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It feels like spring here in Tehran

10/13/03 By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Tehran has been quietly buzzing since yesterday when the news arrived of Ms Ebadi's Nobel Prize. There is not a woman I know who could not be happy about this event. I do not know how many calls I made and how many e-mail I sent. I lost count of how many family and friends called to congratulate us all. It truly feels goods again after such a long time. It feels like SPRING IS HERE suddenly again.

The state TV on Friday night, at the end of news, mentioned briefly that Ebadi won the Nobel Prize. Many just laughed at this sign of shame and weakness. Enormous number of women that I have been in touch since the news came out, say that this prize, as Ms. Ebadi herself stated in her conference, is for all Iranian women, and strangely enough women from all walks of life believe this. One can feel the proud smile on these women's faces everywhere. It has been a good day. The celebrations have been very personal for now. I have not seen much public display of pure joy, but I am certain that, without a doubt, in private many have not stopped celebrating.

I have seen Ms. Ebadi here and there at ceremonies or gatherings. What is so fascinating about her is the fact that, in many ways, she is very ordinary. She is just like any other stern and serious looking Iranian professional woman. She is married to an architecture-engineer and they have two daughters, the elder of which is studying Law at university. One would not guess, by just looking at Ms. Ebadi, that she has accomplished so much. Nevertheless, the fire in her comes through somehow. As Guardian's Dan De Luce put it, "Shirin Ebadi is a one-woman human-rights machine." She is, indeed, one of the strongest voices of freedom and democracy, human rights, women and especially children's causes and cases in Iran. She has suffered but she has carried on. She has been hurt yet she has not given up. She must enjoy the love of a very wonderful and supportive family who love, respect and stand by her all along as well as all her countless friends, colleagues and millions of Iranian women inside and outside of Iran.

Her modesty, hard work and strength is a great incentive for many others.

We all think that everybody is waiting for the real celebration after her arrival later this week. We are waiting her triumphant return.

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