Girl With a Gun: A Teenage Freedom Fighter in Iran

By Diana Nammi and Karen Attwood

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A gripping and moving first-hand account of one woman’s fight to change the world around her

Publication date: March 2020
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Diana Nammi became a frontline fighter with the Peshmerga when she was only 17. But this wasn’t always her fate. Originally known as Galavezh (Morning Star), she grew up in the Kurdish region of Iran in the 1960s and 70s. This was a time of cooperation and looking out for neighbours. It was also a world of forced marriages, with a woman’s value determined by her husband or male relatives.
But Galavezh was cherished by her father, who was a kind and brave man. At the age of four, she witnessed him stepping forward to save a woman’s life on her wedding day, when she was threatened because it was believed that she was not a virgin. From this act, Galavezh learned that one person can change the world around them…
This is the story of what Galavezh did next. She became involved in political activities while at teacher training college as a teenager and as demonstrations to oust the hated Shah swept the country, Galavezh began to play an active part in the Iranian Revolution of 1979, like many other students. But after the Shah was forced to leave, the new Islamic Regime which came to power supported no opposition, and Galavezh found she had no choice but to become a soldier in the famed peshmerga fighting force, after Kurdistan was brutally attacked. She spent 12 years on the front line, and helped lead the fight for women’s rights and equality for the Kurdish people. She became one of the Iranian regime’s most wanted.
Peshmerga literally translates as “one who sacrifices oneself for others”. The forces, including more than a thousand women on active duty, are currently fighting ISIS in northern Iraq. This is the unique and powerful account of a woman who fought with these troops, travelling across Iran and Iraq, standing up for women and girls and slowly but surely changing the world.
Girl With A Gun is also a story about family with a powerful love story at its heart.

Deeyah Khan, award-winning filmmaker and activist: “Diana Nammi has been an inspiration to me ever since I was first finding my feet as a women's rights activist. Her story is full of drama … At every stage, she has displayed extraordinary courage and reserves of emotional strength. The world needs to know more about this incredible woman.”

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