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October 10, 2003

Shirin's Day
Mehdi Yahyanejad  [info|posts]

ebadi.jpg Shirin Ebadi became the first Iranian to win a Nobel Prize. She received this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle for basic human right in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize.

We do not have a habit of open threads in Free Thoughts on Iran, but I thought this is such a great news that it is worth to make it an exception. Please feel free to express your thoughts and excitement in the comment section.

External Links:
Nobel e-Musuem report
CNN report
BBC report
Iranian students news agency (in Persian)

hajir at October 10, 2003 12:13 PM [permalink]:

congratulations to Ebadi and everyone! Today is a happy day for all of us.

Kaveh Kh. at October 10, 2003 12:15 PM [permalink]:

It was a "sweet" surprise to me. I was pretty sure that they were going to give it to the old Pontiff, or Havel. I do not want to discredit it but Nobel peace prize each year has a political meaning as well. And this year the meaning is ...

yahya at October 10, 2003 12:29 PM [permalink]:

The meaning is that human right should be the central issue for the Islamic world, and to achieve those, there is no need for invasions.

Iman Aghilian at October 10, 2003 12:36 PM [permalink]:


Hamed at October 10, 2003 12:56 PM [permalink]:

One response from conservative could be the following: “ this is a cover for CIA to gives money to dissidents”. Before this idea starts spreading among conservatives, one should try to make them believe this is a fortunate event for all Iranians, including them, despite of any political meaning. Sending compliment letter to them might be a good idea, I think.

saoshyant at October 10, 2003 01:08 PM [permalink]:

Her life is an amazing story, a bitter-Shirin story of struggle, resilience, resolution, and restlessness for peace and justice,

First, she had climbed the ladder of becoming one of the first women judges in Iran under the Pahlavis, and then she was forced out by the Islamic regime, because the pre-reform Islamic regime did not believe women could be judges, and then in the post-reform they wanted to take away her license, as an attorney.

Despite the mixed blessings of the Pahlavis' modernization, she proved if women are given the opportunity, they can stand against the Shah’s ministry of Justice’s lengthy and bureaucratic process, and that those seculars who participated in the universities and the educational, and the justice system, and kept them open to women can now look gleefully from the heaven and see that Persia is standing there distinct from the rest of the World of Islam and unique as it has always been!


Shiraz at October 10, 2003 01:46 PM [permalink]:

Well, this is a surprise and a good surprise in deed. I must congratulate her, Iranian women and women of the world in general and also all human activists who are fighting for democracy.

I especially like this phrase from the official award announcement: “Her principal arena is the struggle for basic human rights, and no society deserves to be labelled civilized unless the rights of women and children are respected.”

This award will attract more international attention to the human right situation in Iran and hopefully will put the Islamic republic under pressure for some radical changes.

Let’s be optimistic.

saoshyant at October 10, 2003 02:59 PM [permalink]:

I am just wondering why are they polling the choice (?) Do they always ask viewers to qucik vote the choice of the year? I don't recall they did that for Jimmy Carter last year.



Rouzbeh at October 10, 2003 03:00 PM [permalink]:

I hope that this prize will give a push to the ongoing struggle for the human rights in Iran. Iranian democracy and Human roghts issue is now on the focus of the world's attenrion.

Arash Jalali at October 10, 2003 03:24 PM [permalink]:

I just finished doing what I rarely do: watching the 10:30pm news on IRIB and there was absolutely no mention of the Nobel Prize in it. The first news item, which is supposed to be the hottest, was about the new rules of medical exemption from the compulsory military service! The interesting thing is that it in fact was briefly mentioned in the afternoon news of one of the radio channels (probably payam).

