Show Less
Restricted access

Dreaming Kurdistan

The Life and Death of Kurdish Leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou

Carol Prunhuber

A thorough work of contemporary history and a distillation of the complex web of the Iranian Kurdish political world, this biography of Kurdish leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou depicts the character and passionate action of one of the twentieth century’s most exceptional and democratic leaders of a national movement.

Carol Prunhuber, who knew Ghassemlou from the early 1980s, shows us the many facets of a humanist leader of magnitude and worldwide scope. From revolution that toppled the Shah to the dark and treacherous alleys of the Cold War, Dreaming Kurdistan revives the Kurdish leader’s fated path to assassination in Vienna. We know how, why, and who murdered Ghassemlou—and we stand witness to Austria’s raison d’état, the business interests that put a lid on the investigation, and the response of silent indifference from the international community.

Professor of economics in Prague, bon vivant in Paris, clandestine freedom fighter in the Kurdish mountains, stalked by the Shah’s secret police, Ghassemlou is ultimately assassinated by the hit men of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic. Prunhuber takes us, through a murky world of equivocal liaisons, complicities, treachery, and undisguised threats, from Tehran to Vienna.

While the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to perturb and defy the West, Dreaming Kurdistan is essential for an understanding of Iran and the Kurds’ longing for freedom and democracy.

Prologue – Meeting in Vienna – A Fearless Man – The Intermediary – The Murderers – Mofsed-e-filarz – Shah Raft! Shah Raft! – Kurdistan or Ghabrestan! – Mahabad, Nationalist City – Peasants and Aghas – The Three-Month War – Kurdistan at War – The French Connection – Iranian Offensive – Journey to the Mountains – Politics, Religion, and Land Reform – Sons of Simko – Rifts and Rivalries – A Revolutionary Vision – After the Crime – Stunned – Ben Bella Accuses – Two Police Reports – Winter in Vienna – The Assassins – The Conversation – Creaking on the Floor – Cobra II – An Unfinished Story – Simko – Acknowledgments – Glossary – Dramatis Personae – Timeline: Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou and the PDKI – Timeline: Historical Events and Geopolitical Context – Appendix: Austrian Police Reports – Index.