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DIRS – Shining a Light on Ahwaz

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With a great history stretching back to the dawn of human civilisation, Ahwaz which runs from the Iraqi border down the right-hand side of the Arabian Gulf, should be known and renowned around the world. Sadly, its greatness has been denied by almost a century of Iranian oppression under successive regimes, and its people’s voices silenced. Despite this, the indigenous Ahwazi Arab people continue to resist against all the odds, to protect their culture and history, and to stand for the freedom that is all peoples’ birthright.

The Dialogue Institute for Research and Studies (DIRS) has been established to shed light on the historic crimes endured by Ahwaz for almost a century, to cut through the media blackout imposed by the Iranian regime, to correct and dispel a century of deception and disinformation which has denied the Ahwazi people their most basic rights, and to work for that long-suppressed freedom, justice and human rights.

Since the early decades of the 20th century, when Ahwaz, then an independent emirate, was first annexed by Iran, the indigenous Ahwazi people have been subjected to brutal anti-Arab racism, and ethnic cleansing by successive Iranian regimes in an effort to deny and eradicate their Arab roots and culture; with even Ahwazis’ native Arabic language, music, poetry and traditional garb outlawed as supposedly seditious signs of ‘subversion’.

    The Dialogue Institute for Research and Studies (DIRS) has been established to shed light on the historic crimes endured by Ahwaz for almost a century.

With DIRS, Ahwazi activists, thinkers and writers, along with supportive colleagues from around the world, have set out to provide a reliable, independent news and research resource for students, academics, researchers, media outlets and curious readers worldwide. Here we’ll provide credible and authoritative up-to-date reports on events in Ahwaz, despite the efforts of Iranian state media to maintain the global silence on this cause of freedom, as well as offering historical insight, research papers, in-depth studies, expert analysis and more to enlighten, inform and educate.

The deliberate media blackout imposed on Ahwazis and other non-Persian peoples in Iran to silence the voices of the indigenous people from the 1920s onwards was among the primary components of the fast-moving political changes that shaped modern Iran and its regional and international relations,  Cut off from their Arab brethren in neighbouring nations,  Ahwazis were effectively treated as non-people by successive Iranian regimes which attempted to forcibly assimilate the Ahwazi population through imposing Persian hegemony.   Only the resolute determination of the Ahwazi people to cling to their beloved lands and preserve their proud history and culture against all the odds and in the face of unimaginable brutality, has thwarted these efforts.

      The Dialogue Institute for Research and Studies (DIRS) has been established to shed light on the historic crimes endured by Ahwaz for almost a century, to cut through the media blackout imposed by the Iranian regime, to correct and dispel a century of deception and disinformation which has denied the Ahwazi people their most basic rights, and to work for that long-suppressed freedom, justice and human rights.

Clearly, in order to fully comprehend the terrible magnitude of the evils endured by the Ahwazi people and the rightness of the Ahwazi cause, it’s essential to become familiar with the ancient and modern history, more particularly the history of the past century.   This need was the primary inspiration behind creating DIRS, which brings together expert writers and researchers from around the world with an interest in Ahwaz and the surrounding region to provide informative coverage and information, expose the long-suppressed truth about Iran’s actions, show the crises and difficulties confronting the Ahwazi cause and underline its importance.

Although our primary focus is the Ahwazi cause and its inextricable links with the current Iranian presence, we’ll also be analysing various other related issues, including economic, environmental, and other topics, and reporting on how non-Persian peoples and religious minorities in Iran are affected, including the Kurds, Balochis, Azerbaijani Turks, Turkmen, Qashqais and Caspians, as well as the Mandeans of Ahwaz whose belief system predates any of the monotheistic faiths.

 Below is the Founding Statement of the Dialogue Institute for Research and Studies (DIRS)

Ahwaz has played a continuous and crucial role in the establishment of human civilisations, whose light shone through its nearby and faraway spheres through its various historical roles. In the face of natural and human challenges, it has also demonstrated a special kind of resistance, which has affected and continues to influence how the Ahwazi cause is understood, known, and studied in its various political, economic, social, and cultural aspects.

The deliberate blackout that has been imposed to silence the Ahwazi cause is perhaps the main component of the region’s accelerating political changes at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as the colonial powers’ policies that shaped regional and international relations in the Middle East, especially Ahwaz’s interactions with its Arab and non-Arab spheres. In light of this, we are in urgent need of research, studies, explanations, analyses, and interpretations of the circumstances in our region at the time.

It goes without saying that in order to fully comprehend the Ahwazi cause, we must be thoroughly familiar with the region’s geographical context and its historical experiences. This prompted a number of specialised columnists and researchers with an interest in Ahwaz and its surrounding area to found a scholarly, independent, non-profit organisation based in the United States. In an effort to uncover the truth and expose the crises and difficulties the Ahwazi cause is facing, which have caused its significance to be disappeared on a regional and global scale, DIRS will help build knowledge about and deepen awareness of the Ahwazi cause.

To reinforce Ahwaz’s standing in the various international forums, which is sorely necessary due to the aforesaid reasons, the founders conceived of the idea of establishing the Dialogue Institute for Research and Studies, a new centre dedicated to shedding light on the reasons behind the forgotten importance of the Ahwazi cause, its resistance, potential implications and the aspirations of its people.

In an effort to uncover the truth and expose the crises and difficulties the Ahwazi cause is facing, which have caused its significance to be disappeared on a regional and global scale, DIRS will help build knowledge about and deepen awareness of the Ahwazi cause.

The Ahwazi cause is inextricably linked to the current Iranian presence and is directly affected by events and changes in the Iranian arena, but will not be the sole focus of the Institute, since those changes affect other marginalised groups. Therefore, the Dialogue Institute will give special attention to this geographic region and its historical, political, economic and demographic components. Furthermore, the Institute will make the aspirations of most of the peoples dwelling in Iran such as the Azerbaijani Turks, the Ahwazis, the Kurds, the Balochis, the Turkmen, the Qashqais and the Caspians, as well as the religious and confessional minorities, especially Mandaeans of Ahwaz among the top feed on which the Institute will cast light in the form of news, articles, researches and studies.

This Institute will shine a light that cuts through the darkness that Iranian repression has imposed, and will reveal and reinvigorate the suppressed history of all these peoples.

 

 

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