Viewing entries tagged
prison

1 Comment

women in 20th century Iran (under Shah Pahlavi and Khomeini)

I like to know about any recommendations for the books which are a "must" from others. I do read book's reviews at Amazon and other sites (especially homeschooling stuff, it saved me from purchasing many over-marketed books), then I check them out from the library. The last 2 weeks I've read 2 books, memoirs written by Iranian women who lived throughout the Shah and Khomeini times. You will become familiar with the culture, traditions and customs of the people of 20th century Iran as well as meet 2 women who went against the flow of the times, had to learn how to survive, live and tell the story.

"Prisoner of Tehran: a memoir" by Marina Nemat, tells you a story of a girl imprisoned as a teenager, surviving execution, forced to be married to her captor. Fascinating and powerful, one night read. You can't put it away, every chapter draws your attention to the next. Vividly portrays the prison life, emotional and spiritual turmoil, painting them on the canvas with the background of her life before. As a Catholic believer, she was under even greater scrutiny, but her faith gave her courage and she had few encounters that clearly proved her God to be the One who loves, cares and remembers.

"Persian girls: a memoir" by Nahid Rachlin, starts as a story of a girl who was given by her mother to her barren aunt, and then taken back. She takes you through her family's events, rather tragic, through the moment that changed her life, going to school in the USA. She struggles to keep her identity and to fit into her new lifestyle, which she expected to be different.

Both of these books dismantle the idea that Shah's western ways of life, promoted so heavily during his reign, were of a help to the Iranian women. You see the position of a women coming from an era of superficial freedom under Shah, who controlled the society for his personal benefits, to the place of religiously imposed laws, not giving them any other options to chose from.

1 Comment

36 Comments

horror in Austria. update 2. Elizabeth and Josef Fritzl

Part 1 Part 2

There was a press conference. More facts were revealed about Josef Fritzl. The cellar which he kept his daughter and her children in for years, was built by himself during 6 years period prior to imprisoning Elizabeth. That's the time he started to rape Elizabeth regularly. He liked it so much and he wanted it to continue for his whole life. Building the dungeon was a way for this heinous crime to be continued. He forced his daughter to help him built the room inside. The cellar had 8 doors, the last two electronically monitored.

For the first 2 days of her captivity Elizabeth was handcuffed to a pole, for the next 9 months, she was kept on a leash, which allowed her only to use the toilet. He raped her about every three days. For the first 9 years Elizabeth and her 3 children were kept in one room, 35m2 (380 square feet), originally designed to be a nuclear shelter. After the 4th child was born, he added 20m2. That suggests that the children were present in the room when he was raping his own daughter year after year. There were also punishment cells in the cellar, with nothing else but bare walls.

He installed a goldfish tank for them to enjoy and he was giving them supplements of vitamin D.

The psychiatric clinic where the family is kept for now.

In the hospital: the family is reuniting daily for meals and play. They are slowly being exposed to the sunlight. Their skin is very pale. Both boys, who spend all their life in the dungeon learned everything they know from their mother or from the TV. They use a mixture of words and communicate with noises that are a mixture of growling and cooing. 5 year old Felix prefers to crawl, although can walk upright. Elisabeth thought them to read and write, but lost a lot of her knowledge. Elisabeth looks as old as her mother.

Josef. He is in prison. He is obsessed with following all the news regarding his case. His lawyer will present the case of mental illness and/or insanity. His fellow prisoners are threatening to kill him. He is in a single cell, with a window, and, his lawyer says: "He is a broken man".

19 year old Kirsten is still in coma. She has never been seen by the doctor or a dentist before. She has lost almost all her teeth.

From the news coverage on May 7th we hear Josef denying him being a monster, being cooperative with the prosecutors and saying, that "if not for him, they all would die".

How long will it take for these victims to even emerge as dignified human beings? Will they be able to forgive? Will they be able to enter into "normal" society and every day life? How strong is Elizabeth that she can even enjoy life as it is now? What will Josef's wife do? How are the children going to relate to each other in the future? I have many questions...

36 Comments