The Sheehan World
ISSN 2577-364X Vol. 26, No. 1 2020 © Media Synergy, Inc.


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Iranian Refugee's Memoir, Daylight Forever
Discredits the Lie of 45's Immigration Myth

A courageous and hopeful new memoir by human rights activist and former refugee Mahvash Khajavi-Harvey reveals the darkness of war and explodes the dangerous American myth that immigrants to the US harm our way of life and should be deported.

In fact, the publication of Daylight Forever can be traced directly to the misinformation, disinformation, cruelty and prejudice spouted by our 45th president — and those that parrot his hatred.

Daylight Forever is the true story of a young Bahá’í girl's dangerous, solo escape from Iran to the United States as a 15-year-old refugee.

Author Mahvash Khajavi-Harvey and Daylight Forever

Daylight Forever is a portrait of a childhood cut short, a family torn apart as it flees from Iranian oppression. The story follows one immigrant’s struggle for religious freedom, opportunity and belonging. The harrowing account of her journey to the United States illuminates the consequences of war, religious persecution, women’s oppression and of denying education and basic human rights to all people.

And it exposes the true nature of a refugee's plight and the lengths to which refugees of all ages will go to escape the darkness of war and find safety, education and a place to call home.

Mahvash Khajavi-Harvey was one of those refugees, trying to escape a society that called her and other Bahá’ís "dirty," unemployable, and apostates who can be oppressed and even killed with impunity.

A reluctant author, she was convinced to write Daylight Forever by her daughter who experienced animosity toward immigrants at her school in 2016, shortly after the election. A boy in her daughter's middle school, emboldened by and mimicking the falsehoods and hate-filled rhetoric of our #FakePresident, insisted to his whole class that there were too many immigrants in the US and that they should all be deported.

"My little girl stood up and asked the boy how he could say such a thing when he didn't know every person's story?" the author writes. "He did not have any answer. She told him, 'My mother is an immigrant. You shouldn't judge immigrants; you don't know their struggles. They work hard to rebuild their lives and they contribute to their community.'"

Daylight Forever: A Memoir is Mahvash's story of growing up in the Bahá’í Faith in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. For most of the 8-year-long war, she lived in daily terror of religious persecution and constant bombing raids by Iraqi jets. Living through the war as a child so traumatized her that she finally convinced her parents to allow her to escape across the Iran-Pakistan border with shady smugglers her family did not know and will never know.

"Death and the fear of death consume every hour of my life, waking or sleeping," she writes about her childhood in Iran. "Losing myself, my body to the bombs is one thing, but losing my mind and my soul to this darkness is another. These thoughts, the fear, are all worse at night, made more oppressive by being locked up in our home with the windows blacked out and taped up.

"... Since the first day the war began, since I was a little girl, every night before I fall asleep, I have wished for a spaceship. I don't want to visit the moon or roam the galaxies .... All I want is to climb inside my little pod and travel to the other side of the Earth, to the side where the sun shines bright and warm, and I will not come back until the sun is rising in Iran again.

"All I want is to live in the daylight forever."

Though her accounts of persecution, fear and especially her two-week-long journey hidden in the back of trucks and disguised as a Muslim girl to escape Iran are horrendous, the memoir is a story of hope, of the will to live, survive, and thrive as a refugee. It is an anthem for peace and the light of love. Mahvash wrote Daylight Forever to encourage compassion, tolerance and acceptance in these times of heated debate over the desirability of welcoming immigrants and refugees to our country.

Daylight Forever, a refugee's memoir

"This sensitive and insightful book is a remarkable, epic tale of family endurance, hardship and journey," says Jim Martin of Philadelphia. The memoir is "a vivid reminder that immigrants bring with them deeply rooted values of family, loyalty, hard work and perseverance. We are richer for their presence."

Megan Febuary, founder of For Women Who Roar, calls the book "stunning and heartbreaking" and says it deserves "a prize for the bravery that it represents in honor of every refugee, both present and past.”

Indeed, it should be required reading for all Americans. Sheehan World publisher Kathy Sheehan, who helped to edit and promote Daylight Forever, strongly supports this inspiring memoir.

The book, distributed by Ingram, is available as a Kindle e-book and in paperback at Amazon, BookBaby, the Bahá’í Bookstore and other booksellers.

Now an American citizen and a dentist in private practice, Mahvash lives in Seattle where she and her husband are raising three children and giving back to their communities in many ways. She has volunteered dentistry services overseas in third-world communities and also provides free dental care in Seattle at local homeless clinics every year.

She supports numerous nonprofits including the Mona Foundation, the Tahirih Justice Center and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, who will receive the net proceeds from the book. She has also served on the board of “Journey with an Afghan School,” a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), which was founded post 9/11 to build schools for girls in Afghanistan.

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Editor's Note: Sheehan World publisher Kathy Sheehan helped to edit and promote Daylight Forever because Mahvash Khajavi-Harvey is a friend. And because immigrants deserve education, health care, respect and dignity. And because no child should be separated from their families, especially while fleeing persecution, violence or war. Because everyone deserves to live in daylight forever.

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