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For Bahareh Hedayat’s Birthday/ Mansoureh Shojaee

Translated by :Parwin Abkaii

Tuesday 5 April 2011, by admin

Feminist School: Below speech made by Mansoureh Shojaee in the special ceremony for Bahareh Hedayat’s campaign which was held by Amnesty International in Erlangen on April 5th 2011 :

Today we are witnesses of a spring, which is sprouting all over the world. Today we are thinking of a young woman called Bahareh Hedayat, who is detained in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Her name means “spring†in Farsi. We have gathered here to plant a tree on this spring day and to overcome the winter. Today is her birthday. By planting this tree we want to invoke a new birth and a new beginning.

Today is Bahareh’s thirtieth birthday: a young woman of thirty at the peak of her beauty and maturity. She has been in prison since over a year and we need to ask whether she will spend the next ten years also in prison. Nobody can give an exact answer. But maybe this young tree, which we are planting on the occasion of her birthday, can receive an answer from the wind of freedom.

Our Bahareh is active in the student’s movement in Iran since over ten years and since the beginnings of the activities connected with the campaign “One million signatures†in 2006. She played a crucial role in bridging the student’s movement with the women’s movement. That was also the content of the main charge against her. This young woman bore the responsibility for two major social movements in Iran. She was also part of the massive, pro-democracy protests, which occured in the aftermath of the 2009 election under the slogan “Where is my vote?â€

One year ago we gathered secretly in her house. She was not there. With a few of her friends and her charming young husband we celebrated her birthday in her absence. At this moment she telephoned from the prison and spoke with her husband and some of us. Her husband requested us to utter our birthday greetings audibly and clearly.

She heard our voices that day. She heard us and was overjoyed. That day there were ten of us, who had secretly gone to her house. But today there are hundreds of other voices, that have joined us. They belong to the defenders of human rights and rights of women. We have gathered here to celebrate her birthday. She will hear our voices clearly on the other side of the trees.

Our voices rise with the wind of freedom and are capable of crossing oceans and mountains and reaching the ears of other women in prison all over the world and also in Iran. I am thinking of women like Nasrin Sotudeh, Mehdiye Golru, Aliyeh Eqdamdust, Fakhri Mohtashamipour and many others.

The idea of planting a tree as an act of protest against human rights violations, executions and death sentences was carried out for the first time on 13th March 2011 on the occasion of the International Women’s Day in Vienna. On this day too I gave a short talk. I then wished that in the place of gallows، trees of friendship may arise to make the air clean and the world a friendlier place.

Today I wish that in the place of every prison bar that throws its shadows on the young faces of Bahareh Hedayat and other imprisoned، women all over the world, a young tree of freedom be planted, under whose shade men and women of the whole world should be able to live in peace and equality.

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