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Masoud Kanani: The Courage Of Ahwazi Arab Non-Violent Resistance

Ahwazi campaigner Masoud Kanani is running a courageous one-man protest outside the Iranian Drilling Company to demand an end to poverty and environmental destruction.

The 40 year old is camping in a tent in blistering temperatures that regularly exceed 50 Celsius to highlight the destruction of date palm groves. Date palms have been cultivated in the Ahwaz region for thousands of years, but are now being felled or are suffering as a result of environmental problems caused by the oil industry.

Mr Kanani's simple non-violent campaign began with the visit of the oil minister of Ahwaz City this week. He has written his own placards which state "Dear Minister: Listen to our call for bread and breath" and "stop chopping down palm trees".

He claims to represent all those in the region who are unemployed and ill in his campaign to highlight the destruction of the natural environment and lack of job opportunities for the local population.

Members of his family have been taken sick with respiratory problems as a result of oil drilling near his home, prompting him to take action.

Non-violent resistance is the method favoured by many Ahwazis to raise their voice when all political means have failed. Some have resorted to dramatic methods, such as self-immolation, in acts of desperation. However, Mr Kanani's tactic emulates the methods of the Occupy movement in the West and he rejects suicide or use of violence.