Azar Nafisi


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37 thoughts on “Welcome!”

  1. selia says:

    Dear Mrs Nafisi,
    I am half through book “Reading Lolita in T.” and I can’t stop reading it. I find it extremely interesting, although connected to a cruel and unbearable situation. Excuse my English but this is not my mothertongue. The question the book raises about what a “democratic” book should contain is of great value in every country of the world. I am teaching Enlgish literature in a small high school in my country and I think I will propose some paragraphs to my students.
    Selia

  2. hadasrom says:

    Dear Ms. Nafisi,
    I live in Israel, My mother tongue is Hebrew, I’ve never been in the U.S. and, obviously, not in Iran. And yet – while reading your book I can share and feel everything you describe. I’m just now in the frst third of the book and I’m slowing down the pace since I do not want to finish the book yet. Thank you for uncover the veil for us.

    I can promise you one thing – After reading your book, I’m going to read Lolita by Nabokov for the second time as it occurs to me that I really had no relevant background to read and enjoy it properly.

    A book which I’ve read recently and I highly recommend about is ”Incredibly close and extremely loud” by Jonathan Safran Foer – a book about the most sensitive 9 years boy old I’ve ever met. I do’nt know why, but I think that in a sense it is connected to your book (Maybe because it’s a book about America after 9/11? I’m not sure). If you read it I’ll be glad to know your impressions about this book.

    yours,
    Hadas

  3. Graziella46 says:

    Dear Ms. Nafisi,
    I’ve just finished your book “Reading Lolita in Tehran” and I really loved it, but I have a question to ask you: you seem to appreciate, as I do, Henry James and his work but, in your book, you never mention “Portrait of a lady” and I’m just curious to know if there’s a particular reason for that.

    Thanks in advance for your kind reply.

    Best regards,

    Graziella

  4. Jane says:

    Hi, I have read your book ‘Reading Lolita In Teheran,’ and I love it.
    I’m re-reading it again and for the record I wasn’t ‘looking’ for it
    nor knew it existed. I just went into Barnes and Noble in NYC, was
    looking at books and came across yours.

    I see that I am going to have to familiarize myself with Nobokov ‘s
    works and ‘A Thousand & One Nights,’ to really get the most out of
    your books, but there is something I want to ask you about your
    interpretation of ‘A Thousand & One Nights':

    I find your interpretation of the queen and the virgin’s disturbing
    because you say that they accept the king’s authority ‘by acting w/in
    the confines of his domain & by accepting its arbitrary laws,’ as
    opposed to Scheherazade, who does not. Did the virgin’s and queen
    always live, from cradle to grave, with the expectation of accepting
    authority, especially from a king? If so, wouldn’t that have made it
    all but impossible for them to accomplish the maneuver that
    Scheherazade did? Was Scheherazade an outsider? If so, wouldn’t that
    have helped her because that status would have made her different,
    less susceptible to a king’s authority?

    I will have to read ‘A Thousand & One Nights’ on my own to get these
    answers, but I am curious to know what you think and thanks for the
    great book!

    Books I highly recommend are ‘Being-In-Dreaming,’ ‘The Witch’s Dream,’ and ‘Shabono’ by Florinda Donner and ‘The Sorcerer’s Crossing,’ by Taisha Abelar because they definitely challenge conventional wisdom about what women are and can be.

    -Janice Serrano
    aka Jahnis & Jane Doe

  5. Laura Tamayo says:

    I’ve recently finished reading The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink. It’s an interesting book of a adolescent that falls in love with a woman only to discover years later that she has committed horrifying crimes.

    The most interesting aspect of the book is how human the wrong-doer is. Wouldn’t it be easy if criminals were always obvious? But they aren’t. With this book we see the conflict in the heart of a boy turned man, as he battles to come to terms with his experience with Hanna Schmitz.

