Breaking the Language Barrier on Human Rights

Teacher on Death Row Farzad Kamangar Writes New Letter: “Be Strong Comrades”

April 27, 2010

clicking on this picture will lead you to a petition for the release of imprisoned teacher on death row Farzad Kamangar


Farzad Kamangar, a school teacher on death row, has written a letter to other imprisoned teachers. The following letter was published by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

« Be Strong Comrades »

Once upon a time, there was a mother fish who laid 10,000 eggs. Only one little black fish survived. He lives in a stream with his mother.

One day the little fish said to his mother, “I want to go away from here.” The mother asked, “Where to?” The little fish replied, “I want to go see where the stream ends.”

[Translator’s note: Little Black Fish is the title of a short story fiction piece for children. The story was written in 1967 by the dissident teacher Samad Behrangi. The book was banned under the Shah’s regime. It tells the story and adventures of a little fish who defies the rules of his community to embark on a journey to discover the sea. On the way, he courageously fights enemies. The tale is considered to be a classic in Iranian resistance literature]

Hello cell mates. Hello fellow mates of pain!

I know you well: you are the teacher, the neighbour to the stars of *Khavaran, the classmates of dozens whose essays were attached to their legal cases [as evidence], the teacher of students whose [only] crime was their humane thoughts. I know you well: you are colleagues of Samad and Ali Khan. You remember me too, right?

[Translator’s note: Khavaran is the cemetery in eastern Tehran where many political dissidents were executed during the 1980’s and buried in mass unmarked graves]

It is me, the one chained in Evin prison.

It is me, the quiet student who sits behind the broken school benches and longs to see the sea while in a remote village in Kurdistan. It is me, who like you, told the tales of Samad to his students; but in the heart of the Shahoo Mountains [located in Kurdistan].

It is me who loves to take on the role of the little black fish.

It is me, your comrade on death row.

Now, the valleys and mountains are behind him and the river passes though a plain field. From the left and the right side, other rivers have joined in and the river now is filled with more water. The little fish enjoyed the abundance of water…the little fish wanted to go to the bottom of the river. He was able to swim as much as he wanted and not bump into anything.

Suddenly, he spotted a large group of fish. There were 10,000 of them, one of whom told the little black fish, “Welcome to the sea, comrade!”

My jailed colleagues! Is it possible to sit behind the same desk as Samad, look into the eyes of the children of this land, and still remain silent?

Is it possible to be a teacher and not show the path to the sea to the little fish of the country? What difference does it make if they come from Aras[a river in northwestern Iran, Azerbaijan], Karoon [a river in southwestern Iran, Khuzestan], Sirvan [a river in Kurdistan] or Sarbaz Rood [a river in the Sistan and Baluchestan region]? What difference does it make when the sea is a mutual destiny, to be united as one? The sun is our guide. Let our reward be prison, that is fine!

Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and keep quiet?

Is it possible to be in the year of no justice and fairness and fail to teach the H for Hope and E for Equality, even if such teachings land you in Evin prison or result in your death?

I cannot imagine being a teacher in the land of Samad, Khan Ali, and Ezzati and not join the eternity of

*Aras. I cannot imagine witnessing the pain and poverty of the people of this land and fail to give our hearts to the river and the sea, to roar and to inundate.

[*Translator note: Aras is a river in northwest Iran, bordering Iran and Azerbaijan. Samad drowned in the river in the summer of 1968. Some have considered the circumstance of his death suspicious and blamed agents of the Shah’s regime for his death]

I know that one day, this harsh and uneven road will be paved for teachers and the suffering you endured will be a badge of honour so everyone can see that a teacher is a teacher, even if his or her path is blocked by the *selection process, prison, and execution. The little black fish and not the heron bestows honour on the teacher.

[Translator’s note: Selection process or Gozinesh is a process through which teachers and other government-paid employees are vetted based on their ideological, political, and religious views]

The Little Fish calmly swam in the sea and thought: Facing death is not hard for me, nor is it regrettable.
Suddenly the heron swooped down and grabbed the little fish.

Grandma Fish finished her story and told her 12,000 children and grandchildren that it was time for bed. 11,999 little fish said good night and went to bed. The grandmother went to sleep as well. One little red fish was not able to sleep. That fish was deep in thought.

A teacher on death row, Evin prison

Farzad Kamangar

April 2010

Farzad Kamangar’s explanation on the title of his letter:

Eight years ago, the grandmother of one of my students, Yassin, in the village of Marab, played the tape of the story of the teacher Mamoosta Ghootabkhaneh. She told me then, “I know that your fate, like the teacher who is the writer and recorder of this poem, is execution; but be strong comrade. The grandmother said those words as she puffed on her cigarette and stared at the mountains.

