THURSDAY: A Camera Lens


Dedicated to Asra Panahi, a 15-year-old Iranian schoolgirl who fell into a coma and died under the batons of the IRI goons, On 12 October 2022. Copyright is held by the author.

THE CAMERAMEN started filming, as the square was filling up with thousands of schoolgirls from different grades. While the students were getting off the buses, some teachers were giving each of them a tricolour flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a brochure. A woman with a dark chador was romping around the first graders, berating them to fix their hijabs properly!

“Asra” held her friend’s hand tightly and said nervously: “Didn’t I tell you to call your father to come and pick us up? I don’t have a dad! What’s your excuse?”

“He had to work! What now?”

Asra whispered, “Let me think!” Then she stood up on her toes and looked around. It was obviously another propaganda gathering for the regime, bringing so many students from different schools. She despised being a puppet, then her eyes locked on a camera lens.

The speaker started chanting: “Death to America!” and students responded.

Speaker repeated: “Down with America!”

Asra screamed singly: “Down with the dictator” as her voice got muffled by others shouting.

“Death to America!” the speaker chanted.

“Death to the dictator!” shouted Asra, her friend, and some other girls.

The loudspeaker chanted: “Death to Israel!”

Hundreds of girls screamed: “Death to the dictator!”

The crowd started chattering and people got agitated.

The spokesman menaced: “Listen, folks! Please respond properly! Down with America!”

Thousands of girls screamed: “Death to the dictator! Death to Khamenei!”

Shouts and screams stirred up the mass as the cameras got cut off.


Mehraban (a pen name) is a 37-years-old freelance writer and novelist, with advanced university studies in science. She has written multiple stories over the years, yet due to cultural, religious, and political restrictions, none of her creations were deemed appropriate for publication inside her homeland, Iran. Therefore, she decided to learn other languages like English to seek a home for her pieces elsewhere. Although it is not easy, she improved her language skills each day and wrote different stories, some of which were liked by friends abroad. This piece is one of this writer’s recent works.

  1. To write such a good short story in a foreign language is remarkable. It uses so little and says so much. Well Done!

  2. Very compelling. Well done!

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