Editor’s Note: Iran Press Watch was pleased to receive the following moving essay, which describes the feelings of many Iranian Baha’is. It is presented below in translation; the original in Persian is attached.
By a passer by
I miss them a lot. I am talking about the three Baha’i youth: Sasan Taqva, Raha Sabet and Haleh Ruhi. I like to visit them, and for this purpose, I travel to Shiraz. Come along if you like. It takes some concentration to summon the power from within. First we say prayers, meditate and then visualize Shiraz, a city whose foundation was laid upon a spiritual dream. I hope that someday the spiritual city of Shiraz will be worthy of a great hero to initiate a world-encompassing movement from within this spiritual place.
Together, we pass through the streets of Shiraz to reach the prison facility of the Ministry of Intelligence, called Plock 100. This is the place where the three youth are incarcerated. We enter quietly. We walk through narrow concrete hallways with high ceilings. Everywhere is dead silent; we move forward quietly. After passing through a few covered areas, we arrive at a metal door. Slowly we open the door. We see a small L-shaped area; looking around, we don’t see any windows — do you see any? No light can penetrate the cement walls and into the cell. The air is heavy, there is not enough oxygen and it is hard to breath. What a jail! The florescent ceiling light is on at all times. The floor is bare concrete, without so much as an old carpet to cover it. There are only a few blankets to use as a mattress and cover. There is an old television set which appears to have been installed some time ago. There are a few books, magazines and personal items in the other corner of the cell.
Haleh and Raha, two angel-like girls, under the pressure and hardships of the past 18 months in jail, look skinny, weak and pale. They are only allowed outside in the small yard 15 minutes each day to get a little fresh air. Everything, even down to the timing of these short breaks, is determined by the prison guards. Despite all these restrictions, they seem happy; it is as though they are living in a different world. They enjoy each other’s company.
We hear footsteps, then the door opening. Look at the girls — they are silent. It seems that Raha has a piece of paper and a pen in her hands. We see a male guard at the door, he is waiting for something. The girls give him a list of the necessary items that they need — there are no stores in this prison. There is no conversation between the girls and the guard. Can you hear anything? If you ask the girls, they will tell you that they are forbidden to talk to the male guards, and that there are no female guards at this prison. I understand you have good reason to feel upset; those who set out to serve their forsaken, deprived countrymen with love and compassion are detained in an atrocious prison which can best be likened to jailhouses from the Middle Ages.
Let us pray for their steadfastness and ask God to remove their difficulties. We can pray individually or in groups. Let us raise our hands to God and ask for His mercy to shower upon these two prisoners and all the other male and female inmates who are spending their days in the various prisons of Iran. Let us pray for the freedom of all the captives who are inflicted with a heavier load of tyranny and injustice than the rest of us, irrespective of their religion, belief system, ethnicity or language.
Friends, it is time to go. Let us part with a message to the girls: “Haleh, Raha, we deeply love you! We are proud of you as our countrymen and as our fellow Baha’is. You are symbols of strength and steadfastness. You are worthy role models for Iranian youth”.
Slowly, we head towards the door; we take another glance at the cell and its high walls. Certainly you agree that this horrifying prison with its solid concrete walls has not succeeded in creating a barrier between the girls and ourselves.
We open the metal door quietly, enter the hallway and go towards the other side, where the obedient follower of his Lord, Sasan, is all alone in his cell. We open the door and see a cell similar to that of the girls. We see a young man, smiling and resigned to the will of God, is whispering prayers in the corner of his cell.
Think for a little while! How has he tolerated 18 months of solitude? What has given him such power to be joyful and content? We wholeheartedly listen to his prayer which has filled the atmosphere of his cell: “Subhanika ya hu, ya man huwa hu. Ya man lisan ahadan illa hu.” The thick, solid walls of his cell cannot prevent him from conversing with his Lord.
We hear that many outside the jail are praying along with him. Apparently, he can hear their prayers; during deep meditation he can even see them (in the same way that my friends and I had seen you while we were in jail and had gained energy from you). Dear Sasan, my good friend, we have to go now.
May we witness the freedom of all of the innocent prisoners of Iran!
O entrapped bird! May you live to witness that blessed day when there are no more cages and confinements in the world!
 This expression appears 19 times in Baha’u’llah’s Tablet of the Bell [Lawh-i Naqus] and means, “Sanctified art Thou, O He; O He Who is He; O He other than Whom there is none but He.”
[Original attached. Translation by Iran Press Watch.]
Download: Origianl Persian
June 11, 2009 3:11 am
i love Baha’i youth of Iran and my hart is with them every second of the day. I teach daily people in Chicago with a power that i do not know its source.
June 11, 2009 10:02 am
This youth are real examples for the youth of the world. They are a source of inspiration for the youth to serve their country for the betterment of the world. Only God can forgive their persecutors who will be lost in the darkness of history and not mentioned or remembered by anyone who has a dot of fairness or justice in his heart.
June 11, 2009 2:00 pm
Thank you for translating this moving piece. I will share this essay with my friends at our next devotional. Again and again the Writings of the Baha’i Faith teach us to seek detachnment from all things, to rely wholly upon God. Who can exemplify these beliefs better than the three youth of Shiraz? How sad that their only “crime” was offering assistance to the underprivileged of that city, as Baha’is around the world are likewise doing (and where such service are received with praise, not jail).
Yet Sasan Taqva, Raha Sabet and Haleh Ruhi endure imprisonment and solitary confinement for this offering. The Hand of Might must love them very much.
June 20, 2009 1:28 am
Thank you for sending this out. It touched my heart and I will try to share it with others. It reminds me that we have the priceless privilege of teaching the Faith everyday without constraint and horror, unlike these three precious youth! Wouldn’t be surprized if some of the prison guards were not deeply affected by their spiritual response to this cruelty.
I will pray for Iran and these beautiful souls.