My Two Ensnarled Mothers!
By: Mahboubeh Karami
Saturday 7 June 2008
Translated by: SZ
My mother has been hospitalized for some time and I am very worried about her. I’ll never forget the day when Khadijeh Moghaddam called me and because she was aware of my mother’s illness; she inquired about her health. I told her that my mother was going to have surgery in the afternoon the next day. Khadijeh was saddened by the news, but as always she tried to boost my morale. She told me not to worry at all and try to keep a positive attitude. She said that she would definitely come to the hospital with some other friends the next day.
That morning, I was extremely anxious and worried about my mother’s health. I could not think about anything else. They took my mother to the operating room at 3:00 PM. I was waiting and pacing in the corridors of the hospital the whole time.
While waiting, I started thinking about Mrs. Moghaddam. I tried calling her on her cell phone, but her cell phone was off. I got worried for a moment. I told myself that she might be in a meeting. I kept ringing her and tried to stay calm and hope that everything was fine, but my anxiety and worry would not go away.
At 6 o’clock in the afternoon, my mother was still in the operating room and we were all worried. My cell phone rang, but no call came through. My cell phone displayed the phone number of one of the Campaign mothers. It rang a few times again, but still no calls came through. Finally, I heard a faint voice from the other end. My Campaign friends wanted to know how my mother was doing. I told them that she was still in the operating room. I asked about Ms. Moghaddam. I could hear the apprehension in my Campaign friend’s voice. After much insistence on my part, she finally told me that Mrs. Moghaddam had been arrested. The call was cut off again. I went to the entrance of the operating room, but they hadn’t brought my mother out yet. On the one hand, I was worried about my mother and on the other hand I was saddened by the news of Mrs. Moghaddam’s detention. I was reminded of what Mrs. Moghaddam had told me the previous day trying to make me regain my calm. She always said: "Don’t worry. Think as if we were your mother and we’d be happy to do anything we can."
During these critical and worrisome moments, my biological mother was in the operating room and my Campaign mother was in detention and I was worried and distressed for both my mothers. The worrisome moments finally came to an end and they brought my mother out of the operating room. The doctor said that they had taken tissue samples and they would let us know the results in a few days. My brother and I went back home. The void created by my mother’s absence bothered me. My mother who has always been my companion and ally and my main source of encouragement at the Campaign was not at home that day and my heart was heavy with sorrow.
I thought about Khadijeh Moghaddam. She was not home at that time either. I thought about how her kind spouse suffered from her absence. Most probably, just like Mrs. Moghaddam, he also believes that we have to fight adversities and we should never let despair overcome us…..At 10 o’clock in the morning, I contacted one of the Campaign mothers. I told her that because my father is at home alone during the day, I stay home during the day and go to the hospital in the evening. I asked her how I could help. She said that I could compile a list of the individuals who had signed the statement. I was compiling the list until four o’clock in the afternoon. My two mothers were ensnarled, one in the hospital and the other at Vozara Detention Center. And I was fighting for their freedom.
I went to the hospital in the evening. Just like every day that I went to the hospital, I took the petition signature sheets with me. In order to push despair away, with more strength and vigor and with more determination, I started collecting signatures. The relatives who had come to visit my mother had told her that one of the Campaign women had been arrested. My mother asked who it was. I told her that they had arrested Mrs. Moghaddam. My mother was silent for a moment and then said: "To regain our violated rights we have to fight. We have to pay a price. Justice seeking and pacifist women pay the price and cause awareness….."
One of our relatives, while laughing, interrupted my mother and said: "Mahboubeh! We thought you were a Campaign enthusiast, but it seems that your mother is more enthusiastic than you!"
I took a look at my mother. Our relative was right. If it hadn’t been for my mother’s backing and support, I would not have become a Campaign activist.
My mother said that I had put my activities on hold because of her. I replied that it was OK and said that I hoped that she would get better soon so that we could campaign together. She said that she was looking forward to doing that.
The day after we brought my mother home, Khadijeh Moghaddam was released. My mother said to be sure to go and welcome Mrs. Moghaddam and give Mrs. Moghaddam her regards as well. She said to tell her that illness and prison will not hold us down. She also said to tell her "God speed!"
I reached the front gates of the Evin Prison. No one had arrived yet. A few moments later, Campaign mothers arrived, petition signature sheets in hand, so that they could collect signatures in front of the prison, too. And then someone yelled out loud: "Here comes Khadij…." I hugged her and gave her my mother’s message. She asked me to ring my mother so that she could talk to her…..
It was amazing how alike the images of these two mothers were. They both gave me hope. How strong I felt that day!