Forugh Farrokhzad, poet and film director, was born in 1935 in Tehran, Iran. She died in 1967. Her books, along with those by some other poets and writers, are banned from book exhibitions in Tehran.
What would have happened to her if she had been alive during the Islamic regime? Would she have been assassinated along with Mokhtari, Pooyandeh and so many others during the purges in Iran when Khatami was President? If she had survived that era she would be in prison by now, like those who did not enter the compulsory world of self-censorship.
In such a subjugated society as Iran, poets produce many different kinds of poems: poems for the public that the state would not consider dangerous, and other poems which are from the poet’s heart, to be read in small private circles. Yet there is another kind, where the author remains anonymous, that is smuggled underground, and people whisper it to each other. These are dangerous poems, both for the words and thoughts they carry.
Any loving relationship which does not fit the state’s prescription is a blasphemous underground activity, and as such is crushed by the state’s stones. So works such as Forugh’s poems are also prevented from reaching the people. Forugh would not have censored her thoughts and her poems if she were alive because she was not culturally and politically correct. Would she have been stoned to death for being in and writing about love?
Forugh, who wrote controversial poetry with a strong feminine voice, would surely have been subject to a kind of holy death under this Islamic regime. Stones, bullet, rope or any of the more domestic implements of life such as knives, water or air could have been used to stop her. She might have shared the fate of her brother Fereydoun, a poet, writer, actor, singer, TV and radio host and opposition political figure. He first received death threats from the Islamic regime, and then was stabbed 40 times with a knife at his home in Bonn, Germany in 1992. No murderer has ever been brought to charge. The Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva stated that ‘investigations have not furnished any proof of participation of Iranian officials in the assassination’.
Of course not! He was only one of the hundreds of political dissidents, many of them writers, who were assassinated by Iranian agents in European cities, including Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, and no one has ever been arrested. Governments support each other not only through words but by a diplomatic silence that can say more than mere words ever could. The governments are united, unlike the people who are fooled into blaming each other for their governments’ faults.
Now that she is not alive to be killed, the Islamic regime arrests Forugh’s words by banning her poems from public eyes and ears. It shows she still lives through her poems, and that they are as dangerous as her. This is why the regime is trying to kill her again and again by banning her poems. Forugh expressed her feelings and her passions deeply in a patriarchal society – which still see the female body as sin-provoking.