PRI's THE WORLD
favourite books from 2014
"City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran" by Ramita Navai
Ramita Navai’s “City of Lies” was a great read. She takes readers to corners of Iranian society that are very difficult to penetrate. And she does that with great personal risk. Listen to an interview with the author here. - Shirin Jaafari
THE EVENING STANDARD
BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
From magisterial biographies to captivating memoirs and fiction — our reviewers and writers choose their favourites from the past 12 months
Ramita Navai’s City of Lies (Weidenfeld, £18.99) is gripping, a dark delicious unveiling of the secret decadent life of Islamic Tehran, deeply researched yet exciting as a novel, while Charles King’s Midnight at the Pera Palace (Norton, £11.99) — brilliant, entertaining authoritative — recounts the twilight of late Ottoman Istanbul. Ali Allawi’s Faisal I of Iraq (Yale, £30) is excellent and indispensable, effectively a history of the making of today’s Middle East.
In City of Lies (Weidenfeld, £18.99) Ramita Navai tells us that ‘in order to live in Tehran you have to lie’. Survival there depends on dodging the fatwas of Iran’s medieval theocratic regime. Drink, drugs and paid-for sex proliferate; the divorce rate soars while religious attendance tumbles. Navai paints brilliantly insightful portraits of eight Tehranis suffering under an Iranian revolution which has gone terribly wrong — but with no stomach for another in the light of the failed ‘Arab Spring’.
tHE dAILY shOW
wITH jON sTEWART
Insight with Ramita Navai - interviewed by Jeremy Bowen
Publication: Action on Armed Violence
Named in list of Top 100 most influential journalists covering armed violence
Top 100: The most influential journalists covering armed violence
By AOAV, 8 Oct 2013
From besieged cities in Syria to American street-corners, and countless other places in between, armed violence continues to take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people a year. It fundamentally reshapes the world we live in. Yet for a vast number of people, violence and conflict are abstractions far removed from their daily realities.
Journalists are the bridge between those peaceful and violent worlds. Without their bravery and determination to bring the realities of armed violence to the rest of the world, we would neither understand nor be able to address the issues that cause and propagate violence.
Here, AOAV celebrates 100 men and women who we consider to number the most influential writers and broadcasters covering armed violence and conflict around the world, as chosen by our staff.
Publication: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Syria Undercover, 14 December, 2012
Laura King writes:
When journalist and filmmaker Ramita Navai speaks of courage, she isn’t taking about her own, considerable though it is. In discussing her award-winning documentary film “Syria Undercover,” she alludes again and again to the bravery of activists and dissidents who helped her and producer Wael Dabbous piece together an often harrowing portrait of the early days of the Syrian opposition movement.
Unable to report openly on the uprising, the pair spent weeks in clandestine constant contact with activists who had left behind lives as teachers and businessmen to devote themselves the struggle against the Assad regime _ a ragtag band that was just beginning to coalesce into the Free Syrian Army. The filmmakers endured danger and hardship along with their subjects, including a heart-poundingly close call when Syrian government forces and militiamen raided homes adjacent to the safe house where they and a trio of fugitives were sheltering in the town of Madaya.
Publication: Wild Magazine
IN THE LINE OF FIRE
by: Blaine Skrainka, October 26, 2012
Journalists – the good ones at least – are essentially two things: truth-seekers and story tellers. Ramita Navai travels to far and dangerous corners of the globe to do just that, uncovering the ugly truths that are all too often brushed under the rug while bringing a human connection to those that are ignored.
The fight for democracy throughout the Arab world, while at times fascinating and inspiring to witness, has been an arduous and bloody affair. No place is this truer than in Syria where literally tens of thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters have been systematically targeted and intimidated, tortured and murdered.
Foreign press coverage had been outright banned in the country, and journalists have been said to be targeted by government security forces. Ramita Navai and her director Wael Dabbous were some of the first reporters to make their way in. After hooking up with a dissident network in London, the two snuck into Syria posing as tourists and then embedded themselves in with the activists. Upon her return from the turbulent situation, Ms. Navai spoke to The WILD about her perilous mission, and the life journey that shaped her motivations for telling this story.
Anderson Cooper 360
Crisis in Syria
Murder for Honour's Sake