For the remembrance of the “Şehîds of the Gallows”

The Kurdish revolutionaries Şirîn Elemhuli, Ferzad Kemanger, Ferhad Wekîlî, Elî Heyderiyan and Mehdi İslamyan were executed by the Iranian regime in the Evin Prison in Tehran on 9 May, 2010.

They became a symbol of resistance against the Iranian regime, against its politics of feminicide and assimilation and oppression against Kurds, Baloch, Ahwaz and all the people of Iran. When today the Jin Jiyan Azadî uprisings sparked a new fire of hope and resistance, not only in Iran but in the whole region, it is crucial to see that there is heritage of revolutionary resistance.

After what is called the “Islamic revolution” but rather should be named a counter-revolution in 1979, most of the revolutionaries have been either hanged or exiled. The hope for an equal and just society itself should be executed on the gallows for this struggle should be expire for good. Until today, barely a week passes in which there is no woman being killed or tortured because she did not obey the rules enforced in the name of religion. Barely a week passes in which there is no Kurd being hanged or a Baloch village is not be attacked and its people being harassed or killed.

After the regime understood that it will not be able to cut the people from its resistant heritage, it started to develop methods of special warfare, especially against the youth. The Iranian state that talks from dawn to dusk about Islam and uses it to justify its imperialist politics in the Middle East, spreads drugs, prostitution and all kinds of liberalism to destroy the social ties that hold the people together.

Against such a regime young women and men like Şehîd Şirîn, Şehîd Ferzad and their comrades have shown that against such a regime, neither surrender nor collaboration with other imperial powers and their liberalism are ways that can be taken. In the prison of Evîn, infamous for its torture and inhuman treatment for political prisoners, they didn’t bow their heads to the thugs of the regime, no matter how cruel they have been treated and defended this stance until their last steps to the gallows. Their life, struggle and martyrdom became a symbol for this line of resistance and the insisting of a free life and humanity.

Ferzad Kemanger was a teacher from Sine who went from village to village, teaching the children. In his final letter he wrote the following: “Allow my heart to beat in a child’s chest so that one morning I may be able to shout as loud as I can in my mother tongue – Kurdish. I want to be a wind that takes the message of love for all humanity to every corner of this world.”

Shirin Elemhuli, carrying the nom de guerre Ronahî Rûken, was a freedom fighter from Maku. In her final letter she said her jailers had demanded she renounce her Kurdishness. “That would mean renouncing myself,” she wrote.

Ali Heydariyan, his codename was Soran, have been a guerrilla in the mountains, also from the town of Sine. He had gone to Tehran to seek treatment for a serious illness. After being arrested he was tortured for months.

And Ferhat Wekili, also from Sine was the father of Hengame, Hewran and Hewraz. He was an engineer. He went to the gallows with his head held high, saying; ‘May my children live in a free country’.

A few days before his execution his children wrote him a letter he would never receive.

“Dear Dad, now silence has descended on our city. But alas we cannot find a conscience that will listen to the silence in our hearts. …Dad, we wonder if you can see our freedom stars now? If we write a petition asking why a child should be separated from his father, why a father should be taken away from his children and put in prison, who will give us an answer?”

Mehdî Islamiyan, as most of the comrades form Sine, were not involved in the freedom struggle before, but when he got to know the other revolutionaries he was touched by their stance and resistance in the prison. As a consequence he didn’t bow his head to his torturers and became a part of their stance.

The great Kurdish poet Şerko Bêkes have dedicated on of his poems to these 5 revolutionaries:

“Since the early morning
The biggest street in Sinê has been named after Ferzad Kamanger
Since this very morning
The greatest park in Mehabad has become the one of Şirîn Elemhûli
With the dawn of this very morning
every newborn has been named after Farhad Wekîlî
From today on, with the first rays of sun of the early morning,
Mehdî Islamiyan has become the Lake of Wan
With today’s dawn
Alî Heydariyan has become the statue of Kirmaşan
Go ahead and hang the city of Sinê!
behead the city of Mehabad!
Go ahead and don’t let our children be born!
Go ahead
Stop rain from falling, prevent nature from flourishing and deprive earth from living!
From today onward,
I cherish the eyes of Şirîn Elemhulî
From today onward,
I will turn my poetry into the flower of music
for the figure of Şirîn Elemhuli
From now on,
I am a strand of her hair
From now on,
I am her fingernail
From now on,
I am the final pair of shoes she wore when she went to the gallows
And from now on,
I am those bracelets that Şirîn Elemhulli has left behind
The Islamic Republic of Gallows
what is left there to hang?
From the dreams to poetry
and from poetry to woman and from woman to bread
From water to flowers to springs.
The Islamic Republic of Gallows
What it is never in any way able to hang
is the future and freedom.”

The translation was mainly done by Kamal Soleimani who also translated the letters that Şehîd Ferzad Kermanger sent out of the prison to English.

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