The Life and Death of Kurdish Leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou
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.
Timeline: Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou and the PDKI
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Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou and the PDKI
Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou is born in Iranian Kurdistan, in the city of Urmia, on December 22.
Soviet authorities invite thirty Kurdish leaders to visit the Azeri Soviet city of Baku; the delegation includes Ghassemlou’s father.
The Iranian PDK, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, is founded in Mahabad on August 16, with Qazi Mohammad as its leader. The newly designated PDK is initiated to replace Komalay Jiyanaway Kurdistan (the Society for Revival of Kurdistan), founded three years earlier by a group of young educated urban nationalists. The new party is established for the purpose of creating a modern, well-organized, and popular political party with an explicit commitment to democracy, liberty, social justice, and gender equality. While neither Communist nor formally affiliated with the USSR, the young party is sheltered by a cultural organization put in place by the Soviets.
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