[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:] HRANA - Human Rights Activists News Agency

[Date:] 14 Tir 1389 - 5 July 2010


HRANA News – Following the destruction of the homes of Baha’is in the village of Ivel by wayward persons, Yousef-Ali Ahmadi, a Baha’i citizen and a resident of Ivel village in Mazandaran, has put down his objections in a tale of the suffering that afflicted him and his family as well as other Baha’is, during recent years.

The text of this letter, which has been sent to Iran Human Rights News (HRANA), is as follows:

In the name of God, the Generous, the Kind

I am Yousef-Ali Ahmadi, son of Mohammad-Ali, son of Ahmad-Ali, son of Ghorban-Ali, who, along with other generations, was born in the year 1305 [1926/1927] in Ivel village located in the Hezarjarib district in Mazandaran, and hold birth certificate number 80 issued from there. For as long as I can remember I have been engaged in farming my agricultural land. My friends have mostly died; a few like myself, seriously weak and powerless, beseech the Answerer [God] to send us death.

To farm with primitive tools in the absence of roads and other connections, and to provide meals for my wife and children have always filled our thoughts. But the assistance and reciprocity that existed amongst us [neighbors] (we always helped each other at times of ease and hardship) was the center and the light of hope in our lives, turning hardship into ease for us.

Amongst us residents, there was no difference. Although our beliefs were different, it never caused any difficulty in cooperation. Our tablecloth was spread as our house door was open to all. Development was for the whole village; all benefited, for we were all related.

I do not know from when and for what reason the story of Able and Cain befell us. Nor do I know who spread the seeds of sedition and corruption among us, which negated all our efforts to show that we were brothers and could unite, could grow, cooperate and develop. Finally, it led to our forceful eviction from Ivel in 1362 [1983/1984]. With the passage of 27 years it is still not imaginable how a brother could behave towards his brother in this manner. I do not wish to relate my story or those of my friends, which could not be expressed, were it possible for the whole of heaven to become paper, the trees of the earth to become pencils and the oceans to become ink. In my final days, I only expect one thing from you: to know whether I have a right to the life to which I was born. If I do, then why during these past 27 years did no one of the officials or of the learned of the republic come to find out what had befallen me? No one asked, “Where do you, the farmer whose land was taken away from you, plant your crops for your livelihood?” ”Where is your plough wherewith to rip the soil and plant the seeds of love?” “Where is your horse to help you with making a harvest and to thresh the seeds with the winds of existence?”

Now in this condition of powerlessness, I have heard that another flame has fallen on my village and has consumed all that I possess. Regardless of my powerlessness, I went to the vicinity, but was prevented from approaching my home, by people asking me, “What are you doing here, stranger?”

I saw no one I knew, so that I could be introduced. I do not know — perhaps like all my friends, they have also hastened to the eternal abode. But you are here and have power, you may perchance hear this last call from this helpless one reaching your ear. Do you not have some water to throw on this fire and put it out? If this fire today is burning all that I possess, do you not think that tomorrow might be your turn? As long as there is injustice, the fire burns; it burns the wet and the dry, as has been said. I remember when I was imprisoned in Husainiiyyih[1] in Ivel. In order to force me to recant my faith, every day one of my relatives — who have since gone elsewhere — would visit me and advise to recant and to remember the vastness of Paradise; to remember the Sirat Bridge which is narrower than a hair’s breadth and sharper than the edge of a sword, to remember Heaven, the Houris and Youth, the rivers of milk, honey and sweet drink as well as the fearsome Hell with snakes and reptiles that have opened up their fangs to swallow you. Afterwards, a preacher or akhund would give me advice and repeat what my relative had told me. I would be drowned in the thought that if one belief does this to another belief, then it is best that one be swallowed by the reptiles and burn in Hell in order not to face these days of life with his fellow man. They would deny us food during Ramadan [the Islamic month of fasting] and then worry about our end.

My life has reached close to its end and I need little. My children are together. Do you know what will be left from me and what from you, or how future generations will judge us as they read my history and yours, after digging up the confirming documents from the earth?

No one’s life-book is open, nor will mine or yours be. One’s life-book passes on, but if you hold someone’s hand you have gained something; if you take care of someone’s injustice you have demonstrated your humanity. If you are in a position of power and question the law and jurisprudence then you are the winner. Otherwise, take pity upon those who are unjust, for soon will the unjust witness that which they have sown and the results of their deeds; they are indeed in evident loss*, and we take refuge unto God from the wretched Satan.

Yousef-Ali Ahmadi

8 Aban 1389 [30 October 2010]


[1] [Husayniiyyih:  Place of congregation for Shia ritual ceremonies especially remembrance of the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn]