Saeed Heleichi, a poet and translator from Ahvaz, announced on Thursday that he had received a threatening call from an unknown number for posting pictures of the depleted Karun River in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province.
The pictures posted by Heleichi were meant to raise awareness of environmental degradation in the border province, which last year was rocked by weeks-long mass protests over the ongoing water crisis.
Without disclosing where or by whom, Halichi wrote that after the anonymous call, he had been "summoned" and made to sign a commitment "to not publish the truth".
امروز صبح با شماره تلفن ناشناس با بنده تماس گرفتند و مرا احضار کردند.— سعید هلیچی (@saeed_heleichi) April 26, 2022
و تعهد و امضاء... برای عدم نشر واقعیت.
گفتند این عکسها باعث سوء استفادهی رسانههای خارجی میشود. گفتم اصلا شما وضعیت را میبینید؟؟؟ شهر به فنا رفته آقا. گفت میدانیم اما نباید چیزی بگید...
لبخند زدم...#کارون pic.twitter.com/E83fINEdn7
He went on: "They said the photos were being abused by foreign media. I said, 'Do you see the situation at all? The city is doomed, Sir.' He said 'We know, but you shouldn't say anything.'"
On April 24, Heleichi had published a short video of construction work on the banks of the Karun River. It clearly showed the narrowing of the waterway due to the ongoing work, and the movement of trucks up and down its length.
در اینجا رودی بود...— سعید هلیچی (@saeed_heleichi) April 24, 2022
با دو کرانه
گاه حماسی میخواند و گاه عاشقانه...
برشی از شعر #محمود_درويش
تاریخ کلیپ ضبط شده: امروز ۴ فروردین ۱۴۰۱#اهواز #کارون #هورالعظیم pic.twitter.com/EjO3wYhQGk
In the description, he had included a fragment of a poem by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who is famous in the Arab world for his compositions about love and loss of land. Heleichi has documented other instances of development on the Karun over the past month, showing the riverbed smothered with fresh layers of sand and grit.
Khuzestan's water crisis stretches back years and is believed to be mostly anthropogenic: caused by human activity, in this case largely poor governance. Last summer, the people of Ahvaz and other cities across Khuzestan staged near-nightly mass demonstrations in the streets over catastrophic drought in the province. At least 12 people, mostly young men, were killed in the ensuing security crackdown and hundreds were rounded up and taken to detention centers.