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The Gaze of the Gazelle: The Story of a Generation

Overview

On June 20, 2009, during demonstrations to protest the contested and controversial Iranian presidential election, a young girl named Neda Agha-Soltan was shot to death in the streets of Tehran. Within hours, the video footage of her death, captured on a roving camera-phone, had circled the globe. It was also the moment of choice for Arash Hejazi—a writer who had originally trained as a doctor—who tried and failed to save Neda’s life. Within days Hejazi left Iran to tell the world the story the government was ...

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Overview

On June 20, 2009, during demonstrations to protest the contested and controversial Iranian presidential election, a young girl named Neda Agha-Soltan was shot to death in the streets of Tehran. Within hours, the video footage of her death, captured on a roving camera-phone, had circled the globe. It was also the moment of choice for Arash Hejazi—a writer who had originally trained as a doctor—who tried and failed to save Neda’s life. Within days Hejazi left Iran to tell the world the story the government was denying: Neda had died at the hands of the pro-government militia.  The Gaze of the Gazelle is Hejazi’s personal story of how that tragedy came to be and how it will change the course of politics in Iran for a new generation.

 
In a tale that mingles politics and the personal, mythology and history, Hejazi tries to answer the question: How did it come to this? His quest for an answer leads him through the story of the decades long aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, when Ayatollah Khomeini was brought back from exile to drive the Shah from his throne and set up the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Against the background of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran and the prolonged war that followed, Hejazi skillfully interweaves his own story and those of his family and friends with the machinations of the mullahs and politicians who seek to control Iranian lives. This timely, moving, and eloquent book describes the determination of a new generation to recover hope in the name of Neda, who gave her life in pursuit of a freer and better world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this ungainly but colorful memoir, Hejazi describes growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran as a member of the "Burnt Generation"—many of whom fought on the Iraqi front only to return home to a corrupt, murderous regime. Hejazi avoided war, but shared his generation's growing disenchantment with the government, first as a young doctor forced to turn away the poor, and later as a publisher battling state censors. Hejazi's personal story abounds with anecdotes striking enough to offset tedious sections on post-revolutionary Iranian history and Persian mythology. When pro-government forces kill the young protestor Neda Agha-Soltan during a 2009 demonstration in Tehran, the author's exasperation comes to a head. (Hejazi was standing next to Neda, a stranger, when she was shot, and played a key role in distributing the graphic footage to the media.) Hejazi's life is fascinating enough, so it seems cynical that the book's back cover misleadingly suggests that Neda's generation—not Hejazi's—is the main subject. Though Hejazi's prose is generally concise, at times it veers into the maudlin, particularly in a bizarre passage in which the author likens Khomeini in his coffin to Snow White. (Mar.)
Paulo Coelho
“This important and life-affirming memoir is a must read for all who share that dream and seek to discover a country beyond the headlines and the hysteria that surrounds the Iranian bomb.”—Paulo Coelho, from the Foreword
Paulo Coelho
“This important and life-affirming memoir is a must read for all who share that dream and seek to discover a country beyond the headlines and the hysteria that surrounds the Iranian bomb.”—Paulo Coelho, from the Foreword
New Republic

“Arash Hejazi’s heartfelt, well-written book speaks for a generation of Iranians. Many of them, like Hejazi, were driven into exile abroad by the regime’s brutality and arbitrariness. Many . . . gave their lives for an Iran governed by the rule of law rather than the whims of an autocrat.”
Gulf News

“The huge difficulties faced by a thinking man growing up in Iran during the 1980s and 1990s are chronicled in a compelling personal tale told by Iranian doctor and writer Arash Hejazi, in The Gaze of the Gazelle. . . .[It] is the story of what Hejazi calls the ‘Burnt Generation,’ the young people who were just old enough as children to feel the impact of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and able to share their parent's excitement over the fall of the Shah. But as they grew up, they then had to experience the brutal nature of successive Iranian governments.”—Gulf News
Globe and Mail

“The Gaze of the Gazelle is . . . the history of a country caught in one of the worst dictatorships of all time, where the greed and the thirst for power of a few in the name of religion has taken far too many lives.”—Globe and Mail
The National

“Hard-hitting and direct, this book provides valuable revelations about a struggle that received very little coverage inside Iran.”—National
Middle East Book Review

“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.”—Middle East Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906497903
  • Publisher: Seagull Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/2011
  • Pages: 363
  • Sales rank: 964,047
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Arash Hejazi is an Iranian editor, translator, novelist, and journalist. He co-founded the independent publishing house Caravan Books in Tehran, where he is editorial director. His books include The Grief of the Moon and the award-winning The Princess of the Land of Eternity.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Paulo Coelho
Prologue

Part I: Autumn 1978–Summer 1980
Part II: Autumn 1980–Summer 1988
Part III: Summer 1988–1998
Part IV: 1995–1999
Part V: 2000–2005
Part VI: 2005–2008
Part VII: 2009–2010

Epilogue

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