Roya Hakakian

Iran’s Jewish Rorschach Test

This past March, I stood alongside hundreds of others lining Madison Avenue to watch New York’s Persian Day Parade. I am not the parade-watching type, but nostalgia for the country of my birth at times moves me to behave in uncharacteristic ways, like cheering for mediocre trumpeters and papier-mâché monuments.

Then They Came for the Bahai

In mastering the knowlege that even bigotry is relative and comes in gradations, I was a premature pupil. I learned this lesson when I was only 10.

Purim as Queen Esther’s ‘Coming Out’

We don’t tend to think of holidays as occasions into which we grow, but that is, in part, what they are. Thirty years ago, as a child growing up in the shah’s Iran, Purim was just another holiday to me. Later, on my family’s departure from Tehran — when I was just beginning to understand the meaning of introspection — the joy

Under the Veil of Iran’s Nuclear Aspirations

The Iran of May 2005 is, in some ways, looking very similar to the Iran of November 1979. Back then, when the American embassy in Tehran was seized by hardline university students, every other domestic issue was cast into oblivion. Nothing mattered more than the hostages. Nothing superseded the war with the “Great Satan.” The hostage

The Fundamentals of an Iran in Exile

The diplomatic officer asked, for the third time, how I’d been persecuted as a Jew in Iran, as he leafed through my application for political asylum. But I said nothing.His stern tone, his fierce gaze demanded certainty, clarity and conviction — all the things that I could not find within. Sitting opposite him in his office at the American