Jasmine and The Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran

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This book was an insightful dive into a holistic and informative perspective on the reconciliation of western and eastern identities while living in the west. It also presented this perspective in the very critical light of the story of the elephant which I found to be a relatable manner of approaching things. 

Having spent half of my life in the UK, visiting Egypt almost once a year, I lived a very similar situation to Karamustafa. Experiences such as engaging in friendly encounters (such as with the lady in the supermarket), only for it later to go sour after discovering my identity as a muslim were not uncommon ones. However, such was a reality – as with the author – that one must be willing to accept when the ‘candles’ are not illuminated and questions of tension linger. More critically though, was the recognition of how the middle eastern region is viewed by the west, as well as how it is view by those who live in it. A beautiful landscape will often be ignored in lieu of the small black patch which may contaminate it. However, it is critical to look beyond the screens, see beyond the cameras and the media, and realize that often times narratives are one person’s voice and nothing more. One narrative does not paint a wholesome picture, and its important to recognize this especially while looking at unfamiliar areas of the world. In an essence, the above interpretive piece can be summarized by the line:

“Its hard to see the frame when you are in the picture.”

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