We say no more: correspondence from the iranian revolution

The point of view of the Iranian researcher and activist Hassan (the name is invented in order to protect his identity) about the revolts that broke out in the country after Mahsa’s death

The following materials are taken from a correspondence with Hassan an Iranian scholar and activist, who provided us with a “ground based” point of view on the uprisings resulting from the killing of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini by the moral police, who are invading public space in Iran since over three month, targeting the unsustainable regime of the Islamic Republic.

We publish them here in raw form, maintaining the fidelity of the text received as much as possible, in the hope that they can help public opinion, activists, media, to understand the political significance and the stakes of the protests, not only for the Iranian people, but – also for what Iran and Middle East represent in the contemporary scenario of wars and revolutions – for the whole world.

As requested by the correspondents, we do not intend to publish their full names, so as not to further expose their lives to the ferocious repressive regime deployed by the Islamic republic.

This correspondence is the second update on the topic. A first report titled Women, life, freedom: correspondence from the iranian uprisings was published on the 22nd of October

My dear L.

I appreciate you and all my comrades in Naples. I am going to be concise and just reflect on the issues I find most important for you to be aware of.

I think if any of us is alive after this, she will have stories to tell you all. But now is not the time to mourn, we’ve got a fight on our hands and most of all we need friends and allies to achieve a certain goal. When the mothers of our martyrs sing, dance and fight at the funeral of their young, we should just follow their lead. They want vengeance and our land is thirsty for the blood of the fascists.

Revolutionaries in the Kurdish city of Piranshahr welcome wife of Taher Azizi, one of the martyrs of November 20th

Let me start with this. We are peace-loving people, yet peace is proving to be possible only through the barrel of a gun. Loving peace does not mean that we should be ashamed of our rage, it doesn’t mean hesitation in the face of state’s brutal crackdowns. For so long they told us that we should be peaceful and avoid violence, even when the fascists were getting bolder. I implore you, go watch the footages of 2009 protests against regime rigging the election. Thousands of people marched in silence. They merely wanted justice. Yet, we were killed, tortured and imprisoned. As it were, “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Well, we say no more!

Thousands marched in silence to protest the result of the 2009 election. We are passed such tame and limited goals now, yet we find solace in the fact that we tried peaceful change

Read this as a declaration of our reserve, our determination to be free or die practicing our freedom, for we reject being slaves in life, for we are the masters of our death. As a Kurd comrade declared a couple of days ago in her Instagram page:

“Islamic republic has ousted life and death from the realm of god and put them under its own rule. Now, not God, but rather Islamic republic cranks up the count-down of our life. We are grateful, not as slaves, but because they made us become the master of our death. All the freedom fighters make their last video, story and message in a way that ridicules death, and leave it for history and memories. […] this text on my photo is my message of freedom. […] For one who has paid her dues to freedom, has no debt to no one.”

“You may say in the name of god [we begin], but Kurdistan will [finish by] saying god’s truth is great. As my leader says, a nation who wants to be free, should pay the price of freedom”. A day before the state enter Kurdistan with heavy weaponry, one military official tweeted in the name of god (بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم) indicating they are getting ready to kill the revolutionaries in Kurdistan

And she is not alone. Yet you don’t see any guns in our hands. This is a curious situation, for anyone familiar with Iran know that nations[1] especially in southern parts of Iran are known to own guns (among them, Arabs, Baluchs, and Kurds are depicted as such). Saying that we want to minimize the violence is only half true. Yes, we don’t want to give the state any reason to use heavy weaponry against us, yet they are doing so in Kurdistan and Baluchistan anyway. So, I reject this reasoning as the only culprit. Guns are not cheap. Every bullet costs a lot of money and when a simple worker merely earns about 100€ a month and the cost of everything other than her labor power is globalized, buying a 500€ second-world-war gun does not make any sense. Hell, as a friend once said, if they had the money to buy guns, they would have spent it buying bread. And this is the issue: we are not fighting for the heck of it. This is not a cultural thing. It is inherently about class; this is a class struggle. But not pure and simple, rather all manners of primitive accumulation of capital is at work here. We are not just forced to sell our labor power, we are constantly dispossessed of our land and our bodies, and I mean that in a most literal sense. They sold our land, our dirt, to EAU, for the Palm Islands. The mountains in the northern regions of Iran are disappearing by the day. There are villages in Kermashan where most young men have only one kidney. In Baluchistan sleeping pills are cheaper and more accessible than food. Yes my friend, a sleeping child does not eat much.

Revolutionaries and freedom fighters in the Kurdish city of Mahabad, getting ready for confrontation against the fascists occupying forces of Islamic Republic

These are the realities of life under fascism. Well, we say no more!

