Azadi. Daad. Rasti.

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

September 28, 2023

I was recently captivated by a story on Instagram written by Brandon Stanton about Iranian politician Parviz Zafari. I must admit to being rather ignorant on the topic of Iran before reading this story. I’ve heard about the recent women’s protests, the never-ending war, and the overall unsafe nature of the country. In my ignorance, I assumed it was always like that. And frankly, in my lifetime, that statement is true. But the more I read about Parviz’s story, the more curious I became about Iran.

The Story

I hope you take the time to read the story, so I won’t give too much away, but one of the main themes of his tale surrounds storytelling, in particular an ancient Iran book titled, Shahnameh, written by Abolqasem Ferdowsi. Parviz tells about his lifelong love affair with the poem and how its themes have changed his life. He circles back to three Persian words, azadi, daad, and rasti. Their English translation are liberty, justice, and truth.


When I think of Iran, I do not think of liberty, justice, and truth. But the Iran Parviz grew to know and love, was very much a country that embodied those principals. The story made me think about my recent obsession with pendulation. Iran wasn’t always a country rife with corruption, violence, and oppression. There were times in history when women were free to attend university and they were not required to wear a hijab. There were times when the political climate held true to a constitution that respected its people.

The Iran I know was not always the Iran that existed. Learning about Parviz’s story makes me realize how ignorant I can be on topics I know nothing about. But as my therapist taught me, you can’t know what you don’t know. And now that my perspective of Iran has changed, I look forward to learning more about the country that was. I look forward to learning about what happened and why the climate changed. Was it one group of people looking for ultimate power and control? How could it have been avoided? And what can I do now to help the people of Iran swing the pendulum back to azadi, daad, and rasti?