The Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat is a story of young girl who was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. Her father was a dancer while her mother was a hairdresser. Marina in her young days liked to dance, have fun at the beach and liked to spend time with her friends and crush Andre who she met in the church. She was brought up in an orthodox Christian family and went to a school with majority of Muslims in it. Religion was never a matter of concern back in the early days when Nemat went to school. Marina Nemat was arrested at the age of sixteen as a result of Islamic revolution 1979.
She was arrested because Nemat and her friends wanted to study math and history instead of the study of Koran and political propaganda in school during Islamic revolution. When Nemat protested against her teachers to teach the students math and history and not Koran the teacher asked Nemat to leave the class if she was not interested in learning, and to her surprise all her friends and classmates followed her outside class, which resulted an arrest for Nemat and her friends. Nemat was arrested in January 1982 at the age of sixteen with other youths and taken to the prison of Tehran.
She was beaten, torched and was even sentenced to death as a result of committing political crimes. The book “prisoner of Tehran” further goes on talking about the behaviour that Nemat had undergone as a result of her so-called crimes. In the Prison Nemat was interrogated by two guards of the two guards one nearly beat Nemat to death “I’m going to whip the soles of your feet with this cable,” (Nemat, 2007,p. 29). while the other guard fell in love with her. Nemat was sentenced to death when she refused to give her friends name that were also protesting with her.
Nemat being minutes away from death was saved by the other guard named Ali who fell in love with her and believed her. “I believe that you’re telling the truth about shahrzad,” he said”. (Nemat,2007,p. 31). Ali used all his connections to save Nemat from death sentence and got her punishment changed to life in prison. Ali as a favour of saving Nemat’s life asked a shocking price in return. He wanted Nemat to marry him and leave her Christianity and convert into Islam. When Nemat did not accept this she was blackmailed and forced.
Nemat was told that, if she refused to marry him he would harm her family. Nemat loved her family and scarified her life to protect her family. Nemat was forcefully married and was converted into Islam. To her surprise Nemat found Ali’s family really nice and was shocked to believe that Ali was there son. Soon after Nemat’s forced transition to Islam and marriage, rival factions shot Ali. Nemat was returned back to the prison of Tehran and to her surprise it was her captor’s family that slowly safeguarded her release and got her out of the prison and send her back home.
Prisoner of Tehran is a very emotional story which shows the power of women to go through such trauma and stress because at an early age of sixteen while kids spend there time paying games and having fun, Nemat grew up getting beaten up and watching her friends being shot. Being held in the prison of Tehran for a long period of two years and forced to marry and convert into Islam and spend her life with a man, whom she does not want to be with shows nothing else than the power of women and their ability to never give up. Despite of being treated like this Nemat only words that she has for those people is “forgiveness”.
Marina Nemat’s story” The prisoner of Tehran” shows the power of love in the face of evil and injustice. Prisoner of Tehran is a very well organised piece of work based on real life experience that Marina Nemat went through. She now lives in Canada and has started a new life although it’s hard for her to forget what she went through. Through this book I think the message that she is trying to bring across is the message of forgiveness. It’s not hard to hate anyone, but the person who forgives is the one that goes ahead. No person is evil or engage in bad practices by birth; it’s always he circumstances that change the person.
By forgiving the people that held her captive and beat her to death Nemat showed the power of love and forgiveness over evil and injustice. Male and female have different characteristics, male are often seen as more demanding and controlling then females. Ali showed his power over Nemat and forced her to marry him and convert to Islam. Women often undervalue themselves and although respect is more important to both male and female, it’s particularly more important to males. Males are often seen to be more controlling than females.
When Ali introduced Nemat to her family she did not think about what she went through, the first things she noticed it how good Ali’s parents were and did not believe Ali could be there son. This shows the women ability to adjust and forgive. Nemat was ready to start a new life with Ali although she did not like him she forgives him and all the things that he did to her. Nemat adjusted to the new marriage life and culture at a young age of sixteen and we can also see a sense of attachment, which she started to have for Ali. This also shows the women ability to love and forgive quickly.
The rivals shot Ali and Nemat had to return back to the prison and to her surprise the captive’s family helped her go back to her home and escape from the prison. This also shows the power the positivity and power of good over evil. I would recommend everyone to read this book as it shows the power of positivity forgiveness and women’s ability to never give up despite of immense trauma and stress. This book also shows a women’s love for her family. Nemat sacrificed her life to protect her family. Nemat’s life after her journey to the Prison of Tehran is not going to be easy.
But all she has to say to the people who kept her hostage is “forgiveness” which is a very common word but very had to practice, especially with what Nemat went through. “I wanted him to have my forgiveness, and I knew that forgiveness didn’t come at once and complete, beautifully packaged and tied with red ribbon, but it came little by little. And my forgiving him wasn’t going to erase the pain he had caused me; this pain would remain with me as long as| lived, but my forgiveness would help me rise above the past and face all that happened.
I had to let him go so I could be free myself'(Nemat, 2007,p. 281). Nemat did not loose hope and kept fighting, she forgives everyone so she could move ahead in life and face everyone. Prisoner of Tehran shows women power and shows how no one is a bad person but circumstances change them. Ali and his family were good people “As soon as we arrived at Ali’s parents house, Akram and Ali’s mother embraced me”(Nemat, 2007,p. 239). These people were brain washed based on religion that led to evil practices. Nemat heartrending account of her time in an Iranian prison touches on some large issues, particularly the power of religious fanaticism to lead good people to do evil acts”(Nemat, 2007,p. 2).
This book is an eye opener for the people who engage in evil practices based on religion and culture. God created us equal and we have no right to difference our self-based on religion. It is sad to see how many people distinguish them based on religion and is a common ground of conflicts among people. The world would be a better place to live if everyone was treated equal irrespective of his or her religion, culture and sex.