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Shahla Farjad Steadfast fighter for Women and Refugees Died on 7 July

Shahla Farjad, one of the long-standing activists for women’s rights in Iran died on July 7th 2013.
Nahid Mazkuri, writes (excerpts) in Sedaye Mardom: “[Shahla] was a woman of small stature but a heart as big as an ocean, and despite her quiet demeanor, she was always at the forefront of the women’s struggle in the past three decades. I met this brave activist in the period immediately after the 1979 Revolution. When we were asked to launch the office of the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women in the Province of Gilan, I rented an office in the city of Rasht to start work. Shahla Farjad joined us then, having been freed from the Shah’s prison, after the Revolution. As she was a doctor, she had come to Gilan to serve the people. She practiced medicine in a not-so-large health centre. Together with her and another friend, we founded the committee of the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women and our work started in earnest.”
“Shahla had the role of liaising with the Tudeh Party of Iran in Gilan and she became one of the members of the Provincial Committee of the Party in Gilan. In four years the work of the DOIW reached its peak. In every town women’s organization sprang up. Without exaggeration, the work of the DOIW grew to an impressive extent. Its area of activity spread from Fuman to Some’eh Sara and Kasma, and to the cities of Anzali, Langarood and Lahijan. It reached even villages.”
“In Rasht, it organized sewing classes, literacy and first aid classes, and sending medicine, clothes and food, even harvesting tomatoes and onions to send to the Iran-Iraq war front [following Iraq’s attack]. DOIW gave help to rural rice producers too. These are some of the activities that the committee took part in, and Shahla played her part in it selflessly. Following the second wave of arrests of political activists by the regime in 1983, Shahla decided to stay in Iran.
At this time, she was arrested and imprisoned once again. After she was freed, she did not stop her activities. From the 1990s she started to work with the UN High Commission for Refugees, as a doctor. She befriended Afghan refugees beyond the call of duty and helped them with literacy and the construction of school or libraries. After the catastrophic earthquake of Bam, she went to help, immediately. After a short time, with the help of several friends, she founded a girls’ school.”
“She was a part of the movement demanding equal rights for women, the One Million Signatures Campaign, she was a founder member of Mothers for Peace and was a member of the gathering for Posing the Demands of the Women’s Movement in the run-up to the Election…”
“She took part in every event, with great modesty and without laying claim to anything. In the 2009 election, her court case was activated again, and for along time, she lived with great hardship.”
“It is worth mentioning that Shahla was the sister of Mehrdad Farjad who was an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran and remained steadfast and sang the Internationale aloud as they took him to his execution. The executioners of the Islamic Republic, cut out his tongue and then executed him. The name of these two legendary figures will never be forgotten.
Shahla was a political activist and a truly humane person…”
MaZanan 15.07.2013

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