President & CEO
Women?s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace
4343 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 201
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: (301) 654-2774
Fax: (301) 654-2775
Ms. Afkhami has lectured and published extensively on the international women?s movement, women?s human rights, women in leadership, women and technology, and women, civil society, and democracy. Among Ms. Afkhami?s publications, which have been widely translated and internationally distributed, are Women and the Law in Iran (Foundation for Iranian Studies, 1993), In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Postrevolutionary Iran (Syracuse University Press, 1994), Women in Exile (University Press of Virginia, 1994), Faith and Freedom: Women's Human Rights In the Muslim World (Syracuse University Press, 1995), Claiming Our Rights: A Manual for Women?s Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies (Sisterhood Is Global Institute, 1996), Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation (Syracuse University Press, 1997), Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies (Sisterhood Is Global Institute, 1998), and Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women (Women?s Learning Partnership, 2001).
Ezzat Goushegiris a playwright, author and film critic. She has published
four books (in Farsi). Two of her plays "Medea Was Born in Fallujah" and
"Now Smile" (In English) were anthologized in Witness and Crawdad in 2006.
She began her career in theatre as a playwright since 1976 when her first
play "Beginning of Bloom" was produced at Iranian National Television.
Immigrating to the U.S. she wrote both in English and Farsi, where her plays
have been produced by a variety of theater companies. In 1990 she was a
Fellow Writer in the Iowa City International Writing Program, in 1992
contributed in the Second Conference of International Women's Playwrights in
Canada, in 2007 was a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Maryland,
also has been a co-director and dramaturge of a reading series at New
Federal Theatre in New York.
Her new play "My Name is Inanna" was recently performed at the 28th Annual
Women and Theatre Program conference in 2008 in Colorado.
Currently she teaches at DePaul University in Chicago.
Khak bar sare opposition!? -A generation of post-modern youth who has no interest in politics and society
A friend’s friend returned from Iran a couple of weeks ago and of course I had to have the full report on social, political and developmental issues in Iran from her. Unfortunately the only reflections of her trip which she reported on were the numerous parties she was invited to and the beautiful people she had encountered!
Somehow I had expected a little more depth in the descriptions of her “marze porgohar”, her “khake pake mihan”, but the depth didn’t reach any further than the surface of the women’s cosmetically modified faces, their extremely fashionable outfits or the epilated male eyebrows. I wanted to hear about the Iranian Student Movement, about the vastly growing Woman’s Movement, about the Shirin Ebadi’s, about censored journalists and writers who fought back through publishing online, or brave men and women who organised underground meetings or demonstrations and strikes. All these stories remained untold. Nothing was said about the three-star students who were sent to jail for the third time during their study or the numerous under-aged women who were hung or stoned to death.
I was disappointed. Not because I was so eager to hear about atrocities in my “vatan”, but because I knew that all these things existed but nobody in Iran seemed to care. The only thing the people in Iran seemed to care about, according to my friend’s report, was about looking as European or American as possible and finding some way to become rich. Even the many University students she met of whom one could expect some level of general worldly intelligence lacked any sense of intellectual depth or societal consciousness. As she put it, they all looked like Ken and Barbie’s in a way but weren’t quite able to speak! I was afraid of this. Of having a report on the Iranian youth that would only confirm my presumptions.
But as theories of social science teach us, we always should be looking for that one black swan that would falsify the statement that “all swans are white”! So in my heart, I too am looking for black swans. In a lake filled with post-modernism, hedonism and post-individualism I am looking for modernism, social consciousness and political engagement.
“It is only natural”, sociologists would say as a reply to Iran’s massively growth of postmodernism among the youth. A country that was sent back to the middle ages during the reign of the Islamic Republic, is now struggling to modernize to reach some kind of cultural and social enlightenment, while unfortunately having no other example but MTV, Baywatch and PMC! When isolated from the outside world, with no other channel of information than satellite television, the Iranian youth has come to believe that the only way of becoming “modern” is by dressing like Shakira and having your nose operated to Hollywood standards.
The fact is that modernization is a long process of societal enlightenment, which can only occur through open public discussions about societal matters, religion and politics, which unfortunately is an impossible task in today’s Iran. Since open discussions and criticism is no option in Iranian society, how can we expect a whole generation who is raised with the codes of conduct of the Islamic regime to be able to modernize overnight?
The friend whose report on Iran I was listening to finalised her stories by a single sentence that shook me up: “Khak bar sare opposition e Iran ke khodeshoono baraye injoor adama daran mikoshan!” According to this conclusion I was to believe that the many people outside of Iran who spent all their time and energy on opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran, who raised attention to human rights-, women’s and minorities’ violations and cultural and individual oppression, were actually wasting their time! If that was true, Iran’s future would be a sad one.
