First of all, let us congratulate the Iranian people who voted for the reformations. Today that I am writing this log is a very happy day for us the people of Iran. I hope that by the new government coming into power, there is going to be more freedom for the writers and the journalists who are the beating heart of the culture of every country.
Let us begin by introducing to you Derafsh-e Mehr, an English literary journal published by the students of the University of Mazandaran at Iran, despite knowing that this might be rather late to post an introduction, because we have already printed the first issue of Derafsh-e Mehr in April 2013. But unfortunately we could not do it much sooner, since we had a very tight schedule to gather, edit, and print all material for the first issue, and later like all other students we had to study for the final exams. We forced ourselves to print one issue in the spring of 2013 before the semester ends. It was very important for us to present a sample of our works before the long summer vacations. But many students of our university already know some about this journal, because we have given a brief introduction in our first issue, and we have also created a page and a discussion group on Facebook website, which is visited by some of the students. But because the majority of the students in Iran do not have access to Facebook, we found it necessary to make a weblog to facilitate the reach to our announcements and news regarding the journal. So, without any further ado, Let us see what Derafsh-e Mehr is all about:
Derafsh-e Mehr is a literary journal in English language, authorized by English literature students of the University of Mazandaran, which is located in the province of Mazandaran in north of Iran. Derafsh-e Mehr is a totally independent journal, and totally funded by the students, and we are not supported by the university in anyway. In the winter of 2013 we decided to print an English journal which concerns literature, especially English literature which is our subject of study. We believe that the main element that made us print this journal was an urge to write, and have our works read by others. And we thought maybe having a means to have our voices heard might help us and our classmates overcome the chronic pessimism regarding our subject of study (which is basically not a really promising major in Iran) and the life in general due the complicated situation of this country. And we can say that this has been indeed very positive for us so far. But for all the success that Derafsh-e Mehr has had, we are totally in debt of Prof. Sybil Martin Keshmiri, our dear professor, who took the trouble to edit and revise all the works of students that were collected. And we have been very fortunate to benefit from her kind and selfless advices and instructions from the beginning of this project.
We decided to choose the title “Derafsh-e Mehr” for our journal for some reasons. ‘Derafsh-e Mehr’ literally means ‘The Flag of Sun’ or ‘The Flag of Grace’. In fact the word ‘Mehr’ in Persian means both ‘the Sun’ and ‘grace’; the reason for this might be that our ancestors considered the Sun to be the source of all the grace for it gives life to the Earth. Also ‘Mehr’ is another word for ‘Mithra’ the Indo-Iranian goddess of light. Usually the emblem of the Sun symbolized the goddess of Mithra in Iranian mythology. Mehr is also the 7th month in Iranian (Jalali) calender, which marks the beginning of the educational year in Iran, and is very nostalgic for the Iranian people. Derafsh-e Mehr itself was originally a former Iranian flag we had back in about 2000 years ago, during the Sassanid era. It was a triangle shaped violet flag with an emblem of the Sun on it. This emblem has existed until today on the national flag of our country. All of these pleasant connotations attached to this name made us favor it over other suggested names. This name reminds us of a prosperous past, and hope for a bright future. And the light and the Sun symbolize knowledge and wisdom to us. For us Derafsh-e Mehr is like “a soft murmur in the hustle and bustle of a busy marketplace”. And it is like a gentle breeze in the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere we are living in currently; it gives us hope to live. As it was mentioned above, we have already printed one issue during the spring of 2013. As the first issue to be published, it was altogether a success. We have passed a tough path to reach to this stage, and we are very much hopeful to make our journal even better with help of our participants and readers.