So where is Mashhad

I’ve had a couple of people e-mail me on this interesting point. In the maiden speech of Golriz Ghahraman, she said:

This was just the backdrop to a bloody we fought against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. I remember the bombs, the sirens, running to the basement. Waiting. Mostly I remember the kids, my age, who stopped speaking because of shell shock.

Sounds awful. The Iran Iraq lasted eight years and killed several hundred thousand people. It was a terrible conflict.

But Stuff reported:

Ghahraman was nine when her family fled their home town of Mashhad in the post Iran-Iraq War.

So where is Mashhad? Is it near the border with Iraq, where the bombing and missiles occurred?

Actually it appears to be as far away from Iraq as one can get. It is almost by the border with Turkmenistan. Around 1,600 kms away.

Now it is quite possible Ghahraman lived somewhere else other than Mashhad. Maybe they moved towns to get away from the war. Maybe the Stuff article has it wrong. But it would be useful to clarify this apparent inconsistency.

This Radio NZ profile says she was born in Mashhad. So either she is saying that Mashhad was bombed by Iraq from 1,600 kms away in the 1980s, or she was born in Mashhad, moved somewhere else (closer to the zone!) for a while, and then moved back to Mashhad. Again it is hard to reconcile all this.

And no I’m not picking on Ghahraman. This is not personal. I actually welcomed her candidacy in January. As I said a couple of readers have e-mailed me about this issue after my blog yesterday on her work in Rwanda (which I only blogged on because of the revelation in the interview).

Of interest is that in the quoted Herald on her candidacy in January it explicitly says she worked as a prosecutor in Rwanda. The Stuff story did the same. This was a high profile story announcing her candidacy. Did she ever contact Isaac Davidson who wrote it to say he had got it wrong and she was on the defence teams in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, not a prosecutor. Has she ever sought to correct media reports that have got it wrong?

I’ve now located close to half a dozen media stories that all explicitly state or imply she worked as a prosecutor in Rwanda. None of these were ever corrected, not was the website. And they certainly didn’t mention that she posed for selfies with her clients such as Simon Bikindi who was sentenced to 15 years prison for inciting genocide including a speech encouraging the Hutu nation to exterminate all Tutsis. It’s one thing to defend someone in a justice system, but another to pose for a smiling with them.

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