Reza Borji is a chemical warfare poisoned veteran, a professional photographer of the wars and a resistance legend. He is going to travel to Malaysia in these days to set up a photo fair with the aim of showing the scenes and calamities from the fields of war, as well as showing unique photographs about the damaging effects of war on children and women, as the main and the most important victims of war.
Reza Borji was born in 1964 in Hamadan state, but he is originally from Zanjan. This 48 year old artist started photography in the war fronts when he was nineteen. He has a bachelors degree in photography. And from the very beginning, he used his camera and the photography career as powerful weapons against war and bloodshed, as the peak of violence and oppression which is mainly imposed on the oppressed peoples in the today world.
Reza Borji has a long experience in film and series production. After years of presence and experience in the battlefield, he joined the "Narration of the Conquest" group in late 1986, and became one of the permanent members of the group, and played an active role in recording images of war and behind the fronts in the memorable series of "Narration of the Conquest." In those years, and during one of the Iraqi chemical bombardments against the Iranian nation, he was injured, and he still has scars of this injury on his body and soul and requires continuous and difficult treatments. He is also director and producer of more than 12 series and 44 long and short documentary films, including the "Shores of Tear and Olive" long documentary, about the thirty-three-days war in Lebanon, "Mothers of Srebrenica," about the war in Bosnia, "Medal Badges," etc.
Reza Borji is now a chemical warfare poisoned war veteran, and according to himself, because of taking medicine and receiving difficult and painful therapies, he is still alive. But his soul is still restless. After the Iraqi imposed war on Iran, he did not put down his weapon, and continued to fight on two fronts: battling against the chemical affliction induced on him in the war; and fighting hawks, pro violence and war criminals through portraying the afflicting scenes of the effects of the war across the world, especially on women and children, from Iran to Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Iraq, Chechnya, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Indian, Pakistani (Kashmir), and etc.
Rreza Borji owns world records in the field of photography and images. And through being and photographing at fourteen cases of war and violence around the world, has ranked first in war photography in the world, before Christiane Amanpour, the international reporter of the CNN, which holding No. 3 in the world. Borji, has so far held tens of solo exhibitions of his photographs throughout the world, from Germany and Austria in Europe, India, to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Lebanon, etc., and has revealed important documents of the tragedies of war around the world, especially its effects on children and women. His exhibitions have always been widely received by the pro-peace and humanitarian people.
Because of decades of endless efforts in war films and photography, Reza Borji received the Highest Badge for arts, (equivalent to a doctorate degree) by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran.
Because of his upcoming trip to Malaysia and [his plans] to set up a solo photography exhibition on the anniversary of commemorating the conquest of Khorramshahr, Paycnews website interviewed Reza Borji, and it is presented as follows:
1- Mr. Borji, what made you decide to travel to Malaysia?
Malaysia is an Islamic country, and as far as I know, [Malaysia] shares a lot of cultural and religious commonalities with Iran. I have traveled to many countries and have held film and photography exhibitions in the countries [I have visited]. I wanted to travel to Malaysia and Far East countries to become familiar with them, and also exhibit my works of photography for them. Fortunately, this year the Islamic Communication Organization and the Cultural Counselor of Iran Embassy in Malaysia invited me and I accepted it proudly.
2- What are your plans during your trip to Malaysia?
Actually I am very sick. I was just recently released from the hospital, and I frequently need to be hospitalized. Therefore, my trip to Malaysia will not be that long (less than a week). In addition to attending the photo fair, I will try, within this short period, to prepare the ground for any future activities, or the possibility of doing joint work project with my fellow colleagues in Malaysia
3- As you already know, anti-war groups are also active in Malaysia. Perdana Global Peace Foundation, affiliated with Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, held a largephoto and painting Expo about the war crimes in Iraq, and also the oppression of Palestinian children a few days ago. Do you have any plan to meet these activists and or any proposal to cooperate with them?
Yes, I am somewhat aware of these activities and exhibitions. These are the common grounds of activity between me and them. I will certainly look for them in Malaysia, and I will try to have at least a few meetings with them. I have an active cooperation with friends and fellow colleagues around the world and I hope Malaysia will be added to one of these countries after I finish my trip. As I told you, I see an ample ground for cooperation in Malaysia with an eye to the same cultural and religious commonalities.
4. Mr. Borji! After so much activity and photography in the war fronts, what particular aims do you follow? In fact, following these activities, what are your wishes?
You see, I am a victim of war myself. My goal is to show the horrors of war to all humanity. My main concern, in the midst, is the women and the children who are always being oppressed. I have the experience of being in 14 cases of war and violence all over the world. I have participated in the Iran-Iraq war. I have been in the Armenia-Azerbaijani war, the war in Afghanistan, Americas war with Iraq, in the thirty-three-days war in Lebanon, the war in Bosnia and several other wars, and have witnessed the disasters from near.It might be impossible to transfer all that I have seen and recorded in these wars. But, one of my main concerns in these wars, of which I have even recorded so many scenes by my camera, is the rights of the children and the women, which are severely violated. Therefore, my wish is to aspire to a world without war, bloodshed and violence. A world in which: children grow normally, and do not become orphans, no one tortures them, the women and the girls are not left with no guardians and their rights are not violated.
5- As the last question, what message do you have for the Iranians living in Malaysia?
Ive heard a lot about Iranians in Malaysia. Im now even reading about it to be better prepared when I get to Malaysia. Apparently there are a lot of Iranians in Malaysia, and of who some are students. We, Iranians, are renowned around the world for our hospitality, altruism and good ethics. I want all Iranians preserve this good ethic which is savory worldwide. We, Iranians, are also known for our altruism and anti-oppressionism. I ask all the Iranians, especially the Iranians in Malaysia, not to be indifferent to the fate of the fellow human beings. Lets take a look around ourselves and see in different countries, including the Middle East, what is happening to our fellow human beings. We have to react against this. We should not let the oppressors and the hawks to freely further their crimes. 6- Thank you for your kind favor. And the final word?
I also thank you for this interview. I like to see a lot of Iranians in Malaysia and learn about their experiences. Hope to see you in Malaysia.