I don’t know about anyone else, but as the descendant of immigrants, there is a part of me that longs to know about the world my family knew before they came to the United States. But with no one alive to share those stories and that world long gone, it can be seen through documents and the work of fiction.
French-Iranian journalist Delphine Minoui does not need to jump through such hoops. The only thing she needs to do is buy a plane ticket.
Translated by Emma Ramadan, the book is a memoir of the ten years that she lived in Iran. In the late 1990s, she was in her twenties and brand new to the world of journalism. She was also mourning for her recently passed grandfather. Her stay in Tehran was supposed to be a short ten-day trip. It eventually turned into a decade long residency.
During the course of that decade, Minoui doesn’t just live in Tehran. As her journalistic instincts kick in, she experiences everything the city and the country offer at that time. By the time she leaves Iran, she has grown in ways she could not have imagined
I really liked this book. It shows that Iran is much more than it is perceived to be in the headlines. Which frankly, sometimes don’t tell the whole story. Each chapter is a letter to her grandfather, describing in vivid detail what day to day life was like for Minoui.
In our modern world, the nearly century long conflict with Israel and her neighbors (and Palestine specifically) is just another part of the news cycle.
Earlier this week, Israel reached what many have described as a historic deal with the UAE.
I believe that this deal is a good one and a necessary step toward a reasonable peace in the region.
That being said, I am not surprised about the responses. Both Iran and the Palestinians are displeased, to say the least. You know who thinks that he actually solved the problem as a whole. While this is a positive step in the right direction, it will not create a peaceful utopia. There is still a long way to go.
I am also not sure that temporarily stopping the so called “West Bank Settlements” will create the necessary change. Though this another topic for another blog post, when Israel goes back to building what is essentially Israeli land, she will be met with the same criticism and damnation. But in the meantime, putting the settlements on hold is imperative.
But overall, my gut reaction is that the agreement is one to celebrate. Only when we put aside our prejudices can we see the common goals that exist between us. By putting hate aside, both Israel and the UAE are demonstrating that it is possible to live with your neighbor. It just requires the ability to listen and compromise.
When the Internet and social media took off decades ago, they both seemed to be a beacon of freedom of speech and communication. We would speak to and (virtually) meet people who we might otherwise not meet and become a better world.
But while the technology has changed, the world has not.
While the social media giants claim that they are all for freedom of expression, they continue to ignore the elephant in the room. That elephant is racism and antisemitism that continually flows from various tweets and posts.
Twitter, while claiming that hate speech is not allowed on the platform, does not prevent Iranian officials from threatening Israel with annihilation via tweets.
I wish it was easy to remove ourselves from social media. But, they are so much of a part of lives that to do so would be akin to cutting off a limb. The only solution is that the people who run the social media platforms follow through on their terms of service. The question is, will they?
In our world and our culture, the idea of young love is put on a pedestal, especially when it is enveloped in the idea of class or political warfare. The question is, can this young love overcome the challenges?
The book is set in two periods: Iran in the early 1950’s and New England in 2013. In the early 1950’s Iran is torn between the past and the present, between democracy and a religious autocracy. In this world our lovers, Roya and Bahman meet for the first time. They are young, passionate and eager to begin their lives as a married couple. But on the day that they are to say their vows, Bahman disappears.
When it becomes obvious that Bahman is not coming back, Roya moves to America and a new life. Decades later, a twist of fate brings Bahman and Roya back together. After sixty years, she still is still asking why he abandoned her.
I know that it’s only February, but this is one of the best books of the year. Using a narrative baseline of Romeo and Juliet and mixing in Iranian history with class politics, the author is able to weave together a story of young love that stands the test of time.
The conflict between the United States and Iran goes back decades.
The latest addition to this conflict is the plane crash that killed 176 people just minutes after the plane took off from the airport last Wednesday. After going back and forth, the Iranian government took responsibility for shooting down the plane, killing everyone aboard.
However, while accepting that his people were responsible for the crash and the unnecessary loss of life, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated the following:
“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,”
The loss of 176 people is heartbreaking. I can only imagine the grief that the loved ones of those who were on the plane are feeling.
The fact that Iran finally fessed up should not have taken as many days as it did. However, what bothers me more is that they are quick to blame the United States for the crash. Granted, the US Government has not always made the wisest decisions when dealing with Iran. However, in this case, the United States is blameless. The blood and loss of life is firmly on the hands of Iran.