Vahid at October 10, 2003 03:38 PM [permalink]:

This was a great news. Congratulations to Iran. I really hope it make a positive change on the human right situation in Iran.
And to the iranian's physicits out there, hoping to bring the first Nobel Prize to Iran, do not worry you can still win the second one :)

Grand Vizier at October 10, 2003 03:53 PM [permalink]:

"This prize carried the message that Europe intends to put further pressure on human rights issues in Iran as a political move to achieve its particular objectives," said Amir Mohebian, a commentator at the hardline newspaper Resalat.

Kaveh Kh. at October 10, 2003 03:57 PM [permalink]:

It is interesting to note that the conservative voices in the US, are quick to distance themselves from the politically correct term of "conservatives in Iran" used in the press release of this piece of news. For example here an email is quoted.

Siavash at October 10, 2003 04:20 PM [permalink]:

Arash Jalali,
I watched 10:30pm news on IRIB channel 2 and they had a very brief news about in the middle of the program, after a lot of non-sigificant news, so the term "absolutely no mention" is not correct.

Arash Jalali at October 10, 2003 04:55 PM [permalink]:

Thank you Siavash for bringing it to my attention. I suppose I was under the wrong impression that the news section was over and that they were about to switch to the sports. Anyway, thanks for the reminder.

Mehrad at October 10, 2003 05:35 PM [permalink]:

"For fuck's sake, you haven't heard?"
"It's really great."
I enjoyed hearing about the Prize from three non-Iranian friends this noon.
By the way, $1.3m IS good!!

Babak S at October 10, 2003 06:17 PM [permalink]:

This is just the best news I could hear in a long while. Shirin's day made my day. Sweet!!

Lilly at October 10, 2003 06:53 PM [permalink]:

Bless you and your cause, and bless this brave and brilliant woman!

Hazhir at October 10, 2003 07:17 PM [permalink]:

I am unfortunately not familiar enough with details of her work, but from the few things I know, the Nobel committee should be commended for choosing somebody who does her work passionately, without too much noise, and in grassroot level, rather than a political figure. Usually these people are those who make the most contributions, and are recognized the least. I think there are hunderds of them inside Iran who have kept the country from a complete collapse, and all of them deserve recognition (For example some people in medical community in Iran are doing a great job in fighting and preventing AIDS and containing population growth, among others). I am really happy that Shirin Ebadi is being recognized for what she deserves, and I hope we get a chance to bring more of these figures into our discussions. They symbolize the ability of people to make a change, when there seems not to be so much hope for it!

Shabnam at October 10, 2003 07:18 PM [permalink]:

I wish all the best for Ms. Ebadi, and I hope her winning the prize would encourage all of us to fight for freedom and democracy. Congratulations to her, and all people like her, who live their lives fighting for human rights. By the way I should add that her being an Iranian woman makes me very proud.

Senior Grad at October 10, 2003 08:30 PM [permalink]:

I'm glad that an Iranian won the prestigious prize, but I'm honestly not sure if she was the best choice! For one thing, I know another female Iranian activist who I think deserves the prize at least as much! I also wonder if the dying Pontiff or Havel did not deserve the prize more (from a neutral non-chauvinistic point of view).

I printed out the news to show it off to my colleagues, but I hesistated to post it at my door. If a dissident wins such a prize, should we be proud of having such a government rule in our country? Hmmm.

Dalai Lama at October 10, 2003 08:44 PM [permalink]:

Dear Senior Grad,

Please also consider me for the Nobel Prize.


Dalai Llama

Senior Grad at October 10, 2003 08:47 PM [permalink]:

Are you Dalai Lama, or just a cute little llama, as you spelled your name in your signature? ;-)

Next time, I'll recommend you to the committee, only if you remove your photos from the cover of all your books. I don't want to judge the inside content of your books by their covers. :-)

saoshyant at October 10, 2003 09:48 PM [permalink]:


I think we just see how you incredibly put your devil advocate mask to stir some further debate, my friend! ;)

I am glad that Dalai Lama responded first, it is Saoshyant's turn now!

A WOMAN has won it, who is Iranian, and worst of all for the fanatics a Muslim!

