The author Arash Hejazi is haunted by moments in Tehran

David Mattin

The National, Dec 11, 2011

Arash Hejazi smokes hand-rolled cigarettes, which he keeps in a silver case. He speaks a considered, professorial English, idiosyncratic only because of his Iranian accent. Despite having endured much since the summer of 2009, he exudes the guileless energy of a very young man (he is 37).

You may not have heard Hejazi’s name before, but it’s likely that you already know something of his story. During the Green Movement protests that swept across Iran in the summer of 2009, Hejazi was standing next to a young woman when she was shot. He bent over her prostrate body as she lay dying, in an unsuccessful attempt to save her life. A video of those events was posted online and soon became international news: images of Hejazi and the tragic girl were transmitted into hundreds of millions of living rooms. That girl was Neda Agha-Soltan, and she became a symbol of a new Iranian generation, their dream of freedom, and the brutal suppression of that dream.

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Dr Shaheed, what you have presented is just the tip of the iceberg

Arash Hejazi’s open letter to Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Dear Dr Ahmed Shaheed,
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,

I am Arash Hejazi, an Iranian physician, writer, publisher and journalist, and the Doctor who tried to save the young girl shot to death by the Iranian Basij or the pro-government militia, orchestrated by the Revolutiosnary Guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I then spoke up about the circumstances of hear death to the international media and for that I have lost my publishing house in Iran, I have been prosecuted and persecuted, and I have had to go on exile, leaving my family and my life behind.

I read your Special Report with interest, and while I appreciate your efforts on producing an accurate image on the dyre situation of human rights in Iran, I would like to bring to your attention that what you have presented in your report, is just the tip of an immense iceberg of years of undermining human and basic rights of the citizens of Iran.

You didn’t mention,

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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