Urgent Report

In the name of Allah

Urgent report to
the people of Iran
The Islamic Republic Officials
Chief Judiciary, Ministry of Intelligence, and
The Commander-in-Chief

I hereby inform you that
My son Hossein is under torture

I have just received a phone call
From an unknown number
that they are taking Hossein
to the torture chamber in Evin Prison
to extract forced confessions from him

Hossein is vomiting blood
He is in very critical condition

No one in Iran is paying attention
Who is responsible?

Chief Judiciary,
I sent letters to you

Is torture legal in the Islamic Republic?
Is torture legal in the constitution?
Is confession under torture acceptable to the courts?

They are killing Hossein as we speak
Hossein is under torture

Chief Judiciary, Your Honour,
You allow torture under your command
You cannot preside over the Department of Justice
Your officials are killing my son

The gate to human rights is closed in Iran

In the Islamic Republic of Iran
the officials are not answerable
They are appointed to kill

Government officials in Iran,
Is this social justice?
Is this religion?

Hossein is now under torture
by the intelligence

I hope you come to believe in God
None of you believe in God

If you did, you wouldn’t do this

I ask
all humans
all the world

I ask
all the countries
that respect human rights

I ask the United Nations,
The International Court of Justice in Hague

and everyone in a position of influence—

to stop them from killing my son

Hossein is under torture

If anything happens to Hossein
You are all responsible

All of you—

Author’s Note: The poem is based on a video posted to the Instagram account of Ahmad Ronaghi, the elderly father of the Iranian blogger and political dissident Hossein Ronaghi, on October 14, 2022. The video was also posted to the BBC Persian Instagram account and here is a link to a recent news story about Hossein Ronaghi: Worries Grow Over Health Of Jailed Iranian Activist Ronaghi (rferl.org)

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 250 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse and brave poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012). Her social media links are: LinkedIn; Instagram; Facebook; Twitter. Bänoo, along with Cy Strom, is the co-editor of the poetry anthology: “Woman, Life, Freedom: Poems for the Iranian Revolution.” Deadline for sending poems is March 2024. Find the submission guidelines here: https://guernicaeditions.submittable.com/submit. Read other articles by Bänoo.