Let Us Water the Flowers by Jafar Yaghoobi
The Memoir of a Political Prisoner in Iran

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Synopsis

In the summer of 1988, the Islamic Republic of Iran began a systematic execution of political prisoners. Overriding earlier prison sentences handed down by its own tribunals, the regime summarily hanged thousands of inmates, many of them incarcerated at the notorious Evin Prison 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 has attempted to destroy evidence of their whereabouts. According to Amnesty International, the cumulative death toll of this mass purging of political enemies, which continued until early 1989, ranges from 4,500 to 10,000.

Dr. Jafar Yaghoobi experienced the terrible ordeal of being a political prisoner in Iran between 1984 and 1989. Against all odds, he survived the wave of state-sponsored killings. Let Us Water the Flowers is his personal memoir of the events of that terrible time combined with testimonials of other prisoners who shared their experiences with the author. Dr. Yaghoobi describes the courage, resistance, sacrifice, camaraderie, and solidarity of prisoners who did not give up hope. Many refused to give in to the unrelenting pressures of the prison authorities, despite brutal interrogation, torture, and fear for their lives. But he also recounts the stories of other prisoners who broke down under pressure and collaborated in torturing, abusing, and controlling their fellow prisoners. To date this is the most detailed report in English of the Iranian prison system in the 1980s and the fate of the regime's opponents.

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 must 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 of the 1980's.

 

About Jafar Yaghoobi

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Jafar Yaghoobi, PhD (San Francisco, CA), was released from prison in 1989 and subsequently escaped to Turkey and then joined his wife and daughter in Germany. In 1990, they all moved to the United States. Since his retirement in 2005 he has been active in bringing attention to human rights abuses in Iran.
 
Published April 26, 2011 by Prometheus Books. 390 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences.

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Finally, he was moved in with other prisoners, into a situation in which prison authorities arbitrarily granted and removed privileges and living conditions were changed without warning as prisoners were shifted to different cell configurations and moved to different prisons.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Let Us Water the Flowers: The...

City Book Review

Five years later he was released, having suffered torture, survived a fatwa issued by Khomeini that led to the execution of thousands of fellow political prisoners, and endured conditions in prisons that rats would shun.

Jan 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Let Us Water the Flowers: The...

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