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Last Updated: Friday, 1 August, 2003, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
In honour of Kaveh...

By Stuart Hughes
BBC News

Hengameh (left) and Kaveh's mother at his funeral.
Hengameh (left) and Kaveh's mother at his funeral.
BBC producer Stuart Hughes lost part of his right leg after stepping on a landmine in northern Iraq.

Stuart, 31, has returned to Cardiff, where has been fitted with an artificial leg.

In part 11 of his weekly BBC News Online diary, Stuart charts his recovery.

This week the full, horrific consequences of landmines was brought home to me through a single image.

It's of a young couple, standing outdoors with gardening tools in their hands.

The woman is pregnant and the bulge in her stomach can just been seen beneath her green smock. The man stares proudly at the camera, a slight smile visible beneath his bushy moustache.

The picture, taken in the early 1980s, is of Hengameh Golestan and her husband Kaveh.

Kaveh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who worked for the BBC in Teheran, was killed while trying to run to safety in the same accident in which I lost my foot.

I'd wanted to meet Hengameh ever since Kaveh died. I was, after all, one of the last people to see her husband alive.

We finally got to meet at her London home, to which she has recently returned after spending the last few months in Iran.

Kaveh
The last picture taken of Kaveh.

The reminders of Kaveh were everywhere - photographs on the wall of him holding a video camera, the same small Iranian cigarettes he used to smoke on the table, his name on their PC.

It felt as though he might walk in at any moment, sit down at the computer and carry on working.

But then we watched a film made up of photos taken at his funeral and it became obvious he wasn't coming home.

The pictures flashed up on the screen one by one - the huge crowds mourning his death, his body being laid in the ground and, finally, the simple stone tablet marking his burial spot.

Engraved on it is a short but fitting epitaph; "Kaveh Golestan: Killed while recording the truth." It's a reference to Kaveh's Channel 4 documentary "Recording the Truth," about censorship in Iran.

I gave Hengameh a set of the photographs I took while in Northern Iraq. The last one of Kaveh was taken just a few hours before he died.

On the way to Kifri, where the accident happened, we stopped off at the roadside for a picnic.

On a clear spring morning we laid out a blanket, ate sandwiches and made tea sweetened with honey on the camping stove we kept in our jeep for emergencies.

Kaveh said it was the best meal he'd had in his 59 days in Kurdistan.

That last picture shows him as I'll always remember him, his eyes sparkling and with a wide, impish grin.

If only we'd known then what lay ahead.




SEE ALSO:
Telling the children
26 Jun 03  |  Wales
Learning to walk again
19 Jun 03  |  Wales
Taking the first steps
11 Jun 03  |  Wales
Back on the road
05 Jun 03  |  Wales
Face to face with landmine
29 May 03  |  Wales
Down to earth with a bump
22 May 03  |  Wales
'War is messy and frightening'
04 Jul 03  |  Wales


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