Imprisoned journalist Masoud Bastani has written a letter on the occasion of the birthday of his wife Mahsa Amrabadi who is also imprisoned.
On Friday, June 29th, a number of friends, associates and Reformists gathered at Mahsa’s home to celebrate her birthday.
During this event those in attendance remembered and spoke of their memories from Mahsa and her husband Masoud Bastani and wished for them to be released from prison soon.
Journalist Masoud Bastani was arrested on July 6, 2009. He has not been allowed even a day of furlough since his arrest. In late 2009, Masoud was transferred from Evin prison to Rejaei Shahr prison in Karaj.
Masoud’s wife, Mahsa was first arrested June 12, 2009 and later released on bail. She was again arrested on March 1, 2010 and later released on bail. She has been sentenced to two years in prison. Mahsa started serving her sentence in Evin prison on May 11, 2012.
Following is a translation of Masoud Bastani’s letter to his wife Mahsa:
Mahsa, what is your share and my share from the enrichment program?
I leave to go wash the dishes in the last 10 minutes of the game. It’s my turn to wash the dishes tonight.
Our dinner is that same government provided Adasi (lentil soup) dinner that we had enriched it. Prison Adasi is a mixture of lentils and water only, but we add tomato paste, pepper and lemon juice to make it more palatable. Twice a week we have to put up with this dinner.
There is no one in the bathroom or by the sink that we do the dishes in, everyone is sitting and watching the European soccer championship game.
Spain and Italy are playing the last minutes of the game and as I am washing the dishes, I am thinking to myself, how am I going to start Mahsa’s Happy Birthday letter.
I must write a love letter. Words that would demonstrate the enormous pain of separation and how much I miss her.
A letter that would reflect the hardest moments of these days. I don’t even know why writing this letter has taken so long. A letter that should speak of my love behind these bars and walls.
I must write…..I must write…
I lose you everyday, but I find you every night.
Thus, I make my dreams beautiful every night.
I want to cry out, but in my solitude,
Without any difficulty, how I whisper to the walls every night.
Hello, my dearest wife,
My dear Mahsa, Happy Birthday!
These days, perhaps my share of your birthdays are only these letters that play the role of “My nightly love whispers to the wall”.
It seems like I have gotten used to writing down my grief and anguish on a piece of paper and then confiding it to the wind.
So, perhaps at least, these heart felt writings can be my confidant and give me patience against the massive sorrow of these times.
The psychologists call PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) a disorder that is caused by long periods of separation, and research shows that this disorder is more wide spread among war time soldiers, prisoners, and survivors of natural disasters.
The most important symptom of this disorder is a person’s disconnect with his inner feelings, the inability to cope, and repetitive actions.
My highest fear is that this PTSD disorder causes me to lose this feeling of longing for you. Now, perhaps this letter will be a remedy to help soothe this pain. Believe me, this letter today is to continue the same sense of nostalgia that is repeated with the scent of your perfume in my clothing.
Do you remember that during these past three years, every time you sent me clothes, you saturated a few pieces of my clothing with the perfume that every year I searched Sohrevardi street to find and buy as a gift for your birthday on July 2nd.
Now these pieces of clothing have passed through these thick walls, and they perfume my private space here. I hide my clothes under my pillow at night so I can perfume my nights with our memories.
The game is over and everyone is excided watching the celebration of the European Cup, and I am still washing dishes.
I should write a letter filled with happiness for her Birthday. A birth in the summer that reminds me of the spring, but I can’t.
My ever patient Lady, I recently read in a book that, the color of love is red, faithfulness is blue and hope is green. But, I wish you would write to me and tell me what is the color of patience, for these days most of all, I need the color of patience.
Everyone is excited and is celebrating the European Cup. But I, on this day, happen to thing about the Iranian oil embargo.
My dear Mahsa, I can’t write anything other then a sorrowful letter. The news about Narges’s (Mohamadi) letter from prison, and imagining Ali and Kiana in the visiting room, chokes me.
I still remember the innocent faces of Nasrin’s (Sotoudeh) children in their mother’s arms, and Bahareh’s (Hedayat) last visit when she took shelter in a park to hold a Advare Tahkim Vahdat meeting (the Alumni Association).
Now you, next to Bahareh, Nasrin and Nazanin are experiencing the same pain that you talked and wrote about.
My ever patient lady, I can not write of happiness when Bahman (Amouee) is in solitary confinement and I hear about Zhilla’s grief (his wife).
It is very difficult for me, remembering how many times, during these past years, I have seen your teary eyes from behind the glass in the visiting room of Rejaei Shahr prison, and can not forget that these days are the anniversary of many mothers who became mournful and still are wearing black in the grief of losing their loved ones.
This year, just like in 2009, you must spend your birthday in prison and, just like these past years, I am deprived of being by your side.
But I was at least happy that I could see you from behind the bars and the dirty window pane of the visiting room and tell you happy birthday, but they even taken that away from us.
How can I even write when they are enriching uranium and our share of the enrichment program is lentil soup in prison.
Perhaps the sanctions will go into effect tomorrow and the people’s share of it is economic hardships, which, these days, they are theorizing as economic perseverance.
Sometimes I think, what are you guilty of? Abiding by your ideals as you had vowed? Longing for the love that had flourished in your heart?
Your steadfastness in performing your task, as required in professional journalism? Where will it end?
Do you remember the day that you said you wanted to congratulate the International Journalism Day to all imprisoned journalists, to Bahman, Farshad, Mazdak and Nazanin? I trembled and spoke to you about hesitation?
Your only answer was; How can I remain silent.
Mahsa, during all these years, in remembrance of all the nights that we watched the moon together, I have watched the sky from behind bars in Evin and Rejaei Shahr prisons, searching to see the moon from the small window of my room.
Now, I can not even bear to look at the sky or the moon.
Anyhow, the disheveled nature of this letter resembles my frazzled state of mind these days. Although, I am still patiently waiting the arrival of spring, and for you to write to me and tell me what the color of patience is.
My wife, Happy Birthday.