Today, I’m interviewing Lori Foroozandeh here on the blog. She has an absolutely amazing story which she has turned into the book, “Lori’s Song.” I’m looking forward to getting a copy and reading it.
How did you get through writing this book? There’s some real drama going on here as I’m looking at the description, it sounds very poignant.
It was very difficult. When I returned from Iran, I totally went out of control doing drugs, and drinking, I had no self-control. I think in the back of my head I wanted to die, which I almost did a couple times.
But around the end of 2003, people kept telling me to write a book it would be a good catharsis! I started writing and my mind took off. I remembered everything like I was reliving it. I just sat down and wrote never had to think about anything. In about 6 months I had it done, but I couldn’t re-read it. So I had my husband do it. I also got a literary agent who had done a lot of work on it, but in defense of her I added to the book after she and I were finished with our agreement, so the bad grammar was my fault. To this day I haven’t read the complete book from front to back. I’ve went over certain chapters, especially with my therapist. But I didn’t publish it right away, I got divorced and in 2006 he started urging me to finish it up and publish it. He offered to pay the self-publishing fee, so in 2009 it was released.
There was of course a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment here in the US as a result of Sept 11th. How did you deal with it?
I understood it all too well. I can’t say that I hated the Muslims or people from the Middle East, and to be honest to this day I don’t HATE THEM. I know it was just the FANATIC Muslims who did this and not your typical Qur’an abiding Muslim. If you truly read the Qur’an you will see it only promotes basically what the Bible does, nowhere in the Qur’an does it say to kill people from America, or that America is the BIG SATAN. While I am NOT Muslim, I’d like to say something in their defense, they even believe in JESUS, The bible says that Prophet Jesus was crucified to bear God's wrath for the sins of the believers and accordingly he was cursed. On the contrary, Muslims believe, according to the Quran, that he was neither crucified nor cursed but was held and will be held in honor in this life and in the Hereafter.
What do you want someone to take away from the book?
• To know that no matter how BAD or UNBEARABLE your life may seem, there is always hope, there is always your will to survive so please use it.
• Check out the laws and customs of the country you want to visit. Even Canada or Mexico, you need to know your rights before you leave this country. When I got to Iran, the first thing they did at the airport was take my passport. They told me I needed my husband’s written permission to leave the country and that my American citizenship was not honored in their country I was now Iranian because I married an Iranian and we live in Iran. And I had no recourse because there is no American Embassy in Iran
• Help one another, we only live once and we need to learn to give rather than take. I appreciate my life and FREEDOM more than I ever have in my life. The older I get the more I appreciate everyday I’m alive.
Does the cover of your book relate to a specific incident?
That is what the camp looked like it had that type of barbed wire around it. The moon was so prominent, that was the only light in the camp, they had these huge lights that lit up like spotlights when they wanted to check the prisoners at night. It’s funny people think I sat around and pondered things and prayed a lot, to be honest I was too scared all the time to think of anything but living from minute to minute.
So many will focus on the negatives, I don’t wish to do that. What were your favorite things about Iran, while you were living there?
The friendliness of strangers, I remember being lost once when I first started teaching English at this institute, and I had gotten a taxi to a certain street then I didn’t know where to go, all of a sudden I had 10 people wanting to pay for a cab for me to get me there. MY GIRLS- the ones I taught English too were my SHINING LIGHTS in Iran. I didn’t know that much Farsi and they didn’t know English so I had to teach them LITERALLY FROM THE BEGINNING, like “Hi how are you”. I taught for four years and grew so close to those girls and their families. They were constantly bringing me gifts and flowers for the day. I became the TOP TEACHER for three years in a row. These girls would stay a little after class and we would get in a circle and they would ask me questions about America. Questions they couldn’t ask their parents or would get in trouble for asking. They knew they could trust me. They asked about boys and dating, and just simple things like clothes shopping. I loved them so much. Then one of my students LAYLA, was drowned in her father’s swimming pool for not being a virgin on her wedding night. The mother in law stands outside the door of where the husband and wife copulate and in the morning if there is no blood they mark them as “whores” and if their father doesn’t do the respectful thing of killing her, they would have hung her.
I saw hangings in town squares that were watched by everyone and they even encouraged the children to watch. They hung women by construction cranes, so it was a slow hanging they would just slowly lift them up, and what their idea of compassion was allowing the girls mother to accompany her up to the noose and spend five minutes with her. It’s all disturbing and barbaric.
I loved the bazaars too, how you could barter for just about anything, clothes food. They didn’t have grocery stores like they do here, everything is sold at separate little shops.
Is there anything else you would care to add would be great.
You need to live your life for TODAY. Write a post it note that reminds you to let people know you love them, and never go to bed mad. Always kiss goodnight and always tell people you love them, this goes a long way. We have two choices in life to LIVE it or EXIST in it. I chose to live it, I hope you do too. I want to leave with this writing I did on my site www.loris-song.com when I put it up on the web back in 2008, and for me it’s so true. Thanks for having me Brian.
While Terrorism is a war that starts developing within the mind,
Religion is a war that antagonizes our conscience, but
Love is always a war within the heart.....
Lori F.5/2002 Share The Peace!
Thank you, Lori Foroozandeh