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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For Neda: The film: Tuesday 21 June, 10.00 PM on More 4 (UK only)

For Neda, on More 4On 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.

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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

romi