At the time of the revolution, Mahnaz was in New York negotiating the terms of the contract for the establishment of United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) in Iran. The revolutionary government confiscated her house, her papers, her pictures, mementos—all signs of her personal history and her individual experience. The Ayatollahs put her on the death list, charging her with “corruption on earth and warring with God.”
Forced to remain in exile, she sought to understand her predicament by learning the history of other women who had ended up like her—women who had fought for liberty and paid a high price. She wrote a book, Women in Exile, on the lives of twelve women from different regions and different socio-political, cultural, and religious backgrounds who were forced to leave their country on pain of death because of their struggle for human rights.
The Women’s Review of Books calls it a harrowing but inspiring collection of stories that remains a poignant testimony to women’s resilience and courage in the face of extreme cruelty and oppression. Women in Exile has been translated into several languages and widely distributed.
Read on: Preserving Iran’s Culture and Heritage