Land and People

  • Patrick Clawson
  • Michael Rubin
Part of the The Middle East in Focus book series (MEF)


Bahram Beizai’s 1990 Iranian film “Bashu, the Little Stranger” (Bashu gharibeh-ye kuchak) opens with an Iraqi bombing raid on a village in Iran’s dry and dusty southwest. The dark-skinned, ten-year-old Bashu, played by Adnan Afravian, sees his home destroyed and mother killed. In a panic, he flees, jumping into the back of a lorry. Exhausted, he passes out. He emerges from the truck, confused by lush, green foliage and rice paddies among people who neither look like him nor speak his language.1


Middle East Rice Paddy Islamic Republic Zagros Mountain Iranian Society 
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  1. 1.
    For an overview of both prerevolutionary and postrevolutionary Iranian cinema, including discussion of Bashu, see Mamad Haghighat, Histoire du cinéma iranien. (Paris: BPI Centre Georges Pompidou, 1999)Google Scholar
  2. and Hormuz Kéy, Le cinema iranien (Clamency: Nouvellle Imprimerie Labellery, 1999). In English, Richard Tapper has collected a series of analytical essays about film in the Islamic Republic.Google Scholar
  3. See Richard Tapper, ed., The New Iranian Cinema (New York: LB. Tauris, 2002).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    English-language translations of Persian poetry are plentiful. For an interesting account of the influence of the Persian language, see Shahrokh Meskoob, Iranian Nationality and the Persian Language, John Perry, ed., Michael Hillmann, trans. (Washington: Mage Publishers, 1992).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    For the best coverage of Iranian geography, see W.B. Fisher, ed., The Cambridge History of Iran: Volume I: The Land of Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 5.
    Edward Stack, Six Months in Persia, Volume I (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1882), p. 9.Google Scholar
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    Rula Jurdi Afrasiab, “The Ulama of Jabal Άmil in Safavid Iran, 1501–1736: Marginality, Migration, and Social Change,” Iranian Studies, 27: 1–4 (1994), pp. 103–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Article XII. See Hamid Algar, trans., “Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1980), p. 32: “The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja’fari school of thought, and this principle shall remain eternally immutable. Other Islamic schools of thought… are to be accorded full respect, and their followers are free to act in accordance with their own jurisprudence in performing their religious devotions.”Google Scholar
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    For background on the Iranian Jewish community, see Habib Levy, Comprehensive History of the Jews of Iran, Hooshang Ebrami, ed., George W. Maschke, trans. (Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers, 1999).Google Scholar
  10. Daniel Tsadik provides useful background about Iran’s Jewish community with special focus on the nineteenth century in his article, “The Legal Status of Religious Minorities: Imami Shi’i Law and Iran’s Constitutional Revolution,” Islamic Law and Society, 10: 3 (2003), pp. 376–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The best resource for the origins of the Baha’i community in Iran is Abbas Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844–1850 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
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    W. B. Fisher, “Physical Geography,” in W. B. Fisher, ed. The Cambridge History of Iran Volume I: The Land of Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), p. 94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Patrick Clawson and Michael Rubin 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Clawson
  • Michael Rubin

There are no affiliations available

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