To be objective about Soheil is meaningless. He touched so many lives that one could not help but to appreciate his complexity and compassion. Indeed, two Christmases after his murder, I still hear from people who tell me how much they appreciate knowing him or the many beautiful things they have heard about him. With that said, I will do my best to be objective.

Soheil Antonio Mojarrad, was born on February 24, 1989 in Illinois. From early on he exhibited a strong sense of love and care for people and nature. He was sensitive and extremely loving. Often, he would be involved in championing the cause of the bullied and fringe peers. In one incident when he was around 10 years old, he stood up to a bully in the neighborhood who was harassing younger kids. Though he got beat up a bit, he stood his ground and the kids rallied to his defense. Later in life he was the person his friends would often go to when in trouble or needed support. As he grew older, music became his passion and became the center of his social life. He loved people and was very social. He was well known in his circle of friends as the one who would take off his shirt to give it to another. He opened his heart and his home. He would take the fall for his friends and stood up for them often. In one incident a friend who was an addict, managed to bring drugs to his house and police were called in. He never snitched and would not even divulge the name of the culprit to me. He managed to get several people to get off heavy drugs though he was suffering from severe anxiety himself.

Though it was not clear at the time, in 2009 or 2010 his illness started to show up in his behavior. Despite it he maintained a cheerful and loving personality.

In the last 10 years of his life, he struggled with mental illness and spent many months in and out of abusive mental institutions and hospitals. He tried so hard to deal with it was not to be. He took meds that caused him more harm mentally and physically. I can cite so many examples of the ignorance of mental institutions that hurt him over and over. In one case after his TBI, he had a seizure in the mental hospital and fell to the ground and the staff just put him in an isolation room on a cold bed with no cover while he was knocked out. It was only after I came to visit him and told the hospital to call the ambulance to take him to be checked that they acted. In another seizure the hospital staff decided it was a fake and I had to call the ambulance to take him from the mental hospital to be checked by a doctor.

Given his mental health, he could never participate in organized community work but was always engaged in some activity to help others in need as his many friends attest to. He wanted to feed the hungry so passionately that he lobbied me and others to buy land and build a farm for those who could not afford shelter or food. He would say, we will all work there, and everyone can have free food. Recognizing his genuine deep desire, we started his garden of hope a week before his murder. His tree is still standing and now others have started gardens in his name.

Despite his debilitating situation, he was always hopeful and positive and looking for ways to help others including running an unofficial non-profit he had set up. It was under this non-profit that he kept sending letters to the United Nation, Indian Embassy, and many other national and international entities hoping that someone would listen to the logic of love and compassion. So many times, I tried to make him understand that none of these entities care, but he was insistent that it can not be. In his mind injustice and lack of fairness was not one to compromise on and accept. No one should be hungry or homeless or unjustly persecuted.

If you really want to know Soheil, you need to see what his friends say about him.


-Mehrdad Mojarrad