OSLO, Norway — At a recent major international music festival, one composition stood out in particular for its portrayal of faith and spiritual transformation under great oppression.
Well-known Norwegian composer Lasse Thoresen was inspired by the poetry of Mahvash Sabet, a Baha’i imprisoned in Iran for her faith. His musical composition, Prison Poems, shares the title of the volume of Mrs. Sabet’s poetry, adapted into English from Persian.
For Mr. Thoresen, what inspired him most about the poems is the story of transformation brought about through suffering and the potential of the human spirit to transcend external conditions and meet hatred with love.
“Mahvash Sabet has been held in prison under terrible conditions for nearly ten years. She has endured torture and abuse,” Mr. Thoresen said. “We often think of those who are subjected to such treatment as victims. But there is nothing in Mahvash Sabet’s poetry indicating that she sees herself as a victim.”
“We are dealing with spiritual resources that first unfold in critical situations,” he continued. “We get to follow Mahvash Sabet on her journey into the darkness and suffering of prison, through the shattering of her identity, and finally to her ascent into a state of luminous love.”
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