Friday, January 7, 2011

Iran Awakening. A Nutmeg Lawyer Book Review

In 1978, revolution took to the streets as millions of Iranians moved to overthrow their monarchy. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called on his followers to eject ministers from their offices.  At first, Judge Shirin Ebadi actively embraced the change stating that she would rather be a "free Iranian than an enslaved attorney."

Within a year, Ebadi would see her freedoms erode. Because she was a woman, she was demoted to the role of a clerk, then to a secretary in the very office she had served as judge.  Two years after the revolution, a new Islamic penal code appeared. Under the new laws, Ebadi's life was worth half a man's life. In marriage, she was now considered chattel. She would be imprisoned for speaking out. In effect, the law in Iran took a step back 1400 years.
Shirin Ebadi's memoirs give readers an inside look into this volatile time. Her life's work has led to various honors and awards including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.  Iran Awakening is a thoughtful and illuminating book that every attorney should read.  It may have your reflect on your own life as a lawyer.  It is a reminder how easily one can lose rights that are often taken for granted. It also illustrates the role of an attorney when injustice arises.  It is recommended without reservation.

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