#َAhwazna – Ahwazi Arab rural areas suffer double oppression and poverty
This report aims to shed light on health, sanitation condition and essential and basic amenities services (electricity, drinking cleanwater and gas for cooking and heating, and communication devices) in an Ahwazi village known as “Al-Nadafiya”.
The village has a population of more than one thousand Arab residents resides in “Mollathani County” 25 km away from Ahwaz city.
The people of the village are suffering from deep, long, rooted poverty and marginalization as they are deliberately deprived of having basic amenities services like electricity, drinking clean water, gas for cooking and heating, and communication devices.
In interviews with the residents about their daily sufferings; they said “our miseries are as clear as day but everyone let us down, everyone turned blind eye to what is happening for us”.
An old woman who was sitting on a shabby bench said “for years we are going through very severe distressing situation as we have no domestic gas pipeline network, no sewage system, with frequent interruptions in electricity and water”.
Another young Arab man said that “the absence of domestic gas network caused us to suffer seriously during winter from not having heating system which led us to chop wood for cooking and heating our homes.”
He added that “the flowing untreated waste water into the streets caused deadly diseases like inflammatory bowel disease outbreaks among children. But in summer season, our sufferings get worse and worse due to the regular power cut as the weather temperature exceed 55 degree Celsius”.
He said “the sufferings of Arab people here are beyond description but I think our situation resemble African people because how is it possible to have prosper life without having source of income or employment. 90 percent of Ahwazi Arab people in rural areas are suffering from poverty and weak income. They are overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture and fishing for their food but these people have been left with no alternative source of income after their entire arable lands by the east bank of Karoon River were forcibly confiscated by regime officials with very low compensation. As a result, they are vulnerable to crisis and many of them migrated to cities seeking for job along with living in shanty areas”.
For completing our report, we went to have an interview with the village women to ask them about their situation. One young pregnant woman said “most of women and children are suffering from severe chronic malnutrition and 90 percent of Arab pregnant women have iron deficiency and their children are often born underweight as a result of inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy”. She added that “they have not access to health or medical center and have to travel to far distant areas for receiving treatment”.
Known to everyone that most of the Ahwazi Arab people are much more affected by poverty, deprivation and marginalization along with other ethnic groups in Iran, this is because of the Iranian clerical regime policies which have carried out various types of unruly practices against the Ahwazi Arabs for years that eventually have resulted in their social, economic, and political exclusion.
Right after the occupation of Ahwaz and its annex to Iran in 1925, biased institutional procedures which exercised systematically and antagonistically against every Ahwazi Arab individual in terms of their fundamental rights in social, economic, education, cultural, and political areas had crippled the Ahwazi Arabs people as a whole.
In return, the predominant occupying institutions with steadfast racist beliefs and values remained to operate very strongly and systematical to the benefit of Persian settlers who reached the region after Ahwaz’s occupation and seized on whole rights and privileges at the expense of Ahwazi Arab who remained oppressed and isolated for more than half a century. In fact, the Iranian regimes by creating social closure based on Persian race and Shia religion deliberately discriminated against the Ahwazi Arab people and caused them to be excluded, restricted, and deprived in regard with access to resources and opportunities in every trend of their life.
Ahwazi Arabs with population of over eight million resides mainly in south and south west of the geography so-called Iran. The Ahwazi Arabs have experienced serious, long, rooted, and double grievances and oppression, negligence, ethnic cleansing, poverty and deprivation under the current clerical regime. Over 26 years after the end of the war between Iran –Iraq the damages of the war are clearly seen in most of Ahwazi cities and regime has never been taken any steps to reconstruct it which caused the Ahwazi Arabs to live in underdeveloped and shanty areas with high unemployment rates as they are treated as third-class citizen because of their Arab ethnicity.