By Bahman Bakhshi, Camp Liberty
November 6, 1981- Tehran
I couldn’t feel the chill in the air. But in that ill-fated afternoon, when my friend Bahman and I were being hunted by Iranian revolutionary guards (IRGC), I felt the cold Tehran autumn quite well. The IRGC guards – or Khomeini’s extremist militants – who were beginning to plant the seed of Islamic extremism in Iran and the Middle East, wanted to arrest us for our opposition to Khomeini’s dictatorship and our support for the PMOI. We were rushing through a narrow alley that connected to a larger street, when, in one of the corners, we suddenly smashed into a passing Peugot 504 and both fell on the ground.
I was writhing in agony and pain that had taken over my whole body. But I felt the pain from getting beaten up even more, when I noticed that my leg was broken. To complete my misery on that day, the bitter cold was adding to the pain that I felt. Nevertheless, I was not worried at all, and writhing was only the natural body reaction against the tremendous shock and the cold weather. The people had gathered around us took away Bahman – who also had a broken leg – so he wouldn’t be captured by the guards. But just as they stared to move me, guards armed to the teeth arrived, and instead of transferring me to a hospital, took me directly to the torture chamber in the notorious Evin prison. For a freedom lover, in the Khomeini regime, hospital and prison change roles, and so do doctors and prison guards.
The prison became my hospital, the solitary confinement cell my recovery chamber. My nurse was a brutal jailer with a thick black beard, wearing a balaclava instead of a surgeon’s mask. He tended to my needs with a club, and other torture instruments. And indeed, during his visits, I would forget the pain in my leg.
Seventeen days later, when the wicked fundamentalist doctors and nurses (I mean the guards), became frustrated from curing me, and their medication and treatment did not have any effects on me, they had no choice but to dismiss me. But I had to pay for those seventeen days that I was hospitalized there, and since I had no money, and my only asset was my life, the shot seventeen bullets in my body, one for each night of my hospitalization. The price of that recovery room – the solitary cell – was one bullet per night into my chest. I am Mohammed Reza.
30 years later, camp Ashraf, Iraq – April 4, 2012
30 years later, my ankle was fractured during Al Maliki’s barbaric raid against camp Ashraf on April 8, 2011, as I was still suffering from the fracture that I sustained 30 years ago in my collision with the Peugot 504. My friends rushed me to the camp’s clinic. As I was twirling again in pain, I remembered the incident from 30 years ago, and how I was saved by the people, but my friend was captured by the guards and was executed 17 days later. He very briefly recounted his true story at the beginning of this writing.
These thoughts were passing through my mind, when I heard that I had to be transferred to a hospital outside Ashraf for surgery. But Ashraf was under an inhumane medical siege by the authorities that were proxies to the Iranian regime. That same day, several of my friends were also not able to go to the hospital due to the obstacles imposed by the Maliki regime, and died as a consequence. I had to wait for one year, when finally, on the last day of 2011, I was allowed to leave Ashraf to go to a hospital in nearby Baquba, the capital of the Diala province.
In the hospital, I found myself not as a patient, but as a prisoner of war in the hands of two heavily armed Iraqi security guards. The two soldiers reminded me of the militant forces in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. I underwent surgery and three metal rods were implanted in my leg…
Three years later, “Liberty” prison – October 7, 2014
Three years have now passed since my leg surgery. I live in the “Liberty” refugee prison (sorry… camp), near the Baghdad airport. In this prison (sorry… camp), I don’t have the right to see my lawyer; I don’t have the right to purchase my necessities and must face harassments and persecution by the Iraq security guards at the main gate. Worse than all, I have been subjected to four rocket attacks and some of my best friends have been martyred. The medical blockade becomes stricter, and I don’t get the permission to travel to the hospital to receive treatment. I have tried several times to visit the surgeon to pull the metal rods out of my leg, but each time the Iraqi soldiers hinder the process to the point where I wasn’t able to go altogether. Due to this very inhumane blockade, several of my friends who were ill or injured have been killed. One of them Taghi Abbasian, was my math teacher when I went to high school in the city of Mashhad. I loved him very much.
But today, my legs are standing firm, more determined than ever to free Iran and to tolerate all the pressures and pains of this struggle. I am waiting for the day when hopefully the sleeping conscience of the U.S. government will wake up. The government that provided the “Protected Persons” status to me and my martyred friends in Ashraf, under the 4th Geneva Convention, left us without any defense in the claws of the fundamentalist connected with the Iranian mullahs.
Bahman Bakhshi – Liberty resident – former political prisoner in Khomeini’s regime – Physics student in Gutingen and Koln Universities in Germany.