Christopher Hitchens Eulogized by Roya Hakakian

In 1984, the year that, for those of us in Tehran, had every Orwellian quality, I befriended a Marxist activist who was on the run from the regime. I knew none of his coordinates, not even his name—on cloudy days, I called him “Gray,” on stormy ones, “Rain.” What drove me to brave the dangers of seeing him, aside from the heedlessness of adolescence, was the way his circumstances had chiseled away at every sign of the tiresome or inconsequential from him. The hour we spent was always deliriously dense, and as such, draining, our conversation more a distillation of days of ordinary chatter with others. He never squandered anything, not even a gesture, and when he accidentally cut his finger while cutting into a watermelon, he dipped his finger into his own blood and, on a piece of paper, wrote the word LOVE, a red star above it.

When I think about Iran and what I miss about life there, Gray is what I think of. He was the product of unique circumstances I thought I’d never know again. Never, that is, until I met Christopher.

DailyBeast, December 16, 2011