Tehran Blues By Kaveh Basmenji (London: Saqi Books, 2005. 272 pages.)

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David Armani

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Abstract

This informative and timely book, Tehran Blues: How Iranian Youth
Rebelled Against Iran’s Founding Fathers, is skillfully crafted into eleven
chapters that showcase current Iranian politics while drawing insights from
its past. Its author, Kaveh Basmenji, was born in Iran in 1961 and is a journalist,
translator, and writer. The book’s main aimis to explore Iran’s presentday
youths and their growing disillusionment with the rigid mores of the
present regime. Theirs is a generation whose parents rose up against the
Shah’s excesses and who now feel distanced from the strict religious ideology
held by their forbearers of two decades ago. Demanding liberalism and
seeking pleasure, the Iranian youths of today are a force to be reckoned with and a potential powder-keg of societal instability.Why has Basmenji chosen
to focus on them? He answers this question by referring to George Orwell:
“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that
went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
Through numerous interviews as well as an assessment of contemporary
Iran’s sociopolitical landscape, Basmenji argues that contemporary Iranian
youths are in near-revolt, often openly defying the mullahs and their hardline
religiosity. His premise is that Iran’s young people are tuning out their
Islamic government and are instead embracing an alternative world of private
parties, personal weblogs, movies, study, and dreaming about moving
to the West ...

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