Anti-Semitism in Iran has a checkered past, writes a Jewish author who fled the country 20 years ago. And, Ahmadinejad notwithstanding, it has a bumpy future
In December of 1978, a chain of powerful knocks shook our courtyard door in Tehran. But the sound of the iron door rattling in its frame was not nearly as terrifying as the look on the face of the person who was rattling it. When my father finally buzzed the caller in, there was my Aunt Monavar, her face blurred behind a stream of tears. A greeting must have seemed superfluous to my father, who simply shouted: “What’s wrong, Monavar?”
For the past twenty-five years, I have lived in America, first as a reluctant transplanted Iranian always looking pastward, and later, as an exile reconciled with the chronic condition that exile always brings — most notably an arthritic heart. In the first half of my stay, I was astounded by the leanness of the news coverage of Iran which was biblically vast. In the second half, beginning in 1997, I was grieving the bounty — so skewed, so dilettantish — that I prayed for the lean years to return. These cycles of ebb and flow resembled the spikes and dips of a feverish fit far more than the evenness that good reporting demands. Thus rendering the coverage of Iran in American media as consistently flawed.
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.
Roya reflects on the importance of Neda for Iranians’ 30 year quest for freedom and calls for a memorial campaign across religious lines to remember her.
Check out this excerpt from Roya’s interview on the now iconic image of Neda Agha-Soltan, a 26-year-old Iranian woman killed on June 20, 2009 during Iranian election protests, taken by an amateur photographer. Roya spoke about the viral photograph of the hailed “Angel of Iran” during the last moments of her life.
Forbes; Francesca Donner
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.
Forbes: What was your first reaction to seeing women among the protesters in the streets of Iran?
Sunday, March 5, 2006 12:01 A.M. EST
The bomb that Tehran’s mullahs are allegedly building has already done its damage. For two years now, it has decimated the headlines. In the mushroom cloud of its anticipation, some of the most critical stories in Iran have vanished.
Forbes – How Iranian immigrants found their way home. On a December afternoon in 1985, my mother and I finally parted from each other. Two Jewish refugees from Iran, we had arrived in the United States six months earlier, and,…
The Wall Street Journal At long last, some good news from Iran reaches U.S. shores. Akbar Ganji, one of Iran’s leading advocates for democratic change, will arrive in the U.S. today. More than his arrival, it is his survival that…