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A hymn for Nasrin Sotoudeh on the occasion of New Year / Mansoureh Shojaei

Wednesday 10 April 2013, by admin

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

FeministSchool: The 6th of the Persian month of Farvardin (March 26th) is the birthday of the Prophet Zarathustra; it is also the day when he began to pray his creator. My New Year message:
We regard every day as auspicious, signs of a marvellous spring keep growing, the font of spring is the New Year; our eyes garner every day new marvels and they will last until the month of Khordad (June/July) : a vernal exhilaration of humanity, of earth and heavens. When the heat of summer arrives, their intensity will decline.

It is the third New Year far from home; not only is the arrival of spring not felt, there’s no calendar. Well, in fact there is a calendar, but it does not show correlations between solar and lunar events, and, of course, bears no relation to the Western calendar; it coincides with the latest information about Iran. This calendar does not mention seasons, nature, Zarathustra or anything like that. Its raisons d’être are events impacting Iran, and their increasing or decreasing importance. For instance, the day the year changes is the one some prisoners were released on furlough and Nasrin Sotoudeh’s unexpected arrival at home; in the same way, Farvardin 1st (March 21st) is the birthday of a dear one in Iran, Favardin 5th (March 24th) the day when Kasra Nouri, one the dervishes detained in Adel-Abad prison of Shiraz, passed out on the sixth day of his hunger strike.

Farvardin 6th, after one week on furlough, Nasrin will have to go back to prison. I could not remember Zarathustra’s birthday or the day he began preaching, but on the sixth day after Norooz, I picked the phone up several times to contact Nasrin but hung it up gently. The new calendar is filled with suitable days for conversations, also full of anguish to know whether I should malke contact; it matches my destiny, always doubtfully expecting, waiting for anothers’ decision, balancing whether to write. Above all, do not create more trouble, do not bother others, do not…. Reza Khandan’s quiet and sad voice telling that the connection worked, the voice says that uncertainty disappeared, that they are just back from a trip… Nasrin’s firm and gentle voice, making me feel somewhat embarrassed, which at last frees me from stress.

The usual gentle greetings, advice from a lawyer who is always concerned about the prisoners’ conditions, then empathy, and she is somewhat unhappy about the official propaganda regarding her furlough, so far from truth; she says that this too short furlough does not compensate for heavy and unjust sentences, it does not solve any problem. She says that when her parents died, she was granted only one day’s furlough; she speaks sadly and bitterly of her parents’ deaths. She says that now, on the sixth day, she must return to prison and not spend the rest of the holidays with her husband and children. She says that these too short furloughs are not the remedy for all these sentences, all these injustices. She says the remedy could be showing respect to all the people suffering from unjust sentences, who are tired of so much inequity. She says the remedy could be to fix the fate of countless prisoners in limbo about their fate (many prisoners have no legal status, charges, sentences, are in preventive detention, etc) to grant them a fair and humane trial. She says that the prisons are full; many youth were sentenced for showing interest in their fellow-countrymen’s fates, which endangers their future. She says how to ask for freedom under these circumstances? She says that the repeal of all unfair convictions is her vow for the New Year. She says that her furlough was too short, she had to join her fellow detainees, she then said good-bye.

In my calendar, Farvardin 6th is Nasrin’s prayer for her friends’ day. May her life last long and her words last forever.

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