Baluchi plight laid bare in exiled prisoner letter
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Three Baluchi political prisoners exiled to the northwestern city of Ardabil wrote an open letter in critique of the Iranian authorities and to raise public awareness about the plight of their people.
From Ward 7 of Ardabil Central Prison, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Shirahmad Shirani, and Noor Ahmad Hassanzehi wrote of dysfunctions plaguing the infrastructure of the Sistan and Baluchestan province, and of government inaction against the severe desiccation of Hamoun Lake.
Their letter concludes with a poem entitled “Friendship Is Our Long-Lasting Treasure,” which celebrates the unity among the different ethnicities of the Sistan and Baluchestan province.
Their letter is below, translated into English by HRANA:
Greetings, our dear Sistani peoples, especially those around Hirmand and Hamoun,
As exiled Baluchi political prisoners, we regard it as our duty to declare solidarity and express support to you, noble and kind fellows, through these troubles of our day. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish the best to you and to all the peoples of our province. We wish you emancipation from dictatorship.
How inconceivable it is to live this way! With border regions barren of water, electricity, gas, housing, employment, and of basic amenities like schools, roads, heating and cooling, toilets, and now, of the natural right to breathe; what is left to do but to survive, but to suffer? And for how long?
Clean air is the unconditional and vital right of all living beings. Despite this, some — who pursue personal and organizational profiteering, are guilty of mismanagement or carelessness, or persist in the mass theft of subterranean marine resources — have blighted this ancient erudite land with chaos and suffering. This birthplace of brave souls like Rostam, Sohrab, and Yaqub Leith; this place of Iranian linguistic and social renaissance.
How can we bear to see Sistan, the fertile crescent of ancient Iran, abandoned to a fate steered by those who caused this chaos, i.e. the regime and its agents?
The carelessness and profiteering of the regime’s authorities must cease its exploitation of the immense natural, cultural, and ethnic wealth of Sistan and Baluchestan, by ceasing the stripping of its precious gold and ore mines and the closing of its borders, the sole gateways to hope for the regions’ people in this era of poverty and destitution. Their job is not to gamble Sistani lives. You are the authorities! It’s your duty to heal the disorder you’ve caused.
What have you done all these years to restore Hamoun Lake and its wetlands? What have you done besides spend billions of rials on a border wall, fence, moats, towers, watchtowers, and other border controls? How much have you spent on the welfare of this region’s people? How much on the restoration of Hamoun Lake and wetlands, equal parts a cause and excuse for our insecurity? How will you restore hope and comfort to these poor and wronged Sistani farmers and fishermen? With lies, with promises?
You, our fellow Sistanis, people of our province, should know that we, the Baluchi people, irrespective of the regime and its schemes, will stand up to any abuse that violates your rights. We will condemn it. We will put our lives on the line for you.
Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Shirahmad Shirani, Noor Ahmad Hassanzehi
Exiled Baluchi political prisoners,
Ward 7 of Ardabil Central prison
August 30, 2018