The Sky Is The Same Colour Wherever You Go

Monday, January 24, 2011

18 - End Conclusion

Hi there! So today I’m just blogging about the conclusion of Prisoner of Tehran, my thoughts on the book, and questions I got to ask Marina Nemat (Yes I met her in person!) 
about the book and her experiences. 
So throughout chapters 18 to the end of the book, Marina tells us how she lived with Ali in her new home, though she hated him she could not escape. He would rape her, though it was legalized rape because she was married to him. Part of Marina’s frustration and hatred to Ali was his occupation of being a torturer. Ali was in Evin for 3 years and tortured (lash marks on his back) for revolting again the Shah. The vicious cycle of violence turned and Ali became a torturer. Ali told Marina that he was going to resign from his job.  “Assadollah and I have been friends for years.” He said. “He was also a prisoner in Evin during the time of the Shah. But he’s gone too far. I’ve tried to change things in Evin, and I haven’t been able to. He wouldn’t listen.”  (Page 225) Ali told Marina that I would only be 3 weeks until the papers would be sorted and they could have some-what a normal life together. Marina became pregnant with Ali’s child, though one night after visiting Ali’s parents house (2 weeks after he put in his resignation) they were coming out onto the street when Ali was shot; he landed on Marina to protect her from also being shot. Once again he had saved Marina. Ali died and so did their unborn baby. Ali’s wished was for Marina to be free. “Father, take her to her family” (page 227). Ali’s father, Mr. Moosavi used all his connection and convinced the Imam to let her free. Marina was reunited with her family and Andre on the 26th March 1984. She was told not to attract any attention to her, though she didn’t listen and married Andre and moved out of Tehran north to Zahedan. Missile never touched Zahedan as it was far away from the Iraq-Iran boarder. Marina’s parents home got destroyed. The war ended in August 1988 and Marina was 4 months pregnant. She had her first child on December 31st 1988, and Ayatollah Khomeini died of cancer on June 3rd, 1989. On August 28th 1991 Marina, Andre and their child spent 8 days in Madrid, and 10 months in Budapest sorting paper work and they finally moved to Canada.
Meeting with Marina Nemat was a very exciting experience, there were so many questions to be asked about Aram (Arash’s brother), If ever she was thankful for Ali saving her twice, and what happened to other characters in the book that were not longer mentioned. Marina told me that she still keeps in contact with Aram, though they haven’t met up in 10 years because of all the emotionally baggage attached. She finds its hard to describe the feelings toward Ali. To put it in a easier way to understand her and Ali’s relationship : Imagine that you are at your car in the middle of the night and a man comes up to you and holds a gun to your head, though another man comes along, shoots the man who was trying to kill you, though rapes you and walks away, are you thankful to that man? Lastly she has writing another book called After Tehran which is a follow up on all the other characters in the book, and who she has found and who has passed.
A main message of the book is that this can happen to anyone, Iran was a normal place during the Shah time just like Toronto or any other major city in the world. Woman walked around in mini skirts and tank tops, they could be judges and vote. Though everything suddenly changed. A undertone message of the book is to tell the story that other cannot tell as it is important to inform the world with what torturous, unfair, inhuman, brutal behavior that is still happening.   

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chapters 14 – 16 Conflict

Through out chapters 14 to 16, conflict arises between Marina, her beliefs, family, relationships and soul.
Marina still has a longing love for Andre, the organ player with a face of Michelangelo’s David. He was an electrical engineer at the University of Tehran, though after the Islamic revolution he had been teaching English, Physics and Math at a Armenian School.
Marina felt like she had betrayed Arash, as she is starting to love someone else.
While in Evin she missed Andre very much and continually thought about him and whether he was thinking about her.
Ali had asked Marina to marry him; he gave her 3 days to think about it with. He warned her if Marina refused his proposal he would have her parents, and Andre arrested and taken to Evin, Ali would create a political record against them as well.
“I had put Andre and my parents in danger, having no trouble that Ali’s threats were serious, I had to do what he wanted me to do.”
Marina agreed into marrying Ali, though Ali’s parents wouldn’t accept her unless she converted to Islam. She had lost her family, the man she loved, her freedom, and all her hopes and dreams, now she had to betray her faith.  Ali promised to be a good husband to her, to provide for her and give her a new chance for life.
Though Marina cannot throw Andre, converting religions, not letting her parents know about this force wedding, behind her so fast. Marina and Ali get married at a small ceremony at Ali’s parents house, with only Ali’s sister and her husband and Ali’s parents.
Marina never imagined this is how her marriage life would turn out, her Christian beliefs meant she could chose whatever man she desired and she would marry on love not according to money or politics. Once Marina and Ali get married they move out of Evin and she is on house arrest on a street near her Auntie’s house. Marina finds it extremely difficult to live with him as she is scared of him, his occupation and power; he sexually abuses her to carter his own needs. Ali is notified that there are assassins of the Fadayian political party who are after authority powers such as Ali. Marina and Ali leave their home and move back to Evin, Marina is moved to 207 an isolation room, were she is by herself, she often welcomed girls who had just been brought in and tortured to comfort and help look after. At the end of the chapter Marina gets moved back to ward 247, there is catches up with Sarah and her other prison friends. She also has a re-trial and her life sentence in jail gets reduced to 3 years, this dramatic decrease is because she turned to Islam and married Ali a well respected revolutionary guard.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chapters 8-13 Settings Analysis

