||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Persian Wikipedia. (January 2010)|
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January 22, 1944|
|Died||February 18, 1974
|Occupation||journalist, poet and communist activist|
Khosrow Golsorkhi (Persian: خسرو گلسرخی) also known as Khosro Golesorkhi (22 January 1944, Rasht – 18 February 1974, Tehran) was an Iranian journalist, poet, and communist activist in Iran during the Cold War. Hooman Majd has described him as a "Che Guevara-like figure for young Iranians in 1974."
Famous for his leftist and revolutionary poetry, Golsorkhi was convicted along with his friend, Keramat Daneshian, a director, of plotting to kidnap the Shah of Iran's son. The military court was televised live, mainly because at the time of the trial, Shah was hosting the Conference for Human Rights in Tehran.
At the time, the shah's regime was blamed for the deaths (by a car accident) of the poet Forough Farrokhzad, a woman who promised the appearance of someone who would "distribute bread and cough mixture equally", the tragic and suspect death of the folk hero and Olympic gold medalist wrestler Gholamreza Takhti in a hotel, the drowning of the writer Samad Behrangi in the river Aras, Ali Shariati's death abroad, and the tortures, killings and executions of those who had taken to an armed uprising against the regime.
At his trial, just as it looked as if the [military] judges were getting the upper hand he turned the atmosphere of the court: "In the glorious name of the people. I will defend myself in a court which I neither recognise its legality nor its legitimacy. As a Marxist my address is to the people and history. The more you attack me the more I pride myself, the further I am from you the closer I am to the people. The more your hatred for my beliefs, the stronger the kindness and support of the people. Even if you bury me—and you certainly will—people will make flags and songs from my corpse".
When colonel Ghaffarzadeh, the chief judge, admonished him to stick to his defence he replied with a wry smile: "are you frightened of my words?". The judge shouted back "I order you shut up and sit down". Eyes flashing in anger Golesorkhi spoke passionately "Don't you give me any orders. Go and order your corporals and squadron leaders. I doubt if my voice is loud enough to awaken a sleeping conscience here. Don't be afraid. Even in this so-called respectable court, bayonets protect you". Earlier Golesorkhi had defended himself: "Iranian society should know that I am here being tried and condemned to death purely for holding Marxist views. My crime is not conspiracy, nor an assassination but my views. In this court, in the presence of foreign journalists, I accuse the court, the fabricators of the dossier against me and against the irresponsible judges. I draw the attention of all human rights authorities, committees, and organisations to witness this stage managed farce, this state crime that is about to take place.
The military court did not even give itself the trouble of reading my file. I am a Marxist-Leninist, I respect Islamic sharia' and will shout my views, for which I die, in a loud voice: nowhere in the world, in countries like ours which are dependent to and dominated by neo-colonialism, can a truly national government exist unless a Marxist infrastructure is created in society".
Golsorkhi was given the opportunity to read a speech in his own defense. He began with some eloquence comparing the struggle of the Iranian left with that of Imam Hussein, the revered martyr of Shia Islam. He then continued to discuss the evils of land reform, as practiced by the Shah's regime, and the struggles of the Iranian peasants who first labored under the feudal system in Iran and then under the corrupt land reform. At this point, the chief judge of the military tribunal told him that he should limit his speech to his own defense. Golsorkhi responded by saying that his defense is the defense of the masses against tyranny. The chief judge said, once again, that he should only defend himself. Golsorkhi picked up his papers and said: "I will then sit down. I will not speak and I will sit down." He sat down and did not speak in his own defense any further. Once asked if he will continue his terrorist business he answered "Yes".
When the judge announced death sentences on both Daneshian and Golesorkhi they merely smiled. They then shook hands and embraced. "Comrade!" said Golesorkhi. "My best comrade!" replied Daneshian. Golsorkhi's execution was broadcast on state television. The court became a symbol of the Shah's dictatorship and hypocrisy, due to its content most of the trial proceedings was censored. After the 1979 revolution the entire trial was shown on public television, but again it was censored after the fall of Mehdi Bazargan's government.
He was executed, and was acclaimed a hero by socialist Guerrillas because he wished not to be blind-folded.
The cell in which they spent their last night [February 17, 1974] in Jamshidiyeh prison was covered with slogans. They sang revolutionary songs all night, ate their supper quietly, shouted slogans to the soldiers in the lorry which took them to the Chitgar execution field, refused blindfolds so that they could see the red dawn and sang together in firm voice: "O comrades! Heroes! We will give our life for our country without fear ... They then themselves gave the order to fire!
Golesorkhi had written: "A person has an artistic eye whose art has a wider link with the people. ... an artist has a style that forges a link to the life of the people of his land and keeps the torch of struggle alight in them. This style may not fit any literary school, just as the poetry of the Palestinian Fadayeens does not. Why should it fit any literary school. Why imprison our poetry, which is our only effective art form, in literary and stylistic schools? The place of a poem is not in libraries, but in tongues and minds. Literature must retain the role it always had in social movements for us too in the displacement of social order, and fulfill it. The role of literature is to awaken. The role of progressive literature is to create social movements and to help attain the goals of historic development of peoples".
- Maziar Behrooz, Rebels With A Cause: The Failure of the Left in Iran, I. B. Tauris (2000), ISBN 1-86064-630-1 pp. 69–70
- A reading of "Agar Yek ba Yek Barabar Bood" by Golsorkhi
- Trees must sing songs again