|redit: Uriel Sinai for The New York Times|
Iranian Poet Flees to Israel - Isabel Kershner
In his native Iran, leaders openly wish for Israel to be wiped off the map. Yet Payam Feili, a poet and novelist, developed what he called a “special relationship” with the place, imagining it in his stories, which are replete with gay themes and Jewish symbols.
Now Mr. Feili, who is 30 and openly gay, is living in Tel Aviv as he seeks asylum in Israel. He has tattooed a Star of David on his neck.
“The more I gained a reputation outside Iran, the harder it became for me to live in Iran,” Mr. Feili said of the Islamic republic, where gay people have been executed. “Long before I left Iran,” he added, “I thought that the only other place in the world I could live was Israel.”
In recent years, he was unable to publish anything in Iran and even his friends hesitated to contact him. He said that when he began working with an Israeli who was translating his latest novella into Hebrew, government loyalists wrote articles accusing him of immorality and collaborating with the enemy.
He fled to Turkey in 2014 after being blacklisted and detained several times. Israel granted him entry on a temporary visa as a visiting artist about three months ago.
[New York Times]
Hat tip: Michael W