We were saddened and horrified today to learn of the death of Hashem Shaabani, who was executed on January 27th by the order of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. From Radio Free Europe: An Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal reportedly had sentenced the poet to death, along with 14 others, last July on charges that included “waging war […]
"Last month, Hassan Rouhani, the new President of the Islamic Republic made a whirlwind visit to Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern province of Khuzestan. According to official media, Rouhani spent much of his time there dealing with "a number of sensitive files" left undecided by outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One such file concerns 14 human rights activists who had been in prison for up to two years. When Rouhani took over as president he had them moved from the Karoun Prison in Ahvaz to an unknown destination. There, last July an Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal with a single judge Ayatollah Muhammad-Baqer Mussavi, sentenced the 14 to death on charges of "waging war on God" and "spreading corruption on earth" and "questioning the principle of walayat al-faqih" (i.e., the Rule of the Jurisprudent) . Before he left Ahvaz, Rouhani gave his green light for the executions. The first two executions were carried out last Monday when Hashem Shaabani and Hadi Rashedi were hanged in an unidentified prison. ..To those who knew him, Hashem Shaabani was a man of peace and understanding struggling to extend spaces of individual freedom within the despotic Khomeinist system…In one of his letters from prison, made available to use through his family, Shaabani says he could not have remained silent against ‘hideous crimes against Ahvazis perpetrated by the Iranian authorities, particularly arbitrary and unjust executions.’ He adds "I have tried to defend the legitimate right that every people in this world should have which is the right to live freely with full civil rights. With all these miseries and tragedies, I have never used a weapon to fight these atrocious crimes except the pen.’”
To those whom concern about human rights Dear sisters and brothers: I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued humanitarian support and effort in giving voice to the suffocated voices of people and realizing the rightness and deterring the wrongness that is dressed up with a vision that fascinates its viewers while its intentions would be nothing but diverting the image of reality and blurring the truth. I must thank you again for discovering the evil hands that are trying to raise beautiful words for years, the words that are turned to something like fateful poison for us now.
In my journey, I began to spill the ink of my humble pen on my papers in order to stand and struggle peacefully against the tyranny which seeks to impose slavery on the minds and thoughts of my people; to colonize the minds of my people and destroys their ideas before destroying the country.
I have tried to remove all obstacles that divide the street (the public eye) from the truth and make it live in illusion that is formulated by tyrants to design a life according to their will.
When the tyrants’ hands spilled the ink of mine, a single word has been highlighted in my texts in which provokes the rage and hatred in those hearts of men who continue to survive through spreading the darkness, the name of this highlighted word is “awareness”.
I did everything in my power to seek and detect the unknown to myself first and then to the others. I had various cultural contributions at the level of Persian poetry with newspapers known as Al -Noor, Al-Fajer and Assr Karoon which mean “the light”, “the dawn”, and “the evening of Karoon” in English respectively.
As I was studying at the state Chamran university in the branch of Arabic language and literature in the year of 2000, I have managed to publish a student newspaper under the name “Ndiaye Besirat” (which means “call for vision” in English). I was in charge of this newspaper and I attempted to explain and clarify the dire condition that the society suffers from as a whole; and unveil a lot of barriers that stand as a bulwark against all forms of development in Iranian society in general as well as exclusively to the Ahwazian Arabs community. As I was also the editor of the student Arabic newspaper’s Al-Besira (which means “vision” in English) and the official political head of the forum of the reformer students in the faculty of art and law I took up this opportunity to care more and more about the sufferings and the miseries that inflicted the Iranian people and most particularly the Ahwazi Arab people.
During the reformist policy of the president Khatami, the non-Persian nations have taken advantage of this opportunity to express their views via the Press and other institutions. Meanwhile a number of my friends have established the non-governmental intellectual and cultural “Al-Hawar” institute (which means “dialogue” in English). Since the sudden radical policy shift in Iran, the government imposed restrictions on the Al-Hawar institute and later banned its cultural and civil activities that were acting in the framework of the current constitution of Iran. Its political demand was implemented in the article 15, and the article 19 of Iran’s constitution emphasizing the equal basic rights for non-Persian nations including the Ahwazi Arab people for education in their mother language, to have media and publications in their native language, and it demands for political and economic prosperity. But the whole reformist slogans of the government turned out to be nothing but an illusion and a mirage and contrary to our aspiration at that time. In fact, the aim of these temporary reformist slogans was to recognize the identity of everyone who had such basic and peaceful demands and aspirations. After 2005 was the most radical policy shift in Iran. There were different obstacles in front of me to keep my peaceful civil and cultural activities; that is why access to the internet was my last resort to communicate with the virtual world. My web activities were confined in sharing my poems and texts (by my nickname Abu-Alla) that were reflecting the misery and the suffering of my Ahwazian people socially, culturally and economically.
I have also released two poetry collections under the names of (Ataraf Belafogheh) and (Ighah Mazarib Aldam) that means “the rhythm gutters blood” in English. I had a study on the massacre black Wednesday in which many people were killed on the May, 1979 in Al-Mouhamerah city (knows as Khoramshahr in Persian) but the suitable time has not stood by my side to release this study.
