The act of writing serves for me chiefly as an ode to the names which catch my eye.
To recollect the names of those now gone, gazing into the eyes of the departed through fading photographs, reviewing the lives of souls who came, lived shott, were forgotten, took life gravely, till at last their’ knell was rung.
The path all we mortals tread, with each breath drawing us nearer the finale of our role in this drama.
Ahmad Aramesh forms the genesis of this tale for me.
Remembering the name of the head of Imperial Iran’s Planning and Budget Organisation. A disciple of the renowned Dr. Jordan of Tehran’s American College (later Alborz High School, reaching its zenith under the magisterial Dr. Mojtahedi). A teacher, later chief of the nation’s Roads Administration, here an accountant, there a clerk, serving his country lifelong, as for most men in this world and preeminently in Iran, a fount of worldly and eternal profit and repute.
Ahmad Aramesh had reaped the harvest of all a man could wish for a prosperous life, rising to wed the sister of Jafar Sharif Emami, later Prime Minister, scaling the political ladder apace, perhaps even nursing the ambition to stand, one day, as Prime Minister himself.
A man is but the sum of his choices, and here Ahmad Aramesh made another.
Where he might have nodded mute assent, he cried out in Parliament, “I hold the weal of my country and the prosperity of the Iranian people before all else, nor will I shrink to tell any truth, howsoever bitter.”
Here he turned, slow, from tyranny to republicanism. His heart turned from tranquillity to nourish dreams of other things. These cries, these vain efforts toil and change, provoked the Shah’s Savak. The grandee of the Pahlavis, holder of titles manifold, came at last to dwell alone in a corner of the Sina Hotel. The security service forbade even his daughter’s house to him. His days became reading in solitude, lone walks in sequestered parks, and loneliness.
In his final months, he saw only a handful of confidants, old friends like Sarrafzadeh and Mehdi Sharif Emami, a few loyal kin, discussing politics with none. None knew then the reason for his end, but later it was said that one day, as the Sina’s staff cleaned his room in his absence, they found writings from his prison days.
Savak agents photographed these papers and won his death warrant from above. When newpapers proclaimed the “deaths of two troublemakers,” the tale turned in days to the “shooting of the former Planning chief.”
Aramesh had long done naught but think and write. He dreamed of an Iranian Republic; and his country’s secret police murdered him for that to preserve the image of a seemingly calm country where nobody questions the status quo.
The year was 1973. Five years remained before Savak’s files were flung to Tehran’s streets, its masters swung from the gallows.
For forty years now, the man in an abandoned grave in Section 7 of Tehran’s Behesht Zahra cemetery has awaited the dream he imagined for his land, as he once wrote, as leader of the Republican Committee: “Blessings on those who serve the people, in care and charity, rescuing the needy and succouring the destitute, and above all battling oppression, uprooting selfishness and injustice. Their sacrifice is greater, their measure of devotion the highest.”
With all honour, we attend his memory and bear witness that he was the “most devoted,” sacrificing for a society which remembers not his name, where naught endures of his dream of republicanism but a faded memory.