Memorial for Haleh and Ezatollah Sahabi at George Washington University

«A lifetime of peace and integrity for a fighter»

20 Jun 2011

20th June 2011

Ardavan Roozbeh / Radio Koocheh

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far

They made death a song

They, made death

so glorious and beautiful a song

that spring

has managed even

to turn hell wonderful

Poem of Ahmad Shamloo translated by Avideh

With the efforts of the Iranian Student Association for Democracy of George Washington University,  a ceremony was held to commemorate Ezatolah Sahabi and Haleh, his daughter on Sunday, June fifth in the university auditorium.

In this event where almost a hundred and fifty persons attended, Ezatolah Sahabi’s memories and his views were reviewed. The speakers of this session included Noroldin Ghorori, Mehdi Nourbakhsh, Zahra Alijani and Ali Afshari.

Also, in parts of this event, a few films were broadcast of Eztollah Sahabi and his daughter Haleh who died at his father’s funeral because of a physical conflict with officials that led to a stroke. It needs to be said that the Iranian Student Association for democracy is one of the organizers of events concerning the protest movement in Iran.

Ezatollah Sahabi was born in 1930 in Tehran. His father Yadollah Sahabi was the Nationalist Religious Leader. Ezatollah Sahabi was a journalist, the leader of the National Coalition of Iranian Nationalist Religious, member of the Council of the Constitution, Representative of Tehranians in the first Assembly of Experts of the Constitution, the state secretary of Mehdi Bazargan’s government but later  because of his critical political views about the regime was sent to prison. He was also the director of  ”Iran Farda” magazine that was banned by the Revolutionary Court after his arrest in 2000.

His daughter, Haleh Sahabi, women’s rights activist and protester against the policies of the regime in Iran had also been sent to prison. Haleh Sahabi was very close to a few women activists associations  and her death impacted them terribly.

Ali Afshari, was one of the speakers in this event, who referring to the support of Iranians residents in Washington of this event said:

Mr. Ali Afshari, you were one of the speakers in this event today, please tell us about the purpose of this event held here today.

I’ll start by answering to the second part of your question. The purpose of this event was to respect and celebrate Mr Sahabi and his martyr daughter Haleh Sahabi. It was our duty to celebrate the best of our possibilities, this family and I think this is not only a personal thing. Considering Mr. Sahabi’s political position in the Iranian community was part of the reverence and honor in our community. This event is also about struggles for freedom and democracy and the principles that Mr. Sahabi and his daughter, who died innocently fought for. Anyways, this family is a very honorable family and this event was held in this perspective and we think that this family is a precious and valuable one to Iranian society.

But I tried to ask the question why Mr. Sahabi has been an influential figure at least in the last four decades in Iran and my answer to this question was that it was not actually because of his specific political-economic and religious views which made him special but his beliefs and personality that I tried to show and in this brief opportunity I talk about two important points. One is the deep love for Iran and Iranians that Mr Sahabi had and also the desire of maintaining the integrity and respecting Iran’s national interests that I name. He always put the interests of Iran first. He was always the first in sacrificing himself for freedom in the country, the people and homeland. He would welcome all the risks and costs for himself. You can find this feature in lesser of our political leaders in Iran. At the same time, he was not for hatred, revenge or violence and had lot of tolerance and kindness for all people. He did not base his ties on political and doctrinal alignment. He saw a much bigger picture.  He wanted an Iran for all Iranians regardless of their thoughts, ideology, race, color and language. These characteristics were the reason of this outstanding position Mr. Sahabi had amongst Iranian people.

It seems that in Washington, today, Iranians welcomed this event openheartedly, what do you think?

You mentioned a good point. If we review the events of the past few months in Washington, we realize that the atmosphere was very stagnant in this city, but for this event, the presence of people was very impressive, and I think that it has been a tribute to Mr. Sahabi and the martyrdom of his innocent  daughter Haleh Sahabi.


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