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Sohrab

The person in the photo is missing
He left home and is not back
His mother crying day and night

The person in the photo
His eyes big
His hands fisted, always
The person in the photo, with his blood
Screams on the asphalt
His chest the garden of stranger Tulips

The person in the photo
Passed away in the dreams avenue
I’ll go to his mother today
To say
The person in the photo is me

*By Omran Salahi

***

Sohrab Arabi was missing since June 15 protests. His family identified his body on July 12 after searching all the hospitals, looking for him at prisions, and seeing photos of many who have been killed at the riots. He was shot in the heart. He was 19.

Read more about Sohrab’s death here.

Watch a video of Sohrab’s mom looking for her son at Evin prison here. (She’s the woman in purple scarf.)

See some photos and a video of his mom mourning at his funeral here. (Disturbing)

More photos and videos of his funeral here.

He was the nephew of my colleague at a radio station I used to work for. It’s hitting closer and closer to heart…

***

*The lousy translation is by me. Copies of the original poem in Farsi, written by the late Iranian poet Omran Salahi few years ago, was xeroxed along with Sohrab’s photo and carried by the mourners in his funeral today. Many have also posted the photo and the poem in their blogs.

My thoughts are with Roxana Saberi, Iranian American journalist who was convicted of espionage today in Tehran. My thoughts are also with many more Iranian journalists who have been imprisoned in Iran in the past few years. A journalist friend was wondering today why no Iranian journalist has done an independent investigation about the whereabouts of Roxana in the past 6 years that she has been working and living in Iran. I was thinking that in the state of such fear and suppression, you can’t expect anybody to do real investigative journalism in Iran. (Not that there isn’t any good investigative journalism in Iran. Of course there are still many vigorous and courageous journalists in Iran that do good investigative work, but there aren’t many media outlets to publish uncensored challenging stories.) That’s why many Iranian journalists like me work for foreign-funded Iranian media outlets in diaspora. But we can’t do the real thing much either, since we are not there, in the field, to do our job. We sit in our offices outside of Iran and try to play the ropes to produce stories about Iran. We should be careful not to put people’s lives in danger in Iran for contacting us. And here is just part of the sad story of Iranian journalism.

Tonight I also couldn’t get the thought of Zahra Kazemi and Daniel Pearl out of my head. I just hope that one day we will see a world where no journalist is imprisoned, tortured, or killed for doing her job.

My friend Nazli finally got the OK from Hossein Derakhshan’s sister, Azadeh Derakhshan, to publicly announce that Hossein Derakhshan, one of the first Iranian bloggers, was arrested in the afternoon of November 1, in Tehran.

I am quoting this news from Nazli Kamvari, a friend of Hossein Derakhshan and an Iranian blogger living in Toronto, who has been directly in touch with Hossein’s sister and just wrote about this news in her Persian blog.

My understanding is that Hossein’s family has been under pressure from the authorities not to talk about Hossein’s arrest and not to get a lawyer for him. So, it is understandable that they are not talking to the media. But we at least can assure both the Persian and global blogospher, who were previously in doubts about Hossein’s arrest, that he’s really arrested.

Hossein has gone through various changes in his politics and he has rubbed many activists the wrong way, including myself. (I personally don’t approve his politics and we have had couple of fierce arguments and fights in the past few months.) However, we should not have double standards when we deal with human rights. Any human being should be entitled to freedom of expression and should have access to an attorney while in jail. I hope human rights advocates start campaigning for Hossein Derakhshan.

Update: I personally talked to his sister, too. She is very worried about Hossein. We should be careful with the way we spread the news not to have a negative effect. Absolutley no neocon propaganda shit.

Globe and Mail: Blogger’s family confirms his arrest

I kept staring at this blog all day. This is the blog of a man who does not exist anymore because he was executed yesterday. He was a journalist. He was 28.

He was accused of being a member of Jundollah, a terrorist group who kidnaps and kills Iranian soldiers. His trial was not public. So, we will never know if he had a fair trial and whether he really belonged to Jundollah. We would never know if the writer of that blog – which is all about peace, people’s poverty, and protest against government’s lack of care for its oppressed people – was ever part of any terrorist organization. We will never know if he, who was the founder of a Youth NGO which had the required official permits, and he, who was a social activist supporting poor women in his town (according to the testimony of social workers in the city of Zahedan), and he, who was the editor-in-chief of a newspaper, was ever involved in killing or kidnapping people.

But we know, that a journalist was executed yesterday without a fair public trial. We know that a blogger, whose blog posts were about the love of people, is dead. And we know, that there are now two Iranian women’s rights activists who are in prison based on similar charges. They are accused of being members of separatist terrorist groups too. And you know what? It won’t be very surprising if we hear the news of their executions one day too (زبونم لال). It will be another piece of news in our websites’ news boxes. We will get shocked for a few hours and then will move on.

We have all become sick. We Iranians, we all need therapy. Years and years of therapy. We are getting used to news about executions and arrests. We have been desensitized to all the horrifying inhumane news. Execution has become an ordinary event for us. We don’t get moved by the thought of the throat of a human being getting squeezed by the ropes to death, to gradual suffocation while hanging in the air. Not only We don’t question whether we have the right to be gods on earth and take people’s lives, we also don’t question why people get executed based on confidential closed trials. We don’t question how come a journalist whose record of work portraits him as a public servant is charged with terrorism accusations and is executed so quickly. We don’t ask many questions, because we are desensitized.

Yes, we need therapy. We are all sick. We need shrinks for our 70-million population, and perhaps we will need more shrinks for our shrinks. I kept staring at the blog of the now executed Yaqoub Mehrnehad for hours yesterday and couldn’t move. I kept staring and thought how useless my being is, how I can’t do anything, how much I wasted my time with education thinking that I can make a change, and how impossible it is to make any changes when your people have become desensitized about the idea of political execution.

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