Sana Ahmadizadeh: A Place to Live

A Place To Live is one of the ten selected projects of the Everything is Connected call by Slideluck Editorial.

I live in Ahvaz, The oil-rich and industrial city in Khuzestan Province, which supplies the major part of Iran’s oil demand. In 2011, the World Health Organization called it the most polluted city in the world due to the concentration of particulate matter (PM) in its air. After each dust storm, a large amount of PM remains in the air for several days and every year, after the first autumn rainfall, a large number of children, elderly, and people with respiratory diseases visit the hospitals. The respiratory patients’ data are still classified.

But according to one of the news agencies in Iran, after the 2011 dust storm, about 22,000 people had to seek medical help Environmental activists believe that there is a direct relationship between wars and environmental problems. Iraq is one of Iran’s neighbors and years of war: civil war and internal conflicts, Environmental mismanagement have prepared the ground for increasing desertification and drying up of the wetlands.

Environmental threats in Iraq can also be considered serious threats to Iran. In addition, dam building projects on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Turkey exacerbated this crisis. In addition to the internal sources of dust some of the other sources are located in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This environmental crisis has become more complicated due to economic pressures brought about by re-enforced nuclear sanctions on Iran by the United States. Increased diplomatic tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the lack of cooperation of the Arab countries in the region Iran is facing an economic crisis at present and a country subject to sanctions inevitable disregarding the environmental issues.

My story is about my personal journey and experience that affected by this environmental crisis. In 2018, my doctor advised me to leave Ahvaz for some time until I recover from my respiratory problems. I went to northern Iran, where my mother migrated that after Iran-Iraq war breakout and the bombardment her city. As soon as I arrived there, I felt a stream of associations: the forests, the trees, the box trees, the river and nature brought to my mind the fears and deprivations that my mother had experienced and felt in this place during her adolescence It was an experience entangled with the losing of her brother, friends in the war, a war which effects are still visible in my mother’s life. The sense of suspension in my personal life, and the inevitable similarities of my life and my mother’s life created a new world for me

In recent years, people immigration from Khouzestan has exceeded that from the Iraq-Iran war. Some of the climate activists believe that the real number of the immigrants is more than what the government says. Last year was a very wet year for Ahvaz, Khuzestan faced a sudden flood, and the people and farmers suffered heavy losses. Dust sources somewhat decreased following the rainfalls and the number of dust storms in this city has decreased compared to previous years. However, there is no guarantee for the persistence of these conditions, especially since some of the dust storms originate from outside the Iranian borders

One of the climatic characteristics of the forests in northern Iran is their foggy atmosphere, the fading of the boundaries and of the objects in the space that somewhat reminded me of the dusty space in Ahvaz. This photo, for instance, was taken in northern Iran but reminds me of the dusty atmosphere in Ahvaz . A Place to Live” is a personal journey about my emotions and relationships with the environment an environment that reminds me two generations of displaced people. Two parallel worlds formed. Two narratives with their own fears and sorrows.

Sana Ahmadizadeh

Sana Ahmadizadeh is an Iranian Social documentary photographer and focusing more on her own personal work. She is a graduate of Nanophysics from Chamran University of Ahvaz. She lives and works in Iran. Sana is interested in social issues and everything related to human being.