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April is the crue(l)lest month

April 6, 2013 10 comments

At least, so it is to T.S. Eliot in “The Waste Land,” one of the most extraordinary poems ever written. I don’t know about the entire month of April but this week is certainly the cruelest to me, and has been for the last 34 years. April 4th 1979 was when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir and former Pakistani Prime Minister, a brilliant and controversial man, was hanged by order of Zia-ul-Haq, the President. I had met Bhutto in the early 1970s, when he visited my father, then Iranian ambassador to Paris. He made a deep impression on me with his cogent, knife-sharp assessment of Iran, Pakistan, and of the way our world was evolving.

Though I was not personally affected by his death, it gave me an instinctive sense of doom related to my country of origin, Iran. Remember, after the Islamic Revolution of February 1979, Iranian jails were filled with thousands of political prisoners, both officials of the former regime—such as my father—and ordinary citizens who didn’t fancy living in a theocracy. Despite Andrew Young’s assessment of Khomeini as “a saint,” the cleric was revealing himself to be a cruel brute and executions, dozens at a time, took place every day. Read more…

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