Quotable: Two from Azar Nafisi

On terror alerts and the futility of color-coded systems:

“I wonder at what point in my life, and after how many years, the echo of the red siren–like a screeching violin that plays mercilessly all over one’s body–would cease in my mind. I cannot separate the eight years of war from that shrill voice that several times a day, at the most unexpected hours, would intrude into our lives. Three levels of danger had been established, but I never managed to differentiate between the red (danger), yellow (possibility of danger) and white (danger has stopped) sirens. Somehow, in the sound of the white siren, menace still lurked. Usually the red siren sounded too late, after the bomb had already been dropped, and in any case, even at the university we had no real shelters to repair to.”

On discontent:

“We were unhappy. We compared our situation to our own potentials, to what we could have had, and somehow there was little consolation in the fact that millions of other people were unhappier than we were. Why should other people’s misery make us happier or more content?”

–Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

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