Before moving from post-modernism to a modern society, various growing pains will first be felt. Iran’s youth who have developed a co-existent relationship with the Islamic regime will one day pass the bridge of enlightenment and learn to redefine values in their society.
The first step towards enlightenment is always facing yourself in a mirror and knowing who you really are, where you came from and what your history says about you. The second step is to learn how to receive criticism and how to give criticism without offending. The third step is to question the powers that are forced upon you.
I truly believe that open sources of information, and thus the internet can play a magnificent role in this matter. Maybe then one day Iranian youth will see more than just the shadows on the walls of Plato’s cave and will be able to throw off their plastic masks of postmodernism and learn the true meaning of being and thinking modern. Until then, the oppositione khakbarsar, and Iran’s intellectuals will have to do all they can to assist this process of modernization.
Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at S.F. State University.
"Between Woman and Nation: nationalisms, transnational feminism and the state,"
Edited by Caren Kaplan, Norma Alarcon and Minoo Moallem, Published by Duke University Press, 1999.
Tel: (415) 338 1238
My nine-year old niece is very interesting in writing. She writes fiction and drama more deftly than most adults. She is bi-lingual in Farsi and English. Any ideas about how to encourage her writing? Thank you.
Author of best selling book - Reading Lolita in Tehran. Azar is a former professor of english at the university of Tehran, is a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. her research there focuses on: the relation between aesthetics and politics, and the ineraction between cultures.
bahaneh bahar replied:
i am the great grand daughter of the famous poet malek o'shahar bahar.i have a true story of my life and need help from a great author to make this book happen!
i live in van.b.c. canada.
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictorial history of Ancient Iran for young readers
Ancient Iran - Culture of Iran Youth Series
Educated in both Iran and England, Massoume Price has written extensively on many aspects of Iranian culture. Her book Iran's Diverse Peoples (2005); was called by the Middle East Quarterly 'must reading for anyone who wants to understand ethnic and religious diversity in Iran'. Her website - www.cultureofiran.com - is used widely as an on-line reference source. For additional information about this publication, or to order the book, visit :
Freelance Journalist and Editor of
1- "book of Now Rooz." 1988, Volume I&II/LA
2- "In the Back Alleys of Exile"(Dar Koucheh Pas Koushehayeh Ghorbat). 1993, Volume I & II/LA
3- "Iranian Women, Reaserches and Arts" (Co-Ed.) 1993 /LA
4- "Iranian Women's Image in Iranian Culture" (Co-Ed.) 1993/LA
5- "Women and Family in Iran and Abroad" (Co-Ed.) 1994 /LA
6- Women and politics in Comtemporary Iran" (Co-ED.) 1995 /LA
7- "Women, Sexuality and Islam" (Co-Ed.) 1996 /Boston
8- "The History of comtemporary Iranian Jews" (Ed.) 1996 /LA Upcoming Book
9- "What Ever happened tp Them?" (Ashenayan Ra Cheh Shod?)
Sholeh Wolpé is the author of The Scar Saloon (Red Hen Press, October 2004) and has a CD by the same title (Refuge Studios, 2005) Her poems, translations and reviews have been published in many literary journals, periodicals and anthologies in the U.S., Canada and Europe, Middle East and Asia. She was born in Iran but spent most of her teen years in the Caribbean and Europe, ending up in the U.S. where she pursued Masters degrees in Radio-TV-Film (Northwestern University) and Public Health (Johns Hopkins University). Sholeh is the recipient of several awards for her poetry and is the director and host of Poetry at the Loft… and more, a successful cultural arts venue in Redlands, Ca. She divides her time between Redlands and Los Angeles, California. More information: www.sholeh.info or www.sholehwolpe.com
The Influence of Iranian Women on my life and writing
you may wonder what possible connection there is between an anglo American male with the name Brian H. Appleton and Iran and most especially Iranian women and yet they have both had a huge influence on me and to a great extent shaped who I am today. In fact each year in thanks I throw a Norooz Party which last year was attended by 150 Persian American guests.
When I was 11 years old I was shipped off to boarding school by my brave mother who knew the public school I was going to could not give me a good education. There I met Touss Sepehr who spoke no English at the time and I no Persian.
That was the beginning of a long tale which will not end til my life is over. My first book:"Tales From The Zirzameen," will be a fruit from this tree. They say that we are born into one family but we make a new one as we choose people who better fulfill and suit the roles of the relatives we need. Touss's aunt Parvin became my khaleh and my mentor. When I was a teenager she taught me how to dance on the one end of the spectrum and on the other we had many many artistic, philosophical, historical and political discussions that started in 1961 and continue to this day.
