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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 09:21 PM
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Letter to former Evin Prisoner, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei


Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Mr. Khamenei and His Cell-mates
Hushang Assadi 2009.03.10

Mr. Khamenei, I close my eyes as you and I together enter the corridors of the Komiteh ‎Moshtarak prison in Tehran. These days you go around with your Velayate Faghih (a ‎Shite jurisprudent who is also the head of state) garment and there is an entourage ‎following you. But I, like thirty and something years ago, come along with nothing but ‎my dreams of freedom.‎

Do you remember the days when you and I together were prisoners in the Shah’s prison ‎and stayed in the same prison cell.? Contrary to those days, today I am exiled by you. ‎You are the Velayate Faghih leader while I am outcast and driven from my home ‎country. Do you know what your agents eventually told me? “You are a foreigner here. ‎Get lost,” they said. Can you believe it that they told me I was a foreigner in my own ‎country? So I am an outsider, an outcast. But on your visit to the same prison you, as the ‎leader of the insiders of the current regime, are now gradually approaching the very same ‎cell that we shared together in those days. You need to know that someone has recorded ‎your sayings word by word and has put them on a website. I will read the writing and will ‎accompany you through the prison visit.‎

You spoke about going to the bathhouse. Do you remember how the four of us, ie you, ‎me, Ali and Sasan, washed ourselves with cloth-washing soaps? You seemed ashamed. ‎Still we laughed so much. How happy we were in that atmosphere of darkness and ‎duress, even though we were humiliated. We were beaten up. They would pull your hair. ‎Sasan was almost dying of torture. What sparkle your eyes displayed when you used to ‎put food into my mouth – that “communist” - with your own hands! ‎

I have written all of these things, in my memoirs. But I will be honest with you: I am ‎afraid to publish the memoir because of your agents who may harm me in my age and in ‎this foreign country.‎

Yes, Mr. Khamenei, I remember you crying and reading the Quran while I, a young ‎innocent man, sat on my feet dreaming of the days when freedom would arrive. Freedom ‎for you to read your Quran and prayers, and for me to read Sholokhov, Foroogh, and ‎Shamloo, as we all worked to rebuild Iran. You would focus on preparing people for their ‎life in the after-life, while we would help them in their life in this mortal life. ‎

As we walk down the wards, a shriek fills the air coming from the torture chamber and ‎we both become silent. You must still remember those shrieks, as you have said so and ‎someone has written about them. It is so good that you have not forgotten the cell, the ‎tortures and the shrieks. You have even mentioned the name of your interrogator.‎

In fact all the cellmates of those days have survived and live today.‎

Years later you became president of Iran but I was sent to prison again. The interrogators ‎this time were a different group. They were called “brothers” this time and replaced the ‎previous ones. How strange it is, Mr. Khamenei. This time Alireza and I had the same ‎interrogator. His name was “Brother Hamid”. Actually you know him very well. I am ‎talking about Mr. Nasser Sarmadi Parsa. I heard that you screamed at him when he was ‎the prison warden for the ward where the infamous “serial murderers” were kept, which ‎triggered a heart attack onto him. Yet, I pitied him, even more. This is ironic that at one ‎time people were tortured to gain power while at another time heart attacks were ‎experienced confronting the same authority. But as you have said, believers have to fear ‎what happens in the after world.‎

Yes Mr. Khamenei, you screamed at someone who had tortured me for three full months ‎when I was behind bars. He forced me to eat my own excretes. In all honesty, the ‎interrogators in the first prison did not do these things. Did they? But “Brother Hamid” ‎did these very things to Alireza Akbari. My will to live kept me from dying, but Alireza ‎was not so fortunate and was executed. His crime? That is clear: According to you we ‎were all spies by nature. According to you we all planned to topple the regime, we were ‎sexually amoral, etc.‎

The ironic part Mr. Khamenei is that Alireza and I both defended “the Glorious Islamic ‎Revolution” based on the political line of the movement to which we belonged. And we ‎defended it wholeheartedly. As did Rahman Hatafi. Yes, that young green-eyed, brown-‎haired man who you must remember because he and I came to your house in 1977 which ‎was located on Fereiduni Street in Mashhad. That was a very simple and divine house. ‎You only had one servant who later became your poet. You and Rahman talked with each ‎other for four hours. When parting time came, you held my hand at the door and softly ‎said, “What a wonderful and educated young man he is, but what a shame he is a ‎communist.”‎

