Thursday, August 12, 2010

Keyvan Samimi, refusing to break his hunger strike.

This is Keyvan Samimi کیوان صمیمی.
Keyvan is a journalist: the editor of the banned periodical Naameh نامه (letters), who also blogged on a now banned site, Kharabaat خرابات. He was also a member of National committee for peace. A committee formed in 2007, by a call from human rights Nobel laureat, Shirin Ebadi, and in response to increased foreign threats about IRI's nuclear program. Their motto: No to War, Yes to Human Rights.)

Last year, in Ramadan (which has begun now), his daughter wrote a moving letter praying for her father's broken heart for witnessing injustice, and prayed for his safe return.

Now his life is in danger. He refuses to break his hunger strike. From the 17 prisoners who went on strike over three weeks ago, 15 of them have broken their strike (yesterday). They have broken their strike, after the Green leadership pleaded with them to save their own lives (a very respectable gesture from Karroubi and Mousavi who insist they are not going to play with "the blood of others".)

The older ones, however, refuse: one is Keyvan, the other is Arjang. Keyvan remains on strike for his "sons" (who are still in solitary confinement).


Samimi was arrested a few days after election coup d'etat. Samimi's daughter speaks of his high spirits (after he returned to jail after a new-year break he was given on 100,000$ bail): "Father's going to prison for his ideals. He has chosen this path and he is content. His ideal is justice and freedome and his is determined. He has never stopped, he never will." (Samimi's vacation was not extended, he was punished for continuing to act politically as soon as out of prison.)

When asked why Keyvan refuses to break his strike (while others have), a close relative of his responded: "Mr Samimi is a goal oriented individual. He did not go on strike to protest his own condition, but the abhorring prison conditions for others. Therefore, he will stay on strike until others (the 15 who are still in solitary confinement) are transferred to common wards. Unless his family convinces him otherwise, he will not break his strike. A few months ago he discussed this matter with his family, because he cares for consensus. [...]

According to prisoners who are released, Samimi has a high spirit: he chats with the younger prisoners to lift their mood, he doesn't leave the prisoners alone and gives them home and morale. [...] He also believes in dialogue, he believes dialogue will solve all problems. According to his daughter, he even planned to go visit Hossein Shariatmadari; the fascist in chief and the chief editor of Keyhan.

Samimi is not a "new" revolutionary. When he was young, he was amongst the student protesters who had thrown rocks at Shah in protest to (then) Vice President Nixon's visit to Tehran; a few months after the CIA-coup of 1953. For that, Keyvan was jailed three months but then allowed to go back to university. In the brutal Shah's regime, political activism did not turn into life-time ban from education institutes and public service. (He is now deprived of ANY public/intellectual activity, for life.)

After being handed his 6 years prison term, he sent a short message from the 209 ward of Evin prison:
"Steady and determined, I Jihad for my sacred ideals, internally and externally. And of course, the prophet has called the internal Jihad the more magnificent and the more important one. Thus, goodbye to 'me', hello to 'us'."


Beach Bum said...

Last year, in Ramadan (which has begun now)...

I hope this is proper since I’m Christian but I wish everyone a Blessed Ramadan. And I will say a prayer for Mr. Samimi.

Naj said...

Thanks Beach. I am not religious; but I am sorry that my country has become a prime example of how religion can be used to mess up human life/dignity.