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" A bad author can take the most moral issue and make you want to just never, ever think about that moral issue. "
" My passion has always been books and literature, and teaching. "
" In the past 30 years, officials of the Iranian regime and its apologists have labeled criticism, especially with regard to women's rights, as anti-Islamic and pro-Western, justifying its brutalities by ascribing them to Islam and Iran's culture. "
" I would like to say how much I resent people who say of the Islamic Republic that this is our culture - as if women like to be stoned to death, or as if they like to be married at the age of nine. "
" I finally returned to Iran in 1979, when I got my degree in English and American literature, and stayed for 18 years in the Islamic republic. "
" Once we know of atrocities we cannot remain silent, and knowledge inevitably leads to an urge to protect the innocent. "
" Lots of times you can feel as an exile in a country that you were born in. "
" The biggest crime in Nabokov's 'Lolita' is imposing your own dream upon someone else's reality. Humbert Humbert is blind. He doesn't see Lolita's reality. He doesn't see that Lolita should leave. He only sees Lolita as an extension of his own obsession. This is what a totalitarian state does. "
" The best work of literature to represent the American Dream is 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It shows us how dreaming can be tainted by reality, and that if you don't compromise, you may suffer. "
" Unfortunately for governments like that of Iran, when they forbid something, people become more interested. "
" People would react to books by authors like James and Austen almost on a gut level. I think it was not so much the message, because the best authors do not have obvious messages. These authors were disturbing to my students because of their perspectives on life. "
" Well, that was in 1995 when I resigned from my last academic job. "
" Every culture has something to be ashamed of, but every culture also has the right to change, to challenge negative traditions, and create to new ones. "
" Basically, fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon. In the same way that Hitler evoked a mythological religion of German purity and the glory of the past, the Islamists use religion to evoke emotions and passions in people who have been oppressed for a long time in order to reach their purpose. "
" I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention to its soul, to its poetry. I see polarization, reductionism and superficiality. "
" America was based on a poetic vision. What will happen when it loses its poetry? "
" Thus the regime has deprived Iranian women not just of their present rights, but also of their history and their past. "
" You need imagination in order to imagine a future that doesn't exist. "
" The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in turn destroys the vision and the dream. "
" Look at Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and the slogans that they used: anti-imperialism; anti-colonialism; the struggle of the have-nots against the haves; the state monopoly over economy, which was very much patterned after the Soviet Union. All of these things did not come out of Islam. Islam is not that developed. "
" When I first left Iran at the age of 13, Iran had become such a shining star - it was the point to which all my desires and dreams returned. "
" The stories from Iran's present and past are reminders that freedom, democracy and human rights, or fundamentalism, fascism and terrorism are not geographically and culturally determined, but universal. "
" Those in the west who dismiss the repressiveness of laws against women in countries like Iran, no matter how benign their intentions, present a condescending view not just of the religion but also of women living in Muslim majority countries, as if the desire for choice and happiness is the monopoly of women in the west. "
" I think Islam is in a sense, in crisis. It needs to question and re-question itself. "
" This is a good time to ask apologists for the Islamic regime, who degrades Islam? Who imposes stoning, forced marriage of underage girls and flogging for not wearing the veil? Do such practices represent Iran's ancient history and culture, its ethnic and religious diversity? Its centuries of sensual and subversive poetry? "