The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran

By Nazila Fathi

In the summer time of 2009, as she used to be overlaying the preferred uprisings in Tehran for the New York Times, Iranian journalist Nazila Fathi bought a mobilephone name. “They have given your picture to snipers,” a central authority resource warned her. quickly after, with undercover brokers remaining in, Fathi fled the rustic along with her husband and childrens, starting a lifetime of exile.

In The Lonely War, Fathi interweaves her tale with that of the rustic she left at the back of, displaying how Iran is locked in a conflict among hardliners and reformers that dates again to the country’s 1979 revolution. Fathi used to be 9 years outdated whilst that rebellion changed the Iranian shah with an intensive Islamic regime. Her father, an legit at a central authority ministry, used to be fired for donning a necktie and understanding English; to aid his relations he used to be pressured to hard work in an orchard hundreds of thousands of miles from Tehran. while, the family’s destitute, uneducated housekeeper used to be in a position to retire and buy a contemporary apartment—all simply because her kin supported the hot regime.

As Fathi exhibits, adjustments like those triggered many years of inequality—especially for the negative and for women—to vanish in a single day. but a brand new breed of tyranny took its position, as she found whilst she begun her journalistic profession. Fathi speedy faced the higher limits of chance for ladies within the new Iran and earned the enmity of the country’s ruthless intelligence provider. yet whereas she and lots of different Iranians have fled for the protection of the West, hundreds of thousands in their middleclass countrymen—many of them an identical humans whom the regime as soon as lifted out of poverty—continue pushing for extra own freedoms and a renewed courting with the surface world.

Drawing on over 20 years of reporting and vast interviews with either traditional Iranians and high-level officers earlier than and because her departure, Fathi describes Iran’s awakening along her personal, revealing how moderates are progressively retaking the country.

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As a result of its isolation, Iran lacked the heavy guns Iraq used to be buying from its allies. by the point the battle had started, in addition, the Iranian military was once already on its knees, the regime having finished a lot of its senior officers. Iran struggled to satisfy those demanding situations, and within the approach the rustic underwent extra alterations. The innovative Guards, which used to be a brand new strength missing army education that had emerged to guard the revolution, quick developed into the form of a military. contained in the kingdom, the conflict additionally stirred robust nationalistic sentiment. not anyone sought after Iran to lose any a part of its territory. We have been frequently advised in school that Iran gave the impression of the form of a cat at the map. Khuzestan, the province Iraq had invaded, used to be the cat’s abdominal. The state rallied in the back of the regime, made up our minds to fight the invaders. A sea of Iranian males headed south to fight. Even Mohsen, my The conflict fifty nine mother’s imprisoned cousin who used to be an air strength pilot, and whose execution have been commuted to existence in criminal, pleaded to be allowed to fight within the conflict, a request that used to be by no means granted. In could 1981, lower than a 12 months after the struggle begun, Iranian forces driven the Iraqis again to the border and liberated Khorramshahr. The conflict was once so bloody that they nicknamed the town Khoonin-Shahr, which means the town of Blood. Saddam referred to as for a cease-fire, yet Khomeini used to be intoxicated through the victory. The battle was once now a blessing for the ayatollah. with no it, he couldn't rally his supporters opposed to his rivals at domestic. wanting to make the warfare a long term venture to stabilize his regime, Khomeini acknowledged that Iran needs to overcome Karbala in Iraq, greater than 346 miles clear of Khorramshahr. via that summer season, rifts between political factions had deepened, and Khomeini was once brazenly sidelining all teams that had helped overthrow the shah, apart from his personal get together of the Islamic Republic. Mehdi Bazargan, the chief of the nationalist social gathering Freedom stream, had resigned in protest of the united states embassy takeover, mentioning that the invasion of a international embassy used to be opposed to all foreign norms. Khomeini known as the struggle a “holy safeguard” and categorised those that adversarial the conflict traitors and the enemy of Islam. He quickly banned all political events other than his personal. To his fans, he promised an excellent destiny, relatively in the event that they died at the field of conflict. He reminded them that they’d turn into martyrs, like Imam Hussein, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson who used to be massacred in a conflict close to Karbala in Iraq. Martyrdom was once the trail to paradise, Khomeini instructed them. utilizing this spiritual rhetoric, he inflamed the hundreds, readying them to fight and rallying them at the back of the regime. Khomeini’s fans, bearded males and black-clad girls, started purging nationalist and communist figures, an individual who adversarial Khomeini, with zeal. millions of younger women and men, together with young ones, landed in penitentiary and confronted the firing squad. Abolhassan Banisadr, who have been the first post-revolution president, fled the rustic. His international minister, Sadeq Ghotbzadeh, used to be arrested and done.

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