Even its own citizens think extinction would be its just desserts. Therefore, a good rule of thumb for learning about Iran is to read the obscure scholarly books and ignore anything that sells well. Infidel was published in Holland under the title My Freedom. The real appeal of hostage narratives, however, is the hunger of the American reading public for detailed and accessible information about the Islamic world, in particular that which claims to transcend partisan politics and go beyond the headlines. The more unbearable the suffering, the better the sales; the more sordid or horrific the experience, the greater the potential for commercial success. Astonishingly, however, when he labeled it a “memoir,” abracadabra, it was picked up by a premier publishing house, Doubleday.

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The “captivity” in Afghanistan is not only a delayed afterthought, a newsworthy postscript; it is, in Chesler’s own words, “a cautionary tale.

Seventeen different publishers rejected his manuscript. Nor do I wish to challenge the accounts of their incarceration, literal or figurative, exact or approximate, prolonged or short, mobster or long ago.

Road Trip to Kentucky’s Otherworldly Caves

Here is how one of the students describes her emotions as she enters the classroom: Chesler, who had template monster 38546 Afghanistan remplate her earlier works as an exciting place, populated by kind and good-humored people, likens it now to Iran, “a country that has been described as a ‘giant prison for women.

Thanks to the staggering boom of incarceration during the last two decades, in fact, the US is now the world’s number one jailer, with over 2. It is this complex mixture of templte and accommodation, of resistance and acquiescence, that reflects most accurately a woman’s life in Iran today.

Strictly speaking, it is not even true. The gender gap was far wider in the fiction market. But Iran is not a template monster 38546 dystopia. This essay is an excerpt from a chapter of my forthcoming book, Remapping the Cultural Geography of Iran: The not so lucrative business of translation from other languages into English, a cornerstone of intercultural communication and better understanding among nations, has no real place in such a market.


Perhaps, but there are undoubtedly several other factors at play in the popular appeal of hostage narratives. She was an expression of the conflicts and ambivalences engendered by the processes of modernization, a projection perhaps of suppressed European self-doubt and self-criticism.

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template monster 38546 Mourning the decline of the cherished ideals of honor and masculinity, Mullah Muhammad Omar, soon to become the shadowy leader of the Taliban, was a village preacher who claimed God directed him in a dream to save his country. They alleviate the anxieties of their time by reflecting them; reaffirm the values of society by meditating on their loss; template monster 38546 subtle and not so subtle stereotypes and misperceptions.

During the last four years, I have presented the concept of hostage narratives in several talks, symposia and roundtables at New York University, Simon Fraser University, Washington and Lee University, the University of Chicago, Bennington College, Stanford University, the University of Texas-Austin and Oxford University, among other places and benefited enormously from the questions, suggestions and challenges of colleagues and participants.

The protagonist, usually template monster 38546 woman, was nabbed by Native Americans, who took her from her life of comfort and freedom into harsh confinement and rough living. The more unbearable the suffering, the better the sales; the more sordid or horrific the experience, the greater the potential for commercial success.

Unlike prison memoirs, which are born out of an experience of incarceration, the genealogy of hostage narratives can be traced to a political event: When Hirsi Ali tells her mentor, the prominent Dutch politician Neelie Kroes, that she plans to move to the United States to pursue a doctorate, she is swiftly dissuaded from doing so.

Road Trip to Kentucky’s Otherworldly Caves

In alone, more books were published in the US about Afghan women than in the entire history of American letters. Although it is hard to miss the direct correlation established here between women’s captivity and the need for foreign intervention, military or otherwise, to set them free, I do not presume to know the intentions or the political agendas of Chesler or any of the other authors I discuss in this essay. Some of these books are about Western women held captive in the Muslim world and as such template monster 38546 fall in a different category.


Infidel was published in Holland under the title My Freedom. There are template monster 38546 an increasing number of prison memoirs by Muslim men and women, even though the latter are, by and large, new to the enterprise starting with Zaynab al-Ghazali in Egypt and Ashraf Dehghani in Iran.

Whereas the former has its roots in women’s increased, albeit contentious access to the public arena, to the world of politics and publishing and public discourse, the latter neglects their important and unprecedented presence in the public sphere.

Sally Armstrong, Veiled Threat: Women’s captivity is now such an essential part of the dominant discourse on Islam that it shows up in unlikely places. By Farzaneh Milani Source: This template monster 38546 country, this nation of captives and captors, is simply beyond redemption. Like harrowing flashbacks of a trauma, hostage taking became a recurrent theme in books and films and news clips about Iran and, by extension, the Islamic world. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who traveled to Turkey inrecounts how harem women viewed her attire as template monster 38546 true prison.

The language and the plot of this chapter, titled “My Afghan Captivity,” mark a distinctive shift in scenario, tone, style and point of view from earlier versions of the same trip. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.