The memoir of a little boy who became a revolutionary for truth

Source: Middle East Book Review

We talk about the tyranny of the Shah of Iran and the even worse tyranny of the Mullah’s that followed. We talk about the politics of Iran today and its role in terrorism, violence and the instability of the Middle East. We talk about the conflict that the United States started using their dictator pal Saddam Hussein, and quickly forget the hardships that were wrought on the people of Iran and also Iraq. And we talk about the Middle East conflict as if it is just another story.

Yet what we don’t talk about are the lives that were destroyed and permanently altered, reshaped violently and the many deaths, most of the dead are names and faces we will never know or see.

Iran has been but a political square in a political debate. But it is a nation of enslaved people, enslaved under the pro-Western backed tyrant the Shah Reza Pahlavi and then by the Ayatollah Khomeini and then again by the little dictator President Ahmedinejad.

Arash Hejazi tells the story to the Western World that is so ignorant of the facts of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf and the Islamic World in a way that puts a human face on its cover. “The Gaze of the Gazelle” is a poignant retelling of all the history we have accepted as political rhetoric in a human form. The story of real people who were impacted by our policies and our political viciousness and our stereotyped rhetoric and racism in America.

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The End of Illusion; a review on The Gaze of the Gazelle

Source: The New Republic, 17 October 2011

THIS BOOK IS a story of failure—the failure of the Islamic Republic, despite thirty years of propaganda and political education, to inculcate in a new generation of Iranians faith in the ideology of the regime. The children of the revolution of 1979 have turned their backs on its values; and this was nowhere more evident than in the mass protests against the manipulated presidential elections of 2009. The young joined the protests in hordes; and the regime’s harsh suppression of these protests, along with the widespread arrests, torture and deaths in prison that followed, were the final steps in delegitimizing the Islamic Republic and its barren ideology.

The generation of Arash Hejazi’s parents embraced the revolution; and their children volunteered to defend it when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980. But when, as young adults, they took to the streets two years ago to ask, “Where is my vote?” they were mowed down by the regime’s goons and security forces. These young men and women were not afraid. They had fought every effort by the regime to isolate them from the West, and now they used their cell phones and their blogs, their videos and the Internet to broadcast to the world the violence taking place on the streets of Tehran. As Hejazi writes, “We were also a generation that, for lack of anything else to do, spent its time learning. We were the true witnesses of our nation.”

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Thank you for making me appreciate my freedom… another feedback from an Italian reader of The Gaze of the Gazelle

Thank you Arash, I want to thank you for making me appreciate my freedom to be and do whatever I want and feel. Thank you for letting me know lot of things about your beautiful country. Thank you for letting me know about the story of your country, of its culture through the innocent but critic eyes of a little smart boy, of an adolescent and of a young man as you was and I am. Thank you for letting me knowing Neda, the Voice of freedom. Last but not least thank you for letting me cry, on a plane, reading the last page of your beautiful book “The Gaze of the Gazelle” just few hours ago, reading words of hope for the present.

Nothing personal just wanted you to know how much you impressed me with your words. Again thank you



Your book hit my the soul… a kind feedback from an Italian reader of the Gaze of the Gazelle

(A very nice feedback from an Italian reader of The Gaze of the Gazelle)

Sorry but I write with translator, my name is Romina, I am writing from Italy (ancona-marche). I read the book In the Eyes of the Gazelle (the Gaze of the Gazelle: Negli occhi della gazzella), it was so beautiful!
I tried to understand better what you meant, jihad, Basij, imams, mullahs, jinn, Shari’a, Tudeh and other terms … I have seen many pictures, women with hijab, your wonderful mountains, the lights of Tehran in the evening, the moon, the stars, Iran is really a beautiful world!

I found pictures of Neda when she died, and I have them saved on my PC, sometimes I look at those beautiful eyes that only the Iranian women have … Her smile is forever caught in the middle, then it’s your book, which hit my soul, I would like to thank you for the gift that you gave me, your story, your writing about your life, your emotions … I can never forget!

I thank you very much for what imprinted on my heart!

I’m talking to my friends about your work, I would like to share this excitement with them!

