[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Newspaper:] Omid-e Zanjan
[Date:] Mordad 1378 [July 1999]
[Issue No.:] 4
The Catastrophe in Seisan
A Green Gold, or a Ruin under Ideological Bombardment
The Village with the Most Clement Weather in Azerbaijan is Abandoned
Seisan is a village located 40 kilometres east of Tabriz and 400 metres from the road connecting Tabriz to Tehran, in the outskirts of fertile and beautiful mountains. Once it was considered as one of the primary and important centres of the Baha’is. Seisan had fruitful and vast orchards spanning an area of approximately 75 hectares, and the lands used for farming covered 700 hectares. Most of the produce from the orchards of this village consisted of apples; the main agricultural harvest was potatoes. There was also animal husbandry and beekeeping and production of honey. At harvest time this village would become an important economic area for the region, particularly for the Muslims and residents of the place. The residential lands were about nine hectares, and owing to the attention paid to basic principles of quasi-city living, it had most of the opportunities available in the cities…
... We will start with the related problems. They are residents of Karaj and, after the destruction, they left the village. But now they have come back and are talking about the lack of security for making investments and the harm that the animals of the Sepah have brought upon their chickpea farms. They talk about the tractors and the bulldozers of the Sepah and thousands of other problems. We are very happy that we have found a few villagers in this silent desert. They are telling us that tomorrow they will gather the villagers at the village mosque for an interview. As we left to return the next day, I was focusing on the following comment: “We did not have that much of an issue with the Baha’is regarding farming and the development of the village. Basically, the wealthy Baha’is were very affable and kind. However, they were spies and had to go. We had expected that our situation would improve. But nothing good happened until things became like this. Of course, we still have hope. If we did not have hope, what would we be doing here (!)...”
... Unfortunately, the lack of necessary awareness and appropriate and principled management, giving preference to personal interests, and sacrificing the public good for private interests, have caused the destruction of this village. In the not-so-distant past, this place was the most prosperous village in the area and most of the previous residents of the village, who were followers of the perverse Baha’i sect—though they were completely lost from a religious point of view—made efforts to develop the village, and were often engaged in trade and worked to preserve their interests. They were active in establishing fruit orchards, particularly production and improvement of apples and potatoes and estehaleh [metamorphosis] which was considered a type of [producing] honey. They were also active in building city-style homes that had better amenities, the remains of which still exist.
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution and the revelations about their ominous goals and the loss of their previous opportunities they were forced to leave the village. After the flight of the Baha’is, parts of their residences and their homes were destroyed by the angry residents of the surrounding villages. At this time, to the unfamiliar viewer it looks like a large village that has been struck by the wrath of a severe earthquake.
Although the authorities have taken action to preserve the remaining orchards and lands, until now the needed, desired, explicable, or logical results have not been obtained. It is quite regrettable that in this village there were so many well-suited buildings; had there been the proper logical thought and the required awareness and patience, they could have used these buildings as places for the benefit of the public and provision of services to the villages and development of surrounding villages....
... This place is not part of Iran. Whoever is in this place is cursed like its trees, like its fertile farmlands. Even the Muslims in this place have been cursed and are deprived of citizenship rights in the Islamic community...
This story of sharing of the hearts and our efforts to consolidate continues.