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    News & Views

    The 1994 Declaration of 134 Iranian Writers

    October 15, 1994
    Tehran, Iran

    We are writers...

    But problems which have arisen in the contemporary history of our society as well as other societies have distorted the image of the writer in the eyes of the state, certain sectors of society and even in the eyes of the writers themselves. Consequently, the identity of the writer, the nature of his/her work, and even the collective presence of writers have all been subjected to undue attack.

    It is our duty, therefore, as writes of Iran, to explain the nature of writing as a cultural enterprise, and the reason for our collective presence.

    We are writers. By this we mean that we write our feelings, imagination, thoughts and scholarship in various forms and publish them. It is our natural, social and civil right to see that our writing -- be it poetry or fiction, drama or film-script, research or criticism, or the translation of works written by other writers of the world -- reach the public in a free and unhampered manner. It is not within the capacity of any person or organization to create obstacles for the publication of these works, under whatever pretext these may be. Free judgment and criticism, however, are open for all, after the publication of such works.

    When the struggle against the obstacles of writing and publishing exceeds our individual power and capacity, there remains no other alternative for us except to encounter these difficulties in a collective-professional manner. In other words, in order to achieve freedom of thought, expression and publication, and in order to campaign [against] censorship, we have to exert our efforts together. We believe, therefore, that:

    Our collective presence with the aim of creating a professional writers association in Iran is the guarantee of our individual independence, because a writer should be free in the creation of his/her work, the criticism and analysis of works by other writers, and in the expression of his/her beliefs. His/her cooperation and agreement with the common problems of all writers do not mean that s/he should be held responsible for the individual problems of other writers. Similarly, the responsibility of personal, political and social thoughts and actions of each writer belong only to that particular writer.

    Nevertheless, the writer here is looked upon not because of his profession as a writer, but because of his alleged association or assumed connection with parties, groupings, or factions; judgment is passed upon him/her on the basis of these assumptions. As a result, it seems that the collective presence of writers in a cultural-professional organization will be seen as equivalent to membership in a political party or advocacy of a particular political agenda.

    Governments and their dependent institutions and groupings customarily evaluate a writer's work on the basis of their own bureaucratic mechanisms and policies. Relying upon these arbitrary tools, they attribute the collective presence of writers to certain political tendencies or to internal and external conspiracies. Certain individuals, institutions and groups related to the government even exploit these arbitrary interpretations in order to vilify, humiliate, and threaten writers.

    We hereby emphasize that our principal goal is the removal of all obstacles on the road to freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of publication; we emphasize that any other interpretations of our aim would be incorrect and stress that the responsibility for these misinterpretations lies with those who have wrongly identified our goals.

    The responsibility of any text lies with the person who writes and signs it freely. Therefore, the responsibility of whatever is written and signed and published inside or outside Iran, in agreement or disagreement with us -- the writers of Iran -- lies only with those who have signed such a writing.

    There is no doubt that the right to analyze and evaluate all works of literature and scholarship is one that all should enjoy; the critical analysis of works by writers is the prerequisite for the promotion of national culture. Spying into the private life of a writer as justification for the criticism of his/her works is tantamount to intrusion into his/her privacy; condemning a writer on the basis of their moral and ideological convictions is contrary to the principles of democracy and the ethics of wri ting. Defending the human and civil rights of every writer is, under all circumstances, the professional duty of all writers.

    To sum:

    Our collective presence is the guarantee of our individual independence; the private thought and action of one writer has nothing to do with the assembly of writers: this is what we mean by the democratic outlook of an independent, professional organizati on. Although it may seem a tautology, we reiterate: We are writers; look upon us as writers; consider our collectively as the professional presence of Iranian writers.


    Jahangir Afkari, Masood Ahmadi, Shahim Ahmadi, Mashiyyat laiee, Ghazaleh Alizadeh, Maftoon Amini, Seyyed-Abdollah Anwar, Shiva Arastooee, Amir-Hossein Aryanpour, Hassan Asghari, Dariush Ashoori, Hooshang Ashourzadeh, Mohammad Baharloo, Mihan Bahrami, Rez a Baraheni, Mohammad-Reza Bateni, Simin Behbahani, Bahram Beyzaiee, Bizhan Bijari, Mohammad Biyabani, Shapour Bonyad, Reza Chaychi, Amir-Hassah Cheheltan, Simin Daneshvar, Ali-Ashraf Darvishiyan, Khashayar Deyhimi, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Shirin Ebadi, Asgha r Elahi, Soodabeh Fazaeli, Hadi Ghebraiee, Mehdi Ghebraiee, Koorosh Hamekhani, Khosrow Hamzavi-Tehrani, Esmail Hemmati, Hooshang Hessami, Ghaffar Hosseini, Ali-Reza Jabbari, Jahed Jahanshahi, Kamran Jamali, Hashem Javadzadeh, Mohammad Javaherkalam, Reza J oolaiee, Shapour Jorkesh, Mehrangiz Kar, Manouchehr Karimzadeh, Medya Kashigar, Bizhan Kelki, Ziyaeddin Khaleqi, Azim Khalili, Mohammad Khalili, Mohammad-Taqi Khavari, Ali-Asghar Khobrezadeh, Abootorab Khosravi, Mohammad-Reza Khosravi, Lili Golestan, Hooshang Golshiri, Sima Kooban, Jafar Kooshabadi, Mansour Kooshan, Abdollah Kosari, Shahla Lahiji, Shams Langaroudi, Ahmad Mahmoud, Elham Mahvizani, Shahriyar Mandanipour, Ali Masoumi, Mohsen Mihandoost, Ahmad Miralaiee, Jamal Mirsadeqi, Abbas Mokhber, Mohamm ad Mokhtari, Kiyoumars Monshizadeh, Shahin Moqarrabin, Hamid Mossadeq, Javad Mojabi, Mohammad Mohammad-Ali, Mahmou Motaqedi,Keyvan Narimani, Gholam-Hossein Nasiripour, Jamshid Navaiee, Saroora Nayyeri, Nazenin Nezam-Shahidi, Siroos Niroo, Mansour Ojie, A zita Qahraman, Mehdi Qarib, Mohammad Qazi, Changiz Pahlavan, Rooieen Pakbaz, Ali-Reza Panjaiee, Baqer Parham, Shahrnoush Parsipour, Hassan Pasta, Ahmad Pouri, Hassan Pouyan, Mohammad Pourandeh, Akbar Radi, Esmail Raha, Ebrahim Rahbar, Nosrat Rahmani, Fari borz Raiesdana, Morteza Ravandi, Moniroo Ravanipour, Qasem Roubin, Kazem Sadat-Eskkavari, Abdurrahman Sadriyyeh, Mohammad-Taqi Salehpour, Emran Salahi, Gholam-Hossein Salemi, Fereshteh Sari, Faraj Sarkuhi, Jalal Sattari, Sanaz Sehhati, Mohammad-Ali Sepanl ou, Ali-Reza Seyfaddini, Admad Shamloo, Mohammad Sharifi, Behrouz Tajvar, Admad Tadayyon, Farzaneh Taheri, Farrokh Tamimi, Goli Taraqqi, Masood Toofan, Mohammad Vejdani, Hamid Yazdanpanah, Ebrahim Younesi, Abbas Zaryab-Kheiee.

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