May the memories of those on the plane be a blessing and a reminder of the cost of war.
I would love to shout and cheer that the big bad is dead. Our world can finally be at peace.
The truth is that I cannot. Though it is without a doubt that this man and the forces he led did some truly heinous acts, I fear that this assassination will start World War III.
Adding to the mess is our so-called President, who used the excuse of so-called “bone spurs” to get out of serving in Vietnam. He never served in the military (which is not entirely a bad thing). That being said, it would behoove him and us to listen to those who have served in the military. He is akin to a little boy playing with his plastic soldiers. The problem with that is that he is not playing with six-inch plastic toys, he is playing with people’s lives.
Only time will tell if World War III starts or this is just another scuffle. No matter the outcome, yesterday’s actions make me more than a little nervous.
I’m not particularly religious, but as I get older, I realize that the stories in the Bible can still speak to us many generations after they were written.
Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim. It is the story of Esther. To make a long story short, Esther hides her Jewish identity while entered in a beauty contest to see who will become the next Queen of Shushan (modern-day Iran). When she is chosen to be the next Queen, she is faced with an impossible task: save her people from Haman’s wrath while risking her own life in the process.
Looking at the story of Purim through the lens of 2019, I feel like it still speaks to us. It speaks to us because of the growing intolerance that has become acceptable once more in our world.
It also speaks to us because Esther and her predecessor, Vashti, are also two of the strongest women in the Bible. When the King calls for Vashti to appear for all of his guests wearing only her crown (aka walking into a room full of strange, drunk men in her birthday suit), she says no and is sent away. This opens the door for Esther to become Queen and using what little power she has to stop Haman. Esther knows that her husband could easily send her away, or worse, send her to the executioner. But she is brave and knows that the only way to save herself and her people is to reveal who she really is.
The message I get from Purim is that it is possible to be ourselves and stand up to intolerance and hatred. We only need the guts to do so.
The Iranian government has made no secret of their nuclear ambitions. In signing the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for the lifting of severe economic sanctions.
Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced to the world that Iran lied. 55,000 pages and 183 CDs tell the truth.
The Iranians have continued their nuclear program in secret while pretending to go along with the terms of the deal signed 3 years ago.
Nuclear war is one of the biggest threats to the survival of our species and our world. If Iran is not stopped, I fear what may happen.
Israel is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to world politics. Instead of mocking or disregarding the facts that have been revealed, perhaps the world should examine what Israel took the time to research and reveal.
If we don’t, I fear that Iranian nuclear bombs may one way destroy everything we hold near and dear.
Illegal immigration is a hot button topic in America these days. The problem, as I see it, is that while we argue over the big picture, we forget the nuances and the individuals (whose stories often differ) who came to America, albeit illegally, looking for a better life for themselves and their families.
Sara Saedi is one of these individuals. Born in Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolution, Sara came to America as a toddler with her family. She was raised as a normal American kid, but there was one thing that separated her from her peers: she was an illegal immigrant.
In her new memoir, Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, Sara writes about living a dual life. She was an ordinary American kid doing the things that any ordinary American kid does. But she was also an illegal immigrant whose status was secretive and sometimes questionable at best.
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because the author writes in such a manner that the memoir is enticing. Her writing is down to earth and normal. I found myself thinking in some sections that she sounded like a normal young girl, regardless of her immigration status. But, ultimately, what kept me reading was the idea that when it comes to immigration, especially those who come here by bypassing the legal modes of immigration. While border safety and the safety of everyday Americans is of utmost importance, we must also take a hard look at our immigration policies and determine if we are going against American tradition by keeping out people who simply want a piece of the American dream.
America is supposed to be land of the free, home of the brave. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are one of the corners of our country, both culturally and legally.
One of the news items that has not been on the front page (but should be) is that the Department of Homeland Security is compiling a list of journalists and so-called “media influencers”.
While it is unknown what will be done to the individuals and organizations whose names appear on the list, the thought that this is happening in the United States of America in 2018 sends a chill down my spine.
Suppression of the free press is not something that happens in the United States. Suppression of the free press happens in countries like Iran and North Korea.
If this is not a sign that you know who and his minions are shredding the standards of American democracy to meet their own needs, I don’t know what is.
I only know that we still have the right to vote and we should all be using that right come the fall. If we don’t, the democracy that is the United States of America may soon be no more.