This book is about destiny.
From an (more than) upper middle class family, ambitious and educated in a strict manner, especially after the death of her highly educated father, son of former consul of Iran in Georgia, Farah Pahlavi is the last wife of the last Shah of Iran.
In Memoirs she outlines the previous meetings with the one who was going to become her husband, the power of destiny – she never obtained the scholarship to study architecture in Paris, which would have definitively separated her destiny of the one who was going to be the last shah of Iran and who was going to die away from his country after months of exile rush, the beauty of Iran and of its culture, the exactness in preserving the tradition, buying the royal trousseau of the one who lived the Cinderella dream, the daily royal work, the end of monarchy in Iran, the flee of the royal family after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the exile and the death of the Shah and finally the continuing of opposition against the Islamist regime in Iran.
I admit I liked the first part more than the second part, when the unfolding of the unhappy events of the exile of the Shah and the Shahbanu, even though that was I was initially expecting to read. I got absorbed by the idyllic world painted by Farah Pahlavi.
The book led the readers through the wonders of the 1,648,195 km2 of Iran and of the basil smelling streets of Teheran in the 1960s, the emotions of the young Farah when presented to the Queen mother to whom, due to her week health condition at that time, she lied after the death of the Shah in exile, inventing different activities that he was allegedly doing which prevented him from talking on the phone.
As far as I am concerned, the book greatly raised my curiosity for the area, the geography, the history, the succession of kings, shahs and presidents and the current situation of Iran and I have decided to make a file of the region.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Teheran recently put on display the art collection of Farah Pahlavi, worth over $3 billion, comprising of paintings of Andy Warhol, Picasso, Monet and others.
I do not know why I am so fond of this woman, she just fascinates me. Obviously, a woman chosen by the destiny to fulfill it. in moments of great stress, this book she gave life to inspired me and made me continue, gave me faith. A woman raised in a well off family, who has studied for two years architecture in Paris, coming in the summer break at home in 1959, she marries the Shah of Iran. Her life is a fairy tale and she becomes the cover of French and other European top magazines. Then there are the years of glory, the 4 children, the reforms – the agrarian reform in 1962 and the White Revolution with its 6 points in 1963, the initiatives of alphabetization and hygiene, enlightenment and modernization.
I read the book during my busiest days ever. My whole retreat was the thought of arriving home at 11 pm or later and reading a few pages. It also impressed me emotionally as it was right in the days before and during the eid. The destiny decided that one of my older aunts died right on the first day of the eid and, as the Islamic traditions says, the following day we were at her burial. For myself, a Muslim raised in a eminently Christian area, it was very impressing. It was a moment when I really saw that there are only three important moments during one’s journey on earth. This is more evident in the Muslim culture, where the tradition is sacredly kept and also very simple and touching.
In the same night I continue reading the book and the course of the action was at the death of the Shah in Iran in Egypt, the only country in the world welcoming them. I wonder how strong can one be to resist the severe disease of her husband, the distance of the 4 kids spread all over the world, the protests in front of the windows of the hospital wishing the Shah death, the conspiracies, the trials claiming extradition of the Shah all at the same time, finding that your destiny was decided in a silk tapestry room by some people drinking whiskey and smoking cigars after years it happened and maybe from history books.
The book is also a slice of world history, of geopolitics, it talks about human rights, women emancipation. As a matter of fact, Kissinger was one of the close friends of the royal family, facilitating and intervening during the exile period. It came as no surprise that the book that followed was The Bilderberg Club The Masters of the World. Next one? Henry Kissinger, The Diplomacy.