Sleeping in a tomb: the creepy images that shake Iran

A photo-book published in the Iranian daily Shahrvand with images of homeless people sleeping in empty tombs in an abandoned graveyard outside Tehran struck sensitivities in Iran, whose president was shocked by the situation. The publication also highlighted the country’s economic difficulties as well as the plague of heroin that has trapped thousands of Iranians.

The images, taken by photographer Saeed Gholamhoseini, and collected by the IsnaPhoto agency in Shahriar, about 20 kilometers west of the capital of Iran, brought to light the poor living conditions of women, children and men, many of them Drug addicts, who try to survive in the cemetery.

In one of the published images, a man with grimaces and smoke on his skin removes a half-body from his grave. From the hole he has chosen as a dwelling there is a black smoke; Comes from the fire that has ignited inside to provide heat during the hard winter. A blanket is made of ceiling and door at a time.

گزارش گورخواب ها ايران را تكان داد. اينكه رسانه ها هنوز قدرت انتقال دردهاي اجتماعي را دارند، رسالت مطبوعات را تشديد مي كند. دردهاي اجتماعي آفتي دارد كه معمولا در چرخه سياست بازي و جناحي گم مي شود. بياييم براي دردهاي جامعه، و حل آنها وحدت نظر داشته باشيم. فاصله بين مشكلات پردرد اجتماعي و اخلاقي با دل نگراني هاي سياسيون بسيار زياد است و قرباني اين اختلافات مردم سطح جامعه هستند. اين بي عدالتي ها و فقر بايد دغدغه اوليه همه مديران و جناح ها باشد. همه مسئولان ايراني در يك اندازه در بحران هاي اجتماعي و فقر و فساد مقصرند. كاش حساسيت هاي مراجع تقليد ، مديران درجه اول كشور و مسئولان دولت و قوه قضاييه و مجلس به جاي مسايل حاشيه اي بايد به مشكلات مردم منتقل شود.

Una foto publicada por Mohammadali Abtahi (@abtahimohamadali) el

Even in Iran, where unemployment is high and its currency has fallen sharply against the dollar, the photos touched the fiber of its citizens.

Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi, concerned about the images, wrote an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. She suggested that officials should go out to meet the communities they represent to see what life really is.

Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi

“Today I read a shocking report about men, women and children living in tombs in a cemetery near Tehran on these cold nights and now I am full of shame and tears in my eyes”.

Asghar Farhadi

Rouhani himself responded to Farhadi on Wednesday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani/ Bloomberg

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani/ Bloomberg

“We had heard that some poor and homeless people slept in cardboard boxes or under bridges, but we had not heard of them sleeping in tombs!”

Hassan Rouhani

Rouhani said the government can not accept seeing the homeless who live in such conditions.

The tombs of an abandoned cemetery outside Tehran, home to drug addicts and indigents. / Photo: Saeed Gholamhosein

The tombs of an abandoned cemetery outside Tehran, home to drug addicts and indigents. / Photo: Saeed Gholamhosein

Iran has seen the number of opiate addicts rise year on year, with one of the world’s largest drug addicts in the world. Heroin is the country’s other ‘enemy’. According to the United Nations, in 2011 Iran had 1.2 million drug addicts (who grow to 130,000 people a year), an exorbitant amount for a country of 77 million inhabitants, of which half are under 24 years. If you add 24% youth unemployment, the cocktail is explosive.

Comments from the leader of the Republic of Ayatollahs are ahead of Iran’s presidential elections in May, in which Rouhani is expected to seek a second four-year term.

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