Self-Immolation Of An Ahwazi Street Vendor In Protest Against The Confiscation Of His Grocer’s Stall
By Rahim Hamid
16 March, 2015
An Ahwazi Arab street vendor by the name of Younes Asakere from Mohammareh city has set himself on fire in protest against the action of the Occupying municipal officials who confiscated his small grocer’s stall.
This incident occurred when the municipal officials embarked on an arbitrary raid against the street vendors in Mohammareh city in a usual attempt to extort money from the poor street vendors who have no other way to make a living but by vending in the streets as a result of extreme poverty and high unemployment.
The occupying municipal officials, by confiscating the stalls, carts and wheelbarrows of street vendors under the pretext of not having a vendor’s permit have enraged the local Arab vendors, resulting in their clashes with the municipal officials.
According to his brother, Younes is 32 years old, married with two children and lives in Mohammareh city. He is fruit seller and has small grocer’s store which is the only source of income of his family; he lives in rental house and recently his lease contract ended, with the landlord demanding him to evacuate the house. As Younes is the only provider of his family, his small grocer’s stall means everything for him and his family.
On Saturday, 14 March 2015, Younes, on his way to his workplace, faced the confiscation of his grocer’s stall by the municipal officials and the security police forces.
The unbearable circumstances of witnessing these forces destroy his stall in front of his eyes, drove him to go in front of the municipal building and in protest of the confiscation of his stall, to set himself alight by pouring a gallon of inflammable liquid over his body.
The local people, with the help of firefighters and emergency medical technicians transferred him to a local hospital in Mohammareh city and then due to his critical condition he was admitted to Taleghani hospital in Ahwaz city. He is now hospitalized in the intensive care unit as more than 70% of his body is severely burnt.
The Persian occupying authorities are always targeting, humiliating and looting Ahwazi Arab vendors who are living in extreme poverty. The majority of Ahwazi people are denied employment and any governmental job opportunities as they have no option but to sell in temporary stalls the perishable goods without a permit.
Additional information for those readers who are not familiar with the plight of the Ahwazis:
Ahwaz is occupied Arab land with a population of more than 8 million, located in the Southwest and South of so-called Iran’s map.
The name of Al-Ahwaz was changed to Khuzestan, Bushehr and Hormozgan in 1935 after the invasion of the Emirate of Al-Ahwaz in 1925 and toppling the last Arabic rule of Amir Khazaal Al-Kaabi in Mohammareh city.
The Iranian regimes of Pahlavi and the Islamic Republic deployed different tools to suppress the Ahwazi Arab people.
The lack of actual mainstream media coverage on Al-Ahwaz issue has allowed the Iranian occupation authorities to commit serious crimes against the Ahwazis who are struggling for freedom and liberation of their homeland under the unlawful Iranian domination lasting over eight decades.
The Ahwaz region is the wealthiest land with multiple resources including oil, gas, steel and water, although the Ahwazi Arab people are one of the most destitute and impoverished people in Middle East.
The bitter fact is that Al-Ahwaz region was annexed by Iran forcibly against the will of its people in 1925 as the region had previously been independent. The region is the primary source of revenue for Iran’s oil and gas. It is the second vital and strategic region after Tehran for Iran and directly related to the national security of the occupying clerical regime. Al-Ahwaz holds 70% of Iran’s oil resources and 30% of its water, flowing from more than five rivers such as Karoon, Dez, and Karkheh, with vast agricultural and fertile lands.
Rahim Hamid is Ahwazi human rights activist
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