One 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.
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.’
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.
One Woman's Struggle in Iran - a memoir from Nasrin Parvaz
by Catriona Troth
Many Prisoners in One Room by Nasrin Parvaz
In 1979, Nasrin Parvaz returned from England, where she had been studying, and became a member of a socialist party in Iran fighting for a non-Islamic state in which women had the same rights as men. Three years later, at the age of 23, she was betrayed by a…
at the call of the first name.
The names always began
being called at noon
when the air was dank
with hundreds of women
breathing each other’s breath
longing for the darkness
for no one was ever called
for execution at night.
Million Moving Pieces
Whenever I board a train
I remember Yavar
he worked in a factory in Arak…
Twilight, walking down Camden high street
past the bright open shops
and the full up pubs
I see him through a forest of legs
sitting by a lamp post
his hands on his young ears
in the midst of the high noise.
His back hunched
his legs drawn up
making space for the passers-by.
Men and women are all around him
talking and laughing
as if he is not there.
You and me
My hands tied, I had been hanging
from the ceiling for Eternity
my dangling feet just above the floor
night finally came and the guards left.
Bloodied and bruised, but not tied up
you crawled towards me
and lay down, beneath me
taking the weight of my body on yours
my feet rested on you all that long night.
Where are you now?
Are you alive somewhere?
"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…
These people are helping to fund One Woman's Struggle In Iran; A Prison Memoir.