"Empathy is at the heart of the novel." from Reading Lolita in Tehran by AzarNafisi
I love to read a book that opens my mind to a different view point, to another culture and history as this book does. I don't know how people can survive under a government like this one; a government that can call you subversive for a wisp of hair, a smidge of lipstick, pink socks and nail polish. Nafisi wonders how strong can a government/religion be that can be undone by such trivialities... and, yet it persists.
I think that peoples of the world can never be free until they understand the concept "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" means the person who disagrees with you is also entitled to those things. So often in the Middle East we see one blood thirsty regime replace another always making the first one pay an eye for an eye for his crimes. So many places in the world need a Lincoln who will plead for peace and for forgiveness and for charity above all.
Having lived under these regimes, those that want to plan every minutia of how a person lives, breathes, stands, talks, dresses and even thinks a person may come to fear liberty, "the ordeal of freedom" as Nafisi puts it. "It's frightening to be free to have to take responsibility for your decisions." Yes, it is.
And, like Nafisi, "the persistent lack of kindness was what frightens me most." I think that is also what frightens me most here in America as well. And, I really believe that kindness is the remedy. To be kind and to show love for another maybe the greatest form of civil disobedience.
And yet, Nafisi laments, "How can you experience love if its expression is illegal?" I do not have the answer. May Allah bless the people of Iran that they may find love, liberty and peace.