You know that that educated young man not only defended the revolution till his last ‎breath, but even theorized this defense for others. But what fate he had into falling in the ‎hands of “Brother Hamid.” He and “Brother Mojtaba” together gave Rahman such hell ‎that he cut into his own face with his nails and then bit cut his own veins. ‎

Yes, Mr. Khamenei, as poet Shamloo – whom you never liked - has said, “Strange ‎Times” have dawned. You were the president then and I was in a cell adjacent to the one ‎you and I shared during our prison days under the Shah.‎

So you continue your visit to the “Museum of Learning”, as Komite Moshtarak prison is ‎known today. Next to my prison cell was Behazin’s cell. Behind the window they had ‎thrown the lifeless body of Rahman Hatafi. Neither I, nor Behazin, nor Rahman, nor ‎Alireza had committed any crime except a holding opinions that were different from ‎those of your government. That is all there was. Nevertheless, three of these individuals ‎are no loner living and I have been thrown out of my own country, my own home. ‎

As you continue to visit the “Museum of Learning” you pass by the statue of ‎Manouchehri and Ghandi. You see a prisoner effigy being whipped, the head of another ‎one held under water, and looking next you remember that someone was hanging from ‎the bars there. ‎

You see these images and displays and shake your head in misfortune as you walk by. It ‎is a shame that there is no one to ask what was going on there between 1979 and 2001 ‎when Komiteh Moshtarak gave way to the Museum of Learning.‎

You should ask after brothers Hamid, Mojtaba, Mahmud, Rahim and the others. Perhaps ‎someone will tell you that through their behavior these “brothers” made SAVAK look ‎good. Perhaps they will tell you that the shrieks that used to come from the torture ‎chambers during the Shah’s days had grown louder and louder in later years.‎

It is interesting that all your prison cellmates who opposed the Shah have survived and ‎are alive today. But from amongst those in the prison of the Islamic Republic, only you ‎and I survive. And my survival is per chance. If I had not left the country in time they ‎would have done me too. Brother Saeed Mortezavi who people say is your favorite judge ‎told me himself: “We should not have had merci on you to let you live. And it is still not ‎too late for that.”‎

Mr. Khamenei! You know the people that I have named in this piece. And these are just ‎the first names in a long never ending list some of whose names you know and others you ‎don’t. Thousands of them have been executed, have spent long years in prison, have been ‎forced to leave their country, are jobless, are in self-imposed exile at home, and are ‎mostly among the best children of Iran.‎

I take the very God that I have seen you worship as witness and ask: when you used to ‎cry in the prison cells of Komiteh Moshtarak prison so that SAVAK interrogators would ‎leave did you want them to be replaced with brothers Hamid, Mojtaba, Rahim etc? Did ‎you just want the call of azan (call to prayers) to be heard at the Komite Moshtarak prison ‎and a change in the torture shrieks? Did you just want the acts of torture to change merely ‎change names from torture to taazir (the Islamic term for physical punishment including ‎torture)? Are these the changes that you wanted?‎

And do you really believe that by changing the name of Komite Moshtarak to Towhid ‎after 20 years of its existence, and then to Ward 3000 of Evin, and finally to the Museum ‎of Learning, these issues would evaporate or be solved?‎

Continuing your visit of the prison and as you leave Komite Moshtarak, I go and sit in the ‎very prison cell that we occupied together. I close my wet eyes. I close them to this bitter ‎world. The guard locks the door. You go to resolve the issues of the world but I really ‎wish for you to come back, and for Ali and Sasan to return as well. I wish the four of us ‎could again sit together for a meal and launch a new goal.‎

Leaving the prison, you are now at your command center. You enjoy your lunch, begin to ‎pray and forget Komite Moshtarak prison and the Museum of Learning. But I still sit in ‎the same prison cell and cry for ever. Yes, I will cry until freedom finds its wings in my ‎country, until the rule of law rules, power is not monopolized by anyone, and no one is ‎estranged or outcast from his home-country.‎
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 09:43 PM
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by isthisdave View Post
Thank you, I thought the original post went completely under the radar.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Teutone View Post
Thank you, I thought the original post went completely under the radar.

No Biggie, when I first saw this thread title I thought someone else had gotten kicked off of American Idol..........
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