Nader Naderpour Lives On

By Farhad Mafie

To February 18th, marks the second year since the passing of Nader Naderpour, the great Iranian poet and thinker who died in exile. Naderpour was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature and a 1993 recipient of the Human Rights Watch Organization's Hellman Hammett Grant (awarded to writers in exile whose works are banned in their own homelands).

One year after the 1979 Islamic revolution Naderpour moved to Paris, preferring self-imposed exile in an alien land to a forced exile in his homeland. He left Iran carrying a single suitcase of clothing, copies of his books, and a partial manuscript for a new collection of poems.

Naderpour was the first Iranian thinker who identified the Islamic government reformist movement as another deceptive act, a political maneuver intended to extend the Islamic government's life. In his famous article (Khomeini on the Moon and Khatami on a Satellite) he called the reformist movement and its leader President Khatami just another lie for Iran and Iranians. In the same article he also expressed his extreme disappointment for those Iranian leftists living in the West who became IRI reformist supporters almost overnight.

Naderpour is also well known for his extensive research on Iran's contemporary poetry and for his thorough, insightful analyses of many Iranian poets (Hafez, Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Molavi, etc.) In addition, he is recognized for his perceptive commentaries on Iran's recent history and his astute observations on Iranians' cultural and political challenges.

Nader Naderpour, one of Iran's greatest contemporary poets and thinkers, died in his Los Angeles home on Friday, February 18, 2000, at 11:00 a.m.

. . . Visitors to the Los Angeles area often pay their respects to Naderpour by visiting his graveside at Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary (1218 Glendon Avenue).

Poem by Nader Naderpour (February 1985)
Translated by Farhad Mafie (January 1989)

Homily of Perdition
(For Imam Ommat, Ayatollah Khomeini, "The People's Imam")

O, infernal nature! Although the oppression of the sky
gave you the heritage of my land,
under the mirthful sun of that land
your hand planted nothing but the seed of inhumanity.
It is time to inform you, you the newly planted.

Till the moment that your death message arrives
O, despicable man!
Till the moment that your wicked blood flows
on the cold cobblestone.
Let me compose an anthem to your annihilation.

In my eyes you are a black wind that suddenly
has stolen several thousand young leaves.
After the sun's death your dark spirit closed
several thousand thrilled eyes
to the morning and opened them to the night.

The starless nights that mothers' eyes
mourned tears running down their cheeks for their children.
In your cold eyes, O, you iniquitous man!
No one has seen compassion nor read repentance.

The white haired elderly that on the tombstone slab
have written the names of their loved ones
are crying blood in your days,
harvesting what they have never planted.

Although you removed the lion's image and the face of the sun
from the three colored flag of champions,
their memories are still the source of our enthusiasm.
And although the name of that eloquent Shahnameh writer
was stolen from the books and tomes,
only his holy voice exists in our thoughts.

Wait till the groans of your prisoners
are too loud to fit in their chests,
let the people's tears flood and their blood run
till red roses of revenge grow from the earth.

Wait till the morning of the revenge
when you get up from your morning sleep
and young and old, small and big, scream
O, black-hearted devil!
Your death will be celebrated by all men and women,
Your name will be removed from the journey of time.