Tan­ha sedast ke mimanad”, the voice is all that remains… The words come from Iran. On March 8th 2018 we, friends, accom­plices, col­leagues, com­rades, kedis, filled with admi­ra­tion and aston­ish­ment, and with fear also, we shared the video of 3 young women, bare faced with large invin­ci­ble smiles as only shield, singing a fem­i­nist hymn in a sub­way car in Teheran.

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They were hold­ing up a black and white pho­to; that of the very last image, shot on March 8th 1979 of women march­ing bare-head­ed through the streets of Teheran (top image) demon­strat­ing against the Hijab law of 1979, a law pro­mul­gat­ed upon his return from his gold­en exile in Neauphle-le-Château, of the one pro­tect­ed and cocooned by the French gov­ern­ment (dread­ful silence from the ones in pow­er), the one the great Fal­laci (well before her delu­sion­al post-Sep­tem­ber 11 twi­light described in the fol­low­ing terms: “he was intel­li­gent, the most hand­some old man I had ever met in my life… He resem­bled the “Moses” scrulpt­ed by Michae­lan­ge­lo… Despite his qui­et demeanour, he rep­re­sent­ed a Robe­spierre or a Lenin, some­one who would go very far and who would poi­son the world… Peo­ple loved him too much. They saw anoth­er Prophet in him. Even worse: a God…What a pity that his moth­er did not choose to abort when she was preg­nant with him.”

We will learn lat­er that the song is titled “A woman”.

I sprout from the wounds in my body,
Wounds I have because
I am a woman, a woman, a woman
Let us speak with one voice
Let us march together side by side
Moving forward hand in hand
To free ourselves from injustice
Let us build another world
In equality
And values of sisterhood
A happy and better world
With no stones for stonings
No rods for hanging
Without endless tears
Without shame and humiliation
Let us build another world
Of equality
With values of sisterhood
A happy and better world

Two long years have gone by since… The world is rapid­ly sink­ing into the dol­drums. Some­times, from here or there, glim­mers reach us from arch­i­pel­a­gos of rebel­lion, from builders of utopias, of tremors that tear us away from our detach­ment, our fear­ful enclo­sures, our rogu­ish, lazy, cow­ard­ly shut­ting out of the world. From those dis­tant lands, so close nonethe­less to our heart and our dreams, sparks of rebel­lion are some­times born.

Since 1979 women die in Iran’s pris­ons: Kurds, Per­sians, Bahais, Baluchs, Zoroas­tri­ans, Ahwazi Arabs, Turkmens…“interrogated by elec­tric shock“1, raped, sprayed with vit­ri­ol, scorned, beat­en, tor­tured, stoned, burned, hung…

105 of them were exe­cut­ed under the pres­i­den­cy of Rohani (the pro­gres­sive). They go on dying sur­round­ed by indif­fer­ence, in extreme soli­tude. The cel­lars of Teheran, of Shi­raz, Mash­had, Hamedan, Ispa­han are awful depos­i­to­ries of remains and of blood. “It is dark in this prison, real­ly dark…obscurity is deep here…blood is spilled on the ground in the hall­way… All of us die in this dark­ness…” 2. Yet for 41 years under the beat­ings from trun­cheons they con­tin­ue to fight, to strug­gle against the dik­tat from the Theocrats.

Their demands have not changed since the days of the mas­sive demon­stra­tions dur­ing the Islam­ic rev­o­lu­tion. They still demand civ­il, social and eco­nom­ic rights equal to those of men. And above all, they refuse to wear the veil, that rag left over from the Mid­dle Ages that has reduced them to the sleep of the dead. (Here is a brief reminder in French of the sit­u­a­tion of Iran­ian women since the estab­lish­ment of the Islam­ic Repub­lic). From Enghe­lab street, the one that wit­nessed all the big demon­stra­tions against the regime of the Supreme Guide, the women offer us the face of resilience perched on bench­es, on plat­forms, at the top of elec­tri­cal poles.

Recent­ly, we found the trace of one of the sub­way par­ti­sans: her name is Yasamin Ari­ani, she is 24 years old. Along with her moth­er Monireh Arab­shahi and Moj­gan Deshavarz, she has just been sen­tenced to a total of 55 years of impris­on­ment because, shin­ing faces and heads uncov­ered, they had dis­trib­uted flow­ers in the Teheran sub­way 3. Mohamed Moghireh is the name of the judge who pro­nounced the sen­tences. He is known for an infa­mous oth­er sanc­tion, the one that cat­a­pult­ed lawyer and civ­il rights activist Nas­rin Sotoudeh into a sen­tence of 38 years in prison and 148 strokes from the lash.

