Nobel Peace Prize winner promotes her new book 'The Golden Cage'

Shirin Abadi (right), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and her translator (left), speaks about her new book, "The Golden Cage." (Jenna Beaver)

The first Iranian and Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in human rights, came to speak at Mason on Thursday to promote her new book “The Golden Cage.”

Shirin Ebadi has written 13 books and over 100 articles about the history of Iran over the last 32 years. Her work has focused on human rights violations that the Iranian people have faced at the mercy of their government.

The Middle Eastern Studies Program and the Center for Global Islamic Studies sponsored the event. The room was full of students and faculty eager to have Ebadi sign copies of her new book and to hear her speech that was translated from Farsi to English by a translator. 

“The Golden Cage” has been published in over 10 languages to spread awareness about Iran. Her motto is, “if you cannot eliminate injustice, at least talk about it.”

Over 100 journalists and 100 students have been imprisoned in Iran for promoting democracy, and over 300 people have been executed for political reasons.

After the elections in June 2009, people in Iran started to take to the streets in demonstrations against the government to expose the problems of fraud in the elections and to reduce the injustice towards the people.

“The violations of human rights only grew after 2009. There have been three resolutions that have been passed by the UN in violations of human rights. In March 2011 the UN said they needed special reporters to monitor Iran. Only three countries in the world Burma, North Korea and Iran have had these problems,” Ebadi said.

The Green Movement was created after the Iranian election to promote democracy and reform human rights.

“These reformists seek for implementations of the constitution that have not yet been put through, lobbying for equal rights and positions for all people, but the Iranian government is not flexible,” Ebadi said.

“The Green Movement is not a political party and its expansion is horizontal and on a network basis, just like the Civil Rights Movement for the African Americans in the United States. Just like the Civil Rights Movement won in the US, democracy will win in Iran too. There has been an uprising in all Islamic nations and we are calling it the Decade of Awakening for Muslims,” Ebadi said.

The talk also focused on Iran’s connection with the other Islamic nations that have undergone revolutions including Tunisia and Egypt.

“No country can build a wall around it and become isolated, therefore it is only natural for trade and political relations to be reformed, but they cannot become a puppet for other nations. The question is will these revolutions create more puppets for Iran?” asked Ebadi.

“Iran considers themselves the greatest leader of the Islamic world. But, history will tell us the governments who repress people will not be in power forever,” said Ebadi.

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