Amir in Leiden

Step 4 of 9

Rebellion

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Fig 4: Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon

Fig 4: Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon

In his teenage years, he developed his criticism of his surroundings even further, to the point where he could not resist expressing his beliefs any longer. The music of Pink Floyd left a mark on this period of Amir’s life: he listened to this album, The Dark Side of The Moon, for most of his early teen years. It taught him that, even in times of oppression, speaking your mind is a right people have to be able to fall back on, also when that means having to face the consequences.

In middle school, Amir got good grades and was not characteristically disobedient, but he had a steadfast recalcitrance against his Quran education. He would distract himself by scribbling Pink Floyd lyrics in his notebook, most often from Time, Amir’s all-time favorite, while playing the song in his head on repeat. It did not take the teacher long to find out, and when they did, it was not taken lightly. Amir was slapped in the face for his act. The rebellious ideas that are thematized in the music of Pink Floyd came to life for Amir, and the songs became a signature for Amir’s ability to express himself.

During that same period, Amir came into contact with the works of Forugh Farrokhzad, an Iranian poetess who engrained a strong female perspective into her poetry, for which she was shunned throughout her life. “Farrokhzad voiced ideas that were never heard before in Persian literature. She was the one who taught me to have the courage to be expressive,” Amir tells us. Two poems in particular, Servitude and Godship, stand out for him. “I think I was about 15 when I read these poems and took them as a proud stamp on my life: I am an atheist.”