I hug you my friend!

with great affection


Arash Hejazi’s Interview with the Italian Magazine Io Dona: I can’t live in silence, Neda’s eyes hunt me

“Non posso vivere nel silenzio, gli occhi di Neda mi perseguitano”

Dal suo rifugio a Londra parla ilmedico che cercò di salvare la studentessa-simbolo della rivolta iraniana. E che trovò il coraggio graziea Paolo Coelho

di Emanuela Zuccalà

UNA RAGAZZA A TERRA, il volto percorso da rivoli di sangue scuro. Due uomini tentanodi rianimarla. Uno urla: “Resta con me!”. Le grida della folla crescono tragiche e confuse. Era il 20 giugno 2009: a Teheran milioni di persone manifestavano contro i brogli elettorali, che avevano portato alla vittoria del presidente Mahmud Ahmadinejad sull’avversario riformista Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Neda Soltani, 26 anni, studentessa di Filosofia freddata da un miliziano, diventava il simbolo dei giovani iraniani affamati di libertà. La sua morte in diretta, ripresa da un telefonino, si diffondeva per il globo attraverso YouTube: un documento eccezionale, che rivelava senza filtri la brutalità del regime iraniano. A metterlo online era stato lo stesso uomo in camicia bianca che nel video cerca di salvare Neda. E che adesso siede di fronte a me in un appartamento di Londra.

Read  the Rest of the Interview Here

Arash Hejazi’s paper on Book Censorship in Iran, published by LOGOS Journal: ‘You Don’t Deserve to Be Published’

Citation: Hejazi, Arash, ‘You don’t deserve to be published’ Book Censorship in Iran, LOGOS: The Journal of the World Book Community, Volume 22, Number 1, 2011 , pp. 53-62(10), DOI: 10.1163/095796511X562644

‘Read the rest of the article here: ‘You Don’t Deserve to Be Published: Censorship in Iran’

Censorship is as old as human intellect. It has been practised in almost every country at some level throughout history: from 399 BC, when Socrates was forced to drink poison, to the horrors of the Inquisition, and the oficial coining of the concept with the publication of Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Roman Catholic Church; from the obligation of English publishers to register their books with the Stationers’ Company in the 16th century until the case of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover; and the Nazi book-burning campaign and the absolute offfijicial control of the governments of the USSR, China, and Eastern European countries over published material.
It has always been a highly controversial issue as well, especially since Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) requested the member states of the UN to enforce freedom of speech in their countries. The concept of censorship has been defijined by various authors and organizations, but no agreed defijinition has yet been given; therefore the term covers a wide range of activities which sometimes overlap with other concepts, such as moderation, regulation, sensitivity, and intervention. However, for the purpose of this research, the term censorship only refers to restrictions imposed by an authority or authoritative body on a creative work, which impedes the availability of the original work to its potential audience prior to or after its publication, or forces the creator to modify or omit parts or all of the work against their free will. Therefore,
editorial intervention does not fijit the criteria, as it can be prevented by the free will of the author. The only exception is self-censorship which can be categorized under censorship by fear; one of the most powerful restrictive tools which may have the power to act as an authoritative body, inflicted by conditions outside the author’s control.
The importance of addressing censorship as an issue becomes more evident when considering that, despite the abolition of most of the traditional and historical tools for imposing restrictions on freedom of speech by the coming of information technology and the internet revolution, it is still being practised, and controls a wide range of the mind’s expressions, including books.
Therefore, it seems that raising awareness towards the consequences of censorship has never been more important since the Enlightenment, and the censorship practised in Iran today is a good example…

‘Read the rest of the article in PDF here: ‘You Don’t Deserve to Be Published: Censorship in Iran’

Publisher Weekly’s review on The Gaze of the Gazelle: The Story of a Generation

Arash Hejazi, foreword by Paulo Coelho. Seagull (Univ. of Chicago, dist.), $21 (408p) ISBN 978-1-906497-90-3

In this ungainly but colorful memoir, Hejazi describes growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran as a member of the “Burnt Generation”–many of whom fought on the Iraqi front only to return home to a corrupt, murderous regime. Hejazi avoided war, but shared his generation’s growing disenchantment with the government, first as a young doctor forced to turn away the poor, and later as a publisher battling state censors. Hejazi’s personal story abounds with anecdotes striking enough to Continue reading

Paulo Coelho: An Important and Life-Affirming Memoir

On 20 June 2009, a brief video clip was circulated all over the world. It showed the death of a young, unarmed woman called Neda, who had been shot in the chest while taking part in a protest in Tehran and was bleeding to death on the street. Few images in the contemporary world have had such an instant and powerful impact. This footage was so intense it raised the awareness of the world on what was happening in Iran and forced world leaders to condemn the way the Iranian government was treating its citizens.

For me, however, it was more personal. There was a young man in the video trying to save Neda. He was my friend, Arash.

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