When I found out about this project, I thought that it will be very easy to write a letter to you. I have so many things to tell you and I want so much to know what you think about them, just like the first time we met after I was reading your blog for many years.
Now I am staring at the white screen not knowing what to write. What do you write to a friend who has spent two years and eight months in prison and who still doesn’t know when he will be freed? What do you write for not to be too serious, not too sad and yet not too light and inconsiderate? I don’t know. It is not everyday that I have my friends sent to prison for speaking up their minds. So, I will just write as if I am talking to you in that small café in Oberkampf and I will imagine your answers.
I never told you how horrified I was the day you called me to tell me that you were going back to Iran. I knew deep down that you had to go back, it was stronger than you. There was no other way. If you wanted to write about your country’s political situation, you had to be there and feel the situation. I also knew that you honestly loved your country, you missed it. You told me that you expected to go to jail for a short while, but you were ready for that. As I wished you a bon voyage, I couldn’t stop thinking: “Who knows when I will see him again … “.
We were all bluffed by your endless, complex, and even bizarre imprisonment. Of course, you were the first to indure such a long sentence; Nineteen and a half years of jail! Such a precise sentence for an uncommitted “crime”. Unfortunately, you are no longer the only one getting this kind of sentence. In the last few years, there has been so many arrests in Iran that we kind of loose track. One might say that they were trying to topple the government and the government is protecting itself. Even so, no one should be in jail for political reasons. We have to put this in our minds and believe in it without any exception. Otherwise, depending on the ruling power, one spectrum of the population or another will find itself behind bars. I personally don’t know what to think about Iran anymore. Few years back I was much more optimistic. Nowadays, I fear that the country will plunge into an anesthetizing hopelessness and that we will go back where we were twenty years ago. I don’t know what your opinions are right now, but I don’t see any other way out except a clean start. If you get what I mean.
I even think that the whole world needs a clean start. I wish we could just push the reset button and start all over again. Sometimes it is much easier to build anew than fix the broken pieces.
Leaving the depressing politics behind, let me tell you about myself. I am still doing research at the same place as you know. I have had two not-so-easy years trying to find a permanent position, but nothing has happened yet. I have visited Iran twice since you went back, and each time have specially passed by Evin to telepathically say a little hello to you. I don’t know if you have heard me. I try to write regularly in my blog and it turned out that many of my friends find my half-biographical writing interesting. I owe this to you.
I plan to go see the new Iranian movie that is now in cinemas in France, Jodayie Nader az Simin, or as they translated it here “Une Separation“. I went to see Zanane bedoon mardan (Women without men), which was visually very nice and poetic but I didn’t like the movie at all. Maybe I don’t understand feminism as Sharhnoosh Parsipour does. I am also sick an tired of everybody becoming an expert on women’s situation in Iran. If anything, Iranian women are strong and determined and will obtain what they want without needing the world to cry for them.
Ok, I hope this will be the only letter that I write to you while you are in prison. I can not wait for you to be released. I can not wait for you to find your peace and start writing again. Or who knows, make the movies that you have in mind. Even if you choose to go orthogonal to what I believe, I want you to have your voice. I wish to have the chance to see you again, happy, healthy and full of crazy ideas.
Be strong my friend,