The New York Times is running a really interesting series on its website called Our Man in Tehran (the link will take you to episode one). Thomas Erdbrink, the paper’s bureau chief in Tehran has made seven brief videos meant to capture aspects of ordinary people’s live in Iran that we have not usually been able to see in the media here. This video is from the second episode, “The Martyr’s Daughter.” I’ve pasted in her “character dossier” below the video.
Character Dossier: Najiyeh Allahdad
Date of birth: July 26, 1976
Education: B.A. in graphics from Alzahra University, 1999
Employment: Freelance designer, creating logos for companies
Life experience: I got married when I was 20. I have two sons. I have been fortunate in my life to have found a circle of friends and relatives who share my deep passion for helping others. We have formed a small charity group that finds people who need help, and we use our connections to gather help for them.
How do you describe yourself? I’m an Iranian Muslim who uses any opportunity to improve her country and who protects her country’s reputation in the world. I love life, and I love peace. I feel that what people have lost in this world is spirituality. I’ve devoted my life to trying to find this spirituality for myself first and then to help others enjoy it.
Are you active on the Internet? I am on Instagram. I also have WhatsApp and Viber. I am in touch with my friends through these social networks and speak my mind. Also, I get information and news through these networks.
What do you hope for the future? I am very hopeful and I believe that religion will play a more important role in people’s lives in the future, and the world will be saved by religion.
What are your hobbies? I’m active in charity efforts. Like Superman, I jump to find people who need help.
Have you traveled outside of Iran? Where? What did you think? I have traveled to India, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, the United States and Syria. I found some Eastern countries like India and China to be very civilized, but they have not used their civilization to improve their daily lives. On the other hand, I found the Western countries to be detached from their histories and stepping into a new world that has an unclear future. Some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. seemed too dependent on Western countries and would be nothing without help from the U.S. And a country like Iraq has always been hampered by circumstances throughout its history.
I always get turned off when people start talking about how some countries are “civilized” and others less so.