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October 24, 2003

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* I am an Iranian

I was driving to work this morning when I heard the news from KIRN 670 AM, a local Iranian radio station in LA. For the umteenth time, they were mentioning Shirin Ebadi from Iran had won the Nobel Peace Prize. They went on saying who she was and what she had done to become a candidate for this prestigious award and what it means for her to win it.

The tears started rolling down my face as I was incredibly proud and sad at the same time. It was not the first time I cried for my country and definitely not the first time I have done it in the car while driving. It usually takes a good Dariush song, especially his recent album, to catch me in my deepest patriotic feelings about my homeland. 

But a Nobel Peace winner? An Iranian? An Iranian woman? In today's Iran, where human rights is raped as easy as a mullah drinking a glass of tea? 
This seemed huge to me. Bigger than anything I have ever felt about my country. None of the past football triumphs against other countries, any sports successes worldwide, or any success story of an Iranian here in the US, has ever, ever matched up.
There may be arguments that the prize was given to her due to today's heavy political and human rights violations in Iran. Maybe she got it to project a bit of light on what Iran is going through. None crossed my mind at that particular moment. 

I saw the political prisoners she had defended throughout the 80's and the 90's. I saw the rarity of an Iranian woman as a judge and a world-renowned activist. I saw a human being caring about other human beings and maybe I saw my own mother with a Nobel Peace Prize.

I am driving down the freeway. A big, hairy, Iranian guy, in a rather small sports car, driving fast and crying. This time, unlike any other time when Dariush sings about my homeland and makes me cry, I didn't hide my tears. I was hoping someone would stop me and ask me what was wrong. 

This time I wouldn't feel silly. I am proud of Shirin Ebadi and bow my head for what she has done and for what I have always wished I could do. 

Hamid Bakhsheshi


* Ebadi carries a heavy responsibility

Dear Ms. Kalbasi, [Ayatollah Ebadi?]

First I want to make clear that as an Iranian woman I too was proud to hear that Shirin Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize, but politics is politics and in today's world plays a role in all aspects of our lives.

This is the beginning of what I have been thinking and feared to come true since Ms. Shirin Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize - the new trump card for the reformist mullahs to keep their power and hold on the people of Iran.

Just as with the advent of Rafsanjani's election to the Presidency, then with Khatami, they will once again generate enthusiasm for the people to go to the polls. Then they will take full advantage of Ms. Ebadi, if she falls into their trap, to show the world that there can be an "Islamic Democratic (reformist) regime". And the rest will be history.

Shirin Ebadi carries a heavy responsibility, now that she has been thrown into the limelight of world recognition through the honor of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. It is hers to use constructively and without endangering the possibilities of her active role in exposing the truth that as long as Iran is ruled by theocracy, real democracy is not possible.

In my opinion Ms. Ebadi needs to be sent as much moral support and positive feedback as possible, not to only defend women's and children's rights, but the rights of all the people. She had shown courage before receiving this honor, but now she needs to step up to the plate and cash in on the security that she is no longer just a human rights defender in Iran, but has international recognition and support.

Of course all of this depends on her true beliefs - the indisputable fact that theocracy and true democracy do not mesh.

Shahla Samii


* Working with what you have

I always say that Iranian women are their own worst enemies because they always find something wrong with someone else's success . This article proves my point. [Ayatollah Ebadi?]

I have no idea what Mrs. Kalbasi does for a living but I am pretty sure she lives somewhere away from Iran where she can sit comfortably and write so she can get noticed as a "well-read" Iranian woman. There is one problem. She is insulting the intelligence of real smart and well-educated Iranian women. Why?

You do not have to be Einstein to see that in Iran under the mullahs. You have no freedom of personal views and if you publicly say something, then your body will rot in some unknown ditch. Does Kalabsi really think that one can say anything against the backward mullahs and then go back to living in Iran? Kalbasi must be in Disneyland!

The fact that Ebadi has managed to become known to the outside world will do us a great deal of good because the miserable IRI government has the eyes of the world on it. I hope you remember that the famous Russian writer Alexander Sulzentsein became well known in the West and the embarrassed Communist government let him leave Russia. So he began to write in exile.

Let's look at the positive side. I do not think Ebadi is any more Moslem that 85% of the population in Iran, which according to the government statistics do not even pray or read the holly book. Sometimes in life you have to work with what you have. Let's face it: she is working with idiots. You seem to be convinced that mullahs are staying forever. Well, the crown cannibal thought so too and where he is now!?

The mullahs' days are numbered and the young and educated Iranians really do not care for organized religion and their defiance has proved that. Ebadi is a smart lady and does not want to alienate anyone, so she needs to work with diplomacy and then as her popularity grows she can begin to express her real views.

Why do you think people like me cannot live in Iran right now? Because we will be dead soon and I always say we are worth more to our nation alive than dead. The idiots would not spare the lives of outspoken men or women.

More power to women and men who can be politically correct and work with the backward regime. I could never keep my mouth shut and would say exactly what is on my mind. That won't benefit anyone.

So as women let's rally behind the Ebadis of Iran and put the differences of opinions aside and focus on the outcome.

