Persian Voices: A Tiny World

The one thing you must keep in mind is that the occupants of these villages inhabit a tiny world. They tend to squabble over small things and obsess over their neighbors’ sex lives. They gossip when an older inmate goes around with a younger one. What is more, the overcrowding leads to petty squabbling over such issues as whose bedding should make room for walking space, who should go to the courtyard when, and how much should the window be left open. What a relief it is to get away from one’s own cell even if for a short spell.



Ervand, Abrahamian. Tortured Confession prison and Public Recantation in Modern Iran. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press , 1999. Page 42. Print.


Editor’s Note: This depiction of prison life and prison culture comes from one of The 53, 53 Marxists, who were exposed in a show trial in the time of Reza Shah who wanted to send a message of intolerance to Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union as show trials of “enemies of the state” were sending people to gulag. This practice of public confession and the holding of political prisoners as spies is still used presently by the Islamic Republic to intimidate its enemies particularly during international negotiations.  The 53 Marxists found themselves to be heroes in the eyes of fellow inmates- veteran Jangal fighters of notorious Mirza Kouchak Khan, sympathizers of the Soviet Red Army suppressed by Reza Khan.