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For You, In Solitary Confinement On Our Wedding Anniversary

Iranian journalist Zhila Baniyaghoob writes to her husband, also a journalist, in solitary confinement on their wedding anniversary:

Today, exactly 11 years have passed since I was with you. It was this very day that we began our lives together. We celebrated this beginning with a small ceremony. You were dressed simply, as always, not even wearing a tuxedo. You wore the jeans and shirt that we both liked. It was only when we were taking pictures and our friends and relations insisted that you also put a jacket on.

Everyone said they had never seen such a down to earth and simple bridegroom. Like me, you also didn't have the patience to sit in the special chairs for the bride and groom for several hours. Instead, you kept walking up and down.

The guests looked for us when they arrived, where are the bride and groom, they asked. Eventually, they would find me with my friends in a corner of my mother's small apartment. But you were nowhere to be seen! You were either in the yard helping prepare dinner, or in the kitchen or somewhere else, doing something.

I look at our pictures today, the informal dress and the smile that added to your kind spirit. I write for you now, while trying not to give in and shed a single tear. I have promised both you and myself to be brave.

Bahman! I write to you now after 11 years. For you, who are in solitary confinement on our wedding anniversary. You must also be thinking of the same day, remembering that I could not put up with the formal dress either. After a couple of hours, I managed to change my white wedding dress for a simple shirt and a pair of pants. When you saw me in the simple clothes, you said, "It's better now, those kinds of clothes don't suit you, these simple ones are better suited on you."

How much we laughed at dinner when all the guests helped themselves to food, while neither of us ate, as there was no food for us. It seems food had run out, just for you and me.

I got up and announced: "Attention please, I have an important announcement for you: the bride and groom are always the center of attention because of their dress. As Bahman and I are not in our wedding clothes, you all have forgotten dinner for us two."

Everyone laughed and my aunt brought a plate for us. She said the bride and groom ought to eat dinner before everyone else.

"But that's for the proper ones," you said, "not for me and Zhila."

And now, what do you do in solitary? Which one of our photos are you picturing in your head? Perhaps you are thinking of Said Leylaz, who was the witness at our wedding from your side and was signing the wedding book in a rush. He was always so full of life, joking around and making everyone laugh. Now you are both in Evin prison, who would have thought that?

I know that one of your biggest concerns is me being alone, but I am not alone. You don’t know the good friends we have. The Green Movement has opened people's hearts and brought them closer.

I shall tell you when you come back, how our friends, even those who for some reason were upset with us, are being so nice and helpful. When you get back I shall introduce you to all my new friends who are the gift of the Green Movement.

There were lots of good things about prison, but perhaps the most important of all are the new friends that I have made. Some of these friends have been freed from prison and some are still there. I am proud of all of them and their friendship.

I even have unseen friends who's only contact with me is through their e-mails filled with affection. You cannot imagine how many good companions I have found who stay by my side during happy and sad moments, who are concerned for you and concerned for me. Concerned for all the prisoners and their families.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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