The Fate of Iranians as Regime Continues to Crack Down.
I have just finished the fine Iranian novel by Parinoush Saniee the Book of Fate.
It is the story, that begins in the 1970s, of Massoumeh, a young woman from a pious family (originally based in Qum). She meets Saiid, an assistant at the local pharmacy, and falls in love, or has a crush, on him. When their letters are discovered her brothers, in a rage, beat her. To remove the ‘shame’ and keep their family’s ‘honour’ she is forced her into a face-saving marriage.
Her family are not monsters, they can be loving and kind. Father and Mother allow Massoumeh to turn down unsuitable partners. She is wed to Hamid, a graduate, who respects women, and encourages her to continue her education (in night school and later in university). Hamid is involved with a communist group that is deeply involved in the movement against the Shah. They have high hopes.
Massoumeh reads poetry and novels and, the revolutionary tracts and books circulating in Hamid’s circle. When Hamid is imprisoned, she manages to bring up two boys and a daughter independently by working in an office.
The coming of the Islamic republic does not free Massoumeh: she is purged from her work and prevented from completing her university studies because of her husband’s background (and one of her sons, who is linked to the Mojahedin-e-Khalq) . She herself is seen as “un-Islamic”.
Saniee does not hide the faults of the Iranian left, who thought they would take power violently from the Islamists, or the numbing effect of the fall of the official Communism on those who placed their faith in the Soviet Union. It is, in the best sense, a humanist novel, which people can read in many different ways.
I stop there (the novel sweeps gracefully over a whole life, friends and family) because one thing struck me in the report below: under the Shah Hamid is sent to Evin prison to be starved, beaten and humiliated.
Ghavami has been sent to the same gaol.
A British-Iranian woman detained in Iran for trying to watch a volleyball game has been sentenced to one year in a notorious prison, according to her family and lawyer.
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, a law graduate from London, was found guilty of spreading “propaganda against the regime” following a secret hearing at Tehran’s revolutionary court.
Ghavami has been detained for 127 days in prison since being arrested on 20 June at Azadi (“Freedom” in Farsi) stadium in Tehran where Iran’s national volleyball team was scheduled to play Italy. Although she had been released within a few hours after the initial arrest she was rearrested days later.
Iman, from London, said he hoped his sister would be moved to another wing of the notorious Evin prison, where she has been held since June in relative solitary confinement in a jail known for housing high-profile political prisoners and activists.
He said: “She will be in the same prison but we hope she’s going to be transferred to a general section of it where she can interact with other people because now she’s being held in solitary confinement. It’s hell for everyone who is kept there.”
This is the Iranian Islamic Republic.
This is Islamic ‘law’.
The ‘honour’ of Massoumehes is protected…
And they even dare to say this,
“Iranian officials attacked the latest United Nations report on its human rights record Friday, blasting what they called efforts to impose a Western lifestyle on the Islamic republic.” (November the 2nd)