The Tale of the Small White Fish in Iran

On a cold winter night in late February, in a large lake near the city of Ahwaz, the capital of the oil-rich Khuzistan Province in southwest Iran, an old and wise fish gathered around the 7,500 small and baby fishes of his school. He was preparing to tell them something important.

The frightened fish quickly gathered around him to listen carefully. The old fish, with his deep voice, told them he had heard some news he wished to share with them.

You have to make an important decision, he said. There is a war coming. You have to prepare yourselves.

The scared little fish got closer and closer to one other, making up a large mass. The old fish explained how he had been thinking that maybe tomorrow would have been too late, so he would tell them today, because the fish must begin to prepare. The news, in brief, was that the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) planned to dry up all the lakes around the area, and then drain the entire Karoon river, in line with a variety of plots to scarf up huge revenues from water sales.

Therefore, the old fish said, we have to decide to stay here and divide into groups in small ponds, and fight for the last bits of water, or hit Karoon river and see it where it takes us.

The fish were very concerned at first, with some saying "we have to stay," and others seeing no choice but to seek a new home. The old fish told them to take their time and think until morning, and then inform him of their decision.

In the morning, with the sun rising on the lake, the old fish once again gathered them all around. They first expressed their hatred of the IRGC and in one voice decided to seek a new home. They said that despite their love for the home they had lived in for years, "we will not succumb or surrender."

The old fish was reassured, telling them they had resolved all his concerns. "I had heard from my ancestors that those who seek a new home because of cruelty will be provided a new and better home by God. And despite my old age, I have decided to come with you."

He then assembled a team of young fish, led by a small and brave white fish who had trekked all the waters, to head out earlier and lead the school.

One day into their journey, they reached the city of Ahwaz, where floods and strong winds were engulfing the city. The harsh conditions had destroyed much of the city infrastructure due to the regime’s negligence.

They fought hard to reach the river entrance where they saw Ahwaz's locals launching a new demonstration where people were protesting the regime for plundering their God-given wealth, wasting it on bombs, arms, killings, meddling in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

 The small white fish went forward to see and talk to one of the Ahwaz locals who was fishing near the shore. The fish told him their story of relocation and the Ahwazi was very happy to see the fish, saying, "We have the same situation, our revenues, billions of dollars from our rich fields are pouring into Assad’s pockets for Idlib's chemical bombing and the ruthless killing of civilians, and innocent children. Here, the people face a deteriorated economy and corruption and these days, and the supreme leaders Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, want to launch propaganda for another sham election. We know that Khamenei wants to engineer the election to pull out his candidate from the ballot box, and for that we decided to boycott the election."

The fish answered: "My grandfather always told me: 'I hate victims who vote for their executioners, in our society we never vote for the criminals who kill our brothers and sisters.'"

The Ahwazi replied: "The election in Iran is just replacing dictators. Those who will be selected as candidates are the genuine imposters who crippled and poisoned the human nature of our communities with physical and moral torture. Their methods of rules are economic slavery of women and men, executions and imprisonments, cruelty and injustice."

The small white fish was trying hard to hear because the strong waves kept on pushing them to the south of the river. Two days after enduring hunger and becoming very tired, the fish finally reached the city of Abadan and the juncture where Karoon joined two rivers from Iraq and poured into the Gulf.

Iraqis were seen fishing with their poles. This was when the small white fish began warning his school in tow not to go any further. He himself went forward until one of the Iraqis saw the little white fish, asking him, "what are you doing here, you’re not from around here…"

The small white fish told him how the IRGC was drying up all the lakes. The Arab man from Iraq told him about how the IRGC had literally destroyed his country, with bombs, destruction, and carnage every day.

"The IRGC-linked Popular Mobilization Forces have occupied our country. The terrorist Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force, has literally ruined our lives, plundering all our country’s assets," he said.

The small white fish bade farewell to the man. The fish continued swimming and then reached bigger waters with stronger currents, and became afraid of being attacked by sharks.

A bit later the small white fish saw the IRGC’s fast-attack boats above their heads. He went a bit closer to see if these were the same boats used by the IRGC to stage bogus military drills.

The small white fish informed the rest of the school to not be worried at all about these boats, or any sounds of explosions around them. "Those are ridiculous drills staged by the IRGC as the tides changed, especially with a new American administration in Washington," he said.

The little white fish neared one of the boats, able now to hear the vessel commander’s voice gaping with one of his men. "This drill is useless," he said. "Last year, I heard from one of the IRGC commanders who said, 'the West can destroy our entire naval forces in 12 minutes,' like the strike on the airfield in Syria on Thursday evening with fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles which fired from American destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean, so what a stupid thing we are doing with these drills. Why are we digging our own graves?"

The little white fish found a safe place for the rest of the school, and the old fish began preparing an adequate area for his large family to rest and settle in after their long journey.

Hassan Mahmoudi: A human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.

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