Zan Zendegi Azadi

Last year I made a haft-seen for a book display and blog post. I received immense support from staff and customers. It made me so happy watching people take photos of the table and asking me about it. So this year it was a no-brainer to make another one. 

Now it holds more weight with the crisis occurring in Iran. 

As you may know, last year on September 16th Mahsa Amini died in the hospital following an arrest and beating from the morality police, a force that detains those who violate the dress code in Iran. Though they deny beating her, she was in a coma following the arrest and died. She was 22-years-old. This tragedy sparked the current protests and unleashed the plethora of tragedies that followed. People have been executed for protesting the death of Amini and speaking for the many others that are negatively impacted by the draconian methods of the Iranian government.

A phrase that has gained traction as a protest chant is “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi,” which translates to “Women, Life, Freedom.” This phrase can be seen on posters at protests and on social media. Social media has been an invaluable tool to spread awareness of the protests. Time Magazine chose the women of Iran as their Heroes of the Year in 2022. Protests occurred during this year’s Chaharshanbe Suri, a celebration that occurs the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz, on Tuesday March 14th as well. The people of Iran are adamant about fighting for freedom and their fundamental human rights. Not only are people protesting for a change in women’s rights, people want a revolution; an entirely new government. 

I want people to see the beautiful aspects of Iranian/Persian culture and be aware of the struggle that Iran’s people are going through. I have attached articles and resources for those that want to learn more.

I am hopeful that bringing more attention to this crisis will eventually lead to change, that those that are dying as they fight for freedom will not have died in vain and that their government cannot silence their voices. 

How To Help Iran Protests 2023: Stand Up For Women, Life & Freedom
Iran Update, March 13, 2023 | Critical Threats 
Who was Mahsa Amini, whose death sparked Iran protests? - The Jerusalem Post 
Iranians Commemorate Festival Of Fire With More Anti-Government ...
The U.S.-Iran World Cup game puts a spotlight on Iran's protest movement : NPR

Seven Special Somethings by Adib Khorram 
Khorram’s illustrated guide and story for children and families to understand Nowruz and the haft-seen.




Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram 
The follow-up to Khorram’s beloved (by me, especially) young adult novel starring the relatable and funny Darius, a fractional Persian. 




Gold by Rumi translated by Haleh Liza Gafori
One of my favorite translations of Rumi, who is known far and wide as one of the most famous Persian poets, along with Hafiz.




Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season by Forugh Farrokhzad
Another beloved poet from Iran who created a film that sparked the beginning of Iranian New Wave Cinema, plus she was a feminist and shattered the norms with her writing!




Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour
The follow-up to Persiana with accessible and delicious recipes, including a gorgeous cover and vibrant photos!




Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Fantasy that alludes to Persian myths and features an enticing female protagonist!





Enlightenment of Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar
A magical realist story of a family fleeing during the Islamic Revolution in search of safety and the tragedies and losses that befall them.




Baba’s Gift by Ariana Shaheen Amini and Christina Maheen Amini
A love letter written by the daughters about their immigrant father, with rich illustrations and a beautiful testament to Persian culture. 




In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari
From Publishers weekly: “In this luminous multigenerational tale, Pari (The Fortune Catcher) examines the complicated ties among an Iranian American family.”





Customs by Solmaz Sharif
From the publisher: "In Customs, Solmaz Sharif examines what it means to exist in the nowhere of the arrivals terminal, a continual series of checkpoints, officers, searches, and questionings that become a relentless experience of America…”




Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
An alluring protagonist that tries to trace the path of her past and reckon with the journey her father and her made from Iran as well as her dealings with love and the like. 




Jasmine Zumideh Needs is a Win by Susan Azim Boyer
Young adult novel in which the titular Jasmine must confront her identity as she runs for senior class election (she lied on her admissions essay about being president, so she really needs to win) against the xenophobic Gerald, as she navigates anti-Iranian sentiments brought on by the Iran Hostage Crisis.