A 12-year-old Ahwazi Arab boy attempted suicide in despair at his family’s poverty and his bleak prospects for the future.
The Iranian state news agency ISAN reported on Saturday that a vigilant neighbour found the unnamed child, who hanged himself in his family’s home in the village of Khowiyes whilst they were absent, immediately cutting him down and calling an ambulance.The unconscious child was rushed to the hospital in the nearby town of Susa (Shush) where he reportedly remains in a critical condition in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
Sources in the village say that the boy felt driven to this desperate measure by relentless hardship and his family’s extreme poverty.
Such tragic incidents are not uncommon amongst Ahwazi children and teenagers, with the regime’s de facto apartheid policies towards the Ahwazi people due to their Arab ethnicity driving increasing numbers of young Ahwazis to take their own lives in despair.
Despite the Ahwaz region housing over 90 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by the Iranian regime, its people see no profit from the countless billions of dollars earned from their resources, with all the monies going to Tehran, while Ahwazis are denied the most basic of rights and freedoms and treated as second-class citizens. Local human rights activists and health organisations in the region have no doubt that the systemic injustice, discrimination and brutal oppression inflicted by the regime are the primary factors in rising rates of depression, psychological illness and suicidal feelings reported amongst young Ahwazis, with the inadequate or non-existent healthcare, education and other services, particularly in rural areas, worsening these feelings of hopelessness.
Recent statistics published by the provincial planning and budgetary office for Khuzestan province (the Farsi name for Al Ahwaz) show that the official unemployment rate in the region currently stands at over one in four or 25.7 percent. Joblessness levels are far higher in predominantly Arab cities such as Khafajiyeh (Susangerd in Farsi), Falahiyeh (Shadegan), Muhammarah (Khoramshahr), Ahwaz and Susa (Shush) than in non-Arab cities.
Despite parents’ best efforts to shield their children from the worst effects of these problems, Ahwazi children become aware early on of the monstrous injustices inflicted by the regime and of their own greatly restricted life chances, with anti-Arab racism, long-term unemployment, drug addiction and other related social problems being norms rather than exceptions. All this has led to record levels of frustration, depression and despair amongst young Ahwazis, who feel hopeless and abandoned by the world.