  6. Christina says:

    Dear Dr. Nafisi,

    Recently I was assigned your book Reading Lolita in Tehran for my high school English class. I finished it today and must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been an avid reader since even before I started grade school, but reading your book and discussing it with my teacher and peers in class has given me a new appreciation for great literature and a new understanding of the situation in Iran. Thank you for this beautiful memoir!

    Up until recently I took my love for Jane Austen’s novels for granted. But every page of your book inspired me in some way: as a student, as an amateur writer, and as a human being. Now that I have finished your memoir, I have come to realize how truly blessed I am to live in a country where I can express my thoughts freely and pick up virtually any book without fear of persecution.

    Sincerely,

    Christina Noriega

  7. Hanieh Khosroshahi says:

    Hi, Ms. Nafisi,

    My name is Hanieh and im half way through reading your book. I came across it in my lecture on Lolita in University and I was extremely happy that an Iranian author was mentioned. Afterwards, I went to a bookstore and purchases it, and I cannot begin to tell you the similarities I share with you. I didn’t live in Iran at that time, my parents did however, and I just wanted to thank you so much for making me appreciate the opportunities I have. I also wanted to thank you for introducing me to Henry James, I just finished Daisy Miller.
    All the best,
    Ghorbanetoon,
    Hanieh

  8. bolivar ruiz says:

    Dear, Naifisi.

    I’ve been reading your book, i’ts terrific!
    I like the way you describe your childhood, I’ts very amazing!

    SPC. RUIZ
    US- ARMY
    Fort Hood, TX.

  9. Lucia says:

    Dear Mrs. Nafisi,
    I’m a student who has just finished reading your book for an academic exam. l really consider your book great, although l found it a bit difficult to understand because of the many references to the lranian situation you described. l don’t think, as many have said, you tried only to make a picture of lran highlighting the repressive regime and the political disappointment of your country, but l think you are an objective observer of the people’s lives you met, of course criticizing when necessary speaking of the tragedy of the war, but also praising some of the most beautiful aspects belonging to your culture, that is the Persian literature and all that is connected to it.
    My best great and a big support for your future works,
    Lucia

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Ms Nafisi,
    I live in Manly NSW Australia. This morning while in my local Newsagent I came across your book “Things I have been silent about.” In 1972, as a 27 year old I went with my husband and 3 young children to live in Tehran for four years. During this time I was one of the people you mother invited for coffee. With another Australian friend I went to her place and enjoyed her morning salon, listened to her stories and met such a collection of people. I also met your father and they would sometimes come to our house in Kuche Naft Davoudieh.
    The time in Iran was a seminal time for me – my eyes were wrenched open and I became sensitised to issues of identity, the role of the west in middle eastern matters, the shallowness of western culture in many ways and my own ignorance – I always say that I grew up in Iran and that it changed the person I was to become.
    Have only started the book this afternoon but feel compelled to contact you. I have read “Reading Lolita in Tehran and can remember the seeping realisation as i read the pages that there was incredible familiarity about your descriptions of your parents and there home. Then I looked again at your name on the cover. I did try to contact you. Thank you for the books – they have certainly brought back a lot of memories for me. My children all went to kinder and school in Tehran. we all still miss the food!!!!

  11. Robert Gragg says:

    I have only just begun reading your book and am in love with it already. Your writing style engaged me immediately as did your photo.
    I am 64 and a grandfather of two beautiful granddaughters and a grandson. Reading about your students sent a ache through my heart; I’m afraid you all have stolen a piece of it.(:-)

    I had never really Entertained the notion of reading Nakabov, but now I’ll have too! From what you discribe he sounds almost existential!

    Hope you write many more great books.
    Robert G
    Indiana

  12. richard says:

    Dear Mrs. Nafisi,

    I have had the opportunity to watch you on ‘HARD TALK’ screened today, the 28th April.

    I would like to share my biography with you in which connection wonder the possibility to speak with you or meet you in person if that will be convenient.

