The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd

Jonathan Randal

Former Washington Post correspondent and author of After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? My Encounters with Kurdistan.

“Carol Prunhuber has produced a painstaking and impressive biography of the Kurds’ most worldly and best-educated leader. Ghassemlou’s life was the stuff of fiction, and his biographer has supplied details to inspire a novelist—presented in dozens of interviews with those who knew him best.”

Elizabeth Burgos

PhD, historian and editor of I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala.
"Carol Prunhuber: Una pasión kurda", Revista Zeta, No. 1678, 3 de octube, 2008. Leer la nota completa

“A rigorous work of contemporary history…. a distillation in which the author gives shape to the complex web of the Kurdish political world [and] an exemplary work of journalistic reportage of the best kind…. Innumerable voices…. bring to life the figure of the exceptional leader that Ghassemlou was…. It is a remarkable achievement to construct this complex and hazardous political life, weaving testimonies, press clippings, face-to-face interviews, and personal diaries with the rhythm of an action-packed thriller. In the richness of this book the personal experience is manifest: the passion that moved the author to deploy the extraordinary energy needed for the realization of this exceptional book.”

Gérard Chaliand

Former director of the European Centre for the Study of Conflicts, author of People without a Country: Kurds and Kurdistan.

“Prunhuber’s biography of the Kurdish leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou . . . gives justice to the personality and actions of one of the most remarkable and democratic leaders of a national movement of the past century.”

Kendal Nezan

President of the Kurdish Institute of Paris

“Carol Prunhuber, writer and journalist, with links to the Kurdish world since the early 1980s, knew Dr. Ghassemlou and spent time in the Kurdish mountains with his guerrillas. The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd is an impassioned and meticulously documented investigation that vividly evokes the enthralling life and final days of this incomparable Kurdish leader. It was in July 1989, in “peace talks” in Vienna, that the emissary of the new Iranian president, Rafsanjani, cut him down—and made a clean escape back to Iran under protection of diplomatic passports. What are the circumstances of this crime of state? Did Austria allow this for fear of reprisals from Tehran? Did Ahmadinejad, now Iran’s president, form part of the support team for the commando of killers? At this hour when Iran alarms and defies the West, this book, which reads like a novel, is indispensable for all those who are concerned about Iran or intrigued by the Kurds.”

Jean-Marc Illouz

Former senior foreign correspondent,
France2
TV News, Paris.

“Against the backdrop of the revolution that overthrew the Shah and through the shadowy back streets of the Cold War, Carol Prunhuber’s Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd resurrects the doomed trajectory of assassinated Kurdish leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou. Prunhuber guides us, through an opaque world of ambiguous friendships, uncertain complicities, treachery, and open threats, from Tehran to Prague, from Paris to Vienna. This portrait is a political whodunit, a truer-than-life reenactment of a destiny, and a journey into a trap—a trap implacably closing, until his execution in an anonymous apartment in Vienna in 1989. A page of history, too: abundant notes allow the reader to navigate with ease through the subtle maze of reheated hatreds and deceitful alliances that give the account all its authenticity.”

Eric Avebury

British Member of Parliament, House of Lords, author of Iran: State of Terror and Iran, Fatal Writ: An Account of Murders and Cover-ups.

“This is a thorough and very readable account of the inspiring leadership of the Iranian Kurds by Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, of his treacherous assassination by the Iranian regime in Vienna twenty years ago, and the failure of the Austrian police to bring the killers to justice. “Ms Prunhuber shows clearly that Iran had a deliberate policy of murdering the regime's opponents, and Ghassemlou was a prime target. We know how and why Ghassemlou was killed and who did it. But why the international community's response was so halfhearted and ineffectual—this is what remains a mystery.”

Ava Homa

"Review of Carol Prunhuber’s ‘Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd’", Kurdistan Tribune.
September 14, 2011. Read the whole review

“Is more than a biography; it offers a deep insight into a nation and an ethnic group’s history. Poignant and intelligent, this engaging book focuses on the inspiring life of one of the most influential Kurdish political leaders, Dr. Abdurahman Ghassemlou. A great read from this excellent writer. Strongly Recommended.”

