Roya Hakakian emigrated from Iran to the United States in 1985, seeking political asylum. An author, activist and filmmaker, Hakakian discussed the recent political upheaval in Iran on public radio today. Her interview is available online at WHYY’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross.

Hakakian grew up Jewish in Tehran, an experience she recounts in her memoir Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran.
Hakakian will return to “Fresh Air” next week to discuss her book with Terry Gross.

Hakakian recently published a piece at entitled, “Pray for Neda,” in which she reflects on the significance of the recent fatal tragedy in Iran’s political upheaval as an example of the Iranian people’s 30-year quest for freedom. Hakakian calls for a memorial campaign that spans all religions to remember Neda.

Pray for Neda
by Raya Hakakian

With Neda’s death, the Iran I know finally has a face. The sequence of her death is the sequence of our nation’s struggle in the past 30 years: The democratic future that 1979 was to deliver collapsing, then trails of blood — that of so many executed or assassinated — streaming across its bright promise. The film of Neda’s death is the abbreviated history of contemporary Iran.

If history is a contest among competing narratives and icons, let the image of a young woman lying on the ground endure as that of Iran today. Let it loom so large to wipe away the memory of the thugs marching American hostages out of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Let the scarf that loosens and falls off her head to expose her dark hair be emblazoned in our memories as the metaphor for the plight of Iran’s women. More at Tolerant Nation.

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Lisa Klug

Wordie. Foodie. Jewie. Nerdie. Ashkefardic keyboard addict. Visit me at, on my travels and in the pages of my books, "Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe," and "Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe."


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