What has become of my country: Said Soltanpour, poet of revolution

Said Soltanpour, poet, playwright and director changed the pace of the revolution that toppled the Shah. It was mid October 1977. Already the voices of protest against the Shah’s dictatorship had begun. There had been protests in Tehran University and in some towns. Iranian poets gathered in the Goethe Institute, Tehran to recite poems to a huge crowd.

It was day five when Said Soltanpour, recently released from the Shah’s prisons, one of the last political prisoners to be released, stood up and took the platform. When he had finished the entire hall erupted.Said changed the temperature of that room radicalising all subsequent poems that were read. Said killed the fear of the regime.

By the next day you could not get near the Goethe Institute from the throng of people clamoring to hear the poets. Said Soltanpour had through his poems and his courage showed the way.

But he did not stop fighting for freedom and socialism after the people had toppled the Shah. He pioneered street theater as a weapon of protest with ‘abbas agha‘ and other plays.

He was arrested on his wedding day and executed on June 21, 1981 by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What has become of my country,

What has become of my country,
what has become of my country,
where prisons are brimming with dew drops,
brimming with tulips,
and those survivors of martyrs
now shed tears for the burnt tulips.

What has become of my country
that flowers still mourn.

The patient eyes of men
filled with tears
for so long.

The heart of love itself
broken in the depth of prison
for so long.

From the crypt of captivity we sang
so long
so hard
of the suffocating cage
that our throats are bleeding from wounds,

Oh, the fist of revolution!
the mighty fist of people!
the fiery fist of the sun!

What had become of my country!

Read the full poem

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