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Behind Closed Curtains: Interior Design in Iran

Behind Closed Curtains: Interior Design in Iran
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At some point in my life, I started thinking every nine months something dramatic would happen. First, my mom was diagnosed with cancer; nine months later my boyfriend dumped me, and then nine months after that I was laid off from work. My flatmate and I joked it was hinting at one of us becoming pregnant. But what all this was really leading to was quite different: the decision to write this book.
The last event happened in June 2016. After a year without a holiday, it was a good moment to rest and think about what I really wanted to do. Life had been a bit like a washing machine for more than three years. After traveling through South and Central America and moving to Barcelona, I was the person I wanted to be; but I was not doing what I wanted to do.
It took me two weeks before waking up one Monday knowing what I would do. My list of ideas and projects had been long, but what I really wanted to do was produce a coffee table book on interior design in Iran - with my own savings and being responsible for every step. No one had done this before, but I knew about the hidden treasures of old Persia. I sometimes wake up and have these epiphanies - it's as if my brain and heart talk during the night and come up with the perfect solution the next day.
When I say Iran, I talk as it were France or Argentina; for me, Iran is like any other country in the world, because I look at the people. I don't write this book for the country but for the Iranian people. My relationship with Iran started off pretty naively. When I was 19, I wanted to study the Middle East and become a war journalist. The dust and stories in Afghanistan called to me. I didn't have the courage though and turned to more solid fields, first law and then journalism, only to return to Middle Eastern studies and politics in the end. The upheavals, the adventures, the otherness of the region was too tempting.
My father feared I would end up a taxi driver like humanities graduates before me in Germany. But I was stubborn and fell in love with my studies. For the first time in my life, I was learning about things I was really interested in. I read Iran's history from its kings to its modern-day politics and learned Farsi and the Arabic alphabet, but this was all theory. To really taste the country, feel the atmosphere on my skin, and listen to the sounds of Iran's streets, I had to go to the country.
Germany's biggest newspaper wrote of the UN general assembly meeting: "The most powerful humans meet in New York to rescue the world - and to insult each other." It was the height of tensions between the magic triangle, Ahmadinejad-Bush-Netanyahu, and rumors of possible war circulated. I saw all this as part of a big adventure, so in the fall of 2008 I signed up with the German Embassy as a temporary resident in Iran and imagined the worst-case scenario would be being rescued by helicopter; a great story to tell my grandkids.
Happy to say, everything went quite differently. I came back without war fanfares, but with loads of books, handcrafts, and a heart lost to an Iranian man. Through him, his friends, music, favourite poems and books, family, coffee shops, slang and stories, I met the real Iran; the Iran in which the great poet Hafez tells you your future, the expression "The New City" revives Tehran's old red light district, and eating hot beetroot from the city's viewpoint seems like it can't get better. What followed again was a life in a washing machine, but without a happy ending. What outlived everything was my love for Iran and its people.
Since then I have been to Iran multiple times to inhale Tehran's emissions, but also the smell of barbecued meat, to talk to the taxi drivers about politics and life here and there, to meet my friends, to travel through its outdoor museum of millenniums, to experience the contrasts between the liberal Iranians and the traditional ones, and to understand the national psyche each time one centimeter more.
Every time I w


Breite: 211
Gewicht: 1364 g
Höhe: 277
Länge: 26
Seiten: 301
Autor: Lena Späth
Veröffentlichung: 2019-05-06


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