Queen Esther and the Bad Mullah: Roya Hakakian on being both Jewish and Iranian

What is most astonishing about the Iran of 2009 is how much, despite 30 years and the doubling of the population, it remains the Iran I knew as a teenager. I’d not find my way around Tehran, where the streets have been renamed and new roads have sliced into the heart of the city. But what continues to beat, despite the assault of time and urban expansion, is the very restless soul I had to leave behind five years after the Revolution in 1984. 

Today Iranians are taking to the streets again. It is a new generation of fists being thrown into the air, a new set of throats shouting slogans. But the blood is the same red blood, and the plight is the same plight. And as it did for a fleeting moment in 1979, the spirit of egalitarianism has transcended the realm of rhetoric. This is a movement in which men give in readily to the rule of the women rebels who have been its primary organizers. It is an inclusive movement which has drawn Iranians of all ethnicities and religions. A movement that has inspired my 82-year-old father to serenade it in poetry.

New Internationalist. Oct 2009