Tuesday, April 28, 2015
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.....
He saves the crushed in spirit......"
I was born healthy and cute. I was a sweet baby with big, beautiful black eyes. My parents sacrificed so much money and time for my education to make my future secure.
I studied very hard. Studying in Iran is not easy. It is very stressful and very expensive.
Recently the government instructed the universities to offer the majority of the degree programs to only men, depriving women of the opportunity to compete for jobs. Once again, the Iranian Regime is engaging in gender discrimination which is to be expected when living in an Islamic society.
After struggling through University, I met a wonderful man and decided to get married.
You should have seen me! I was a beautiful bride! My parents helped us to have our own dream home.
I was very satisfied and happy. Instead of taking a government job of teaching English, I taught instead at a private institute. The government insisted that I follow all of the Islamic rules and regulations. They quizzed me about the Quran and Islam. I didn't want to be pressured by all of these regulations so teaching at a private institute seemed much more comfortable for me.
Of course, I had to wear a hijab at the institute. Wearing the veil is mandatory for a women in the public workplace.
I was a happy and beautiful bride. I had a great job, a great group of students and a wonderful husband!
Then suddenly, one day, my life totally changed forever!!
I had just rolled down the window of my car to help a motorcycle rider with directions...
when suddenly I was blinded, I couldn't see!! My whole face felt like a thousand needles had punctured it all at once!!! It was like it was on fire! I screamed and pulled the car off the road as best as I could! My chest, arms and hands felt like I had just climbed inside of a scorched oven!
I immediately began to tear off all of my clothes.
"Cover yourself. You are a woman! Don't remove your clothes in the middle of the street. There are men here!" the voices of women passing by, shouted at me!
I did not know the attacker. I didn't even see his face. What had I done wrong to him?
In just a few seconds he had destroyed my life forever! All that my parents had done for me in more than three decades, he had destroyed in just a few seconds! He had taken everything that God had generously given to me! He had played "God" with my life.
In just a few seconds, he took away my beauty, my eyesight, my future, my life!. He took away everything but my breath....I wish he had killed me...death is better than this life!
I was a patient in the hospital for many long and difficult weeks. I felt like I was in hell when they removed the damaged and scarred skin from my face. I felt like they had also removed my soul, my whole being!!! They also took the soul of my parents and husband when they removed the ugly skin from my face.
I will never be able to teach again...the children would be frightened to look at my face.
There is no justice..no peace for me..no closure..the government doesn't even look for my attacker. I am scarred and humiliated for life!
I just want my beauty back again, my eyesight back again. I want to smile again. I just want to live again.
I am miserable and yet my attacker is free to enjoy his life. He can see, he can eat, he can have money....he is free to attack more women like me!
My parents have spent all of their money to help me...my husband had to take out a loan and now he cannot pay it off! He is depressed and has to see a psychologist.
I have to get divorced...I have to ask my husband to leave me. He has the right to a normal life. I don't expect him to suffer and "burn" with me.
I just have one question. WHY??? What did I do to deserve this? What sin did I commit? I just want to know who my attacker is...Does he really feel peace now?
Dear God....Please help me....please rescue me from this hell and darkness..please give me beauty again from all of my pain.......
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
"It is my pleasure once again to feature another excellent blog written by my dear Iranian friend Paymaneh.
Paymaneh is an Iranian-Christian refugee living in exile in Malaysia. Even though she lives faraway from her homeland, she has not forgotten her people! Every week on my radio program I give Paymaneh "a voice" by reading her powerful stories that bring awareness to the plight of the Iranian people who live behind the "iron curtain" of the Islamic Republic of Iran......
A few days ago, the women of Iran were recognized in a special day called, "Mother's day." I wondered to myself, "What do I say to them?" Do I say, "Happy What?"
Congratulations for what? For being a woman?
This day is not even based on a Persian woman's birthday. Instead is based on an Arab woman's birthday, the birthday of Fatemeh, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.
