When Shafie was a child, her family left Iran to settle in England, but returned in 1978, after the Cultural Revolution. “I could see and feel the change,” she recalls. “When we first arrived I remember my brother grabbing my hand, saying, ‘I think we got off at the wrong station,’ because the country visually did not look the same. There was a sea of women in black chador, and signs in the airport, and we were shocked.
“I saw euphoria, I saw executions, I saw arrests, I saw death, I saw love. And I saw people still making food, sharing food, loving each other. There was this volatile mix of a very heightened series of emotions.”