    My email address is:

    rich_aaron@bezeqint.net

    Thanking you very kindly for your reply.

    With respects,
    Richard

  13. Pep Torres says:

    Ms. Nafisi,

    I missed Reading Lolita in Tehran at its height of recognition.
    I just completed it today and was thoroughly intrigued and touched by your story and your writing. It made me want to go out and read the classics I have not read and to educate myself to the Persian history and culture.

    Guadalupe Torres

  14. khanni says:

    DEAR DR. NAFISI,
    I AM READING YOUR BOOK READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN AND I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN. I AM A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IN A WESTERN COUNTRY AND I’VE NEVER HAD A LIKING IN READING NON-FICTION BOOKS.
    MY TEACHER GAVE ME THIS BOOK TO READ FOR OUR NON-FICTION ASSIGNMENT IN ENGLISH. FIRST I REJECTED IT BECAUSE IT WAS QUITE BIG FOR ME TO READ THE WHOLE BOOK IN A SPECIFIC PERIOD OF TIME FOR MY ASSIGNMENT AS I AM IN YEAR 9.
    I STARTED READING IT ANYWAY AND I FINISHED IT WAY BEFORE THE TIME. ALTHOUGH I HAD DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING SOME OF THE WORDS.
    THANKFULLY, I LOOKED THE MEANINGS OF THOSE WORDS IN THE DICTIONARY AND UNDERSTOOD MOST OF THEM.
    I THINK READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN HAS EMPHASISED REALLY WELL THE LIFESTYLE OF A MUSLIM GIRL IN AN EASTERN OR MIDDLE-EASTERN COUNTRY.
    READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN HAS OPENED MY MIND TO READ NON-FICTION BOOKS AND APPRECIATE THE AUTHORS WHO WRITE BOOKS LIKE YOU WITH HARD WORK AND GREAT DETERMINATION.
    BEST OF LUCK FOR ALL YOUR NEW PROJECTS.

  15. Charlotte says:

    It doesn’t look as if this blog is very active. I am interested in reading about what you have to say about the situation in Iran. Can the protesters make their voices heard in other ways? Can they distrupt the current government enough so they can have a positive impact in the near future? We are looking to you to speak out, especially for women.

  16. Joanne says:

    Dear Ms Nafisi,
    I have just finished “Things I’ve Been Silent About”. Your childhood experience with your mother, and the betrayals of your father, and the strained relationship with your father’s second wife have struck deep and resonant chords in my heart. There is a kinship in shared sufferings. May you continue to touch the hearts of many, and articulate so poignantly the silent and painful realities of women who because of fear have lost their own voices. We may be separated by culture and country, but the human condition- the ability to love, and feel loss, to know great joy and profound sorrow, is a universally binding constant.

    God bless you,
    Joanne

  17. Nishka says:

    Hello Ms Nafisi,

    Like the others before me I too am reading your book “Reading Lolita in Tehran”. Books have always been the first things I turn to in happiness and sorrow and your way of looking into them has given me a great insight into empathising with fiction.
    Other than Pride and Predjudice and Jane Eyre (which rank amongst my favourite reads), the rest of the books I have always categorised as too ‘slow’ to really interest me …… but the way you wrote about them makes me want to read them.
    I wish I had a teacher like you.

  18. Paige says:

    We are blogging about your book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, on our organization’s blog: http://blog.ptpi.org.

    People to People International has begun a Global Book Club and your book was picked as our first book! We have hundreds of readers from around the world reading with us and sharing their thoughts on our blog.

    I hope you will check it out!

  19. Doug Johnson says:

    Loved “Reading Lolita in Tehran.”

