Jun 22, 2004

Ahwazi: Indigenous Ahwazi Arab children in Iran starve

Report and commentary on the severe malnutrition of children in the Khuzestan region

80% of children of Azadegan in Khuzestan suffer from malnutrition.

Sousangard- Khuzestan, Southwestern Iran. Correspondent of The Islamic Republic Newspaper Reporting: Mr. Ezati. The Governor of Dashte-Azdegan in Khuzestan, a province in southwestern Iran where the majority of inhabitants are indigenous Arabs, declared that this region has the highest incidence of malnutrition among children in comparison to other cities and regions in Iran. He was speaking in a seminar held here about “Health and Social Well-Being”.
The Governor added that coordination among Rural Councils, conducting conferences on malnutrition and lightweightedness, augmented with utilization of specialists, are effective ways to solve the malnutrition problem.

80% of children in the Khuzestan’s Dadsht-e-Azedaegan suffer from malnutrition, said Dr. Balali, director of the Dashte-Azedegan Health Network. Dr. Balali emphasized that lightwigtedness is an important indicator in detecting malnutrition in children and newborns. Raising parents’ awareness about malnutrition, education, combating illiteracy, and waging a campaign in agricultural productivity, are measures necessary to combat malnutrition, added Dr. Balali. He asked for more cooperation.

(Islamic Republic newspaper- Sunday June 2, 2004- Issue 7207).

The above news appeared in the Jomhori Eslami, Iran’s official newspaper. Officials and authorities of the Islamic Republic did not comment and tried to ignore or sideline the issue.

What is the fault of the Ahwazi Arab indigenous people of Khuzestan that their children are being subjected to this hunger and malnutrition? Don’t they live on a sea of oil? Doesn’t their land produce over 80% of Iran’s oil revenue and wealth? (All of which goes directly to Tehran)

How would the Iranian ruling class in Tehran, which considers itself to be a part of the “Aryan Race” and habitually disrespects the indigenous Arabs of Iran, explains this tragedy? Why is the racist clerical regime keeping Ahwazi Arabs hungry, as the racist monarchist regime did? Is it because of their race? Why should the Arab inhabited province of Khuzestan, which produces over 4 million barrels of oil per day, be left backward and hungry, while the Persian provinces of Tehran, Yazd, Isfahan and Fars benefit from all the wealth generated by Ahwazi produced oil?
During the previous regime of the Shah, the name of this part of Khuzestan was changed from the Arabic name of Khafajieh to Dashtmishan. The current regime changed it to Azedegan. Both names were forced on the indigenous Ahwazi Arab inhabitants. Why? To de-Arabise and Persianize the area? Was this done to negate its historical identity?
Past and present Iranian regimens have attempted, but failed, to completely eradicate indigenous Ahwazi Arab identity, is it now the time to starve them to death? so as to force them off their oil-rich land? Is this why there is a new campaign of ethnic cleansing and hatred in Tehran led by individuals such as Mr. Mohsen Rezaie, Varjavand, Bavand, and Mirmehrdad Sanjari, or racist newspapers and websites in Tehran such as Shargh, Baztab and similar racist publications and websites that promote hate and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Ahwazi Arabs of al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan). Is there an end in sight?

Past and present Iranian regimes have forcefully confiscated the lands of indigenous Arab peasants in Shoush, Dash-Azedagen, Ahwaz and other places, changed their names, degraded, disrespected , humiliated their indigenous Arabs inhabitants, and continuously mock them in their textbooks and publications. Is the ultimate aim total annihilation of over 4.5 million indigenous Ahwazi Arab inhabitants of Southwestern Iran through hunger and malnutrition?
We first ask God, and then the United Nations and the International Community to help us and intervene on our behalf.

Abdulrazagh Afrawi, Ahwaz-Iran