30 Years Since the Iran-Iraq War, The Suffering Continues for Ahwazis in War-Devastated Cities

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In this short film,  Ahwazi Arab locals in the  cities  of Mohammareh and Abadan near the Iran-Iraq border in Iran talk about the horrendous suffering there, lamenting the medieval conditions of destitution,  deprivation and medieval poverty, despite the Ahwaz region housing  over 90 percent of the oil and gas wealth claimed by Iran.

The residents speak about the heartbreak of seeing their children weeping from hunger while having no food to give them. Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars going to the Iranian regime from the natural resources on their land, the people of the two cities , like many Ahwazis, are denied even clean water or the most basic utilities and services, such as mains electricity, gas or water.  Despite the passage of three decades since the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the regime has never attempted to rebuild or repair what remains of the towns and villages in the area that were destroyed or severely damaged in the eight-year conflict.

One lady says bitterly, “We lost our children, mothers and fathers in the war – is this fair, the situation in Mohammareh, that people should remain like this [gesturing to her home and children]?”

Another interviewee, a middle-aged man says, “I could take you to see houses in neighborhoods whose residents starving from hunger for ten to fifteen years.”

A second man says, “We face severe problems from not having clean water, and from the absence of a sewage system, but we can’t find anyone who will listen to us.”

A young man from Abadan points out the bleak irony in the juxtaposition of the terrible  deprivation in the city  with the proximity of the nearby  gas refineries which make the regime rich, saying, “We can smell the gas [from the refineries], but there is no gas pipeline reaching homes in Abadan.”

A fifth interviewee,   speaks bitterly of the regime’s indifference to the people’s suffering, saying, “In terms of basic hygiene conditions, these areas are sub-zero,”

The middle-aged man adding, “I could take you to see around 30 rural areas to the west of the Karoon River where no official has ever “set foot”.

Another resident is heavily sarcastic about the Iranian regime officials’ selectiveness during their occasional visits to their government colleagues in the area, saying, “How come officials wanting to meet with the Commander-in-Chief, the ministry heads, the doctors and engineers can manage to travel to the Shalamcheh area [a war-stricken area in  Ahwaz region , also known as Khuzestan province, on the Iran-Iraq border northwest of Abadan city, which was a central location in the 1980-88 war].   But, how come you didn’t go to see the 30 villages in the area? Why didn’t you go there?”

Another interviewee, a woman, also voices a sardonic cynicism about the Iranian regime’s claims to treat all its citizens as equals, asking, “Are we considered Iranians?  Are we part of Iran?”

The short film finished with haunting footage of a gaunt young Ahwazi girl who has known nothing but poverty and deprivation for all her short life, as she gazes bleakly at the camera, her hands on her cheeks, dreaming perhaps of the simple pleasures of a childhood denied.

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