It has now been over five years since Vargha Taefi’s mother, Fariba Kamalabadi, was imprisoned on absurd, baseless charges by Iran’s tyrannical regime. As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, her real crime is being a member of the Baha’i faith. And for that crime, she has been subject to remarkable cruelty and mistreatment, as he son describes:
During her captivity she has been confined to a 2×2-metre shared cell. There is hardly any light entering. There is no bed. She sleeps on the floor, even during the extremely cold winters which worsen her sciatica. Her colleague who shares the same cell, Mrs Mahvash Sabet, 60, recently suffered a broken hip owing to poor diet, low calcium and no sunshine.
Vargha has grown up facing discrimination himself, forced to leave the country to pursue a university education, and he has seen religious persecution up close since his childhood.
As a child I grew up seeing agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and plain-clothes agents raiding our home and loading trucks with our belongings: books, photos, tapes and CDs, cash, jewellery, telephones.
On several occasions they took one of my parents with them as well. In response to our calls for justice and pleas for our human rights, we were told: ”Human rights are for humans, not you.”
But discrimination is not what he fears most.
For a very long time my nightmare has not been of the past but of slowly losing memories of my mother.
Many liberal doves and anti-interventionist conservatives prefer to avert their eyes rather than to look at the evil being perpetrated by the Iranian regime and the human tragedy that is involved. These crimes make it more difficult to argue that the Iranian regime is not as vicious and potentially dangerous as many hawks claim.
But that’s no excuse. Regardless of one’s position on Iran’s nuclear program, there is a responsibility to defend the basic rights of all people. And promoting the global common good begins with identifying and understanding the injustice present in the world today. Too few people know about the persecution of the Baha’i. If you want to be an agent of change, the first thing you can do is to remedy this and join the movement to secure their human rights.