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Not Without My Daughter
1 ( a web visitor)


I'm a 15 year old female from New Jersey. I was watching a movie called Not Without My Daughter tonight and it seriously made me tear! Its based on a true stroy which made it even worse. I suggest that you watch this movie. Its about a American women who is married to a Iranian man. They have a daughter named Matop and the father finally convinces his wife and daughter to go to Iran for a visit.. but he lies.. its not a visit.. its to stay! They suffer in Iran for nearly a year after being beaten and all.. they re-unite (without the husband) in America on Feb. 9th 1986, after a long suffering journey home. Anyone who has information on Betty and Matop or even their e-mail addresses (I wish to talk to them!) or anything please write to me at . Thankyou! (:

2 ( a pedar)


This story, even if it can happen in any part of the world or in any social level, hides something else. U might get more informations about its reality if u can obtain a copy of interview with Dr. MAHMOUDI, the father of MATOP (MAHTAB), realised by Jean-Pierre FOUCAULT, a journalist of the first french TV canal , TF1 about 1993.

U have to know that this book is part of the cold war between US and IRANIAN governement. Yr youth might doesn't permit you to know that since 1979, the relations between the The US and IRANIAN governements has been at its lowest level, and The US authorities have not missed any occasion to humiliate the Iranian nation (fingerprinting of the Iranians at the US airports is part of this plan).

let's get back to the interview :

1- Betty and her family went to Iran on JULY with about 10 bags of wool dresses, when the temperature in Tehran rises up to 40C. ( It doesn't seem wise to do so if she planned to stay for a short time otherwise she hides the reality).

2- Betty tries to show herself as a good mother, but why didn't she accept that her daughter gets the mails of her father, why does she prevents her daughter to be in contact with her father? what was she scared of ?

3- Betty was so nervous when the French journalist questionned her about her life before the marriage with Dr.MAHMOUDI. She didn't feel to have an enough high intelectual level to be proud of. And she admitted that her story has been totally rewritten by a writer to give it a more realistic and exciting aspect.

I'll be glad to discuss about this with all of u especially Betty, Mahtab and DR.MAHMOUDI.

Good luck

3 ( a madar)


I have seen the movie some years ago

Yes it is sad what has happened to this particular family Unfortunately this goes on all over the world that is why we have so many shelters for buttered women here in the Us

The life she had before her marriage to her husband does not justify what her husband did ( if this it a true story)

Abusive men and women exist both among Iranians and Americans

This sad fact is not to be used against any nation

Love and Peace

4 ( a madar)

I remember the interview the Iranian TV had with Dr . Mahmoudi when first this movie came out . I was in Iran that time and I was amused by the differences between Dr Mahmoudi and the actor they chose for his role . Movie showed him as a tall , angry looking and a big size man . But the real Dr Mahmoudi is a very short and slim , kind of old man maybe half size of Betty herself .

5 ( pedar#2)

I feel (but can not understand) that a part of Iranian women prefere to defend Betty as a woman rather than trying to understand the reality of this story and the role it was given to help the Anti-Iranian plan. about her past life : U may take a girl from a farm, but u never take the farm from the girl.

Good luck

6 ( a madar)

Not without my daughter was a propaganda movie. Not that I agree with what Dr. Mahmoodi did, even if only 10% of the movie was true. No one should be allowed to treat his wife or child the way he did and he had no right to decide for them where to go and how to live their lives, but the movie was not based on truth and made solely for propaganda against Iranians over all and not against action of one person. I did see both interviews with Betty and Dr. Mahmoodi and it did seem like they both were not truthful. Betty did this because she wanted to sell the book and Dr. Mahmoodi was not truthful either, he did make many mistakes on not being up front and straight forward with his wife and specially his child. I do think Sally Field should be ashamed of herself for having the leading role in this movie and being the puppet of some political agenda.

Another Mom

7 ( a mother)

There are certain re-occurring themes in the Iranian-American community. The not-without-my-daughter discussion is bound to come up at some point, so it's good to be prepared with your comments. Unfortunately, this movie left an indelible mark on the Iranian people and in the American memory. Of course the movie was sensational to make it a more interesting movie. Of course, the issues seemed (and were) exaggerated on film. And of course, there was truth to be told as well. However it was in the perspective of a very scared woman. It might be interesting to see an Iranian film portraying the husbands viewpoint (What might the title be? )

There is a greater issue here of women's rights. I don't want to get into a political debate-- but we still have a long way to go to. Laws of one country are not confined to the borders of that country.

I would also like to say one more thing about why "Betty" is so afraid of her ex (refereing to item 2- of Pedar#2) -- If you have ever been abused, you will know why Betty is still afraid. Until you've been there, it is difficult to understand.

Thank you for your brave comments.

