“University Students Must Think the Way We Want Them to Think!” by Davood Mousavi

After almost 14 years a sentence that Mr. Karami, the head of the moral office of our university, told me remains fresh in my memories. When I was a university student in Iran, I used to organize photography workshops for my classmates. We would set out in the streets, and experiment with creative photography. We would also, once in a while, organize a small exhibition at the university or elsewhere. One of these times, we decided to capture various images of the city during a famous Shia mourning ceremony (Ashura). Upon putting together the exhibition, Mr. Karmi called me into his office, and asked me a strange question. He asked, “What were you trying to convey with that one photo where there is a No Entrance sign next to a street called Heaven?” Even though caught off-guard, I tried to calmly explain to him that this photo should be viewed in the context of the rest of the photos of the exhibition. Nevertheless, my explanations were futile. Ultimately, he chuckled at me, stared into my eyes and said condescendingly, “University students must think the way we want to think, and not the way they want to think. We are here to ensure that they think our way.”

To read the rest of this article in Persian, click here.


Davood Mousavi
Davood Mousavi is an award-winning photographer and journalist. His work has been published in different national, international magazines and several news agencies including Reuters, Los Angeles Times and MSNC. After acquiring his Bachelor’s degree in Arts and History in Iran, he worked as a lecturer at the School of Art and History. Davood has a Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from the Osmania University in Hyderabad, India. Davood has worked with different NGOs both as an editor and as a reporter. He is passionate about human rights and freedom of press issues. In 2015 he graduated from Mid Sweden University, Sweden, with a MFA in photojournalism.


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  • © Siamak Pourzand Foundation, 2014