Baktash Abtin: Restoring the Human

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Without you life is hell
Poetry! the dream of restoring the Human
I write you and
In the world’s sleeve
I look for a hand
That could turn bullets
into a white flag.
Such is the sorcery I love.


Baktash Abtin, the Iranian poet, documentary filmmaker, and member of the Iranian Writers’ Association died on January 8, 2022, at the age of 47, in Sassan Hospital in Tehran due to delays in receiving medical treatment after contracting COVID-19 in Evin prison. Born Mehdi Kazemi in 1974 in Shahr-e Rey, the capital of Rey county in Tehran province, Abtin was known for short poems depicting intimate moments of everyday life through simple yet compelling imagery. His masterful depiction of the human struggle for freedom and justice was inspired by the experiences of ordinary people caught in extraordinary situations in the wake of war and refugee crises in the Middle East.