Ghosts of Revolution
In this haunting account, Shahla Talebi remembers her years as a political prisoner in Iran. Talebi, along with her husband, was imprisoned for nearly a decade and tortured, first under the Shah and later by the Islamic Republic. Writing about her own suffering and survival and sharing the stories of her fellow inmates, she details the painful reality of prison life and offers an intimate look at a critical period of social and political transformation in Iran.
Somehow through it all—through resistance and resolute hope, passion and creativity—Talebi shows how one survives. Reflecting now on experiences past, she stays true to her memories, honoring the love of her husband and friends lost in these events, to relate how people can hold to moments of love, resilience, and friendship over the dark forces of torture, violence, and hatred.
At once deeply personal yet clearly political, part memoir and part meditation, this work brings to heartbreaking clarity how deeply rooted torture and violence can be in our society. More than a passing judgment of guilt on a monolithic "Islamic State," Talebi's writing asks us to reconsider our own responses to both contemporary debates of interrogation techniques and government responsibility and, more simply, to basic acts of cruelty in daily life. She offers a lasting call to us all.
"The art of living in prison becomes possible through imagining life in the very presence of death and observing death in the very existence of life. It is living life so vitally and so fully that you are willing, if necessary, to let that very life go, as one would shed chains on the legs. It is embracing, and flying on the wings of death as though it is the bird of freedom."
In this powerful memoir, Talebi (religious studies, Arizona State U.) recounts her time as a political prisoner in her homeland, Iran. First a prisoner of the Shah during his last years in power, then (for a much longer time) held in the Islamic Republic's infamous Nevin Prison, the author sacrificed a decade of her life for her political activities. Talebi shares with readers how she and other prisoners withstood their own suffering and retained hope and humanity in those dark years, often with brutal honesty. While this book will clearly have great appeal for readers interested in Iran's recent history, it also has much to say to anyone concerned with the issues of government-sanctioned torture and violence in any country. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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