August 15, 2018
Solat Sheikhnia recalls the ordeal of her friend’s cousin, a funeral home worker, during the tragic era of 1980s Iran. One day in 1988, he visited Solat’s friend after his shift the previous night at Shiraz’s Darrolrahmeh Cemetery. He reports to her that he has been traumatised because he was witness to trucks full of bodies unloading at the cemetery.
He told his cousin how some of those people were not even dead, how they groaned and yelled as they were buried alive in the mass grave. Ms. Sheikhnia recalls the mental toll this gruesome atrocity took on him, torturing him to the point of resigning from the job.
The incident Solat Sheikhnia discusses was merely one instance of mass graves being used to bury the victims of the 1988 prisoner massacre in Iran. It is estimated that more than 120 mass graves exist across the country, and together these sites contain the remains of over 4,000 individuals. There has been no redress or accountability for the crimes but, despite the attempts of government officials to cover-up their atrocity, the testimonies of survivors like Ms. Sheikhnia (herself a prisoner then) help keep history from censorship and revisionism.