Posted by: bahareiran | March 30, 2011

Stop the Slow Torture and Killing of Women and Ill in Ashraf

THEWIP.NET, March 29, 2011

by Sahar Moadab

Popular uprisings against dictators in Middle Eastern countries and ongoing protests by youth and women in Iran has drawn international attention and stirred the human conscience, particularly in the past few weeks. Their steadfastness and courage has stimulated bright hope to attaining freedom in this part of the world. The winds of change of democracy and freedom in Tunesia, Egypt, Libya and Iran are moving ahead. Up until now, women and youth have paid a heavy price for freedom.

In the course of the Iranian people’s uprising, I have witnessed the murder of courageous youth in my country such as Saneh Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari who was only 22. While I am addressing you today, we witness merciless executions of opponents in Iran daily, including Zahra Bahrami, Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaii, Ali Saremi and Jaafar Kazemi.

I am a 27 year-old woman residing in a beautiful and small city called Ashraf. Ashraf is located in the heart of one of the world’s most violent countries, Iraq. I am writing to you from a city in the midst of a desert. Among the 3400 residents in Ashraf, 1000 are women. My Iraqi friends call Ashraf a pearl in the desert. On his visit to Ashraf, Alejo Vidal Quadras, the vice-president of the European Parliament, called this city a candle in the darkness. The last visit by a parliamentary or human rights delegation to Ashraf was in the end of 2009. Subsequently, according to a dual conspiracy by Iran and Baghdad and following the transfer of the camp’s protection from US forces to the Iraqi government, all visits including our families, lawyers and human rights and parliamentary delegations to Ahsraf were prohibited and an all-round and inhuman siege was placed upon us. Ashraf is the symbol of a democratic society and a symbol of freedom and co-existence for the Iranian people. This is exactly why the dictators in Tehran and Baghdad cannot tolerate it.

You might be surprised, but I am a US-Iranian citizen who was born in New Jersey. Both my mother and father studied in the US. I have never yet set eyes on my motherland, Iran and just like any other patriotic person, this is like a dream for me. My mother was slain by agents of the Iranian regime because of her opposition to the mullahs ruling Iran when I was only four. I, just like thousands of other Iranian girls and boys whose mothers and fathers were slain by the regime, do no know what it is like to be loved by a mother. However, this feeling is not comparable to what my people suffer under the rule of the dictatorial mullahs. I came to Ashraf to take a step in the liberation of my country. When there are young girls and boys who have nowhere to sleep at night, when girls are smuggled and sold, when there are children who fall asleep alone in streets at night and when freedom-lovers are hung in streets, only my tears can relieve my sorrow. I think to myself and only wish that these were my nightmares and when I wake up everything will have changed. Unfortunately, this is the truth in my wounded country. It may seem as though dictators and those villains who have enchained freedom will rule forever but the events in the past month in the Middle East and North Africa has opened eyes particularly of those who were previously insensitive or blinded to the sacred word of freedom and now have been forced to face truth. But is this sufficient? Isn’t the human conscience so moved enough to give priority to these values opposed to power and personal interests?

Yes, I hope. Many have broken their silence and have been drawn to speak-up for those whose rights have been trampled. Mrs. Clinton, the United States Secretary of State on the occasion of international women’s day stated: ” The Iranian regime has imprisoned more than 100 women for their political views”. Mrs. Clinton added, “But despite it all, Iranian women took to the streets once again this week, in greater numbers than anyone expected.”

Hundreds of parliamentary representatives and human rights advocates in countries across the world, in a joint-statement urged for an end to the inhuman siege and torture in camp Ashraf. They expressed their protest to the US Secretary of State in a Congressional Hearing.

Psychological torture of residents of camp Ashraf is carried out by Iraqi forces aided by the mullahs in Tehran. 210 loudspeakers have been placed around the camp and are working in a 24-hour basis, threatening particularly women to murder and rape. It has been over one year that Elham Fardipoor, one of the female residents of camp Ashraf who suffers from thyroid cancer and because of restrictions placed upon us; she is suffering more and more every day. The Maliki government has prevented her from obtaining access to specialists and medical treatment and now, her life is at stake. I reside with Elham and witness her pain. Elham, along with all the other ill residents in Ashraf are condemned to a slow death.

The men and women in Ashraf trusted the US government when they signed an agreement with US forces, guaranteeing them their protection. And now they must respond to their responsibility. They should build up to their confidence. Therefore, to all those conscience minds that see injustice, I call on you to help stop the torture and killings of the sick in Ashraf.

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