I said it is not a cultural struggle. Let me hammer that home, for I’ve heard a lot about Hijab being the culture of Muslims. Those who say that, those “Muslims”, they are vampires living off of the blood of my people. And this is a propaganda, meticulously designed to ward off international attention. We call it “the false resistance axis”. It feeds off of Palestinian struggle. We do not shy away from calling them out here, and shaming them. You should do the same too, because you are the main targets of these propaganda. And as for the women, the struggle is against the patriarchy. Again, there is nothing cultural about it. It is slavery of an entire gender, pure and simple. And Hijab is the yoke of that slavery, the stigma that shows “this woman belongs to a man”. As our brother Fred Hampton used to say: ‘They tell their women “Walk behind me.” The only reason a woman should walk behind a faggot like that is so she can put his foot knee deep in his ass.’

And Jina’s revolution is exactly that foot in the mullahs ass.

But why am I telling you all this? As I warned before, this revolution without an international coalition would be an isolated incident at best. Those fears prove to be right. Islamic Republic is somewhat isolated, yet Turkey is not. Why on earth Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is allowed to bomb Kobanî and Direk is beyond me. And Iraq is silent and even cooperative with Islamic Republic when its land is being attacked. It seems to me that all fascists of the middle east are united against the Kurds and this revolution. And lets be frank, this revolution is Kurdish at its core, everywhere else people chant “Kurdistan, Kurdistan, the eye and the light of Iran”, and the Kurds chant “Kurdistan, Kurdistan, Gorestani Fascistan (the graveyard of the fascists)”. And meanwhile Europe, UK and US are merely sanctioning the Islamic Republic. They all seem accomplices to me. They can easily ward off Turkey. And US has proved to have a lot of leverage on Iraq’s government. (A fun fact: the cyber warfare/game between Islamic Republic and Israel has ceased in recent months. Oh, yeas! They are competing over who can kill the most kids in one year. 37 to 52 for the Islamic Republic at the time of me writing this. But the year is not up yet. They don’t have time for silly cyber-attacks anymore.) So, I should insist that truth is situational. Revolutionary courage is situational. There is no reason to imagine extraordinary ways for helping the revolutionaries here in Iran. Fight the fascists at home, for they are united. European Union has leverage over Turkey. Make them use it, and fast. Kurds are fighting multiple colonial states at once. The fascists are united and if we don’t unite, they will root us out soon after.

Fears of a genocide taking place is real.

I said that Islamic Republic has killed 52 children as of yet. But my comrades, this is not the horrifying part. Rather it is that the fascists know what they are doing. This is not incidental. It is targeted. Recently a video resurfaced in which one of the regimes theoreticians explain why Israel kills children. He says: “Why are they killing children? Are the crazy to face global media backlash? A doctrine says that when you are not facing an army, but you are faced with people, you should kill people. You should kill the women and children, you should kill them on purpose. Military doctrine says kill as many people as you can, until the same people get tired and tell [the freedom fighters] to stop. This is the military doctrine.” This is the doctrine adopted by an occupying force. This is the doctrine of the Islamic Republic. As our comrade and brother Yusif Moludy said at the funeral of his father: “what the regime does in Tehran is with batons, but in Kurdistan it is with bullets. Why? I will tell you. Because Islamic Republic in Tehran is a fascist regime, and in Kurdistan is an occupying regime.”

Yusif Moludy giving a speech at his father’s funeral

Let me close with a heartwarming story of resistance. Islamic Republic constantly cuts off electricity in Kurdistan province. As such, at sun down, the young freedom fighters in the city of Mariwan go to the mountains and blow horns to inform the people that they will be on the streets, confronting the regime’s forces. As long as the horns are blown at night, this revolution breaths on.

This is a DShK bullet, a Soviet heavy machine gun. Kurds are under fire with these bullets

Footages of mounted DShK on paramilitary convoys on the way to the city of Sanandaj, Kurdistan province

A young girl in the streets of Tehran. The sign reads:
when you drink water
doesn’t it taste like blood?
Kurdistan is under fire of the enemy

Karwan Ghader Shekari’s mother, saying farewell to her 16-year old son. People chant: “don’t cry mother, we will avenge him”

Karwan’s father is talking at his son’s funeral, saying: “we named our son Karwan (caravan) out of respect to the caravan of martyrs, and now he has joined the caravan of martyrs”

The greenish gas used in Kurdistan is different from common tear gases used in central parts of Iran. Reports suggest that it is Hexachloroethane, famously used by Portland police during protests against police brutality in 2020. It is known to being fatal and even cause cancer in small doses. Once again: “Islamic Republic in Tehran is a fascist regime, and in Kurdistan is an occupying regime”

