Who knew that Hossein will be such a popular name in the world? Everywhere I turn, there is a Hossein (Hussain) waiting for me: Hussein Obama, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Hussain (Usain) Bolt, etc…
The Iranian presidential elections will be held on June 12th and the future of the Middle East is depending on the outcome. The reformist, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is the only serious contender against Ahmadinejad; It’s funny that an architect/painter can be a threat to the incumbent president of the islamic republic of Iran. In my native country, thorns have roses…
I made the above images on a bout of “latent nationalism” while reading about how these elections can alter the future of the region—from Morocco to Lahore. I had time to appreciate Obama’s eloquent (and super pragmatic) speech in Cairo but Iranians didn’t—they were too busy with their own explosive presidential debates!
It’s hard to get excited about any of the four candidates (the two other candidates are basically collecting votes for Mousavi) who are all deeply connected to the islamic republic. Ready for an American embassy opening in Tehran by next year?
How strange that we, Persian women, have to be happy about Mousavi pulling a Michelle Obama by bringing his wife, Zahra Rahnavard (an artist and political scientist) to his side on political rallies! Just shoot me but I have to be content that this lady is wearing a “liberal” scarf under her chador…
This reminds me of this image of Iran in a chador (the face of this woman is the map of Iran) and the beautiful poem by Parvin Etesami:
She wrote it in 1935 lamenting the life of Iranian women before Reza Shah did away (sometimes by force) with their chadors (1928) and opened the schools’ doors to them. Etesami and the Shah must be spinning in their graves…
I just found out that this dude, Mousavi, has “Khameneh” at the end of his last name—yet another unfortunate KH for all of you non-persians. To see the funny side of it click here.
NBC’s Ann Curry took these pictures to show the divide:
Yesterday, I attended a lecture by Mohsen Kadivar (aka the critical cleric) at UCLA that didn’t alter my view about religion; even the progressive mullahs (the picture is Dr. Kadivar in his full mojtahed regalia and “sans”) can only whitewash the problems of mixing religion with the state.
Hezbollah just lost the Lebanese parliamentary elections—the West is breathing a sigh of relief.
Related and Suggested Posts and Resources:
a short CNN clip about the Iranian Michelle Obama here.
the New York Times article here.
Parvin Etesami here.
to read her poem in Persian in its entirety here.
Iranian Elections here.
Zahra Rahnavard here.
Mir-Hossein Mousavi go here.
Struggles of Iranian women, check out Rakhshan Bani Etemad’s clips here.
Parviz Tanavoli’s (the great Iranian sculptor who taught Ms. Rahnavard) interview with Ann Curry here.
p.s. I did the calligraphy on the first image using one of my favorite poems by Hamid Mosadegh.
updated on 6/13/09:
There’s been unrest since yesterday in Iran after the results of the presidential elections were made public: Ahmadinejad won with over 62% of the votes. I am amazed at the arrogance of this regime; the images seen on BBC, CNN and NY Times remind me of Iran i left in 1978/79.