A powerful voice for humanity
My dear Iranian friend Mehnoush's latest blog is a tribute to a courageous freedom fighter, Shole Pakravan, who is a powerful voice standing up against executions in Iran. On October 25, 2014, her daughter Reyhaneh was unjustly hanged after a long seven year imprisonment for defending herself against a government rapist. Shole and her other daughter, Shahrzad, now reside safely in Berlin, Germany after successfully fleeing from
Iran in 2017.
Shole Pakravan is a well-educated, open-minded woman and a real fighter; she fights for righteousness, humanity, freedom and more importantly against capital punishment, the very thing that had shadowed both her life and her family's for 7 years, the darkness that harassed her spirituality while being captured behind Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj and distanced her from her beloved daughter, Reyhaneh. It was then when she intended to take serious steps to fight against capital punishment in support of many other Reyhanehs and thousands of young people who are hanged and silenced in the Islamic Republic every day. Today this liberal woman recognized as a human rights and anti-death penalty campaign activist stands on behalf of the mothers who have lost their children in unjust and fake courts controlled by cruel and governmental judges. Moreover, Shole's voice is widely spread on behalf of those mothers who struggle to save their children from a probable execution, the ones who silently break within themselves and the nightmarish image of their children being hanged has haunted them days and nights.
Shole Pakravan, a dramatic actress and director, is a passionate and loyal family woman. Unfortunately one summer day in July 2007, her older daughter, Reyhaneh, was assaulted by a former intelligence agent in an empty and abandoned old house.Terrified of being raped at any moment, she managed to stab him in the shoulder with a knife simply to defend herself and then escaped away. Nevertheless, she was probably unaware that the Islamic authorities are always prepared enough to victimize one innocent figure to conceal their own devilish deeds. Finally, despite her young age and all the hope her family had developed, Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was arrested at 19, said goodbye to her life in the early morning hours of October 25, 2014 after her 7-year imprisonment. She proudly and courageously faced the noose on the gallows and her spirit flew away to rest in peace.
In fact, the Islamic regime had intended to scare Iranian girls and women by executing Reyhaneh to let them know they are not allowed to resist the harassments of government agents. Otherwise, as women are all regarded as the government's captives, they would be imprisoned, punished severely and then executed. They killed Reyhaneh, the beautiful and kind girl who was described by many prisoners and even jailors as the one with a bright sign of hope and taught many solitary women prisoners the ways of mutual respect and progress. They murdered her in order to put hope, generosity and kindness to death! However, they did not realize she was actually a seed planted throughout Iran's soil. They only killed one Reyhaneh, whereas thousands of Reyhanehs grew fast afterwards. Consequently, Atena Daemi was found guilty for objecting to Reyhaneh's execution, but she simply grew stronger. As such, these objections along with several other public protests by women against capital punishment and for retrieving their lost rights were spread through.
As a conclusion, let's read one of the emotional but heartbreaking notes Shole Pakravan wrote in the memory of her darling daughter, Reyhaneh:
My dear, beloved, sweetheart Reyhan,
In spite of all the agony I have gone through, I am well-prepared to fight for your right. I'll never stop going the way you opened my eyes to. As I promised you, now, my hands are your hands, my feet are your feet, my eyes are your eyes and my throat is your throat even if one day the deadly ropes of gallows surround your delicate throat, my beloved, buried beauty.
You have already forgiven your judges and tormentors and murderers in this world and postponed your rights reclamation to the afterworld. But I will never ever forgive the one who suppressed you, made up those fake investigations and hearings, signed your execution sentence, prepared the gallows and pulled the trigger that stopped you breathing. I want them to be punished in this world as well as the other one in which a divine court will sentence them to eternal torture so that no mother would see her child being executed before her own eyes.
Now, like any other time, I claim your soul is integrated into my whole body and my life seems to depend on reclaiming your rights. It feels as if I've been living with the memory of your existence for thousands of days. Even in a thousand-years’ time, every single particle and dust of my essence will call your name out loud amidst unruly and free winds. I'll witness your eternal victory against the aggressor government. Your seven year battle with the supporters of the intelligence agency offenders peaked magnificently up on the gallows. On the dawn of 25 October 2014, you were standing in the middle of the execution field of Rajaee Shahr Prison with tied hands. Staring at your murderers with your big bright eyes and without a single sign of doubt in their villainy, you shouted, "You may take my life, but you can never pollute it with the shame of surrender and agreement." Although you're gone, the path you've taken is safely maintained, the path that you yourself let me know about; you, my everlasting companion.
Now is the time to announce proudly that "Reyhan Foundation" in Europe is formally registered. Reyhan Foundation supports all the ones sentenced to capital punishment, the family of executed prisoners as well as rape victims or prisoners. I feel certain enough that the foundation will be endorsed by kindhearted people, institutions and many activists in the realms of women's rights and anti-death penalty advocates. Disregarding any particular ideology or tendency pertaining to a political party or so, Reyhan Foundation will surely proceed against rape and execution as decisively as possible and motivate Iranian people contributing to rub capital punishment off Iranian society forever.