Mar 15, 2008

Ahwazi: Respected Leader Dies

Ahwazis mourn a respected leader and activist for the Ahwazi people, Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, who died in London following a stroke.

Ahwazis mourn a respected leader and activist for the Ahwazi people, Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, who died in London following a stroke.

Below is an article published by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society: 

One of the world's most prominent and respected Ahwazi Arab figures, Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, died yesterday [11 March 2008] at Charing Cross Hospital, London.

Mansour, who helped found the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA) and who served as an executive member of the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), suffered a massive stroke on Friday [7 March 2008] morning which left him unconscious. He passed away, aged 47, after a brain operation was carried out on Monday [10 March 2008]. Mansour leaves a wife and three young children.

Mansour will be remembered for his energy, charisma, intelligence, humour and generosity. His work for his community was selfless and untiring, with complete dedication to the freedom of his people from tyranny and persecution. A committed democrat and human rights activist, Mansour abhorred racism and violence. He made huge personal sacrifices for his people, with many owing their lives to him.

Despite the suffering he and his people have gone through, he always advocated peaceful resistance and believed that Ahwazi Arabs could win self-determination through devolution within a federal Iran rather than separatism. Nevertheless, the main pro-independence party, the Ahwazi Peoples Democratic Front, put aside political differences to express its "deep sadness and sorrow" at Mansour's death, indicating the level of respect he held across the Ahwazi Arab community.

A statement issued by the DSPA, BAFS, the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO), the Ahwaz Studies Centre and several other Ahwazi groups and activists said that Mansour's efforts helped shape the Ahwazi movement and led to greater awareness of the struggle through broadcasting to Al-Ahwaz and his advocacy efforts. In his last television broadcast to Ahwaz via the Kurdish Tishk TV station recorded last Thursday evening just hours before he was taken ill, Mansour urged Ahwazi Arabs to reject despair and recommended patience and dedication.

BAFS Chairman Daniel Brett said: "I feel as if I have lost a brother and I am sure that everyone who knew him feels the same. Mansour made a huge impression on me from the first time I met him. He was a loyal friend to many and played an important role in motivating people and bringing them together. He can never be replaced, but I hope his legacy will be built upon so that his dream of freedom for Ahwazi Arabs can be realised. He would not want his efforts wasted.

"Our thoughts are with Mansour's wife and children at this difficult and sad time."