"Until We Are Free" by Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi’s work as a human rights lawyer has inspired millions of people around the world and earned her the distinction of being the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. But it also attracted unwanted attention for her in her own county of Iran. A brutal regime that controlled the country for decades tried to intimidate her but it was in 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power that the persecution intensified, culminating in the need to leave her home and never able to return.

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran is Shirin Ebadi’s story of how she fought for the voiceless in her country for decades, remaining defiant in the face of persecution.

Wow. Talk about bravery, determination, and commitment. When I picked this book up I knew that I would be inspired but I didn’t know just how much. This is an incredible story, one that shows both the beauty and brutality that exists within the country of Iran. It is Ebadi’s tribute to her country despite her censorship and persecution at the hands of her government.

In 1975, Ebadi became the first woman to preside over a legislative court in Iran but following the revolution of 1979 women were prohibited from being judges. She was unable to practice law and instead turned her attention to the fight for democracy and human rights. As her work became celebrated throughout the world the Islamic Republic tried to intimidate her. But it was under the Ahmadinejad government that it became much, much worse. Wiretapping her phones, harassing colleagues, arresting family members, spying on her, sending mobs to her home, breaking up her marriage, sending death threats - all this and more was directed at Ebadi. It got to the point where in order to keep the safety of herself and her loved ones she had to leave Iran, knowing she would never be able to return. And yet, she pressed forward with her fight in circumstances many others would have given up in.

Shirin Ebadi is an amazing woman and it shows throughout the book. Her book gave me new insight into what life in Iran is like, something completely different than what we see in the media. What I loved most is how her love for her country continues to shine through despite what has been done to her. I love the way she wrote about the countryside, her descriptions of the landscape were so beautiful. 

This book is an eye-opening look at life in Iran especially for those who, like Ebadi, are fighting for human rights. She is a tremendously brave woman for standing up for her beliefs in the face of imprisonment and continuing to after she has been exiled from her country. What she is doing takes courage and conviction and she is not the only one who is doing this, every day there are people of all walks of life who are fighting to make Iran a better country for everyone. This book is a well-written and insightful love letter to the country that she is fighting so hard to reform.


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