Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari

I am often asked by non-Iranians who are interested to know more about Iran, to recommend them a book in English on what is going on in Iran. As of today, here is my top recommendation: 'Then They Came for Me' by Maziar Bahari.

The book is a candid tale of what the Iranian film maker and journalist, Maziar Bahari experienced during the 2009 disputed elections in Iran and his 118 day imprisonment in Evin prison.

It is a very honest book and it is not just a prison diary. Maziar admits that before his arrest, he had to tone down his reports, so that the authorities continued to allow him to return to Iran and report from there.

Through his own family history, Bahari provides a background of the idealistic generation who took part in the 1979 revolution. The family history parts, provide a short contemporary history of Iran that explains why the previous generation of Iranians took part in the 1979 revolution, what they imagined a post-revolution Iran to be, how they were let down and how they suffered enormously from the very revolution they took part in, to bring about the Islamic Republic.

Bahari's book also gives insight to the psychology of the henchmen who keep the Islamic regime afloat and the methods they use to break the will of the prisoners of conscience in Iran as well as what can be done by the outside world to help the dissidents in Iran, so that they are not helpless and alone in the hands of their tormenters.

Islamic Republic's complicated factionalism also becomes more understandable through the various real life characters in the book but as well as these real characters, there is also another character; Amir, whom Bahari refers to as a "composite" character. The reason 'Amir' is a composite character, is partly to protect the real identity of 'Amir' but also to sum up the former zealous revolutionaries and former officials who now see the errors of their judgements and live their lives with much regret about their actions in the past.

Despite all that Maziar Bahari suffered however, he is not a bitter man, he is not after revenge and he remains realistic. Even if you don't see eye to eye with him on everything, you have to accept that he is well informed on Iran and he is worth listening to.


Amir said...

I agree. I read his book recently and was impressed at how he relayed his prison experience. I had a heavy heart when he recounted stories of his sister Maryam and her experiences in Evin but was always lifted by the strength and courage of his mother and the way like many Iranian mothers stand up to the bullying of these tyrants and their henchmen. I hope he continues to keep the atrocities of this regime in the public eye as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

ریدم به کوس ننه کچلت کوسکش کونی مادرتو میگام کوسکش زن جنده مزدور وزارت اطلاعات

کوسکش کچل کونت میزارم حالا خوب تموشا کن اگر زن و ناموستو جلو چشات نکردم