Last Sep­tem­ber 19, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment vot­ed a res­o­lu­tion in favor of Iran­ian women con­demn­ing the vio­la­tion of their rights. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we all know that the fate and the suf­fer­ing of female Iran­ian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers will not be relieved through some action by inter­na­tion­al bod­ies. Women will con­tin­ue to dis­ap­pear into Iran­ian jails, often accom­pa­nied by young chil­dren, suf­fo­cat­ing in their pain, their cries, their anger and their indig­na­tion. We can­not pro­vide here a full list of all the names of women vic­tims of the regime, unfor­tu­nate­ly, that tlist is much too long. There is Zeineb Jalalian, Neda Naji, Narges Moham­ma­di, Aena Dae­mi, Gol­rokh Iraee, Sima Ente­sari, Sepi­deh Qoliyan, Parisa Seifi, Vida Mohave­di, Mari­am Jailili, Mah­vash Shari­ari Bahit, Haineh Sane Farashi, Mah­boubeh Kara­mi, Nilo­u­far Bayani, Sepi­deh Kashani, Mar­jan Davari, Sareh Mih­mani, Mayram Akbari, the mem­bers of the fem­i­nist col­lec­tive Neday‑e Zanan…

Today, Feb­ru­ary 21, the Iran­ian peo­ple are called to the urns for the leg­isla­tive elec­tions. Here is the com­mu­nique pre­pared by 12 women, polit­i­cal pris­on­ers locked up in the sin­is­ter jail of Evin in Telehran, call­ing on a boy­cott and a rejec­tion of said elections.

For more than 5 years, they have attempt­ed to obtain votes for their auto­crat­ic regime by repeat­ing the word “elec­tions”.

From the first day on which the Assem­bly of experts replaced the con­stituent assem­bly, the Iran­ian peo­ple’s free elec­tions, right to sov­er­eign­ty and free elec­tions has been usurped and stolen.

The Islam­ic Con­sul­ta­tive Assem­bly was formed fol­low­ing the elim­i­na­tion of every polit­i­cal group except the close cir­cle of total­i­tar­i­an tyrants and every year, the cir­cle has become more restrict­ed, even self-destruc­tive and against the Iran­ian peo­ple. It serves the sov­er­eign­ty of the anti-pop­u­la­tion, that is its only function.

The Pub­lic no longer wants to play their game. Today, the tyran­ny of the “Islam­ic Repub­lic” has reached such a point that there is fear of a gen­er­al boy­cott of the gov­ern­men­tal elec­tions and injunc­tions fol­low one upon the oth­er, invit­ing peo­ple to the urns as if the head of the judi­cial body were threat­en­ing that “who­ev­er ques­tions the elec­tion is an ene­my of the sys­tem”. But the Iran­ian peo­ple gave their true and irre­versible vote in the bloody Novem­ber upris­ing – there and then, in the streets. In the protests, the strikes and not as the reformists would wish, in a polit­i­cal­ly con­trolled process.

This sys­tem and its elec­tions do not pro­vide an answer for the blood shed by mil­lions of young inno­cents: the mas­sacres of decades, par­tic­u­lar­ly, the sum­mer mas­sacre, the ser­i­al mur­ders that went on for decades, the blood­shed in Khatun, Abad, Islamshahr, etc…

The demon­stra­tors, the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in Kahrizak and the mas­sive exe­cu­tions of Kur­dish cit­i­zens in Iran­ian pris­ons, the mur­der of demon­stra­tors and, final­ly, the bru­tal mur­der of thou­sands of per­sons in Novem­ber; the Iran­ian peo­ple do not allow a sin­gle ofther drop of that blood to be unjust­ly shed in protests and the suf­fer­ing of the peo­ple against despotism.

The future nev­er was and nev­er will be for those who sub­mit. All the defendors of the Islam­ic rules are pawns of wom­en’s ene­mies and sup­port the ones respon­si­ble in gov­ern­ment, those who bow their heads and unjust­ly accept the pur­suit of the rule, they are vicious and vici­at­ed – be they grand experts and those who appear at the Nation­al Assembly!

It is up to us to leave them to their elec­tions among them­selves and to stay clear of these elections.

