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Author and Iranian Political Prisoner to Speak
October 21, 2012
Jafar Yaghoobi, author of Let Us Water the Flowers: A Memoir of a Political Prisoner in Iran will speak at the Livermore Public Library Civic Center, 1188 S. Livermore Avenue on Sunday, October 21 at 2pm. There is no charge for this event. Books will be available for sale and signing.
In the summer of 1988, the Islamic Republic of Iran began a systematic execution of political prisoners. Overriding earlier sentences handed down by its own tribunals, the regime summarily hanged thousands of prisoners, many of them incarcerated at the notorious Evin and Gohardasht Prisons in Tehran. In great secrecy, the bodies of the victims were transported to mass, unmarked graves.
For more than two decades, the Iranian government has tried to hide the existence of these gravesites, and as recently as January 2009 it has attempted to destroy evidence of their whereabouts. According to Amnesty International, the cumulative death toll of this mass purging of political enemies ranges from 4,500 to 10,000.
Against all odds, Dr. Jafar Yaghoobi survived this wave of state-sponsored killings. In Let Us Water the Flowers, to date the most comprehensive English-language memoir by a survivor of the mass killings, he recounts his personal experiences as a political prisoner in Iran, as well as testimonials of those who shared the ordeal. These riveting stories describe the courage, resistance, sacrifice, camaraderie, and solidarity of prisoners who refused to give up hope, even in the face of brutal interrogation, torture, and fear for their lives. But they also candidly depict the cowering appeasement of other prisoners who broke down under the unrelenting pressure of prison authorities and became collaborators in the abuse and control of their fellow captives. In Dr. Yaghoobi’s tense, gripping narrative, Iran’s prisons are revealed to be microcosms not only of Iranian society but also of the global human community, with its competing interests, ideologies, and struggles by individuals to organize collectively for the creation of a better life and world.
Including an introduction that explains the events of the 1980s within the larger context of twentieth-century Iranian history, an epilogue that movingly describes the traumatic effects of imprisonment on survivors and their families, a glossary, and a list of resources for further research, Let Us Water the Flowers is essential reading for Americans trying to understand the complexities of Iranian politics and the nature of the current regime, many of whose leaders were involved in the events described.
Jafar Yaghoobi, PhD, was released from prison in 1989 and subsequently escaped to Turkey before joining his wife and daughter in Germany. After settling in the United States, he worked as a genetics research scientist in the Department of Nematology and Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis until his retirement in 2005. Since his retirement he has been active in bringing attention to human rights abuses in Iran.
The Friends of the Livermore Library have generously underwritten this program as part of the Friends Authors and Arts Series.
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