Have you ever had an “Aha” moment? One of those moments when you pause and something amazing goes through your mind? I just did.
Thursday June 10th, 2010 ( Khordad 20th, 1389)
A year has gone by since the hopes and dreams of the brave Iranian people who went to the ballot boxes to bring about change was crushed by a rigged election that brought the illegitimate government of Ahmadinejad to power again. During this year, I have spent many an hour translating the stories of families torn apart by unjust imprisonments. I have translated the untold stories of brave students and political activists who have sacrificed their lives and are in jail, just because they dared to speak of the injustice and to dream of a better life. I have translated stories about beatings, humiliation, insults, brutal forms of torture and even rape inside the prison walls in Iran. I have translated the statements of hope and encouragement made by the opposition leaders Mousavi and Karroubi. The translations may have chronicled many horrors, but they also told of small victories of a nation I’m proud of; a nation that has stood tall and firm against tyranny; a nation that refuses to give up no matter how high the stakes and how low the odds against them; a nation that continues to long, to hope and to fight for what is rightfully theirs, the right to freedom and democracy, the right to determine their own destiny.Often these translations have brought tears to my eyes. They have broken my heart and left me feeling helpless and in a state of despair. I have wondered, how much longer must my people endure? How many more innocent lives must be lost? When will this nightmare finally end? I had one of those disappointing moments today, when I read the statement by Mousavi and Karroubi who announced that they had decided to cancel the demonstrations planned by the Green for the anniversary of the rigged elections this Saturday June 12th, Khordad 22nd. My first reaction like many others was “Why cancel now? When have they [the government] ever given us a permit in the past? Why lose hope? Isn’t it the right of our people to come to the streets and demonstrate peacefully as defined in article 27 of our Constitution?” It is then that it finally hit me, that Mousavi and Karroubi were not abandoning the people. They were not saying one way or the other that people should come or not come to the streets. They were merely warning the people that without a permit, the government is going to give themselves the right to claim that the demonstrations are illegal and therefore use force once again, and just as on previous occasions, lives will be lost and many innocent people will be brutally attacked and arrested. What Mousavi and Karroubi were so wisely aware of, is what finally occurred to me in my moment of despair- that the right to come to the streets, the decision to peacefully demonstrate is not theirs to give, but the choice of the brave Iranian people. And so, in two days, like so many other occasions before it in the past year, many of my brothers and sisters in Iran will come out once again and will put their lives at risk so that some day our Iran may be free. What occurred to me tonight is that no matter how large the obstacle, we must never lose hope; that together we are stronger and we will achieve anything. The land of Ferdowsi is alive and vibrant. The young people of Iran want to be in charge of their own destiny. They desire change with all their heart and are willing to fight for it. In all their wisdom, they also know that change will not happen over night. That it will take time and require patience. So tonight I decided to put my despair and sadness aside and instead think of all there is to be hopeful for. I was reminded of the hundreds of friends I have made online both Iranian and non Iranian who were strangers to me until a few months ago and now feel like family; all warriors in their own right for dedicating their time to informing the world about the plight of the Iranian people. I decided to be grateful for my thousands of brothers and sisters in Iran who continue to go to the streets and voice their demands. I decided to promise myself to follow the lead of my brothers and sisters in Iran who prefer to be optimistic and continue to have hope rather than give in to anger, misery and despair. This Saturday I will proudly participate in one of the 80 demonstrations organized outside Iran in solidarity with my people. I will also be blogging and translating all day so that the world knows how courageous they are and that my people realize that they are never alone. Hope and optimism will always win over tyranny and oppression. My people have proven to me that if they are nothing else, they are hopeful, resilient and united in their goal to bring freedom and democracy to Iran. I am humbled by their courage and proud to be one of them. Negar