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Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Countryby Shirin Ebadi and Azadeh Moaveni
"The book is a powerful condemnation of the dictatorship of the ayatollahs, at its best when it recounts the suffering of those whom Ebadi represented. The gross injustices and the everyday cruelties of the Islamist regime in Iran would be comical were they not so tragic." Vali Nasr, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
The moving, inspiring memoir of one of the great women of our times, Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and advocate for the oppressed, whose spirit has remained strong in the face of political persecution and despite the challenges she has faced raising a family while pursuing her work.
Best known in this country as the lawyer working tirelessly on behalf of Canadian photojournalist, Zara Kazemi — raped, tortured and murdered in Iran — Dr. Ebadi offers us a vivid picture of the struggles of one woman against the system. The book movingly chronicles her childhood in a loving, untraditional family, her upbringing before the Revolution in 1979 that toppled the Shah, her marriage and her religious faith, as well as her life as a mother and lawyer battling an oppressive regime in the courts while bringing up her girls at home.
Outspoken, controversial, Shirin Ebadi is one of the most fascinating women today. She rose quickly to become the first female judge in the country; but when the religious authorities declared women unfit to serve as judges she was demoted to clerk in the courtroom she had once presided over. She eventually fought her way back as a human rights lawyer, defending women and children in politically charged cases that most lawyers were afraid to represent. She has been arrested and been the target of assassination, but through it all has spoken out with quiet bravery on behalf of the victims of injustice and discrimination and become a powerful voice for change, almost universally embraced as a hero.
Her memoir is a gripping story — a must-read for anyone interested in Zara Kazemi's case, in the life of a remarkable woman, or in understandingthe political and religious upheaval in our world.
"Human rights activist and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Ebadi courageously recounts her life in Iran in this memoir, publishable here only after she brought the U.S. government to court to challenge the Treasury Department's sanctions policy. Collaborating with Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad), Ebadi guides readers through the turbulent recent history of her country. A young judge and pro-revolution activist under the repressive government of the shah, Ebadi says of the Iranian revolution, 'We felt as if we had reclaimed a dignity that, until recently, many of us had not even realized we had lost.' Her hopes were quickly dashed as it became clear that the Islamic Republic was more concerned with her lack of a headscarf than with her legal reasoning abilities, and she uses the bulk of her book to explain her decision to remain in Iran and brave the challenges faced by independent-minded citizens of a theocracy. Ebadi provides a revealing glimpse into a deeply insular society. She is at her best when discussing the hapless reform movement led by former president Khatami: for instance, though over a dozen moderate women were elected to the national assembly in 2000, they lacked the power to have the women's conference room furnished with chairs." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is the riveting story of an amazing and very brave woman living through some quite turbulent times. And she emerges with head unbowed." Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"An admirable account that will be of special interest to those keeping their eyes on the Middle East." Kirkus Reviews
"The safety and freedom of citizens in democracies is irretrievably bound with the safety and freedom of people like Shirin Ebadi who are fighting to reassert the best achievements of mankind: universal human rights. One of the staunchest advocates for human rights in her country and beyond, Ms. Ebadi, herself a devout Muslim, represents hope for many in Muslim societies that Islam and democracy are indeed compatible." Azar Nafisi
About the Author
Shirin Ebadi is one of the leading human rights activists in the world. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. She continues to work as a lawyer in Tehran while also lecturing widely around the world.
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