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by Nastaran Safaei
One day I had bought a whole chicken to cook for dinner. I was cleaning and cutting it in smaller pieces, while wearing a white dress. For me a white dress is a symbol of purity, innocence and cleanliness. As I was indifferently cleaning and cutting the chicken with my big kitchen knife, I felt that I was a cruel person, slaughtering another being, and my white dress and my hands were becoming dirtier and dirtier. It was as if a part of me was indifferent to what it was doing: slaughtering a dead body. At that time I had just turned 30 and I was still involved with the legend of Simurgh [in Farsi: 30 birds]. In my head I was still playing with the number 30 and the concept of 30 birds.
After I turned 30, I felt like a bird that had flown the years of my life toward the age of 30, an important age for me. The thirty years, good or bad, had passed and I was there in a white dress, like a wedding dress, ready to start a new era of my life.
In Attar's book [a renowned classical Iranian poet], a group of birds start a journey to find Simurgh, a powerful bird, and fly to Qaf mountain, the highest point on earth. Only 30 of them reach their destination. There they see their own reflection in the water and realize that Simurgh, that powerful bird, is actually them as a team.
In the past, chicken [Farsi: murgh] could mean any kind of bird, regardless of gender, but in present time, chicken is associated with pre-packed female bird, ready to be consumed. It is as if birds, who were wise and had feathers and willfully flew toward the farthest and most impossible mountain of the world, have now turned into lifeless chickens with no heads or feathers, who do not seem to think, have nowhere to fly to, are not united, look just like each other, and are simply for consumption, just like manufactured goods.