Until We Are Free by Shirin Ebadi is about her fight to protect human rights in Iran. This is something she has continued to do even while living in exile. Iran is a theocracy, or more commonly known as an Islamic State. Shirin was a lawyer; she was even a judge but the political sphere became increasingly restrictive and her judgeship was taken from her.
After she could no longer be a judge, she started practicing as a human rights lawyer in Iran. She won a Nobel Peace prize for her work; she is the first Muslim woman to do so. The terrifying thing is that her and her family were threatened many times and state intelligence agents were constantly following her even though, according to her book, she was following the law but the government didn’t want her to protect the people that they were persecuting. I can’t even imagine the kind of bravery it would take to do that kind of work while the government might have you imprisoned or killed for it.
Ultimately, her non-profit was shut down and, finally, during the 2009 Iranian election, she had left the country for work with no idea that she would never return because the election caused so much political and social turmoil that she’d be arrested and maybe even killed for leaving. Her family members were interrogated and even arrested because of their association with her. She’s continued to work primarily from the UK and the USA. Ultimately, Shirin Ebadi wrote Until We Are Free because she wants to use her voice to let other people know about what things are like in Iran and how they’ll treat someone like her, as an internationally known Nobel Prize winner, and how much worse it is for people who don’t have that kind of international presence.
I was blown away by Ebadi’s experiences and her courage. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to live in a country where the government will try to control every thing and violate so many human rights. I can’t even do justice to the kinds of experiences that she had and the kinds of experiences that some of the people she defended had. It was also awesome that she talked about how many people living in Iran are more progressive and that the problem is that the extremist minority is in power and they’re trying very hard to stay there, no matter the cost; sometimes I get the impression that Western media forgets to talk about the regular everyday people and that they’re not always representative of the political power.
Another thing that I learned was that people of the Bahai’i faith are highly persecuted in Iran by the government. While it’s not surprising because religious persecution isn’t a new concept, I wasn’t fully aware of it happening in Iran. Shirin had a hard time even representing them in court because the government made it difficult for her to help them when they were imprisoned for things they didn’t do.
Shirin Ebadi is an amazing person and I really enjoyed learning about her, her work and what’s happening in Iran. I would highly recommend this book for those of you who want to learn more about this kind of a topic.
Title: Until We Are Free: My fight for human rights in Iran
Author: Shirin Ebadi
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: 304
Release date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Memoir, Autobiography