|Battle for a body
Farhad's last wish and desire was to be cremated
By Pooya Dayanim
September 5, 2002
As I type these words on Thursday, September 5, 2002, in Los Angeles a
sad political tale is taking place to discredit the memory of Farhad Mehrad, the
hugely popular Pop singer who died of a malignant form of Hepatitis "C"
in Paris this past weekend. The intention is to rob him of his last wish and desire.
The artist that came with Jomeh
and went on Jomeh, is about to be hijacked again on Jomeh, tomorrow! I cannot
sit in silence and watch his memory be desecrated in such a way. I must speak.
Let me explain.
Farhad's last wish and desire was to have his body cremated. Farhad is a man
of immense spirituality who does not believe that life ends when the physical body
stops working and that a person's spirit lives on.
Farhad did not want his burial site to become a shrine, Farhad did not want False
friends standing by his gravesite as they cried their crocodile tears ... the same
friends that were not there when he needed them.
So, Farhad's last wish and testament was to be cremated and his ashes be carried
to Iran by his wife Pooran Golfam Mehrad.
Initially, the Islamic Republic of Iran was happy on this news. They did not have
to worry about another gathering of tens of thousands of people as they did with
the death of Ahmad Shamlu.
The Ministry of Islamic Guidance (Vezarat Ershad) ... the same one
that had banned his works, banned his concerts, and banned Farhad himself,
issued a press release that Farhad belonged to them and they really really wanted
to bring Farhad's body back to Iran but it was the French doctors who had said
that because of health reasons he must be creamted and cannot be brought back to
Iran because his disease was infectious!
As if it was not bad enough that the Ministry of Islamic Guidance (the same one
lead by once Khatami and Mohajerani) had robbed Farhad of a life and left him in
poverty. Now they had to attack his religious and spiritual beliefs and robbed him
of his final wish.
Some of us are Muslims, some Jews, some Christian, some atheist, some agnostic. Farhad
was a deeply religious man and a seeker who had studied all world religions. I am
sure he new that his last wish and testament was against Islamic law and made this
request regardless. We owed him at least this. We who did nothing to save his life
at least should have honored how he wanted his physical life to end.
The plan was to hold a small gathering on Monday, September 2nd, 2002, at Pere Lachaise
cemetery by the gravesite of Sadeq Hedayat. And then cremate the body. A much larger
gathering was (and as I type these words is still to take place) planned for this
Saturday, September 7, 2002, at 4 PM at Pere Lachaise at four in the afternoon.
Fellow Pop stars Dariush and Ebi were due to speak. Dariush (who I know well) was
not a close friend of Farhad but respected him immensely. Dariush was a trusted advisor
to me when I decided to bring Farhad to the United States for the first and the last
time in late 1997. Dariush got on a plane on Tuesday (September 3, 2002) and is in
With the mentioning of the presence of Dariush the regime panicked. Faced with the
spectacle of Dariush speaking at the memorial of Farhad and plans by 24-hour television
programs to beam the memorial service live into the homes of millions of Iranians
who rightfully blame the regime for taking Farhad the artist away from us (just imagine
the works he would have created for us in twenty years rather than forced silence)
the regime suddenly changed its mind.
As Farhad's body was about to be cremated per his request,
officials from the Iranian Embassy stopped it and made an official request to the
French government not to carry out Farhad's last wishes and if that was not bad enough
-- to not even bury him!
Now ... now they want to take his body and his wife Pooran (the same one that they
claimed had to be burnt for health reasons and could not be carried to Iran) back
to Iran! And they want to do this tomorrow (Friday) one day before the memorial service
in Paris where Dariush is to speak to make that event mute.
The last news I got was that they now plan to bury him at Behesht Zahra
in Tehran and announce that because he was a private man there will not be any
public services as to avoid the assembly of his legions of fans (especially new younger
ones who rediscovered him with his last album Barf).
What a shame ... what a tragedy ... what a disgrace!
I am devastated by Farhad's death.
Lyricist Shahyar Ghanbari feels that a part of him has died. Andranik and Farid Zoland
(his colleagues on his last album) do not know what to do.
As I said yesterday in my interview with Voice of America's
Farsi Service, Farhad belonged to the people of Iran. He believed in Gandhi and Martin
Luther King's method of civil disobedience and that is why he stayed in Iran to fight
to work and perform in the land that was his.
And now the Islamic regime says he was one them to discredit him after his death!
Shame on them.
And shame on us ... Ma mardome zendah kosh va mordeh parast.
In the days to come I will write about Farhad ... not just an exceptional artist,
but also perhaps one the greatest human beings I've known.
Pooya Dayanim was a close friend of Farhad and Pooran Mehrad. He first met them in
1997 and acted ad Farhad's agent and manager during his US Tour. He was also the
promoter of Farhad's last concert outside Iran, which took place in Los Angeles in
March of 1998.