About this Item
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Title: Rage Against the Veil: The Courageous Life ...
Publisher: Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition
Book Type: Book
About this title
On February 21, 1994, a gesticulating and screaming woman entered a crowded public square in Tehran, removed her government-mandated veil and full coat, poured gasoline on her body and lit herself on fire. The crowd watched in horror as this woman, who had shouted, "Death to tyranny! Long live freedom!", committed a slow, painful suicide in a last, desperate attempt to make the world aware of the slavelike conditions of women living in Iran.
A shockwave was felt in the American medical and feminist communities as well as in the Iranian political regime when the media reported that the self-appointed martyr was well-respected Dr. Homa Darabi, a lifelong advocate of civil rights and the first Iranian ever to be accepted into the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Darabi had risen from a student activist to a civil rights leader and moved on to a brilliant career in medicine as a premier psychiatrist, teaching at the University of Tehran, and establishing the first clinic in Iran to treat children's mental disorders.
In this moving memoir, Darabi's sister, Parvin, and her son, Romin P. Thomson, vividly recreate Homa's childhood in Iran in the politically tempestuous '50s and '60s-a time of limited resources, tensions, and religiously sanctioned child abuse. They remember Homa's early yearnings for justice; the battle for democracy during the Shah's regime; and her marriage, which began as a loving partnership and ended under Khomeini in disaster. They unflinchingly recount the stonings, beatings, rapes, and executions of women, all performed in the name of God-outrageous abuses that Dr. Homa Darabi tried to expose to the world through her own final act of desperation.
If you care about basic human rights, this scathing indictment of contemporary oppression in Iran will enrage you.
Dr. Homa Darabi had been one of the most prominent child psychiatrists in Iran. She was married and had brought two successful, ambitious daughters into the world. She was licensed to practice medicine in Iran and in forty-nine states in the United States. She was the first Iranian ever to be accepted to the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She established the first clinic in Iran dedicated to treating children suffering from mental disorders that, until then, were thought to be incurable. She taught at the University of Tehran, worked at its hopsital, and managed her own private practice.
However, her life was haunted by the fact that she had no real home. The United States was very good to her in the years she lived here, but it was never able to replace Iran's small neighborhoods where she grew up. A sense of obligation--that she must do something to help her nation--bound her to Iran.
But Iran did nothing to welcome or appreciate her. She was mired in a society that placed little value on the rights of women. No matter what she did or who she became in Iran, she was destined to always be no more than a woman in a country in which being a woman meant little.
Dr. Darabi was appalled by the laws of the hijab--the Islamic dress code for women--which were being resurrected under Khomeini. These new laws required women to cover all parts of their bodies, with the exception of the face and hands, in public. These laws are often the most talked about throughout the world. But beyond the laws of the hijab existed other government-sanctioned rules. The testimony of a man was equal in value to the testimony of two women. Islamic women could not serve as judges. A woman could not travel, work, or go to college without her husband's permission. Yet a man could divorce his wife without even telling her. In family court, a mother could not be granted custody of her children unless the father and grandfather refused custody.
Throughout her life, she fought to change the inequities and reverese the injustices faced by all people in Iran. In the end, the obstacles proved too powerful for her to overcome. Those obstacles took the form of a husband who seemed apathetic to his wife, a government that treated her with contempt, and a combination of influences that affected her life from the day she was born until the day she died by her own hand--burning herself in a public square in Tehran to protest the oppression of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Haunted by the questions surrounding her sister's death, Parvin Darabi and her son, Romin P. Thomson, examine the life of this courageous woman. They recall a childhood of limited resources, tensions, and religiously advocated child abuse; Homa's early struggle for justice in the politically tempestuous 50s and 60s in Iran; the battle for democracy under the shah; Homa's stormy marriage; and the legacy of repression in the Islamic Republiic of Iran, including the stonings, beatings, and executions of both men and women, performed in the name of God--a legacy that Dr. Homa Darabi tried to expose to the world through her own final act of desperation.
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