Lecture and discussion with Roya Hakakian (USA)
Roya Hakakian will present her memoir of growing up a Jewish teenager in Iran, “Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran.”
Roya Hakakian is a poet, journalist and writer. Born in Iran, she came to the United States of America as a refugee and is now a naturalized citizen.
The lecture will be held in English. Questions for the Q&A can be submitted in German.
Live stream on Facebook and Youtube. 10th of June, 19:30 Central European Time.
In cooperation with AVIVA-Berlin.de, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB), and 18+, the network for young Jewish adults of the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST).
In Journey from the Land of No, Roya Hakakian recalls her childhood and adolescence in prerevolutionary Iran. The result is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about one deeply intelligent and perceptive girl’s attempt to find an authentic voice of her own at a time of cultural closing and repression. Remarkably, she manages to re-create a time and place dominated by religious fanaticism, violence, and fear with an open heart and often with great humor.
Hakakian was twelve years old in 1979 when the revolution swept through Tehran. The daughter of an esteemed poet, she grew up in a household that hummed with intellectual life. Family gatherings were punctuated by witty, satirical exchanges and spontaneous recitations of poetry. But the Hakakians were also part of the very small Jewish population in Iran who witnessed the iron fist of the Islamic fundamentalists increasingly tightening its grip.
Hakakian relates in the most poignant, and at times painful, ways what life was like for women after the country fell into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who had declared an insidious war against them, but we see it all through the eyes of a strong, youthful optimist who somehow came up in the world believing that she was different, knowing she was special. At her loneliest, Roya discovers the consolations of writing while sitting on the rooftop of her house late at night. There, “pen in hand, I led my own chorus of words, with a melody of my own making.” And she discovers the craft that would ultimately enable her to find her own voice and become her own person.
Als Roya Hakakian, jüngstes Kind einer jüdisch-persischen Intellektuellenfamilie, zwölf Jahre alt ist, wird der Iran von einer revolutionären Woge erfasst, die jahrtausendealte persische Monarchie stürzt, Teheran ist zunächst erfüllt von Aufbruchstimmung und Optimismus. Mit offenen Augen geht die junge Roya durch die Straßen ihrer Heimatstadt, erlebt diese Zeit des Umbruchs und versucht, die Ereignisse zu verstehen. Sehr schnell stellt sie fest, dass im Land neue, radikale Stimmen den Ton angeben. Das Konterfei Chomeinis prägt zunehmend das Bild der Stadt, schwarz verhüllte Frauen übernehmen in den Schulen das Kommando und zwingen den Schülerinnen den Schleier auf, die Zensur des Schahs wird durch die Zensur der Ayatollahs ersetzt.
Winner of the 2004 Elle Readers’ Prize for Best Book of the Year in Nonfiction
“Hakakian’s intimate anthropology opens a window on one life during turbulent times in the Middle East. . . . This book does us the service of removing some of the region’s mythical stereotypes . . . and illuminating a real contemporary culture we would do well to know better.” —Seattle Times
“A spectacular debut memoir . . . Only a major writing talent like Hakakian can use the pointed words of the mature mind to give the perspective of the child. . . . She tackles ideologies of assimilation and oppression with poetic aplomb and precision. . . . Hakakian’s tale of passage into womanhood lacks nothing.” —Boston Globe
“Wem die Twittermeldungen aus dem Iran unzureichend sind, wer die jüngste Geschichte Irans literarisch erkunden und poetisch erfühlen möchte, der/die kommt an Roya Hakakian nicht vorbei.” —AVIVA Berlin
Rezension von Kristina Tencic auf AVIVA Berlin (2009): https://www.aviva-berlin.de/aviva/content_Literatur.php?id=1425367