  20. Doug Johnson says:

    Dear Dr. Nafisi,

    I just finished reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” and wish to thank you for a great book. It was book number 65 for me in the year 2009. Yes, I am addicted to reading. It brought back memories of two good Iranian friends in college in the 1960’s, Mehrdad and Hooshang (not sure of spelling). The odius choice of giving up one’s home country or freedom of thought is inconceivable for me. I hope the people of Iran know that many of us in the US wish the best for them.
    We are all in a war between those who would control our minds and those of us who insist on freedom of thought, whether the controllers do so for reasons of religion, market system, politics, business, or any other group. Here in the US we will be controlled if we let our guard down.
    Mention of “A Thousand and One Nights,” which I must read, reminded me of the short book “Esther” in the Old Testament. It is also about a Persian king using his power to degrade women. Esther is supposed to be the heroine, but I don’t agree.

  21. Golnaz says:

    Dear Dr. Nafisi
    Will you read this message? about six years ago when I read “Catcher in the rye” by Salinjer I was amused bu this quote that whenever you read a nice book you fell like talking to the author, and there it is. I really like talking with you. It was new and interesting for me, this book “reading Lolita in Tehran”. i am 25 years old and i have lived in Tehran my whole life and I have lived with many of the things you describe. But with a very big difference. We are used to the whole situation. We live inside ad bear the whole pressure but we don’t feel it. (maybe it was better to say I. I can’t talk instead of other Iranian people. maybe the aim of the government was this. To shape other people just like their dreams. To make them feel that there is just one way of living. the way they let us. No, it is more tahn that. most of the toime you don’t know you are in somebody else’s dream. ou just think, Ok , this is it. life is like this.
    Maybe I was not accurate about my feeling. This came through me just now. When I started reading your book I said to myself, yes It is true but t isn’t that much important! Is it important or not? I don’t know. I love living in Iran although I see no future infront of me. I like having my family and friends just beside me and to be a stranger. Everything in my life seems like a paradox. just like the home and street and worse thatn that university. I am a Ph.D. student in ehran university and it has started new and disgusting doors infront of me. i want to be a teacher in university. This is what I always loved. and the best way present for a Ph. D student but being what you are there is no way. you should pretend to be someone else and nobody cares how are you in your own home and etc. you should have a complete HEJAb here in universty to have chances. Nowadays most of the people in Tehran don’t act exactly like the governments dreams. complete Hejab is something rare. But all the opportunities is there in the hands of government.

  22. mario says:

    From Reading Lolita in Tehran:how is it possible to know a girl’s
    (or boy’s) individuality,character,manners,personality and true identity in Iran if the ( stereotype )black garment and veil seems to hide the natural traits,the charming grace. the beauty,the feelings and emotions of the Irania girls ?
    I want to believe that perhaps it is possible to visit the girl’s house and get to know her better in the privacy of her home.
    Please, tell me more about this mystery ! Yours Mario

  23. Afsaneh says:

    Dear Ms Nafisi,
    I just finished reading “Things I have been silent about”. I am not concerned if you decided to publish this page or not, you have portrayed the facets of Iranian lives so honestly, like a shameless woman (do you consider yourself one of them?!)

    I enjoyed it perhaps because it so painfully resonated with some of my personal journey. So thankyou. What made me wonder though is that despite you having close Baha’i relatives and have been in close contact and perhaps at times witness to the atrocities which has befell them in the past 31 years especially , and advocating for their rights recently which is worthy of honouring for the reason of your audacity and humanity- and despite the fact that you want to sound so honest in your telling your story, in 2 places in your book you mention that Baha’i Faith is a sect and a branch that grew out of Islam.

    I am baffled by this, obviously you are entirely entitled to your opinion, but the fact that the Baha’i religion is indeed an independent religion is something that no-one can undermine. The fact that it appeared in Iran at the time it did was a part of the plan of God and continuation in the path of progressive revelation.

    Regards,

  24. mitchell schuman says:

    I loved “Reading Lolita in Teheran”. I am more of “a science person” so I very much enjoyed your insight into “why read novels”. Your book inspired me to read “Invitation to a Beheading” and also “Persepolis”.

