Chapel Hill Public Library Meeting Room B
Thursday March 29 5:00-6:15pm
Free and open to the public
PLEASE NOTE SPECIAL TIME – PROGRAM WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY BUT CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
It is one thing to read headlines about the horrors of what has gone on in Iran and what religious persecution means. It is quite another to hear about it from someone who has been there and known the people who inspired those international headlines. It is an eye and mind opening experience to learn how those headlines actually affected the people who were involved.
The authors of Our Friend Mona are a husband and wife who live in Chapel Hill and work at UNC. Azadeh Rohanian Perry is the Business Services Coordinator in the UNC School of Dentistry in the Pediatric Department. Her husband, Mark Perry, is a playwright who teaches in UNC’s Department of Dramatic Art.
Azadeh, a name meaning “freedom” in the Persian language (Farsi), was a close friend of Mona’s when both girls were growing up in Shiraz, one of the most beautiful cities in Iran. Azadeh’s family moved when she was 16 and after that she dreamed repeatedly of people who suffered and died for their faith.
Our Friend Mona, is set in Iran and provides insight into the Bahá’í Faith and the campaign of persecution of this religion in Iran where the highest concentration of Bahá’í live. Using interviews and Mona’s mother’s written account, Azadeh and Mark tell the story of the events in the short life of Mona. The subtitle of the book is The Remarkable Life of a Young Martyr. Mark is also the author of a play about Mona called A New Dress for Mona (Drama Circle, 2015).
The story of sixteen-year-old Mona takes place between 1979 and 1983 following the 1979 Islamic Revolution when Iran became an Islamic Republic. During the aftermath of the revolution, Bahá’í leaders and whole families were arrested. Mona’s father was executed; her mother, and she herself were imprisoned and charged with being international spies. On June 18, 1983, ten women were executed after failing to recant their faith. Mona was the youngest at 16. News media around the world reported the ill-treatment, confiscation of property and executions. Many governments including our own condemned Iran’s behavior. The United Nations made a resolution in support of the Bahá’í.