'An Elegy for the Death of Hamun' by Hashem Shakeri
Sistan and Baluchestan province in South East Iran shares borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once a forest, and with a history of over 5000 years, it used to be a great source of crops. Now, rapid climate change is turning this vast region into an infertile desert. Lake Hamun is connected to Helmand/Hirmand River which flows from Afghanistan. The Afghan government has built dams in upstream Helmand, preventing water from reaching Iran. Today there is nothing left of the lake except cracked, barren land. People made their living by fishing, farming and animal husbandry; their lives were dependent on Lake Hamun. With Hamun dying, its great biodiversity has virtually vanished. The province has suffered from drought, famine, and unemployment for years. This has led to depopulation. People either move south (to the Cha’bahar free port) or to Golestan in North East Iran; but there is no paradise awaiting them. Even after two decades, the differences between the Balouch and Golestani people are still considerably high.