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Iranian women struggle for freedom and equality and their resistance in prison.

Woman’s struggle in Iran is the story of my imprisonment for eight years by the Islamic government of Iran.

In 1979, at the age of 20, I returned from England, where I had been studying. I became a member of a socialist party fighting for a non-Islamic state in which women had the same rights as men. In 1982, while waiting to meet a fellow comrade, I was exposed and arrested by the regime’s secret police. In prison, under torture, I refused to reveal my contacts’ names and addresses.

In prison I was brutally and systematically tortured, threatened with execution, starved and forced to live in appalling, horribly overcrowded conditions. Many of my fellow prisoners were executed; some were driven insane by torture and what we had to endure. Others repented their political beliefs only to find they remained in prison for years before their release. I became seriously ill, and was only saved from dying by the help of a fellow prisoner who was a doctor.

Although I was imprisoned and in the hands of my enemies, they could not arrest my resistance, and neither could torture vanquish my struggle. In resisting the Islamic regime, I was not alone, all the other men and women, imprisoned like me, we were all part of the ultimate victory of humanity.

Nasrin Parvaz became a civil rights activist when the Islamic regime took power in 1979. She was arrested in 1982, tortured and spent eight years in prison. In 1993, she fled to England.

Nasrin’s prison memoir was published in Farsi in 2002, and it was published in Italian in 2006.

A novel, Temptation, based on the true stories of some male prisoners who survived the 1988 massacre of Iranian prisoners was published in Farsi in 2008.

Nasrin’s story ‘The Times of Assassination’ is published in Words and Women, March 2017. Nasrin’s writings appeared in Over Land, Over Sea, Poems for those seeking refuge, published by Five Leaves, in 2015, Exiled Writers Ink, Modern Poetry in Translation and Live Encounters Magazine.

Since 2005, together with poet Hubert Moore, Nasrin has translated poems, prohibited in Iran, from Farsi into English. They appear in the Modern Poetry in Translation series.  

Nasrin has given talks on the violation of human rights in Iran, both in Farsi and in English, in a number of countries. She has spoken at Southbank Centre (2015 and 2016), Bare Lit Festival (2016 and 2017), and for organizations such as Amnesty International, Cambridge PEN and the Medical Foundation.

Some of her poems are in her website: http://nasrinparvaz.org/

Love in prison

The loving smile in his eyes
reminds me of the first time he kissed me.

The guard shouts:
‘Five minutes. No touching.’

A table separates us
yet I can hear his breath.
There is so much to say
we say nothing.

He breaks the silence:
‘Listen to me. You will be freed soon.
I want you to forget me
do not think of me anymore.
Find a good man who will
treat our baby as his
live with him and be happy.’

I cannot bear his words.
‘I will never forget you.’
‘No. I’m the past.
Don’t live with our memories.
And don’t make the child live with our memories.
The child needs a future.
Live with the Future.’

‘Times up.’ 

Quickly he arches his body over the table
and kisses my mouth.
Our child in my belly kicks me
as the guard drags my beloved away to be shot.

 The Joint Committee Interrogation Centre

 

The circular complex built for the government of Reza Shah by the Germans in 1932.

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Writing is my means to fight back

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

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"Writing is my means to fight back": an interview with Nasrin Parvaz

July 19, 2017

Nasrin Parvaz is a writer, artist and activist from Iran. Since fleeing to the UK in 1993, she has published or translated fiction, non-fiction and poetry in Farsi, English and Italian, as well as being a longstanding member of Freedom From Torture’s Write to Life group. The first publication in English of…

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