Persian Voices: Reza Shah Pahlavi

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Persian Voices: Reza Shah Pahlavi

A soldier gives his life for his country on the battle field. You should do the same thing. You must sacrifice yourselves for the prestige of your country.

—Reza Shah Pahlavi

 

Edited by Albert , Hourani, Philip Shukry Khury and Mary Christina Wilson. The Modern Middle East: A Reader. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press , 1993. Page 688. Print.

Najmabadi A. (1991) Hazards of Modernity and Morality: Women, State and Ideology in Contemporary Iran. In: Kandiyoti D. (eds) Women, Islam and the State. Page 53. London: Palgrave MacMillan, A division of St. martin’s Press LLC, 1991. Print.

 

Editor’s Note 1: At a ceremony in 1933 for the newly established National Bank of Iran, Reza Shah demanded the bank employees to act as soldiers.

Editor’s Note 2: During Reza Shah’s reign, since national literacy levels were still quite low, many of the clerks employed across government institutions were from the religious establishment.

Persian Voices: No Medical Books at That Time in Persian

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Persian Voices: No Medical Books at That Time in Persian

Until 1309 (1930) he practiced mostly old medicine [Islamic medicine]. When it was time to take the exam, he went to Tabriz. There he studied with Dr. Tofiq who had studied medicine in Switzerland. Because there were no medical books at that time in Persian, he used Istanbul-Turkish translations of European medial texts. He studied both theory and practice [modern medicine]. He learned from him how to use a stethoscope, to take blood pressure, and do examination of women. He then took the licensing exam and passed.

—Son of One Hakim

 

Ervand, Abrahamian. “The Iron Fist of Reza Shah.” A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 90. Print.

Persian Voices: For I am Human

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Persian Voices: For I am Human

With love in one hand,

Labor in the other,

I fashion the world

On the ground of my glorious brilliance,

And into a be

Of clouds I tuck

The scent of my smile,

That the sweet smelling rain

may bring to blossom

all of the loves of the world,

for a I am a woman

…for I am human.

—Partow Nooriala. Translated by Shahrzad Sepanlou

Persian Voices: Fever of High Prices and Hoarding

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Persian Voices: Fever of High Prices and Hoarding

The problems of political and social life were reaching city squares and factories. In the civil service and the university, the young were becoming increasingly agitated. Adventures of various brands were busily enlisting the simple-minded to their own cause. The bazaar was gripped by the fever of high prices and hoarding. Everything was beyond reach—sugar, cloth, medicine, tires, rice, etc.—and everything was being greedily bought and sold. Every commodity … was being exchanged ten or twenty times a day, profit was added to profit, misery to misery. Typhus and inedible bread… were two prevailing calamities, and rationing coupons the foundation stone of windfall riches.

—A Noted Writer

 

Azimi, Fakhreeddin. (2008). QUEST FOR DEMOCRACY IN IRAN C: a century of struggle against authoritarian rule. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p.122.

Persian Voices: Insatiable Land Hunger

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Persian Voices: Insatiable Land Hunger

[Reza Shah’s] insatiable land hunger is reaching such a point that it will soon be permissible to wonder why His Imperial Majesty does not, without more ado, register the whole of Persia in his own name.

 

The Iron Fist of Reza Shah

 

Editor’s Note: Iran’s landed elite represent one of the pillars of power through much of Iran’s history. After the 1908-1909 Civil War in Iran, land registration and the creation of title deeds brought about a new landed aristocracy which held the political power of the parliament. For the Pahlavi Dynasty of Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, land reform became a brutal business to contain the power of the landed elite. One of the first examples of this was the erasure of the family name, Sepahsālār-e Azam-e Tonekāboni, who once served as Prime Minister.

Persian Voices: Literary Democracy

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Persian Voices: Literary Democracy

Today Iran is behind on the road of literature compared to most of the countries of the world. In other countries literature has, in the course of time, gained variety; and thanks to this variety it has captured the soul of people from all walks of life, and has induced everybody, men and women, the rich and the poor from schoolboys to old men, to read; and it has thus caused spiritual development of citizens. But unfortunately in our Iran moving away from the norms set by the ancients has been regarded as a ruination of literature. Commonly the very substance of the Iranian political despotism, which is well-known the world over, dominates the matter of literature as well; that is to say when a writer holds his pen in his hand, his attention is directed solely to the group of the learned and the scholars, and takes no interest whatsoever in the others. He even ignores the many who are fairly literate and can read and comprehend plain, uncomplicated writings quite well. In short, the writer does not subscribe to “literary democracy.” There is no doubt that such an attitude is deplorable, particularly in a country like Iran, where the ignorance and benightedness of the populace is the obstacle to any kind of progress.

 

-Mohammad ‘Ali Jamalzadeh

 

Esmaiel, Haddadian-Moghaddam. Literary Translation in Modern Iran: A sociological study. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamine Publishing Company, 2015. 94. Print.

Edited by Jernudd, Bjorn H. and Michael J. Shapiro. Language reform movement and its language; The case of Persian. THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE PURISM. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1989. 94. Print.

Persian Voices: Submission, Slavery, and Ignorance

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Persian Voices: Submission, Slavery, and Ignorance

O Iranians! O Brethren of my beloved country! Until when will this treacherous intoxication keep you slumbering? Enough of this intoxication. Lift up your heads. Open your eyes. Cast a glance around you, and behold how the world has become civilized. All the savages in Africa and negroes in Zanzibar are marching toward civilization, knowledge, labor, and riches.

