Published in Austrian daily newspaper “Der Standard” on 16 May 2010
Source (German):–Farhad-20
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

Despite a wave of executions, the authorities are unable to control the situation

Symbolic photo: A woman making a phone call in Tehran's Evin prison

She wanted to go to school and later study at the university. He was a teacher and loved his work. Shirin and Farhad. They never met, but they are connected by their death. Shirin and Farhad – these names are familiar to all Iranians:They are lovers in a poem of the great Iranian poet Nezami, and they lose their lives through defamation.

Now, 800 years later, it is again Shirin and Farhad, two young people who – together with three other Iranians – died for freedom in Evin prison, sentenced to death on the basis of unproven accusations. Their names are a new source of inspiration for the opposition.

Despite the executions, the authorities are unable to gain control of the situation. Noticeable uncertainty is spreading on all government levels, causing the rulers to act in comedy-like ways. An example: Recently, two public holidays on occasion of a conference in Tehran were ordered, then canceled, then confirmed again.

Comedy, however, is not at all befitting the execution of five young people. The hangings that took place shortly before the anniversary of the disputed presidential election are a warning for the opposition, political observers say. More executions are expected to take place in the next days. The opposition hopes that they will at least draw widespread international attention.

However, these executions have, for the first time after the Revolution 31 years ago, resulted in a general strike in the Kurdish areas of Iran. In many other Iranian cities, students in an act of solidarity refused to attend school lessons.

Students held protests in Tehran as well as in other Iranian universities, and the entire country was hit by a wave of sympathy for the families of the executed. The authorities, fearing that the funerals might trigger more unrest, have still not delivered the bodies of the executed to the families. They even prohibited a meeting of the bereaved that was supposed to take place at Tehran University. Yet people gathered outside the homes of the families to honor their new martyrs.

Shirin and Farhad, Neda, Sohrab, and many more names of those killed after the presidential elections that took place almost one year ago, will never be erased from the memory of the Iranian people. The list of names, however, is still getting longer.
(M.M. from Tehran,, 16.5.2010)