Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

I read the statement of the Embassy of Iran in Brasilia with astonishment. I felt pity for a government whose only resort against the public opinion towards its atrocities against its own people is lying and distorting the truth. When accused of banning Paulo Coelho’s books in Iran, they not only deny the facts, but also they lie to accuse a witness to an unspeakable crime. Anyone who shows the slightest amount of criticism towards the government of Mr. Ahmadinejad, is accused of working for the US and Israel, even the founders of the Islamic Republic have received such accusations.

I have already explained the circumstances of Neda’s death, several times. In response to these accusations with regards to Neda, I refer you to my statement a few days after the murder.

The people and the public opinion already knows who committed this crime.

With regards to censorship, I would like to ask the government of Iran the following questions:

– Is prepublication censorship (or scrutiny, as you call it) being widely practiced by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, against Iran’s international obligations to enforce freedom of expression?

– Have the books The Zahir, By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept, The Witch of Portobello, Brida, 11 minutes and thousands of other books by international and Iranian authors, including several Nobel Laureates been banned by the Ministry between 2005 and 2010?

– Have hundreds of magazines and newspapers been shut down without any explanation between 2005 and 2010, especially in the past two years?

– Did several people die under torture in the Kahrizak detention centre in the summer 2009?

– Are there several authors, economists, lawyers, journalists, university professors being detained in the Iranian prisons just because of what they said? Doesn’t this amount to censorship?

– Have you banned and cancelled the permission to publish any of Paulo Coelho’s books?

I was informed by someone ‘within’ the Ministry of Culture about the ban on Paulo’s books, and I conveyed the information to Paulo. If the books are not banned, great! If the pressures have made the Ministry to step back and authorize the books, great! If they are lying, shame on them.

Statement made by Arash Hejazi on his blog in response to a statement issued by Iran through their Embassy in Brazil claiming books by Paulo Coelho have not been banned.

Now who do we believe, Arash Hejazi, publisher and translator of Paulo Coelho books in Iran who earlier in the week informed Paulo Coelho that his books were banned in Iran or the evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs who run Iran?

I know who I believe, and it is not the religious extremists who bastardise the people of Iran, especially the women.

Arash Hejazi is the doctor who went to the aid of Neda as she lay dying during the street protests in Iran summer 2009, when the people took to the streets to demand the overthrow of the evil religious extremists who control Iran.

The surprise is not that books by Paulo Coelho have been banned, the surprise is that they were not banned sooner or that publictation was permitted at all.

Iran is now being flooded with Paulo Coelho books in Farsi. Paulo Coelho has placed all his books in Farsi on-line for free download.

Alchemist
Be Like the Flowing River
Brida
By the River Piedra I sat down and Wept
Pilgrimage
Maktub
Stories for fathers sons and grandsons
The Devil & Miss Prym
The Fifth Mountain
The Gift
The Love Letters of a Prophet
The Manual of the Warrior of the Light
The Valkyries
The Winner Stands Alone
The Witch of Portobello
Veronika Decides to Die
The Zahir

It is unIslamic, contrary to the Koran, which encourages knowledge, the first word of the Koran is a command to read, not that such a minor matter of freedom is likely to worry the evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs who abuse the Koran for their own ends and give Islam a bad name. [see Reconciliation]

Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? One totalitarian regime after another fell. That was Eastern Europe and the former communist Bloc. Now it is the turn of the Arab world. One dictator ousted, forced to flee the country. Tunisia has fallen. Now having seen it can be done, people across the Arab World, across the Middle East, including Iran, must take to the streets and liberate their countries.

Arab leaders watch Tunisia with fear. The people of the Middle East watch with delight.

Tunisia has sparked the flame which will sweep clean the Arab world and Iran of corrupt despots. Social media is fanning the flames.

I will save the last words for Paulo Coelho: Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.

Top story in The Censorship Daily (Friday 14 January 2011).

Also see

Note from the Embassy of The Islamic Republic of Iran in Brazil

Iran bans Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s books are banned from Iran

Paulo Coelho says Iran bans his books

The Shape of the Table

The Role of Science and Faith in the Development of Civilisations

Social Media Made Tunisian Uprising Possible

Tunisia unrest a wake-up call for the region

Could other Arab countries follow Tunisia’s example?

Should twitter receive the Nobel Peace Prize?

My Life as a Traitor

Reconciliation

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