Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2019-08-20 18:17Z by Steven

Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

House of Anansi Press
280 pages
8.5 in × 5.5 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781487006471
Ebook ISBN: 9781487006488

Annahid Dashtgard

Cover of Breaking the Ocean

Annahid Dashtgard was born into a supportive mixed-race family in 1970s Iran. Then came the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ushered in a powerful and orthodox religious regime. Her family was forced to flee their homeland, immigrating to a small town in Alberta, Canada. As a young girl, Dashtgard was bullied, shunned, and ostracized by both her peers at school and adults in the community. Home offered little respite as her parents were embroiled in their own struggles, exposing the sharp contrasts between her British mother and Persian father.

Determined to break free from her past, Dashtgard created a new identity for herself as a driven young woman who found strength through political activism, eventually becoming a leader in the anti–corporate globalization movement of the late 1990s. But her unhealed trauma was re-activated following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Suffering burnout, Dashtgard checked out of her life and took the first steps towards personal healing, a journey that continues to this day.

Breaking the Ocean introduces a unique perspective on how racism and systemic discrimination result in emotional scarring and ongoing PTSD. It is a wake-up call to acknowledge our differences, offering new possibilities for healing and understanding through the revolutionary power of resilience. Dashtgard answers the universal questions of what it means to belong, what it takes to become whole, and ultimately what is required to create change in ourselves and in society.

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Mixed Up: ‘There are certain elements of English life that Iranian culture would deem totally disgusting’

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-12-19 00:39Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘There are certain elements of English life that Iranian culture would deem totally disgusting’

Metro UK

Natalie Morris, Senior Lifestyle Writer

Ariana Alexander-Sefre

Welcome to Mixed Up, a series looking at the highs, lows and unique experiences of being mixed-race.

Mixed-race is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the UK. It means your parents hail from two (or more) different ethnicities, leaving you somewhere in the middle.

In 2001, when the ‘mixed’ categories were first introduced to the national census, mixed-race people made up 1.3% of the population. Fast-forward 10 years, and that figure almost doubles to 2.3%.

It’s a trajectory that’s unlikely to slow down.

Alongside the unique pleasures and benefits of being exposed to multiple cultures, being mixed comes with complexities, conflicts and innate contradictions.

Ariana, founder of Sweat & Sound, is half Persian and half British. The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up half of the population of Iran – they have their own language, Farsi.

Some schools of thinking class Persians as technically Caucasian, but recent census categorisation changes in the US have definied Iranian and Middle-Eastern heritage as different to white…

…Ariana identifies as mixed. She says her family is made up of a combination of intensely different cultural traditions.

But because of her appearance, her light skin and European features, she says she’s often assumed to be white by both English and Iranian people.

‘I actually find it really frustrating to be honest,’ Ariana tells

Read the entire article here.

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‘We are Iranians’: Rediscovering the history of African slavery in Iran

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2016-05-17 01:59Z by Steven

‘We are Iranians’: Rediscovering the history of African slavery in Iran

Middle East Eye

Jillian D’Amours

ST CATHARINES, CanadaBehnaz Mirzai’s students often say her office is like a museum.

With shards of ancient pottery recovered from the mountains of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province, colourful vases from Isfahan, and tribal masks from Zanzibar adorning the shelves, it is easy to see why.

Mirzai has spent nearly 20 years studying the origins of the African diaspora in Iran, including the history and eventual abolition of slavery in her native country.

It was a topic that few knew about in the late 1990s, when she began her research, and one that remains unfamiliar to many today.

“Living in Iran for all my life, we had never heard about slavery in Iran,” Mirzai told Middle East Eye from Brock University, where she now works as an associate professor of Middle Eastern history…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-Iran | The Unknown Minority

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive on 2015-04-16 22:59Z by Steven

Afro-Iran | The Unknown Minority

Mahdi Ehsaei, Photographer

The photographic series shows a side of Iran, which is unknown by even Iranians. A trip to a place which is inhabited and dominated by the descendants of slaves and traders from Africa.

The Hormozgan province in the Persian Gulf is a traditional and historical region with a diverse and unexplored population. It is framed with unique landscapes and people with profound personalities. Iranians, who still have African blood in them and continue their African heritage with their clothing style, their music, their dance and their oral traditions and rituals.

The resulting portraits reveal new facets and unfamiliar faces, which are not typical for the common picture of Iran. They show details documenting the centuries-long history of this ethnic minority. A confrontation between the Persian culture and the, for Iran unusual, African consciousness.

A surprisingly new experience for the viewer, which shows the current presence of Afro-Iranians in Iran.

For more information, click here.

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