In 2008, Shabnam Madadzadeh, an Iranian student, was arrested and sent to jail by the forces of the Iranian regime because she was a student activist advocating freedom and democracy in Iran. In April 2011, Akbar and Mahdieh, two of her siblings who were in Camp Ashraf, were killed by the Iraqi forces in the course of a brutal raid against camp Ashraf. The following letter was submitted to “Free the 7” by Farshid, Shabnam’s younger brother, who is currently on hunger strike in Camp Liberty.
I write this letter from the prison that is ironically called Liberty. More than seven years have passed since I’ve seen you last, and I miss you very much. I know that there’s no way my letter can reach you in the depths of the mullahs’ dungeons, but writing itself eases some of the pain of not seeing you. I would’ve given anything to see you in person again and speak to you directly, but alas, you are in Evin prison, enduring torture at the hands of the mullahs, and I’m in Liberty Prison. Apparently, being far apart is another trial that we must both go through.
You already know that it is the mullahs’ regime custom to imprison the doves of freedom and separate people, in geographic terms as well as by other means.
I’ve always been proud of you, dear sister. I always take pride in reminding myself, my sister is Shabnam, she who did not repent her ideals for freedom, even under the vilest tortures. I always remember how you taught me that the chains and shackles that we bear for the cause of freedom do not degrade us, but on the contrary show our righteousness and worth.
I remember that you always motivated me, and would dissipate my doubts with a reassuring smile, and arched eyebrow, or a simple comment. With you, every trial became a treat. You would always remind me that freedom isn’t something that is earned cheaply – its price must be paid in full. And you truly marked your words with your deeds.
Your resistance adds to my duty, just as the deaths of Akbar and Mahdieh did.
I’m sure that you’ve heard the tragic story of the September 1st massacre in Ashraf, the fateful day in which the innocent blood of 52 people was shed by the Al-Maliki’s forces, at the behest of the Iranian regime. The pictures of Rahman and Saeed, handcuffed and executed by Iraqi forces, truly tore me apart. They were true friends, and it was only by remembering the lessons you had taught me that I could steel myself against the sorrow and pain that followed the news.
Maybe you know that at this very moment, six of our sisters and a brother have been hostages in the hands of Maliki’s forces for more than hundred days. Although the hardships are many, and at times overwhelming, I promise you that I will not relent, and this is the key to victory: persistence.
Currently, hundreds of us in Liberty and across the world are on hunger strike, and we will continue this path until the hostages are freed. As you know, the United States and United Nations had promised to protect all of us, including those who were in Ashraf. But they betrayed us and turned their backs on us, and the Iranian regime took advantage and prodded Maliki to attack Ashraf again, just as he did in 2011, when Akbar and Mahdieh, our siblings, were murdered. Yet we will not let them get away with their broken promises, and we will not allow them to continue turning a blind eye on the violation of human rights in our homeland, Iran, and in Ashraf and Liberty.
I’m sure that your resistance in the dungeons of the mullahs, and our resistance in this prison – which has got the UN’s label on it – will make our people proud. It is the yearning of freedom that brings us together and closes the gaps. And if the mullahs and their cohorts think that they can separate us but putting walls and bars between us, then they are badly mistaken.
I have faith that, with our perseverance, we will eventually break the chains and shackles that bind our people once and for all, and on that day, we will all hold our heads high as a free nation.
I don’t know if these words will ever reach you, but please, do send my regards to all the political prisoners in Iran, especially those who are on hunger strike.
Your little brother Farshid
- From the mullahs’ prisons to the UN’s (freethe7.wordpress.com)
- Our cries did not wake the US and UN (freethe7.wordpress.com)