Arash Hejazi’s Interview with SVT TV: In “47 Seconds” depicts Arash Hejazi lives of Iranians who went from the Shah’s oppression to ayatollans terror. What awaits after the revolutions in the Middle East? IntervArash Hejazi’s Interview with SVT TV: In “47 Seconds” depicts Arash Hejazi lives of Iranians who went from the Shah’s oppression to ayatollans terror. What awaits after the revolutions in the Middle East? Interviewer: Bengt Westerberg.iewer: Bengt Westerberg.
The doctor who got death threats after trying to save the life of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who became the symbol of the anti-government protests in Iran in 2009.
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.
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.
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.
On 20 June 2009, Neda Agha Soltan was shot in the heart by a sniper and lay bleeding to death in a backstreet of Tehran. Within hours of her death this young Iranian woman’s dying moments, captured on mobile phones, were appearing on computer screens across the world.
Anthony Thomas’s film tells Neda’s personal story and attempts to find out who this young woman was, how she became a powerful symbol to millions and what she was fighting for.
The film not only shows the plight of the Iranian citizens who peacefully fought to free their country from its current government regime, but also the ongoing struggle the women of Iran face every day in an attempt to live a life free from oppression.
The only way to get to the heart of the story was to work inside Iran, at a time when foreign film-makers are forbidden entry, and Iranians themselves risk arrest and long-term imprisonment if caught filming without official approval.
The film won the Foreign Press Association’s Best TV Feature/ Documentary Award and was among 2011’s Peabody Awards winners list.
(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
(1 June 2011) Interference by security and plainclothes agents in the funeral of prominent Iranian political activist Ezatollah Sahabi, including beatings of mourners, led to the death of Sahabi’s daughter Haleh, who suffered a fatal heart attack at the event today.
In his book, The Gaze of the Gazelle (Negli Occhi della Gazzella)… [Arash Hejazi’s] the autobiography becomes a story of a generation that grew up under the Orwellian eye of the Islamic Revolution. Hejazi says that he has written these pages ‘to heal’. Neda is the beginning and end of the story.
Parts of President Barak Obama’s speach on the Middle East on 19 May 2011:
Thus far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. This speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stands for the rights of protesters abroad, yet suppresses its people at home. Let us remember that the first peaceful protests were in the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalised women and men, and threw innocent people into jail. We still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of Tehran. The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. And we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights, and a government that does not smother their aspirations.