What have you done?

This is a continuation of my previous blog, Black Blood.

Do you remember the old collection of stories Ghesseh-haye Khoob Baraye Bache-haye Khoob? A story from Volume One, I believe, has stuck in my mind. This was a story about a traveler who gets ambushed by a band of robbers on the road and is taunted and murdered. The picture accompanying the story showed the traveler with long and disheveled hair and terror in his eyes, raising his hands to the sky while a snarling bandit holds a dagger to his throat. In the background there were birds perched on a tree. The traveler was taking the saar on the tree witness to what was happening to him.

The story continues: the man is killed and years later the group of robbers are having a picnic at sizdeh-bedar somewhere. They get drunk and looking up at the twittering birds in the trees they joke and laugh about the poor stupid traveler who took a bunch of saar as witness. Next to their group the family of a police detective is picnicking. The detective hears the bandits’ vainglorious confession and apprehends them. It turns out that not only did the birds bear witness to the crime but they ended up testifying against the murderers.

Did you ever hear these lines from our parents’ textbooks back when they were in elementary school:

سار از درخت پرید. آش سرد شد

Many of the saars witnessing the crimes of the past thirty years have flown the tree. Some have vanished, but some are perched in nearby trees. I remember driving on the Parkway back in the 1980s and listening to the silence surrounding Evin. It was defeaningly loud. One could hear the victims taking the entire universe witness. Since then many a saar has spoken. There’s a great deal more to be said about then and now.

But what I think is also time to hear are simple recounts from the mouth of the torturers, thugs and murderers themselves. I want to hear their answers to this question: What have you done?

I’m not talking about gory details—we don’t need a pornography of torture and murder.

I’m not talking about establishing the truth either. We know the truth. The truth has been established by the victims themselves and everyone who has had anything to do with them: family, friends, physicians, mental health professionals, human rights activists, etc.

And I certainly am not talking about the so-called confessions that the torturers are extracting from their victims these days. Nor am I talking about the tactic they used back in the 1980s, giving pen and paper to prisoners and ask them to “empty” their minds: takhliye-ye etela’ati and then some.

What I want to hear is a simple hour-by-hour account of the typical day of a torturer and street thug—a sort of log: I woke up, had breakfast, grabbed my baton/taser/chains/knives/shot gun/hand gun/etc. and headed out the door…

I want to hear them utter the words that correspond to their actions: I stabbed that man with my knife and struck that woman across the face with my chains. I raped that youth with my body and other objects. I beat him/her to a bloody pulp. I washed my hands. I laughed while my buddies taunted the other youth begging to be spared. I put on gloves and mask and loaded bodies in the van and dumped them in graves…

Are they capable of facing the utterance of these words? Are they man enough?

خرابه های تهران نزدیک ری است

I want to hear the words of how Tehran was turned into the bloody ruin that it has become.

What have they done?

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