Omid Memarian

Monday, May 15, 2006

“Freedom is very limited in Iran …We have tried to develop the minorities rights, but the achievement has been nothing…I believe in the role of civil society. There are many best practices during the last years which are a victory for activists within the society…”, said Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel peace prize at her talk at UC Berkeley last Wednesday. The hall was full of enthusiastic audiences who were listening to a tireless women activist in Iran. Some of the people criticize her and believe that because of her international supports and protection, she could be more outspoken. But she doesn’t believe in this way. What should she say? I asked her idea on this point at the end of the talk; “This is the way I have chosen. We are following a mild process. There is no benefit at a radical way. I never choose an aggressive tone. I am going to be effective for my people within the country,” said Shirin Ebadi.

I believe in what she said. She was the attorney of our case with her colleagues and once we went together with another journalist, Roozbeh Mirebrahim, to the court to answer some questions of the judge. She came on time, asked us many questions and gave some advises. However the officials didn’t behave well with her, but at the same time she was really patient. She also coaches many other cases of political prisoners, deprived people, and women and I really admire her….I interviewed her for twice on “Women movement and Civil Society in Iran” and I was surprised by her answers which was totally straight and to the point, despite the middle eastern style which makes simple things very complicated.Shirin Ebadi talked a little bit on her book too; “Iran, Awakening, a Memoir of Revolution and Hope”. I really like to read it...

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