Thursday, August 6, 2020

November Moritats – Niktai

Before shedding her blood in Sattar Khan (a neighborhood in Tehran), she lived in Shamshiri neighborhood and went to Nezam Mafi school before she fell to the ground. She was 14 years old and had to work hard rather than being a child, because her father was religious and she was a poor girl who loved guitar and life.

When you are a child from South Mehrabad (Close to Mehrabad International Airport), the roar of an airplane violates your world several times an hour; A scream descends, rises. Not in the sky. In your heart. Your heart wants a guitar. You fall in love with it. And before your father’s religion’s howl (azan) from the Amir al-Momenin Mosque mingles in the neighborhood’s sky with the screams of an airplane and comes to you with a sword, you learn how to close its way to your heart. You closed your ears to the howl and violation with headphones.

After you no longer went to your theater group to play, your father was broken and in tears in a play starring Mr. Yousef Salami as its star (1). He had framed your photo and kept it on his knees in front of the TV camera; The star had a smug smile on, poisoning, shaking his head, and your father’s religion had become a lump in his throat, and it was growing, Salami kept asking when your father was stuttering. Salami was rubbing his hand on his knee, with a complacent smile, talking scattered and calm in the blue-orange-spongy-mic, reading the interrogation text to your father: “To be very clear, was she against the regime?” And amused again; He straightened his upper body again and held the microphone in front of your father’s mouth like a stick, which he could hardly look at in the star’s face, until his religion finally exploded, before the lump suffocated him.

After Sattar Khan shot her to the ground, her body was hidden in the morgue for three days. The fourth night they came and took her away and threw her body into the ground at night. It was cold. The soil was dead. She had not yet been poisoned. In order to announce her poisoning, they had prepared cameras for Tuesday, December 3rd, for Mr. Salami to come, and for Ismaili, the Judiciary Spokesman, to come. Ismaili would come with his all-time happy face, whenever he opens his boastful mouth from within his bushy beard, several death sentence, flogging, retaliatory punishment, and prison sentences spill out. Tuesday came, everyone came, Ismaili opened his mouth: “There are many other people like this. We have many of these names, which are fake, and we have a number of people who are now alive and we interviewed them.”(2)
But no one, not one of us, will ever hear a name as Niktai (3) as yours again.

From where did you get your hair that is so raven,
as well as that name as sweet as almonds?
It’s not mere youth that makes you look like morning —
your land is morning, and will be for a millennium/

Promise us Jericho, awaken the psalter’s tones,
let the waters of Jordan flow from your hand;
have the murderers ambushed and turned to stone,
and, for a moment, have your second land.

Touch hearts of stone, perform a miracle’s wonder,
such that by tears the stone is overrun.
Let yourself be baptized by the scalding water.
Remain an enigma, until we are also mede one.

Snow will often fall into your cradle.
There will be the sound of ice beneath the runners.
Yet when you soundly sleep the world is quelled.
The red sea will then part its very waters!*

Translation of this article by Sahar.

(1). Referring to Islamic Republic’s attempt to excuse killing protesters and forcing families to confess to their loved ones’ “crimes against national security.”
(2). Referring to Islamic Republic’s Judiciary saying many November 2019 victims were made up by enemy as “victim making project.”
(3). Nikta Esfandani. Nikta derives from Nik, meaning fortunate, very good.

*: Mirjam, Ingeborg Bachmann, Gedichte 1957 – 1961 : Translated by Peter Filkins

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