Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Interesting Viewpoint

Finished March 17
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ by Hooman Majd
I chose this book because it was recommended highly to me by my uncle's friend Lee, and I'm glad I did.
As the cover states, this book takes a look at the paradox that is modern Iran. Tightly tied to Shia Islam, the country presents a modern face despite its strong sense of Islamic nationhood. The author is from a Iranian family with good connections. His maternal grandfather was an Ayatollah, and his father was a diplomat under the Shah. Majd intended to return and live in Iran when he finished his education, but the revolution of 1979 changed his plans. Not because he wasn't sure that he wanted to live there, but considering his father's ties to the regime of the Shah was hesitant of his welcome. He has kept up his strong ties to the country and visited often and remained connected to many, including former president Khatami.
As a journalist in the United States, he writes informatively of his subject, showing its pride in its heritage and wanting the respect internationally it feels it's history owes. He talks of interactives with various government officials, attending private and public ceremonies, what goes on behind the walls of homes both traditional and modern, and the many social customs that reflect the character that is unique to Iran.
I learned so much about Iran and its culture and yet felt entertained throughout.

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