Michael M. Gunter

"Dreaming Kurdistan", Middle East Journal, Volume 65, Nº 2,
Spring 2011, pp. 337-338. Read an excerpt
Professor of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University, author of Historical Dictionary of the Kurd.

“Carol Prunhuber — a Venezuelan journalist who knew Ghassemlou well and spent some time with his Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) guerrillas in the Kurdish mountains — has written a fast-paced, stirring account of what we do know and suspect.”

Nelson Rivera

"Carol Prunhuber", El Nacional,
7 de Julio, 2008. Leer nota completa

“Es un libro que merece la dedicación del lector: por los méritos de la investigación que hizo Prunhuber, como por la posibilidad de sumar al pueblo kurdo al espectro de nuestro sentido político-moral: la responsabilidad con los perseguidos."

Anahit Khatchikian

"The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd", Middle East Diplomatic,
January 07, 2012.Read the whole review

“Is an intelligent example of deep investigative journalism, written with love and empathy, but at the same time conducted with chirurgical precision. Every word, every fact, every testimony and shred of evidence lies in its appropriate place and speaks without its author’s subjective involvement. For this is a very engaging book.”

Manuel Martorell

PhD, Spanish journalist, author of Kurdistán: Viaje al país prohibido (Kurdistan, Voyage to the Forbidden Country)

“Carol Prunhuber…. not only shows us the human profile of a leader of magnitude and international reach, but also gives us the clues to understand an exceptional political evolution in the Middle East. The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd follows the construction and consolidation of the Islamic Republic. Blow by blow, the author shows how Shiism functions from within. Through its depiction of some of the most important figures of Shi’a in Iran, we have an ample vision of the complex Iranian regime, a political system still in play since its foundation in 1979.”

Rafael Osío Cabrices

"Una venezolana escribe sobre un conflicto olvidado", Noticias Canal 22,
27 de noviembre, 2008. Leer la nota completa

 "Carol Prunhuber publicó un libro inusual en la oferta nacional: Paión y muerte de Rahman el Kurdo (Alfa), la historia de un líder moderado del Kurdistán que fue asesinado en 1989, y con quien ella misma tuvo trato durante varios años. Con recursos de periodista de investigación, compuso una denuncia que se lee como una buena historia."

Mariana León Medina

"El sueño de Kurdistán en los ojos de Carol Prunhuber", Noticias Canal 22,
27 de noviembre, 2008. Leer extracto de la nota

 Elsa Cross y Alfredo Jalife departieron en el Salón de Actos de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letra de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México con Carol Prunhuber, autora del libro Pasión y muerte de Rahmán, el kurdo: el sueño del Kurdistán, dedicado a Abdul Rahmán Ghasemlú, líder kurdo asesinado el 13 de julio de 1989 en Viena, bajo circunstancias "hasta ahora" desconocidas.

A. Camacho

"Carol Prunhuber llega a la FIL con una promesa convertida en un libro", El Informador,
9 de diciembre, 2008. Leer nota completa

“Escribí como una denuncia. Es un libro periodístico, escrito con herramientas de la literatura, porque yo vengo de la literatura, con más de 50 entrevistas que conocían a este personaje y a través de las cuales yo reconstruyo al Kurdo”, explica la autora.

Pedro Crespo de Lara

"Historia del pueblo kurdo", Leer, Madrid
Octubre, 2008. Leer nota completa

Periodista ya abogado español, ex vicepresidente de World Press Freedom Committee, autor de Informaciones: La década del cambio.
El libro de Carol Prunhuber es un modelo de investigación periodística por su rigor, metido y riqueza de datos: de ella resulta un precioso reportaje que por su estructura y estilo claro y vibrante prende la atención del lector y le lleva por la trama del crimen hasta el final, alumbrando en un emocionante recorrido de casi trescientas páginas, los episodios claves de la Historia de los kurdos, ese grito de un pueblo irredento.

Freddy Núñez

Tal Cual, Caracas,
2 de julio 2008.

Dramático y apasionante el libro de la venezolana Carol Prunhuber…. A partir del asesinato en 1989 en Austria del líder del PDKI, Abdul Rahmán Ghasemlú, Prunhuber nos ofrece la historia de un pueblo…sometido a la exclusión y a intentos permanentes de exterminio…Paras la autora, este crimen queda impune gracias a esa trampa de los países civilizados y las grandes potencias suelen utilizar para esconder su miseria.

