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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Payamenh's painful childhood in Iran

 Paymaneh's painful childhood

Peymaneh was just a young eight year-old child discovering the world when suddenly her life was violently interrupted by the Iranian Revolution in 1979. I asked Peymaneh to describe for me her early childhood in Iran. The following story is in her own words……

My childhood was full of pain, sorrows and sufferings. I did not experience a real childhood at all. I learned to know war and strife while the other children around the world were playing with their balls and dolls. I learned to say, “ Down with Iran! Down with this nation , while other children around the world were sharing love.” In my childhood, my favorite young men who used to offer me bike rides, who played soccer near our house, suddenly one day disappeared. Their memories became photos, photos of martyrs, photos of gravestones, the gravestones of political prisoners. The melody of my childhood was the music of war, the sound of bullets killing the political prisoners in prison near our house at dawn. My childhood was full of war, bombs, bloodshed and nightmares. During this time, one of the most frightening words that haunted me wherever I went was the word, “rape.” How I wish I could enclose this word in a steel box and drop it in the deepest part of the ocean. I wish I could bury this word in the middle of the earth so that no other child, no other woman, would ever have to experience it! According to the rules of Islam, if a virgin should die, she would immediately go to paradise. Many women opposed the rule of Khomeini and therefore became political prisoners. They were considered “ enemies of God!” not deserving of paradise but rather Hell!  In order to ensure their fate in hell, the women were raped in prison and then immediately executed!  Now they could not go to paradise, because they were no longer virgins! This was the evil punishment inflicted on them under the rule of Khomeini.
 45 The word “ raping” is still in my dreams and in my nightmares. It seems to follow me wherever I go! My other nightmares as I grew up was running in fear from the Revolutionary Guard, who wanted to arrest me because my hijab did not cover all of my hair and I was showing too much skin and did not dress according to the Islamic dress code. My childhood meant, don’t listen to music. It meant help your father bury his favorite books, cassette tapes and photos of his dear friends, hiding it from the Revolutionary Guard.  My childhood meant, hide your Bible where no one can find it. It also meant to expect the Revolutionary Guard to break into your house for any reason! My childhood was full of fears, full of worries, full of sorrows and full of sadness. In my early childhood, I learned that, “ happiness is banned, joy is forbidden and satisfaction is boycotted…..”

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