While Marina was in Evin Political Prison she experienced a harsh environment, that would be incredibly hard to adjust to. Marina would only get warm water once every 2 or 3 weeks, where she would shower for 10 minutes at 2 am in the morning. At night lights out would be at 11, were you would sleep on the floor with 3 blankets. Marina would place one blanket on the floor, one blanket as her duvet and would fold the last blanket into smaller sections to sleep on. There would be sp many girls that they would have to sleep even out on the hallways. During the time of Shad in area 246 (upstairs and down) there was a total of 50 prisoners, though after the Islamic revolution over 650 girls are now in area 246. Marina’s typical day at Evin would we getting up at 7, and the other girls would do there morning prays, after they would tidy there room by folding blankets and organizing areas. Then two girls who had meal time duties would spread a plastic sheet on the ground with metal spoons, plastic plates and cups, their were no knifes or forks, though a large cylinder flask of tea, bread and feta cheese would be for breakfast.
The tea contained camphor, which guards put in to prevent the menstruating cycle as sanitary pads are too expensive, though the negative side effects are swelling and depression. For Lunch they were services rise and soup, and for dinner they had bread and dates. During the day they would watch Islamic videos and read Islamic books, they also had one hour outside in the courtyard, and every month was visitor’s day.
Before Marina was arrested she could see the corruption and danger on the street. Military curfews, soldiers and military trucks were places on each corner and tanks would be seen crossing the street. The fall of Shad and up rise of Khomeini meant that important government or military positioned people suddenly left the country, schools were shut down in the late fall of 1978.
Not to long after the revolution, dancing was declared evil and illegal, Marina’s father lost his job, and went to work as a translator at a stainless steel factory. Marina’s school later open again, though the principal who held the school together was replaced by a 19 year old revolutionary guard. It was rumored that the old principal had been executed because she was close to the minister of education during the shad. During the between period of the fall of the Shad and rise of Khomeini there was a lot of political talk around school, political groups such as Marxists and Mojahedin-e Khalgh (God’s fighters for the people) who were underground and illegal during the shad period held open ceremonies and rallies for people to join.
At a young age of 16, Marina was exposed to a lot of mature, dangerous, political issues, she was very interested in others ideologies, though felt like she couldn’t join any of these political groups because they were all Islamic. She believed that mixing religion with politics was dangerous.  Aram has matured in a sad, depressing way since his brother disappearance and revolution, before he had only thought about basketball and partying, though now he worried about everything and gave marina advice all the time.  
Sarah also changed during the revolution, during her time in Evin she attempted suicide.
All color and happiness had been drained from Tehran, people wore only dark-colored clothes and looked down as they walked, as if to avoid each other as well as the scenery, almost every wall was covered with harsh slogans that promoted hatred.
Marina is very lucky to of survived this dark period.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chapters 1-7 Character Analysis

Marina is the main character in this book, as it is a memoir of her life. She is a very smart, intriguing, intelligent, well informed, brave woman. She is extremely mature. She is Christian, and was arrested January 15th, 1982, she was accused for plotting against the government when she spoke out in Math class and asked her teacher to teach her Calculus instead of talking about Politics. Marina’s mother tells her she should think before she speaks because she tells the truth. She also was different to most girls in Evin who were Muslim. “Most Muslim girls from traditional families – quiet, shy and submissive – but I didn’t have any of these qualities.”  Marina is a very charismatic woman, and very easy to like.

Marina’s Mother
Marina’s mother has her own hair dressing salon under the apartment, Marina’s mother is very disciplined on Marina and used to lock her on Marina’s balcony for hours to solitude her.  “My mother’s body was shaking and her face had turned white. She had covered her mouth with her hand, as if to muffle a never-ending cry.” This is how she felt when Marina was taken  by the revolutionary guards. Her mother is a funny character, she sleep in until 9, and is always grumpy with Marina, though she buys Marina books every month. She obviously loves Marina but is strict.