    Some time ago we spoke briefly at a NYPL lecture. You “shared” the stage with some Harvard woman who pretty much used up most of the time campaigning for Obama. A few weeks later he fired her for making a nasty remark about Hillary Clinton. I never really understood your answer to my question about the plight of those women in Iran who can’t get out and how you thought we could help (or liberate) them if not by force. If you were still in Iran and unable to get out would you welcome liberation “by any means”, even if it meant by force? (My mom was liberated from concentration camp by the Russians by force and she feels they saved her life.) I don’t know if things are that bad in Iran but I imagine things are bad if you left the country you love.

  25. belash says:

    After reading the book “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in books, by A.Nafisi”, the book was interesting and educational. I am not sure if I agreed with every story on the book but it clearly created a picture of difficulties of writer’s life in Iran. It goes through a great deal of many years to portray what the writers have to go through in an unstable society of Iran. The book clearly describes the life of an author who lived in united state. After finished her studying, she decided to go back to her homeland and play a positive rule of giving back to society. During her return, the country encountered a religious revolution and country was no longer as stable and predicted as she thought it would be. So many laws, customs, and traditions changed that she found herself in a state of confusion and in deterministic chaos. Her western learned education and eastern new developed cultured did not fit well with each other. Conflict among her way of teaching and the new way of government’s approach for transitioning the new ideology was created. For a while, she struggled to make a difference but the result was not satisfactory. There were many obstacles on her way to relay the message. However, she found a way to capture a small audience of few young ladies to portray her western culture and writing to them. She used the pathos approached to achieve her purpose on this book about the life style of writers in Iran.

    Her approach was by using the lifestyle of her students, she created a small society that out of desperation found an ecstasy and escape. She created a gateway to escape the reality of the harsh lifestyle and bring about the fantasy of emerald city in wizard of OZ. Students from University were going to her house to talk about the western writers. She has manifested the western writers as a role model for these students to follow rather than some of the great Persian writers such as Rumi , Hafez , and Omar Khayam .
    She described the difficulties of the way many writers had to face to overcome some of the limitations that was placed in front of them such as torture and death of some of writers like Mir Alai (310). There was nothing wrong with her teaching the western writings but the fact that western writings should have been accompanied by Persian writers to be compared. She created such an infatuation within these students that the current state of their living became unbearable for them. She had shown them the doorway of heaven but forgot to let them know that they can never be there. Therefore, she betrayed all her students in this fashion. In one of the phrases that she used:” whoever that fights the monster, should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster,” (180). Well, she has done so by making belief that the society can be changed and everyone of the students will be able to flee the country and become happily ever after. On the contrary, these future writers did not feel that way. Especially, once they found out that after many years, she has decided to leave the country and be on the safe side. As one of her friend whom she encountered to receive advice for her student mentioned to her during the last few days of her departure: “Besides, what are you worrying about anyway, you will be leaving us and our problem very soon.”(319).
    Dr Nafisi’s approach to portray the life of a writer was a valuable point; she did emphasis on hardship that every writer being some of her student had to go through; however, she never truly understood the pain of these writers. After all, she was from an elite family who send her to western countries at early stage of her life. She only pictured the pain of writers in society and never truly felt it. And the moment that she was close to be able to adjust with what the writers had to go through, she broke and decided to move out and leaving all that day dreams to her student. Her student throughout the book truly believed on her approached to make a difference, but she forsaken them at the critical point. She not only did not portray true character writer, she also left behind an empty feeling of achievements and adjustment to all that surrounded her.
    Once she decided to stay in the country and be an educator and a teacher for writers, she had no right to abandon them.
    What moved the reader in her writing was the actual true life experiences that she had to encounter along with her students and her colleagues during the revolution, but none less, she was one of the original people in Columbia university who demonstrated for the change in Iran, how dare does she now complains about the system. The system could be worst for some and beneficial for others, but she was the one that asked for the system to be changed. What right does she have now to complain? The powerful writing in the book explains that there are still some writers that despite the uneasiness of the lifestyle, they are still willing to take the risk in the society and make a point by writing and capture the imagination of people to a land which they can forget about their unpleasant life. These writers lived and are still living in Iran. They understand the lifestyles and difficulties that they are facing in everyday life; however, they did not abandon their problem and made an effort to go all the way to the end.
    Dr.Nafisi did not keep her promise of staying and make difference. She is teaching at john’s Hopkins and living a suburban Washington D.C. however she can never be truly happy to know that she was not able to portray the lifestyle of the true writers within the society of Iran.

