Hi, Welcome to IranStories
OUR BACKGROUND & VALUES
We have a word for the melancholia felt the first night a loved one doesn’t return to home: Taasiaan (تاسیان). Many of us, generation after generation, have truly experienced this word by every fiber of our body. In the past few months in Iran, there has not been a single night without Taasiaan in a household in Iran, in our homeland, and in our hearts. Khoda-Noor (meaning the light of god) Lajei, was one of the regime’s early victims in Balouchestan. His mother, Senobar (name of a tree known for its strong roots) said: “I pour cold water on my burning heart, but it does not cool down.” Khoda-Noor was not famous. However, we now all know Khoda-Noor, with his beautiful smile, passionate dance, and his love of life, who grew up in one the most suppressed regions of Iran; he reminds us all of who we are, what we yearn for and what has been taken from us. This is why stories matter. As the Iranian movement continues, as the death toll and the government’s brutality and violence rise beyond measure, we need a reminder that this is not just a dark story, it’s the story of immense bravery and moral virtues, the Noor (light) in the dark, chanting of life against death, and those who resist oppression like Senobars against the wind.
We are a group of Iranian-American Yale physicians in diaspora, by force or by choice, who gathered for the first time on a night on Oct 13, 2022, about a week after the widespread #MahsaAmini movement had started in Iran. We shared our personal stories & coped with the immense emotions, far away from home. We did not know what we were looking for on that night, but we found empathy, compassion, love and a sense of belonging in each other. This initial gathering led to a solitary event for Iran held at Yale, which in turn helped make Yale the first Ivy league university to declare solidarity with the Iranian protesters. But this was only the beginning of our journey. We have decided to continue our work, to become story-tellers for our community, to be the voice of Iranians going through this mass collective trauma. We found healing though re-telling these stories, and raised awareness for ourselves and the people around us. We hope to expand and share this healing and awareness to a wider audience.
“We use stories to make sense of our experience and to imbue it with meaning. Our self-narratives define our sense of identity and script our actions. Because we are constituted by narrative, we can be moved by the stories told to us by others. That is why leaders who call a community to action, seek to frame their invocations in a story in which tragedy and triumph hang in the balance, in which taking part in the collective action becomes a moral imperative rather than a matter of calculated self-interest.”
- Frederick W. Mayer, Narrative Politics: Stories and Collective Action, 2014
We found stories an effective way of communication among each other among the larger community at Yale. We believe that voices matter; small details matter; forgotten wounds and untold dialogues matter. Stories have a way of shaping history, by ways we cannot imagine or foresee. It’s our duty to keep them, protect them, cherish and honor them. The same way we honor each life, each soul, each wound and each light shining through the darkness.
To gather stories, to give a voice to the voiceless, and a face to the faceless.
For anyone who cares about human rights, dignity and justice.
To keep the stories of people alive.
To get to know and understand a nation’s suffering through individuals’ unique and personal perspectives.
To give power to the unheard; to make authorities listen to what is going on
To get away from numbers and statistics towards the real human emotions and experiences
To bring people together
By reaching out, collecting, translating and narrating stories from Iran and Iranians outside of the country.
By sharing these stories, by amplifying people’s voice and drawing attention to their perspectives
By working with institutions, NGOs and members of the community to create a better Iran and a better world for the next generations