Shah of Shahs
By Ryszard Kapuscinski

Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for Traffic, asked me to read this history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 before we started filming Syriana, which he directed. It's a completely gripping book. Kapuscinski describes Mohammad Mossadegh, who was briefly premier of Iran in the 1950s, as someone who told the truth too early. He writes that the truth needs time to mature, because otherwise it's seen as heresy.

There's also a beautiful passage about how the shah didn't understand that destroying a man like Mossadegh wouldn't make him cease to exist: "On the contrary…he begins to exist all the more. … The scythe swings, and at once the grass starts to grow back. Cut again and the grass grows faster than ever."


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