Jan 2019 - Iran Awakening

Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi

Book Group 2 - Jan, 2019


Throughout an extraordinary career as a lawyer, writer, activist, and dissident, Shirin Ebadi has spoken out clearly and strongly for her native Iran—and her voice has resonated far beyond its borders. Best known as a dedicated human rights advocate who defends women and children in politically charged cases, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Ebadi has given both Iran and the world reason to hope for a better future. 


Now, in her memoir Iran Awakening Ebadi provides an eyewitness account of one woman standing at the crossroads of history. Ebadi recounts her public career and reveals her private self: her faith, her experiences, and her desire to lead a traditional life, even while serving as a rebellious voice in a land where such voices are muted and even silenced by brute force. Ebadi describes her girlhood in a modest Tehran household, her education, and her early professional success as Iran’s most accomplished female jurist in the mid-1970s. She speaks eloquently about the ideals of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and of her deep disillusionment with the direction Iran has taken since. 

When the religious authorities declared women unfit to serve as judges, Ebadi was demoted to clerk in the courtroom she had once presided over. In reading Shirin Ebadi’s story, however, we come to see a larger-than-life presence, Ebadi is an everywoman, albeit one who has braved imprisonment, harassment, assassination, and her family’s humiliation, all for the dream of a better Iran for her daughters and for generations to come. She has watched countless friends and relatives fleeing in the years since the Revolution, never to return. Yet, despite immense pressures, Ebadi remains resolute. She refuses to give up on Iran, unwilling to surrender the glories of its past and the promise of its future. For her bravery and selflessness, she has been embraced as a national hero, and as a key player in helping to forge Iran’s destiny, whatever it may be. 

Iran Awakening is a memoir that blends equal parts sorrow and joy, nostalgia and hope. This is the inspiring story of a remarkable woman and her battle for the soul of a nation that is uneasily poised at the center of Middle Eastern and global events. It is also a story that has taken incredible courage to write and publish.

Nabila Ahmad