|Iran’s Empress in Exile Finds ‘a Way to Go On’|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/05/17 16:31 英语文摘|
By Nora Boustany
It could be the eternal wisdom of Persia’s great poetsan unforgettable bond to Iran and an everlasting love for a ruler the world shunned in his last days in exile that have kept Farah Pahlavi anchored.
She has suffered in her 25 years since the shahMohammad Reza Pahlavipiloted his family out of Iran. At 66she remains philosophical about her lossesthe dizzying highs and lows her journey has involved.
“There are days where I find myself depressed and tired... people write to me and they want me to give them courage”she said.“Life is a strugglefor everyone at every levelbut you should not lose your dignity. To go on is the struggle of life.”
“There are so many answers in Persian poetry. A blue skylove of family and nature. All this gives me positive energy”she said.“At the endit is in yourself that you have to find the way to go on.”
The account of her life as a glamorous and stunning empress who had to give it all up in the face of historical upheaval is narrated in her memoir“An Enduring LoveMy Life With the Shah”published in English by Miramax Books. The bookwhich was translated from Frenchtopped bestseller lists for weeks last fall in France.
In the bookshe chronicles Iran’s plunge into chaos and arbitrary executions in the early days of the revolutionand her husband’s battle with cancer. She describes the humiliation of becoming a diplomatic burden in search of a haven and medical care at the height of the U.S. hostage crisis in Tehran.
She details the political maneuvering she and her husband faced as they jetted from Egypt to the United Statesthe BahamasMexico and Panama before finally returning to reside in Egypt. It is a retelling of events based on her own diary entries as well as accounts from the shah’s doctorsthe former first lady of EgyptJehan Sadatand others.
Pahlavi talked about her life and work Wednesday in an interview at her home in Potomac. The afternoon sun flooded her living roomdecorated with kilim carpetsmodern Iranian paintings and a bronze bust of the shah. She follows every newscast and development in Iran as if still thereand she devotes time each day to answering email from students in Iran who ask her to call themparents worried about their children or disillusioned expatriates who need her moral support.
Pahlavi began writing her book three years agowhen she was overcome with grief as her youngest daughter was losing a battle with depressioneating disorders and a dependence on sleeping pills. Leila31died in a hotel room in London in 2001.
“I felt so miserableI started then”she said of beginning the memoir.
Pahlavi said that if she has one regretit is that she did not spend more private time with her husband and children. Her happiest memories are of giving birth to a boya girla boya girland of traveling around the Iranian countrysidewhere she said she met ordinary people.“I always wanted to travel without maidsor cross the Iranian desert on camel back. Apparentlyit is an unbelievable experience”she said longingly.
Pahlavi was born Farah Dibaan only child. She lost her father and was brought up by her mother in her uncle’s house.
In the summer of 1959 in Francewhile trying to obtain a scholarship to continue her architecture studies in Parisa chance encounter with the shah developed into a romance. They married later that year.
A longtime acquaintanceHaleh Esfandiariwho served as deputy director of one of her many cultural foundationssaid that“she never lost that popular touch. She was genuine. While the shah gave the impression of being distantshe allowed people to rush and embrace her while visiting the provinces.”Esfandiaridirector of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center hereattended the same girls school in Tehran as Pahlavi.
Pahlavi describes the forced separation from her children when they needed their parents the mostthe final scene of tearful farewells with palace personnel throwing themselves at the shah’s feetand the cook who grabbed his copper pots and bags of lentils and beans to take with him on the plane.
“When we look backwe all had a part in this revolution”she said of her countrymen.“They allin a sort of hysteriathought religious men could bring freedom and democracy.
“Khomeini used them all”she said of the grand ayatollah who led the 1979 Islamic revolution.“Maybe we should have handled or addressed problems differently”she concedednoting that there were shortcomings in her husband’s rule. He died in 1980.
The political jockeying by some members of the royal entourage after the death of her husband still stings.“It’s very hard to have seen one side of human beingsthen have to see the other sidetheir actions and wordscoming from people who were close to you”she said.
Butshe added“I have tried to put myself above it.”
“If you have to cross the desert to reach your goalgo”she saidborrowing from the words of Hafizone of Iran’s most celebrated poets“pay no heed to the wounding thorns.”-
“如果你非得穿越沙漠才能到达目标，那就出发吧，”她引用伊朗最著名的诗人之一哈菲兹的话说道，“不要去理会扎人的荆棘。”(李攻科摘译自The Washington Post Mar. 52004)
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