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Geopolitics

In Iran, The Pandemic Has Prompted A Spike In Suicides

The pandemic has made things seem even bleaker for a population already struggling with serious economic woes and government repression.

A man wearing a face mask walks on a street in Tonekabon, Iran, on April 26, 2021.
A man wearing a face mask walks on a street in Tonekabon, Iran, on April 26, 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed a staggering number of people worldwide. But it's also had a profound impact on people's mental health, including in Iran, where dire economic conditions and strict curbs in individual liberties caused significant psychological hardship even before the current health crisis.

Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak continuing to spread, officials says that there's an even greater incidence of mental disorders, suicides and physical fighting, Kayhan London reports, citing sources within Iran.

Iran_lockdown_bazar

The lockdown of Tehran's bazar in Iran, in early April 2021. — Photo: Sobhan Farajvan/Pacific Press/ZUMA

The news outlet notes that even before the pandemic, roughly a quarter of the population suffered some type of mental disorder, and that in the year prior to March 2020, an estimated 5,000 Iranians took their own lives.

With the arrival of the virus, people began feeling more desperate.

But with the arrival of the virus, people began feeling more desperate still, as evidenced by a 4% rise in suicides in the period between March and November 2020, according to a source at the state coroner's office.

Kayhan London also cites an official from the State Welfare Organization, Behzad Vahidnia, to suggest that there's been a 16% increase in stress and depression since the pandemic began in early 2020.

With regards to people getting into fights, there are no official figures available. But anecdotal evidence drawn from social platform postings suggests that physical violence has increased as well, especially in Iran's northern and north-western provinces.

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How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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