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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Then They Came For Me

Then They Came For Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival by Maziar Bahari with Aimee Molloy blew my mind.  I wasn't expecting what I ended up getting out of this book, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Bahari is a Newsweek writer as well as a journalist and a documentary filmmaker.  Above all his is an Iranian living in London with his pregnant fiance, Paola, when he chooses to return to Iran to cover the 2009 elections in which Ahmadinejad supposedly rigged the election.  As Bahari moves through Tehran interviewing the participants in the movement to elect Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's opponent, and as he follows up after the election through the riots and the protests, Bahari watches a movement begin in his home country.  Pride and honor swell in his soul.  However, one morning a few days after the election Bahari finds his mother's home raided and himself arrested and sent to Evin prison where he is interrogated and tortured as a supposed American spy for the Western media.

Wow, you are thinking--is this a true story?  You bet your bottom dollar it is.  I was incredibly moved by Bahari's story of his time in prison and his enduring of the three months of constant interrogation and psychological warfare put upon him by his interrogator.  When Bahari finally gets to call Paola, at this time seven months pregnant, I found myself weeping with him.  I felt Bahari's inability to sit comfortably even as the London-bound plane he is on is out of Iranian airspace after his release.

Most of all, though, I have deep and profound respect for this man who refused to name names simply to be released from Evin.  He didn't have names to name in the first place--but his refusal to give in to his captors even when it meant more psychological and physical torture drove into me a lesson in ethics and integrity.

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