, and removed all the cotton inside. Then, squatting among the loose cotton, he brought out a harplike tool.

Those notes and the white cloud that surrounded him were all that we heard or saw of him till dusk. We brought down the curtains, dusted every rod, rolled every rug, and swept underneath everything. We stretched the corner of a rag over our index fingers, tracing along the sides of each drawer to its four corners and twirling our fingertips around a few times.

The merriment would come later, only when seriousness had been paid its due. For those three weeks, we attached biblical meaning to any tiny deviation from the ordinary routine of our household. In the holiday microcosm that formed in our kitchen, we spotted signs of the divine. The Red Sea flowed at the foot of our thawing refrigerator. Golden shafts of light, emanating from its open door, parted the gloomy fluorescence of the kitchen. The gas burner, which we wheeled out of storage, became our occasional burning bush.

In a vat over it, we boiled water and dipped perfectly clean dishes to scald away any trace of the nonkosher for Passover foods, while our savior, our seasonal Moses, our yearround Job, Mother, with an outstretched arm, lamenting her migraine, led us in our epic battle against dirt. Despite the chores, we enjoyed Passover more than any other holiday. Perhaps because it came at the heels of the Persian New Year and somehow felt part of the same festivity. Or perhaps because the family drama made the holiday feel like a theatrical production. At the Seder, like actors, we recited words that conjured no immediate bitter memories to the minds of anyone, save the few elders.

This was the s. The family dreamed of the land of milk and honey but wished to wake up in Tehran. Business was booming, and my uncles, the entrepreneurs, did not want to be fettered by a history that seemed distant now. They were, at long last, living in any neighborhood they chose, and the one remaining ghetto was far in the south of the city, a place where the poor of every race and creed had settled.

Iran was at its most welcoming to Jews in its entire history. The median income had doubled over the past decade. Largesse was very much in vogue. My Uncle Ardi, the most debonair among the relatives, vied for the check at restaurants, and though he was not alone in trying to grab it, he was often the one to reach into his wallet and quietly pay.

The hosts of the upper Pahlavi Avenue restaurants wasted no time in clearing their best tables for him. When he did not feel like driving, Uncle Ardi walked to the shops across from the University of Tehran. By nightfall, long after the secretary had gone home, the tune of the two telephones on his desk switched from daytime duets to solo serenades on his private line. Subjects subject. Women--Iran--Social conditionsth century. Women--Iran--Social conditionsst century. Iran--Intellectual life. Iran--Social conditions. More Details added author. Azam Zanganeh, Lila.

Appeared in Publishers Weekly on This timely little book offers a thoughtful, wide-ranging and captivating introduction to a dynamic country most Americans still regrettably associate with romantic-exotic or religious-fanatical stereotypes. Centering on questions of identity and subjectivity in and outside Iran's Islamic Republic, the 15 prominent indigenous and ex-pat voices showcased in this collection include bestselling authors Azar Nafisi Reading Lolita in Tehran , Azadeh Moaveni Lipstick Jihad and Marjane Satrapi Persepolis , as well as renowned filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Oscar-nominated actress Shoreh Aghdashloo House of Sand and Fog and acclaimed visual artist Shirin Neshat.

The brief, often breezy essays, reminiscences, reportage and interviews overturn the facile image of Iran as a single, homogenous entity, providing animated discussions of politics, sex, art, women's rights, racism, poetic culture, underground nightlife, Tehran's Jewish community, censorship, economic inequality and cross-cultural mis understanding under a regime that is highly oppressive but continually subverted.

Arranged and framed with care by editor Zanganeh and featuring original art by Satrapi , the book's contents resist an overarching, dogmatic point of view, presenting instead an open-ended invitation to dialogue. Readers will find this volume complex but accessible; it reveals the human stories behind the veil of the headlines.

This item was reviewed in:. To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities. Arranged and framed with care by editor Zanganeh and featuring original art by Satrapi , the book's contents resist an overarching, dogmatic point of view, presenting instead an open-ended invitation to dialogue.

Readers will find this volume complex but accessible; it reveals the human stories behind the veil of the headlines. This item was reviewed in:. To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities. Introduction p. All Rights Reserved. This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers.

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My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian Voices

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