Pârsa:
Final post: comic books and blogging

     While I was reading other people’s blogs, I realized that many people had either positive or negative impression of comic books before they had started reading Persepolis. However, I personally had no idea about what comic books were like before we started reading Persepolis in class. Perhaps the reason is the mere unpopularity of comics in my country. For the first experience, I think Persepolis placed the best possible impression on me. I really enjoyed reading it and I look forward to reading Persepolis II, which is also in comic style.

     I am, however, not the only person in the class who has experienced blogging for the first time. After finishing this assignment, I have to admit that although blogging was not as easy as I expected it to be, it was quite fun. I also have to say that in the end I learned a lot by reading other people’s blogs. It was very infomative to read people’s opinion about the text and the presentations. Furthermore, some people even responded on my own presentation, which I truly appreciate. :)

Hero:

     On page 86 of the Persepolis when Marjane was praising the courage of Pardisse’s father, she heard an unexpected reply from her friend. Pardisse said, “I wish he [her father] were alive and in jail rather than dead and a hero”(Satrapi 86). The first time that I read these lines, I felt bad for Pardisse and all the other people who have lost their beloved ones in the war. However, the more I thought about what Pardisse said, the more I felt that she had more of an emotional approach than a rational one to her father’s situation. While it usually takes a few years for an ordinary person to be forgotten after his/her death, people never forget their heroes. In other words, if the death of a person is implicitly defined as something to be forgotten, then there would be no death for a hero. Moreover, it is always the good and positive memories of a hero that most people tend to remember. Have you ever seen anyone talk about the character flaws of a hero? Never. Everyone praise a hero’s courage, sacrifice, and high spirit. Although people who have lost their beloved ones do obviously feel tremendous pain, they ultimately come to recognize and to be really proud of what their heroes did and the values they stood for. 

Islamic Dress Code:

     I was looking at the blog of a student from previous EWRT1A that I ran into a post about Islamic dress code and I suddenly remembered the two following paragraphs:

“A couple of years after we had begun our Thursday-morning seminars, on the last night I was in Tehran, a few friends and students came to say good-bye and to help me pack. When we had deprived the house of all its items, when the objects had vanished and the colors had faded into eight gray suitcases, like errant genies evaporating into their bottle, my students and I stood against the bare white wall of the dinning room and took two photographs.

I have the two photographs in front of me now. In the first there are seven women, standing against a white wall. They are, according to the law of the land, dressed in black robes and head scarves, covered except for the oval of their faces and their hands. In the second photograph the same group, in the same position, stands against the same wall. Only they have taken off their coverings. Splashes of color separate one from the next. Each has become distinct through the color and style of her clothes, the color and the length of her hair; not even the two who are still wearing head scarves [because they probably were religious] look the same”(Nafisi 3-4).

     As we read in the Persepolis, after the Islamic Revolution, wearing veil became mandatory for women in public. Although the dress codes for women are not as strict as they were right after the revolution, yet even today, women can be fined for not adhering to the Islamic dressing rules. Aside from all different boundaries that this law has created for women, it has further destroyed their equitable taste in style and deprived them of their definite right to choose what they want to wear. Marjane in the Persepolis is an illustration of a young girl who wants to reflect her unique sense of style in her clothes. However, we all remember what type or reaction did she receive in return. In addition, when you dress the way you like to dress, it makes you feel good and self confident about yourself, why should any law condemn that? The point is, being unique and different is something to be appreciated, why should we try to hide it? In other words, how can I show that I am different if I have to cover myself from head to toe?

