Translation by Iran Press Watch
A letter from Farhad Sedghi in Rajai Shahr prison, addressed to his three grandchildren, who just started school for the first time in September 2014
To my grandchildren,
With loving greetings, my dear ones!
I am writing this letter on the occasion of your first year of schooling. You are going to receive formal education in order to be able to build a better and a peaceful society for mankind in the future, and accordingly to serve all people.
First of all, I supplicate almighty God to shower you with His Bounty and Grace and to always watch over you. I also pray that He pour His confirmations upon you so that you will be able to serve humanity, your compatriots and your country to the best of your abilities.
You should also know very well that I immensely love you and constantly pray for you.
Humanity is now passing through an unprecedented transformation phase. You and your countrymen, along with all citizens of the world, must endeavour to establish the foundation for a new world order and civilisation. This is a tremendous responsibility for all that will eventually result in encompassing the whole world with friendship, peace, love and harmony, leaving a legacy for you. Such a world has already dawned upon us; based on God’s promises, it is definitely inevitable.
Now, let me briefly tell you about the importance of education and the process of learning.
“Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words”
Abdul-Baha has also indicated:
“In truth, the base and foundation of all development and progress, whether for an individual or a nation, is impossible without contemplation and reflection; therefore you should exert all your efforts in acquiring science and knowledge”
It is therefore understood that for the progress, development and wellbeing of society and to serve the community well, people must acquire knowledge in order to create a better living environment. This is the most vital deed upon which you have already embarked.
My dear Shidrokh, Faran and Sina,
It must have repeatedly crossed your minds to wonder why your grandfather is in prison. You have surely asked your parents about it too, and they have of course responded to your queries. However, today I would like to explain it myself, briefly though, for you to know why.
Although acquiring knowledge is the right of everyone who lives in a country, and depriving some individuals of their right to continue their higher education is illegal, however it has now been more than 35 years that many eager Baha’i youth have been deprived of their right to continue their higher education in the universities of this country (Iran).
Realising that Baha’i youth have been prevented form studying at universities illegally, and have not been allowed to continue their higher education; also noting the significance of education in the Baha’i Faith, which I have explained earlier, a few Baha’is with a higher education and strong background and credibility in their chosen fields who had also have served as educators and professors at universities decided to start teaching these eager youth and acquaint them with a present day university education. As a result, the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) was born 26 years ago. I, your grandfather, also joined this group in its early days to teach in my field of expertise, and I am extremely proud to say that I have served that Institute for 24 years with joy and delight.
This, in fact, is the same Institute where your parents studied. They are now able to serve the country and humanity at a much higher capacity, as well as being able to provide for their family.
Thousands of people like your dear father and mother studied in that Institute, which has already made an international reputation for itself. Many universities, including Harvard, admit BIHE graduates to continue their post-graduate studies, and even to pursue their PhD there. Whatever has been achieved so far has only been through the grace of God, the Almighty.
Whereas in every other society, religion and country our work at BIHE is praised and considered to be a noble deed accepted by God, yet many of the academic and non-academic staff of BIHE were arrested for teaching at such an educational institute and imprisoned on the first day of May 2011. I am one of them. Our services have been praised and supported by many respected people, including Nobel Peace Laureates, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Vice Chancellors and Professors of many universities around the world, many international organisations, and parliaments of different countries. They have been collectively asking for our unconditional release, but our country has not heeded their calls. This move by well-known international personalities and organisations has enabled many Baha’i youth to continue their studies at many universities worldwide and serve the societies in which they live. In any case, you should not be worried about your future higher education. You should be proud that I am now in prison, as this is nothing else but His wish and the bounty showered upon me by the True One.
My dearest grandchildren; it has now been more than three years since I have been in prison. Next year, being 2015, I will be released about the time of your birthday and will be with you. I would like to thank you for coming to visit me in prison, which makes me very happy, and I am grateful for that.
My dearest Faran, Sina and Shidrokh,
This time, my letter has become long and a bit serious. But I will write a better one next time. On the other hand, I would like to write down a short story for you taken from a book called “Unconditional Love”. The title of this story is “Recollections”:
It is said that two friends on a journey were walking on foot through the desert. On the way they argued over a topic which made one of them slap the other out of anger. The one who was slapped got annoyed and while keeping quiet with his finger wrote on the sand: “Today I was slapped by a friend.”
They continued their journey through the desert until they reached an oasis and decided to stay there and rest by the pond for some time. While resting there suddenly, the one who had been slapped slipped, fell into the water and nearly drowned. But his friend reached out and saved him. After getting out of the water, he engraved on a rock: “Today my best friend saved my life”!
This made the first friend ask him in surprise: “After I slapped you, you wrote a sentence on the sand but this time you engraved it on a rock. Why?”
The other friend smiled and said: “When someone hurts us, we have to write our feelings on the sand so as to enable the wind of forgiveness to blow it away. But when someone shows us love and kindness, we must engrave it on rock, so that no wind could erode it.”
I hope you are well, healthy, and happy, and help Mom and Dad in their chores. Do your best in learning and acquiring knowledge. Also try to make your handwriting more beautiful until you become a master of calligraphy! Don’t forget drawing, either!
I kiss you from afar. May God always be with you and protect you.
Your grandfather Farhad
Hall 12, Rajai Shahr prison
 Provisional translation from original Persian