In her latest book 'Until We Are Free', Shirin Ebadi narrates all that she has lost in the past years, and why she must carry on confronting power
In her 2006 autobiography, Iran Awakening, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi describes a campus protest from 1965, when she was a law student in Tehran: “Something about confrontation—perhaps the adrenalin, the spark of an idea, the fleeting sense of agency—appealed to me." Ebadi, now 70, has made it her life’s work to confront injustice, rarely backing down. Among the first female judges in Iran, she lost this position after the 1979 revolution led to the formation of the Islamic Republic government. The latter passed several laws rolling back freedoms and rights enjoyed by Iranian women. (Ebadi points out to me that dressing the way she has when we meet—a deep blue and white pant-suit—would be a crime in Iran, for which she would be lashed.) In 1992, when women were permitted by the judiciary to practise law, Ebadi secured a licence. Her subsequent work of taking on the cases of dissident intellectuals, investigative journalists, human rights activists, whistleblowers, women and child victims of abuse, and religious minorities earned her death threats, harassment and imprisonment in solitary confinement. After being named for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, the hostility of Iranian authorities acquired a new edge, resulting in Ebadi’s exile in 2009. She hasn’t returned to Iran since. In her latest book Until We Are Free, Ebadi narrates all that she has lost in the past years, and why she must carry on confronting power.