Inspired by a Prisoner of Tehran

On February 12, 2014 I was fortunate to attend a talk by Marina Nemat who wrote a memoir of her life in Iran – Prisoner of Tehran,  hosted by the Glendon Political Science Association.

I was not familiar with Ms. Nemat and her story prior to attending this event, and so, I did not know what to expect. The account of what she endured was heartbreaking; at the same to see and to listen to her speak about her imprisonment and torture was empowering. Since her talk, I have been deep in thought; her story triggered self-reflection about my understanding of the world around me, and about how my experiences have shaped who I am and who I am becoming.

I won’t retell her story – I think its better you pick up her book and read it. Although I have heard her speak, I will be reading her book.

There are two things from Ms. Nemat’s talk that stood out to me and that I would like to share with you:

1. Keep communicating with your enemies! When I heard this, my first thought was, “why on earth would I want to communicate with my enemies – they’re my enemies!” But upon deeper contemplation, I understood what she said. If we don’t talk with each other and try to understand one another, how are we going to live peacefully together? Also, keeping someone or a group of people as your enemies takes a tremendous amount of energy – energy you could be using to make your life better. Why waste your energy on someone you don’t like?

2. All human life has value. This is something that I want to keep with me as I progress in my career. I think that our political leaders often forget this, especially when there is conflict. It becomes easier to see people as numbers rather than as lives that deserve dignity. I don’t want to forget this.

Ms. Nemat’s talk also reaffirmed one of the reasons I decided to shift my career focus and return back to school. I want to be a voice; I want to contribute to the discussion about the successes and challenges that  international society faces, how we solve problems, what works and what doesn’t work. I don’t want life to pass by and then look back and I realize I said nothing; that I was apathetic to the things that affect my world.

So I made a decision, over the next few weeks (or months, depends on how quickly I can work), I will be changing the look and focus of my blog. I will expand the things I blog about to include more of my interests and views about the world around me.

Until next week…

Ttyl,

Neena

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