Iran protests: Families unable to attend funerals for loved ones move memorials online
In one such incident, the family of Mohammad Hassan, who was killed in the protest at the age of 26 in September, were attacked by the security forces on the day of 40th day ceremony
Iran: Amid the right to life protests in Iran, the hard-line Islamist authorities are not just killing protesters but also harassing the deceased families to stop them from holding memorial events for their loved ones, reports claim.
Human right experts explain that Iran has a history of treating families of those killed by the state in such a manner as they fear the aftermath of the killings.
Azadeh Pourzand, a human rights researcher at SOAS university of London recently told Sky news that the bereaved families of such people are forced to use social media to hold memorial events online.
In one such incident, the family of Mohammad Hassan, who was killed in the protest at the age of 26 in September, were attacked by the security forces on the day of 40th day ceremony.
4th Nov 2022, Shahinshahr: security officers shooting at people near a cemetery during the 40th day ceremony of Mohammad Hassan Torkaman. #ActNow #IranRevoIution #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/zGhPUTyANP
— Justice for Iran (@Justice4Iran) November 4, 2022
Reportedly, they were attacked by the security forces, plain clothes militia using stun grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets, paintballs and batons. Many were arrested and wounded.
His brother told media that since his death, they tried holding memorial events but end only being harassed by the forces, “we are monitored and controlled, some days they follow us, some nights they are stationed near our home,” he said.
As a result, organisations like the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center are stepping in since 2002 to create a digital archive of all those who have been killed by the state.
The mission is to ensure that all victims of the state’s violation of the right to life are memorialised, that society acknowledges the harm done to them and their loved ones, to help start their healing process in the absence of justice
Even as families of deceased protesters are resorting to create memorial pages of their loved ones on social media.
Three months after Mohammad Hassan’s death, two of his relatives set up Twitter pages that post on a daily basis, almost exclusively about Mohammad Hassan. They now have a combined following of over 27,000.
“It’s ironic that the regime is so strong with its state violence as a repressive regime but is scared of the dead bodies it creates,”Azadeh told Sky News.
“It’s not new to see the burial ceremonies for victims of state violence being disrupted in this way. It’s used as a tool to further harass and silence families,” she said.
Images of Mohammad Hassan as a young child, as well as images of his gravestone and shrine, can be found among the posts. Many demand for justice and relate stories about Mohammad Hassan.
According to statistics gathered by social listening company TalkWalker, the hashtag of Mohammad Hassan’s complete name in Farsi, which appears in each of the posts, has been tweeted more than 143,000 times.
Reports claim, that it has now become a common thing in Iran as other accounts dedicated to memorialising all of those who have died have rapidly increased.
One such page started initially to honour 1,500 protesters slain in 2019, now produces and publishes memories in honour of people who have been executed as well as those who have perished during recent protests.
It has 27,000 Instagram followers and an additional 7,000 Twitter followers.
“The Iranian leadership prefers that certain topics remain completely unmentioned and unheard. The official media completely disputes this,” the page’s admin informed Sky News.
They proclaimed, “I am the voice of their bereaved families.” Azadeh Pourzand stated, “What we are witnessing here is grassroots archiving and memorialising.” She argues that these monuments also serve to bring about justice for the deceased.
“We are not going to forget what happened or forgive what happened is the ultimate goal. We won’t let the blood of our loved ones be wasted. We’re going to continue to remember it, keep it alive, and work for justice “She told sky news.
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