8 ( a pedar)

On the film "Not without My daughter": This is one of the most racist and most prejudiced films ever made. This film was made by some Jewish sisters and brothers from the far-right, who targeted defaming and misrepresenting the entire Iranian people, forgetting how we treated their ancestors for thousands of years, (like one of our own). Of course it would be safe to say that the decision to disrespect all Iranians in this film was not supported and approved by the entire Jewish community worldwide.

9 ( a pedar)

I think the point and the explanation of it is very simple. I for one, having lived here for a long time, I had forgotten that the world is NOT governed by the laws of United States. for instance, sometime ago, while in Europe I came across some issues which I quickly found out were completely different from the way things are done in the "real west" (USA).

I know I will be presenting a different view here, so let me be very clear that I will be stating facts that I do not necessarily support. So here it goes.

The real issue in the case of the Mahmoodis was CUSTODY OF THE CHILD, hence the whole story was about NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER. The custody laws of Iran are such that in case of a divorce, the child's custody remains with the FATHER. The custody laws of United States are such that in case of a divorce, the child's custody remains with the MOTHER. This complete contrast was the basis of the battle of Mahmoodis and many more like them.

But here's the interesting point. This contrast is NOT unique because of the laws of Iran, but is unique because of the laws of USA. I don't know all the laws in all the countries, however, my limited knowledge goes as far as knowing that in some and may be all the European countries, in case of a divorce, the child's custody remains with the FATHER. Perhaps those who are more familiar with the European laws can either support or refute this bit of information.

My point here though, is that I won't get so worked-up about the movie anymore. I would let it die of age. Custody battles are very common in USA and other parts of the world. And for that matter, a majority of "missing children" cases are related to one parent taking the child and leaving town or the country. There are movies made about all kinds of these stories. It was not that far back that we heard, in the news, about the father in Florida that had taken his two daughters from New York, over 20 years ago, and raised them by telling them that their mother was dead. The mother finally tracked down the dad looking for the support money owed her. Does everyone remember that? It doesn't mean that all men from New York are like that, does it? This issue has nothing to do with culture or nationality.

I hope our 15 years old can understand that.

10 ( a pedar)

No one can deny that we have some abusive Iranian man. However the problem with the film is the only film about Iranian man in the west and unfortunately it has become the image of Iranian man. To add insult to the injury this is the image portrayed by a society that 99+% of its female homicide victims are killed are killed by their lover/husband of ex-lover/husband (US statistics)! And more than one in three of their females are victim of so-called "domestic violence".

Canadian Women Television Network screened the film once and when they were announced the second screening there was a huge backlash by the Iranian community and they withdraw the screening based on the above logic.

11 ( a pedar)


The story about the abusive Iranian father is sooo amuzing! We have seen the interview with Dr. Mahmoodi, showing his life and Betty's life. Mahmoody such a tiny man compared to betty unlike what we've seen in the movie. Dr. Mahmoody's luxurious house provided Betty and Mahtab one of the best facilities an American woman could dream of. Betty should be ashamed of telling lies about Iranian way of life in a movie created in Israel for Aemricans to humilate Iranians or better said Muslims. Please...! Go to the Mehrabad Airport and see for yourself if Iranians welcome their loved ones like in the movie! Iranians are (maybe unfortunately) friendlier to foreigners than to themselves. They never put themselves on the same level as other people in the world.

12 ( a web visitor)

Dear surya,

I want to have more and new information about mahtab mahmoody. also I want to have her e_mail address.

Could you please help me?

best regards

An Iranian Student

13 ( a web visitor)

Hi, Having read Betty Mahmoody's book and watched the movie, it is very easy for someone as uninformed about Iranian culture as myself to form a negative opinion. However, as with any movie made in any country - details are going to be exaggerated in order for "better watching" for the movie going public.

It would be very sad for anyone to form an opinion regarding this "family breakdown/custody battle/divorce etc" by simply watching and reading Betty's book/movie. In any breakdown, you will get 2 different stories. No one, but Betty and Dr Mahmoody truly know the story. For everybody else - please don't condemn an entire race of people on 1 movie and book. Yes, horrible divorces and child kidnapping happen .... in every country.... do not judge this nation - if you must judge this story - judge the parents for not having the maturity and love to be unselfish enough to think of Mahtop first. This poor young girl will be forever scarred. Not from the "Iran" experience but from her parents inability to solve their own dissolving marriage and love for each other without putting their child in the middle.

Either way, everybody has suffered in this relationship. Dr Mahmoody is without his child. Betty holds extreme hatred for her ex-husband and his native country and Mahtop has had to watch her parent's hate fester into a tragic breakdown. What hope does this girl have of a normal relationship with a man in the future. I just hope she knows both parents love her and would do anything for her. Regardless of their feelings for each other.

I am Australian and have never been to Iran. This is just my opinion. You will have to make up your own mind as to what to think.

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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