I write, as the only weapon I possess these days is this pen; irreplaceable. I have learned throughout my decade of experience as a journalist that it is only this pen that can be a man's weapon and the defender of his honor.
My Soon-To-Be Born Daughter!
I write to you in this letter words from my heart; ones that I have been carrying with me for the past 80 days, desperately looking for someone who would listen and understand. That is why I decided to share them with you, a newcomer to my world -- a world that is no longer a comforting place for your father or his likes.
When you open your eyes to this world, you will know that I have become a part of your motherland's history, as I shall write to you about what your father, your mother -- carrying you with her loneliness and fear -- and their friends underwent.
It all started on the night of the June 12 presidential elections. That night -- hours before midnight at the Gheytarie committee -- I, along with some of our honorable friends who are awaiting their freedom behind prison bars these days, witnessed the sleight of hand of some cunning magicians who manipulated their people's vote and announced the election results in their own favor. Their coup d'etat became their weapon of suppression.
The very same afternoon, they had attacked our committee and we were afraid of such things happening again. I warned all our friends to stay home to avoid any unpleasant incidents and grieve for their families. I returned home near midnight.
The next day, I was lucky not to have attended our party's meeting about coming up with a solution (as I had to be somewhere else) when I was informed that they had poured into the meeting and rounded everyone up. I immediately started gathering information about the incident and came to learn that it was indeed true -- a beginning of another massacre.
At about 10:00, I received a list of our arrested friends and I published it. I said in an interview that we could no longer feel safe and there would be no safe home for me to reside in after the interview. That happened, and I left the house that I built for you with the hope that one day I will be able to return to its lost safety and comfort, holding your little hands in mine.
Since that day I have changed houses several times, spent nights in unmentionable places, and turned to friends whom I had never imagined to meet again. Life with the ignorant acquaintances had become full of moments to learn from and experience to gain. Since that day, I haven't tasted comfort and don't know whether I might ever find peace again or I whether I'll have to run the rest of the way.
I am not hopeless, as you are my only remaining hope -- hope [though] I know I can't witness your eyes opening to this world or hear your first cries and hold your little hands. But I am not hopeless because of you; you are the only living thing that motivates me to continue moving.
I'm not writing this to assert my innocence, as the true innocents are those of my age whose cries are echoing in the sky from the Evin prison, but to explain as a father why I could not be there in these difficult times, why I'm not there or may no more be with you.
I can't hide the truth from you even if I have to lie to myself. I am frightened. The fear of not being able to hold your tiny hands in mine and smell them, listen to your cries, and enjoy your presence has overtaken me. But I can hear you in my head all the time: Do not give in and keep moving on!
For years, I was afraid of your arrival, as I might not prove to be a good father or arrange perfect conditions for you. But as you come today, I am not present next to you and I don't know how long I'll be gone. I don't know when I'll be able to feel how you kick your mother for the doors of this grieving world of ours to be opened so that you can breathe some fresh air.
These are the burdens that I carry, striving to move on, for your mere presence, I strive to live.
So that all of those with the blood of our country's youth on their hands would know that I still breathe. Until I breathe, my pen will suffocate them. Do know that my breaths are due to your blessings.
My Child, my intentions are not to depict my tragedy as I spend each day with a bleeding heart. I write to you to tell you that it is for your presence that in such dark times a father whom you might like to have next to you on your arrival but might not be there, is still alive and breathing.
Your Father, desperate to meet you, Hanif