Sarah Darabi Uncovered: Autobiography Unveils Middle Eastern Woman’s Journey
By Martha Michael
Santa Clarita, CA
In much the same way that women are physically veiled in parts of the Middle East, the stories we hear from the region are often shrouded in mystery. And for those who have never traveled that far, it is hard to imagine the reality of the Persian or Arab cultures.
Sarah Darabi of Canyon Country grew up in Pakistan and spent her young adulthood in Iran, so she has a firsthand account of the lifestyles and political events there. To the enrichment of readers everywhere, even other parts of the world, she recently shared her story in a new book entitled “Uncovered.” The romance of the world she left seems evident from the first words of Darabi’s book, “Far away – very far away, lies a beautiful land surrounded by oceans and mountains.” Those words are the first of many unexpected turns by the author. The reader soon discovers Darabi is actually describing the United States.
“Uncovered” is not a sugar-coated account of her childhood from the region where all religions – even human civilization – got their start, but an honest description of her personal horrors there, as a female and as an educated professional.
It is the true story of Darabi’s life as the eldest of eight children born to an impoverished Pakistani family of religious Muslims. Her childhood was spent in a two-room apartment with no furniture, where she and 12 family members slept on concrete floors. As a child, she rejected the extreme tenets of the fundamental Islamic faith and paid a heavy price for refusing to obey her elders, who demanded that she cover herself in a burqa when she was 15 years old. “I refused to obey them, got more beating and verbal abuse from every adult in the household except for my father, who remained a neutral party,” Darabi says. “I went on hunger strike and told my mother she can have my dead body to put Burqa on, not my obedience. Three days of hunger strike and my mother freaked out. ... The relatives tried social boycott and I was banned from going to their homes. That didn’t work either. I told them if you don’t love me the way I am, so be it.”
Readers will become educated about her resident countries, including their infant mortality rates, annual income, and use of Muslim law. Darabi describes a life of experiences, from barbaric to exotic, which are more foreign to American readers than the countries in which they occurred. She earned a college degree in Pakistan and worked in Tehran for four years during the Iran-Iraq War, including the German and Swiss embassies. Darabi left the Middle East in 1981, to move to a country where the people were described in the fairytales of her youth: “The residents have skin like porcelain, golden hair, eyes like the color of the deep blue ocean and lips like red roses. The people are not only beautiful on the surface, but they are the kindest and most generous people on the face of the earth.” Of course, that country was America, where Darabi would become a citizen.
It was a 25-year dream for Darabi to complete the autobiographical book, which was printed and released worldwide last month. Like she is in other areas of her life, the Santa Clarita real estate broker was persistent and managed to overcome obstacles, eventually finding the right avenue for publishing.
“The reason for writing the book is to inspire people,” she says. “I led a fascinating life full of hurdles and challenges, but believing in myself and the little voice in my heart helped me conquer all.”
In the book, Darabi thanks individuals who helped her achieve her goal, expressing her gratitude publicly. “My hope is for the readers to use my life experiences as the guideline in going through the tough times,” says the author. “Believe in themselves and always do the right thing. Difficulties and obstacles in life make us strong, wise and successful.” You might say that Darabi’s greatest success is in uncovering facts about a life that’s worlds away, and what’s in the heart of a very brave woman.
“Uncovered” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or by visiting the website Uncovered bysarah.com.