1. Ali was raised in a very religious middle class family in Tehran. Unlike his cousin who went to religious school, he chose to go to public school. He took advantage of free education, continued his higher education science, and received his doctoral degree. He got a respectable and good paying job, married, and had two beautiful daughters, named Laleh and Ladan (Flower names). He never forgot his religious duties such as Namaz and Roozeh.
After a few years, he spent a sabbatical year in Europe with his family, and when he returned, he got promotion. Ali loved his job, loved his family, and was happy. However, something was missing. They wanted a son. A friend suggested that they consult an ob/gy doctor who could help them with gender selection.
In the next two years, with the help of that specialist, they had two sons. Since these events coincided with the revolution, they named their sons Abouzar and Yasser. When the specialist who helped them with boys, knew that he has put Arabic names on those boys, she said if she new it before, she would not have helped him have son!
Excitement of revolution triggered Ali’s strong religious belief. Everyday he would go to the street demonstrations, and he was one of the first few who used the slogan, “Down with the Shah”, and, “We must get rid of 2500 years of Monarchy”. Surprisingly, he would get his salary at the end of the month. When Ayatollah Khomeini came to Iran, he was very excited.
Within one year, everything started to change. Executions, jail, and war upset many people, and when they forced compulsory hejab, many people including the ob/gy doctor decided to leave. The revolutionary government gradually got rid of various groups and individuals who helped them, during the revolution. Ali was one of them. He was arrested, sentenced to long time prison, and tortured. He lost his job, and as the result, his family suffered.
2. Roya was from a middle class family. Her mother was a teacher, and her father a small businessman. She loved music, so after the fifth grade, she went to Daneshsaraye Music, and continued her higher education in music under the supervision of great musicians. When she graduated, she mastered in piano, violin, and santour.
Interested in Middle East music; she got a scholarship to spend a year in Egypt, and another year in Lebanon. She took her mother with her. When she returned home, she got a job at the same school she graduated. At this time, demonstrations had begun. Most of her colleagues, listened to foreign radio broadcasts, and were against the shah. Roya felt it is the sign of intellectuality to be against the government.
She started actively participating in the demonstrations, and when her mother advised her to appreciate her job and blessing, she would not listen to her. After the revolution, many of her colleagues left the country, or lost their job.
Her new boss was a middle-aged revolutionary man with beard, who had wife and children, yet he was stocking her, and wanted her to have temporary marriage (sigheh) with him. He made so much trouble for her, that she left the country, and moved to a foreign country as a refugee.
3. Shabnam was borne in an upper class family in Tehran. She loved French language, so she went to a French speaking school, and for higher education, she went to France. She loved Paris, the museums, architecture, food, music, and freedom of expression. A few years later, she noticed a change among some Iranian students, even though, the IR government financed some. They wore dark colored Islamic dress, grow beard, and argue with other Iranian students.
Shabnam was curious to find out what was going on. The discussion was about rich and poor, criticism of government and the shah. A few months later, when Khomeini came to France, the interviews, and publicity made Shabnam so excited about the revolution that, she returned to Tehran, and actively participated in the street demonstrations, wearing symbolic hejab. Her family was puzzled by her activities, and they were not enthusiastic about revolution.
When the revolution succeeded, she was so happy, that she arranged a victory Party at her house for her friends. However, Within one year after the revolution, everything started to change. Hejab became compulsory, even though Khomeini in Paris had told the reporters that if he comes to power, women would have the choice to wear hejab or not to wear it.
When the war started and continued, some of her friends and family were arrested. She became unhappy, and with much difficulty, she got a visa, and returned to France. Nowadays, when she calls or emails her friends, she calls herself “Shabnam Khar”!
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