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  • Important–Please Read

    Posted by David Foster on October 3rd, 2006 (All posts by )

    Once again, I am reminded of W H Auden’s lines:

    The mass and majesty of this world, all
    That carries weight and always weighs the same
    Lay in the hands of others; they were small
    And could not hope for help, and no help came

    Kobra Rahmanpoor, an Iranian woman in her mid-20s, faces imminent execution by hanging. She was convicted of murdering her mother-in-law; however, she says that it was a matter of self-defense, and that she had previously been abused by both her mother-in-law and her husband.

    Here is the eloquent plea of Kobra’s father:

    An Open Letter to all Noble Humans and all Rights Defender Bodies

    I, Abolfazl Rahmanpour, the father of Kobra Rahmanpour pledge you to protest to the unfair sentence of my young daughter.

    Kobra, my young daughter, was forced to marry a man, 43 years older than herself. Kobra was a good student in her school and her wish was to study in the university but she was forced to forget all of her wishes because of the extreme poverty of the family.

    Kobra had a hard life before marriage and after marriage her life became even worse. the extremeness of problems and sufferings that she had to take in a family that look at her first a servant and then a daughter-in-law, was so much that made a kind girl like her to commit a murder in an accident and while defending herself.

    Kobra spent the best years of her youth in the prison and with the threat of death. She has suffered so much and has completely fall. It is so many years that she can feel the execution rope on her neck and her life goes on with sensing death, she shouldn’t suffer more tortures. When look at her colorless eyes, fallen teeth, and senseless body I always ask myself what did I do wrong? What shouldn’t I have done? Whose fault is this?

    As she has said herself she wants to live and she is scared from the execution, the rope and the crane. She wants to go to university and study. Kobra is a very kind girl, her inmates can testify that. She should be free as soon as possible to go back to her normal life.

    Our only hope is the protest of you noble people to this unjust sentence. The only way of preventing this sentence is the protest of all of the people, human rights defending bodies, committees against the executions and international bodies. Just for a second thought what me and Kobra’s mother are going true to realize how horrible are this days. I wouldn’t mind to be executed instead of Kobra, is that possible? I have always worked from day to night, but I don’t know why our destiny went this way? I and Kobra’s mother have no hope to life or another thing beside Kobra. Help us. Save my Family, my disabled son who always asks about her sister, Kobra, from this horror of execution of our dear Kobra. We are waiting for your definite actions. We all ask you to sign this letter. I know that there is no time and we are in last seconds. I ask for your help once more, in these last seconds. Sign this letter to show that you also demand Kobra’s Freedom.

    (from the Save Korba) site)

    You can sign the petition here.

    This site identifies some of the due process violations with this case, including:

    1) lack of defense counsel until the end of the “investigation stage” and inadequate opportunity to prepare a defense thereafter,

    2) arbitrary arrest merely on the basis of the victim’s son’s request,

    3) fourteen-month-long mandatory pre-trial detention,

    4) lack of the right to presumption of innocence and to not self-incriminate,

    5) a prolonged trial that was neither public nor had even an appearance of independence and impartiality,

    6) an inadequate appeal that was conducted secretively and without a hearing,

    7) and finally, like all qisas-e-nafs convicts, lack of the right to seek clemency from the state.

    Finally, here are some words from Kobra herself:

    I want to live!

    I am a human being just like you. I do not want to die. However I am now a soul less body who in fear of the execution rope has forgotten how to laugh and be happy. A lot of people say to me how come your case has been so much publicized but you are still in prison? I have to tell them that I am only steps away from execution. I too like all of you am afraid of dying. Please help me so that this would not be my last letter.

    People, friends!

    My mother, father and handicapped brother are very worried about me. Your supports so far have been such a comfort to them. I wish my life was different. I wish I had finished my pre-university education. I wish I did not have to be a servant for my husband. I wish I had not reached insanity. I suffered a lot and was intimidated. I am a true victim. Now they are about to hang the victim. This was not and is not my destiny.

    In these dark days of fear, I urge you once again to help me. I thank all mass media and all people who supported me before. Now, may be for the last time, I urge you to do everything you can to free me from execution. I like freedom. I dream about my freedom and a good life.

    I have suffered enough. Help me to get rid of the nightmare of execution which wakes me up all the time. Do what you can. There is not much time left. Every minute takes me nearer to the rope. Please help me! I am afraid of the rope and death. I hate the rope that is waiting for me on the crane. I want to live. All other doors are closed to me. Nobody helps me. My only hope is the people. I want to hold my mother and father in my arms.

    I want to thank my mother, father and all who have supported me. Kobra Rahmanpoor

    From Evin prison, Tehran/Iran

    Shahrivar 1385 (September 2006)

    Remember Auden’s words:

    And could not hope for help, and no help came

    Let’s try to make it possible for help to come, this time. Please sign the petition and do what you can to publicize Kobra’s case.

    There are many other Iranians, especially Iranian women, facing unjust execution, in some cases by stoning. See this site for details.

