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Not what Forough would do
How could a decent human being make fun of the complicated life an educated, working mother and wife who is also involved in and attentive to social issues, leads?


April 25, 2007

I was saddened and disappointed to read Mahasti Shahrokhi's poem, "Feminizme maa bee norooz ast". What a talented poet Ms. Shahrokhi is, with beautiful imagery and thoughtful choices of words, and so capable in tying ideas together, especially when she borrows words with double meaning (esteareh). I am also proud of her for the tribute she pays Forough Farrokhzad, who continues to deserve to be cherished and celebrated by all Iranian men and women.

Beautiful form and fancy expression aside, this was a really rude and unfair depiction of what has been transpiring with our women's movement over the past few years. Calling these brave and dedicated women names such as hairy, stupid, whining, screaming, and thoughtless is probably the most anti-women thing I have ever seen sent their way, and all this from another woman?

This is amusing, as none of the men fighting, oppressing, threatening, imprisoning, inerrogating,and torturing these women has ever gone that far! None of those men dare call these women stupid, disorgnized, and haphazard! If they were so aimless and ineffective, why would they pose such threat to the gentlement in charge, motivating them to confront them in such brutal ways?

Ms. Shahrokhi says she fears what these women are doing and how it affects Iranian women's movement. What does Ms. Shahrokhi have in mind as a realistic and practical way for Iranian women to finally stand up and demand what is their right and which has been denied them for years?

I hope writing poetry and hoping for the best is not her solution to the dilemma that mistreats our women, discounts them, insults them, stones them, takes away their children, and leaves them unprotected. I should hope that soon she will write another poem, in which she would give us her solutions to the problem.

I think the most jarring thing in Ms. Sahrokhi's poetry is that she confuses us about who and what exactly she is when she pours such venom out on these women. She is an educated woman, an artist, with enough decency to care enough to write poetry.

But how could a decent human being make fun of the complicated life an educated, working mother and wife who is also involved in and attentive to social issues, leads? How can a person with a modicum of honor and integrity crack jokes about these women's perceived unkempt facial hair, dirty homes and laundry?

Oh, please, it would really do Ms. Shahrokhi good to learn to understand and appreciate the Iranian society as it is today, vis a vis what she might remember of it or wish for it to be. Who are the angels who are supposed to descend from heavens above to bring freedom and fairness to Iranian laws and society?

I'll tell you who they are. They are the droves of brave, intelligent, educated, and dedicated women of Iran, young (the ones Ms. Shahrokhi describes as "chickens"), and old (probably the ones she calls "hairy"), who have realized the way to Iranian people's awakening is through education, and in the absence of newspapers and other media tackling this important task, have been doing it the hard way, door to door and person by person, through their tireless walks through Iranian cities for almost two years.

I am appalled and heartsick with Ms. Shahrokhi's poem's insulting content. I wish her luck with her poetry, hoping that in time, the content will also develop to match the form.

One last thought on the subject, each of us reads and understands and loves Forough Farrokhzad in our own way, carrying this timeless Iranian treasure through our minds and hearts and soul like a part of our individual identity. That's how important and precious Forough Farrokhzad has been to our nation and to our literature. She is not Ms. Shahrokhi's hero, alone.

Forough is any Iranian woman's friend, confidant, and mentor. Those young women can cite her poetry if they want to, without a bother to Ms. Shahrokhi.  As for me, I think if Forough Farrokhzad were still alive, she would have shown up to those demonstrations, and would have supported our women, writing an ode to them. Comment


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