Poverty, tears and bitterness: Ahwazis’ daily reality
Nine-year-old Fatemeh lives with her parents in the Abbasiyeh village of Al-Ahwaz. She told me the painful story of her missed childhood, beginning her account with a heart-rending sigh.
“My mother is undergoing kidney dialysis. Since I was born, my mother was in the hospital or at home sleeping; I see very little of her.
My father has no fixed job. For as long as I remember he was always searching for work and a piece of bread – from morning to night he’s out of the house. Whatever my father earns from work here and there, he spends it on my mother’s medical expenses and treatment and pays the taxi fare for taking her to and from the hospital.
Fatemeh’s voice is choked and unsteady and her beautiful innocent eyes fill with tears as she continues: “My mother in her wedding photos was so different, she is a gorgeous woman in the pictures, but now her kind hands are always bruised [from medical treatment]. I want her always to be beautiful like her wedding photos.” She looks down, adding, “I have never seen my parents sitting at a table to eat my mother’s cooking – my aunt always cooks meals for us. My aunt lives with us because of my mum and me – she didn’t marry so that she could look after us.
My aunt gets some pension from the Relief Committee – she spends her pension on the medical treatment of my mother because my father does not have a fixed job and his earnings don’t fulfill our daily basic needs; we live from hand to mouth. My aunt says if she gets married, the Relief Committee will cut her pension, and if this happens, no one will spend on my school and treatment of my mother’s illness. If my father had a good job, my aunt would marry.”
When I ask Fatemeh about her wishes and her desires she takes a deep sigh again as her tone changed, and, in an embarrassed tone, continues: I want there to be always wedding feasts in the village. When weddings are held, the people serve delicious foods for a few days – sometimes my aunt gets the remaining food and fruit from the wedding and we eat from it for days, the food is delicious and has meat. Finally, her shining eyes filled with tears and with a million unspoken words, she adds, “I just want my mom to be fine and healthy”.
Again, her heartbreaking, innocent tears roll down her beautiful young face. Turning away in order to hide my own tears, I stare at the big sugarcane companies’ headquarters and the power plants in the distance. Not far away from Fatimah’s village are the numerous oil and gas fields making countless billions, of which the villagers will never see a penny. Kept in destitution and powerlessness in their own nation, not even allowed to work in the industries which profit massively from their land, denied all rights, Fatemeh and her struggling father and desperately ill mother have been consigned to endless pain, in a place which weeps for justice.
Main source: http://moraseloun.ir/?p=1220