Do you think the dying Pontiff, whose Church in Africa is preaching that AIDS can not be prevented by using condoms "at all", deserved the prize more?

The Czec writer should have won it when the issue had still some currency, which is the cold war, and the cold war long gone and over.

I think the the exact reason as to why you should ask the question:"should we be proud of having such a government rule in our country?" including elements of surprise + urgency + timelyness + severity of the problem lend credence to her case, as opposed to others, to win the prize. I agree of course that it would be better if she would share the prize with Mehran-Giz Kaar and Ms. Lahidgi.

In sum, the winning of the prize by her makes the case as to why Iranians should not be proud of such a government, and by the same token ensure to show to the world the gulf between them and their ruling regime, but also we should hope to at least win more moral victories, if anything, against "such a government" more and more and more and more.

Senior Grad at October 11, 2003 12:17 AM [permalink]:

Do I sense passion in your words, saoshyant, or is it my little room here that is so hot? I was not playing devil's avocado. No, not this time. I was also surprised that she won the prize. I was also surprised that Dalai Lama follows the FToI comments, so conscientiously. ;-) Your emphasis on Shirin Ebadi's gender reminds me of a South Park episode. The context was slightly different, but I guess our over-joyousness about a woman having won the prize is kinda telling of our own prejudice. I was not at all surprised that a *woman* has wom the prize. Women are humans, too, you know! :-) I'm proud, however, that she's Iranian. I don't quite know why, but I am proud.

I hadn't noticed the condomic fact about the old Pope's fatwa regarding the endemic desease, but thanks for bringing it up. I don't that know much about Havel, either, but the fact that the cold war is over doesn't make him less qualified. Some of these Nobel Laureates, as far as I can tell, receive their awards years after they've done that particular service or made that particular discovery.

By the way, Mehran-Giz is actually Mehr-Angiz, meaning someone who provokes compassion. :->

saoshyant at October 11, 2003 12:45 AM [permalink]:

SG, indeed passion is there, and since women are humans too, and as humans they have most often been deprived of such recognitions in a world so dominated by men, some become extremely delighted to see that the world is beginning to turn around, so please grant to those few, amongst whom your humble peer, to feel warmer and radiate the surplus of that warmth to the cyber-vicinity!! ;)

Thanks for the Mehr-angiz comment, I still have to work on some of my language skills, :-(

and for the rest, in regards to my hope, I think we may discuss it five years from now upon or after President Hillary Rodham Clinton's election, somewhere in the cyber world! ;)


Regarding the condom and the Church, apparently the Pope has not issued any decree, but you know that the church is against the use of any type of contraceptives, for further on this:

Vatican in HIV condom row:

Ali Mahani at October 11, 2003 04:06 AM [permalink]:

There, there. Pipe down, mates!!

Shirin Ebadi has got the Nobel for peace. So what??

It’s great news that the international community has chosen to snub the hard-line establishment by awarding the Nobel to a dissident figure- and a women at that- but I dare anyone on this page to tell me seriously that giving the prize to an Iranian activist will end / reduce the political repression, or change the plight of those political prisoners…(Well in a sense we Iranians, the whole 70-million lot of us, are political prisoners, ain’t we?)

Other people have won it the past, but (in most cases) that hasn’t stopped armed conflicts, war crimes, human rights abuses and other atrocities across the globe, has it?!

Like many of you, I can’t wait for this regime to fall down, and I’ll enjoy a glass of bubbly when it does; but have you ever thought of the potential end-point of the so-called reform process? What are the alternatives to the bunch of dim wits currently in charge? Is it Akbar Ganji (a former senior intelligence officer in the hated Sepah), is it Kadivar, Eshkevari or another mullah (let’s not forget Khomeini’s grandson Hossein, LOL), and oh yeah, that big, half-witted dandy Reza Pahlavi (Royal Highness, eh…)

Good choice and a big V-sign to Khamenei and his cronies. Well done to Shirin for her courage and hard work- and for the added reason that at last this eternal pit of mediocrity, Iran, has turned out a real international talent- for a change. But one is bound to have serious reservation about the political future of this country.

