Season One begins during the protests that broke out in Persia in 1905 pulling in revolutionaries from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Caucasus that became known as Mashruteh, loosely translated, Constitutional Movement.
These events transformed both the direction of the country and region permanently with the establishment of grassroots democratic cultures including the women’s movement as well as firmly seeding the development of political Islam in Iran. Unpacking these complexities takes viewers back to time of Cyrus when Ancient Persia ruled vast territories including Babylon and Egypt through its times spent in ruin and revival as the first Shia Islamic state in 1501 splitting the very foundations of the Iranian people with ideological differences. Yet, by the mid 1800s, Persia found itself once again economically and militarily weak and inferior to the countries surrounding it and operating within it.
Through the influences of 19th century western modernization, education, and industrialization from superpowers and over the transformative events of world war one and world war two, Persia changed its name to Iran in the throws of building a new empire out the ashes of the Qajar dynasty to the powerful kings and queens of the Pahlavi monarchy. Yet the journey for Iran’s pillars of society including the bazaaris, clergy, landed elite, intelligentsia, and aristocracy and for the many tribes and religious minorities, the path to freedom has been turbulent with internal strife from opposing factions and instability, and external pressures from regional and western powers.
This journey is the backdrop for not only today’s geopolitical struggles between the Islamic Republic and western allies, but also Iran’s internal oppression and dissent. From these great pressures however, has come a rich and innovative culture expressing itself in many forms of communication including the arts and technology and social organization focused on achieving freedom.