Adonis Diaries

“Readers of the World Unite”: And how the Iranians are fairing?

Posted on: October 9, 2012

Readers of the World Unite“: And how the Iranians are fairing?

Random House Reader’s Circle had a conversation with Azar Nafisi (Iranian by origin) who had published “Reading Lolita in Tehran“. This is an abridged version of a long conversation.

Azar Nafisi said that her deepest wish is to organize a march to Washington DC under the slogan “Readers of the World Unite”, and demand more funding for reading classes in educational systems.

She said: Home is where you feel this urge to keep questioning, criticising, wanting to change, and getting engaged in organizing citizens…Once you feel entirely complacent and very comfortable, it is time to contemplate moving away to another “Homeland” and getting immersed in community difficulties…

Must keep the motherland alive inside you, even in memories…

The German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote that the highest form of morality is Not to feel at home in your own home…

Azar Nafisi said: All individual experienced stories are deemed subversive, anywhere you live, by particular classes of the power-to-be: The absolute and narrow mindset exist even in democratic systems.

As you tell your side of the story, your story takes control over the “ideological reality“, a pseudo reality imposed on society.

Books are the best ambassadors to the new world you are traveling to:

How people cope when they live under oppressive realities

How people create open spaces through their imagination in order to resist tyrannies of Time and political systems

How people manage to break down boundaries by reading books and connect with other open spaces they have never been to

How people learn to interpret the open spaces in a way that feels fresh

And what is the perception of Azar of the new generations in Iran under the “Islamic Republic”?

This generation in Iran is fighting for every right and bit of freedom that they have.

This generation suffered with the flesh and blood for individual rights. Many have been flogged, jailed, fined, and penalized for just wanting to dress the way they want to, to see the films they like to watch, to express their love freely

This generation is connected to the world: There is no East or West for the Iranian new generation: They want to know all, and they appreciate Hannah Arendt, and Karl Popper, they read Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov…

The former revolutionaries and their children are questioning the system.

The women have been involved to bring to the attention of the system that they have a long history of engagement of their own, and the system cannot rob their acquired rights easily…

Andrew Bossone shared TRAP – The Real Art of Protest‘s photo.



A few questions for discussion are proposed:

1. What should fiction accomplish?

2. Why should anyone read at all?

3. Can a woman observe wearing the veil and object to its political enforcement?

4. How can a person who “lose his place in the world” do survive physically and creatively?

5. Have you realized the true meaning of exile, as you set foot back to your home country?

6. Are novels sensual expressions of another world?

7. Do novels appeal to the reader’s capacity for compassion and empathizing with people of different cultures?

8. Do you think that the experience of censorship, fundamentalism, human rights, enjoyment of work of the imagination, and the desire for individual freedom…are similar in totalitarian societies and in democracies as well?

9. Don’t you believe that if you let every character in the novel speak his minds and opinions, you are in fact disseminating a kind of “Democratic Imagination”? The kind that obfuscate the narrow-minded people?

10, Do you think that humor and irony are the worst subversive writing styles for the absolutist and autocratic mindset, a style that render them as mad as wasp?

Note: You may connect with 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Blog Stats

  • 1,518,674 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 764 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: