Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News- Fariba Kamalabadi, one of the members of the Yaran of Iran, Baha’i community leaders, was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to twenty years in prison. A short time later her sentence was commuted to ten years. Presently, she is spending the ninth year of her sentence in the women’s section of Evin prison. In the form of a letter to her grandchild, this Baha’i prisoner has figuratively depicted the atrocities heaped upon her fellow Baha’is. She focuses in particular on the recent closure of shops and business places of the Baha’is, and their fate since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The full text of this letter is as follows:
According to HRANA News, the news organ of Human Rights Activists in Iran, Fariba Kamalabadi, a Baha’i citizen in the women’s section of Evin prison, was furloughed six months ago. This coincided with the birth of her grandchild. In a letter from Evin to Bahar, her granddaughter, she has written about the suffering of Baha’i citizens and of her dreams for humanity. The full text of this letter is reported by HRANA as follows:
My sweet grandchild, dear sweetheart, Bahar,
When you were born, I did not write to you, but I came to see you. Now that you are six months old, I will write a few lines for posterity. During these six months, every week, in rain or shine, in health or sickness and in restlessness or serenity you came to Tehran to see me. After passing through the solid iron gates and high stonewalls, you finally entered Evin prison, and on the other side of the thick dusty glass of the visiting hall, came to see me.
On numerous days your night’s sleep was disturbed to reach this prison. Then for countless hours you waited patiently, tasted the feeling of tiredness and restlessness, until you could come inside the visiting hall. One day you were so unwell with intense pain and sickness that you went directly from the visiting hall to the hospital! There you were hospitalized and operated upon; but still you came to Evin for a visit the following week and the weeks after.
Even before birth, your life has been intertwined with prison and incarceration, and mixed with hardship and adversity. Passing through the iron-clad gates and high stone walls, after entering this rejected and bleak place, Evin might have taught you how you can reach to a deeper conclusion about events by rising above their superficial form. You came to know that under the surface of hardship and severity, which resulted in disturbing your sleep and serenity, the real truth you noticed and comprehended was the intensity of all the hidden vengeance, hostility and injustice which has become the bedrock of the process of atrocities.
The most recent manifestation of this oppression and enmity that you have come to know during the last days of the first six months of your life has been news of the closing and sealing of more than 100 shops and business places of Baha’is in Sari, Qaemshahr, Bushir and Karaj1.
All these victims are my loved ones. Many of them in Sari and Ghaemshahr are my closest friends. Amongst them there are families that in their youth had very young children and were expelled from their government jobs; and now for the second or more times they have lost the source of their income. Many of these shops were financially supporting two or more families.
My beloved teacher, the best math teacher of our school and town, along with his spouse, a respected and honest bank officer, was expelled thirty years ago. Now he is facing the closure of their shops, which were supporting two families.
Also our best language teacher in our town, my dear teacher, after being expelled from his job in the early days of the Revolution, is now faced with the closure of his shop. Now this business place, which supports his own family as well as his young son with his own new family, is facing the dilemma of closure.
The young and kind son of our neighbor, whose father many years ago lost his government job, now as an adult living with his mother, wife and very young daughter, has also had his financial support cut off.
When I heard of this news, with the undercurrent of atrocities and enmity which wrenched my heart, I raised my hands in prayer and these explicit verses of the Holy Qur’an animated my mind and rang in my ears: that “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.” Holy Qur’an 2:256 and “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” Holy Qur’an 21:107.
Now, with a broken heart, contemplating that God has sent the great messenger of Islam to be a mercy unto the world, the notion of “world” has a very wide meaning, which includes young, old, poor, rich, honorable, ignoble, Muslims and non- Muslims. How is it that some people believe in the Qur’an and relate themselves to Islam, they then, instead of pouring a rain of mercy on the children of their countrymen, pick up the axe of tyranny and enmity in the name of Islam, depriving them of their daily bread, and even cutting the tree of life of the most honorable, most honest and the most noble fellows of their homeland. Is this not demeaning the holy faith of Islam?
Grief and sorrow overwhelm me when I think about how seventy million Iranian Muslims would like to be judged by history, when they raise no voice against these apparent atrocities and genocide against a group of their countrymen.
Is it not possible that relatives, neighbors, fellow Muslim citizens should now be standing up in defense of these wronged ones?
My sweet Bahar, my dearly loved grandchild, you need not worry: like you, I also have learnt how to pass from the surface of these incidents and move to a deeper understanding.
My Bahar, my sorrow and broken heart will not last long. The spring is near. The icy cold winter has packed and gone. Here in Evin, the darkest place of all, the most sorrowful place, the most abandoned place and the most isolated place in this country, the coming of this spring can be felt.
One can see Evin’s Spring, when after sunset during the months of Ramadan, the fasting month of Muslims and also the fasting month of Baha’is, when Muslims, Christians and Baha’is alike are calling each other to the table of God to break their fast, and on the same spread raise their hands in prayer.
Spring in Evin appeared the moment when, after the martyrdom of Mr. Amiri in Yazd2, a group of Muslim prisoners officially called on their Baha’i fellow prisoners and offered their sympathy and condolences.
The budding of this spring will send its twigs and leaves out of Evin to Sari, Qaemshahr, Nowshahr, Karaj, Yazd, the whole of Iran and the whole world. This spring will spread and manifest the reality of the unity of mankind.
Evin/ the month of Nov. 2016
November 29, 2016 11:44 am
Our dear Fariba Kamalabadi, your words resonate with all of us, for as distant as I am, and as distant as all the Baha’is of the world may be, yet we are all close to you. We have learned extraordinary lessons of honor and detachment from you and from your companions -those noble lessons taught by all the lovers of God’s holy Messengers to all the peoples of the world throughout all of human history. The precious land of Iran is enriched by your blessed example. The first expression of reverence toward the Prophet of Islam I ever saw was shown to me by a Native American. This was 1966 and his tribe was the Mission Indians from California. Like you, he was a Baha’i. How is this not a fulfillment of a divine prophecy, that all the world will know and love and honor the Prophet of Islam. It is. But like all the promises of God’s Messengers, the honor of knowing God’s promise does not exceed the honor of recognizing His Promised Day, when it is as clear as the planes in the sky or the cell phones in our hands or the refugees fleeing the cradle of Islam. Thank you for your prayers and your strength and for your heart’s honest belief that when God’s Word was given in verse 34:28, a warning and glad tidings, that there would, in truth be a fulfillment of that Divine Promise, and that Spring would come, yes, like a new light, even within the walls of Evin! Thank you.