Meeting Shirin Ebadi in Teheran, 2004
Written by Christer Danielsson
I first went a couple of days to Manama, Bahrain and than I flew to Teheran. It was wery exciting and I was very thrilled entering the customs at Teheran International Airport.
I got my baggage and went through customs got a taxi, had to bargain first, the taxi went toward the city center. At a big junction the car stopped and an Italian and his guide jumped in the taxi, the Italian was also a traveler. He was also looking for a hotel, so we went to Hotell Mashad.
Next morning I walked to city center the Khomeiny square and took a taxi and asked for the office of the former Pres. H Rafsanjani. When we came there a couple of State officials told me that he was not at his office. They took my message about an autographquestion and I went further to the Spiritual Leaders quarters, Ali Khameini. But that was not so easy, two State official came and asked what I was doing in that area. They came with a lot of questions and after some time when they found out what I wanted they appologized. In the afternoon I went to a couple of museums.
Next day I went to Khomeiny Shrine a very big mosque were Khomeiny is lying in a coffin. I also wisited the war cementery were some of the thousands of soldiers were buried after the war against Iraq from 1980-88, a horrible place.
In the afternoon I went to the former American Embassy were they hold the hostage many years ago.
I went to a Hotell and got the name of the suburb were Nobel Price Winner Shirin Ebadi maybe was living. Took a taxi and we went on the hunt, it was exicting. So after asking and asking different people we came to a house and there I asked about were to find her and the man I asked was her husband, we was talking a while. He told me that his wife was going to have her first reception after recieving the Nobel Price in a Art Hall in town in two hours. That suited me perfect, I went there with the taxi. I was very luckey because I met an English Teacher at the Hall who showed me around and told me about Mrs Ebadis work. More and more people came and it went more and more exciting with more and more people but not that very many that I thought.
Suddenly she came walking up toward the entrance and was welcomed by the crowd and they were shouting and shouting Ebadi Ebadi. We went upstairs in the hall and I followed with a man who was a organizor and into his room with Mrs Ebadi. I congratulated her and told her that I was from Sweden, took some photos and than she wrote me a couple of autographs.
I than followed all the people into the reception hall, were a lot of people spook and gave her applaudes.
Groups and induvial people talked about their work for women and poor and abused children, they were raising mony and helping them in different manner. Her initial work was helping this people and starting to enlarging this work by more people on a voluntary basis.
The possibility from the State in Iran to help this people is limited. The speach from this small groups from over the whole Iran was very touching. They told about a poor girl who was sexually abused in her villeage and was expelled from her family and vileage, it was several stories like that. The whole atomsphere was overwelming, I felt very luckey to be there, her first reception in Iran. It was also tense because the State of Iran had given different messeages about giving the Nobel Price to Mrs Shirin Ebadi.
I left the Art Hall in the evening with a fantastic lastliving memory and a couple af autographs which
I know was and will be hard to get in this closed and in may ways different country.
After that I continued my trip in Iran to the today destroyed town of Bam into Pakistan by road, wisiting Quetta a town near Afgahanistan. Flew from Islamabad to Oman and than home.