Islamophobia:

                       

     Since I have started attending De Anza College, I have had an opportunity to meet many Muslim students. In my eyes, they did not appear to have any problem living in a country where many people may perceive Muslims as terrorists. I was carrying this idea for a few month, until I heard Laela’s very interesting presentation about Islamophobia last Wednesday. Although I had never heard about the term before, it was not hard to guess its meaning. Laela talked about the Islamophobia or the fear of Muslims and Islam. Although Islamophobia existed as far back as in the late 1980s; it entered into a new phase during the 2000s primarily due to September 11 terrorist attack (Islamophobia). My favorite part of Laela’s presentation was the video she showed about a Muslim lady who was trying to do her grocery shopping at a grocery store. I watched the video a few times more later at home. What hurts me the most about watching this video was not the six people who showed their approval of the cashier’s actions, but rather it was the other twenty-six people who just walked away and simply ignored the injustice. It was very sad to watch the young Muslim lady at the end of the video express her fear of going out alone because of the way she dresses. I think the video reached its maximum point when the man whose son had served in Iraq along with two other ladies firmly stood up for the Muslim lady and expressed their dissatisfaction about the obvious iniquity. Although watching the video was indeed heartbreaking, it gave me a glimpse of hope that there are still people out there who believe in equal rights and do respect the diversity of individual’s belief systems.

What I like about The Persepolis:

     Back in the time when I was still in Iran, I had no idea that a book called Persepolis even existed. Persepolis is banned in Iran due to its content. After I moved to the United States, I heard a lot of good things about the book from many people. I really wanted to personally buy the book and see for myself what it is all about prior to becoming enrolled in this class, which had Persepolis as a reading requirement.

     I started to like the book as soon as I read the last paragraph of the introduction, where Marjane Satrapi explains her personal reasons for writing the book. She states, “This old and great civilization [Iran] has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism” (Satrapi Introduction2). As she mentions, it has been a long time that not only Iran but also most of the countries in the Middle East are considered terrorist, fantasists, or fundamentalist. Unfortunately, many people all round the world have a preconceived idea about these countries. They have no or very limited knowledge about the people who live in the Middle East. Consequently, they are unable to differentiate between the people and the regimes in these countries. I have always believed that a country’s regime does not necessarily represent the characteristics of the population of that country. I definitely share the views of Ms. Satrapi when she says, “ I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists” (Introduction2). After I heard people’s opinion about Iran and Iranian people during class discussion, I was assured that Ms. Satrapi did a great job in providing her audience with a more realistic picture of Iran and of its people. She has indeed enlightened so many people about her country, Iran. What else can one expect from a book?

     What is very appealing to me about this book is its unique style both in writings and in the choice of pictures. Pictures are very simple black and white sketches; there is nothing fancy about them. However, they convey the intended messages perfectly and show the emotions exquisitely. In addition, continuous changes in the story’s tone makes its reading even more fun. From time to time, Ms. Satrapi gives the audience a break from serious events either by indulging in a joke or by mentioning an emotional incidence. Instead of bombarding the audience with too many facts and figures about the people who lost their lives or were depleted of their rights during the revolution, she creates symbols. Each character, which dies in the book, is the symbol of people who lost their lives in the same way. As a result, while Persepolis might appear as just a story of a teenager’s life during the revolution, it actually has a lot more to offer. It succeeds to keep alive the memories of people who lost their lives in the war or prison, defaulted their right under the suppressive regime, or left their country reluctantly. In summary, I think the book is a perfect combination of happiness, sadness, pain, care, and love.

     Finally I love the fact that the book reflects on some aspects of Iranian culture. For instance, it shows the importance of family in Iran by demonstrating the close relationships and strong bonds among family members. It also shows how supportive Iranians are, even toward their distant relatives, when it talks about the Mali and her family staying in Marji’s house for a while. Moreover, the book nicely shows that each time a friend or a guest comes over for a visit, the host customarily makes tea for them. By this, it reflects on a very common Iranian tradition of serving tea (Persian tea) to their guests.

     At the end, I am very glad that we had a chance to read about my country and its people. Even if one and only one person in the class feels that Persepolis changed his/her views about Iran, Ms. Satrapi has most certainly achieved her goal.

