Forced Heaven

April 25th, 2018

Medium: Drawing

Week 10 Response: Reform, Revival, and Muslim Women Defining Identity

Title: Forced Heaven

During the 10th and 11th week of lecture we looked at the Iranian revolution and some of the literature that was produced during that time. One of the things that I found very strange was how Iran was transformed from a country undergoing rapid westernization to an Islamic republic in a matter of days, and the only thing that really changed during these months were the people that were in power.

Suddenly, the veil was made mandatory. All schools were made single-sex. The country was now an “Islamic republic,” which in the eyes of those that had just come to power represented all the aforementioned changes. As Shiva Balaghi mentioned in his book Picturing Iran, “In the Iranian Revolution too, the commitment to break with the past provided the foundation upon which to build a new society.”

He further adds, “Accordingly, [the revolutionaries] set out to eradicate the hegemonic historical narrative of the Pahalvi dynasty by creating a counter historical narrative that was ideally structured to fit the new technology of the revoloution.”

The counter narrative that was used was that of Islam. It seemed a natural choice considering the country’s rich Islamic history and the historic struggle of Karbalah. As Professor Asani mentioned in lecture, this struggle was espoused by Khomeini and the revolutionary forces to stir up public sentiment by associating the Shah with Yazid.

Thus, in these circumstances the revolution happened, and Iran was changed in a matter of a few months. A revolutionary theocratic state was thus established and the new rules and regulations meant to Islamize the country were suddenly enforced.

This sudden shift in Iran is what I have tried to convey through this sketch. Even though men were not actually forced to wear anything ,I have tried to convey the same requirements that were imposed on women by showing what they would have been for men. You see the same man, in two very different situations voicing two completely different opinions.

The man’s perception of Islam has changed.  Islam is being forced upon him and is a manifestation of something that has taken away his freedom, which is a direct consequence of the state-enforced religious requirements.  The freedom that is inherent in Islam, the freedom that the man previously saw, is now a thing of the past. I feel that this quote by Shirin Ebadi that was shown in lecture best conveys the underlying message of this sketch:

“The mistake that some religious governments make is that they want to take their people to heaven by force, but a heaven that is forced on you is hell.”


One Response to “Forced Heaven”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Good one , nice Article

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