"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Last night I finished reading Iran Awakening by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. She had lots of really interesting things to say dealing with both Iran and the United States and our history together and apart. These are just a few of the many things that took my attention.   You'll just have to read the rest for yourself when you buy the book (or borrow it from the library as I did!)

"Ever since that day, the twenty-second of Bahman has been celebrated as the date of the revolution's victory.  In Persian, we do not say the revolution was born, that it happened or came to pass; we require an oversize verb, and so we say the revolution was victorious.  That day, a feeling of pride washed over me that in hindsight makes me laugh. I felt that I too had won, alongside this victorious revolution. It took scarcely a month for me to realize that, in fact,I had willingly and enthusiastically participated in my own demise. I was a woman, and this revolution's victory demanded my defeat."  (pg.38)

A former judge, Shirin was now relegated to a secretary in the same court in which she used to preside.  Because women couldn't be judges apparently.

Shirin enjoyed reading several newspapers every day.  As the Islamic Republic started printing their new penal code, she felt she was "hallucinating" as she read how her value had just been cut in half and women's rights were stripped. She said it seemed they "had apparently consulted the seventh century for legal advice."  (pg. 51)  She felt so unsettled about these laws where her husband remained a person and she "became chattel"  that she talked with her husband about how he'd been "promoted above" her.  He agreed to a postnuptial agreement where she had the right to divorce him and primary custody of the children if they divorced.  The notary looked at her husband like he'd gone mad.

Once when the family went on a skiing trip, Javad (her husband) rode the men's bus while Shirin and their daughters got on the women's bus.  Unfortunately something about their vacation plans roused the suspicion of the bus driver so she was questioned.  Her husband's bus had already left so he couldn't vouch for her. 

'I'm sorry,' he said obstinately. 'I can't let the bus depart.'

... 'This is absurd,' I said, 'It's not fair to the other people on that bus.'

'There's only one solution,' ... 'I have to call your mother and see if you have permission to go skiing.'

And that is how I was forced, at the age of forty-five, to dial up my mother and say, 'Maman, can you please tell this man that I'm allowed to go skiing?'''  (pg. 101)

She said her mother teased her about this later saying next time she might not give permission.

"The suicide rate among women rose after the Islamic Revolution, commonly taking the form of self-immolation.  This tragic exhibitionism, I'm convinced, is women's way of forcing their community to confront the cruelty of oppression. Otherwise, would it not simply be easier to overdose on pills in a dark room?"  (pg. 109)

I think we all remember a year ago when a young fruit vendor in Tunisia did the same thing. Many believe his act paved the way for 2011's Arab Spring.

On a somewhat related note, I heard on the news a bit ago that THE PROTESTER is Time magazine's person of the year.


Wafa' said...

I had the book, have not read it yet but it seems to be a very interesting one.

thanks for the feedback :)

Susanne said...

Yes, it's realllllllly interesting. I like how she "scolds" the US, too. :) Let me know how you like it when you read it.

Anonymous said...

oh wow!!! I've been looking for a new book. I am getting this one!!! Seems so interesting. I cannot wait. That ski part is absurd.

Susanne said...

Yes, it really held my interest and I read it within a day. You may find it at your local library like I did.

I should have said she was no shah-lover and was for a revolution in Iran. She just didn't realize the people coming to power would strip her rights like they did. So sad. I hope it doesn't happen this way in other ME countries that had revolutions this year. Lord willing, it won't. :)

Suroor said...

Seems like a good read. Do you think I'd like it? After reading The Stoning of Soraya I'm left with a bleeding heart about Iran.

Susanne said...

Yes, I think you'd enjoy it as she seems to fight for women's rights (everyone really) and though she considers herself a devout Muslim lady, she doesn't think going back to the 7th c. is needed to follow Islam properly. I really enjoyed her common sense approach to nearly everything. She's ambitious, smart and, yeah, now that I think of it, reminds me right much of you!

She doesn't seem to win a lot of her cases because of the system she's up against, but she's at least fighting and I admire her very much for her bravery. She doesn't sit back and shut up that's for sure. :)

Becky said...

I really enjoyed this post Susanne, I also really respect and admire Shirin Ebadi - I wrote about her in one of my Fabulous Female posts earlier this year: http://beckyskaleidoscope.blogspot.com/2011/04/fabulous-female-shirin-ebadi.html

Susanne said...

ah, no wonder her story was a bit familiar! thanks for linking your article with this! :)

Bigstick said...

Sounds interesting. I will have to get it. Hope you had a Happy New Year.

Susanne said...

Yes, I hope you enjoy it also. Happy new year to you and your family!

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