On the anniversary of the university attack by security forces (18 Tir), a group from the Mourning Mothers visited the home of imprisoned student activist Majid Tavakoli to share their empathy and solitude with his mother.
On their way to Shiraz, the mothers made a stop at the memorial site for Cyrus the Great to symbolically express the oppression and injustices being committed against the best youth in Iran today, 2,500 years after Cyrus the Great established the first human rights charter.
The mothers wrote a letter addressed to Cyrus the Great. It reads:
Cyrus, don’t rest comfortably. Why is it that after 2,500 years, prisoners are being tortured and violated in your country? Why are women being abused in your country?
Also, a poem by the great Iranian poet Simin Behbahani was read by one of the mothers.
Then the mothers continued their journey to the home of Majid Tavakoli. They expressed to his mom how much they looked forward to the visit and that, in the past ten months, every time they heard about Majid’s suffering, they also suffered. They explained that when they heard Majid had finally ended his hunger strike, they were able to breathe a little easier. They shared how proud they were of Majid, one of the children of Iran. When they read Majid’s letter written after the execution of Farzad Kamangar, they appeared saddened. They expressed heavy despair for the loss of Farzad, a distinguished teacher.
Majid’s mother spoke of her pain. She spoke of the four agonizing months when there was no contact with Majid. She spoke of how Farzad Kamangar would call her and would tell her that he would do everything he could to obtain information about Majid. Then she heard of Farzad’s execution and she went into shock for 24 hours and could not think about Majid. Even now, she has a hard time believing the execution occurred.
After four months, Majid finally was able to contact his mother. She explained that she does not like to leave her house to not miss Majid’s call. She spoke of her endless crying for her beloved son and how much she misses him. Currently, her body is so sick and weak that she is not allowed to travel and cannot even visit Majid. She spoke of the hardships of the 13 to 15 hour trips that Majid’s father and brother have taken to visit Majid for ten minutes. She said that when she spoke to Majid, he did not complain and told her he was fine and not to worry. But she is a mother and she can feel his pain and suffering in his voice.
She spoke of how hard Majid had worked to be accepted to university. He studied endless long nights with very little sleep. His father would go into his room at 4:00am and see Majid had again fallen asleep with the light on, with his book positioned on his chest.
His mother said Majid went to Tehran six years ago to attend Amirkabir University, but it seems he had signed up for Evin because he spent four of those years in prison. She remembers the saying: Iran has become a detention center and Evin has become a university.
She said she received a call from the attorney general’s office asking why she has talked to people outside the country. She responded to them that she has a lot to say and that her child was in solitary confinement for four months so she had 40 months of talking to do. She told the representatives of the attorney general’s office that she would speak to them too if they were interested.
She then spoke about her worried state of mind. The doctors at the prison said they do not have the means to take care of Majid’s health. She has asked from authorities to allow Majid to be taken to a medical facility that is able to care for him. When Majid was arrested, he was in perfect health and thus prison officials are now fully responsible for ensuring he is healed. She said even though she and so many others are suffering and in pain, the government will have to answer to its people and to God.
The Mourning Mothers asked Majid’s mother to pass on their best regards to her son. They hope that Majid will be healthy again and they are praying that Majid and all the Majid’s will be free soon.
Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran
Location: Shiraz, Iran