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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:256
  • eBook ISBN:9781930198029

Nine Rubies

Broken Silence of a Daughter of Revolutionary Iran

by Mahru Ghashghaei and Susan Snyder

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Mahru, an Iranian emigre now living in the New York area, tells the moving story of her family that spans a century: from her prosperous merchant grandfather who fled the Russian Revolution in 1917; to the comfortable life he secured for his wife and children in Ardebil; to the treachery of a Tudeh husband that placed her mother in penury; to her mother’s desperate attempts to preserve some kind of love and security for her three daughters as a servant in Teheran society, with results both tragic and heroic. Mahru goes on to live through the Khomeini revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, and a final relocation to the West. Her grandfather's deathbed prediction that his granddaughters would give their mother “nine rubies” (nine grandchildren) in the midst of this turmoil is the impossible promise that provides the title of this uplifting book.
In 1990, two mothers sat in a modest kitchen enjoying a spring day and the usual conversation of getting to know someone new. It would turn out that their common passions of family, children, gardening and heritage became the pathway to deeper stories of women's issues, self-determination, and personal struggle. Sue was an American Jewish educator, writer and entrepreneur. Mahru was an Iranian Muslim nurse and counselor. Mahru's stories were powerful, and screamed for a way into the world. While their sons grew, Sue and Mahru met often. Mahru told stories; Sue typed and asked questions. Mahru found the American parallels for her experiences and cultural norms. Sue tried not to impose her perspectives and values onto Mahru's experiences, and to find the universal meaning in the deeply personal recollections. Every question unlocked a new recollection, carefully tucked away. Each story was a metaphor for a larger human struggle for food and shelter, contentment, love, belonging, power and self-determination. As they spoke and wrote over 20 years, stories hidden deep in Mahru's memory emerged and found their way onto the page. They are steeped in personal experiences that were impacted by a shifting political Iran, often influenced by covert American political and economic interventions. This story is ready to tell.
About the author
Mahru was born in Ardebil, Iran near the Russian border in 1946, during the Azerbaijan Crisis. Her mother was the daughter of a well-to-do businessman and community leader. Her father was an officer in the army, but like many of his generation, a member of the secretive, underground Communist party. After her father gave away most of her mother’s wealth to the cause, and escaped to Russia, Mahru moved to Tehran with her mother and two sisters. Once a family of privilege, the mother became the servant of a wealthy family, and Mahru lived between the worlds of servitude and entitlement. This unique vantage point allowed Mahru to witness the rapidly changing Iranian society. Her mother struggled to navigate the responsibilities of a servant, while raising three daughters in a man’s world. Mahru went to school, graduated from nursing school, and became a medical professional. Her social life was rich and she had many Western-type experiences. She traveled around the world, and decided to stay in America just before the Iranian Revolution. She returned to Iran during the Revolution chaos to help the country. The war inspired her patriotism for country to do her duty by teaching medical professionals behind the battlefield lines. When the time came that she would have to send her own son into battle, she again made the choice to leave Iran, and moved back to the United States. In many years of conflict and pain, she was separated from and reunited with family members and her country. With open eyes and a sympathetic heart, she put everything behind her to discover a new life in the United States.