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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Washington Post’s analysis on Iran is ignorant and Naive: There is more depth to what the Iranian people are doing

By Arash Hejazi

An article published in Washington Post on June 16 2011, called ‘In Iran, ‘couch rebels’ prefer Facebook’, claims — based on its interview with three or four Iranians, whose identity (except for Abbas Abdi) is not known — that the Iranian people have given up on their protests that started in 2009, because they prefer ‘playing Internet games such as FarmVille, peeking at remarkably candid photographs posted online by friends and confining their political debates to social media sites such as Facebook, where dissent has proved less risky’.

To someone who knows about the undercurrents of the Iranian society, this simple explanation shows how ignorant the Western media, and probably politicians, are in interpreting what’s really going on in the Middle East and the socio-politico-cultural differences in each country. I have seen more that one ‘political’ analysis or opinion pieces in the media that try in vain to compare the successful rebels or ‘revolutions’ in Egypt and Tunisia to Iran and Syria and Libya, while these comparisons cannot be more relevant than comparing the 1917 Revolution of Russia to the Independence wars of America.

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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


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’

Chief of the ‘Moral Security’ Police in Tehran: Not observing the Islamic cover for women, using satellite dishes and dog-walking are infringing the civil rights! 09/05/2011

The highlights of General Roozbahani’s interview with Aftabnews on Monday 09 May:

– The police will enter the war with West’s cultural invasion and moral corruption with all its might.

– We will strictly prohibit dog-walking after the legistlation is passed through the parliament. Dogs creat insecurity for the citizens and sometimes they bark!

– Not observing the Islamic Hijab (cover) is against the civil rights.

– The usage of satellite dishes has created problems for the country and is against the civil rights.