Iran: Extreme poverty causes rise in suicide rates among Ahwazi Arabs
Sociologists believe that the social identity is one of the important parts of one’s identity in every society. Once such aspect of an individual’s identity is crushed or isolated for whatever reasons, it would cause that individual to gradually fall into depression and lose his/her hope and motivation to battle in life.
As the individual’s social ties weaken or extremely restrict in the society due to poverty, long-term unemployment, addiction and many other related contributing factors, this will lead the individual to be frustrated emotionally as he sees his life as monotonous. It makes the individual inevitably to look at his life as a totally meaningless.
This happens when he fails to engage into constructive conditions like having a job opportunity or successful close intimacy. Consequently, he would suffer from negative self-esteem and innate inferiority over time. If this situation last for long time, it would probably cause him psychological disorders driving him to impulsively decide on deadliest ways to end his life, which would be to possibly commit suicide.
The report based on above introduction, aims to shed highlight on the social exclusion policies in Ahwaz region and its devastating impacts on the social fabric of Ahwazi Arab people.
The Ahwazi human rights activists have reported to the Ahwazi Organization for the Defense of Human Rights (AODHR) numbers of profiles showing high incidence of suicide rates in the Ahwaz region. All indicators in the profile demonstrate that the rate of suicides is on the rise in the Ahwaz region.
As in the last week, an Ahwazi Arab young man at the age of 30 has committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in the Ahwaz capital in protest to the extreme poverty and repressions that have been encircled the Ahwazi Arab people systematically. He died immediately as a result of brain haemorrhage.
On October, 10, 2014, in another incident one Ahwazi Arab young man by the name of Adnan Shamani, single, 17 year old from Mahshor city, has committed suicide by hanging himself inside a football stadium as local people had arrived to the scene late.
According to the local people, Adnan’s family is suffering from extreme poverty to the extent that they are dependent on people’s charity. The reports received by the “AODHR” indicate that those men and women who have been committed suicide are between ages of 15 to 32.
According to reports from Ahwazi human rights activists, on September 10, 2014, an Arab young man named Hamid Sharifi, from Eyn-e Do village in Esmailiyeh Rural District of Ahwaz city, hanged himself in home after his wife left him due to long-term unemployment and the pressures of poverty on life. An eyewitness‘s neighbour who wanted his name to remain unknown said that Hamid, like other Ahwazi Arabs, was desperately looking for any kind of job just to fulfil his daily needs and pay off his debt because of his marriage expenses. He was suffering emotionally after his wife abandoned him for good as a result of poverty, the eyewitness’s neighbour said.
What is behind the suicide attempts? Poverty, unemployment, and racial ethnic discrimination in Ahwaz, the most oil-rich region, have caused a massive increase in the suicide rate in Ahwaz.
It is said that most of suicides occurred in Ahwaz were carried out by hanging. But self-Immolation, jumping from an elevated place, and pill overdose are increasingly common in Ahwazi deprived areas. The appalling economic conditions and the inhumane policies of the clerical regime in Tehran are the major causes of high number of suicides among the Ahwazi Arab people.
The number of Ahwazi Arab unemployed has risen significantly in recent months due to arrival of large numbers of Persian settlers and immigrants from central Persian regions like Yazd, Isfahan provinces to the Ahwaz region as a systematic preference of officials and institutions, authorities in recruiting non-Arab workforces and depriving Ahwazi Arab locals of having access to employment opportunities.
This is a part of systematic policy of the occupying regime that intends to kill the spirit of national resistance of young Arabs and forcing them to search for subsistence outside their homeland of Ahwaz.
It is noteworthy that 90 percent of the Ahwazi Arab people in rural areas are suffering from poverty and low income. They are overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture and fishing for their food, but these people have been left with no alternative source of income, after their entire arable lands along the banks of the Karoon River were forcibly confiscated by Iranian regime officials with very low compensation. As a result, they are vulnerable to crisis and many of them migrated to cities seeking employment opportunities and have had to take shelter in shanty areas.
For more than 8 decades, the Iranian regimes have sought systematically to repress and marginalize the Ahwazi Arab people. The Ahwazi Arab people are born guilty and criminal just because of their Arabic ethnicity. Most of Arab juveniles are dead or in prison by the time they turn 20. Forget about education, a career, leisure activities; such a dismal and aimless life is the inevitable product of Iranian regime policies for the Ahwazi people.
The silence of international community toward violations of humanitarian rights in Al-Ahwaz has effectively served to encourage the Iranian occupying regime to intensify its repression against the Ahwazi Arab people and keep them disadvantaged, deprived and marginalized in whole economic, cultural, social and political spheres.
Image: Ahwazi children