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Thousands mourn Shamlou's departure. Photo from Hamshahri

Only ey Iran
Nationalism at Shamlou's funeral

August 1, 2000
The Iranian

Email is from a friend in Iran who was at Shamlou's funeral. I found it beautiful and informative. It shows an atmosphere very different from the kind you read in the papers. -- Sourena Mohammadi

On Thursday morning, 27 July, at 8.00 a.m, I went to Tehran's Iranmehr hospital for Shamlou's funeral. The crowd was unbelievable. From Dolat Street to down part of Hosseiniyeh Ershad people were standing and crying for him.

There were lots of posters and placards with his photograph and poems. For example one of with his famous poems "Hargez az marg naharaasideh-am agar cheh dastaanash az ebtezaal shekanandeh-tar bood ..." or "Pariaa-ye nazanin chetooneh zar mizanin...?" But I myself like the one banner which was written on it "Ankeh hargez az marg naharaasid, darighaa shiraahan koohmardaa keh to boodi."

At 8.30 Mahmoud Dolatabadi appeared and without any introduction recited one of Shamlou's poems through loudspeakers. People were crying a lot. Then all the people started to sing "Ey Iran ey marz-e porghohar". I have to confess that I was very excited.

Then the loudspeakers started to broadcast Shamlou's poems with his voice and to my surprise many people repeated them. At 9 o'clock Dolatabadi again appeared and asked people to open a path for the ambulance carrying the corpse. When the car appeared, people started to throw flowers on it and the car under the rain of flowers moved slowly and people followed if southward.

All the Kanoon-e Nevisandegaan (writers guild) members were there, reciting different poems by Shamlou and when each poem finished, the tearful people clapped. Many recited his poems in a loud voice.Then loudspeakers announced that 150 buses are ready to take people to Emamzadeh Taher. Despite so many buses I had to stand in bus (apart from the fact that many peoples went by their own cars). I think in Tehran 30,000 and in Emamzadeh Taher 7,000 people took part.

The state television hadn't published any serious news to inform people. I think if more people knew more people would have come.

By the way when we reached Emamzadeh Taher the loudspeakers recited his translated poems of Ignassio: "boro ignassio be haya baange shoorangiz hasrat makhor , bekhosb, biaaraam parvaaz kon - daryaa niz mimirad."

Everyone was crying and listening to the tapes one after another with Shamlou's voice thruogh loudspeakers. Then many famous writers and poets gave speeches for him. Atashi recited a poem for him. Simin Behbehani said something very interesting: "oo kesi bood keh joz bar ketaab va daftar sar kham nakard."

By the way at the end, Shamlou's wife Ayda thanked people and we returned home at 3 in the afternoon. I'm sure that I will never see such a great funeral again.

Az ozgal haa ham kesi nayaamad. dar zemn hattaa yek baar laa elaaha el alaah baraaye mordeh nakhaandand. faghat sorood-e ey iran.

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