Autumn in Tehran is new for me. I have visited in all other seasons. As a Brit by birth but not ethnicity (for want of a better description) the weather is most pleasant. Neither too hot nor too cold, rain for the past two days has cleared much pollution from the air, that six months back almost killed me as I misguidedly decided to power walk during the morning rush hour. A tree in my late mother-in-law’s garden bears Sharon Fruit. I have never seen such a tree before, except of course I have seen it every time I have been here but never in fruit to know or remember what it is, despite being told so many times. That’s the thing with Iran. We all know so little about it, and even what we know we scarcely believe or remember because the demonisation of all things Iran is as acute as the demonisation of all things Islam (see pages 26 – 54 of IHRC’s 2007 report on Islamophobia and the Media https://www.ihrc.org.uk/file/1903718317.pdf) . We internalise all these hatreds and racisms and more, even when we say we oppose them. There are warning signs in everything. We need to take heed.
Arzu Merali is a writer and one of the founders of IHRC. She can be contacted via Twitter @arzumerali – You can read more of her blog entries here