It was the last straw! ThThe 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fleeing The Hijab by Sima Goel is the emotional true story of two teenage girls who dreamed of something better. It was the early 1980’s and Sima at the age of thirteen was protesting The repressive government in Iran. Things would get worse in her country though as a new regime came into power and living conditions became even worse for Iranian women. Sima had seen family die, had to leave school, was being forced to wear a hijab and realized that she wouldn’t be able to live the life she wanted if she stayed in Iran. Rather than stay in the conditions she was in, she left the country she loved and trekked across the desert to Pakistan and hopefully freedom. The journey was not easy and once they escaped their predicament they became strangers in a strange land with no one to help them. This story is a lot of different things, it’s a coming of age story, a story of courage and a tale of what it takes for some to earn their freedom. I was drawn to this book because I wondered how two girls could survive a trip across the desert and travel to a land where you knew nobody and couldn’t speak the language. Of course their lives in Iran would have been worse which leads me to one of the things that I really liked about this book. Despite the repression that Sima felt in Iran she still talks lovingly about her homeland in this book. The way she describes her family, her home, the seasons in Iran and the fruit trees, you see that she still loves her country and feels no bitterness. Reading this made me feel bad for the Syrian refugees because like Sima they are being forced from their home. I also like the description of Iran in this book. I didn’t know a lot about that area of the world so I liked hearing Sima’s tales of growing up and her adventures as part of the three musketeers(read it and you will understand). I knew nothing about the people in Iran and hearing about Sima’s childhood made me think that she wasn’t that different from American kids in a lot of ways. Another scene I liked was when Sima as a child is playing in a park. She starts to play with another kid that she doesn’t know and the mother of the child comes over and asks Sima’s last name. When the mother hears the name Goel she is upset with Sima and takes her child away because the child is a Muslim and Sima is Jewish. Sima is an innocent child and is crushed, she rushes home and demands that her family change their name so she doesn’t have to be embarrassed again. I loved how two young children from different religions had no problem playing together but adults who are used to living a certain way can’t accept kids from a different religion being together. Fleeing The Hijab is about faith, family and love. Despite what looks like a hard life, Sima feels no anger and has gone on to make a better life for herself. This book is proof that someone can survive being repressed for being different and still go on to be a loving successful person and give other people hope. This book is a must read for anyone that has gone through a hard time and thought that things can’t get better.
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.