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Masoud: Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel Paperback – 2 Feb 2004
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an extraordinary book.' -- The Independent
'Masoud reads as a long letter of love, and of explanation, to the wife he has for ever lost.' -- Times Literary Supplement
'This book is a masterpiece and a must-read for anyone interested in such subjects as sects, thought-control, terrorism and totalitarianism.' -- Al-Sharq Al-Awsat
A remarkable book that resounds with the suffering of the human condition ... demands to be read. -- Fred Halliday
Growing up in the aftermath of the 1953 CIA coup in Iran exposed the young Masoud Banisadr to extremes of wealth and poverty, loyalty and betrayal. Years later in the United Kingdom, where Banisadr had gone to do postgraduate study, he decided to join the Iranian Mohajedin, an organization fighting to dislodge the regime that took power following the 1979 revolution. Torn between two loves - his family and the cause - Masoud gave up normal life to pursue the revolution. But it wasn't long before the dream turned sour. The Mojahedin's revolutionary fervour demanded more than total sacrifice: he was pressured to divorce his beloved wife, alienate himself from his family and career, and remain separated for over a decade from his children. Years later, following his defection from the organization, Masoud decides to tell his story. Masoud is a story unlike any other to come out of Iran in modern times; at once a passionate and terrifying account of one man's revolutionary journey, it is also a poignant warning against the dangers of extremism.See all Product description
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A personal account, but all the stronger for that.
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As a result, we have "armies" of unthinking Mooj stooges around the USA willing to quote this and that Mooj source as fact. As the "thinking" goes, well, even if it the claim is something other than true, well, who cares - it serves the same desired "cause" - regime change in Iran. Fact is, it is counterproductive to such ends, on nationalist grounds, as few Iranians can stomach supporting an organization that served the ends of Saddam Hussein in his long war against Iran. (The Mooj are still based in Iraq - under de facto US encirclement, over objections from Iraqi leaders)
I know of no reputable INDEPENDENT scholarly observer of Iran who has EVER given credibility, at face value, to the claims emanating from the PMOI/MEK/Mooj.... Ervand Abrahamian is by the best scholar on the subject, yet there are others.
The US State Department has issued periodic reports on the Mooj - and for twelve years plus has been bold enough to call a spade a spade - and issue reports concluding that the PMOI is and remains a terrorist organization. Of course, Mooj defenders and certain neocon players have been claiming that its those State Department "liberals" at it again, and that their brand of the Mooj was merely for "political reasons" as they wanted to "appease" Iran.
Utter rubbish, to anybody with a clue about Iranian realities. Ex-Senator Torricelli (D-NJ) was forced to withdraw from his reelection campaign in part because he was exposed as a Mooj stooge - something less than politically correct after 9/11 and the presumed "war on terror." Other rising politicians, both Republican and Democrat, have also been tempted to take seriously Mooj claims. More seasoned hands know better.
Curiously, even some neocon figures are out now claiming that they "hate" the Mooj and their activities. Even (so-so)Rob Sobhani, the Pretender's (Shah) presumed foreign minister-in-waiting once warned of associations with the Mooj. (something some Monarchists have forgotten of late)
So what's the fuss? This book is a critical start to getting behind the standard propaganda waves behind the PMOI curtain. Yes, its a compelling personal story of Banisadr's political sojourn. I was a bit frustrated that his valuable analytical insights about the PMOI are often burried within long personal missives. I was particularly struck to read his account of the horrendous role of the female "handlers" within the PMOI. Here we had Banisadr acting as a key propagandist for the PMOI in foreign capitals, and yet his every movement, action, writing, and even his personal thinking was subject to "ideological" critiques by his "handlers."
In short, no thinking liberal or conservative (that includes you John Hughes) should be willing to quote any "fact" coming from the Mooj without careful checking and corroboration from sources separate from the Mooj. Banisadr's book, despite its minor flaws, provides a critical and moving eye-opener for anyone in the West contemplating how their own governments are being manipulated by ruthless expatriate pressure groups - in this case, vis-a-vis Iran.
Just read it.
Masoud Banisadr gives good account of the Mujahedin operating outside of Iran and their initial popularity with some Western governments and freedom fighters around the world. He expounds on their mililary wing, NLA, and how they conducted their attacks into Iranian territories, believing that they could advance all the way to Tehran which later proved to be just a grand illusion.
As Masoud missed his chances time and again to leave the organization, he misses a vital opportunity again in the book to redeem himself by denouncing violence. Twentieth century has produced remarkable political leaders like Gahndhi, Martin Luther King, Bishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela who acheived so much through non-violonce and civil disobedience that there is no justification for human sacrifice in order to achieve liberty.
The book should have been called the The Memoirs of an Unrepented Iranian Rebel.