James


Pick the person in this section of the memoir with whom you can identify the least. Examine the events from that person’s point of view. Discuss to what extent looking through that person’s lens alters your opinion of him/her.
The person whom I identify the least in Reading Lolita in Tehran is Azar Nafisi herself. I believe she is too harsh and generalizing on Islamic beliefs. I understand she does not want to wear the veil, I understand that she would like to govern the way she lives her life, and I understand she is in her right to resent the Islamic regime in Iran. But it bothers me that she is so condescending. She does not approve of Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime, yet is it alright for her to say things like “…good Muslims, who considered all non-Muslims dirty and did not eat from the same dishes, would be forewarned” (Nafisi, 180) when addressing the issue of the compulsory sign all non-Muslim restaurant owners had to put up on their doors. Was she just elaborating on “good-Muslims” that are considered good under the Islamic regime in Iran at the time? She might have been, but I believe it is too much to generalize like this when people who have no knowledge of Islam and might read this memoir. What if I was a person who knew nothing of Islam, what would I think if I had read this memoir with no prior knowledge? I know that I would be afraid of all Muslims.

It is difficult for me to look through Azar Nafis’s lens, which is strange because I - like her - am a Muslim, a woman and do not believe in the veil. Sure, I have never been forced to wear the veil, but I have experienced prejudice for not wear one which – I believe – comes close enough to her situation. I believe the main difference between Azar Nafisi and I, is that she radiates a sense of self righteousness in that she believes she is right to bash the Islamic Republic and the veil, where I do not. There is nothing that bothers me more than a person who believes themselves as a victim and then goes on to victimize someone else, and even more-so, unknowingly. Does she not know that by writing this memoir in this way that she is making a bad situation for Muslim women everywhere? How many people will read this memoir and then look at a Muslim woman wearing a full veil with pity afterward? That is what bothers me most about this memoir, people do not want pity, and they do not want sympathy for something they believe in. Some actually do believe in the veil, and not because they have been brain washed but because it is simply in their right to believe. I understand that because this is her memoir she is also in her right to voice her opinion, but masking her opinion as one of some righteous heroine speaking up on the behalf of all Muslim women is wrong. Yes, this is her opinion, but she should know that her opinion comes as an inconvenience to those she is trying to stand up for.