Jafar Yaghoobi was a political prisoner in Iran from 1984 to 1989 after joining an opposition group to help fight off the authoritarian government that had recently taken over the country. He watched as other political prisoners were executed and tortured.
His book, “Let Us Water the Flowers,” is a memoir of his experience during imprisonment.
Yaghoobi will speak at 7 p.m. in Old Main Theatre on Feb. 8, discussing his book and experiences. The free event is hosted by the Associated Students Social Issues Resource Center.
Copies of his memoir will also be available for sale.
Yaghoobi wrote about his experiences as a political prisoner partly because he wanted to tell the story of the mass killings of other prisoners the witnessed during his imprisonment, he said via email.
“I promised myself then that if by any luck I survived the terrible ordeal, I would someday write about the brutal tortures and killings and let the world know what happened to generations of Iranian freedom fighters in the hands of their captors,” he said.
Even more than 20 years after the killings, people both in Iran and around the world know very little about the crimes against humanity committed by the Iranian government, he said.
“More than four thousand political prisoners, who were serving their sentences handed down to them by the regime’s own tribunals, were hanged during the summer of 1988 and were buried in unknown mass graves,” Yaghoobi said.
He said he felt his experiences were worth writing and sharing with others.
“Not too many people will in their lifetime, and I certainly do not wish them to, experience blindfold, interrogation, torture, solitary, etc. of a prison system like what I experienced,” he said. “People are fascinated by other people’s experiences and that is why memoirs are so popular.”
He hopes to talk about the post-revolution Iran of the 1980s and his experience resisting oppression, as well as the current political climate in Iran, he said.
“I am hoping to bring attention to continued human rights violations in Iran, which have taken a back seat relative to other issues in many periods in the past 30 years,” he said. “I hope that people will come out of my talks with a better understanding of the common wishes and dreams of the peoples of Iran and the U.S., and that they will be stronger in their belief to support the historical struggle of the Iranian people for democracy, freedom and justice.”