     

    3 Responses to “Important–Please Read”

    1. A. Scott Crawford Says:

      Mr. Foster,

      While I am very sorry about the false (or perfect) justice being shown ms. Rahmanpoor. Ironically, once again I too am reminded of Auden, although in a different context:

      (from Spain)
      “….
      To-morrow the rediscovery of romantic lover,
      The photographing of ravens; all the fun under
      Liberty’s masterful shadow;
      To-morrow the hours of the pageant-master and the musician,

      The beautiful roar of the chorus under the dome;
      To-morrow the exchanging of tips on the breeding of terriers,
      The eager election of chairmen
      By the sudden forest of hands. But to-day the struggle.

      To-morrow for the young the poets exploding like bombs,
      The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion;
      To-morrow the bicycle races
      Through the suburbs on summer evenings. But to-day the struggle.

      To-day the deliberate increase in the chances of death,
      The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder;
      To-day the expending of powers
      On the flat ephemeral pamphlet and the boring meeting.

      To-day the makeshift consolations: the shared cigarette,
      The cards in the candlelit barn, and the scarping concert,
      The masculine jokes; to-day the
      Fumbled and unsatisfactory embrace before hurting.

      The stars are dead. The animals will not look.
      We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
      History to the defeated
      May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon. ”

      You, Mr. Foster, and not I, must decide whether YOU will say, “Alas”, or instead consciously accept guilt in some distant murder… perhaps even commit it yourself. Necessary? Few Americans would evoke Auden, and fewer American soldiers.

      Please allow me to offer you a poem by Walt Whitman:

      “To a Certain Civilian”

      Did you ask dulcet rhymes from me?
      Did you seek the civilian’s peaceful and languishing rhymes?
      Did you find what I sang erewhile so hard to follow?
      Why, I was not singing erewhile for you to follow,
      to understand-nor am I now;
      (I have been born of the same as the war was born,
      The drum-corps’ rattle is ever to me sweet music, I love
      well the martial dirge,
      With slow wail and convulsive throb leading the
      officer’s funeral;)
      What to such as you anyhow such a poet as I?
      Therefore leave my works,
      and go lull yourself with what you can understand,
      and with piano-tunes,
      For I lull nobody,
      and you will never understand me. ”
      [1865]

      For regular Chicago Boyz readers, I would ask that this post by Mr. Foster be examined closely, as well as the appeal and the prose and the context.

      First, what was the young womans fathers role in setting up the marriage? I somehow doubt it was a love match, thus I wonder just who “forced” her to marry out of poverty? It is a sad fact that in many parts of the world, daughters are sold to wealthy outsiders with the hope that these outsiders aren’t lying about their intentions (many a young bride finds she’s become a sex slave). Tens of thousands of young women suffer this same fate, not only in Iran, but also in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and etc.

      This leads me to believe that Ms. Rahmanpoor and her suffering is being exploited for propaganda purposes. (Today the struggle? Today the makeshift consolations? Mr. Foster?). How often have we Americans been called barbarians because some US States have death penalties? When Gen. Powell and Sen. Santorum (and other US Senators) faught for the slaughtered and tortured women of Darfur, those faceless, now dead thousands… where was the chic web site calling for their Justice?

      Iranians have their share of thugs, just as we do in the US. Iranians have their share of injustices, just as we do in the US. Yet just because some people convicted of murdering their spouses in the US are tried, convicted, and put to death despite being innocent, the process continues. Are we now asked to believe that Iranians are ignorant of their own Laws and system of Justice? More importantly, why is so much energy being exerted in this ONE criminal case when the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have failed to stop Tehran from building nuclear weapons it will most certainly use on Israel.

      If Mr. Foster cares for the Greater good, then instead of begging us to petition for a pardon of ONE Iranian woman convicted of murdering her husband, perhaps he should consider how many will die in a nuclear exchange between Iran, Israel, and the rest of the capitals of the Middle East. For if Tehran nukes Israel, Ms. Rahmanpoor will certainly die in the counter-strike along with all those other Iranian women facing “unjust execution”.

      Hopefully, the Israeli’s, should London, Paris, and Berlin fail to keep Tehran from getting the nukes it’ll use to wipe out Israel as their leaders have said over and over again… hopefully the Israeli’s will not forget the European agents of Israel’s destruction. Because were I an Israeli diplomat, I’d guarantee London, Paris, and Berlin mutually assured destruction along with their Iranian proxies. Having studied game theory at NYU during the cold war, this is the nuclear calculus I’d compute.

      Perhaps in Chicago, this tired propaganda trickery still resonates, but in Detroit it’s tedius and banal. Auden of all poets! Ha! Shelly would be more fitting (eh, Ozymandius?)

    2. david foster Says:

      Scott Crawford–I have written repeatedly about Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. These issues are not uncorrelated–a regime that treats its own people brutally is unlikely to be very civilized in its dealings with other nations.

      The overall tone of your comment is so lacking in basic humanity as to make me physically nauseous.

    3. GFK Says:

      Wow. That’s the most depressing post I’ve read in a while. May God have mercy on that poor girl’s soul.