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The South Side of Heaven

A Journey along the Iranian Collective Memory in Iran-Iraq War Memorial Sites

Younes Saramifar

I portray mnemonic practices of Iranians who engaged with the past and keep the memories of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) alive within frames and words. Through pictures taken during the annual commemoration of martyrs in southern Iran, I show how religiosity, politics and generational guilt are entangled in post-war Iran. I move against the grains of memory studies and visual anthropology by maintaining the silences and what is left unsaid instead of rendering war memories, acts of remembering and ways of seeing epistemologically coherent. I argue remembering is a practice locally shaped according to the politics of everyday life and not by imagined presupposition of memory scholars. Therefore, I draw an ontological approach towards memories in Iran by ways of seeing and religious worldview of those implicated in the Iranian memory machine.

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Manuel Stoffers, Blake Morris, Alan Meyer, Younes Saramifar, Andrew Cobbing, Martin Emanuel, Rudi Volti, Caitlin Starr Cohn, Caitríona Leahy, and Sunny Stalter-Pace