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So we had an ‘aqd!
The bond was there from the very beginning


April 14, 2007

It was a nice and romantic occasion, one with little advance planning yet filled with joy and exhilaration. I always wanted my father to marry me, act as an ‘aqed. I guess, being secular, this may astonish a lot of people, but some traditions are for keeps. 

We were surrounded by friends and family, my parents and three of my brothers, uncle and aunt and cousins, and some of our wonderful American and Iranian friends.

I met Rudi Matthee at the Middle East Studies Association conference, and ever since, it has been a wonderful experience. We share many interests, know many people in the same field. He being a historian of Iran, and specifically the Safavid period, and me, a long-time human rights activist and student of Iranian history, the bond was there from the very beginning.   

The ceremony centered on our sofreh ‘aqd, a blue and white cloth woven in Baluchestan, which my mother had given me years ago. At the head of it was the mirror of luck, flanked by candlesticks, symbolizing brightness and long life. We decorated the sofreh with many of the traditional symbolic objects, white and blue flowers, an antique blue laleh, candle burner with a tulip-shaped glass, the requisite sweets -- honey, noql, exquisite shirini that my mother had made -- nan-e sangak, with the words mobarak bad written on it, a copy of an old Koran which my father had given me, a volume of poetry by Hafez, and a prayer stone, mohr, from the shrine of Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, as well as colored eggs in white and blue and wrapped in tule -- everything looked perfect.

Rudi read Arezu, a poem by Akhavan-e- Sales, to me in his impeccable Persian, and I recited a love poem in my mediocre Dutch, a language that I am trying to learn.

To start the Persian New Year with an ever-lasting bond is out of this world, to have had my father join us in marriage was a wish come true, to have friends and family and  especially my two sons and daughter present at this happy occasion was enchanting. To have as our witnesses my older brother and Akbar Ganji made the event really special. Finally, to marry a Dutchman who not only speaks fluent Persian, knows more about Iranian history than I do, and is respected by all his colleagues, is all I ever dreamed of. And if I may say so, I guess, I am not a bad catch either! As the saying goes, Khoda dar o takhteh ra be ham joft kard! 

As our beloved poet says:








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Fariba Amini


Democracy in Iran
History and the Quest for Liberty
by Ali Gheissari and Vali Nasr


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