Photo essay: Farah Pahlavi on Barbara Walters
By Jahanshah Javid
March 7, 2008
I thought I should take some photographs while watching
the Barbara Walters interview with Farah Pahlavi (on ABC's "20/20",
Friday, March 5). I took about a hundred pictures and almost all
of them are here for your viewing. Yes, there are a lot of pages
to click and the quality of the pictures is nothing special. But
the messages in every image are powerful enough to make us think
about where we were and where we are.
As I was taking these pictures in front of the TV,
Javaneh, my wife, made a few comments that showed our generational
We have similar points of view on the current political situation.
But our views about pre-1979 Iran is inevitably different; I was
she wasn't. She
was born in 1978, right when the revolution was unfolding. Her
only memory is of the post-Pahlavi era.
I, on the other hand, was almost 17 when the monarchy fell
"You deserve a good knock on the head," Javaneh joked.
She was pointing at my enthusiasm for the revolution and the dozen
years of loyal service at the Islamic Republic News Agency. How
on earth could you demonstrate against THEM to bring us THESE?
I was going to respond by saying, "In 1979, you would have
been among the demonstrators too." But I didn't. There was no point
-- at least none I would want to argue. I have lost the desire
to defend my support for a just movement -- a movement that took
a very ugly turn soon after the fall of the monarchy.
Then I thought about "20/20" vision and
hindsight.. If I only knew...
If I was given a choice between
keeping the Shah and what we've had for the past 25 years, I would
said, "Keep the Shah!" If I had known that thousands would be executed
because of political or ideological differences, I would have given
my vote to the Shah. If I knew hundreds of thousands would be killed
in a prolonged 8-year war, I would not have supported the revolution.
If I had understood that under Khomeini, women would lose so
their rights and dignity,
the monarchy. If I was mature enough to know that religion and
politics should not mix, I would have...
Let me go back further in time, just to set the record
country, I would have sided with Shapour
government. In 1953, I would have supported Mossadegh. In Reza
Shah's time, I would have been a right-wing secular nationalist
or a pro-Moscow communist (I can't decide which). In Nasseredin
Shah's time, I imagine I would have been a pro-Western constitutionalist.
Everything before the 1870s is a blur...
I'm reading these lines and wondering why do I care?
Why do I need to explain my political views? Do
I feel guilty? Do I feel regret? Probably. But I'm also amazed
by the wide range of my political sympathies and where it may be
heading: From a teenage monarchist, to an Islamic Republicanist
to a pro-reformist to now, a
Am I a member of the infamous Hezb-e Baad (Where-the-Wind-Blows
Party)? I certainly hope not.
I hope at 42 I'm wise enough to make
up my mind and stick with it. But who knows? Given my track record,
I wouldn't bet on myself. Still, I'm going
to take a
again and declare that I am and always will be in favor of a secular
democratic republic. If I change my mind again, please shoot me.
There should be a limit
on how often a brain changes directions.
The first few pages of this photo essay are snapshots
of ads that aired before the Barbara Walters interview with Farah.
The images are unedited, so if some look funny it's the camera's
fault. Bon voyage! >>> See