At 16 Marina Nemat was arrested by two of Ayatollah Khomeini’s soldiers. It was 1982, the height of Iranian revolution. A devout Christian, she was deemed “a danger to Islamic society” for demanding he government propaganda to be kept out of the classroom. Thrown in prison, she was beaten and sentenced to death and most certainly would have been executed had one of her interrogators not spared her life on the condition that she coverts to Islam and marry him. Told in a simple, unsentimental style, “Prisoner of Tehran written by Marina Nemat is an extraordinary story of survival and how one woman finally found her inner peace through the written word.
Marina now lives with her husband and her two sons in the suburbs of Toronto nd became proud middle-class Canadians. This was when her memories of her heartbreaking story of forgiveness came back to her causing her to loose sleep.
Marina starts this extraordinary story off by her shocking dilemma troubling her, forcing her to write everything on paper.
“I lost the ability sleep.” It began with snapshots of memories, I tried to push them away, but they rushed at me, invading my daytime hours as well as night.” I began writing about my days in Evin (Tehran’s notorious political prison) about the torture, pain, death and all the suffering I had never been able to talk about.”
These quotations show how the writer becomes restless to share he feelings of sadness in her effectively described words about pain that troubles her day and night.
Nemat’s ruined childhood began when there was a ring at the door at an unusual time of the day.
Marina was about to have a bath, instead she was suddenly taken to the horrific place no one would talk about; the most shocking time of her life began.
“The sound of the doorbell echoed in the house” … “My heart sank.” … “Two armed, bearded, revolutionary guards wearing dark green military-style uniforms were standing in the hallway.” … “I felt as though I had stepped out of my own body and watching a movie.”
The writer effectively uses these quotes to portray her feeling of fear by using effective language of imagery.
The interrogator Ali worked for the sixth division of the Courts of Islamic Revolution, which was investigating Marina’s case. Ali took Hamehd – the head of interrogator’s who wasn’t a very patient man.
Marina followed Ali to Hamehd’s room. She was told to answer every question truthfully or she’ll have to pay for it.
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“Hamehd has she talked yet?” Ali asked. “No she’s pretty stubborn.” “I’m going to whip the soles of your feet with this cable,” Hamehd said. “The sharp threatening whistle of the cable cut the air and it lashed on the soles of my feet.” … “Pain.” … “It exploded inside me like a bolt of lightning.”
These quotations shows how the writer was really strong and no matter what she would not say a word about anyone even though she was innocent and had no answers to their questions. Marina uses simile to evoke her feelings of the endless agonistic pain she was going through.
When no one spoke up about what hey had done against the Islamic Revolution Law and about the people who Hamehd wanted to know about, he was forced by the law to tae Marina and all the other people who were named on the list for execution.
Hamehd took Marina to arrest her friends that were on the list. He already knew about all he people on the list but he just wanted to know about Marina’s vies against the revolution. Marina proves to Hamehd that she was an enemy of the Revolution by not telling him anything, so Hamehd takes her for execution but just before Marina was going to be shot, Ali came and took her away on the condition that she would have convert to Islam an marry him.
“Get up!” … “Yes, yes!” I said. “Next to the poles right now!” Hamehd barked. “They aimed their guns out at us, is dying going to hurt as much as being lashed? Dear Jesus, help me.” … “Ali came and walked towards me after whispering to Hamehd about something. He untied me an too me to the car.”
These quotations show the reader that Marina feels a fear of death ad uses monologue effectively while talking aloud to herself praying to Jesus for help.
Marina was forced to marry Ali and convert to Islam, she hated Ali for what he had done, but when Ali was murdered by his enemies from Evin and saved Marina’s life for the second time, her feelings for him became even more complicated.
Marina and her husband Ali were walking towards their car and suddenly two men drove by and shot Ali to death.
“Shots were fired.” … “Ai was lying on top of me. Barely able to move, he looked at me with shock ad pain in his eyes.” … “God please don’t let him die.” I cried. “I had had hated him, I had tried to forgive him, and in vain I had tried to give him love.” … “He’s dead, gone, and I feel lonely, why does this hurt so much?” … “What’s wrong with me?”
The quotations show Marina’s feelings for her husband Ali. At this point all feelings of hatred towards him are dissolved ad she was empowered by compassion for a dying husband. Marina uses rhetorical questions effectively showing the reader how hurtful she feels.
Following the death of Ali, Marina Nemat’s sentence reduced even more and finally she was being released from the notorious prison. She was relieved to be back home to her parents and back to her love Andre. The reality of her going back home was difficult to believe because she was told she would live and die there and this ad become her belief.
Marina’s name was called over the loudspeaker; she didn’t know whether she was going home or taken to the firing squad again. Her friends encouraged her that this is it, the time she had always waited for, the time of her being released.
“Marina your going home, I know it,” said Bahar. “Go Marina! Run!” the girls cried, pushing me along the hallway. “I was going home. Finally, I was going home.” … “I stepped outside. It was the strangest feeling to know that I could just simply walk home.”
These quotes show us that Marina felt really happy to know that she was going home, but the awkward feeling of her being released all of a sudden was that all her memories of the pain ad torture that she went through was the topic that would never be able to be talked about with anyone.
The personal statement given by the writer herself made me as a reader feel the way I think she would feel if I were in her place. “Evin had taken me away from home, from who I had been; it had taken me to a realm beyond fear; it had shown me more pain than any human being should ever endure. I had experienced loss before; I had grieved. But there, grief became a never-ending, raging body of darkness that kept its victims I a perpetual state of suffocation. How was one supposed to live after being there? I had to stop thinking. These thoughts would bring me nothing but despair.
‘Prisoner of Tehran’ is not an easy book to read because of the frankness with which Nemat describes the utter brutality of an Iranian prison system. This engrossing 273 paged book is a very sad reminder of what us or was happening around a certain part of the world when we were comfortably sitting in our homes or going about our normal duties.