Authors Corner

Montreal, June 12, 2023 - A lively book presentation was organized at Shahla Stee’s home which brought together some friends who are interested in English literature!

The author was Lida Berghuis who recently published the diary of her childhood dreams.

She shared her story or at least part of it with those present at this book signing event. It was a lovely afternoon and we sat in Shahla’s backyard, admiring the beautiful flowers of her garden. A friend commented that her book, Leaving Iran, My Persian Diaries, reminded her of The Diary of Anne Frank.

We were both teenagers, observed the author, living a normal life. Suddenly the situation in our countries changed completely. We both belonged to a group of people who were blamed for their religion and way of life. We had to leave or hide because we feared for our lives. Anne Frank’s life ended tragically of course, and is not comparable to mine in that regard, said Lida. In my case, when the Islamic revolution happened in Iran, and the persecution of the Bahá’ís increased, my family left unexpectedly.

The friends present at the book signing had only heard stories of those events, in the late nineteen seventies and early eighties, from family members and were curious to know more. For others it was the story of immigration that was interesting, reminding them of their own experiences as immigrants.

This book can be interesting for the general population as well. A Persian high school classmate of the author, who is a friend of the Faith and lives in Sweden now, said that she loved the book. And that people who want to know what her teen years were like should read it. Leaving Iran, My Persian diaries, is a story of persecution and immigration that many people can relate to no matter what their background might be.

What was also wonderful at this event was that the people present shared their own stories of immigration or the challenges they had experienced in life. This brings me back to the fact that we all have stories to tell.

This book is a compilation of Lida Berghuis’s diary entries from when she was 12-16 years old, 1976-1980. The Islamic revolution took place in 1979 and just months before my family left Iran for Canada because we were Bahá’ís and afraid of the persecution that would follow this regime change. This is also the story of immigration with all its challenges and joys.

This book is the story of religious persecution. The Bahá’ís who stayed in Iran paid a great price.  Some were imprisoned and some were killed, and many had their belongings confiscated. The youth were deprived of university education and the Bahá’ís were not allowed to work in the public sector. Those who left Iran had to start their lives all over in a new land with new rules, sometimes able to work, sometimes unable to transfer their skills to that country.

Leaving Iran, My Persian Diaries, is available on Amazon.


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