Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran HC Roxana Saberi SIGNED


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On the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, a brilliant and fearless Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was dragged from her home by four men and secretly arrested. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage – a charge she denied. For eleven days, Saberi was cut off from the outside world, forbidden even a phone call. For weeks, neither her family, friends, nor colleagues had any knowledge of her whereabouts. After a sham trial that made headlines around the world, the 32-year-old reporter was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. But following broad-based international pressure, she was released on appeal on May 11, 2009. Now, Saberi breaks her silence to share the full story of her ordeal. In this compelling and inspirational true story, she writes movingly of her imprisonment, her trial, her ultimate release, and the faith that helped her through it. Her recollections are interwoven with stories of her fellow prisoners – many of whom were women, student and labor activists, researchers, and academics – many of whom were jailed for their pursuit of human rights, including freedom of speech and religious belief. “Between Two Worlds” is also a deeply revealing account of this complex nation and the six years Saberi lived there. A citizen of both the United States and Iran, Saberi sheds new light on the Iranian regime’s inner political workings and the restrictions to basic freedoms that have intensified since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in 2005. The recent uprisings in Iran – and the astonishing outbreak of support for Iranian citizens from across the globe – mark a critical turning point as the nation hangs on the precipice between democracy and dictatorship. From her nuanced perspective, Saberi offers a rich, dramatic, and illuminating portrait of the country as it undergoes a striking transformation. “The most compelling passages are about a form of religious experience – the struggle of this young American-Iranian as she moves from false ‘confessions’ calculated to secure freedom to fierce truth-telling that grants her an inner liberation so powerful that even death is no longer frightening. (Roger Cohen, The New York Times ) I remember when Roxana Saberi was in the news. She was an Iranian-American reporter who had been detained by Iranian authorities, and the U.S. State Department was pulling diplomatic strings to negotiate her release. For many people watching the news, this was just another story of a reporter who had somehow run afoul of the Iranian government’s inscrutable laws, and who would, after a few scary moments, be reunited with her family. I knew better. But I did not know nearly enough. I had heard that Ms. Saberi was being held in the notorious Evin prison, a prison known for its torture and its unusually high “accidental” death rate. I knew something of Evin because, as a member of the Bahá’í Faith, I was aware that a growing number of my Iranian coreligionists were being jailed in Evin for no other reason than that they were Bahá’ís. Some had received prison sentences as long as 20 years. I had heard of the appalling conditions in that prison and the brutal interrogation techniques, sometimes involving torture, that were used to induce prisoners to recant their faith or make false confessions. I had heard how 4 or 5 prisoners were forced to share a cell no larger than a walk-in closet, with nothing but a thin blanket separating them from the cold and filthy concrete floor. But notwithstanding all of those stories, it was not until I read Ms. Saberi’s first-hand account of her ordeal in that prison that I started to catch a glimpse of the true horrors my spiritual brothers and sisters are experiencing, and the mortal danger to which they are daily exposed. Although Ms. Saberi is not a Bahá’í, she shared a cell with two Bahá’í women for a time and was subject to similar treatment. Ms. Saberi tells her story with a realism and attention to detail that transports the reader directly into the interrogation room with her menacing captors, into the dank cell in which she is kept in solitary confinement, into the surreal “court room” with a cantankerous judge who had already decided her fate before she walked in. But what struck me most about this book is Ms. Saberi’s courage. She showed remarkable courage while imprisoned with no plausible hope of release, but writing about her experience in the first person and exposing her darkest moments and deepest fears to the world was no less courageous an act. Her story manages to be both honest and visceral. Reading this book will open your eyes to the incestuous relationship between an Iranian intelligence community that has slipped into a paranoid delirium and a judicial system that is so broken it has abandoned all pretense of justice. Add to that the harsh realities of Evin prison, and what emerges is the epitome of the Kafkaesque nightmare, a nightmare from which, for a growing number of prisoners of conscience, there seems to be no waking up. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the level of perversity to which the current Iranian regime has sunk, and the countless innocent victims it has caught in its snare. The book itself is masterfully written and a fast and captivating read. I appreciate the fact that Saberi remained respectful towards Iran, a country that often fuels partisan comments. The truth is that people in the West know very little about the Iranian culture or society. We rely on mainstream networks and politicians for our information and base our opinions on the talking-points of government policy. From reading this book, one can tell that she truly loves Iran and the people in Iran. Iran definitely appears to be one of those places from the outside looking in you can’t understand it and from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it. But Saberi did explain it, well. I look forward to reading the book she was working on while in Iran on the Iranian culture.


Slight dust cover wear. Signed by author. First edition.