November 20, 2018

Winnipeg
-13° C, Light snow

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Exiled journalist details three decades of unrest in Iran

Iranian women attend a funeral ceremony for the remains of the bodies of unidentified Iranian soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, in Tehran, Iran on Monday Feb. 16, 2009.

HASAN SARBAKHSHIAN / THE CANDIAN PRESS FILES

Iranian women attend a funeral ceremony for the remains of the bodies of unidentified Iranian soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, in Tehran, Iran on Monday Feb. 16, 2009.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/1/2015 (1403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

"What's your name?" asks journalist Nazila Fathi.

"We all have the same name," replies the young female protester, "Iran."

The year is 2009, and the streets of Tehran and cities across the country spill over with Iranians outraged by the obvious fraud in the election that has returned incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. Their demand for a genuine democratic voice is the same demand Iranians have been making for generations.

Students of Iranian history and armchair historians alike will be satisfied with Iranian-born New York Times reporter Nazila Fathi's in-depth account of three extraordinary decades.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/1/2015 (1403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

"What's your name?" asks journalist Nazila Fathi.

"We all have the same name," replies the young female protester, "Iran."

The year is 2009, and the streets of Tehran and cities across the country spill over with Iranians outraged by the obvious fraud in the election that has returned incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. Their demand for a genuine democratic voice is the same demand Iranians have been making for generations.

Students of Iranian history and armchair historians alike will be satisfied with Iranian-born New York Times reporter Nazila Fathi's in-depth account of three extraordinary decades.

Drawing on news reports, YouTube videos, historical and academic sources, interviews, and her own detailed memories, Fathi pairs her personal story with the story of modern Iran, beginning with the overthrow of the shah in 1979, then as a young adult during the chaotic establishment of the new Islamic Republic of Iran, and finally as a reporter for the New York Times, forced to flee Iran in the events leading up to the Green Movement in 2009.

In a skilful balance of personal history and academic research, Fathi brings to life the complex social, economic and political upheaval of the transition from the shah of Iran's western-oriented, oil-drunk secular society, to the Ayatollah Khomeini's vision of a cloistered Shiite Islamic republic.

Fathi was eight in 1979 when a "teary-eyed shah" boarded a plane for Egypt, a plane he piloted himself, never to return. Fathi effectively contrasts her middle-class family's suspicious reaction to Khomeini's return from exile that year with that of their poor, uneducated housekeeper's excited reverence. It is both prophetic and fatal that families like Fathi's saw Khomeini's promises as "outlandish," while the poor and uneducated, like the housekeeper, believed Khomeini was "the savior of the poor."

Fathi has had remarkable access to significant and diverse Iranian voices: scholars such as writer and philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush; insiders such as the Ayatollah Khomeini's right-hand man Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipour; and activists such as feminist Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi are all heard and considered here.

The result is a detailed, vivid chronicle of three decades of oppression, complex power struggle and, as Fathi makes clear, a people who will not be silenced.

The effect of the revolution and its aftermath on her fellow Iranians is Fathi's primary focus. Fathi underscores an essential paradox of Iranian society by lining up stomach-wrenching details of the new Islamic Republic's campaign to cleanse the mofsed-fel-arz ("corrupt on earth"), via torture and terror, alongside the domestic lives of average citizens quietly enjoying black-market VHS episodes of Baywatch.

For Westerners, perceptions of Iranian society may always be prejudiced by the iconic television images of the 444-day American hostage crisis, and Hollywood's version of it: Argo. The jeering, cheering crowds astonished us: who are these people and why do they hate us? Yet Fathi allots it a mere two lines of attention.

Another crisis — a war with Iraq and Saddam Hussein — absorbed the attention of most Iranians.

Fathi's analysis of the politicization and abuse of women through their clothing makes this book essential reading. Fathi was just 10 years old when obligatory veiling was passed into law. Forced into the black, head-to-toe chador that simultaneously symbolizes both tradition and revolution, her bitterness is palpable.

In the end, her work as a journalist for the New York Times makes her an enemy of her own government. In a dramatic conclusion, Fathi is warned that her "photo has been given to snipers." She escapes to Canada with her husband and children.

The Lonely War makes an important, highly enjoyable contribution to the understanding of modern Iran.

 

Charlotte Duggan is a teacher librarian in Winnipeg.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 8:15 AM CST: Formatting.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us