Azam Nemati


* She won it for all of us

When I was in my early twenties, my father translated Marie Curie's biography into Farsi and he dedicated his translation to me, because he said he saw "some of her" in me, her daughter. Well, obviously I proved him wrong, but his words did'nt stop me from fantasizing about winning a Nobel Prize.

Since I was not a scientist, nor much of a writer, my fantasy was to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And this morning the fantasy was realized. For Shirin Ebadi's award was for all the Iranian women, including me. She won it for all of us leading the female population of Iran to each be an activist for peace and democracy in the country.

Golbarg Barzin


* Dream come true

To Mrs. Shirin Ebadi:

A Noble Prize winner for Peace, for just treatment of women in Muslim societies under a justifiable law that treats all men and women equally & fairly

Since yesterday, 10th of October, 2003, I have not yet been able to come to grip with my joyful and proud emotions about the heart-worming news of Mrs. Ebadi's victory and her Nobel character of being able to tolerate and work under a regime whose approach toward women's legal rights is divers, and in many cases harsh, to those of men.

This is a victory for all women in the Muslim societies to feel empowered and take the right steps towards a constructive change. What a great moment in life to be alive, as a woman who hailed from a Muslim land, and see a dream coming true. This prize is certainly a laudable recognition, perhaps long overdue.

A sincere regards to a woman who achieved such recognition for all of us.

Fatima Farideh Nejat, M.A.
Assistant Professor
Monterey, California


* Still need vigilance

Naturallly, I am thrilled for the personal recognition which she has received for her life's work, but I am proportionately saddened by the painful thought that after 2500 years of history Iran is in such dire and shameful straits that it still requires the service and vigilance of human rights activists.

Guive Mirfendereski


* So what

In reaction to news about Ebadi's Nobel Peace prize:

So what!?



* Pre-1979 Ebadi?

Great news about Shirin Ebadi. Although, I think we'd all feel better if no one had to work to improve human rights in Iran.

I want the next Iranian to win for standing up for the human rights of the Dutch, the Pakistanis, the Cambodians or somebody else. Be that as it may, does anyone know more about her pre-1979 legal career (particularly her work as a judge)? Or is it not cool to dwell on that right now?

Cam Amin
University of Michigan


* Nobel prize will shield her -- hopefully

Cyrus the Great is credited for writing the first charter of human rights in history.  After more than 2,500 years, one of Cyrus's decedents is acknowledged for her tireless fights to preserve these rights, especially for women, in Iran, the land where Cyrus's charter was written.  Ironic, isn't it? 

Kudos to the Noble Prize Committee for their wise selection of Mrs. Ebadi in light of her years of intellectual struggle against the barbaric regime of mullahs in Iran.  This recognition will most definitely give her an international stature that will hopefully shield her from the wrath of the intolerant tyrants of Tehran.

The world community's recognition and support for Iranian dissidents such as Mrs. Ebadi is the best and most effective avenue to foster change in Iran, and promote democracy in the land where human rights were first conceived. 

Hamid Bahadori
Mission Viejo, CA


* What did she do?

A lot of my non-Iranian friends keep asking me what Shirin Ebadi has done for the human rights.  I didn't find any thing specific in the internet.

I wonder if the readers have some specific information who distinguishes her from other judges, women, and people who have been in prison for a political reason.


* He needs treatment

Mr. Sajadi [Taba'aat-e Nobel] is in dire need of an experienced psychologist. His condition left untreated may cause serious damage to himself and those around him.  I besiege the community to recommend a qualified therapist to cure him of egomania.

Fariba Taghavi



* Ebadi for president

Presently, Shirin Ebadi is our only respectable figure who has both national and global credibility. Let us change the constitution and make it possible for women to become presidents.

In Pakistan, Ms. Benazir Bhutto was the head of state, and
that country is no less Moslem than Iran.

Masood Raji
Neishabur, Iran


More letters (October 24, 2003)
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All past letters

By subject
Ocotber 24, 2003

Shirin Ebadi
* I am an Iranian
* Heavy responsibility
* Working what you have
* She won it for all of us
* Dream come true
* Nobel shield
* Pre-1979 Ebadi?
* Still need vigilance
* Ebadi for president
* So what
* Has Lech been drinking?
* What did she do?
* Behind ideological walls
* He needs treatment
* 2,500 years after Cyrus
* Hope she always smiles
* Human rights road map
* Another Western creation
* Strange bedfellows
* They are so confused
* Reverberations in Egypt
* Honor beyond politics
* I am an optimist again
* They can not stand her
* Lost hope long ago
* Haz kardam
* Waiting
* If Israel attacks Iran

* Rogue punishment
Futuristic Iran
* Las Vegas/Oxford in one
* Peace and Islam? 
* Christianity equally bloody
* How easy it is
USA/Governor Arnold

* Why is it OK?
* Chickens don't fly
* Iranian-Am  Republicans
Child abuse
* Tahghire Iran va Iranian
* ... is all we have
* Forgiveness offers hope
* Victims of America
Great eye
* Sad yet naked reality
* Trait of Iranian men
* Cheh looss!
* Devilishly true
* Dogs bark
* Taking delusions to task
* Bastard Pahlavis
* Sorsoreh Qajari
* After 40 years
* Ageh music nabood
* Beautiful job
* Rumi translation

* Kosesher-e bee reetm
* Duduli
Iranian of the day
* Bus driver
* April Fool in October!


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