Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Iran Awakening

Iran Awakening By Shirin Ebadi
Reviewed by Sean Badal

On December 10th 2003, Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to do so. It was largely for her work as a human rights activist and her support for children’s rights. There was widespread controversy about the award, with many, both inside and outside Iran claiming it was politically motivated. Well, what is the darn point of awarding the peace prize if it isn’t politically motivated – even helping the poor is politically motivated these days. Just ask Jimmy Carter. Hell, just ask that other JC who was nailed to the cross for helping the poor.

In her book Ebadi chronicles the extraordinary series of events that led to the winning of the prize.

Ebadi was working as judge during the Shah’s regime when the revolution happened. Like many Iranians, she was a fervent supporter of the revolution and enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was installed by the US in a CIA-planned coup that overthrew Iran’s first democratically elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh. The Americans and British were pissed off that he dared to use Iranian oil for the benefit of the Iranian people.

If there is one thematic link in all three of these books, it is in the almost mythical presence of Mossadegh. He crops up all over the place, a wistful remembrance of a (perceived) time when things were better.

For an insight into the full horror story on how Mossadegh was deposed, see here.


And if you think it was all in the past, historical baggage, I have one word for you.


The whole dirty bag of tricks is currently played out again by those scheming bastards in Washington.

As we all know, things didn’t quite work out in Iranian. There was no golden age of democracy under the mad mullahs. Ebadi charts her despair as the religious fascists tightened their screw with their own unique brand of woman-hating government. She lost her jobs, her life was constantly in danger and the Iranian middle class just seeped away, leaving for greener pastures. It is a sad and devastating tale, and the author’s great courage is the only thing that sustained her.

Somehow she shines through and lives to present a truly inspiring story.

Published by Rider Books – 2006

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