And to close my little rant, a word to the editors of this page: It’s a shame you spoilt the party by putting on that photo of Shirin wearing a headscarf. Look at CNN and BBC reports: they had the nous to show her REAL face, and you see she is quite beautiful for her age.

Here is to Shirin’s health.

Ali Mahani

Ali Mahani at October 11, 2003 04:24 AM [permalink]:

Correct: serious reservations

Babak S at October 11, 2003 06:16 AM [permalink]:

Well, Ali, you are too pessimistic. Yes, it won't turn the world, but it's a show of appreciation that is, in the least, encouraging. International talents? Well, there's no lack of that among iranians, but let's not plunge into nationalistic disputes :) And lastly, on the scarf comment, I persoannly find her quite charming in this picture, more so than the press conference photos. Serene and calm. Yes, she is courageous enough to show up bare-head and so we could see her hair as well, but the real face, it's in this picture no less!!

Senior Grad at October 11, 2003 10:29 AM [permalink]:

Ali Mahani:

I'm afraid my verbal skills (in either langauge!) hardly match yours, so I may have been better off if I had remained silent. But you know me. I can't! (How dare you dare me, dude?!)

Babak called your attitude "pessimistic", but I think there's more to it. I consider myself a pessimist, but this word doesn't do justice to your radical Hedayatian perspective.

If I may dare to give a piece of advice as an older brother, for your own good, Ali, you need to shun Hedayat and his ilk for a while. It is fun to poke fun at the world (or parts of it: calling Iran a big prison and an eternal pit of mediocrity (strong words!), calling people you hate dim-wit or half-witted) and its ways once in a while and have a hearty laugh, but I don't find it healthy at all to over-consume such self-torturing literature and then vomit it all over the place. Don't you agree?

About the scarf, I think you are making a big deal out of it. If it's the beauty you are concerned about, then she's much more charming in this picture than what BBC had chosen (I haven't seen the CNN one). But if you are intolerant of scarves and those who (choose to) wear it, then that's another story.

Anyway, question for you: How did people react to the news in Iran? I suppose many must have used the opportunity to make a big fat DAHAN-KAJI (any good English equivalent?) to the regime by congratulating each other openly. And many must have recated to such congratulations in the same "SO WHAT?" spirit that you have.


P.S. You do not have to sign your comments at the bottom of your comments. It is redundant. :-)

yahya at October 11, 2003 12:27 PM [permalink]:

This action of Nobel committee created an invincible dissident in Iran. Iranian government can not harm Shirin Ebadi regardless of what she says or does from now. Also Shirin Ebadi will have an open access to all the media that are beamed to Iran from outside, so she communicate to Iranians even if she would be censored in the media in Iran. Combination of these two factors will create a lot of problem for the conservatives in Iran. Considering the fact that Shirin is a couragous person (unlike Khatami and his bunch), She won't remain quiet.

saoshyant at October 11, 2003 12:42 PM [permalink]:

If I might add to Yahya's previous comments, the situation for the conservative in regards to Ebadi is even worse because even if any accident, and by accident I mean really an accident, to Ebadi and she gets injured as a result, there is no way that the world would not look at as an attempt by the regime to get rid of her: Damned if they do (something to her) and damned if they don't.

I hope, and I might now be falling victim of radiating passion as per Senior Grad's friendly word of caution: Perhaps, she can rise to the cause more steadfastly out of this as the long sought after unifying democratic leader who can give some sense of hope and direction to the democratic movement of the students and the Iranian people on the whole.

