Parisa is a journalism graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently a MA candidate at the School of International Service at American University. She began writing about her native country, Iran, at her personal blog IranStories.com to share everything she loves about Iran and Iranians, minus all the politics (if that's possible). Tired of being asked the most basic questions about Iran, all based on stereotypes and lies, Parisa ust wanted to provide a pure image of what life is like in Iran...what is it like to be an Iranian woman.
Now, Parisa brings her I Heart Iran section from IranStories.com exclusively to Aslan Media.
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Poetry is an important part of Persian culture. Not only it is popular among the educated, but also the less educated (unlike in the "west"); in Iran, even the illiterate understand the language of poetry. While we have a wide range of poets with different styles of work, from classic to more contemporary, people of all classes and backgrounds are familiar with a number of leading Persian poets.
One poet whose poetry is cherished and recited on daily basis is Sohrab Sepehri. Known for his modern mystic poetry, Sohrab’s delicate view on life and nature invites the readers to constantly question their beliefs and views.The Water’s Footsteps in which he cherishes his simple life and appreciates what he has as well as questioning the most basics traditions and beliefs of his reader, is one of the most famous and widely memorized poems in Iran.
Growing up in Iran, every Mother’s Day (which, there, commemorates the birth of Fatemah, the Prophet’s Muhammed’s daughter), school officials would gift the girls whose names were Fatemah, Zahra, Marziye, etc. (there's over fifty on that list) As a little girl with a purely Persian name (those names were based on Arabic names), I would be saddened and felt discriminated against by the country's Islamic system.
Lake Urmia, a salt lake located in Northwest Iran, has been the subject of many protests and conversations for some months now. As the threat of the lake drying up and losing some of the rarest wildlife has risen, Iranians have come together in social networks such as Facebook- and even in the streets- to protest how officials have neglected this natural national treasure.
Iran is a country of ironies. Like most promises made in politics and during revolutions, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 has also failed to fulfill its promises.
The following picture is a great example of everyday ironies that show the contrast between the promises made and the outcomes achieved of this revolution that had promised to take the hands of the poor and less privileged and offer them a better life.
Another reason to choose Hijab--according to Iran’s propaganda machine:
Caption: In this rainstorm of “looks” do not forget about the “umbrella” of Hijab
Ayatollah Javaid-Amoli, a prominent Islamic scholar and hard-liner, is known for his odd time-to-time comments- taken seriously by some and not very seriously by others. Here is a quote from one of his visits with a group of architects and contractors:
“Building houses with open kitchens wherein owners cannot be protected from the guests is not Islamic. When there are guests in the house, a woman must be able to do her work without being exposed to them.”
Each time I read Iranian blogs and newspapers, surf the pages of Facebook or receive emails from Iran, I realize just how aware Iranians are about their position in the world. They are so observant (and particular) about how the world perceives them and where they stand internationally. It’s almost like they know they are what I call “differently the same.”
In the middle of the current international pressure and sanctions storming down on Iran, Iranians know how the world treats them. And the neuroses of that comes out in strange ways; sometimes Iranians can read a little too much into things. When I came across this image and the extensive commentaries and blog written on it, I could not help but recognize how quick Iranians are to point to perceived discriminations held against them, even if they may not be intended- or real.
A reason I Heart Iran is for its “sisters,” a term used to refer to women in a country where every thing is gender segregated: In this country your police “brother” tells you to cover up for your own safety. And, in this country even a cardboard cutout “brother” doesn’t bother to eliminate the problems and abuses you face on daily basis, instead telling you to not to be the source of troubles:
Saturday, November, 26 was the first day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic Calendar. In Islamic traditions this month is believed to be amongst the most scared months of the year. For Shia muslims in particular, this month marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, which is specifically observed on the 10th and 11th of this month.
In Iran, this month is remembered by thirty days of mourning, banning of happy occasions such as weddings and parties and holding mass religious gathering and speeches in public and private places.
On Saturday, however, Mr. Seyed Mohammad Sadat-Mansouri, a religious figure and Chief of Center of Answering Islamic Questions caused an uproar in Iranian social networks and made news with his suggestion on how Iranian media could better help commemorating this month.
Now that the news of the attack on British Embassy in Tehran is haunting the media, Iranians inside and outside of Iran are enraged and upset that such an unthoughtful and brutal act has been carried in their name. In the middle of all that, I thought we all could use a good laugh.
And what better than some bad English?
A protester is vandalizing the walls of the British Embassy in Iran...Or should I say, trying to vandalize it by writing "down with"...but his enthusiasm got away with him....
About the Columnist: Parisa Saranj
Parisa is a journalism graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently a MFA Creative non-Fiction writing candidate at Goucher College. She began writing about her native country, Iran, at her personal blog IranStories.com to share everything she loves about Iran and Iranians, minus all the politics (if that's possible).
Tired of being asked the most basic questions about Iran, all based on stereotypes and lies, Parisa just wanted to provide a pure image of what life is like in Iran...what is it like to be an Iranian woman. Now, Parisa brings her I Heart Iran section from IranStories.com exclusively to Aslan Media.