Why This Iranian Revolution Can Succeed
with Swarnika & Saied
Most of us have heard that the current revolution in Iran began with death of Mahsa Amini, who was beaten to death for not wearing the hijab in accordance with the regime’s morality laws.
But did you know her name was Jina?
When Jina was born, her parents were required to seek permission to name her Jina. The name was not allowed. So, they chose Mahsa as her official name and called her Jina at home.
This little nugget of truth, shared by Saeid, one of today’s guests, tells us that it’s simplistic to say this revolution is to overthrow laws about hijab. The discontent, the anger, the struggle is far greater, deeper, wider.
Today’s guests are Swarnika and Saeid, a married couple.
Swarnika, who happens to be one of the most talented food photographers I know, shooting for major brands in the margins of her job with a leading technology company, was born and raised in India. She describes her university as a “mini-Iran” where women were obligated to keep curfews as early as 4pm during exams while men studied together as late as they pleased. Once she was once sent back to her dorm to change because her socks showed. Swarnika did choose to speak up on these issues and her experiences doing so gave her great empathy for the courageous people of Iran. Later, Swarnika married an Iranian man who she met in graduate school here in the US. Saied is our other guest today.
Like Jina, Saeid has only known life in Iran under the current regime. Only by listening to people like Saeid, who speaks with truth and passion, can we really understand the struggle and the incredible, awesome courage of Iranians who are truly risking death by protesting against a regime that has weaponized religion to justify their power, bankrupt the country, rule by terror, and rob each citizen of their joy.
Although Saeid is realistic and sober minded about the exceptional threats against protestors, he also speaks eloquently about why he believes this time, Iran may emerge free.
Thank you so much for being here, Swarnika and Saeid, and thank you, listener, for listening in. It’s a long interview, but it only gets better.
And p.s. We also talk about that famous Persian Walnut Pomegranate Stew I’ve been hoping someone would share with me for a long time.
- How Swarnika and Saeid met & married
- Compare/contrast of Indian and Iranian culture
- A history lesson on the common dynasties & events that shaped both countries
- Why Swarnika is so passionate about the revolution: “I lived in a Mini Iran”
- Swarnika’s University experience; how women were limited by extremely limited curfews and morality laws
- How Swarnkia fought back and the lengths to which the University went to expel her
- Saeid’s experiences growing up in Iran - Did he notice these double standards?
- What is different about this revolution than earlier protests
- What is the core issue at the heart of this regime
- We are not again Islam, there is a hatred of a version of this religion that has been taught to justify a regime
- Why it is not enough to make rules - why do these regimes want to eliminate all happiness
- The cycle nature of abusive power
- The current situation in Iran
- The predictable lies from the regime and the extreme & violent coercion of citizens
- “I am not surprised there was an uprising. I am surprised there’s a call for the end to the regime”
- Has this revolution been coming - or was it a surprise?
- “When it cannot get worse, that gives you that courage”
- Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in Iran
- Why Saeid does not think the people of Iran are protesting out of despair, but hope - “Even if I die, something better is coming”
- Can the Iranian people be successful?
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This Episode's Storied Recipe
Khoresh-e Fesenjān, a Persian Chicken Stew, is rich & earthy from walnuts, sweet & sour from pomegranate molasses, and thick from butternut squash.
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