Sen's daily

August 12, 2018

Pictures from a funeral

Editorial, August 12, 2018.

As previously reported, the ‘Golestan Javid’ (Bahai cemetery) in Kerman was closed by the judicial authorities on March 16 this year, preventing both visits to the graves and new burials. When an elderly Bahai man, Abbas Khalousi (عباس خلوصی), died on August 16, the authorities refused to allow him to be buried anywhere in Kerman, and held the body for four days before giving permission for him to be buried in a desert area near Rafsanjan, the capital of Kerman Province. The two cities are about 90 minutes apart. They summoned his son and told him to bury his father there, or they would take the body and bury him themselves.

The result was that, on the day of the funeral, a large motorcade of cars sped from Kerman to the place of burial, with other cars coming from Rafsanjan and other places, and a well-attended funeral was held. The authorities’ obduracy resulted in a highly visible event proclaiming the presence of the Bahais in the two cities, and making their oppression by the authorities visible to all. But it remains the case that the Bahais of Kerman are banned from visiting and caring for their cemetery, which will inevitably become overgrown before being seized by the authorities for profitable development by a regime insider.

The closure, destruction and vandalization of Bahai cemeteries has become common in Iran: many recent examples can be found on this blog by typing “cemetery” in the search box, or clicking on the category link “Burials and social matters.” For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran (2012).

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