The piece of news by Iran International (an oppositional Persian News TV reportedly funded by Saudi Arabia and with visible ties to Reza Pahlavi) saying that Shadi Amin, director of 6Rang (six colors, an LGBTQ rights group) has dedicated her international lesbian visibility award to Nika Shakarami: “Nika is one of the hundreds or maybe thousands of LGBT members who risked her life for this revolution.”
Atash Shakarami, Nika’s Aunt in an Instagram post responded:
Nika is not alive. and this means she cannot tell the truth herself. so we, as her family, are obligated to speak the truth in her stead.
“she was a teenager!” a 16-year old teenager. and a teenager is just starting her biological experiences and sexual identity. I ask you Miss Amin: how is it that when someone under 18 is killed, she is regarded as a child and is counted as child being murdered, but when it comes to her sexual life, you don’t treat her as a child?
I ask you who is doing legal work and are familiar with human and international laws:
can we be certain about the nature of friendship between two 15 or 16 year old teenagers, one in Germany and the other in Iran, a relationship minus the physical?
Nika is not alive. but her family are.
was it not necessary for you to contact her family to ask for clarification?
surely you know that confiscating Nika can have social and legal repercussions for you. disclosure, as it were not disclosing the truth, but rather proclaiming what is not true is not only irresponsible, but is also lawlessness and a violation of personal and family privacy. what you have done is confiscating Nika for your own personal gain on international assemblies.
we, Nika’s family, recognize people as they identify themselves sexually and recognize equal rights and freedom for all sexual minorities. With respect to the queer community, we declare with certainty that Nika’s sexual preference was heterosexual.
we should add that her sexual preference is her business alone and not even ours, her family. we declare this merely as clarification and to speak the truth.’
This instance was by far one the most shameful acts of confiscating the martyrs of this revolution that was rightfully called out by Nika’s aunt.

This is an interview about Khodanur Lojei:
one of the members of Khodanur’s family says: “this photo where he is handcuffed is old. Khodanur has got into a fight with the son of a Basiji (literally a volunteer; a semiofficial paramilitary and propaganda organization supporting the regime). They had relations with the authorities and could get an arrest warrant for Khodanur, have him harassed by the police and photographed with handcuffs which was later circulated to humiliate him.
why was he arrested?
Khodanur had a minor strife with the son of Basiji commander. His plaintiff is a known informer for the regime, he sells his family and religion to the regime. He gave 30 million (roughly 1000€) to the police officers to hit Khodanur and take photos. We later paid 100 million to get them to send him to court and then to prison. After a month we could have him released.
didn’t you try to find a way for appeasement?
of course, we tried to solve the issue with the help of the elders. But the father of that family said this person who does not have a birth certificate should not have dared to pick a fight with my son. is this photo from the first night of his arrest?
yes, from 2 am till 7 am Khodanur was handcuffed to a flagpole and beaten. Khodanur had asked for water, one of the officers brought a cup of water and put it out of Khodanur’s reach*.

[*this act is significant, since Shiite Muslims believe that Hussain and his family were denied water. Denying water from the thirsty is considered a shameless act of torture to which only the most evil would succumb. In another word, denying water is seen as an admission of evil intent. As a side note, police officers in Sunni parts of Iran are mostly Shiite from neighboring regions, with exceptions being limited to the ones who are employed as spies.]

how did you manage to free him? the officers themselves set a price for us and asked for 100 million. We are manual workers and could hardly gather the money

what do you know about Khodanur’s family? he had an old mother and she has no one else. Of course there is Khodanur’s brother, but he is also a manual worker and suffers from asthme. Khodanur was very well-mannered and people loved him.

he was a Baluch. He lived in Shirabad neighborhood in Zahidan. He lived in the ghetto. He didn’t have Identification documents. He was Sunni. He didn’t go to university. All this made him a non-citizen.
despite all this deprivation, he had audience. He was an influencer and had a lot of followers on Instagram. He used to have fun in all male environments with his friends. He danced, sang and posted photos from his everyday life.

how was Khodanur killed?
one day after the black Friday of Zahidan where they killed the worshipers, Khodanur got into a fight with some officers. They shot Khodanur. People took him to Tamin Ejtemayee hospital. He was shot near his spinal cord. He was alive in the hospital. We were afraid he was going to be paralyzed, because his feet were numb. Doctors said there is no need to operate on him, it will heal soon with the bullet in his leg. Tamin Ejtemayee hospital in Zahidan is under the supervision of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The last day before he became martyr, he persisted to a nurse that I am dizzy and lightheaded because of the shot you gave me.

at the end of the interview, interviewee says:
they neglected him to death and we could do nothing.

[1] Through recent dialogue, the most repressed people in Iran point out the connotations the word ‘ethnic’ and ‘ethnicity’ would have on them and insist on being called ‘nation’ as in ‘Kurdish nation’ or ‘Baluch nation’

Correspondence and translation by Zero81 Laboratorio di Mutuo Soccorso

All pictures from Telegram 1500 Tasvir

Cover picture from OpenverseUnited4Iran