Holding a Monument
My brothers and sisters,
preserve your revolutionary integrity
and be aware that your thoughts
and opinions can light the way of those searching for the truth.
Dear brothers and sisters,
please explain your views thoroughly
and not only in one word.
Write about your own understandings of things
and do not copy the responses of others.
To avoid cross-outs,
think before writing.
Holding a Monument is based on a note-book of my mother in which she, together with her sister, wrote questions about subjects such as the idea of political Islam, social inequality, hijab, colonialism, political independence, their role in the revolution, western ideologies, war, martyrdom, the role of universities and different institutions, etc. My mother and aunt responded to their own questions and then passed it around to their friends who answered these questions back in 1979, just after the revolution.
I used their notebook as a blueprint for making two notebooks with the same inquiries. I gave one to the people who wrote in the original notebook, and I gave the other to my friends who were born after the revolution, the so called “burnt generation”. While my mother could not remember those times and a version of herself in which she was a revolutionary who posed these questions, my friends struggled in writing their answers, often calling me to ask about the meanings and historical contexts behind the questions, some of which I had to Wikipedia myself.
The pages of the notebooks stand as a monument of revolution, as something which came about from its context as well as its young protagonists. What happened to those ideals and ideas today? What does political past mean today and what can one do with it? How do you train yourself to read something that has been kept clandestine?