Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Forgotten Heroism.

In 1969, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was voted “student of the year” at the now-shuttered Notre Dame University in Nelson, British Columbia, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. After a long sojourn in Europe, Ghotbzadeh returned to Iran to take a leading role in the revolution that toppled the regime of the hated Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.

For his persistent and still-unheralded bravery in attempting to secure a speedy back-channel resolution to the hostage crisis, Ghotbzadeh ended up on a hit list drawn up by the Khomeinist fanatics who had wholly hijacked the Iranian revolution. After a forced confession and a show trial, Ghotbzadeh was executed by a firing squad in April, 1982. He was 46 years old.

Here’s the truly heroic and tragic story behind the insolent Hollywood story behind the top-drawer Canadian story about those days. Ghotbzadeh was one of at least 20,000 Iranian socialists, liberals, Kurds, trade unionists, feminists, secularists, reformists and uppity teenagers that the Khomeinist regime is known to have disappeared, tortured to death or summarily executed during the counterrevolutionary terror of the 1980s. . .

That's from my Ottawa Citizen column today.
To be clear, I liked Argo probably because I simply don't have high-brow expectations of Hollywood movies. I go to the movies to be entertained, not to get in touch with my feelings or for intellectual edification. Never mind that a case could be made that there is probably just as much fiction in Jian Gomeshi's complaint about Argo as there is in those white-knuckle parts of Argo. The thing I find so annoying about Canadian Establishement Cool is that the idea of a raucous discussion about Argo will begin this way: Shall we look down our noses at Argo or shall we turn up our noses at Argo?
Never mind Argo. And please can we for once never mind about that Disco Generation icon Ken Taylor? I was barely into my twenties by the time I was bored with that guy. The guy I mention in my column today is who we might want to know about here. And not just him, but the 20,000 like him who were slaughtered by the Khomeinst regime during the 1980s, and which continues its slaughtering, and Inshallah, justice will one day come to them.
To be more clear, I have no opinion on whether Ghotbzadegh died a hero.I wouldn't say he always lived heroically, that's for certain. For more on Ghotbzadeh, read this book.   


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