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10/08/11

In Memory of a Friend: Mehrdad Mashayekhi (1953-2011)

By Mehdi Amini

I woke up on Thursday October 6 at my usual time of 5 AM and began my routine search of the net about the news. And there I saw it. “Mehrdad Mashayekhi had passed away!” A friend of mine for close to 40 years is no longer with me. How is that possible? I hated life. That you are there one day and then you are gone.

Mehdi Amini (L) with Mehrdad Mashayekhi
Mehdi Amini (L) with Mehrdad Mashayekhi

He would come to our house on a regular basis. He was fun to be with. He would bring a video to our house hoping to see it with us. And he always knew and teased me because I always slept right at the beginning of the movie. He had this rule if anyone stayed in someone else’s house passed midnight, they got to stay and sleep over. And that happened quite often. I am sad that will no longer happen again.

Mehrdad loved cats. He used to have a cat he had name him Babalou. One day he called me informing me that Babalou had left the house and he could not find him. He was very upset. A few days later, we were walking in George Town and I noticed a new restaurant open up named Babalou Restaurant and I turned to him saying “hey Mehrdad, it appears your Babalou has opened up a restaurant in DC?” I looked in his face and noticed him smiling.
His birthday is only a few days after mine and we used to celebrate it together. I am sad that will no longer happen again. But I will always light a candle in his memory on my next birthdays.

Biography:

Mehrdad Mashayekhi was born in Tehran, Iran and has resided in the U.S. since 1972. He received a. B.A. and M.A. in economics (Case Western Reserve University, 1976, Cleveland, and The American University, 1979, Washington D.C.), and a Ph.D. in Sociology from The American University, in 1986.

Mashayekhi was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University. He joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 1989 and had alternately taught as adjunct and visiting positions.

His courses include: Introduction to Sociology, Political Sociology, Globalization and Social Change in Developing Countries, Social Inequality, Social Movements, Politics and Culture in Postrevolutionary Iran, and Sociology of Democratization and Authoritarianism.

Dr. Mashayekhi’s research focus was postrevolutionary Iran, on specific subjects such as; student movement, Islamic reformism, civil society and democratization, political culture, and current political affairs. He was coeditor of Political Culture in the Islamic Republic (Routledge, 1992). His new book (in Persian) titled Towards Democracy a Secular Republic in Iran: Essays in Political Sociology was published in May 2007. His latest article titled “Culture of Mistrust: A Sociological Analysis of Iranian Political Culture” appeared in the Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought (2006).

Mashayekhi was a regular contributor to Persian T.V. and radio programs on political and sociological developments in Iran as well as the diaspora. They include: Voice of America, BBC, Deutche Welle & Radio Australia.

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