Rira Abbasi – Confess – translated by Bijan Mottahedeh

This poem is dedicated to all who lost their lives, to the children and adolescents who came out in support of freedom, and to the girls who realized a centuries-long dream of their mothers and created an epic called Women, Life, Freedom. This poem is dedicated to the families who lost loved ones, and instead of being soothed by our collective tears, were coerced to make false confessions, a repeated scenario repeating again.

All the girls have committed suicide
All the mothers have confessed
All the shirts have been tarred by lies
All the tears are blood soaked happiness
We are fabricators of history, through and through
We’ve never become mothers
Mahsa Nika Sarina Hadis Hadieh Hananeh Hajer Ghazaleh Minoo
without even having girls, we always bear the stigma of enough-girls
We are fabricators of history
students commit suicide behind closed doors on their own
Zahedan has been self sufficient for years
no child ever goes hungry
cheaper than bread, we send bullets their way
We are fabricators of history
Prisons have no bars
Baktash was also a lie
despite the shackles and chains
and with that booming laugh
Who dies for freedom anyway?
We are liars through and through
a poet’s place is not in prison
Prisons are barely populated and so we set them on fire
We are fabricators of history
We shoot down our own planes
we don’t lack happiness
soon as children fly
we burst into laughter, ululating in celebration of death
You are right, you were right
No mother buries her blood soaked child’s body
We said we are blackboards, write as you please
write and don’t believe that we’ve believed
This blackboard
Will never wash clean from the blood of the young


After the murder of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Morality Police, widespread protests erupted across Iran, and the girls named in this poem, most not older than sixteen years old, were also brutally killed by the security forces. Their mothers were forced into making false confessions on television, stating that their daughters had committed suicide or had fallen from rooftops.
Zahedan is the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in Iran. In one incident following Mahsa Amini’s murder, the security forces fired at protesters from helicopters, killing many children among others.
Baktash Abtin was a poet sentenced to six years in prison for exercising his right to free speech. He contracted COVID-19 during his term and perished in prison after being denied proper care.
On January 8, 2020 Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shortly after takeoff, killing all 176 passengers and crew aboard, mostly Iranians.
Evin prison that keeps majority of recent prisoners, was set to fire by government on 15th October, 2022 while all the staff left and also denied access to the ambulances to reach and help.

Iranian poet, novelist and peace activist, Rira Abbasi was born in 1962 in Khorramabad, Iran, acclaimed as Iran’s Lady Poet Laureate and the winner of Parvin Etesami Poetry Award in 2005. She is the founder and director of International Festival of Peace Poetry in Iran (since 2007). She has edited and brought out the first collection of Iranian Peace Poetry (an anthology) in 2002. Her own collections of poetry include Black Fairy of Wednesday and No More Guns for this Lor Woman.

Bijan Mottahedeh works and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His main areas of interest are photography, video, and poetry. www.verseye.com