Mahboubeh Karami’s Letters to her Brother and Father, after 85 Days in Solitary
Friday 11 June 2010
Change for Equality: Mahboubeh Karami, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign to Change Discriminatory Laws, was allowed a visitation with her brother on May 25th. Mahboubeh has spent 85 days in solitary confinement so far, and most of this duration has been spent in ward 2-alef. In letters addressed to her father and brother, she has written of her sorrow as well as her resistance. You can read the letters below:
Letter to my dear father: These disgraceful men have taken my mother from us and now they arrested me while you were asleep, not even giving us a chance to say goodbye.
My dear father, I know you are awaiting my return and they have told you that I’m away on a work trip. You don’t know that your daughter is forced to spend several months in a solitary cell only because of her humanitarian activism and a struggle to change women’s condition. Even solitary cells are tired of my tears.
Dear father, please be strong and patient. Your only daughter, your Mahboubeh, has gone on a long trip. The departure has not been my choice, and my return is not in my power either.
My dear father, how memorable were the mornings when you would wake up and I would prepare breakfast for you with love. I would give you your medicine and you would say: “thank God that you’re next to me!” But now I can only worry about you in a solitary cell. I’ll never forget when my mother opened her eyes for one last time, in the last moments of her life, and told me “Take care of your father” and then said goodbye forever. What a painful and difficult separation that was! But I had to accept this responsibility.
Dear father, every time I missed my mother I would go to a corner in our home and cry. You would walk around slowly with your walking stick until you found me. You would stroke my hair with your wrinkled hands and say: “Mahboubeh, darling, I know you miss your mother, but if you cry my heart aches” and I would quickly dry my tears and would return you to your bed with care. But now I cry for my mother and father in a solitary cell and can’t find anyone to calm me. Evin’s walls are very tall and don’t hear my cry.
Dear father, how delightful were the days when the bright sun would lighten up the yard and you would walk in the yard with your bent back and your walking stick and I was the witness of those sweet moments. Dear father, I don’t have the heart to speak to you on the phone, because every time I speak to you, you want me to return home. But I will not be coming home soon as I must spend months in a solitary cell.
Dear father, please don’t gaze at the door for the return of your Mahbouneh. These disgraceful men have taken my mother from us and now arrested me while you were asleep, not even giving us a chance to say goodbye.
Letter to my brother, Mohsen: similar to the past, stay patient and strong, and rest assure that these hard and challenging times will come to an end. Now I want to speak heart-to-heart to my brother in private.
My dear Mohsen, I can’t forget the day that the security agents at 11 pm came to our door front. You said “The electrical company representative is here”, and both of us were shocked by this news. You led the agents inside the house and with your usual patience and strength; you encouraged me to stay calm. Consistently you told one of the men, “I am sure you are making a mistake, my sister has not attended any gathering.” And they replied; if that is the case, then she will be back soon.” At the moment that you escorted me to the door, with facial gestures you were telling me “Don’t worry, stay patient for my sake.” You were even reminding me that I should not forget my medications, and the agents were surprised to see the level of love and compassion between us.
Yes, my brother, I know that you are going through tough days, but every time I get to see you at the in-person visits, your face is thinner and more fragile. However, your will and determination is stronger and more resilient. I never witnessed any weakness and fragility in you at our in-cabin meetings. You never spoke about the problems and heartaches. My dear Mohsen, you are so patient and resilient that the Alborz Mountains are bowing in front of you [in awe], and the earth congratulates you for your strong footsteps.
My dear Mohsen, I realize that your responsibilities have increased, but similar to the past, exercise patience and strength and rest assure that these hard and challenging times will come to an end.
My brother who is more dear than life, please know that I will honor the promises I have made to you, and I will distant myself from weakness and helpless thoughts. Whenever I miss you, I feel the pressure of my tears choking my throat and for the distance from my dearest brother, quietly I cry. I picture you in front of my face telling me “My sister don’t cry; these days will come to an end.”
My dear Mohsen, I love you as much as the world and I am eagerly waiting to see you.