Reader’s Review: Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

Afkhami and panelists discuss the classic novel “Woman at Point Zero” by Egyptian author and feminist Nawal El Saadawi which is based on a true story about a woman whose struggles to survive poverty ending with her facing execution–at the same prison where the author herself was held for political activism. First published in Arabic in 1975.

Iran Before Islam: Challenging Stereotypes Through Art

Americans are bombarded with media coverage of the three-decade-old Islamic Republic and its nuclear aspirations. But there’s more to Iran than Ahmdainejad, as can be seen in the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries’ new project, Feast Your Eyes: A Taste of Luxury in Ancient Iran. The Atlantic invited a panel of Iranian-American leaders to discuss the exhibit. Taking part in the dialogue are Azar Nafisi, the much-acclaimed Iranian-American author of long-standing New York Times bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran; Massumeh Farhad, chief curator and curator of Islamic Art Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; and Mahnaz Afkhami.

PBS Destination America “Mahnaz Afkhami and Farah Ebrahimi”

Ferdows Naficy and her two daughters, Mahnaz and Farah became independent women in America. The PBS program “Destination America” features their story in the episode “Mahnaz Afkhami and Farah Ebrahimi: Iran.”

Death of the Patriarch

RememberingChildhoodInTheMiddleEastIn Remembering Childhood in the Middle East: Memoirs from a Century of Change
Powerful as my grandfather was, he was overshadowed by the status and authority of my grandmother, who was a Qajar princess. I knew that Grandfather was sick. That particular afternoon, the doctor walked into the room and didn’t come out for a long time. Then, suddenly, my mother rushed out. She took my hand and told me that in a hushed voice that my grandfather wanted to see me. He looked at me with gray, watery eyes and patted my head and said something I couldn’t understand. That night, Grandfather died and the whole household was flung into a new era.

A Woman in Exile

AWomenInExileMapofHopeIn A Map of Hope / Marjorie Agosin (ed.)
We have learned first hand that nothing is worth the suffering, death, and destruction brought about by ideologies that in their fervor uproot so much and destroy so many and then fade away, blow up, or self-destruct. We have paid with the days of our lives for the knowledge that nothing good or beautiful can come from harshness and ugliness.

Women in Exile: A Prologue

cover_WomenInExileAlong with the loss of our culture and home comes the loss of the traditional patriarchal structures that flouted our lives in our own land. The pain of breaking out of our cultural cocoon brings with it the possibility of an expanded universe and a freer, more independent self. We are all “damaged,” but we repair ourselves into larger, deeper, more humane personalities. Indeed, the similarities between our lives as women and as women in exiles supersede every other experience we have encountered as members of different countries, classes, cultures, professions, and religions. We echo each other when we say the world is our home and repeat wistfully that it means we have no home. We talk of having gained identification with a more universal cause. We have also learned firsthand that nothing is worth the suffering, death, and destruction brought about by ideologies that in their fervor uproot so much and destroy so many and then fade away, blow up, or self-destruct.

A Woman in Exile

cover_WomenInExileThe revolutionary government confiscated Mahnaz’s house and all signs of her personal history and her individual experience. The Ayatollahs put her on the death list, charging her with “corruption on earth and warring with God.” She was forced into exile

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