Narratives From the Victims of Flight PS752
Join us for a discussion with Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion, Ms. Moniro Ravanipour, and guest Ms. Azadeh Heydaripour. Event will be in Persian.
The downing of the Ukrainian passenger flight 752 over the skies of Tehran on January 8, 2020 shook the world. All 176 passengers were killed, among them women, children, university students and academics. The passenger plane took off from the Tehran International airport shortly after 6:00 am and within 3 minutes was struck by two surface-to-air missiles from a nearby military base operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The victims of this tragedy continue to grieve their losses and fight for justice for their loved ones.
Acclaimed author Moniro Ravanipour led writing workshops for the surviving family members to help them write their memoirs. She discusses the process in her book I Will Call You Once I Arrive in Kyiv.
Activist and author Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion discusses the book It Should Not Have Been Written, a compilation of writings from the surviving family members. Ms. Azadeh Heydaripour lost her son in the downing of flight PS752 and will read her chapter from the book.
Moniro Ravanipour was born in the village of Jofreh. When she was 10, her family moved to Bushehr. She received her B.A in psychology from Pahlavi University. These locations had a significant impact on her writing. She started writing after the Iranian Revolution but was not able to publish her first book for eight years. Her family was involved in the Revolution; her brother was killed and many other family members, including herself, were arrested.
Moniro describes her first night in jail as a turning point for her: “I thought they’d kill me and nobody would find out. I thought if I’d taken writing seriously and had acquired fame, they couldn’t kill me so easily, so I promised myself to never stop writing if I got out of jail.” She has written many novels, short stories, and poems. She has presented all around the world and several of her short stories are translated into many languages.
Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion was born in Kermanshah, Iran and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war that ravaged the western part of Iran, including his hometown.
Hamed earned his doctorate in dentistry in 2001. He married Parissa, a university classmate, and they opened a small dental practice in Tehran. In 2010, they moved to Canada when their daughter Reera was six months old and opened an independent practice just north of Toronto.
While in Iran, Hamed published four novels that earned him several awards from the top Iranian literary circles. His first novel, Thyme is Not Pretty was published in 2009 and won the Hooshang Golshiri award for best short story collection. His third book titled Dr. Datis was published in 2012 and was awarded the Hooshang Golshiri award for best novel. Gamasyab Has No Fish was published in 2014 and was critically acclaimed and subsequently banned by the Islamic Republic authorities. The novel was later translated and published in Spanish by a Mexican publisher. After being black-listed by the Islamic Culture and Guidance Ministry, Hamed published his next novel The Blue Toukan in the United Kingdom.
On January 8, 2020, Hamed lost his wife and nine-year old daughter who were aboard the Ukrainian flight PS752 that was shot down by IRGC missiles over the skies of Tehran. In the aftermath of the tragedy, he published his memoir It Snows in This House.
Before the downing of flight PS752, Hamed was working on two novels, The Fractured Diaries of the Chancellor and The Summer with Five Bullets. He completed and published the last three books under the label Pareera Publishing that he founded in honor of his wife and daughter.
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
On January 8th, 2020, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the Ukrainian International Airline flight PS752, shortly after takeoff in Tehran, Iran. In less than 50 seconds all 176 innocent passengers onboard, including twenty-five children and teenagers, as well as one unborn child, and nine crew members were killed. They shot down the airplane with two short-range missiles. Some of these families asked me to teach them how to write the memoirs of their loved ones lost in this criminal act. This book is the story of what we achieved during our coaching sessions in our workshop on writing memoirs.
This book should not have been written. Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) that departed from Tehran International Airport on January 8, 2020, at 6:12 in the morning should have landed safely hours later in Kyiv. The passengers of that flight should have reached home and returned to those who loved them. Those missiles should not have been fired. But they were. After those missiles, the lives of hundreds of people were forever changed. The families of the passengers were caught in a complex atmosphere of pain and anger, which became entangled with global politics and the judicial process in Iran and the international arena. This book, that should not have been written, is an account of suffering and fighting. Fighting to uphold the memory and fighting those who issued the order to strike down that passenger flight.
If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at iranianstudies [at] stanford.edu (iranianstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu). Requests should be made by October 16, 2023.