Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our Daily Notes to Dear Esha

Esha, is not a stranger!

By Tameshk

I was ready to write something about the new Art History lecture and some exciting art exhibitions; but I was called by my Iranian destiny to report on something more important than Art, and that is Life. This is for Esha: These are the memories of the first time we met; the memories I am anxiously looking forward to building-up on when I see her again.
We only shared a couple of glances in the morning and during the talk. At noon, for lunch break, Leva introduced me to her: She was Esha and I was Roja.
Her curly hair was tucked back from her broad forehead and formed a mass of fiery orange on her back. We walked to the nearest exit and found our way to a small lunch place in Bancroft Street.
She asked me if I studied Art back home, and the answer was yes: She studied Art as well and here she was a Communication and Arts student. I admired her camera; she looked tired. I got a salad and tea, she got a large blend of carrot and orange juice and while we talked she kept offering me to have a sip of her fruit juice and I refused! I only wished I hadn’t refused her offer. I am so devastated to think maybe if I had accepted to have a sip, somehow Esha would have been free; now I think, perhaps out of desperation, that if I had a different talk with her that day Esha was far away from the section 209 and Evin Prison. I am rebuilding our first three days, only wishing she comes back soon.
That night I was tired and I returned to the hotel early. I saw her the second day and I was too busy with my translations and she was busy with other things we didn’t talk much.
The last night of the conference, after the banquet when we shared a ride I just started to know her. It was short, her voiced was broken; earlier that night she had asked me who I have in Khavaran; I hadn’t answered; I gave a vague and cold answer. I did not know her to tell her: You see, it is not like you can walk around and say it out loud. I never talked about it, even with my closest friends; it is something they never ask and I usually don’t feel like telling. His name comes up, and his jokes and his green eyes and his pictures are everywhere in my room. But I never talk about it with strangers. Stranger, Esha wasn’t!
That night in the car she let me know with a broken voice, that she is not a stranger; she too lost someone in those dreadful years.


For Esha

Esha Momeni is one of my friends for more than ten years. She is an American citizen who lived in Iran till seven years ago. She left her country to continue her education and then come back to people that always loved and wanted to be next to them. As a human, she never lied to no one, never stole anything from no one, and for sure I can say that never thought wrong about anything. As a woman, she has always been trying to get more educated to help all the women around the world. As a student, Esha has been one the best. She has been working and studying so hard to reach her goals. As a hard worker and as a smart student every one respects her. As an artist, she always knew what she wanted and what people want to see and hear. I can hear her voice clear through her music playing. As a friend, she has been so helpful to me. When I was alone she treated me and talked to me and made me hopeful about the future. She believes in a bright future for everyone. She has been so honest and faithful in her life. I ask you, as a human, woman, student, and artist to do not let her be harmed with what we all might had been touched by or may will be touched by. For her bright future which can make all of us proud and hopeful help her to get out of the prison of unjustly.



For Esha

And I, what shall I say?

--"From the heart, may it go again to the heart".

Yet who can give voice to the heart? How can I scoop up these troubled, joyous passions from my heart's depths and give them wings that they may bear these glad, sad tidings? Even there where there are none to hear in time some shall come. How can I sing who cannot sing yet must sing? How can I tell the earth of this my friend whose friendship's telling far exceeds these weak and woeful words? How should we speak of our love, that love that all who know you bear for you, when love, even love! is silenced by a prison wall?

"Two things trouble reason: to be silent when we should speak, and to speak when we should be silent". If now I speak, let us think not that I speak from disrespect, even though I do speak from disrespect; I speak because I cannot sing. At this hour to be silent were still greater disrespect. For singing I have not the voice, for it is grown dull and hoarse from want of use.

You, dear Esha, you can sing! Even were I standing on a mountain top with the last inhabitant of the earth, I could say nothing truer than that. "You, dear Esha, you can sing!" Even were I alone with only gusting winds for company, with your name, dear Esha, would I reproach those winds and swiftly would they fall silent. You Esha, you! You I see now, "in my mind's eye"--but no, this is not enough! I hear you now, in my mind's ear, I see you radiant--but you deserve better than this, than this meagre cliché, than all these half-stammered words so threadbare--I hear you radiant--your passion lights up the room--but no! still a cliché--your passion strikes an audacious harmony that sets all our souls a-quivering--that is how I hear you now, dear Esha! You and us, all of us, sitting in a circle in your apartment one spring evening, a happy gathering. With what bright animation you tell your tale, you tell us all of how the committee came for you, you tell us of the insult to your dignity--to yours, and ours, all of us--you tell us and yet in the telling, in the animated cadences of your voice, in the quickness and boldness of your gestures, in the sparkling and shining of your eyes, into what rapture this insult is transmuted! You charge us all with hope, Esha, dear Esha, in that moment you become hope, for all of us. Your words, your dancing words are become hope and hope is become those words. Your laughter--as what else shall we know your laughter, dear Esha, other than as precious shards of the divine?How else shall we call it, we who are now bereft of it? We who sit in silence, forlorn?

Ah, but Esha, dear Esha, you know that we do not sit in silence, you know we do not sit forlorn. You tell us even now that we are anything but bereft. Esha, dear Esha, for us your laughter cannot be silent; may ours, feeble though it is, not be silent for you! For you even now how many of us are resolved to labour so that even on the mountain-tops the whirling winds may know that you are not silent. That they may know that we are not silent, even though we work in silence. That they may know that we work in silence because we cannot be silent. Yes! Because our every deed brings to the ears of others your laughter, our every action becomes your laughter and your laughter becomes us, even though we ourselves dare not laugh, not yet. Yes, on the mountain-tops, dear Esha, and everywhere where there are ears to hear--for even on the mountain-tops the winds have ears for us! Not us will they hear, dear Esha, but you, Esha, you, dear Esha, you, dearest Esha! Dearest Esha, you, and us and all of us!



An Illegal Turn

Esha Momeni, an Iranian-American 28-year old graduate student studying arts and media at California State University, Northridge, was arrested on Wednesday October 15th in Tehran, Iran. Esha is a member and volunteer of the One Million Signatures Campaign--a grassroots movement that has emerged inside Iran demanding gender equality. She had flown out to Iran from Los Angeles in July to visit family and friends. While there she was also working on a film about the One Million Signatures Campaign to submit as her final graduating project at CSUN.Esha now sits in Iran's notorious Evin prison after being pulled over by police on the pretext of having made an illegal turn at an intersection. Authorities subsequently entered her parents' house and removed items such as books, camera footage, and computers. The authorities thus far have not mentioned to her parents or her lawyer what the charges are, if any.Members of the Campaign in both Iran and California are working tirelessly to spread the word about Esha's arrest, which comes as a surprise considering the fact that all she was doing was filming campaign members and those interested in gender related issues. It should be stressed that all her activities were in fact in accordance with the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I myself, also a member and volunteer in the campaign would like to write a few words about my friendship and experiences with Esha Momeni. But, let me say that I will not give a melodramatic soliloquy on the matter nor do I feel the need to interject with a character defense. What is obvious is that as a woman, a friend, a confidante, and a mentor Esha Momeni stood up for me, and all the other women and men in or outside of Iran that have raised their voices for change. But as we gaze from wherever our "outside" may be, Esha is still standing for us, even if it is in the 209th ward of Iran's Evin prison.


1 comment:

Gulnur said...

i have never met Esha, but I honestly believe, I want to believe that she would be released soon. It's really sad what happened there. So much suffering for her parents, for relatives. She deserves to be heard and I pray for her!

CSUN International Grad.Student