Marina’s Grandma /Fathers Mother
Marina’s Grandma is a stereotypical Russian bahboo. Marina’s Grandma is stubborn in the sense she knows how to speak Persian, though she will only speak Russian to people. Marina’s Grandma moved to Iran at the start of Russia’s communism. Marina and her grandma often went to the park and to the only Russian Orthodox church which was a 2 hour walk away. Though on the way she would by Marina treats, as she didn’t believe in presents. When Marina was 7, her grandma died, though she left Marina a box of all her treasures. 

Marina’s Father
Owned a dance studio, though after his mothers death he closed down his dance studio and found a job at a division of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, working with folklore dance groups. He got to travel to different countries with this job with the men and women dancers who represented Iran at different national events.
Was like marina’s dark guardian angel, he was a revolutionary guard, who took an interest in
Marina when he had a discussion when being interrogated to find more information about plots against the government. They discussed the Koran, Communism, and Christianity. He was felt amused by this intriguing conversation with a young girl. He then became her savior in a disguise when he saved her from the execution of the firing squad. Ali had gone to Ayatollah Khomeini (dictator), who was a close friend of Ali’s Father. He got Marina’s sentence reduced from death to life in prison. She didn’t want Ayatollah to save her, she wanted to die at this point in time.

Albert is an Amernian secondhand book keeper, for three years Albert’s bookstore were the highlights of Marina’s Junior High life. Albert allowed Marina to borrow out books in English to read and then bring back after she had read them. Albert had a wide and a son. His son had moved to America with his wife and 2 boys. Just after Marina’s 12th birthday, Albert told Marina that he was moving to America to be with his son and grandchildren as Albert’s wife of 51 years was dying and that was her last wish.

Sarah and Sirus
Sarah had been Marina’s best friend since the first grade. She has large, dark-brown eyes, thick curly black hair that fell on her shoulders. Sarah had a brother 3 years older named Sirus, he was apart of Mojaedin-e Khalgh, a leftist Muslim organization, that was revolting against Ayatollah Khomeini who was the dictator at the time. Unlike the rest of Sarah’s family, Sirus was very shy. Sarah and Sirus were arrested on the 2nd of January, 1982, Sarah was 16 and Sirus was 19. Over the past months since the Islamic Revolution 100’s of people were arrested accused for opposing the government.
Sarah and Marina re-united in Evin Political Prison after Marina was moved to the 246 women’s ward. The Sarah informed Marina that Gita was executed and she had heard no news from her brother so she assumed he was executed as well. 
Sarah’s father was an engineer and a big man who always told funny jokes, laughed loudly and recited beautiful old poems.  Sarah’s mother worked at a bank and always wore elegant suits and very high heeled shiny black shoes, she was a small, round women with short, black hair, who always hugged Marina whenever she came over.
Marina wished she lived in a house like Sarah’s. It was on a street without cars, stores, vendors and beggars, it was quiet. Sarah’s house was always colored with noise and laughter.

Gita and Marina have been friends since she was 13. Gita and Marina met at cottage country, 5 hours north of Tehran. Gita was a few years older than Marina, but went to the same school. Gita was arrested in December and also went to Evin though she was executed for not cooperating early. 

Arash was Marina’s second love and first kiss; they also met at cottage country, at Gita’s birthday party. He has a brother Aram who was 16, 3 years older than Marina, though Arash was 18; 5 years older than Marina. Arash was at first year university to become a doctor Marina and Arash were in love spite the age difference, they shared there first kiss though he regretted it as it was against his religion and they could only kiss after they got married as it was disrespectful. Arash had dark eyes, slighty raised cheekbones, and somehow a childlike mouth which contrasted with his strong featured face. He was about 2 inches taller than Marina with short brown hair.  They spent the summer together going for walks and bike rides on the beach, reading poetry sitting on the swing set in his back yard. Everyday Arash would play the flute to Marina, when Arash played the flute he felt closer to god. Arash was a practicing Muslim, he was part of the revolution and agreed with communism.  He joined in the protests and revolts against Shah. Arash believe that Shah, his family and the government were all corrupt. They had been becoming wealthier by the day while most of the Iranian people had been struggling against poverty.
At the end of summer Arash left 2 weeks before Marina to go back to Tehran, though they were going to meet up again in Tehran. There was a protest against Shah, 2 days before Marina got back to Tehran. Shah soldiers opened fire and it was assumed that Arash died.  

Irena Arash’s Grandma
Irena which is Arash’s grandma was also a refugee from Russia. She took a great like to Marina as Arash introduced them to each other and she spoke Russian to her. Irena reminded Marina of her own Grandma, she was a handsome old woman with silver-grey hair, she fussed the around the kitchen the same way her grandma did. For the summer Arash and his brother Aram stayed at the cottage with Irena. Irena always invited Marina to come for lunch with them.