Interview with the Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar
|Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar (photo: picture-alliance/dpa). Courtesy Qantara.|
Ms Forouhar, you fly to Tehran every autumn to hold a memorial ceremony for your murdered parents. This year, your passport was confiscated as soon as you landed. Were you surprised?
Parastou Forouhar: I might have expected it; I′m being tried in Tehran this year. In the past, I have always had to attend a hearing on entering Iran. Usually at the intelligence ministry, sometimes with other organs that are also part of the security apparatus. They′d try to influence me – I′d be threatened, confronted with allegations I was stirring up counter-revolution.
Yet that was always related to the memorial event for your parents, who were murdered by the regime nearly twenty years ago.
Forouhar: Indeed. My parents were prominent opposition politicians, Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar. They were dissidents, secular democrats who campaigned for democratic structures in the Shah′s times and then later in the Islamic Republic. They were attacked on 22 November 1998 by 18 officers from the Islamic Republic′s ministry of intelligence, who brutally murdered them. And they were not the only ones: two wonderful writers, two activists, a poet and his son were also murdered at the same time. These crimes became known as the "chain murders". The public felt deeply violated; thousands of people attended my parents′ funeral – the figure reported by the BBC was 25,000. The funeral march turned into a protest for dissident rights.