By Abdollah Pakatchi
Do you remember us?
My name is Naeemeh. I’m the one on the left, and this is my friend Rosy. We go to the same school in our city Piranshahr in Azerbaijan, north of Iran.
It was last December. Something bad happened at our school. It was a very cold day. Although there were many of us in the class, I was shivering. I don’t know how it happened. Neither I nor any of my classmates had anything to do with it. We just heard a loud noise and then . . . fire was coming out of the heater in our classroom. Ask Rosy please, I swear we had nothing to do with it. Mr. Alemi, who tells us how to pray and wear hijab, came here yesterday and blamed us for it. But none of us did anything wrong. That heater was very old; we had problems with it every day!
In just less than a minute, fire was everywhere. I didn’t know what to do. Everywhere I looked there was fire. I . . . I couldn’t find the door. Suddenly I felt a painful burning on my body. I was on fire and then . . . I don’t remember anything else.
When I woke up, I was in the hospital. The pain I felt all over my body reminded me of what had happened that day. I thought to myself that my friends at school must be worried about me but soon, when I could turn my head a little bit, I saw mina, I saw Zari, hamideh, Razieh… they were all on the other beds in that hospital . Later, when Mrs. Kazemi, our teacher, came to see us she told me thirty pupils all from my class were burnt. Oh God why should this happen to us? What was our fault? Mrs. Kazemi was also crying. She said two of the children had died in the fire. She didn’t give me the names, but it didn’t matter. Those of us who were still alive were not faring any better. Three others also lost their fingers, I saw one of them.
Mrs. Samimi had warned us about the heater. She is our school’s headmistress. She had told us that the heater was timeworn. We never touched it, only the janitor used to turn it on. Mrs. Samimi told us that the school didn’t have the budget to buy a new heater and if it broke down we had no fund to replace it in this cold weather.
When I told my dad about this, he went mad. He used some bad words and kept talking to himself. “These Mullahs care about nothing but themselves,” he said. He embraced me and said, “They spend all our money to make atom bombs, but when it comes to our children’s class they say there is no money.” I want to cry, but I can’t. My face is burnt.
In the hospital, they asked us to pay for our cure. But we didn’t have any money. You know, my dad has been out of work for a long time. He finished university, but he couldn’t find a job. Then he got an ordinary job in a factory but the factory went bankrupt. As a matter of fact, the factory had not paid my dad’s salary for two years. It’s not fair. There is nobody to help us. I really want to cry. Now that I am in the hospital, I cannot go to wash cars to make money. We told the hospital that we study in a public school and the government should pay for us. I was frightened when I said that. Mr. Alemi might say something. At last, after my daddy went to different government local offices and asked for our insurance, they accepted to pay only one third of our insurance. We are girls; boys are entitled for a full insurance.
Soossan is fortunate. She is my sister. She works eight hours a day in the brick kiln.
The pay is not much, but it earns us one meal a day. Now she has to earn enough money for me as well. A few days ago, she fell down while caring bricks and hurt herself badly. The factory owner wanted to kick her out for this.
Sometimes, just before I go to sleep, I hide my head under the blanket and cry. I don’t want my mom and dad to see me crying. They, themselves, have enough miseries to cry about. Once I saw mom crying secretly to herself. She was saying, “Women are not regarded as human beings in this country.” It was written in one of our school books that Prophet Mohammed loved his daughters very much. So, why these Mullahs treat us like that? Oh God, Isn’t there anybody to come to save us from this misery?
Here is Ahmad, My brother. He has just returned from work. He is counting the money he has earned today.
He rambles in the streets to search inside garbage cans to find things that still can be used for something. He collects them and then sells them to a factory just outside the town. Some days he makes some money, some days he makes none. He, like I, loves to continue school, but then how can he make money?
To whom can I complain? God, please tell me, isn’t there anybody to come and save us? My dad needs help.
We have to gain our rights, from these greedy Mullahs, ourselves.
We can and we must. This is what Maryam Rajavi has taught us. Yes, we can all get together. Those of us outside Iran will go to Paris for and on behalf of all those kids inside Iran.
We will gather at villepinte. We will show Iran’s resistance‘s clenched fist.
On June 27th, all kids, meet each other at villepinte.