The content of this passage is written by Alhan Taefi, the daughter of Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, in memory of the one-year anniversary of her mother’s arrest and detention. Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi along with six other members of the “Yaran”, a national organizing body administrating the affairs of some 300,000 members of the Bahá’í community of Iran; have been imprisoned without a just cause, pending their trials for over a year now. They are deprived of their very basic human rights.
What has befallen me!
Today marks one whole year that you are not with me, and now I want to express my feelings of pain and anguish during this year; a year of untold stories; a year of solitude; a year being far from you, my mother!
It was this very same day last year, when I woke up early in the morning with a phone call – a call which gave me the dreaded news that the government intelligence agents had raided your home. Before I had a chance to collect myself and realize what had happened and what I must do, I received an S.M.S. from my little sister, Taraneh saying: “they are taking away mom, if you want to see her, come fast”! Oh my, what has befallen me! Even after the passing a whole year, still remembering that moment brings pain and agony to my heart, and I can’t help but to shed uncontrollable tears.
In a state of shock and disbelief, I rushed to your house, worrying about what if I might get there too late and they have taken you already… then, when could I ever see you again!? Finally I got there, and frantically climbed the long flight of stairs, skipping every other step, and rushed into your home. Thank God! You were still there… I was with you for a short while, and then they took you with them… you were leaving. I hugged you with all my might, squeezed you, kissed you, and told you how proud I am of you.
And you left… for an unknown period of time! I knew that you would not return home anytime soon, but I never thought that a year would pass and you would still be there! You left me and I was alone… with a mountain-load of pain and sorrow. I was so dependent on you… was so in need of your advice, even on very small matters! No one knows what has befallen me during this period!? Even now, remembering the extent of my sorrow and grief makes me shake and tremble.
I was so used to talking with you every single day, even if it were just for one minute. For a whole 80 days after your arrest, I did not have any communications with you… and when after 80 days you called me and I did not recognize your voice, how ashamed I was of myself! I remember your words very vividly saying “my beloved, didn’t you recognize my voice?”… And I, full of happiness, melancholy, excitement, and tons of other opposing sentiments all at the same time, could not utter a word!
Oh my God, what has befallen me during this past year!? I remember in preparation for the mothers’ day, when all my friends were talking about what presents they were going to buy for their moms, I forced myself to control my tears, in order to be strong… the same way you wanted me to be… the same way you are.
When on your birthday, I could not give you a present; I kept myself happy only with your memories… When in your absence, and because of your absence; I experienced the worst day of my life; the day I felt my heart is crumpled; I wend out walking alone, burst into tears, and sent you this S.M.S. “oh mom, I am so lonely and hapless without you”, knowing fully well that this S.M.S. will never reach you.
Oh my, what has befallen me! Whenever I would encounter the worst of my difficulties during this past year, and you were not there to rush to my aid… when my eyes would come across your personal effects, and knowing that one day you used these personal effects; I would heave a sigh from the very depth of my being.
What befell me the day I saw that you had become so tiny, so slender and wiry, the time when I held your hand in my hands and saw that your hand is trembling out of sheer frailty; ah, how much I struggled to control myself not to burst into tears in your presence.
What befell me that day, at the end of my visit with you in your prison, behind the isolated visiting room, when they were lowering the curtain, you bent down to be able to see us even until the very last moment of our visitation, to wave to us and to smile at us… oh God, how much in my mind this thought that “it may very well be the very last time I may be able to see you” tortured me.
When on my birthday, you gave me a pair of stockings which you had bought from the prison store, as a present -the best thing that one could buy from there – how delighted, yet grieved I became. How hard did I embrace it, did I kiss it, and decided never to wear it, so it wouldn’t wear out. That day reminded me of my previous year’s birthday, when you against your severe back ache, arranged for my birthday party… and the thought of this made my heart ache.
How delighted I was looking at the carrot plant – a plant you had grown in your prison-cell, which you gave as a present to my little sister, Taraneh on her birthday. This plant stood as a symbol of you for me. When I was lonely, I would go and cuddle with it, talk to it, caress it, and kiss it – I would feel it was you standing before me. How sorrowful and grief-stricken I would become when it would look wilted and limp. I would rush to tie its tiny branches together with a green ribbon perchance it would be revived again – as if I was taking care of you.
What a day it was for me on the festival of Ridvan, when you gave me a gift – I felt I was given the whole world and I showed off my gift to all my friends with utmost pride.
What a night it was for me… the night I could not go to sleep – I started reading all your e-mails you had previously sent me, as tears poured down my cheeks, and how much I wished to receive just one more e-mail from you again.
All of these memories as well as hundreds of days have come to pass, each carrying myriads of large and small, good and bad recollections of my experience- yet God only knows that during this whole year I never wished, if not be His Will, to return you home to us… and I always whispered this Rumi’s poem to myself:
“I would not relinquish my pain for You, in vein…
-will not give up my love for the Beloved, till slain.
My keepsake from my Beloved is my pain…
-would not trade-in with a myriad cure, this pain.”
This was what befell me in the past year;
God only knows what befell you, dear mom!!!