My Dad has a Mediterranean complexion, with olive-colored skin and black hair. When my Mom introduced him to her family for the first time, during the Iranian hostage crisis, her brother yelled out, “Dad, Karen brought home an Iranian!!!” Thus started my love of Iran.
History books like these are especially fun to read because the author travels to various places across the country, and both describes his experience visiting these places and their historic importance. It allows the reader to get a taste of Iran through the author’s eyes. Afshin Molavi is incredibly talented as he effortlessly combines both currents and past events with stunning first-person testimonies that ranges from taxi-drivers and college students to government officials and religious leaders. This provides a more complete picture of Iran as you learn about various peoples’ lives and views on the 1979 Revolution.
One of the sections I found fascinating was the part describing the relationship between the bazaars and the mosque. I have been to both bazaars and mosques in Egypt and Turkey and could not imagine more polarizing places. Mosques are quiet slow-moving places of reflection and prayer, while bazaars are fast-paced, full of energy, as vendors and customers haggle of prices at an increasingly louder volume.
But Molavi describes that both bazaaris and clerics come from the same middle-class and often intermarry. The bazaar provides the mosque with revenue from religious taxes, while the mosque provides the bazaar with salvation. One vendor jokingly explained, “When you spend your days cheating your neighbor out of ten tomans, it makes you feel better to give one of those tomans to the mosque.”
Iran is not all that it seems from the cover, I would absolutely recommend reading this book in order to destroy your assumptions and learn to see this magnificent country in a new light.— From Cultures
The truths about Iran; quite different truths from versions put forward by Washington, Tehran, and the media.