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In Memoriam: Radio Farda Loses Respected Colleague


Radio Farda broadcaster Mahin Gorji

Radio Farda broadcaster Mahin Gorji

RFE/RL's Persian-language Service, Radio Farda, is mourning the loss of Mahin Gorji who passed away on December 26. RFE/RL's Golnaz Esfandiari remembers a much-loved colleague:

Our friend and colleague, Radio Farda broadcaster Mahin Gorji, passed away on Saturday, December 26. She was 41 years old.

Mahin had been in a coma since a September 29 automobile accident in which two other Radio Farda journalists, Rosa Ajiri and Amir Zamanifar, were killed.

Her death is a great loss to everyone who had the honor and the pleasure of knowing her personally, and to the thousands of Radio Farda listeners who have been sending messages of condolence over the past few days.
Her death is a great loss to everyone who had the honor and the pleasure of knowing her personally, and to the thousands of Radio Farda listeners who have been sending messages of condolence over the past few days.


We lost a "Mother Teresa" and a "lioness." Mahin was a Mother Teresa because she was always trying to help others in any way that she could. And she was a lioness (a "shirzan" in Persian) because that is the word we use for strong and fearless women such as Mahin who insist upon and fight for their rights.

We have also lost a gifted, dedicated journalist who was passionate about her country, human rights, and environmental issues.

She was deeply affected by the events in Iran following the presidential election in June, and she worked tirelessly to cover the breaking news and to inform Iran and the world about the situation inside the country.

"Our hands are empty in Prague, but we do all we can to support people inside the country," she once wrote after attending a demonstration against the postelection crackdown outside the Iranian Embassy in the Czech capital.

But Mahin's hands were not empty -- she had her powerful pen, her microphone, and her incisive questions. Her interviews with democracy activists, human rights advocates, environmentalists, and prominent Iranians living abroad were widely quoted and reproduced by media in Iran and other countries.

Before joining Radio Farda in 2007, Mahin was one of Iran's first and best-known female sports reporters. In fact, she was the first woman to enter a sports stadium as a journalist following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A former volleyball player herself, she once told an interviewer that she became a sports journalist because she wanted to read news about female athletes. But back in those days, some 20 years ago, no one cared about women's sports.

So she began writing about politics and social issues.

In a 1999 BBC interview, Mahin said that because of her work she had suffered derision, abuse, and even threats from fundamentalists. But she never gave up fighting for women's rights and women's participation at all levels of Iranian society.

"I enjoy fighting, and working on women's issues -- which are full of paradoxes -- fills me with energy," she said in an 2008 interview with the Iranian publication "Shirzanan."

Despite the grave injuries she sustained during the September accident, Mahin kept on fighting for her life for three long months. But it was a fight she could not win.

She will be sorely missed.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

(click here for the obituary on Radio Farda's website)
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