How would you feel if you were in my place?

By Hanif Garmabi, hunger striker in camp Liberty

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How would you feel if you were banned from going to university simply because you were from an ethnic minority? How would you feel if you couldn’t contact your family, for they would be persecuted by the ruling regime because of your political beliefs? How would you feel if you couldn’t hold a ceremony for a murdered loved-one, because he or she believed in freedom? How would you feel if you had to search for your relatives in mass, unmarked graves?

I felt imprisoned. And that is why I fled my country Iran to join the people in Ashraf, aiming to join the struggle to restore my people’s rights to freedom and democracy.

How would you feel if Iraqi forces murdered your father and 51 other defenseless residents of the camp, and you had to watch his picture as he was shot dead in a hospital, where people are usually resuscitated? How would you feel if your mother was held hostage by savage torturers for 63 days? How would you feel if the US and UN had promised to prevent exactly this from happening, only to turn their backs on you when the crucial moment was on them? How would you feel if it wasn’t the first time?

I felt betrayed. And that is why I decided go on hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of my mother and six other hostages, and the protection of the rest of us by UN Blue Helmet forces.

Left: Abbas Garmabi, killed by Iraqi forces. Right: Hanif Garmabi on hunger strike
Left: Abbas Garmabi, killed by Iraqi forces.
Right: Hanif Garmabi on hunger strike

How would you feel if you knew that, despite the silence and inaction of the US and UN, there are noble and freedom-loving people out there who won’t let human rights be trampled for political benefits? How would you feel if you knew that there are thousands across the world who would support you in your cause if they heard your voice?

I felt heartened. And that is why I decided to write these lines, calling on all those who read it to be my voice and help me free my mother and the other hostages.

How would you feel if you succeeded in saving the life of a human being?

 

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