What would you give up to protect your loved ones? Your life?
In her heartbreaking, triumphant, and elegantly written memoir, Prisoner of Tehran, Marina Nemat tells the heart-pounding story of her life as a young girl in Iran during the early days of Ayatollah Khomeini's brutal Islamic Revolution.
In January 1982, Marina Nemat, then just sixteen years old, was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death for political crimes. Until then, her life in Tehran had centered around school, summer parties at the lake, and her crush on Andre, the young man she had met at church. But when math and history were subordinated to the study of the Koran and political propaganda, Marina protested. Her teacher replied, "If you don't like it, leave." She did, and, to her surprise, other students followed.
Soon she was arrested with hundreds of other youths who had dared to speak out, and they were taken to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Two guards interrogated her. One beat her into unconsciousness; the other, Ali, fell in love with her.
Sentenced to death for refusing to give up the names of her friends, she was minutes from being executed when Ali, using his family connections to Ayatollah Khomeini, plucked her from the firing squad and had her sentence reduced to life in prison. But he exacted a shocking price for saving her life -- with a dizzying combination of terror and tenderness, he asked her to marry him and abandon her Christian faith for Islam. If she didn't, he would see to it that her family was harmed. She spent the next two years as a prisoner of the state, and of the man who held her life, and her family's lives, in his hands.
Lyrical, passionate, and suffused throughout with grace and sensitivity, Marina Nemat's memoir is like no other. Her search for emotional redemption envelops her jailers, her husband and his family, and the country of her birth -- each of whom she grants the greatest gift of all: forgiveness.
Nemat tells of her harrowing experience as a young Iranian girl at the start of the Islamic revolution. In January 1982, the 16-year-old student activist was arrested, jailed in Tehran's infamous Evin prison, tortured and sentenced to death. Ali, one of her interrogators, intervened moments before her execution, having used family connections with Ayatollah Khomeini himself to reduce her sentence to life in prison. The price: she would convert to Islam (she was Christian) and marry him, or he would see to it that her family and her boyfriend, Andre, were jailed or even killed. She remained a political prisoner for two years. Nemat's engaging memoir is rich with complex characters loved ones lost on both sides of this bloody conflict. Ali, the man who rapes and subjugates her, also saves her life several times he is assassinated by his own subordinates. His family embraces Nemat with more affection and acceptance than her own, even fighting for her release after his death. Nemat returns home to feel a stranger: "They were terrified of the pain and horror of my past," she writes. She buries her memories for years, eventually escaping to Canada to begin a new life with Andre. Nemat offers her arresting, heartbreaking story of forgiveness, hope and enduring love a voice for the untold scores silenced by Iran's revolution.
One of the best non-fictions I've ever read. So beautifully written. there are many things to learn from this book, notably it really makes you realize the temporariness of this worldly life and how things can change drastically overnight and we may have to leave everything we once held dear to us behind. After reading this book I really have lost materialistic love for the worldly life (honestly I've been trying to do that for years). Especially if you're a Muslim, you'll certainly lose your love for this dunya if you read it attentively and with an open mind. Also, the Muslims in Iran are Shiite, not sunnis, so their practices and behaviors are NOT the teachings of Nabee Muhammad SAW, so at many places in the books, author mentioned Shiite beliefs and practices, please do NOT mix Islam and Shiitism, they're two complete different things. Enjoy the book! You're on your way to have more love for the hereafter and less love for the dunya Inshaallah!
Not even sure if this happened or not 😂 98% of Iranians are in favor of the government according to UN statistics, so this is like reading how a Satanist feels about the church.
Touched my heart
Very well written book.