Art by Samira Abbassy
Since probably the introduction of automobiles to Iran, there has been a story told of how car accidents take place in the country:
Two cars, both probably at fault in some way, collide.
Both drivers, infuriated at the other and incensed that any onlookers should even entertain the thought that they were the one at fault, fly their door open and begin yelling at the other driver.
This is where it gets good:
Bystanders don’t just stand gawking, they get involved—
they get in between the two drivers—
one gets a glass of water,
someone yells that this is no matter to be fighting over, “This world is only two days!”
another insists they know an honest mechanic and minutes later the crowd has calmed the two drivers down, insisting they kiss each other on the cheek and the two are whispering words of friendship to each other amidst the crowd …
“It’s just a scratch,” “It really was my fault,”
And this beautiful cycle of crisis control repeats itself countlessly on a daily basis in every city and province of the country.
Now, you might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with the current state of things with regard to Iran? The implicit should be made clear for readers who aren’t aware of why the Iranians on the street felt compelled to do intercede in the first place: No one is coming to save us; we must save ourselves and each other.
In the modern era, we have a different kind of traffic to consider, and a variety of other sorts of potential accidents to navigate: social media has created both a powerful platform and a collision course for Iranians that is proving to be an interesting study in how we organize and strategize for a women-led movement in the digital age. It should not be assumed that everyone will agree with the ideas presented about this unique and difficult moment in time; in fact, disagreements are welcomed and necessary—this is a time like no other, and yet, Iranians are accustomed to extraordinary times and circumstances. Since ancient times, Iranians have been pioneers—inventors, and innovators, risk-takers and visionaries—and this moment hearkens back to our collective history, whether we reside within Iran or are part of the diaspora. One thing to keep in mind is that when breaking new ground, or setting out on uncharted waters, the way forward is always uncertain, it may seem like every step forward is a step into the abyss—but we’ve been here before, and always survived.
Spring / Summer 2023
The Iran Issue
Golafarin Razi was born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Tehrangeles (Los Angeles, California). Having spent her most of her life either in Iran or surrounded by one of the most well-known Iranian diaspora communities in the world — Iranian history, culture, arts and politics have become the tapestry of her life. Golafarin loves studying, discussing, and discovering new things about Iran.
Samira Abbassy (b.1965 Ahwaz, Iran) graduated from Canterbury College of Art, Kent, UK. She moved to New York in 1998, where she co-founded the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and EFA Studio Center. Abbassy is known for her figurative oil on gesso panel paintings depicting the human figure, mythological creatures, and scenes of war. Over the course of her thirty-year career her work has been shown internationally and has been acquired by private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum, and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (all in NY); The British Museum; Farjam Collection, Dubai; Devi Foundation, New Delhi; and the Omid Foundation, Iran. Abbassy has been awarded grants and fellowships by Yaddo; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Joan Mitchel Foundation; Saltonstall Foundation; NYFA; and the University of Virginia.