                           By the way, would you like some Persian tea?


Saying Goodbye to Your Country:

     As we approach the end of the Persepolis, Marjane decides to leave Iran. She is supposed to go to Vienna, Austria. For many people who have never experienced immigration, the term might not have much meaning. The process is hard from the first step when you make a decision to leave your country, all the way to the end. You decide to go although you know that you will have to live and interact with people who are different from you in culture and language. You know that you have to leave a place where you have spent your whole life. You have to say goodbye to all the people that you love. Still, you decide to leave. You might think that the hard part will be learning a new language, or familiarizing yourself with a new culture. However, when the time comes that you have to say goodbye to friends and family, you suddenly realize what real pain is all about. The feeling that you might not be able to see them for a log time is unbearable. The last pages of the Persepolis, reminded me of my own experience when I was leaving my country, Iran.

     I clearly remember the last night I spent in Iran before we left. I slept for a couple of hours, but not more. I was very nervous and I could not hide it; I already started to miss my grandmother, my family and of course my friends. Our flight was in the afternoon. Early in the morning when it was still dark, my mom woke up to pack the very last few things, which were left out. The breakfast, like everything else about that morning, did not feel right. The four of us were busy getting ready for the flight. My grandmother had come over to spend the last day with us. However, she was unusually quiet that morning. She was staring at each of us as if she wanted to remember our faces. Despite her attempt to hide her feelings, I could see the distress in her eyes. A few days before, she had asked me to give her a picture of mine; she wanted to make sure she does not forget my face as a result of her Alzheimer. It was about noontime that we left the house for the airport. At the airport, my grandmother was not the only one who was quite; everyone was quite with fake smiles on their faces. They were all thinking and, from time to time, were trying to stop their tears from falling. Since it was almost time to pass through gates and get ready for the flight, we started saying goodbye to everyone. It was really hard for me, and it was millions of times harder for my parents. I still remember my grandfather’s words when he hugged my dad and said, “ My oldest son is leaving and I am not sad, because I know that he and his family are moving toward a better and brighter future, one which is full of hope and success. This is a big pain to say goodbye to your oldest son, not knowing when you will see him again. Yet, I could handle it if I knew that you and your family will be happy.” He then hugged me and said, “ Listen my darling, now that you are leaving us, you have to promise me that you will never forget about your roots. A rootless person is just like a rootless tree. A tree cannot survive without its roots, neither can you. A rootless person is a worthless person.” I could clearly see the gloom behind everyone’s faces. We entered the gate, but I didn’t look back. I didn’t want the last memory of everyone in my mind to be a tearful image. I preferred artificial smiles to real tears.

     I still miss my homeland a lot. I think about all the people I knew and all the memories we created together. The only thing that gives me the strength to march forward is the positive feeling and the fact that I am here for a reason, for a noble goal. 

Iranian Women:

   

An Iranian lady who has the word ” Woman” on her left hand and the word “Man” on her right hand and an equal sign between these two words, asking for the equal rights.

  A brief history of women attempt for equal rights:

     Throughout the history, Persian women have always been playing very important roles. In ancient Iran skilled women were being paid more than their male counterparts. Also, the Persian Empire was once ruled by Purandokht the Sassanid princess for almost two years. There were Iranian women who were soldiers and used to fight in the wars just like men. It was around 1906 that the Iranian Women Movement, which aimed to protect women’s right emerged. The accomplishments of this movement are quite notable. It successfully won the women’s right to vote in 1963 when Mohammad Reza Shah admitted to women inferior position in the society and granted them the opportunity to become members of the parliament, upper house, and public offices. This important reform is known as the White Revolution in Iran. In 1975 a law called Family protection Law was passed, which gave women even more rights. It provided women with the right of custody and divorce; it also substantially reduced polygamy. Women activist were the first who came up with the idea of higher education for women. They believed the more educated the mother, the better the children they can raise. Consequently, they started encouraging women to educate themselves. Financial support was provided to women to study abroad in 1928. In 1935, Tehran University began to admit women and by 1944 higher education has become compulsory for Iranian ladies. As a result of higher education, women became more notably involved in society. Thirty years ago when Mohammad Reza Shah left Iran and the revolution succeeded, it marked a new era for the Iranian women.