Does is make any sense for Non-Muslim women in Iran to celebrate this? Haven't they been ignored and disrespected enough already?
There have been great women in Persian History. Mandana, the mother of Cyrus the Great, the founder of special schools where she herself taught students law and trained them to stand up against cruelty and oppression and be a friend of subordinates.
The faithful Queen Shirin, who played a significant role in the history of Persia along with Yutab, a great military commander.....scientists, activists, etc...yet none of them recognized, respected or remembered for their great accomplishments by the Iranian Regime.
I am wondering why Persian women are happy to celebrate the birthday of a non-Iranian woman. Why should they even celebrate Women's day at all?
Should Persian women be happy that they are considered second class citizens due to their gender? Should they be happy that their testimony is worth only half that of a man's according to the Quran? Should they be happy for not having any rights to select what they wear? Should they be happy that they are not allowed to marry without their father's permission, that they are forbidden to have a job or even travel abroad without their husband's permission?
Being a Persian woman means you cannot live your own life. It means you must sacrifice yourself as a sister, a mother and as a wife. Being a Persian woman means if your husband is cruel to you and your children, you must endure it because you are a woman.
Being a Persian woman means that if your husband is cruel and considers you his slave, but you desire to follow your own dreams, then in reality, you are a cruel mother and irresponsible wife...He is not cruel for wanting to imprison you in his small and dark world!
A Persian woman doesn't have any rights to decide if she wants to be a mother or not.....She has no rights to her own body....If a woman is betrayed by her husband, she must keep quiet and not tell anyone, but if she betrays her husband, a cruel punishment awaits her by her family, law and society, and because she is a woman she will be publicly stoned!
If a Persian woman is raped, she must shut her mouth, she is not a victim, instead she is suspected of having done something wrong to attract the attention of a man and cause the rape! A woman who is the victim of a horrible rape has brought shame to her community and she lives with this guilt for the rest of her life!
Being A Persian woman means that if your father in law ruins your face and blinds you by an acid attack, the only way to retain custody of your children is to forgive him and not ask for his punishment, as if he had not done anything wrong to you... as if you were blind and deformed from birth!
As I was writing this article, I was saddened by the news of an acid attack victim. She had finally died from her injuries, leaving behind her precious daughter, who did nothing wrong but was also attacked and now has only one eye!
Dear women, please do not be deceived by this sentence, "Paradise is under a mother's feet,"Nothing good is waiting for you in paradise, but your husband will be having fun with his many female angels!
Happy Mother's Day dear women of Iran!
(About the author, Paymaneh Sabet)
I am an Iranian lecturer, a teacher, and a translator. But previously I also wrote for journals. I love writing and making short films. I love to write about romance, love stories and the greatest love story between God and His people.
It is my duty to use my gifts and talents to
stand up against the dictatorship in Iran and cry out for their freedom. I want to do my best to reach them with the gospel, inspite of their barriers and limitations. I want the world to know the true Iranian...to know their faces and the human rights atrocities they have suffered with for the past 35 years.
My biggest dream is that Iranians will know the truth and turn their hearts to Christ for true salvation, freedom, and happiness.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
"I thought that President Obama understood the feeling of being
oppressed by being an African-American himself...."
For as long as I live, I will never forget watching the violent and horrifying images of the protests of the presidential election in Tehran in 2009. Police and Baisji chasing protesters on motorcycles and beating them with batons.....overturned cars and trashcans on fire, Iranians lying in the streets, their clothes soaked with blood, a sea of Iranian people dressed in green, yelling, "Death to the dictator!" and the most graphic and frightening image of all, Neda Soltan lying on her back, her eyes widened in shock and blood pouring out from her chest........
Perhaps the one image that will forever stay etched in my mind, in the midst of all of the chaos and turmoil, the image of the desperate protesters, screaming for freedom and democracy, I can still hear their haunting chant, a question with a plea:
"President Obama, Are you with the Iranian people or with the Mullahs?"
