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Iran Awakening

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Jessica Muhr
May 2nd, 2012
History of the Middle East
“Iran Awakening”
“One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country”

This book, “Iran Awakening”, is a novel written by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. Ebadi weaves the story of her life in a very personal and unique way, telling the account of the overthrow of the shah and the establishment of a new, religious fundamentalist regime in which opposition to the government are imprisoned, tortured, and murdered. By simply reading the Prologue, one can see the love Ebadi has for Iran and her people. This love that Ebadi has for the oppressed of Iran is a theme that appears throughout the book and seems to be a large factor behind her drive to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

In the first chapter, Ebadi recounts her childhood from her birth on June 21st, 1947 in Hamedan, to her childhood in Tehran. Something that may come as a surprise to a reader was the equality between male and female in Ebadi’s home. This equality, however, was not common in most Iranian households, “Male children enjoyed an exalted status, spoiled and cosseted… They often felt themselves the center of the family’s orbit… Affection for a son was an investment”, says Ebadi. In Iranian culture, it was considered natural for a father to love his son more than his daughter. In Ebadi’s home, though, she describes her parent’s affections, attentions, and discipline as equally distributed. This equality in the home seems to play a large role in creating the strong, determined woman Ebadi would come to be, “My father’s championing of my independence, from the play yard to my later decision to become a judge, instilled a confidence in me that I never felt consciously, but came to regard as my most valued inheritance.” (Ebadi, 12). One may also find it interesting that as a child, Ebadi did not know anything of politics; until the coup d'état of 1953.

On August 19th, 1953, the beloved Prime Minister Mohammed...