Humberto Márquez

"Prohibido olvidar el Kurdistán", IPS (Inter Press Agency)
28 de mayo, 2008. Leer nota completa

“Her book on Ghassemlou, with careful, attentive prose, is constructed like a movie screenplay; it blends with agility the story’s events with the intimacies of her travel diary and the documented clarification of historical events.”

Valentina Oropeza

Siete Días, El Nacional, Caracas
18 de mayo, 2008.

En este libro “el periodismo y la literatura se compenetran para pintar el espíritu libertario de un pueblo”.

Didier Benjamín Barreto

"Los Kurdos interesan a todos", Uno más Uno, México
28 de noviembre, 2008.Leer nota completa

La escritora Carol Prunhuber presentó su libro en la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la UNAM junto con Alfredo Jalife, profesor de la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas.

Julio César Pineda

"Por un Kurdistán independiente", El Universal,
15 de abril , 2010.Leer nota completa

"The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd: Dreaming Kurdistan. It is a work of love by a Venezuelan writer, Carol Prunhuber. The protagonist and the writer meet at a Kurdish gathering in France."

Kani Xulam

"Letters to the Kurdish Patriots", American Kurdish Information Network,
September 15, 2010.Read the whole review

"The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd: Dreaming Kurdistan. It is a work of love by a Venezuelan writer, Carol Prunhuber. The protagonist and the writer meet at a Kurdish gathering in France."

Daniela Rodríguez R.

"Carol Prunhuber: el reto de aproximarse al pueblo kurdo", EL UCABISTA, Caracas
mayo, 2008.Leer nota completa

"Más de 50 personas entrevistadas y el material recopilado durante su estadía en Kurdistán le dieron el basamento para escribir la historia de Abdul Rahmán Ghasemlú."

Jessica Vaisman

"Carol Prunhuber: Perla de Oriente", Exceso: Voces de Eva, Caracas
Junio, 2008.Leer nota completa

"Los ojos de Carol brillan cuando revive las memorias. Al remontarse a la época en la que estuvo en el Kurdistán, su voz se eleva de tono, pero no aumenta la velocidad."

Diario La Nación

"Tras la pista de los kurdos", Diario La Nación, Caracas
30 de julio, 2008.Leer nota completa

"Los ojos de Carol brillan cuando revive las memorias. Al remontarse a la época en la que estuvo en el Kurdistán, su voz se eleva de tono, pero no aumenta la velocidad."

El Confidencial

"Escritora busca reabrir el caso de un líder kurdo asesinado hace 20 años", Agencia de noticias EFE, México,
28 de noviembre, 2008.Leer nota completa

"La periodista venezolana Carol Prunhuber intenta con un libro hacer justicia al líder revolucionario de esta etnia Abdul Ghasemlú, asesinado en Viena en 1989, en un caso que llegó a salpicar al actual presidente iraní, Mahmud Ahmadineyad.."

Agua, Silencio, Memoria y Felisberto Hernández

Armando Navarro

"Incertidumbre, premoniciones", El Nacional, Papel Literario, Caracas
11 de enero, 1987. Leer nota completa

“…sorprende el contacto con un libro de ensayos que trasciende el nivel descriptivo-informacional para ubicarse en la dimensión creadora que exige el discurso literario construido a partir de otro discurso. Esa cualidad la alcanza Carol Prunhuber en su intento por descifrar los mecanismos implícitos en la obra narrativa del uruguayo Felisberto Hernández.”

Women: Around the World and Through the Ages

Luis Alberto Crespo

"Entonces se llamó mujer", El Nacional, Papel Literario, Caracas
12 de febrero, 1989. Leer nota completa

“Sabrina Mervin y Carol Prunhuber fueron a la búsqueda de los grandes mitos femeninos a través del mundo pero sin moverse de París. Tomaron el camino que llevaba a las bibliotecas, los archivos, las enciclopedias y tardaron meses, recabando noticias de  las mujeres (reales e imaginarias, humanas y diosas) que convirtieron los oficios humanos y divinos en leyenda, en mito.”