Shirin Did Not Want to Go

By: Fereshteh Ghazi

Sunday 16 May 2010

RoozOnline: The tradition for prisoners facing the death sentence is that they are informed of their execution the night before so they can pronounce their will and say farewell to their family. Even though they did not do this with Shirin Alam-Hooli, she was suspicious when prisoner guards asked her to step out of her cell, which they immediately locked behind her after she was out. She was then dragged out of the ward.

Shirin did not want to go. She expected to be at least told where she was being taken to. Why were they not allowing her to even put on her prison scarf? Why were they taking her without the usual required trench coat and scarf?

The next day, her ward mates spoke about the last words they heard her say: “I am in your hands so why are you not letting me at least say goodbye to my family? Let me say my final farewell to my friends. Why all this when there is no way for me to escape. For God’s sake let me hear my mother’s voice for the last time . . .”

Shirin Elm-Hooli’s death sentence was neither announced to her nor to her attorney. She was taken out of her cell deceitfully as she was solving math problems as she prepared herself for the 11th grade math exam coming up in two days. She had signed up to study in the adult literacy program and had promised herself that she would go to college and study law so that one day she could defend the rights of her compatriots.

Shirin’s cell mates stayed up that night, expecting her to be returned. They were shocked the next day when prison authorities came and took away her personal belongings, which confirmed to them that Shirin was gone for good.

Shirin was hung in Evin prison while her cell mates remembered her as a symbol of love and thirst for freedom. They remember her for her resistance and her nightly distresses caused by the cruel Middle Age tortures she had suffered at the hands of individuals who viewed her as a terrorist while truly believing they themselves were the representative of God.

In talking about Shirin, her cell mates talk of a woman who shared the little money or clothes that she had with the new comers. She would forego her telephone conversations with her family so she could attend to more pressing issues of helping other new prisoners and share whatever she had with them.

Shirin was hanged with four others, Mehdi, Ali and Farhad and left us, while the Islamic republic continues to stay. But even in its stay it is fearful of the corpses of these five citizens. The regime denied these five citizens and children of this land the basic right of saying goodbye to their loved ones, but now it is resisting returning the corpses of these victims to their family members. One wonders, why does a regime that claims to represent God on earth is afraid of returning the corpses of five people to their next of kin even after the lives of each one of these victims was shamelessly taken from them. The executed were stars who were mercilessly pulled down and wiped out. Shirin had not been arrested in connection with Iran’s post 2009 election turmoil. She was a Kurdish activist who spent her energies on helping others.

Indeed, a regime such as this must live in fear. Even the dead haunt it. Have those running this regime forgotten that despite all their hangings and executions, the ancient regime eventually fell and disappeared? All the killings, executions etc of Shirin and her other fellow Iranians are carried out for the purpose of staying in power. Even if that means only for just a few more days.


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