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Thursday, February 9, 2023

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November Moritats – Maniat

He was seventeen years old and tenacious, not just by name (Maniat was his last name, it means tenacious; solid) (1). When he would go straight from school to the construction site, or when he stood at the foot of the ladder, tossing up the clay, by the blackboard, and when he stood up in front of his classmates, he was tall. After all, his lineage extended to a tribe that were 12,000 yards from Khorramshahr on the shores of Karun, and had long been known among the tall and firm palm trees as Maniat.

In classrooms, last-row benches were for the tall students, and in group photos, Maniat would always become even more tenacious next to the smaller kids.

It was a Sunday morning in November 2019, the day before, he had been hit so hard on the head, face, neck, and skull with batons, shockers, punches, and kicks that Maniat had fallen into a coma, and Khamenei was teaching extra-jurisprudence that day, saying, “The second point is that well, yes, some people are either worried or upset about this decision, or it is to their detriment, or they think it is to their detriment, they are dissatisfied with any fate…”. But on Hafez Street, before “Darvaze Khorramshahr” Sq,  a day before this second point, no one was hesitant to speak, although the body of Maniat was hospitalized in deep doubt between death and life at Valiasr Hospital in Khorramshahr for four days, until one day they came and emptied his body, seized thirty-eight million tomans ($9,000) from his family and then handed over his body to them to bury somewhere in secret. They themselves brought batons, shockers, and their radios to his funeral, and crowded security on his grave, but even the security forces could not look into Maniat’s eyes in his picture which they had framed and put on the timid dirt.

There is something in Maniat’s gaze that grips the soul: it is as if a child’s corpse has been buried in his gaze, and as he opens his eyes, veil falls from the ground. Years before his body was torn into when he was in a coma and his organs were taken, his life was emptied of his childhood and abandoned between the construction site and the school.

Now Maniat is sitting on cement bags.
His look, emptied from his childhood, would no longer leave our soul alone.

Translation of this article by Sahar.
(1). Mohsen Mohammadpour Maniat was his full name. Maniat is the name of a location, a tribe and his last name. It means tenacious, solid, firm, steadfast, steady. The author has used Maniat interchangeably with any of these adjectives to describe Mohsen.
Maniat is the plural form of Mani’e.

Top: Graffiti referring to Khamenei’s speech in which he attacked US and police brutality, saying: “They (US government) kill people and then indecently talk about it like a prater.” This has become a hashtag used by Iranians on social media to attack Khamenei.
Bottom: Mohsen Mohammadpour Maniat graffiti in Tehran.

Arezou Saaberi
Arezou Saaberi
There comes a time in life when you have to choose whether to turn the page or to close the book!

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