Those who go to the urns will have blood on their hands just like those who opened fire on youth and will be accom­plices of pow­er and its crimes.

The boy­cott and the rejec­tion of the elec­tion is the Iran­ian peo­ple’s treaty with its mar­tyrs, in par­tic­u­lar the mar­tyrs of the recent uprising.

Sig­na­to­ries in alpha­bet­i­cal order:
Yasamin Ari­ani, Neda Ash­tiani, Raheleh Ahma­di, Maryam Akbari Singh, Leil Hos­sein­zadeh, Soheila Hijab, Farhan Moni­rah, Zeba Kurd Afshari, Neda Samaneh, Norouz Moradi.

Newsha Tavakolian Iran

New­sha Tavako­lian: Lis­ten: Giv­ing Voice to Iran­ian Women

With a brief wink from the dis­mal com­fort of our igno­rance, we have cho­sen to com­mem­o­rate those women, the mag­ni­tude of their action, the defi­ance in their eyes, the dizzy­ing momen­tum of their revolt because the final bas­tion, the final ter­ri­to­ry fac­ing the abyss is the assur­ance in their voic­es, voic­es that pierce through the dark galeries in an ulti­mate ges­ture of dig­ni­ty and temer­i­ty. Because noth­ing but the voice, noth­ing but the voice remains.

* As usual, Kedistan will not attempt to provide the translation of a poem from its initial translation from the original. Poetry follows its own rules in which meaning, sound and rythm all have their own roles to play. Instead here is a link to a few other poems by the Iranian Forugh Farrokhzad in ‘official’ English translation)

Pourquoi m’arrêterais-je, pourquoi ?
Les oiseaux sont partis en quête d’une direction bleue
L’horizon est vertical
L’horizon est vertical, le mouvement une fontaine et dans les limites de la vision
Les planètes tournoient lumineuses
Dans les hauteurs la terre accède à la répétition
Et des puits d’air
Se transforment en tunnels de liaison.
Le jour est une étendue,
Qui ne peut être contenue
Dans l’imagination du ver qui ronge un journal
Pourquoi m’arrêterais-je?
Le mystère traverse les vaisseaux de la vie
L’atmosphère matricielle de la lune,
Sa qualité tuera les cellules pourries
Et dans l’espace alchimique après le lever du soleil
Seule la voix
Sera absorbée par les particules du temps
Pourquoi m’arrêterais-je ?
Que peut être le marécage, sinon le lieu de pondaison des insectes de pourriture
Les pensées de la morgue sont écrites par les cadavres gonflés
L’homme faux dans la noirceur
A dissimulé sa virilité défaillante
Et les cafards… ah
Quand les cafards parlent!
Pourquoi m’arrêterais-je ?
Tout le labeur des lettres de plomb est inutile,
Tout le labeur des lettres de plomb,
Ne sauvera pas une pensée mesquine
Je suis de la lignée des arbres
Respirer l’air stagnant m’ennuie
Un oiseau mort m’a conseillé de garder en mémoire le vol
La finalité de toutes les forces est de s’unir, de s’unir,
À l’origine du soleil
Et de se déverser dans l’esprit de la lumière
Il est naturel que les moulins à vent pourrissent
Pourquoi m’arrêterais-je ?
Je tiens l’épi vert du blé sous mon sein
La voix, la voix, seulement la voix
La voix du désir de l’eau de couler
La voix de l’écoulement de la lumière sur la féminité de la terre
La voix de la formation d’un embryon de sens
Et l’expression de la mémoire commune de l’amour
La voix, la voix, la voix, il n’y a que la voix qui reste
Au pays des lilliputiens,
Les repères de la mesure d’un voyage ne quittent pas l’orbite du zéro
Pourquoi m’arrêterais-je ?
J’obéis aux quatre éléments
Rédiger les lois de mon cœur,
N’est pas l’affaire du gouvernement des aveugles local
Qu’ai-je à faire avec le long hurlement de sauvagerie ?
De l’organe sexuel animal
Qu’ai-je à faire avec le frémissement des vers dans le vide de la viande ?
C’est la lignée du sang des fleurs qui m’a engagée à vivre
La race du sang des fleurs savez-vous ?
Forugh Farrokhzâd (1935–1967)
(Traduction Mohammad Torabi & Yves Ros)


Nigar pour Kedis­tan

Image à la Une : Hengameh Golestan : Iran­ian women protest against the 1979 hijab law.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.