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Behbahani in New Jersey
Photo essay: Honoring dissident poet Simin Behbahani

Alireza Tarighian
June 6, 2006
iranian.com

It was a great honor to have the legend among us. She is touring Canada and US. This was not part of the tour but while she was staying at her tour sponsor's (Dr. Ghahari) house in New York City, she generously accepted to attend a gathering in her honor at Noor-Va-Danesh Center in nearby New Jersey. The short notice announcement came in e-mail on Saturday morning to brighten my day!

There were bout 100-150 eager and mature members of the public in the audience. Simin Sadatee opened the ceremony by a beautiful performance of poetry and offered a bunch of red roses to the lady of love. Zohreh Kasaee from the council of Noor-Va-Danesh Center welcomed our beloved mother of Iran. Scholars Hora Yavary and Farzaneh Milani were among the speakers on "Nima-e- Gahzal"'s life.

Behbahani's personal portraits from childhood until present were displayed on a large screen >>> Photos

There was a musical performance of her lyrics and many recited her legendary pieces. Then she came to enlighten us with the joy of her words. She started with a joke! and kept the sprit of the night high by reminding us all, through her poetry, about war, challenges during the turmoil, love and the beauty of life.

Due to drastic vision loss, Behbahani can not read from paper anymore and her son, Ali Behbahani, would read her the parts that she was not able to recall. Looks like all the great artist have to go through this type of torture -- from Beethoven to Shamlou and now to the lovely Simin.

At the end she asked us to keep reading her work and love each other. I wish I could share all the details with you but these pictures taken with a camcorder (not digital, sorry!) are all I can offer. Do not miss her if you are living near one of her tour stops.

Click on photo to see 30

Click on photo to see 30

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