M. S. at October 11, 2003 01:59 PM [permalink]:

Dear all,
Unlike many others I wish and hope that Mrs. Ebadi persues the same path that she has followed before, grassroot and not radical actions which is exactly what we need for our country. Her fundamnetal approach to women and children's problems in iran was much more seminal than those of super-radical, show-off people who just want to be the focus of media. Thinkig of her always brought to my mind this sentence from "PARI" by Mehrjooee:

Ali Mahani at October 11, 2003 02:26 PM [permalink]:

Senior Grad

If I sign my posts it’s because sometimes I happen to forget to enter my name at the appropriate section. So the first thing I do is typing my name and then I begin typing the letter. Just to be on the safe side.

In reply to your question: well, no, people aren’t exactly over the moon here. I dare say the ordinary man in the street has hardly noticed the event. People have got a lot on their minds these days and it takes more than a Nobel Prize to cheer them up or stir any kind of national pride. There is just so much misery around nowadays….

About my mentality, perhaps we’ll talk about it in greater detail later. For now I assure you it’s not because of “too much Hedayat” as you once suggested. You see, it’s my innate cynicism that inclined me towards Hedayat and his works, not the other way round: I was a pessimist long before I began to read him.
But no, who says I am a pessimist??! I AM A PERFECT REALIST!!!

Eh, are you suggesting that I am intolerant of people like Shirin Ebadi because they put on headscarves?? No, sir!! After all, Iranian women are FORCED to do that!

Dahan Kaji Kardan = to snub, to flout, to defy, to provoke (depending on the context)

AIS at October 11, 2003 03:29 PM [permalink]:

I want to congratulate everyone for this wonderful event! It really made my day! :)

I think even from an unbiased(!) person's POV, they made a very good choice. definitely better than the Pope, with his stance on condoms, on homosexualism, on abortion,'s great he didn't win it -I like Havel a lot though, hope he wins it next year- and its great that WE have a Nobel prize now, WOW!

The funniest thing of all was the khatami guy, his speaker or something ,congratulating Iranians. As if it has ANYTHING to do with these 'reformist mullah' clowns! As if they even tried to do anything good in Iran! be xodesh gerefte bud, ablah! My God, they are always good for a joke, even in a happy moment like this, these imbeciles!

As for Mehrangiz Kar, she definitely DIDN'T deserve any such thing. Good they gave it to someone like Ebadi.

And I guess we can still be a bit hopeful for the future of the Nobel Peace Prize. After horrible choices like Arafat (Arafat! I still can't believe they gave this ... the prize) and Carter , now atleast a repectable choice.

So Congarulations everyone, and congratualtions Shirin! Good Job!
I'm going out to party...! (and it's past 12 o clock!)

Senior Grad at October 11, 2003 09:32 PM [permalink]:

I do not mean to compare, but speaking of Arafat, I think Henry Kissinger also won the Nobel Prize for peace once, although some believe he should be tried as a war criminal! How ironic!

For details, just google.

Sara Rohani at October 12, 2003 12:46 AM [permalink]:

God thank you. Shirin Ebadi, thank you. Thank you for elevating our nation's reputation and thank you for devoting your life's effort and time into the improvement of our civil status.
Our nation shall long remember your name.
May God bless you and all the sincere men and women who labor hard for the sake of God and our country and its people.

AIS at October 12, 2003 01:00 AM [permalink]:

Dear Senior Grad,

If you do not see the difference between Arafat and Kissinger then whatever I write here in response wouldn't help either. :)
(But you seem to be a Michael Moor fan, so I shouldn't have expected much anyway...)

parvin at October 14, 2003 05:23 PM [permalink]:

Salam to DR,Ebadi.
DR,Ebady has put a crown over our head .

A Reader at October 24, 2003 05:01 PM [permalink]:

Congratulations! It made my day.

Firouzeh at December 14, 2003 07:10 PM [permalink]:

Definetley this was the greatest news I crossed with during last thirty years of my life. Hopefully there will be more people like her to think like her and act like her, then it would have been much better world around us with hope peace and kindness as well as human dignity.