Death to the Dictator!

A Young Man Casts a Vote in Iran's 2009 Election and Pays a Devastating Price

Afsaneh Moqadam

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

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Tehran, June 12, 2009. Mohsen Abbaspour, an ordinary young man in his twenties—not particularly political, or ambitious, or worldly—casts the first vote of his life in Iran’s tenth presidential election. Fed up with rising unemployment and inflation, he backs the reformist party and its candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Mohsen believes his vote will count.
 
It will not. Almost the instant the polls close, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will declare himself president by an overwhelming majority. And as the Western world scrambles to make sense of the brazenly fraudulent election, Mohsen, along with his friends and family and neighbors, will experience a sense of utter desolation, and then something else: an increasingly sharper feeling—the beginning of anger. In a matter of weeks, millions of Iranians will flow into the streets, chanting in protest, “Death to the dictator!” Mohsen Abbaspour will be swept up in an uncontrollable and ultimately devastating chain of events.
 
Death to the Dictator! stuns readers with its heartbreaking immediacy. Our pseudonymous author was a keen eyewitness in Tehran during the summer of 2009 and beyond. In this brave and true book, we see what we are not supposed to see, and learn what we are not supposed to know.

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ONE
It’s June 8, 2009, a few days before the election, and Mohsen Abbaspour is walking down the hill toward Vali-ye Asr Street. The oriental planes bowing over the street were planted by Reza, the last Shah’s father. Reza was a doer. He did development and railways and a modern army. He did horsewhippings and larceny. Now there is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He does big lies and nuclear centrifuges. He thinks he was crowned with a divine halo.
For the past four years Mohsen has laughed at him. He and his friends made up jokes about him and sent them by text to one another.

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Reviews

Praise for Death to the Dictator!

“[A] timely, ambitious and moving account . . . The power and immediacy of “Death to the Dictator!,” the modern sequel to Ryszard Kapuscinski’s “Shah of Shahs,” come from these crucial moments when Iranians decide whether to abandon hope or ultimately risk their lives . . . Moqadam writes with an authoritative, granular understanding of Iranian society, especially the sociology of its urban youth. The author distills important political context and frictions of class, faith and worldview into lean vignettes.” —Azadeh Moaveni, The New York Times Book Review

“[A] moving, brutal account of Iranian protests against the 2009 re-election of President Ahmadinejad . . . A clear and important record of the human toll imposed by one dirty election and a close look at a national injustice that captivated the world.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is a disturbing and problematic book because not all the story can be told even a year after the events it recalls. All the names and many of the details have had to be changed, because the torture and sexual violence that sustains the Iranian regime continues, and most of its victims are still trapped inside their homeland . . . Death to the Dictator is an extraordinary account of how a revolution must feel on the inside as it gathers force, and is then mercilessly snuffed out.”  —The Sunday Times (UK)

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About the Author

Afsaneh Moqadam

Afsaneh Moqadam is a pseudonym. It has been adopted to protect the identity of the author, who witnessed and participated in many of the events described in this book.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Death to the Dictator!
A Young Man Casts a Vote in Iran's 2009 Election and Pays a Devastating Price
Afsaneh Moqadam

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
May 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374532956
ISBN10: 0374532958
5 3/16 x 8 inches, 160 pages
$13.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sarah Crichton Books
May 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429947145
ISBN10: 1429947144
160 pages
$7.99
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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