I used to be a type of who spoke out in opposition to the regime and paid the value, though not as costly as a few of my fellow activists. On the age of 16, I used to be accused of being an anti-revolutionary and despatched to Tehran’s infamous Evin jail.
Even now, a long time later, each night time once I go to mattress, I consider my cellmates. Many are lifeless, executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran within the Eighties. And those that survived, like me, have been tortured in jail. The guards and interrogators, all males, tied us to reveal beds in small, windowless rooms that stank of sweat, urine, and concern, and whipped the soles of our ft with heavy, onerous, merciless items of cable. It harm a lot that I could not even scream. Later they took me to a mock execution, threatened me and raped me. I used to be virtually a baby and so have been a lot of my cellmates. We had dared to protest in opposition to the fanatical and autocratic legal guidelines of the newly fashioned regime with Ayatollah Khomeini as its supreme chief.
I used to be arrested on January 15, 1982, greater than 40 years in the past. Again then, I by no means would have believed it if somebody had instructed me that in 2022, I’d be mendacity awake at night time in my mattress in Canada, eager about harmless younger girls nonetheless being overwhelmed to loss of life in Iran for being “immoral.” Within the Islamic Republic, magnificence stays a lethal sin.
As I languished in Evin, I stored telling myself that the individuals of Iran would rescue me and my cellmates. We have been the daughters of Iran. That they had raped us. We had been terribly and brutally wronged. We waited and waited, however nobody got here. The corpses stored piling up, however nobody got here.
Our mother and father, associates and neighbors have been terrified. That they had heard of torture and mass executions. The regime had weapons, mobs, armies, torturers and prisons. I suppose the nice individuals determined to chop their losses and go away us for lifeless. These of us who survived and returned residence hit a wall of silence. Our family members didn’t need to speak about it, as a result of it could deliver extra issues. The message was “go forward”. And we attempt. God is aware of, I attempted. However what I had skilled and witnessed left my soul in a coma that took me a few years to beat.
I used to be launched from Evin in March 1984 when the authorities determined that that they had destroyed me, that I used to be now not a risk. (In 1991 I went to Canada). Each few years since then, there have been widespread protests in Iran which have revived hope that the tip of the Islamic Republic may be close to, however every time, now we have been dissatisfied.
Like every other autocracy, the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guards are corrupt, and with the acute inflation the nation has suffered for a few years, center and decrease class Iranians are discovering it more and more troublesome to place meals on the desk whereas the elite ruler have gotten visibly richer and richer.
This financial state of affairs, coupled with Iranian girls and youth being overwhelmed and even killed for protesting or just being “immoral”, causes extra public disillusionment, resulting in extra protests. Whereas I hope that these protests will quickly put an finish to the Islamic Republic, I extremely doubt they are going to. Iran is a really divided nation on many ranges, together with ethnic and ideological, and these protests would not have a charismatic chief who can unite.
A lot of the protesters need the Islamic Republic to vanish, however what is going to take its place? Who will lead Iran to a greater future and what is going to this future appear like in sensible phrases? These questions nonetheless haven’t any solutions.
I had simply turn into a youngster when the streets of Tehran have been full of protesters chanting “Loss of life to the Shah” and “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic.” Little did individuals know that freedom was inherently incompatible with Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic. Historical past all the time strikes ahead, albeit very slowly, and never all the time in direction of a greater future. It might be tremendously troublesome for a rustic that has been beneath dictatorships for a lot of a long time to discover a path to sustainable freedom.
However miracles occur in historical past. The issue is that they’re often not fast or straightforward, and so they come at a excessive price.