One year ago, on a day like today, after 28 days in solitary confinement, I got my freedom back. One year ago, in the other side of the world, in one of the most notorious prisons on earth, in the section 209 assigned to prisoners of conscious held by an order from Security Ministry, the guard opens the cell’s door, hands me a piece of paper to sign. Silva Harotonian an aid worker and Negin Sheikholeslami a Kurd activist, my cellmates, are more experienced than me. They have seen a lot of prisoners come and go. They tell me they are setting you free. I can’t believe it. I sign the paper with shaky hands. When the guard leaves I don’t know what to say. I can not share my happiness. We all have mixed feelings. They are happy for me but at the same time my freedom adds to their disappointments. I can not look in to their eyes. I am ashamed. It is like leaving your squad behind in the middle of the war, betraying them. In Farsi we call it “rafighe nime rah” a half way friend…. Later Negin was released but Silva is still in prison.
I change, wearing my own clothes and putting my All Stars shoes feels so good. I hug my cell mates and I say farewell. I say: “we will see each other sooner than you think”; at least that is what I want to believe. Another Bell rings, I put the blind fold on voluntary. My interrogator is waiting for me and for the first time I follow him eagerly. I don’t ask anything since I am afraid of hearing something that I don’t want to. Until the very last moment when I saw the happy faces of my family I didn’t believe that they would let me go. Tears of happiness roll down our faces and the warm embrace of my mom injects me with all the hope that I had lost in the past one month. I feel free not knowing that I still have a long way to go to freedom.
When I was released I was completely shocked by the extent of the support I received from everyone. A ray of hope, hope in people's will, reminding me that we can still make a difference. It is your support that brought me out of that abysmal well. In today’s world even though the technology has given us the chance to communicate worldwide, we still know so little about other people’s culture, history and the truth. We still see the differences more than similarities. We still think others are far enough that their lives have no impact on ours and vise versa. But with your support, you proved that we are all connected and we can make a difference even on someone’s life on the other side of the world. The more we realize this connection the better our world will become.
Thank you! Thanks to everyone who worked so hard on my behalf, many of whom I have never met, in particular thanks to my family and friends, Professor Wall, my comrades in One Million Signatures Campaign, my classmates at CSUN, and last but not least my dearest friend and supporter Hassan.
I Hope for the day that there are no longer any political prisoners anywhere in the world.
November 11, 2009