Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Gaze of the Gazelle by Arash Hejazi

My reading pile is always a mix of poetry, fiction and non fiction but its very rare that I finish more than one of these within a few days of the other …let alone a third. On this quiet Sunday I’ve been reading the concluding chapters of Hejazi’s poignant memoir of his years growing up in Iran –through the overthrow of the Shah, the Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq war and, as I’ve just read, through the Green Uprising of the last few years..

John and I left our wonderful life in Shiraz at the end of 1973 so this book filled so many gaps for me … and bought back memories of places, culture, and the goodness of the Iranian people.  The final chapters document the events that led up to the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, including how the camera video of her death spread the news of what was happening in June 2010.  That also bought back memories for me –of my time in Tehran and Shiraz just before the contested elections of that year.

Both my recent visits to Iran were made possible and very enjoyable through the good will and hospitality of colleagues.and their families  For me to return to the place where I lived some of the most formative years of my life, where my sons were born was very special.In Tehran, and more so in Shiraz, I felt at home, in familiar streets, with those mountainous backdrops and always in the company of kind, cultured and helpful people.

The Gaze of the Gazelle is, as the front cover asserts –the story of a generation. This story should be read widely to further the understanding of the lives of the Iranian people who,like people everywhere, like you and I, just want to live their ordinary lives in their homeland.

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