Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 12:31:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Arash Hejazi
First of all, happy new year and sorry for my belated greetings. As I know you receive tons of emails during the new year, I thought you won’t be eager to receive just another one :) This doesn’t mean that we didn’t think of you at the New Years eve. Since we spent our new year eve at Lourdes in 2001, every year we think of you at about the same time.
Secondly, unfortunately I was informed today that the Ministry of Culture and ‘Islamic Guidance’ in Iran has banned all of your books, even the unauthorized versions published by other publishers. My friends have been told that no book that has Paulo Coelho’s name on it will be authorized to be published in Iran any more.
This is bad news, but I also thought may be it’s time to make your books freely available on Internet in Persian. I haven’t found any way to commercialize this, as there is no way for e-commerce in Iran (people cannot buy anything from outside Iran). But I thought if we can find a proper charity cause, we can ask anyone who downloads one of your books in Farsi to donate some money to that charity. If you agree to this, we will have to discuss the nature of the Charity. If so, I am ready to translate Aleph and make it available this way. As these are your books, I leave the decision about their destiny in your hands.
I also think it might be the time for you to comment on this, at least in your blog, if you want to. Your books have been banned with no explanation, and your Iranian readers are anxious to hear about it from you. We can further discuss it if you wish.
10 Janeiro 2011
1] My books have been published in Iran since 1998, in different publishing houses (Caravan Books, directed by Arash Hejazi, is the only official publisher). So far, we estimated that there are over 6 million copies sold in the country.
2] My books have been published under different governments in Iran. An arbitrary decision, after 12 years of publication in the country, can only be a misunderstanding.
3] In 2009, I used the social communities to support Arash’s ordeal after the elections. You can read the post The Doctor.
4] I hope this misunderstanding will be solved during this week. And I strongly count on the Brazilian Government to support me, my books, for the sake of all the values we cherish.
10 Janeiro 2011 16:15 hr
The Brazilian Minister of Culture and the president of Funarte manifested their concern about the ban of my books in Iran. [see Minister deplores Iran’s censorship of books by Paulo Coelho (Google Translator)]
11 Janeiro 2011
1] The Brazilian Minister of Culture, Ana de Hollanda, is in contact with the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Patriota. They are currently studying the next steps to be taken. I thank the Brazilian Govt. for the strong support in this issue.
2] I am not naive. Therefore, I still believe that this arbitrary decision was taken from a low-ranking official in Iran. I repeat: it makes no sense to forbid books that were being published for this past 12 years. The contents of the books did not change – they are still the same.
3] Today the Iran Book News Agency published “Paulo Coelho Opinions Reviewed”. It is my understanding that this is not the official position of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
4] I am honestly hoping that sooner or later the Islamic Republic of Iran will reconsider (or eventually deny) the ban.
5] As soon as I have the files in Farsi, all my books will be posted for free in this blog.
12 Janeiro 2011
1] I had a long conversation with one of the top persons in the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are still waiting for a confirmation from the Iranian authorities on the veto (or on the absence of it). Both the Brazilian Embassy in Tehran and from The Iranian Embassy in Brasil. However, the top official told me, the Brazilian Govt. will not accept the absence of an answer as an answer.
The surprise is not that books by Paulo Coelho have been banned, the surprise is that they have not been sooner or that publication was permitted by the thought police.
Somewhat unusual, The Zahir was published in Persian in Iran, rather than in the author’s native language in Brazil. Iran does not recognise international copyright and it was thought that publication in Iran first would afford some protection under national Iranian copyright law.
The Zahir was not available for long. Iranian intelligence agents went to the Tehran Book Fair and seized all 1,000 copies. Like a scene out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four or Stalinist Russia, the publisher was told the book was banned in Iran and he must report to the authorities. The ruling Islamists fear that by reading a book of deep spiritual significance, the faithful would be drawn away from the true path of Islam. [see Iran ‘bans author Coelho’s novel’]
Iran should be flooded with copies in Farsi. Audio books should be recorded in Farsi, and these too flood the country.
– Be Like the Flowing River
– By the River Piedra I sat down and Wept
– 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
To ban the books is unIslamic, but is that going to bother the evil people who run Iran? [see Reconciliation]
Top Story in The Censorship Daily (Wednesday 12 January 2011)