Vazir Fathi


A brief personal history:


Vazir Fathi ( Rahyaab) was born in April 1963. He was a political prisoner during “the Decade of Sixties”- 1980’s- and is a survivor of the massacre of “sixty seven”. He was arrested in February of 1983 and was formally released in July of 1992.Vazir started writing poetry in the “Eveen ” prison in 1986 and he wrote his first poem in the solitary cell.


The experience of the struggles, imprisonments, tortures, hangings, executions and resistance of those years and specially the experience of the horrible massacre of his comrades in the year of 67 left an indelible and lasting effect on his poetry. the manifestations of this are visibly demonstrated in all his work. Vazir, even after his release from prison, maintained a direct presence in the industrial areas populated by workers. He worked along side of workers, technicians and engineers. By participating in their struggles, he shared in their successes and defeats, happiness and misery and was able to experience true workers poetry and literature in their authentic format. He has integrated and reflected this experience in his poems.


Rahyaab’s  poems were not published before 2008, with one or two exceptions that got him in trouble with the Ministry of Information. During this period, some of his poems were ,occasionally, circulated in closed circles. In 2008, he adopted the pen name “Rahyaab” on the recommendation of some friends and to facilitate wide access to his work. Consequently, he began publishing some of his poems on the internet abroad and received broad notice and acceptance.


Vazir Fathi, after 16 years of dealing with the tight control of the Islamic Republic and bearing the difficulties of recurrent arrests and interrogations and living under the Sword of Damocles, finally in August 2010 opted to enter on the path of immigration and sough political asylum in Turkey. His family, being  placed on the list of those restricted from leaving the country and undergoing a lot of legal harassment by the Ministries of Information and Investigation for 9 months, was finally able to join him there.


Rahyaab’s poetry was regularly and on related occasions published in various places and received wide attention from various readers; as their comments and emails reflected.  Moreover, an extensive review on the poem ” darafsh ma” by M. Hejri  was published on some Internet sites. This review represents a valuable attempt to appreciate this poem: as well, it is an analysis of the contents and concepts contained in it which reveals the literary orientation and viewpoint of the poet.


Aside from his literary work, Vazir Fathi has published numerous political writings about the conditions and massacre of political prisoners in Iran.


“Camomile in the Desert” is his collection of poems that is now available in print under his name. It contains some of his newest poems, as well as new-style and old forms of poetry such as Lyrics, Couplets and Quatrains.  As well, he conducted a radio interview with Mr. Michael Slate from Radio KPfK, in September 2012, reviewing the infamous massacre of political prisoners of 1988 in Iran. The link for this interview is attached below:

Translated from Farsi by: Ali Atash

We are the captives without order;                                              We treading, two-legged people,

city-bound dwellers of a prison establishment.                           overreached beyond so many things.

We are creatures without authority;                                            We surpassed the world of gravity

ordained to obey orders and commands.                                       and ultimately, reached the skies.

Creatures who claim no names of their own;                               Meddling with the work of creation,

we embrace whatever they name us.                                              we, actively, went beyond destiny.

Centuries have gone by and they say                                             We worked, we built and now behold

we are debris of this flower garden.                                                how far? Up to God himself we have gone.

We are slaves who survive on wages;                                            Moving beyond our bondage, 

hustlers who hustle for daily bread.                                                we claimed : liberation.

Our gathering is one and the same as the wolf and sheep;         Alas, at the same time with every step,

we are disparate goats of these goat-keepers.                                we moved backward, as well.

We are bitter and ill-fated;                                                                At the alter of the goddess of money,

honey taste for these taste seekers.                                                 we were sacrificed, as sacrificial offerings.

The horse of capital is in full gallop;                                                We don’t recognize our reflections in the mirror;

we are the pavers of its track.                                                           this image is not familiar! (1) Where did we                                                                                                               go?

How long do we succumb to this disgrace?                                     O, how alienated this image is.

How long do we take half-measure remedies?                                Where are we now? and where did we go?

                            It is time to determine to do the work                     Within this man-killing system,            

                           to establish our own commune.                                we have traversed to the very end.

                           It is time to determine to do the work

                          to establish our own commune.

It is high time we went to work,                                                         O, you, the agents of labor, move forward;

creatively, joined forces.                                                                      shoulder to shoulder and together.

Break out the hold of the time,                                                         O, you lovers of freedom,                                                                                      

 as the sun, we begin to shine.                                                             you who have been long in waiting, forward ahead.

 Out of the darkness and yes, the bitter cold,                                   O, you, the scattered, the numerous in number.

leap up to be, once again, light and fire bound.                                   you are uncountable, forward ahead uncountable times.

Tricksters of domination are hard at work                                         The suffering dwellers of this long autumn,

to have us slip back into the shadows.                                                  forward ahead to the very settlement of the spring.

They are demonic and strive to                                                             Marching ahead, now that human outlook

expel us out of the process.                                                                   reveals some glimpses for a pursuit.

We, the scattered and the many,                                                            We are trackers on this path,

let us come together and be counted.                                                     tolerant of our backpack, marching ahead.

Set forth our fronts:                                                                                March on ahead against the specter of gallows and firing squads,     

as classes, become conscious.                                                               as Khara, Nesimi and Lorca embraced.(2)

As banners are raised;                                                                                                    It is time to determine to do the work 

we become banner-holders immersed in practice.                                                      to establish our own commune.

We, who are afflicted by alienation,                                                       Rahyaab( Vazir Fathi)       November 2009

become devoted to this orientation.                                                        Translated from Farsi by: Ali Atash     July, 4th 2013

                                It is time to determine to do the work                         

                                to establish our own commune.            


1- A verse from the poetry of Sheikh Mosleh al-din Saadi Shirazi.

2- Victor Lidio Jara Martinez( khara), Seyid Immaddedini Nesimi, Federico Garcia Lorca.                   .                                                                                                                                                                                                  

چامه ای به افتخار رفیقی که از دریای طوفانزده ی انقلاب پنجاه و هفت ، تا عبور از گذرگاه های زندان های دهه ی شصت ، و از آنجا پرچم بدست تا ایستادن در پیشاپیشِ ِ صف ِ جنبش ِ کارگری ؛ همچنان و هنوز در تکاپوست !…آری ! می بایست به افتخار ِ اینان سرود ! وگرنه : « من آنم که در پای ِ خوکان نریزم / مر این قیمتی دُرّ ِ لفظ ِ دری را (ناصر خسرو قبادیانی )
از بودن و کشیدن
وقت است شرر ریختن و جامه دریدن
تا چند فرو خوردن و دم بر نکشیدن ؟!
حقّا که جگر سوختگانیم و در این راه
جز خار ندیدیم و به جان خار خلیدن
یک عمر دویدیم و به مقصد نرسیدیم
مقصود همین بود ! همین پیش دویدن !
دریاب ! که ما نیشکرانیم و در این دشت
جز آب نخواهیم و به جان تیغ خریدن
صبری بکن ای هم – پر و پرواز ! بیاندیش
تا چند از این شاخ به آن شاخه پریدن ؟!
ما در پی ِ یک راه ِ نو و رسم ِ نوینیم
هیهات زما ! دور زدن ، پیله تنیدن
دردا ! که جهان یکسره ره یافت و رهیاب
ای ملت ِ در بند ! نخواهی تو رهیدن ؟!
یاران ِ وفادار ، سر ِ دار برفتند
مائیم و غم ِ سلطه ی اغیار کشیدن !
رهیاب – شیکاگو 7 جولای 2013 – 22 تیر ماه

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