The Lethal Persecution of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab Educators


When we analyse the history of repression, violence and capital punishment perpetrated against the Ahwazi Arab people, we understand that they have suffered years of  premeditated and systematic abuse. Meanwhile the execution of Ahwazi intellectuals historically has inflicted an irreparable blow  on the liberation movement of this occupied nation which has struggled to gain its fundamental rights of self- determination for years.

The executions of the early leaders of Arabestan liberty movement in 1963,the repressive policies of Islamic republic of Iran against Ahwazi people in every aspects of their life, the tragic bloody massacre of  Muhammarah city in 1979, and the harsh crackdown against the popular uprising in 2005 are vivid demonstrations that the Ahwazi  intellectuals especially teachers,  who are the base  of political class of this nation, have been systemically targeted for persecution, imprisonment and execution.
Ahwazi teachers,  who play a crucial role in raising awareness of cultural and political rights among  young Ahwazi Arabs,  have long been a primary target of Iranian regime brutality,  with countless teachers arrested and imprisoned by the regime on trumped-up or fabricated charges and subjected to savage torture. Many of the teachers detained are executed, with court-ordered exile and banishment outside Ahwaz also being a routine punishment  as a means of severing the educators’ ties with the Ahwazi community.
The Iranian regime has consistently been in an open war with freedom of speech, and expression, erecting gallows for those who fought with their pens and thoughts. Prosecutors of this brutal regime have flogged libertarians for using their only weapon against this extremely corrupted regime.
Teachers, always in the vanguard of the fight for freedom of speech, battle with the Iranian regime and have been the victims of its barbarism. The charges against these teachers are not that they betray the country or murder innocents, but that they encourage thought and bring awareness to their pupils.
In Iran, given the absence of justice and humanity, it is almost a miracle for a caring and compassionate teacher to teach and write letters of hope and equality on the blackboard for their students.
There are countless freedom fighter teachers, such as Arash Kamangeer (from Kurdistan ), Hashem Shabani, Hadi Rashedi, Mohammad Amouri, Rahman Assakereh from the Ahwaz region who sacrifice their lives to pass them behind bars in prison, or are executed for defending the freedom of speech and calling for respect for these fundamental human rights., Fahima Esmaili Badawi, an Ahwazi woman and elementary school teacher who was a member of Al-Wefagh party, was arrested and imprisoned in 2005 and is still in prison to this day. The clerical regime has also executed her husband, Ali Matouri. Mohammad Ali Sawari was an English literature teacher was executed along with his brother Hamza Sawari on September 11, 2007 in Ahwaz City.  Some reports claim he was also accused of translating George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, into Arabic, with the aim of sparking an uprising against the Iranian Islamic republic regime. Also, Reysan Sawari was middle school teacher, and member of al-Wefaq party was executed in 2007.
In the past few months, the time has come for another teacher to carry the torch of freedom, liberty, and hope. The torch that leads the followers of thought and freedom out of inky darkness. Glorious and notable to many, Qaiss was a free-thinking teacher who lost his life for advocacy of freedom of speech and liberty. Qaiss was a teacher from the small town of Hamidieh in Al-Ahwaz region, a city which embraces generous and kind people with innocent children, who still wait for the arrival of their teacher.
Qaiss died like a free man. He is a symbol of liberty through peace. He is a son whose elderly parents still await for his return. Qaiss Obeidawi, an enlightened teacher, spent his childhood in the Hamidieh in the Lenjeh neighborhood. His family kept busy with farming and cattle ranching. Through time, Qeiss carved his path and became a teacher. He was always different from the others, spending a great deal of his childhood reading.
He truly was more than a teacher in the short time he spent as an educator, for his pupils developed a wonderful relationship with him. His students waited for their teacher during his entire time incarcerated.
Consistently his students asked about their teacher, his mother said. Seeing the tears of his students, for Qeiss, helped heal my pain. Qeiss spent 17 months in solitary confinement, under the Iranian regime. During this time, he was subjected to brutal physical and psychological torture, but he never gave up on his beliefs and his freedom of speech. His right to retain a lawyer was never honored. He was never allowed contact with his family. In a biased court, he was quickly sentenced to death, and he was executed by the Iranian authorities on the morning of Wednesday, August 17, along with his brother Ahmad Obeidawi and his cousin Sajjad Obeidawi. The brutal regime did not stop at execution of this great teacher, but forced his family to leave their home and migrate to another city. His friends who have been sentenced by the court, talked about his courage when he encountered the judge, when he told him that he had no legal right to judge and that he was directed by Iranian intelligence. He insisted on his beliefs until the last minute. This is how free Ahwazi teachers lose their lives.

By Ahwaz Monitor

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