She wanted to be a medical doctor, marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after. Her favorite television programs were The Donnie and Marie Osmond Show and Little House on the Prairie. She wore mini-skirts and danced to the music of the BeeGees.
All this changed with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran.
In January of 1982, 16-year old Marina Nemat was arrested and imprisoned for her views against the revolution. She was tortured in the notorious Evin Prison, known for its atrocities against political inmates. She was sentenced to death, but survived after agreeing to marry a prison guard and convert to Islam.
This is only the beginning of Marina's Nemat amazing story.
Last night, I listened to her speak at St. George's Church in downtown Guelph. Poised and articulate, she described her life journey from a carefree teenage girl to political prisoner to best-selling author.
She revealed many shocking details about her years in the Evin Prison. I was horrified to learn that the guards lashed the bare soles of her feet on a regular basis and that there was one bathroom for 300 girls. While she has been criticized for writing books filled with distortions, Marina states that she survived to tell the stories of all those girls who stood in the bathroom line.
Marina considers herself to be a person of hope. She believes that hope is a choice you make despite the darkness. Hope speaks to the possibility that things will get better.
When asked about her personal safety, Marina mentioned that she only advertises her readings locally and she never leaves her car in the driveway.
Read her books: Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed.