Posted by: hevallo | May 10, 2010

A Kurdish Teacher Hung for His Kurdish Identity in Iran Writes a Letter!

The Iranian regime executed four political prisoners, one of whom is a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, communications manager Ferzad Kemanger (pictured above). Last year, he wrote: “I just want my heart to continue to beat in a breast of a child who is more rebellious than me” .

The Iranian Islamic Regime announced that it has executed 4 members of the PJAK who were held in Tehran prison. Kurdish prisoners and teachers Ferzad Kemanger, Eli Heyderiyan, Ferhad Wekili and a representative of women’s group, Şirin elem Hulu.

Kurdish teacher Ferzad Kemanger, one of those executed, has written a letter to the Minister of Information Kolaam-Hoseyn Ezhei and offered to donate their organs.

We make public the Kamangah Letters Farzad Kamangar, a school teacher on death row, has written a letter to other imprisoned teachers.

Be Strong Comrades

Once upon a time, there was a mother fish who laid 10,000 eggs. Only one little black fish survived. He lives in a stream with his mother.

One day the little fish said to his mother, “I want to go away from here.” The mother asked, “Where to?” The little fish replied, “I want to go see where the stream ends.”

[Translator’s note: Little Black Fish is the title of a short story fiction piece for children. The story was written in 1967 by the dissident teacher Samad Behrangi. The book was banned under the Shah’s regime. It tells the story and adventures of a little fish who defies the rules of his community to embark on a journey to discover the sea. On the way, he courageously fights enemies. The tale is considered to be a classic in Iranian resistance literature]

Greetings cell mates. Hello fellow inmates of pain!

I know you well: you are the teacher, the neighbour to the stars of *Khavaran, the classmates of dozens whose essays were attached to their legal cases [as evidence], the teacher of students whose [only] crime was their humanitarian thoughts. I know you well: you are colleagues of Samad and Ali Khan. You remember me too, right?

[Translator’s note: Khavaran is the cemetery in eastern Tehran where many political dissidents were executed during the 1980’s and buried in mass unmarked graves]

It is me, the one chained in Evin prison.

It is me, the quiet student who sits behind the broken school benches and longs to see the sea while in a remote village in Kurdistan. It is me, who, like you, told the tales of Samad to his students; but in the heart of the Shahoo Mountains [located in Kurdistan].

It is me who loves to take on the role of the little black fish.
It is me, your comrade on death row.

Now, the valleys and mountains are behind him and the river passes through a plain field. From the left and the right side, other rivers have joined in and the river now is filled with more water. The little fish enjoyed the abundance of water.the little fish wanted to go to the bottom of the river. He was able to swim as much as he wanted and not bump into anything.
Suddenly, he spotted a large group of fish. There were 10,000 of them, one of whom told the little black fish, “Welcome to the sea, comrade!”

My jailed colleagues! Is it possible to sit behind the same desk as Samad, look into the eyes of the children of this land, and still remain silent?

Is it possible to be a teacher and not show the path to the sea to the little fish of the country? What difference does it make if they come from Aras[a river in northwestern Iran, Azerbaijan], Karoon [a river in southwestern Iran, Khuzestan], Sirvan [a river in Kurdistan] or Sarbaz Rood [a river in the Sistan and Baluchestan region]? What difference does it make when the sea is a mutual destiny, to be united as one? The sun is our guide. Let our reward be prison, that is fine!
Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and remain quiet?

Is it possible to be in the year of no justice and fairness and fail to teach the H for Hope and E for Equality, even if such teachings land you in Evin prison or result in your death?

I cannot imagine being a teacher in the land of Samad, Khan Ali, and Ezzati and not join the eternity of *Aras. I cannot imagine witnessing the pain and poverty of the people of this land and fail to give our hearts to the river and the sea, to roar and to inundate.

[*Translator note: Aras is a river in northwest Iran, bordering Iran and Azerbaijan. Samad drowned in the river in the summer of 1968. Some have considered the circumstance of his death suspicious and blamed agents of the Shah’s regime for his death]

I know that one day, this harsh and uneven road will be paved for teachers and the suffering you endured will be a badge of honour so everyone can see that a teacher is a teacher, even if his or her path is blocked by the *selection process, prison, and execution. The little black fish and not the heron bestows honour on the teacher.

[Translator’s note: Selection process or Gozinesh is a process through which teachers and other government-paid employees are vetted based on their ideological, political, and religious views]

The Little Fish calmly swam in the sea and thought: Facing death is not hard for me, nor is it to be regretted.
Suddenly the heron swooped down and grabbed the little fish.

Grandma Fish finished her story and told her 12,000 children and grandchildren that it was time for bed. 11,999 little fish said good night and went to bed. The grandmother went to sleep as well. One little red fish was not able to sleep. That fish was deep in thought.

A teacher on death row, Evin prison
Farzad Kamangar
April 2010

Farzad Kamangar was born in 1975. He was a teacher during 12 years in Kamiaran, a village of Eastern Kurdistan (Northwestern Iran). He was married and has children. He belonged to the Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan and to other activist associations. He wrote for the review Royan, the review of the Education department of Kamiyaran and for newspapers of local Human Rights associations.

He had been arrested on August 19th 2006, by the secret services of Sine. During four months after his arrest, his family had no news and the authorities denied responsibility of his disappearance.

Farzad Kamangar had been in fact transferred in the 9th Prison of Evin in Tehran, an unofficial centre of detention of the VEVAK(Vezarat Etela’at Va Amnyate Keshvar), the Iranian security services.

In a letter he secretly send out of prison, he told how he was isolated and tortured, beaten during his first interrogation just because he was a political activist. He was forced to stay on a chair to which he was bound during 24 hours without food and without the possibility of going to the lavatory. Then he was imprisoned in a small cell without fresh air. He could not get in touch with his family or his lawyer. He faced also psychological pressures, for example, by threats made against his relatives. Once he attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself down the stairs, but he failed. His health was so bad that he had to be treated in the prison hospital. His lawyer reports that when he saw Farzad on their first meeting, his body was shaken, his hands had been seriously burnt by boiling water. In addition, he suffers of kidney infection, and tracks of blood in his urine.

Between 2006 and 2007, he was several times transferred in Kermanshah or Sine to be interrogated and severely tortured. In Kermanshah, the cell where he was detained in February and March 2007 measured 1m x 1m x 0.6m. He was also sexually abused in Evin, a common practice carried out to psychologically break a prisoner’s mind.

His mother and his brother were allowed to see him only seven months after his arrest. When they meet him, Iranian agents stayed all the cell with them and prevented them from speaking in Kurdish. Farzad Kamangar at this time, did not know what the charges against him were.

Farzad made several hunger strikes, with other prisoners, to protest against their conditions of detention. During the last month, he was held in the prison of Gohardacht, when prisoners revolted. After a raid by the security services, he had been taken away and held in isolation with Farhad Vakili and Ali Heydaran. Source: Kurdish Info



  1. Rojbas Heval, sehid Ferzad Kemanger'in mektubunun Turkcesi de burdadir:

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