We Are On Fire!

An extra-ordinary experience about an extra-ordinary evening

On March 3rd, 2017, JoopeA office has been attacked. Here is a personal experience of Elham and Iman who were among witnesses.


Elham Malekpoor
Elham Malekpoor

Elham: That day was the first day in the entire existence of JoopeA and our professional work that we eventually have had somewhere we could name it as our office and we were able to sit back, be cool and have some guests to have a small talk about what we are doing and what we are hoping to be able to do.

I was in my out days of study but of course not in so-called Holidays because I was counted on those days to go to the office, manage and finish some works and run some workshops for some of the possible volunteers who wants to join us.

That day was a busy day between those days. Since noon Raham and I were in office to work. When we reached to the office we could recognise the smell of burning. and the smell became stronger while we were behind our door.

We set, we did talk with the first volunteer and between two meetings we had a short conversation and we had about an hour to work. We had our second guest and the conversion was going well while our new guests have arrived.

One of our guests was queer and also she was politically and socially active in the area and as she explained later she wanted to work together with us to make a friendly and safe place for LGBTQ people in the neighbourhood and of course we were enthusiastic and we wanted to know more about her ideas and how she wanted to negotiate with the municipality of district. We were five sitting around and having drinks, common interest to speak out and common concern to work together and another two of us came later.

We were in the middle of the conversation when we heard someone is shouting loudly and after we denied him, he made it harder and louder. We continued the conversation but he did not stop and he started to damage and break some furnish and later on expensive work stuff which was absolutely out of control. We preferred to be calm and do not respond to the stimulation and incitement from him until he threw something heavy to our window.

We were on the topic about what should we do when he opened the door carefully and sprinkled few drops of dirty red water to Raham’s face. we took Raham back, I collected my stuff while another one called the police and explained to them the situation. I had to go to tell our friend as well but in the meanwhile, I was worried about that moment and others which I went to leave behind. I said goodbye to the guests and Raham came with me to the entrance door. I was mostly worried about one of us who was not in the good circumstance to stay there that’s why I asked Raham to send him out before everything is getting more complicated.

I was worried, I could hear the sirens of police cars and was thinking about any possible incident which could be happened. We’ve survived from this harmful experience and even though we could remember the struggling and frightful situation we passed when we were working in Iran. And this day just reminds us again the standard of safe work which we need to provide anywhere and anytime.

Picture by Elham Malekpoor
Picture by Elham Malekpoor
Iman - Volunteer at JoopeA
Iman – Volunteer at JoopeA

Iman: That evening was the second time which I went to JoopeA’s newest office to have a meeting with five other colleagues and two guests. As we were busy discussing some issues related to LGBTIQ community, I could hear someone in another room of the office was destroying the furniture while shouting and screaming. My colleagues tried to talk to him and calm him down, but that didn’t stop him.

I have never been in a same situation before. I was so scared. I felt extremely unsafe in that moment, my body was shaking, I was afraid of him coming to our room and hurt us which he came while his hand was bleeding. I tried to take distance from him and then someone took him out of the room and we contacted the police.

I left the office with a colleague and went to our friend’s apartment which was nearby and the rest locked themselves in that room to take care of the office until the police came. I was really worried about them the whole time, because you never know how far a violent person like him can go.

We couldn’t continue our meeting that night and after what happened, I don’t know how we can feel safe in that office again, especially the ones who work there every day.

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