Life in two nations

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's meomirs

12-Sep-2007 (4 comments)
While I found myself concerned about this being another nostalgic look back at Iran through the eyes of an Iranian woman’s memoir, instead I encountered A Mirror Garden as a bildungsroman—a tale of growing up and self-realization—and of the ways that a woman’s perseverance, vision, and good fortune, lead not necessarily to a fairy tale ending, but a rather, a clear sense of being and acting in the world. This is a narrative that indeed runs against the notion what has been so regularly drummed into Americans—that women of Middle Eastern cultures — whether Iranian or Arab — are merely being acted upon and have no agency.>>>


A path to nowhere

A book of first Persian Gulf War (Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988)

08-Sep-2007 (3 comments)
It was the second day of winter 1986. The sun had already set and the snow-spotted Alborz Mountains to the north of Tehran were still visible behind a haze of smoke hovering the city. Two nights earlier I had toasted the birth of the Iranian god of Mehr (Mithra: god of the Sun) in a cave in the Alborz with some fruits and nuts along the longest night of the year in an inn in the City of Mashhad; and now I was at Khazaneh Bus Terminal in south of Tehran taken a seat by the window of a bus full of uniformed men like myself bound for Khuzestan in southwest of Iran wondering whether that would be my last trip from that terminal or it was just the beginning of a series of such trips that I had to take to the war fields in the south and west to fight an endless war regarded holy by many, unholy by many.>>>


Three's company

Israel, Iran and the U.S.

06-Sep-2007 (10 comments)
There are few Western cities where Persian pop music blasts at full volume in shopping malls. Yet this is a daily, natural occurrence at Jerusalem’s high-security downtown bus terminal. Here, in the equivalent of New York’s Penn Station, eighteen-year-old Israeli soldiers wait for their rides home, assault rifles slung over their shoulders, Persian pop legends Moin and Ebi pounding in their ears. Most of the CD stores here are owned by Iranian Jews, and over the past twenty years they have created a market for Persian pop in the very heart of the Jewish State.>>>


Part of our tradition, too

Part of our tradition, too

A collection of Qajar-style illustrations from Wellcome Library

by sourena
05-Sep-2007 (24 comments)



A surrogate tear

Inspiring story about formidable hardships Iranian women have endured over nearly a century

04-Sep-2007 (one comment)
A Mirror Garden is the memoir of an Iranian-American woman who has witnessed much of the events of the last century. Monir Shahroody, now a senior citizen living in New York, has seen it all and, with some help from her co-author Zara Houshmand, shares some of those memories with readers. As the world steps away from fantasy and dream, the fascination with true events has caused a profound shift to realism in literature, art, and entertainment. Gone are the days of classic literature where a writer had to fabricate a story. Today, fiction seems to have lost its appeal and the publishing market, responding to public demand, is leaning more toward memoirs and fact-based stories. >>>


Cover girl

A one-woman performance art piece

I stopped wearing a hejab at twelve, and at thirteen my clothing style gradually grew shorter. I thought that the entire point of hejab was to blend a woman with her surroundings, and if my surroundings exercised their right to bear skin, shouldnŒt my hejab follow in pursuit? For a while it worked, but the longer time passed since I wore my hejab, the more and more I felt like a sore thumb. I felt displaced, homeless, and when I sought safety, I would crawl onto my bed and drape my blanket over my entire head and body. Even today, when I remember the empty act of praying, I don't remember the foreign words or the unexplained movements so much as I remember the light, see-through cloak that enveloped me, embraced me, and if I had any faith in God during my five daily prayers, it was in the feeling that as long as I was engulfed by his hejab, I was safe. >>>


The first mammal

Going to bat for Mossadegh

27-Aug-2007 (3 comments)
In moments of statistical introspection, I wonder if LA Dodgers fans are generally Pahlavi supporters. The occasional Shah picture posted on huge Westwood billboards, and the handful of TV stations time capsuling pre-revolution Tehran are tempting bits of data. San Francisco Giants fans, on the other hand, are likely pro-Mossadegh, though I lack the evidence of billboards. Needless to say, Giants rule and Dodgers suck, but it is nice occasionally to brawl with facts and reason. Two meticulously researched books by Oxford scholar Homa Katouzian hit the ball right out of the ballpark for the Giants.>>>


