The clap of one hand
I had no clue who Shirin Ebadi is. But...
By Zohreh Khazai-Ghahremani
October 13, 2003
I woke up on Friday moring to learn about the Nobel
Peace Prize awarded to a woman from Iran.
Like many other Iranians, I had no clue who Shirin
Ebadi is. But I felt the joy one feels upon achieving the unthinkable.
The news brought an old Persian
to my mind. "The clap of one hand makes no sound." How delightful
to know it isn't so. The clap of Shirin Ebadi's hand made the world explode
for a people whose voice has been muffled with twenty years of silence.
It has now been three days. People talk about
her everywhere and social conversations have been upgraded from
food and clothes to women's issues. Many of us had
never heard of Shirin Ebadi--though few are willing to admit that. Some
feel the prize
should have been shared with other known activists--such as Mehrangiz Kar--while
others continue to believe in a conspiracy theory and wonder if political
issues are involved. But most enjoy this selection as a just decision and
a well deserved
Hard as it may be, let us put the glory aside
for a moment and think. Where do we go with this?
Now that the
voice of one among millions of the daughters of Persia has echoed
around the world, what do the rest of us plan to do? Do we sit
and enjoy? Or are we able to go beyond that? Did all the years of silence
take our voices away or will this boost of energy help to bring out the
best in us?
Is time going to put an end to our celebration? Or will the flame keep
Women's rights: The woman has spoken. What about
I decide to write a congratulary letter to this
lady who has restored my bruised pride. But I stop. Does she
care to hear
from one who has
for her country?
It doesn't help to realize I'm no hero. Never
have been and never will be. I have so many excuses I couldn't
begin to count them: "I only have one life", "The
stung by a snake fears any black or white rope", "I can never make
a difference", the orders come from above", and my favorite, "Ayy-baba!"
Then I stop the self punishment and move to the
next phase. I feel small. I tell myself a woman of Shirin Ebadi's
or Mehrangiz Karr's
to mention hundreds
of others-doesn't need my support and certainly wouldn't care to
hear from me. These women risk a life-far worthier than mine-
to fight for
will continue to do with or without the likes of me. Had it not been
for her glory, would this lady ever hear from me? Am I indeed behind
is this a
demand on my share of the prize?
Whatever the motive, moments later I allow myself
to once again enjoy the glory. No matter how I scold myself,
the thrill is there and
no one can
take it away.
I hear the echo of a powerful hand and it fills me with pride.
The truth is, I could kiss that hand.
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani is a retired dentist
and a freelance writer. She lives in San Diego, California.
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