[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]


[Adapted from website:] Ehteram-e Azadi

[Date:] 9 Esfand 1990 [28 February 2012]


Sousan Tebyanian, a Baha’i citizen, began her one-and-a-half-year sentence on Wednesday, 9 Tir 1389 [30 June 2010]. She is currently being held in Evin Prison with two other Baha’i citizens, Sahba Rezvani and Manijeh Monzavian. She has two children, ages three and nine. The following is the text that her nine-year-old child wrote to her captive mother.

“Mom, why you?”

I want to ask the world, if being a Baha’i is a crime, I am also a Baha’i, so why not me? I want to ask, if being a teacher is a crime in this world, then why is everyone trying to be a teacher? I want to ask, if being a teacher of ethics and literature is a crime, then why do we learn them at school, in the classroom, behind the desks, and write: “Teaching and learning is worship?”

Have you ever opened your eyes to realize your mother is not by your side?

Have you ever walked out of the school door to see there is no one there waiting for you?

Have you ever entered your home knowing your mother’s love can no more be felt?

Have you ever heard the pitiful cries of your younger sister who runs to the front door after her mom, while she is being taken to prison by officers and has to let her hands go?

Have you ever hidden the nightly sound of sobbing under your blanket because you are homesick?

Have you ever heard the voice of a little girl who says on the phone to her mother, with a gulp in her voice, “Mom! Why you were not at my birthday party?”

Or during the prisoners’ visiting time, holding the phone in her hand, stares into her mother’s eyes, and looking with regret says, “Mom, why don’t you come out from behind the glass?!” while the throbbing of her heartbeat can be heard as she stands waiting behind the windows to see her mother.

Is there anyone who can respond to my questions as to, “Why do the flames of fire light up our house in the middle of the night while the terrible sound wakes up the neighbours in the street?”

Why are we denied access to my mother’s shop? Why should they write slogans on the door and glass of my mother’s shop and set fire to the shop of my father?

Is there anyone who can answer my questions?

I seek justice in every corner of our city, around our country and all over the world. Where can I find this justice?

Can anyone hear my voice?

Why has the world, instead of raising her children in the arms of love and honesty, caught them in a sea of oppression, injustice and prejudice?

Dear Mom, if they have imprisoned you for being Baha’i, then I am a Baha’i too! Come and take me with you!