ضد ولایت فقیه

براندازی حكومت اسلامی

25-Aug-2007 (3 comments)
راهی كه در این كتاب برای براندازی نظام اسلامی عرضه شده ساده و روشن است. اول به داو مبارزه پرداخته شده كه پایهٌ نظریه پردازی است، بعد به استراتژی كه تابع هدف است و در نهایت به سازماندهی كه تابع استراتژی است. این روش در جهت منطق تاریخ معاصر ایران كه نبرد بر سر تعیین نظام سیاسی است و در جهت خواست یك قرنهٌ مردم ایران كه دستیابی به دمكراسی است حركت میكند. نظام حكومتی امروز ایران با سلب حاكمیت از مردم، با تعریف خود به عنوان ضدلیبرال و مذهبی واروی خود را هم كه نظامی دمكراتیك و لیبرال و لائیك است، تعریف كرده است >>>


The right mix

J.K. Rowling has come a huge way from the first Harry Potter book

The story itself is a marathon runner, for the most part it’s slow, preserving energy for later, every now and again it bursts out to gain speed and then it slows down and then towards the end, it goes full out but still for the most part, the runner is slow. If you didn’t get that metaphor, then here’s the translation: Basically, the story is slow, with outburst of action every now and again and then a climatic ending. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because Rowling wanted to stretch it out because she didn’t want it to end, or maybe it was for extra suspense but it simply went on for way too long. There were points in the middle and a 1/3 of the way in where I really just wanted to put the book down as it was boring me to sleep. There were moments where the action spiked up and those were quite invigorating at the time in contrast to the dull block of text.>>>


Caspian rain

Excerpt from new novel

FROM THE STREET, all you can see is the red brick wall that surrounds the garden, the giant mulberry and persimmon trees, and the top floor of the house, which rises higher than the wall. Inside are three bedrooms, a living room with a gold-leaf painted ceiling, a dining room with a round balcony that overlooks the yard. There are porcelain tubs in the bathrooms, a fireplace in the kitchen, sunlight everywhere you look: all the doors, even the one leading into the kitchen, are made of etched and mirrored glass. They reflect not only the inside of each room and the light from all the windows, but also the images cast in the other doors -- creating an endless echo of shapes and colors that go on for as far as the eye can see.>>>


Gmelin's Persia & Persians

Young German scientist and explorer's 1770 journey to northern Persia

Further, music is never played if the singers do not sing along. Often a dance is added, but this dance neither represents German nor French taste. Those who perform them only have in mind how they may express the power of the music by the wonderful turns and rotations of their bodies. It is due to this that they then bend backwards and then again fall down headlong with their arms outstretched on the ground, and often also clap their hands together over the head, until they finally get up to again make the most violent movements by another theme of the music, turn around in twirls and yes even tumble with their head over their bodies, all the while hand-clapping>>>


Humble fame

An evening with the Kite Runner's Khaled Hosseini

A couple of year have gone by since the The Kite Runner was published, but the book remains a best seller. Those of us who enjoyed Hosseini’s first novel have been eager to read his next book, while, film buffs look forward to the upcoming movie based on his first. >>>


Before the invasion

Kaveh Farrokh's book covers the entire span of Kaveh Farrokh's book.

In an honest narration, Dr. Farrokh (born in Athens, Greece) gives it to both sides equally; he mentions the cruel treatment of captured Arab War Lords by some of the Sassanian kings, while praising Greece for her magnificent accomplishments. And amid countless books giving us the same-old-same-old narrations on Greece and Rome, and warped conceptions of ancient Persia seen recently in fantasy motion pictures such as "300", this book is a refreshing change that aims to balance things a bit. But above all, there are NEW discoveries unraveled by Farrokh himself... >>>