Going to Iran
A new book by Kate Millett, one of our most important feminists, is always a major literary event, and "Going to Iran", illustrated with dramatic photographs by Sophie Keir, is a powerfully political and beautifully written work. Iran has been in the international headlines continuously for more than three years: the Shah's expulsion, his sickness and death, the struggles before the Ayatollah Khomeini dropped the curtain to the world, the taking of the hostages. Millett had worked for many years with a humanitarian group of Iranian dissenters, CAIFI, the Committee for Artistic and Intellectual Freedom in Iran, which protested conditions under the Shah. After his downfall, when Iran was poised between a new democracy and religious totalitarianism, Iranian feminists sent an urgent please to their sisters around the world as they began to organize an Iranian women's movement to protect their threatened rights. Kate Millett and Sophie Keir answered the call, and they were among the very few Americans to see that nation in the nascent stages of revolution. "Going to Iran" is the dramatic, highly personal account of their extraordinary stay in the "new" Iran, where they made friendships with courageous Iranian women but where they were defamed and threatened with death, where one can get seventy-five lashes for taking a drink, where homosexuals and children as arbitrarily executed. Millett decries the Shah, who presented a civilized face to the world but kept vats of acid to dispose of his torture victims, but she decries the Ayatollah as well, for sanctioning the fanaticism of Moslems who disrupt women's rallies, attacked women demonstrators, even schoolgirls, and threatened all those who refused to wear the "chador" (veil), which the new regime has made a compulsory symbol of female submission.
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