I went on to act as Sir Robert Shirley in a documentary she made in Iran in 1975 called:"Travels of Pietro Della Valle" and I became friends with Shohreh Aghdashlou during the shooting of Parvin's next film called "Sorabe Soltanieh." (By the way, Shohreh, breaking into for the first time and conquering Hollywood at age 50 is a huge achievement.)
You can read about all this as well as some great analysis about film making in Iran and about women's issues and rights in general in an interview I wrote for the Iranian Times at: http://www.iranian.com/Appleton/2003/December/Ansary/Index.html
And if Parvin Ansary was my khaleh, the late Fari Esfandiari Eghbal was like a second mother to me but that's another story.
The beauty and intelligence of Iranian women is legendary and Persian male poets have composed tributes to that for thousands of years in their verses spanning from the Shahnameh praising great beauties like Rudabeh up to today when the whole world has recognized it with the likes of Miss Germany, Miss Canada, Miss UK. For courage, Shirin Ebadi winning the Nobel Peace Prize and Anousheh Ansary having the courage to travel in outer space but what I want to write about is the inspiration that their struggle for equality and excellence has been to me against the back drop of a repressive male dominated world both in and out of Iran.
First let me say that while I lived in Iran in the 1970's, my friends were both men and women. Two women stick out in my memory of that time most vividly. The late Lily Lac, who though moslem made it a point to make a Christmas dinner for me every Christmas at her home and Pouran Nafisi who sacrificed her own personal safety to rescue me from a hostage situation with the help of two gunmen she had hired during the revolution of 1979.
Iranian women in the diaspora have been a huge inspiration for me in their determination to start all over in different circumstances, cultures and languages and succeed. Their struggles against many odds have taught me many life lessons. The most impressive thing is their willingness to help me despite all their own issues.
As I went through the list of writers in your website I noticed many names who are my friends.
I wrote an interview about film maker Aryana Farshad also in the Iranian Times called "Blooming." She is an artist and Sufi whom I have known since I was 16 and has also been an inpiration and a mentor to me. Other Persian women writers who have encouraged me to write and never give up are: Azar Nafisi, Azadeh Moaveni, Firoozeh Dumas and Massoumeh Price.
In response to Pari Esfandiari, your editor in chief's letter speaking of the urgency of presenting a united voice against the demonizing of Iran and Iranians by Western media in the run up to another Bush war, I want to say that nothing strikes me as more urgent right now for any one of Iranian descent or a love for Iran.
For the past two years now I have been assisting my friend Jahangir Golestan Parast to promote his film called "Bam 6.6" which is a message of universal brotherhood and peace which shows the true character of the Iranian people, their kindness, their generosity and their tenacity to survive and be hopeful even in the worst of life's adversities. The story is told through the eyes of the only American couple who were victims of the earthquake in an attempt to capture the hearts of the mainstream American audience. We have done screenings at UCLA, UCI, Stanford University twice, once sponsored by their PSA and once in the United Nations Association Film Festival and we are scheduled to screen it at Harvard and MIT in February. I encourage all of you to visit his website at www.essenceofiran.com You may also read an interview of Jahangir I wrote in Payvand News at:
which also appeared in two parts in the Fall and Spring 2007 issues of Persian Heritage Magazine out of Passaic New Jersey.
I am determined with my pen to write for peace and to do whatever I can to prevent a catastrophic war against Iran by a posse of vigilianti nations that this administration is rallying and bullying together over the objections of the UN, with the goal of returning Iran to a vassal client state status giving up national sovereignty and oil rights and a right to self determination. I am a columnist for CASMII (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Invasion of Iran) and I have written articles for www.Payvand.com, Aljazeera English, The Guardian, The Iranian Times and others protesting the current situation.
The mainstream media which are owned by mega corporations are the mouth piece of the US administration and its owners, the petroleum industry and the military industrial complex who are making enormous gains and profits even before this new war has begun. I am not a radical. As far back as President/General Eisenhower in the 1950's, he sighted the military industrial complex as a grave danger to our democracy.
The best way to fight back againstthe demonization is to keep a human face on Iran. The whole world needs to know more Iranian names than just the name Ahmadinejad and even he has been misrepresented and misquoted. The whole world needs to know that Iran is a million times more than just the petroleum beneath its feet.
I would love to hear from any of you with your comments at: email@example.com
I thank all Iranian women who have been a huge inspiration and help to me in my struggle for excellence right now in your magazine...Thank you with all my heart,