Behold Your neighbors the Russians, who a hundred years ago were in much worse condition than we. Behold them now how they possess everything. In bygone days we had everything, and now all is gone. In the past, others looked on us as a great nation. Now we are reduced to such a condition that our neighbors of the north and south already believe us to be their property and divide our country between themselves.

We have no guns, no army, no secure finances, no proper government, no commercial law. All this backwardness is due to autocracy and to injustice and to want of laws. Also your clergy are at fault, for they preach life is short and worldly honors are only human vanities. These sermons lead you away from this world into submission, slavery, and ignorance.

The monarchs, at the same time, despoil you … And with all this come strangers who receive from you all your money, and instead furnish you with green, blue, and red cloth, gaudy glassware, and luxury furniture. These are the causes of your misery.

—Tehran sermon, 1906 or 1907

 

Abrahamian, ErvandA History of Modern Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print. Chapter 2,page 34.

Persian Voices: Illiterate and Irrational

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Persian Voices: Illiterate and Irrational

I clearly remember the day when we heard that the reactionaries were busy sowing discontent among the young carpenters and sawyers. The former, angry at having been taken away from their livelihood, demanded to know what they had to gain from the whole venture. The latter, being illiterate and irrational, were reluctant to accept any logical arguments. If these two irresponsible groups had walked out, our whole movement would have suffered. Fortunately, we persuaded them to remain in bast (religious protest).

—Participant in Bast

 

Abrahamian, Ervand. “The Causes of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran.” International Journal of the Middle East Studies. Vol. 1 No.3 (Cambridge University Press): Page 407. Print

92-M. Heravi-Khurasani, Tarikh-I Paydayish-I Mashrutiyat-I Iran (The History of the Genesis of the Iranian Constitution) (Tehran, 1953), p.50.

 

Editor’s Note: In the few years leading up to the 1906 revolution, dissenters protested in both religious sites such as shrines and mosques as well as sites of foreign institutions in Iran including a Russian bank and British and Ottoman embassies. They coordinated strikes and protests using telegrams and newspapers which could be seen as an early modern form of social networking similar to today’s use of social media in resistance movements.

Persian Voices: Two Irresponsible Groups

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Persian Voices: Two Irresponsible Groups

I clearly remember the day when we heard that the reactionaries were busy sowing discontent among the young carpenters and sawyers. The former, angry at having been taken away from their livelihood, demanded to know what they had to gain from the whole venture. The latter, being illiterate and irrational, were reluctant to accept any logical arguments. If these two irresponsible groups had walked out, our whole movement would have suffered. Fortunately, we persuaded them to remain in bast (religious protest).

—Participant in Bast

 

Abrahamian, Ervand. “The Causes of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran.” International Journal of the Middle East Studies. Vol. 1 No.3 (Cambridge University Press): Page 407. Print

92-M. Heravi-Khurasani, Tarikh-I Paydayish-I Mashrutiyat-I Iran (The History of the Genesis of the Iranian Constitution) (Tehran, 1953), p.50.

 

Editor’s Note: In the few years leading up to the 1906 revolution, dissenters protested in both religious sites such as shrines and mosques as well as sites of foreign institutions in Iran including a Russian bank and British and Ottoman embassies. They coordinated strikes and protests using telegrams and newspapers which could be seen as an early modern form of social networking similar to today’s use of social media in resistance movements.

Persian Voices: Women’s Secret Alliance

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Persian Voices: Women's Secret Alliance

We should be proud that at least we have a sacred national Consultative Assembly…. We should be honored to be allowed in to sweep (the floor of) the majlis (parliament). How can we introduce security to the roads? How can we claim to uproot autocracy? How can we boast that we can retrieve the captives of Quchan? And all this in one month?… have you forgotten that you are but an illiterate and ignorant woman?

Our supposedly zealous men consider us mentally deficient. Have you forgotten that we are not free? Have you forgotten the kind of oppression visited upon us Iranian women? … Have you forgotten that …. Our men say, “these are women, we should act contrary to what they say,”…. That our religious leaders read our essays in the press, throw the newspaper and say,” “ what meddlesome women!”

—Letter from the anjoman, Women’s Secret Alliance

 

Najmabadi, Afsaneh. (2005). Woman with Mustaches and Men Without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, pp.228, 229. Print

….ما باید افتخار کنیم که حداقل یک مجلس شورای ملی مقدس داشته باشیم
.ما باید افتخار کنیم که این اجازه را داشته باشیم که زمین مجلس را جارو کنیم
چگونه می توان جاده ها را امن کرد ؟
چگونه می توانیم ادعا کنیم که خودکامگی را ریشه کن میکنیم؟
چطور می توانیم بگوییم که می توانیم اسیران قوچان را آزاد کنیم؟
…..و اینها همه در یک ماه؟
آیا فراموش کرده اید که شما فقط یک زن بی فضل و کمال و نادان هستید؟
.بقول آقایان با غیرت ناقص العقل محسوب می شویم
آیا فراموش کرده اید که آزاد نیستیم؟
آیا شما ستمی را که بر زنان ایرانی رفته فراموش
کرده اید؟
….ایا آن را فراموش کرده اید……
.مردان ما می گویند: “این ها زن هستند، ما باید برعکس و خلاف آنچه که می گویند عمل کنیم
رهبران دینی ما نوشته های ما را در مطبوعات مطالعه می کنند،  و روزنامه را به گوشه ایی پرتاب
!” و می گویند: ” چه زن فتنه گری

 

نامه از طرف انجمن مخفی اتحاد نسوان