Ghazal Ranjkesh: I still haven’t seen the day I “must” see; I know it’s close, very close
Many inspiring moments have been created during the Iran uprising, which has continued relentlessly for four months. From bereaved but proud parents who celebrate the death of their children for the freedom of their country besides their tombs, to women and girls who cry out “Martyrs never die” at the graves of their husbands and fathers, to the brave Iranian women who despite losing their eyes and vision are still seeking the liberation of their people and their country.
Not long ago, we published a report about the blindness of some of these brave Iranian women. One of these brave Iranian women is Ghazal Ranjkesh, a law student from Bandar Abbas. On November 15, 2022, security forces shot her in the right eye when she returned home with her mother.
After a 3-hour surgery to remove bullets from her right eye, she wrote in a post on Instagram: “The last image my right eye recorded; it was the smile of the man who was shooting at me.”
Numerous pellets destroyed the eyeball, her eyelid, and part of her face.
She published a story on January 12, 2023. On the eve of her enucleation operation to prepare for an artificial eye transplant, she wrote in this post:
“Today is the time to say goodbye to my eye’s last remnants…
Burnt eyelashes with only a few strands left, a small part of my eyelid held together by plastic surgery, a cornea still not in place with forty stitches, and a medical lens!
These are all left of my eyes, and tomorrow they will have to be drained. They will have to drain the blood for the artificial eye to take their place.
Others might be happy to regain their beauty, but I have a big grudge today.
It is true that it (my right eye) had no vision, it could not feel the light, and it had lost its beauty; even when I went in front of the mirror, I would open my eyelids and eye with my hand to see inside: I would see a cornea full of stitches and torn in the middle of a sea of blood. I would call it and say, don’t look at me so unkindly; you were always full of love. No matter if it didn’t look at me, I loved it anyway.
It’s hard to bear a stranger coming and sitting in its place…
But I will get used to it because I survived, and I have to live;
Because I have a story that is still ongoing…
Because I still haven’t seen the day that I “must” see, I know it’s close. Very close
Social media users wrote to her: “Dear Ghazal, you gave your eyes, but you opened many eyes… I hope that together we will see the promised day that we are all waiting for.”
Blinding, one of the mullahs’ inhuman ways to crush the uprising
Among the most irreversible effects of the Iranian regime’s efforts to crush the uprising has been the blinding of those participating. Across Iran, scores of protesters have gone to hospitals with eyes ruptured by the metal pellets and rubber bullets fired by security forces.
The New York Times wrote on November 19, 2022, hundreds of victims have suffered severe eye injuries inflicted by Iranian security forces since mid-September, according to doctors and medical facilities. “The full scope of the injuries in Iran has been largely concealed by an internet blackout there. But medical evidence given to The Times by doctors, protesters, family members of patients and rights groups revealed that ophthalmology wards in hospitals have been inundated with hundreds of eye wound victims. Eyewitness accounts and more than 80 pages of medical records from several hospitals and clinics showed that the range of injuries have included mutilated retinas, severed optic nerves, and punctured irises.”
Below are the pictures, specifications, and writings of some brave Iranian women who lost their eyes during the protests. By reading their writings, we realize the height of awareness and high spirits of these brave Iranian women who are willing to pay any price for their freedom and their people.
Elaheh Tavakkolian, a Ph.D. student from Khorasan, lost her sight in one eye in mid-September in the early days of the Iran uprising after being hit by pellet guns. She wrote in an Instagram post: “Three months have passed and after three eye operations, I am still smiling. And for the last operation in the next few days, I will smile more, even if my eye no longer has light.”
Elaheh Tavakkolian wrote in another post: “You targeted my eye, but my heart still beats for Iran!”
Raheleh Amiri, a psychologist, lost sight of her right eye during the nationwide protests about a month and a half ago when security forces fired directly at her eye. She wrote in a story dated January 17: “Today someone asked me: Was it worth it? I said: Yes, absolutely.”
Niloufar Aghaii, a midwife, was shot in the eye in October during the doctors’ protest in Tehran outside the Medical Organization building. Nevertheless, she spreads hope by continuing with her duties and smiling.
25-year-old Zoha was shot by the security forces during the protests in Isfahan and lost one of her eyes.
Kimia Zand, a young woman still smiling despite losing her eye during the protests.
On November 30, 2022, news broke out on social media that a six-year-old girl named Bita Kiani was shot in the eye by state agents using pellet guns. She was playing on the balcony of their house in Malekshahr, Isfahan. Bita has now lost her right eye.
Farideh Salvatipour, from Sanandaj, lost her sight on November 17, 2022, after security forces shot her in the eyes with pellet guns. There is no hope for her treatment.
Shokoufeh Goudarzi, a 59-year-old mother, tried to save a young man and a young woman from being arrested by security forces on December 15 in Tehran’s Sanaii Street. She clashed with plainclothes agents. She lost sight of one eye due to a paintball shot from close range by security forces.