This is going to be my speech at UCLA for the 20th anniversary of the 1988 massacre of the “Prisoner’s of Conscious” in Iran.
For more info on that massacre you can see the Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1988_executions_of_Iranian_political_prisoners
I Ran Into Myself in the Street and Asked
By Cklara Moradian
To the audience- I met my own ignorant self on the street and asked:
Me: Have you ever heard of “a Prisoner of Conscious”?
Me2: (I answer with a southern accent) Well, no darling! But I’m a smart woman, I’m sure I could guess what that is.
Me: Go ahead, take your best shot!
Me2: Nice choice of words sweetheart. I think, it means people locked up for having no conscience. You know, just to prevent them from doing something really bad, like murder and such, in the future.
To the audience: (I laugh) I thought this was my ignorant self, not my moronic self!
Me: (to the audience) No! Let me tell you who a “prisoner of conscious” is:
Imprisoned, prosecuted for what is in his/her mind- NOT for what they have actually done!
Yes, here thoughts are louder than actions, and the profundity of these words should echo loud in your minds, because this means YOU (pointing at audience), and YOU and YOU and YOU and YES I (pointing at myself) too should all be “Prisoners of Conscious”, it means George Orwell’s 1984 manifested, it means “thought crime”, it means, WE ARE ALL criminals!
It means we all deserve to be as severely punished as the jurisdiction of life allows. It means if you think; you are dangerous!
SO I begin with a quote, because in the system of oppression of the towers of academia, my creativity was beaten, and instead I was bombarded by clichés. I was told to begin every essay with either a profound definition or the words of a wise man. Who cared what my own hands could produce?
Amir Sulaiman, a deaf jam slam poet, says: “I am not angry; I am anger! I am not dangerous; I am danger! I am abominable stress, Iliadic relentless, I am a breath of vengeance; I am the death sentence!”
Let me tell you who a “Prisoner of Conscious” is. Not to you! (To the audience) Not you, the men and women, who were once there, not you the human right activists who injected me with the truth and were blamed for carrying the syringes of reality. I don’t want to preach to the choir. I speak to my own moronic self in the street. Hence, this piece is written in English, because my Athiest self knows, God damn! Western Imperialism has taken over the world, and I want these words to ring, and ring, and ring, and echo, and echo, and echo all over the world it must! I don’t want the solitary cells of Evin to be a secret anymore! I don’t want this to be our burden any longer; I want everyone to know who a “Prisoner of Conscious” is:
Once a young boy who had just formed the mustache above his lips, a young girl not yet reached puberty, tortured, brutally, ruthlessly in the invisible walls of Evin and Gohar Dasht, and so many unnamed provinces of Iran, once a young mom, she had just given birth, once a young man he had just proposed, but ethereal romance was too good for those times, a “Prisoner of Conscious” devotes body and his “lack of soul” to ideas, to ideals, to his manifesto, to his book of truth, not the holy book. A “Prisoner of Conscious” is an unknown man, a statistically insignificant, and yet a powerful force in this world, a nameless threat, he is flesh, she is flesh, flesh and bones! An idealist, a dreamer, she hoped, he wished, she desired, he fought for something more than the status quo. And that was their crime! How many? 8000? 10,000? Who were they really? What were they names? What did they like? What did they dream of? Were their affiliations a manifestation of their time? Were they a victim of their surroundings, of their social standings?
Let’s play a game shall we?
I shall ask you a question and if you answer me wrong, you are sent to the gutters! But wait, don’t answer! It’s a rhetorical question! You were doomed poor child, way before you were brought before my eyes! And thus is the story of every “Prisoner of Conscious”.
I do have a story for you. It’s my story! I was in my mother’s womb when she was a “Prisoner of Conscious”. My father was a “prisoner of Conscious in Iran in the 1980s as well. I was 8 years old when I left Iran and I have never been back since. My memories of Iran are neither sweet nor passionate.
And what does the topic of ME has anything to do with the topic of YOU or the topic of the Prisoner’s of Conscious? EVERYTHING!
I am the next generation of Human Right activists for Iran; I am the future of this movement, and everything you have fought for. That title is much more a burden than an honor, believes me! But if you and my mother and my father do not find a way to teach me about how to carry on your legacy, how to continue this fight for human rights, for ideas that were once flesh, how to organize and become a united front, how not to repeat the same mistakes, you have allowed all of those “Prisoner’s of Conscious” of 1988 and the hundreds of others dying on hunger strike in Iran now, go on silent and go on silent and go on silent!
If you do not find a way to reach out to my 15 year old brother who is completely disconnected with Iran, the silence and inaction will eventually bury them under history. That will be your intellectual genocide!
And I want to run into myself in the street one day say: I am glad we are finally victorious! I am glad we have triumphed!