Furthermore, I had intellectual and lingual study regarding the Ahwazi Arab community under the title “Thowrat Al-Mofredat Al-shathe” which means “the revolution of anomalous words” in English. It remained incomplete after my arrest, in this study I have tried to shed some light on the methods that are used by Iranian authorities to bombard the minds and the thoughts of the Ahwazi Arab society through injecting and implanting the three following issues:
1: the abnormal use of words 2: deploying malicious means by using of bilingual language for misleading, freezing and limiting thought 3: putting barriers against the freedom of thought of the Ahwazi Arab community.
During that period I was a student of master degree in political science at Ahwaz university and I have met many Ahwazi figures via internet and I used to correspond to them by different nicknames such as Abu-Alla and my friendship with them was very casual and not serious. I used to publish my texts and my poems under the title of “The Popular Resistance for liberation of Ahwaz” and introduce myself as the spokesmen of this movement and it must be bear in mind that all these correspondences had done by my own and without coordination with anyone of my cellmates. By my web activities I have tried to reflect and convey the maximum degree of the heinous crimes that are committing against my Ahwazi Arab people especially the cruel death penalty and through my correspondences I have been defending and supporting the legitimate rights of every people in all over the world to have the right to life and to live and enjoy the freedom and the civil rights. Despite of all these sufferings and miseries I did not raise weapon to fight against the oppression that my Ahwazi people are going through and I have not spilled the blood of any human being; I have only spilled the ink of my humble pen to fight against this injustice and oppression.
In February 11/2011 when I was at home after my return from the Sheakh Ansari minor school (I am a teacher and I was teaching Arabic language in different minor school and high school) the Iranian intelligence services arrested me. After a long interrogation they accused me of being the founder of the popular Resistance movement for liberation of Ahwaz. As I mentioned above, I used these nicknames to express my feeling toward the misery and the unspeakable oppression of my people and these nicknames have nothing to do with the outside. However, my interrogators refused my claims and led me to confess on myself under severe and unbearable tortures: physically and psychologically. Under ongoing torture I lost the control of my real conscious and my mind was engulfed with hallucinations that made me confess and accept the imposed charges that were extracted from myself and friends of mine by harsh tortures in solitary confinement. After a long term in solitary confinement, the intelligence service transferred me to the Karoon prison. My first trial along with my friends was on May 21/2012 in the revolutionary court of Ahwaz in which I understood the reality and strongly rejected the charges of having link with organizations outside of the country and I said to the judge that the external organization that you are claiming about is just me: Hashem Shabbani. In fact I confessed on myself due to the severe tortures; and the intelligence security extracted the confessions from me and my friends according to their will. Finally after passing three sessions of my trial in court I was made aware of the fake scenario that was fabricated by the intelligence service by extracting baseless confessions and using them against us. I was shocked when I read the verified death penalty sentences that were issued against me and four of my friends along with 20 years in exile for my friend Rahman Assakre.
I must assure you again that my friends and I are not involved in any military activity. All I have tried to do is achieve peacefully what we were looking for, by peaceful and cultural activities for the interest of my oppressed people. This is an urgent humanitarian appeal for all human rights organizations to take an urgent action and very quickly. Our demand is to a fair re-trial in a non-biased court to have a chance to defend and speak freely and without restriction. I am asking you to do everything in your authority to meet our demands.
Best regards, In the hope of better life and bright tomorrow
Written by Hashem Shabani the Ahwazian prisoner
Translated by Rahim Hamid the ex-student of Hashem Shabani [edited]
Hashem Shaabani was hanged in an unidentified prison last Monday, January 27, 2014
In July 2013, an Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal had sentenced the poet to death, along with 14 others, on charges of “waging war on God,” “spreading corruption on earth,” and “questioning the principle of velayat-e faqih” (the rule of the jurisprudent, Iran’s system of vesting supreme power in an unelected cleric), according to press reports.
Press reports said Shaabani and one other person were hanged at an undisclosed prison after the sentences were approved by President Hassan Rouhani.
During Shaabani’s three-year incarceration, he was subjected to severe torture and interrogation. Shaabani, aged 32, was an Iranian of Arab origin and a founder of the Dialogue Institute, which tried to promote understanding of Arabic culture and literature in Iran.
His judicial murder underscores two important trends in Iran: Violent repression of ethnic minorities, of which Shaabani’s execution is only one among many examples, remains government policy. And the government’s human rights record has not improved under President Rouhani. During the first two weeks of January, some 40 individuals were executed; Iran is believed to be second only to China in the number of executions.
“once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. can we begin to make our lives once more all of a piece? finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. and when one person taps out a beat, while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.” - pete seeger
it’s a song about love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land. r.i.p.
Pete Seeger Giving Compelled testimony Before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (in Which he Refused to Cooperate and Name names) 1955
Mr. TAVENNER: It is a fact that he so testified. I want to know whether or not you were engaged in a similar type of service to the Communist Party in entertaining at these features.(Witness consulted with counsel.)
Mr. SEEGER: I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. That is the only answer I can give along that line.
—from Pete Seeger’s testimony before HUAC, which resulted in his being blacklisted and in his losing most opportunities to perform for many years to come.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.
Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.