Meghan Collins Sullivan/NPR
Mass protests in Iran were sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa “Jina” Amini, in a Tehran hospital on September 16, two days after she was arrested by authorities in the Islamic Republic for failing to have properly covered his hair. .
The hijab is compulsory in Iran and is applied by “vice-and-virtue” teams. Iranian officials say she suffered a heart attack, but witnesses at the police station and her relatives say Amini was severely beaten while in police custody.
Videos and social media posts and independent reporting show that the resulting Iranian protests — the largest since 2009 — are being violently and often fatally put down by Iranian security forces. Many women and girls present at these protests removed their headscarves in public and cut or shaved their hair. The images and reports sparked demonstrations of solidarity around the world.
But the uprising in Iran goes far beyond the compulsory wearing of the hijab.
We have compiled a playlist that can offer insight into Iranian women and what is happening in their country. This list of 10 books was compiled with the help of Iranian friends and family members, including journalist and author Nazila Fathi; Parastou Hassouri, expert in refugee and migration law, actress Maz Jobrani and Maryam Haghbin, Montessori consultant in the field (and also my cousin). Many are memoirs of women who were forced to flee Iran:
Persepolis (I and II) by Marjane Satrapi, Franco-Iranian illustrator and children’s author. The engaging memoirs told in the comics as well as its film adaptation are about his childhood in Iran and his teenage years in Europe – and describe how the four-decade-old revolution that toppled the Shah ended up oppressing the audience it claimed liberate, especially women.
Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi, a 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and judge who, because of her gender, was forced out of office in the Islamic Republic – but remained defiant. This is his second memoir.
Iran’s Awakening: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country by Shirin Ebadi (with journalist Azadeh Moaveni). His early memoirs, chronicling his early years and how the Iranian revolution that so many embraced turned into a theocracy.
The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran, by Nazila Fathi, a former New York Times journalist who seamlessly weaves her gripping story as a journalist ultimately forced to flee her native Iran along with her country’s post-revolution history.
My Prison, My Home: The Story of One Woman’s Captivity in Iran by Haleh Esfandiari, Iranian-American scholar and former director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The memoir delves into his arrest on false charges and his time at the notorious Evin prison.
Lives Rebuilt: Women and the Islamic Revolution in Iran by Haleh Esfandiari, which features interviews with professional and working-class Iranian women and their dramatic accounts of what happened to them after the 1979 revolution.
Women and Revolution in Iran by Guity Nashat, historian and researcher who edited this collection of essays presenting various perspectives on women’s participation in the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and its complexities.
Between Warrior Brother and Veiled Sister: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Politics of Patriarchy in Iran by Minoo Moallem, professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She analyzes modern Iran and, while criticizing the treatment of women, dismisses stereotypes of Islam and fanatical, backward Muslims.
Honeymoon in Tehran: Two years of love and danger in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni, former journalist who heads the gender and conflict program at the International Crisis Group. This is his second memoir, a gripping account of his personal and professional life in Tehran during the rise of populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Read Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, Professor of English Literature. This bestselling memoir about an underground book club she hosts at her home in Tehran attracts readers, but has been criticized by many in the Iranian diaspora and some non-Iranians for portraying Iranian themes through a Western lens. narrow.