“30,000 Souls Taken” exhibition in Paris highlights young victims of 1988 PMOI massacre in Iran
Today an exhibit in the mayor’s office of Paris’ 2nd district will commemorate the 28th anniversary of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 members and supporters of the People’s Mojahiden of Iran (PMOI), the main Iranian resistance group.
The event features posters with portraits of the victims, stating their name, age, and and occupation (many were university students), as well as news article from the time and from later revelations about the extent of the killings. Memoranda, including possessions of prisoners who were executed, are laid out around the room. The overall effect is a chilling evocation of the inner lives of the slain political dissidents.
The 1988 massacre was part of an attempt by the Iranian government to suppress political dissent. The mass arrest of PMOI members was increased before a fatwa was decreed calling for the extermination of PMOI members. What followed was a three-month process of virtually nonstop hanging of political prisoners. The criteria for execution was based on a single question: “What is your political affiliation?” If a prisoner responded that they were PMOI affiliates, they were killed on the spot.
Although the public knew the massacre had occurred, its extent was not revealed until 2001 (previously, it was thought that a few thousand had been executed).