Zan, Zandegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom)

The following words were written by a friend of mine, who is Iranian. Were she to record, or publish it herself, it could be dangerous for her family who are still in Iran. So, I’m doing it instead.

The hope has always been there that one day, I could go back to Iran to see my family members who still live there. To introduce my own children and husband to the family they’ve never met. To show them where my parents grew up and I was born. There are Aunts and Uncles who helped to raise us we want to see. Cousins we have not seen since childhood. So many years lost.

I was last there in 1978 on a carefree summer holiday as the country began to feel the stirrings of the revolution that started the following year.  We never expected to be unable to return.

I can’t share any current photos of our family there, out of fear for their safety. All of us with family in Iran are living with worry and fear. We are glued to our phones. We see the news, videos and images that are not shown in the western media. Our hearts break for every motherless child, for every childless mother, for every man woman and child whose life has been taken from them. For every young person killed. For every one of them, we have the guilt of our own survival.

The hope inside every Iranian in the diaspora that we may be able to visit a free Iran with our families burns in our chests. The years of no hope has a sliver of light cut through it. A thin beam of light reaches through the darkness.

We know this hope we hold comes at the cost to the people in Iran. There are many lives lost. Countless people in prison, being beaten, tortured and at huge risk of being murdered by the regime. We feel helpless.

Those of us who grew up in the US during the time of the first revolution and the hostage crisis remember the shame, the hate and for many of us the dislocation. Personally, it resulted in my name change. The current situation feels familiar, but we have hope that, soon, all our people will be free.

We have hope but we need our friends, colleagues and neighbours to support this fight for freedom in Iran. All we want for people in Iran is simple human rights. They have been oppressed for 43 years.

Please consider signing and sharing the petition that is linked in the show notes:

If there is an event in your community and you can attend or at least give a word of support, please do. It would mean so much to a community that is suffering.

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