Foreign Policy magazine just put up a great photo series of Iran from before the revolution. Cool and fascinating images of bands, fashion, and a swinging Tehran, once upon a time.
Just like Korea has an amazing music and cultural history from the 1960s and ’70s that too few people know about, so too does Iran and many other countries. It’s a sober reminder that history does not always and only travel in one direction, and often art, culture, and societies get torn apart.
Seeing how Iran gets treated by Western popular culture and news media has long rankled me. Yes, their religious elite are pretty oppressive. But this is a culture with a long and rich history, and even today is full of great poets and filmmakers. Not to mention Conference of the Birds, which is one of the world’s great story collections, up there with the Decameron and 1001 Nights.