Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, Shirin Ebadi

So I have been reading Iran Awakening on and off ever since the Iranian election took over the news.  This has been quite a while.  I wanted to read it because I felt like I didn’t know enough about Iran and the United States, and the revolution and everything.  I thought it was fascinating, how she told about the changes in political power throughout her life.  She talks about helping in the revolution, and how afterwards she was asked to wear a headscarf, how people told her Just wait!  We want to deal with women’s rights but there are so many more important things to do first!  Ugh, it was awful – since, of course, this never materialized.  She writes about the Iran-Iraq war, her anger when so many of her friends left Iran for safer territory, the legal cases she undertook, and her time in prison with such vividness.

I didn’t finish it at first because it gave me really bad nightmares (men without faces put me in cars and asked me important questions in another language).  I have only just finished Iran Awakening yesterday, and now I don’t know what to say about it.  It was terribly upsetting, but I’m glad I read it.  I have several other books about women in Iran, and they look grim too, and if I weren’t so interested I wouldn’t read them but I am VERY VERY interested.  I just won’t read them before bed.  Before bed maybe I will read my anthology of Persian literature.  Yes!  I got one from the library!  An anthology of Persian literature, it’s going to be great!

Incidentally, this is an excellent, concise overview of Iran’s recent political history from the perspective of, you know, people.  (And yes, I am here differentiating “people” from “politicians”.  Sorry, politicians!)  If you don’t know why Iran does not want to be America’s BFF, and you have been wondering, here’s why.  I wouldn’t want to be our BFF either.  Sheesh.

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  • Sounds like an interesting one, but I’m not sure it’s for me. You might like Veiled Freedom, about modern-day Afghanistan.

    • Thanks for the recommendation! Yeah, the book was good, but I don’t think I’d recommend it to everyone. As I said, I had a hard time getting through it, and I think that would probably be the case for a lot of people. It definitely reminded me how fortunate I am to live in a country where I’m legally protected from that sort of thing.

  • Have you read Persepolis? I like how having read it made me feel closer to what’s been happening, almost like I’d visited once. But I still don’t know enough. Just this morning I was reading an article on women’s rights in Iran that you might find interesting. Here: http://tehranbureau.com/iranian-feminism-june-2009/

  • What a good article! I was pleased that she talked about how women have always been deeply involved in marches and protests for human rights. I always feel so angry when I’m reading about abolitionism in America, because it’s always the same thing – the feminists agreed to put their business on hold because slavery was more important, and then when the abolitionists got what they wanted, they all packed up and went home! And the feminists were just sitting there like, ….Um, guys?

    (Except not Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass is my hero.)

    I loved Persepolis! The film and the book. I always remember that shot in the film of Marjane’s parents sitting and looking worried, and little Marjane in the back marching around shouting “A bas le Shah!” It’s always so interesting to me seeing historical events through a kid’s eyes.

  • We also support human and women’s rights in Iran. Fashion, environmental responsibility and social justice can all be combined to change the world, please read our post for more info: http://fashionableearth.org/blog/2009/10/13/cause-of-the-season-iran/