By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Last Monday evening, we were invited
by Markazz Farhangi Zanan (
The International Publishers’
Association (IPA) established this award only this year to be given to any
person or organization in the world that has made a contribution to the defense
and promotion of freedom of expression.
It is an honor for all Iranians that an Iranian lady has won this
award. Ms. Lahiji who has been the
head of Roushangaran Publishing Group since 1983 was the first female publisher
The ceremony took place at the
Peghah bookstore on the corner of
Later we took pleasure in journalist and writer Lily Farhadpour's talk about “Lahiji as journalistic subject” - she told us many anecdotes and gave us many reasons why a journalists’ life becomes easy when they interview Ms Lahiji, as she is clear in her mind and speech among so many other qualities. She then read excerpts from her book; The Berlin Women and the chapter she had dedicated to Ms Lahiji, the romantic one. She also informed us that the first award Ms. Lahiji had won was the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award in April 2001.
The next speaker was Sara Loghmanie who gave a most impressive and informative talk on the background, ideas and how and whys that started the One Million Signature Campaign in Iran (we-change ), demanding changes on the biased laws that discriminate against women in Iran. She said that women from any background who end up at the Ministry of Justice’s many halls learn that they all are dealing with the same discriminating law.
She went on to state that the first three people who signed this campaign were Mrs. Ebadi, Mrs. Behbahani and Ms. Lahiji. She said that the organizers had realized that changes at the top do not help enough and therefore the need for changes in the law must come from the grass roots within the civil society. It is only then that when the law changes it cannot easily be changed back, as it is the demand of the general public rather than the elite. The campaign volunteers try to inform women in particular, face-to-face, at any opportunity they can, formal and informal, and invite those who want to sign the petition to do so, the petition that thousands of us have already signed. I was delighted to learn that now those of you who are away from home and support the campaign are able to sign on line. You can read a lot more about this campaign at: one million signatures
We heard poems by two poets dedicating their work to Ms Lahiji as well as informative talks by Nahid Keshavarz, Maryam Mirza, and Golnaz Malek and Farnaz Saifie who also beautifully conducted the proceedings. Finally Ms Talate Taghinia from WCC and Ms Tayebbat from the Peghah Bookstore presented Ms Lahiji with gifts. It was a pleasure to see such a broad smile on Ms Lahiji’s face among so many friends from a long life of hard work and struggle to such a high peak of success.
http://herlandmag.net for Zanestan
http://we-change.org/ for one million signatures Campaign
http://herlandmag.net/news/06,11,07,02,36,25/ for more detailed text and better pictures
Evin Hotel is
further down the road - By
Shahla Lahiji, 2001
Evin Hotel is further down the road - By Shahla Lahiji, 2001
... Payvand News - 11/9/06 ... --