This note from renowned Iranian student leader and political prisoner Majid Tavakoli, written in the diary of fellow prisoner Pooya Ghorbani in 2010, was only published for the first time in 2013. Ghorbani, then a student and one of those arrested in the aftermath of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allegedly fraudulent 2009 re-election, was serving a four year prison sentence from Iran’s Revolutionary Courts in Evin Prison’s Ward 350 (used to hold Tavakoli and other political prisoners). Pooya Ghorbani was arrested alongside his wife and his brother; his wife received a 30-month suspended sentence and his brother was released after paying bail.
Before being released, Pooya Ghorbani’s fellow political prisoners offered him parting mementoes in the form of individual entries in his personal diary. Three years later, Ghorbani’s decision to release his diary publicly allowed this note from Majid Tavakoli, written in July 2010, to come to light. In it, he writes: “We have come to create memories. We have come to leave mementos of our resilience and our resistance. We have come to turn our intentions into reality. We have come to build our future. We have come to write our own history. We have come to make this day eternal, and we know that we are victorious”
Majid Tavakoli’s Prison Diary Entry on July 25, 2010 (3 Mordad 1389): “We Have Come to Leave a Memento of Our Resilience and Our Resistance”
“Oh, if freedom sings a hymn, a small one, smaller even than a bird’s voice…
Oh, if freedom could shout out that it was still alive! We would grow fearful for it, and we would say that freedom must endure. That is how we started our fight for freedom. In our Green Movement, we came together against dictatorship.
It was a bitter and difficult year, one which made us realize how tall we had stood, how resilient we were, how united in our purpose. They said that we of the “Third Generation” couldn’t change history. Now they are astounded at how giving hope our backing has given meaning to the word “change.” It’s as if they didn’t know that freedom could make the foundations of dictatorship wither away. They did not know that we had a unique courage and boldness. They did know that we were dynamic, and that we would become a great and lasting generation.
Ward 350 is very big. This means more to us than it does to others [who haven’t been imprisoned]. We feel the vastness of such small places. We need to flip back through our memories. It’s an eternal memory for those who have come, and excuse for the nostalgia of those who have left. Even though prison is cause for our distress, we value our memories of what’s become so familiar.
Dear Pooya! People become more loving in their solitude, and perhaps we had to find ourselves alone before we could find and appreciate our feelings of friendship, nostalgia, and all of our strange emotions. Perhaps we had to find ourselves alone before we would be able to keep each other in our thoughts and memories in perpetuity. To speak truthfully, it is extremely difficult to bring those who are father apart together, but when you do, their universe expands to become that much wider. In fact, when strangers become friends, a special kind of friendship is formed. Many things may be missing in all of this. I had one such experience with Farzan, but my friendship with you has been something different.
Let me talk, however, of the reason for our finding ourselves together. What we share is not the fact that we are part of the “Third Generation,” but that we were part of the Green Movement and that we had hopes to change how things were. We came for change. Actually, it’s better for me to say that we have come. We have come to create memories. We have come to leave mementos of our resilience and our resistance. We have come to turn our intentions into reality. We have come to build our future. We have come to write our own history. We have come to make this day eternal, and we know that we are victorious.
The beauty of those of us who were born in the 1980s (1360s) is that we are free, that we are free thinkers. I know that you understand this freedom well, that you know its worth. This is what will always distinguish us, and what will keep us together forever.
We know that with peace, courage, and faithfulness, we will be able to leave this land of fear. We will bring freedom home to our people.”
July 25, 2010 (3 Mordad 1389)
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