Translation: Siavosh J. |

قوی باش رفیق / نامه فرزاد کمانگر به معلمان دربند

جمعه 03 ارديبهشت 1389 ساعت 07:27 |

خبرگزاری هرانا – فرزاد کمانگر معلم محکوم به اعدام محبوس در زندان اوین نامه ای را خطاب به سایر معلمان دربند نگاشت است که توسط خبرگزاری هرانا انتشار یافته ، این نامه در پی می آید:

* “قوی باش رفیق”

یکی بود یکی نبود ماهی سیاه کوچولویی بود که با مادرش در جویبار زندگی می کرد ، ماهی از 10000 تخمی که گذاشته بود تنها این بچه برایش مانده بود بنابراین ماهی سیاه یکی یک دانه ی مادرش بود، یک روز ماهی کوچولو گفت: مادر من می خواهم از اینجا بروم. مادرش گفت کجا؟ می خواهم بروم ببینم جویبار آخرش کجاست.

هم بندی ، هم درد سلام

شما را به خوبی می شناسم. معلم، آموزگار، همسایه ی ستاره های خاوران، همکلاسی ده ها یار دبستانی که دفتر انشایشان پیوست پرونده هایشان شد و معلم دانش آموزانی که مدرک جرمشان اندیشه های انسانیشان بود. شما را به خوبی می شناسم، همکاران صمد و خان علی هستید.

مرا هم که به یاد دارید

منم ، بندی بند اوین

منم دانش آموز آرامِ پشت میز و نیمکت های شکسته ی روستاهای دورافتاده ی کردستان که عاشق دیدن دریاست

منم به مانند خودتان راوی قصه های صمد اما در دل کوه شاهو

منم عاشق نقش ماهی سیاه کوچولو شدن

منم، همان رفیق اعدامیتان

حالا دیگر کوه و دره تمام شده بود و رودخانه از دشت همواری می گذشت. از راست به چپ رودخانه های کوچک دیگری هم به آن پیوسته بودند و آبش را چند برابر کرده بودند…ماهی کوچولو از فراوانی آب لذت می برد…ماهی کوچولو خواست ته آب برود .می توانست هرقدر دلش خواست شنا کند و کله اش به جایی نخورد ناگهان یک دسته ماهی را دید ، 10000تایی میشدند،که یکی از آنها به ماهی سیاه گفت:به دریا خوش آمدی رفیق.

همکار دربند، مگر می توان پشت میز صمد شدن نشست و به چشمهای فرزندان این آب و خاک خیره شد و خاموش ماند ؟

مگر می توان معلم بود و راه دریا را به ماهیان کوچولوی این سرزمین نشان نداد؟ حالا چه فرقی می کند از ارس باشد یا کارون، سیروان باشد یا رود سرباز، چه فرقی می کند وقتی مقصد دریاست و یکی شدن، وقتی راهنما آفتاب است. بگذار پاداشمان هم زندان باشد.

مگر می توان بار سنگین مسئولیت معلم بودن و بذر آگاهی پاشیدن را بر دوش داشت و دم برنیاورد ؟ . مگر می توان بغض فروخورده دانش آموزان و چهره ی نحیف آنان را دید و دم نزد ؟

مگر می توان در قحط سال عدل و داد معلم بود ، اما “الف” و “بای” امید و برابری را تدریس نکرد، حتی اگر راه ختم به اوین و مرگ شود؟

نمی توانم تصور کنم در سرزمین” صمد”،” خانعلی” و “عزتی” معلم باشیم و همراه ارس جاودانه نگردیم. نمی توانم تجسم کنم که نظاره گر رنج و فقر مردمان این سرزمین باشیم و دل به رود و دریا نسپاریم و طغیان نکنیم؟

می دانم روزی این راه سخت و پر فراز و نشیب، هموار گشته و سختی ها و مرارت های آن نشان افتخاری خواهد شد “برای تو معلم آزاده” ، تا همه بدانند که معلم ، معلم است حتی اگر سدّ راهش فیلتر گزینش باشد و زندان و اعدام ، که آموزگار نامش را ، و افتخارش را ماهیان کوچولویش به او بخشیده اند ، نه مرغان ماهیخوار.

ماهی کوچولو آرام و شیرین در سطح دریا شنا میکرد و و با خود می گفت: حالا دیگر مردن برای من سخت نیست، تأسف آور هم نیست، حالا دیگر مردن هم برای من…که ناگهان مرغ ماهی خوار فرود آمد و او را برداشت و برد. ماهی بزرگ قصه اش را تمام کرد و به 12000 بچه و نوه اش گفت حالا دیگر وقت خواب است.11999 ماهی کوچولو شب بخیر گفتند و مادر بزرگ هم خوابید اما این بار ماهی کوچولوی سرخ رنگی هرکاری کرد خوابش نبرد. فکر برش داشته بود…

معلم اعدامی زندان اوین

فرزاد کمانگر – اردیبهشت ماه ۱۳۸۹


* قوی باش رفیق ؛ مادربزرگ دانش آموزم یاسین در روستای “مارآب” که هشت سال پیش داستان معلم مدرسه “ماموستا قوتابخانه” را با نوار کاستی برایم گذاشت گفت: می دانم سرنوشت تو هم مانند معلم این شعرو نوار اعدام است، اما “قوی باش رفیق ” . مادر بزرگ این را گفت و پک عمیقی به سیگارش زد و به کوهستان خیره شد.

Source: HRANA | Referenced by: Freedom Messenger
  • Balatarin
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    1. the story of the little black fish Farzad refers to at the beginningof his letter:[] –

    2. Thank you! The link has been added to the letter :)


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