Nasrin Mohammadi is my dear friend. She is an Iranian-American human rights activist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She came to America from Iran more than seven years ago after suffering one of the most painful experiences of her life. Her brother Akbar, a human rights activist and leader of the Student movement in Tehran, had finally died in Evin Prison as the result of years of torture at the hands of a merciless regime.
Nasrin retained her brother's prison diary and published it in a powerful book entitled, "Ideas and lashes: the prison diary of Akbar Mohammadi."
I had invited Nasrin to be a guest on my radio program, "The Cross in the Desert: Speaking hope and freedom to Iran."
The first question I asked Nasrin was, "When you see President Obama, If you will, sitting across the table negotiating with the Iranian Regime that killed your brother Akbar in Evin Prison in 2006, Do you feel betrayed by your president?"
There was a brief moment of silence as Nasrin collected her emotions and then she replied..........
"Of course, I feel betrayed, yes, unfortunately he chose not to stand by the oppressed Iranian people.....
Nasrin's voice cracked with emotion and then she excitedly proclaimed........
"I thought President Obama understood the feeling of being oppressed by being an African American himself........I thought the history of black slavery would make him feel sympathetic to those people under oppression!"
Nasrin is exactly right! Racism, the rights of black people, oppression, slavery....the media reminds us almost everyday of our evil "white" history. Given the facts of history and personal experience, one would think that President Obama would truly empathize with the Iranian people and would be more than willing to immediately rush to their aid....but incredibly somehow...Nuclear rights have become more important than human rights!
But wait a minute!!! When Michael Brown was shot by a Darrel Wilson, a white Ferguson police office, the Obama Administration wasted no time in sending the Department of Justice to St. Louis to conduct an immediate investigation....hmmmm seems like a huge double standard to me!..So race determines human rights?
Paymaneh Sabet is an Iranian-Christian refugee, living in exile in Malaysia. She also is a talented journalist and activist for her people. We are great friends! Even though she is a refugee living in exile, she has not forgotten her people. She periodically writes powerful articles about Iranians and their struggles for human rights. She emails the articles to me and I read them on my radio program. Recently I asked her to write an article about the nuclear negotiations. She promptly replied with an emotional letter to President Obama which read in part:
"Mr. President, you are helping the Islamic government in Iran to kill it's own people! This nation hoped you would help them restore what President Jimmy Carter did to them 35 years ago that paved the way for the Islamic revolution...Mr President, my nation is desperate, they are dying from suffocation, struggling to breathe, and they feel hopeless. They are crying out for human rights, while you negotiate for nuclear rights..."
Every day, I am saddened to hear that more political prisoners have been executed. Desperate Iranians who speak out or disagree with the government are silenced by the noose! Since Rouhani took office as the new president in August of 2013, executions have tripled..more than 1,000 prisoners have been marched to the gallows under his watch! The prison conditions are deplorable with poisoned food, rampant disease and continuous abuse and torture. Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor, and Amir Hekmati, a former marine and American citizen, languish in prison in Iran while we sit at the negotiating table with the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world!
While some Iranians, who are naively sympathetic to the cause of their government, chant,
the Obama Administration and John Kerry respond with a warm, cozy and intimate trust to a regime that cannot be trusted! We shake hands and promise relief from sanctions and funnel billions of dollars to a government who will use that money to further their terrorist grip in Yemen and Syria, and all over the world,
while the people of Iran suffer! Inflation, unemployment, suicide, drug abuse and no access to life saving medication, is the desperate plight of the Iranian people while the government relentlessly pursues their nuclear ambitions!
The 2009 election protests are now a part of history. Yet many of the protesters are still suffering in prison. The new president, with his charming smile and softer tone of voice compared to his predecessor, is busy deceiving the world with promises of reform..but its still the same old political game of deception.
The negotiations will continue until the June deadline. Iranians will still suffer and although massive bloody protests in the streets of Tehran are just images from the past, I can still hear their loud and haunting chant:
"President Obama, Are you with the people of Iran or with the Mullahs?"