Sunday, May 13, 2007

A New Chapter for HamMihan

It was an afternoon in the spring of 2000. My article was late as usual, and I had to call the office to tell my editor if it would be ready at all. I needed to go to a meeting first, so I phoned the office to say I would drop it off on my way back. Someone who picked up the phone said, “We are closed down.” That was it; not another word was said, and nothing more was needed to be said. That was it. HamMihan was shut down, too. There was no need anymore, no hurry. People in the paper had one last photo taken, shook hands and went home, telling each other that it would be all right.

Sometimes one wonders how one could become attached to a paper or magazine. One writes a few lines, throws out an idea or two, analyzes a situation or reports an event. These are the things that many do in their casual conversations every day. But writing them and publishing them make you own them, make that piece of paper with cheap ink on it part of you. HamMihan and many other papers whose names constitute a chapter of Iran’s history became parts of many young and ambition Iranian journalists’ and analysts’ lives.

Some of the people who went home that day continued to work for other daily papers and magazines that appeared in the last several years. Some added more shut down papers to their records. Some tried to create a distance between themselves and politics. Some continued their studies as graduate students, and some changed careers. They survived, but that part of their existence remained lost and haunted their memories as something they did sometime ago.

Today, HamMihan was published again after 6 years, 11 months and 26 days. A chapter is over, a new chapter has begun.

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