  26. Iris says:

    Hello Ms. Nafisi, I have been reading your book ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’ for the past week and i have found myself loving your book more and more. I came across your book in my English Class. We did read the ‘Great Gatsby’ and ‘Daisy Miller’ to better understand your book, but unfortunetly Nabokov and Austen were left out. We were even given assignments in which we had to make a powerpoint on a certain person or event connected to your book. Reading your book gives me a sense of pride because i did get Nabokov!
    I’m not sure if you have seen it, but there’s this movie that i thought you might enjoy called Fahrenheit 451. I saw it a couple of days ago and it reminded me of your book.

    But, thank you Ms. Nafisi. The experience that I am getting from your book is deep and i would just like to thank you for that. I’m sure it has helped open many eyes to the oppression of women in Iran, and perhaps maybe to themselves…

  27. Dear Azar,

    Please call me It seems I have no luck to talk to you

    it is not an urgent matter but intreasting to talk about.

    by the way I am really sorry for Farah ,such a Beautiful girl as I

    always remember her,to die?!!!!

    Alireza

  28. Tyler Parent says:

    Dear Mrs. Nafisi,
    I live in California and reading your book “Reading Lolita in Tehran” has been a great insperation for me and has convinced me even more to try to study abroad in Germany go for another major in the Literature field along with my political science. I find you and your former students to be great examples of how we all as human beings must gather the courage within and look to the positives in our lives in order to combat any oppression that threaten our rights to equality.

    I also thank you for introducing me to the author of Vladimir Nabokov; I have just purchase a copy of his Lolita and have a good feeling that he will become one of my favorites as no doubt you are already.

    Thank you again for the wonderful novel and best wishes for any future projects.

    sincerely,

    Tyler Parent

  29. Irene Crawford says:

    I’m amazed that your mother-daughter relationship is so parallel to mine, in spite of our differences in culture. I was brought up on a farm in the American Midwest in the 40’s and 50’s. Another similarity is that I have a B.A. in literature and aspired to teach although I fell in love with librarianship and changed course to receive an M.L.S. and worked in public libraties until retirement a couple of years ago.

    I read “Reading Lolita in Tehran” several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it and now I just finished “Things I’ve Silent About”. I’ve been attempting to write a book, mainly for my children and future generations of my family, about my life and you’re memoirs have greatly encouraged me. Thank you for writing them and sharing them.

  30. I am a poet and essayist and write a lot about the art of reading and of books that I have read. In my latest book, “Book Ends – a year between the covers,” (covering 125 books I read in one year) I list some of my favorite books on reading. They include Harold Bloom’s “How to Read and Why” (Harold Bloom is considered one of the greatest readers in the world.), Robertson Davies’ brilliant “Reading and Writing,” “Why Read?” by Mark Edmundson and the fabulous “How to Talk About Books you Haven’t Read,” by the French philosopher, Pierre Bayard. Of course anything by Alberto Manguel, himself a great reader, is fine. For a fun book try “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett, about how the Queen gets hooked on reading.

    Naomi Beth Wakan

  31. Allan Eddy says:

    I have just finished reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran”. I spent a year in Iran (1963) and wish I had learned more about the people and the country. What strikes me most is the bravery of women in this book as well as the women who have been part of recent events in Iran. It is a beautiful country and I have always wanted to return to Meshed and Torbat-e-Heydreih.

