August 29, 2014
Poet Simin Behbahani died in Iran on August 19, 2014 at the age of 87. Best known for speaking out against tyranny, and particularly the subjugation of women in Iran, Behbahani was a recipient of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom and a two-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in literature.
Behbahani wasn’t afraid to draw attention to the problems perpetrated by Iranian government and culture— among her greatest projects one addressed the plight of prostitutes in Tehran, and another brought historical context to the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Behbahani often made use of scathing and heart-wrenching poems to speak to the injustices suffered by Iranians. She was consistently harassed for her work and detained or imprisoned on several occasions, most recently at the age of 83. But she would not give in to fear, and she would not be silent. Behbahani was given the nickname, “Lioness of Iran,” by those whom she represented and spoke for. She died of health complications unrelated to persecution.
Read Soraya McDonald’s Washington Post article honoring Behbahani here.
A shorter account of Behbahani’s passing and some of the harassment she faced can be found at: Celebrity Cafe: Simin Behbahani
Or listen to a short NPR feature that includes some of Behbahani’s poetry.
posted by Corbin Lambeth