“Journey from the Land of No is an immensely moving, extraordinarily eloquent, and passionate memoir. Its author begins what one may prophesy as a major literary career.” Harold Bloom “Roya Hakakian[‘s] molten yet tender memoir of growing up Jewish in…
Feminism has a rich history in Iran. Now more than ever, says journalist Roya Hakakian, it is alive and well and at its most vibrant.
Against the backdrop of Iran’s political turmoil, Iranian-American journalist Roya Hakakian sat down with ForbesWoman to discuss her native country’s current climate and the situation facing women–and men–in Iran today.
Source: WOWOWOW – The Women on the Web
Interview with Lesley Stahl – Editor’s Note: Roya Hakakian, the Iranian-American author of Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran, is a recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim fellowship. Roya is also the author of Persian-language poetry books as well as the forthcoming book of non-fiction from Grove/Atlantic, due out in early 2010.
LESLEY: Roya Hakakian, thank you so much for joining us on wOw to talk about the situation in Iran.
ROYA: It’s my pleasure.
LESLEY: It does seem that the situation in Iran has turned dark and violent with the regime, the Mullahs in power, having unleashed a wave of brutal suppression on the protesters. It just seems that they were determined to stamp this out at any cost to their reputation. So what do you think happens now for the opposition? Is it completely over? Is this tantamount to Tiananmen Square?
By Marissa Brostoff – Roya Hakakian is unhappy with American news coverage of Iran. Instead of treating Iranian civil society as a subject worthy of regular attention, the Iranian Jewish writer argues, U.S. media outlets focus obsessively on the smokescreen of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Ignoring the complex relationship between the country’s citizens and rulers, journalists are left ill-prepared to interpret news like the last two weeks’. Hakakian’s own writing may prove an antidote—a journalist for CBS, a memoirist, and a poet, she has written searingly but lovingly about her homeland since she left Tehran for the United States in 1985. Hakakian spoke with Tablet from her home in California about the future of the Ahmadinejad regime, the reaction of Iran’s 30,000-strong Jewish community, and how the whole thing reminds her of 1979.
Are you in close contact with friends in Iran these days?
I am, primarily through Facebook. It’s much faster, many more people can weigh in. It’s a lot less intrusive, no one has to wake up anyone in the middle of the night, no one has to worry about a bad connection. And it lends itself to the kind of visuals that letters or phone or even emails wouldn’t.
WSHU (CT NPR)
Mother is here again. Every year in late spring, just before Tehran’s weather reaches its blistering highs, she packs a rug and all of Iran’s bestsellers of the year and flies to New York.
Though she’s only five feet tall, it’s never hard to spot her among the crowds at the airport: she’s the passenger defying the laws of physics –the ant of a woman dragging a weight several times greater than her own. When my boyfriend sees her, he yells across the crowd: Mother! A word that always reaches her no matter the mob or the echoes overhead. There must be many other mothers in the lot but not a single head ever turns our way, except hers.
WSHU (CT NPR)
Over a year of my life, weeks of brooding, nearly three consecutive months of sleeplessness, hours of toiling, and a self-imposed solitary confinement have come down to only this: a pile of papers on my desk.
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BEFORE THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PETERBOROUGH, NH
I don’t know if readings can be dedicated to towns, but if such a thing is possible, I’d like to dedicate tonight’s reading to your town, to Peterborough. For nearly four weeks, I’ve been prancing around my studio, calling home every few hours, to say with a surprise that has yet to abate.
On a December day in 1985, my mother and I finally parted. Two Jewish refugees from Iran, we had arrived in the United States six months earlier and for fear of getting lost in New York, we had gone everywhere together. And now, she had to go home to Brooklyn to prepare the holiday dinner, while I had to stay for a job interview in the city.
IÂ remember being so worried that I deposited a token, past the stiles and put her on a Brooklyn bound B. Speaking like the mother to my mother, I told her to stay on till 55th Street. “Remember Mother: 55th Street is your stop!” I kept repeating to her, exactly the way she had once told me not to forget to brush. And during those last seconds, when the train doors were still open, I gave further instructions: “If you can’t hear the announcements, just go to the conductor.”
Becoming a writer in a second language
Less than a year ago, I made one of the most important decisions of my life: I quit a prestigious job in the world’s hub –the coveted New York City– for the quiet of the country. I chose a writer’s life. Happily I emptied my desk, neatly leaving sharpened pencils and boxes of paper-clips for that unknown successor, with what I hoped to convey the sentiments of my happy departure. The place had been good to me and I wanted to leave good behind.