    While reading the book I was wondering why the book “1984” was not included for discussion. It seems the parallels of “1984” and many of the events depicted in the book are very similar.

    Best of luck in getting rights restored for the women in Iran and hope that other countries follow their lead. Why do many countries waste half of their intellectual resources?

    Allan

  32. Carol says:

    Dear Ms. Nafisi,
    I am from India. I am currently reading your book, ” Reading Lolita in Tehran”. It’s truly a wonderful and touching read. I was also reading up about your article pressing for the release of Maziar Bahari dated 2009 and his release thereafter. I completely sympathise, its very important to speak out against regressive elements in society.However I sometimes wonder if it is unfair that the more simpler and ordinary citizens, who suffer similarly, cannot hope for such mediation against their persecution.
    Carol

  33. Patti Long says:

    Dear Ms. Nafisi,
    I just finished and loved your book Things I’ve been Silent About. Because of that, I just started Reading Lolita in Tehran. In looking at your website and your 2009 Al Jazeera interview. I am so dissappointed that you used President Bush as an example in referring to how Iranians feel about Ahmadinejad. There is absolutely no comparison, and I hope I misunderstood what you wrote.

  34. mitra.javdani says:

    Dear Mrs, Nafici
    I’ve finished your book ,Things i’ve been silent about. It was amazing ,I felt your pain,sorrow, and happiness with each sentence I read. The character of your mother, is just like my mom.I live in Toronto with my family, my husband bought this book as my birth day gift. I am proud of you because you have achieved a lot. God bless you, Mr.Naderi , Negar and Dara. and blessed your beloved parents.
    your truly
    Mitra Javdani

  35. Ms. Nafisi,

    I write to thank you for writing. Reading Lolita in Tehran was a challenging journey, partly because I had long forgotten so much of some of the referenced novels, partly because I do not recall reading some of them, but predominantly because I was sired by a tyrant and lived in fear ameliorated by books.

    Books and teachers helped save my life. I was born in a “free” country of a family conditioned to accept pain as a control mechanism. My mother bragged about breaking a wooden spoon over my butt when I was barely a toddler. My father left black and blue marks on my face and my body from his “disciplines” – and I cannot count how often he threatened to kill me if I did something he did not approve of.

    At 14 or so, I had to start wearing a horrible rubber girdle to keep my ass from giggling and attracting the attention of boys. Although I remained a virgin until I was 21 (loathe to live up to my father’s expectations), in his eyes I was a “slut” from around 13.

    All of this in this “free” country. Had I lived in Iran under the circumstances you and your students experienced, I likely would have been dead early – like the poor 12 year old seeking her mother. My father choked me on the eve of my 21st birthday. The man I stupidly married at 42 threatened me with a 357 magnum. I put two men in jail for abuse . . . the husband who tried to rape me skated because it was when such a situation was considered a “domestic dispute.”

    I do not gain much traction in discussions when people around me tend to demonize any entire populace due to the methods of its “leaders” by saying that I did not believe the “worst” was typical of the “most”. Maturing here in a democracy, a “free” society, I am so terribly aware of the fact that somewhere here today, an uncle is raping a niece, a father or mother is severely beating a child. This isn’t just political for sure.

    Thank you for allowing me to meet you and your students.

    Carmella

  36. ??? ???? says:

    I have been very glad to see your web in iran. good louk

  37. Dear Professor,
    I really feel sorry for you. You have turned your back to your country, and not just to your country but also to your true identity, only because the way you were treated in Iran displeased you. I have been treated the same, but I have remained here to fight for a better future for my country. I have put up with innumerable problems and yet I have not denied my true identity. I am very sorry to say that I think you must be ashamed of yourself (when you taught me, I never imagined there would come a day when I write of your shame). You wrote your memoirs of teaching in this country to please your audiences in the west and perhaps to satisfy an unconscious desire.
    Really feel sorry for you, my former professor.

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