A People Negated within the State: The Struggle for a Multi-Ethnic Iran
The Ahwazi-Arab Alliance
Chaired by: Jan Goossens (Royal Flemish Theater, Brussels)
Respondent: Isabel Käiser (PhD candidate SOAS London)
Karim Abdian is Executive Director of Ahwaz Human Rights Organization, Senior Advisor to the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA), Representative of Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI) and co-founder of Iran Roundtable.This lecture addresses the manner in which the Islamic Republic of Iran
denies the existence of the Ahwazi-Arab nation. Since the minority occupation of 1925, central governments have pursued a policy to strip indigenous Arabs of Al-Ahwaz of their national Arab identity. Cultural expression such as the use of the Arabic language in education and claims for human rights, social and economic justices are often labeled as a ‘danger to territorial integrity’. By enforcing an idea of Iran as a homogeneous Persian Shiite nation-state, a people are being negated within the state. The Ahwazi Arabs are thus actively erased from public memory and the economic and political present, which is what defines their resistance as a civil rights movement:
a stateless people demanding recognition and the right to self-determination encompassing the entire spectrum from self-governing autonomy, to federation, confederation and/or independence. However, the central government of Iran perceives any plight for self-determination of minorities as a separatist or terrorist act, negating the possibility of the existence of multiple nations within one state.
The New World Summit: Stateless State took place at the Royal Flemish Theater in Brussels, Belgium, 19-21 September 2014.