   Women after Islamic revolution:

     The Islamic Revolution, created many limitations for Persian ladies. As a result of Islamic rules, women must wear hijab in public places, they do not have a right to divorce, their rights are considered as half of those of men, and they are not allowed to assume certain occupations like Supreme Leader, Prime minister, President, and Judge. Yet, despite all the limitations, Iranian women have made tremendous progress during the last 30 years. In current Iran the number of educated women overweighs that of educated men. As reported by UNESCO,“Iran has the highest female to male ratio at primary level of enrollment in the world among sovereign nations, with a girl to boy ratio of 1.22: 1.00,” (Women in Iran). In a country, where most people think that women are highly suppressed, there are in fact more educated women than are educated men. Women have significantly participated in art, science, literature, film making, and in human and women rights. Among many noble women in Iran one can name Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer who won Nobel prize in 2003 for her remarkable efforts for human rights, democracy, children’s and women’s and refugee’s right. We can also name Simin Behbahani, a Nobel Prize nominee in literature, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Pouran Derakhshandeh, and Tahmineh Milani who are all very gifted directors and their movies have found vast audience inside and outside of Iran. Iranian women have also made significant progress in athletic fields such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, chess, skiing etc. Furthermore, there were many women who played very key roles in politics. Right now we have many women who are legislators in The Parliament. Furthermore, the Minister of Health and the Vice President of Scientific and Technological Affairs are both women. Another example of women’s active role in Iran was recently demonstrated by their very strong presence in the last year’s protests. They came to the streets of Tehran to show their dissatisfaction with the election results and fought much stronger than men.

                                               Shirin Ebadi, Nobel prize winner

                                              Simin Behbahani, Nobel prize nominee 

                                                                             Tahmineh Milani,Film director, Screen writer, producer, Architect

                                                                     Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Film director, Producer, Screen writer

                                                  Pouran Derakhshandeh, Film director, Producer,Screen writer, and Researcher

                                                   Iranian women protesting for equal rights( on the banner is said: women’s right= human’s right)

    As one can see, Iranian women, despite all the suppressions and limitations that were imposed upon them throughout the history, never gave up and always resisted all restrictions and tried to move forward. They never stopped fighting for what they wanted. They have always been as influential and as strong as men. Undoubtedly, these capable and noble women in Iran will soon achieve what they really deserve.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise (Angelou). 

 

Iranian Women

Memories of Iran-Iraq War:

    On Wednesday, when Marjan was talking about the Iraq war, I was thinking about all the heartbreaking stories that my parents and other people have told me about the war. As Marjan said, it was on September 22, 1980 that Iraq preemptively invaded Iran without any prior notice. That was the beginning of an eight years war, which to Iranians is known as the Imposed War. A war, which has caused the loss of many lives. Saddam Hussein had three major aims: preventing the potential spread of Islamic Revolution, annexing Khuzestan, one of the southern provinces of Iran,and controlling three islands in Persian Gulf as well as Shatt al-Arab waterway.

