Sunday, April 24, 2011
Book 29: Journey from the Land of No
Journey from the Land of No by Roya Hakakian was an interesting look at what it is like to grow up during the Iranian Revolution. Plus this book has another layer to it, it’s also what it was like to be Jewish during Iran where the tolerance and acceptance of Jews changed drastically.
Lately, I’ve been intrigued by the Iranian Revolution and Iran. A lot of it comes from my education and the fact Iran is such a closed off society. So we get bits and pieces of information. Roya makes a great point in her book, “They come, I had decided, in two kinds: the misinformed, who think of Iran as a backward nation of Arabs, veiled and turbaned, living the periphery of oases and fairly represented by a government of mullahs; and the misguided, who believed the shah’s regime was a puppet government run by the CIA, and who think that Ayatollah Khomeini and his clerical cabal are an authentic, homegrown answer to unwarranted U.S. meddling.” So I try to read all these different memoirs to learn more about Iranian life even if in a single person’s experience. It at least gives me a better look at what life is like in Iran but I still have to decipher what is truth, exaggeration and if they got colored in their need/want to leave Iran. At least I’ve read so much, that I don’t believe fall into another Ms. Hakakian’s categories.
Roya’s story was really quite interesting to me. I didn’t realize how high the Jewish population was once in Iran. The idea of an Islamic dress code and an Islamic nation, it’s easy to forget how other religions get lost in the shuffle. Plus I loved seeing how ready she was to embrace the Revolution since it would help to create a Utopian society. But then slowly she was realizing that the Revolution wasn’t all it was meant to be. It didn’t solve the poor economy or the censorship bans; the two things the Revolution was suppose to solve.
Plus I loved how you can get into the child’s mind and really into a teenager’s mind how to accept things. You see how she shunned away the idea of being a genius since it helped to take her brother away from her. Her family thought it would be safer for him to study in America while he grew up some without having his revolutionary views get him into trouble.
Plus one of the cool things for me. She started and ended her book with maps of Tehran. One from 1978 and one from 1984 where she marked ten buildings and the names of the street. You can see how much changed in a short period of time.