Karun is a river in Iran that emerges in the mountains of the Bakhtiari region and winds its way down to the city of Ahvaz. Karun is also the name of a 9-year-old boy who lived in the town of Kerman in Iran. The youngest of the family, he was well loved, studious and kind. Hamid loved to write poetry. But most of all, he loved Iran and named his three sons, Arvand, Aras, and Karun, after places in Iran.
Today, Hamid and Karun are gone, leaving behind a shattered family. On a late Tuesday night or in the early hours of a Wednesday morning, in September 1998, father and son were killed in their home in the town of Kerman.
On that September night, unknown visitors had tea with Hamid.
On that night, the visitors stabbed Karun 10 times and Hamid 27 times.
On that night, Karun’s teenage brothers came home from a wedding to report how much fun they had had. Instead, they had to report to the police the horrific scene they witnessed.
And on that night, the killers took some of Hamid’s writings with them and scattered the rest around the room. They left cash untouched to show that they were no burglars and to warn other dissidents: “We can hurt you and destroy your family.”
Now, 15 years later, Karun’s brother writes on his blog that all he wants is to come back home and be greeted by him as he used to be. He wants to kiss Karun 50 times, watch him clean the kisses from his cheeks, and hear him say, “See, I wiped them all away and I’m not giving you another kiss today.” He wants to hear his father read him poetry. He wants to sit next to his father and brother and play games until the TV burns out.
The truth is that those who order such appalling murders deprive those left behind from the simple joys that most of us take for granted. What Karun’s brother is left with, 15 years later, is insomnia and un-answered questions: Who did the “savages” kill first? Which one suffered more, witnessing the other one being stabbed multiple times? Worse, “Why wasn’t I there to save Karun?” Year after year, the nightmares of the Hajizadeh family persist, while those who wanted their loved ones dead have moved on, with the assurance that this unspeakable crime would be forgotten.
Too often, we are unable to prevent such killings, as they are carried out in cowardice, unannounced. What we can do, however, is to bring the memories of Karun and Hamid to life so that their family knows that they are not forgotten. We can publish their story so that their killers know that their crime has not gone unnoticed; that sooner or later, they will be held to account.
With your support, ABF researchers have revived the memory of Hamid and Karun Hajizadeh in Omid, a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, acknowledging the harm done to the Hajizadeh family. Now the family needs to know that you have heard its call for justice. Please share their story as widely as you can.