December 21, 2009 | 11:18 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
As an 11-year-old Jewish girl living in Tehran, Angella M. Nazarian witnessed firsthand the turmoil and violence of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Massive anti-Shah protests in the streets coupled with rampant machine gunfire were just some of the painful memories Nazarian recalls in her new book “Life As A Visitor”. Now author and professor of psychology at UCLA, Nazarian’s personal account sheds light on how her once sheltered carefree life as a Jew living in a Muslim country was suddenly turned upside down as a result of the turbulent revolution that forced thousands of Jews and other Iranians opposed to the new radical Islamic regime to flee Iran. “Life As a Visitor” also features Nazarian’s powerful poetry and vivid photographs carefully woven throughout the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed her book and it resonated with me because it tells a very personal story of the turmoil Jews fleeing from Iran experienced and how they readjusted to life in America. Her story is also special in my opinion because she gives some new insights to the challenges younger Iranian American Jews have encountered in finding a new identity. I believe that Nazarian’s story, while not political, is especially important today because it offers non-Iranian readers a unique perspective on the true evil and brutal nature of the current regime in Iran.
Now living in Beverly Hills, Nazarian recently sat down with me to discuss her new book and her experience as an Iranian Jewish immigrant living in the United States. The following is my video interview with her:
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