Jila Bniyaghoob *
Saturday, 18 December 2010
On such a day last year, I wrote to you to say that you were spending our wedding anniversary in solitary confinement. This year, I guess, I must be happy when I write that you are spending our wedding anniversary with other inmates in a cell at Evin’s Ward 350.
But you are still banned from using the phone and we cannot even talk to each other on such a day. What’s more, we have not been allowed to meet each other for months, and I have only been able to see you through the glass window of the meeting hall and hear your voice through the phone.
And I still cannot understand who in this country would lost anything if I could sit right in front of you, without that damned piece of glass separating us, and hold your hands in my hands for a few minutes and say, ‘I love you as ever’?
I keep saying to myself, let’s assume you are a dangerous criminal! OK, but even then, what would be wrong with you being able to hold your wife’s hands? Do those who are in jail because of murder, armed robbery and violent rape not have such a right? Why should you be deprived of this right, simply because you wrote a few critical articles about Ahmadinejad’s government for an online news site and a few newspapers?
While the Prison Organization’s rules say clearly that a prisoner who is to be punished can be banned from having personal visits for a maximum of one month, why have you and many other prisoners been deprived of this right for several months?
Neither can I understand why you and your friends do not have the right to use the prison’s public phone, whereas the same Prison Organization rules say prisoners have the right to have personal computers and mobile phones.
I don’t know who it was who wrote recently that the decision to deprive a prisoner of the right to meet or phone his/her loved ones is not based on the will to reform the prisoner, but on vengeance.
My dear Bahman
On the anniversary of our wedding, please accept the few lines below as a present from me. I wrote them only a few days after you had ended your hunger strike and I don’t know when you will be able to read them. But when you do, please remember that I wrote them today, on our wedding anniversary, on my weblog:
Darling, it is because you are standing tall and firm there, that I am standing here determined to resist.
I have always loved you. But these days, I love you more than ever and admire your patience, your conviction in your beliefs, and your resistance and kindness more than ever.
Please impress them, as ever, with your calm and your smile. They cannot be calm and smile like you, and that’s why they are in pain. They envy our smiles – yours and mine.
Oh, how sorry I am for them, for they cannot smile as we do, in spite of all the hardship that we endure.
Never get angry. Your anger makes them feel strong. You will defeat them with your smile, your patience, and your resistance. You do not need any other weapons. Rest assured.
Smile. Smile at all the difficulties and all that is unkind. You have me. I have you. We have each other’s smiles. We have the smart little Amir-Medhi, whose awareness and intellect gives up hope for Iran’s future. We have many more little Amir-Mehdis in Iran. Is all of that not enough to make us smile? Please smile, then.
You can read the piece I wrote on the same occasion last year here, For you, who are in solitary confinement on our wedding anniversary .
Note: The picture has nothing to do with our wedding anniversary. It was taken during Bahman’s brief leave from prison last spring.