Sepideh Gholian is a 25-year-old civil rights activist and journalist who was arrested during the labor protests of Haft Tappeh workers and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Her book, Tilapia Sucks the Blood of Hur al-Azim, tells the story of her detention at the Dezful Intelligence Detention Center and Sepidar Women's Prison in Ahvaz.
In these 19 stories, Gholian paints a meticulous picture of her horrific experience. On one hand, we directly encounter the face of oppression. On the other, we engage with the fates of others whose names, lives and imprisonment might otherwise be doomed to be forgotten and denied.
IranWire has previously published Gholian’s book in its original Persian and is now serialising the collection in English, while its author has been returned to Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. The stories are translated by Zahra Moravvej..
Here, you have to stand in the queue for everything. Queues for water, for showers, for the toilet, for food, for a flask, for the phone, for pills, for seeing social workers, for meeting with the head of the prison, for washing dishes. Queues and queues and queues!
Every prisoner is responsible for each of them. Fighting between prisoners for one reason or another is very common. Standing in the queues creates mental frustration, which makes you stop eating or drinking because protesting against anything will result in losing the right to calls or visitation.