by Majeed Mohades

In my daily visits to the hungers strikers in camp Liberty, I’ve met with many of them, and they shared their thoughts and feelings, their memories of the victims of the September 1st massacre, their concerns about the seven hostages and their determination to continue their struggle for the cause.

One of the hunger strikers, 27-year-old Mehrdad Abbassi, used to be an underground singer in Iran, secretly composing songs about the suffering and pain of the people and their suppression by the mullahs. He came to camp Ashraf in 2008, where he continued his singing and put his talents to work in the struggle to establish freedom and democracy in Iran. As we spoke of the September 1st massacre, he said, “On September 1st, when I heard that Yasser Hajian was murdered by the Iraqis, my heart stopped beating, and the memories of Yasser flashed back in my mind.”

Recounting his acquaintance with Yasser, Mehrdad said, “I first met Yasser when I went to the studio to record my first song in Ashraf. He was a very talented and skilled producer, and he worked tirelessly to send the message of Iranian people to the world through his television productions.”

Outraged at the death of his friend, Mehrdad added, “Yasser was shot in the head by Iraqi forces while he had no means to defend himself. The US and UN had promised to protect him and the other residents of Ashraf. They failed in fulfilling their promises, and many innocent people died, including my dear friend Yasser.”

During our conversation, Mehrdad expressed his concern about the 7 hostages abducted by the Iraqi forces, saying, “They’ve been enduring unimaginable torments at the hands of Maliki’s agents for nearly two months, and if something isn’t done about it, they might be murdered or sent to Iran. I’ve lived most of my life under the dark rule of the mullahs; they show no mercy to dissidents and they will torture and execute the hostages if they lay their hands on them.”

He was furious at the continued silence of the US and UN. “Their silence is helping Maliki complete his plot to extradite the hostages”, he said, “and stage further attacks and massacres against the rest of us in Camp Liberty.

“Since the US and UN have failed in their duties, the only option that I have left is to go on hunger strike, and I will continue my hunger strike until the seven hostage are released and our protection in camp Liberty is guaranteed.”

Finally, Mehrdad asked me to send his message to people across the world. “Be the voice of Yasser and the other victims of the September 1st massacre,” he said, “and help us in achieving our just demands. Your actions can help save the lives of the hostages and prevent the further massacre of the residents of Liberty.”

Watch a song by Mehrdad and his music band: