A true account of Sima Goel, the Iranian teenager who crossed the most dangerous desert in the world rather than accept the restrictions of life in Iran of the early 1980s. Her quest for freedom is a thrilling, timely inspiration for people longing to create a life of meaning. It was the last straw!
The Ayatollah Khomeini had decreed that all women in Iran must wear the hijab, whether they were Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Baha’i. Thirteen-year-old Sima had gone out into the streets of Shiraz to demonstrate for freedom under the Shah’s oppressive rule, and now that he had fled the country, this was the result: a new regime, and a much more repressive rule. The changes Khomeini’s regime forced on the population were totally incompatible with Sima’s ambitions and sense of personal freedom. Blacklisted by her school, unable to continue her studies, mourning the murders of innocent family members and friends, and forced to wear the hijab, she realized she had to leave her beloved birthplace and find a country where she could be free to follow her dreams.
Fleeing the Hijab is a vivid portrait of a dangerous journey made by two teenaged girls through the Iranian desert to Pakistan, where, as homeless refugees, they struggled desperately to find some way to escape to the West. It is a story that needs to be heard and remembered.
Title: Fleeing the Hijab
Author: Sima Goel
Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / History / Women’s Rights
Publisher: General Store Publishing House
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of Fleeing the Hajib from the author via iRead Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Fleeing the Hajib by Sima Goel is at once a memoir and a history book. While sharing her personal story, Goel details the historical events taking place in her homeland, Iran, during the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini. Interwoven through her life story and her country’s history are Goel’s love of family and the beautiful childhood she experienced before her childhood was cut short.
Although written almost three decades after her flight from Iran, Goel’s memory recall is detailed and specific. As life changes around her, I can sense her fear, anger, and determination rising like steam from a boiling pot. Her desire is not only escape for herself but also for her family and the people of Iran. In so doing, Goel took great risks but could not deny the liberation she wanted for all Iranians.
I presumed having watched news during this same time period I would have little to learn from the historical facts and details. However, having an inside view from Goel’s life showed me I should never presume such again. Who knew that a woman wearing the hijab and the chador (forced into rule by the Ayatollah) left women with only one hand free. The wearing of these garments required the women to hold them in place with one hand, severely limitation their ability to do anything requiring more than one hand.
Goel’s cast of characters is quite large, and I feared I would lose track of who did what and when. Yet, her writing is so definitive in every respect this was not a problem at all. In every scene change or new chapter, Goel does not leave her reader behind. Instead, she carries you through the desperate journey she took decades ago.
If you are a history buff or reader of memoirs, I highly recommend Fleeing the Hijab. There is much to be learned from the inside of Sima Goel’s story of her flight from Iran. Co-mingled with her life story and the story of Iran is a quasi-thriller, filled with suspense, mystery, and intrigue.
Win 1 of 10 ebook copies of Fleeing the Hijab (international)
Meet Sima Goel:
Iranian-born Sima Goel has always had compassion for those who suffer. Her instinctive need to speak out against oppression ultimately resulted in unwanted attention from the authorities, which led her to flee her beloved Shiraz and eventually to Montreal.
Sima Goel is a self-made woman. Her journey to freedom, recounted in her memoir, Fleeing the Hijab, A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran, reflects her belief that, without freedom of choice, life is worthless. She is a strong advocate for the disenfranchised and the rights of all, specifically the rights of women. With the publication of her book, Sima has fulfilled the promise she once made to herself: to speak out and share her truth that freedom is the most precious commodity of all.
Wellness chiropractor, health advocate, inspiring author and an in-demand speaker, Dr. Goel considers her most important role to be that of mother to her two teenage boys, and wife to her beloved husband.