The Centre Francophone at Webster University and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy hosted an event with Iranian and French author Fariba Hachtroudi. The purpose of the event was to have Hachtroudi talk about different topics including international relations between Iran and the United States, human rights, her new novel “The Man Who Snapped His Fingers.”
“I think when we talk about a small planet, we should know each other better,” Hachtroudi said. “I see how much Americans and other people don’t know about the rest of the world, I think books can help.”
Hachtroudi’s father used to say that most of the problems with international relations come from ignorance. She thinks that countries should try to understand each other and that will help create a bridge between the two. Then problems can be solved once people get to know and respect other cultures because when they are not ignorant about a problem, they find the solution.
Hachtroudi hopes to raise consciousness to young people about what is going on elsewhere, and help promote the idea that they can do something about it.
“All of us have a lot of power, we just have to believe in it and to get together and get organized to improve this power, and to make it respected by our government wherever we are,” Hachtroudi said.
In 1983 Hachtroudi started out as a journalist to denounce Khomeynism. She became a very radical militant in Iran and eventually worked her way into writing novels.
According to Hachtroudi, everyone has a duty to give a better world to the younger generation. She tries to do so through her writing. Hachtroudi says that every one of her books was written by necessity for her, meaning that when flow of ideas comes to her, she has to write or it “will burst out.”
“All my life I’ve been a real militant for human rights and social justice,” Hachtroudi said. “I cannot fear and bear injustice. I try to do whatever is in my power in my writing to promote these issues if I can.”
One of the co-hosts of the event was freshman Olivia Potter, an International Relations major and French minor. She was interested not only because of her major, but also because human rights has always been important to her.
Potter saw this event as a great opportunity to further her studies and learn more about Iran. She was honored to meet Hachtroudi, saying that she was so kind and open. One thing in particular that Potter took away from the session with Hachtroudi was to go for it.
“When you need to do something and you have that passion and you want to keep moving forward, go for it,” Potter said.
Emerson Library’s conference room was filled with people interested in the different topics that Hachtroudi talked about. The audience had a variety of questions to ask Hachtroudi during the Q&A session that the event went over the scheduled time. They asked about all aspects of her speech, from Iranian and United States relations, to Hachtroudi’s early work as a human rights activist and radical, to her perspective on different issues today.
Hachtroudi has a lot of hope for the future of Iran and says that they are willing to re-establish relations with the United States, especially the younger generation. She hopes that one day there will be a United States Embassy in Iran.
“I believe in life, I believe in the future, I believe in the young generation,” Hachtroudi said.