    The presence of chaos in Iran following the 1979 revolution was the best opportunity for Saddam Hussein to fulfill his goals. I was not yet born at the time of Iran-Iraq war; however, I have heard a lot about the war from my family and friends. My father worked as a doctor in one of the border cities. He used to take care of the injured people during the war. He cannot hide his tears when he talks about all those innocent men, women, and children who were killed or injured in the war. I asked him to tell me about some of his memories. He started this way, “ Once, it was in the middle of the day that the siren went on for the third time. Everyone was required to move to the closest shelter when the siren was on. The siren would indicate red condition, meaning that there was a possibility of bombing. I was working in a shelter right next to the hospital. While we were in the shelter, we heard an explosion. This time it was real; Iraq has sent another bomb. After the siren went off and the conditions went back to normal, my colleagues and I left the shelter looking for people injured by the bomb explosion. While nurses were moving some of the injured to the hospital, I noticed a man asking for help while he was holding a girl on his hands. I ran toward the man hoping to be able to save the girl. Unfortunately, she had passed away. I can still hear the voice of that man when he was crying and repeatedly asking, ‘God! what was her fault. First you took my wife and now my daughter? I cannot live this life anymore.’ Twenty seven  years has now passed since that day, yet the imagery of that day are so alive in my mind as if it was just yesterday.” That innocent young girl was only one of the victims of the war. Many more people paid a heavy price of losing their lives during this war. Both my mom and dad lost some classmates in the war. One of my father’s friend, who was working as an Orthopedics during the war, was killed when a bomb hit his ambulance in his way back to home. In addition to dropping destructive bombs, Saddam Hussein also used chemical weapons, which not only killed many people instantly, but also left many severe and lasting effects on people’s health. “With more than 100,000 Iranian who fell victim to Iraqis chemical weapons during the eight-year war, Iran is one of the countries that has been most adversely afflicted by ‘weapon of mass destruction’”(Iran-Iraq War). Now, more than 20 years after the war has ended, many people are still suffering from serious health problems imposed upon them by their exposure to those chemical weapons.

    During those eight years many mothers lost their children, many men lost their wives, many women lost their husbands and many children were told that their father “Is on a trip” while they were dead. Iran-Iraq War

middle east

 Iran-Iraq Borders, Middle east

    

Persepolis. Just a Name or More?

Persepolis

     I was almost five years old when I went to Shiraz to visit Persepolis. Many of you might not know that the name of the book we are reading, Persepolis, is actually the name of a historical site in Iran. My memories of this place are very vague. Most of my knowledge about Persepolis comes from the books that I have read or the movies that I have watched about this place. Iran is a country with a very ancient history. What we call Iran today is just a small part of what used to be the Persian Empire. Persepolis used to be one of the most important capitals of the Empire. However, it was more a ceremonial rather than a political capital. The name Persepolis is the Greek translation for Parsa, which means ‘The City of Persians’. This place was built more than 2500 years ago; it is currently located in the northeast of the city of Shiraz in Iran. Cyrus the Great initially chose the location of Persepolis, while most of it was built by Darius the Great. (Persepolis)

     The greatest and the most magnificent palace in the Persepolis is called Apadana. Darius the Great started building this palace and it was finally completed during the time of Xerxes. The palace consists of seventy-two columns each nineteen meters high, where thirteen of which are still standing. People used to come from all over the Persian Empire to meet the king and to offer their tributes in Apadana. Another remarkable palace is called Throne Hall or Hundred-columns Hall. It is the second largest palace in the Persepolis. At the beginning this hall was being used to receive representatives of subject nations and military commanders. However, it later turned into an imperial museum. There are several other palaces including Tachara palace, which was the Darius personal palace, Hadish, which was the personal palace of Xerxes, Queen palace, which was the personal palace of queen, Council Hall where the king used to consult with his wise men, Tryplion Hall, Gate of Nations, and the Imperial Treasury.

     It was in 330 BC that the Alexander who was a Macedonian proceeded to put the Persepolis on fire. The fire began from the Hadish palace, but It is not clear whether the burning of Persepolis was an accident or was it done deliberately. Either way, it completely destroyed a city that once was known as the greatest city under the sun.

    Apadana Stairway shows the people bringing their tributes for the king                                  Stairs of Apadana,Perspolis, people are bringing their tributes for the king

Gate of Nations

 Gate of Nations, Persepolis

Persepolis, Apadana palace

Apadana palace,Persepolis