The municipality named the area, where the Ukrainian plane hit the ground on January 8, 2020, ShahedShahr. This area was named the same before the IRGC fired its missiles at Ukrainian International Airline Flight PS752, before killing 176 passengers of this plane- somewhere between Khalajabad and ShahedShahr (in Persian it means “city of witness”). 06:19 a.m. on Wednesday in Shahriar plain, fire was pouring down from the sky. Clay bricks suddenly turned red from human flesh and blood. Bloody pictures, shoes, books, notes of a college student, a burnt beehive on a girl’s white hat, bags, national ID cards and passports, a Hello Kitty necklace, an agent was picking baby socks from a dried branch… Shahedshar was filled with traces of the lives of 70 men, 81 women, 15 children, and an infant passenger plus nine crew members of the plane, the lives that IRGC missiles blew up in the sky: the city was filled with evidences of a crime.
Claude Lanzmann, the creator of the Holocaust documentary, “Shoah”, says: “The Nazis didn’t want to just exterminate the jews, they wanted to destroy the trace of the extermination. It means they wanted to destroy the traces of the crime at the moment the crime was committed. This is an insane attempt to erase history.” Total extermination means destroying evidence of destruction, means “the municipal workers have been dispatched 3 times to the area to clean up and set fire to the remaining luggage and clothes. The municipality, the same organization that wants to build a memorial for our loved ones, burned the relics of our loved ones 3 times in ShahedShahr desert.” As Hamed Esmaeilion, the man who lost his wife Parisa and daughter Reyra on that Black Wednesday in winter of 2020, described the crime a few months later. “Seventy-three days after the IRGC’s crime in the skies of Tehran in Shahedshahr, where the plane crashed, everything has become normal. The land has traces of shovels, bulldozers and loaders, and the soil grooves show they have collected everything. Even there are no more agents there. They have planted a camera to watch out for the commutes, but there are no more agents, because as you all know, life has to go back to normal. And the journalists…”
The total destruction, in the words of Khosrow Malek, father of Maryam Malek, the girl who graduated from Sharif University, whose evidence of her murder in Shahedshahr was destroyed by the regime, means: ”Where are our children’s belongings confiscated by the police? Where are their stuff and the memorabilia of our children?” Khosrow Malek, a year after the crime, tells the judge of the feigned trial, “What did you do about plundering of our children’s belongings?” the question that was answered by the family members of the survivors present at the court, not the judge: “they did it (they, themselves, plundered it all).”
“The police station is just 5 minutes away from the crime scene and “our ground zero.” When I was there, I found some information about some thieves, so what the heck the police do? Where are our children’s belongings? Where are their laptops? Why did they smash their phones? Where are the stuff and memorabilia of our children?” Khosrow’s questions speaks of the wound the Islamic Republic has inflicted on him.
Forgetting the destruction, is part of the annihilation and destroying the traces of crime is the completion of the crime. The totality of destruction is possible by eliminating any trace of lives, and this is the ultimate goal of the totalitarian regime. The fact that the Islamic Republic pours tar on the graves of people it has killed (e.g Ruhollah Zam) and fires the dolls of children who are killed in the sky in Shahedshahr is to achieve this totalitarian’s ideal destruction. The regime’s trifecta of crime regarding the Ukrainian aircraft:
- destroying the plane by firing two missiles,
- blatant lies to the world at all levels,
- It was only completed by setting fire to and looting the belongings of the deceased — something the regime deliberately and awkwardly did before the eyes of survivors and international observers.
“Later, rain and wind,
will wash my name softly from the rock,
My grave remains anonymous to the way,
Regardless of the myths of name and shame.”
Now Azar, mother of Maryam Malek, lives with a notebook of homework, paintings of Maryam’s childhood, hugs them as if she was holding her Maryam. On paper, Maryam had written Forough Farrokhzad’s poem, sometime ago: “My Death Will One Day Come.”
Translation of this article by Sahar.
Cover: Borna Ghasemi