Remember Us! A letter from Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s two children


These days, still,
We are lost in our pursuit.

Time goes by and
We become more complicated,
We become less capable of making sense of this life.
How can we make sense of this life?

Sure enough, like children all do,
We too knew the secrets of the universe.
We too listened to the tales told by the flowers…
Oh, not to forget the butterflies!
Alas, our childhood was lost in our pursuit!

Dear Mother!
We are so tired now; now more than ever, we long for the tranquillity, the warmth of being held in your arms. We are exhausted from chilling accusations, tired from crying in our loneliness, weary of weeping in the crowd of strangers. We are spent from walking through our lives alone on an unlit path, being so scared, so constantly, that fear now takes pity on us. We ache from travelling this lonely path of sadness. We want to cry with you; you wipe our tears from our cheeks. We want to hold on to you, and stand alone no more; we yearn to kiss your cheeks.

Yes dearest mother!
It is years since we felt your protecting presence in our lives, or that of our father. Our eyes are fixed on the door; might they let us hear from you? We want to part from this stalemate; but not without you, dearest companion.

We ask ourselves: Who are we? Why are we here? What was the purpose of our existence? Was it to be tortured? Why and for how long? We were left alone, having only each other to hold on to, in the chill, dark, fear-filled alleys. While other little girls sat on their mothers’ knees having their hair combed, my sister, in the bitter cold with only a shirt on, stood shivering behind the high walls, begging to be allowed to see our mother. While I (Sajjad) was witnessing my father’s painful murder – and even more painful, the false, dirty accusations against our mother of killing our father, by those of the Islamic Republic with stones in their hands – those my age sat together with their fathers going through their homework. If we had been given a chance to go to school, we would have loved to write the word “mother” wrong, only so we could draw the punishment from the teacher to write and re-write a thousand times on a clean, white sheet of paper: “mother”!

Would Victor Hugo, if he were alive, create his Les Misérables, and Cosette and Fantine, or Charles Dickens his Oliver Twist and Fagin, when they had us to write about? If Cosette later found her Jean Valjean, if Oliver Twist had his Mr. Brownlow to protect him, the story of our lives is abysmal, is a black whirlpool of breathtaking uncertainty. It is an unfair fall into an endless helplessness. Our protector Mr. Kian (Sakineh’s lawyer) himself has no haven to turn to. He may no longer set foot in the court because he has defended us; he himself needs a (defense lawyer and) protector. What a tragedy is this story of our lives and our future. Perhaps that Information agent was right last week, saying, as they ransacked our lawyer’s office: “Even if you get your mother back, we won’t let you have a life. The world is concerned with your mother, yet you are at our mercy.” How deadly is religious fundamentalism, and how back-breaking the weight of the cross we carry on our back.

We don’t really know what would have become of us if we didn’t have Mr. Kian in Iran, and you abroad. We really don’t know and can’t imagine that. The day I, in tears and total desperation, called an angel named Mina Ahadi, the day that conscience placed Mr. Kian on the same path with us, the day that we were embraced by your support – these are the only moments of joyful hope in our miserable lives. These are the lanterns burning amidst total darkness and hopelessness. So… we humbly beg you, remember us and those like us. Remember our lawyer Mr. Kian and all those like him. Remember Shiva Nazar Ahari, Mohammad Oliyifard, Nasrine Sotoudeh, and all those like them.

We humbly beg you!
Sajjad and Sayideh, to the whole world.

Translation: Ahmad Fatemi, Maria Rohaly

Comments

Leave a Reply