Ever so dearer to us

[I read this moving piece in support of Mr Abtahi on the weblog of the Tehran-based satirist, Mahmoud Farjami, www.debsh.com, and translated it for Iranian.com. — Translator]

Dear Mr Abtahi

I have read the confessions attributed to you. They had all been carried by Fars news agency and [the official agency] IRNA. This was the first reason for their being baseless, because I have seen repeatedly how these dishonest carriers outrageously turn the most obvious facts upside Your browser may not support display of this image. down, let alone such a story that is fundamentally based on misrepresentation. Even the reporter for the [official, English language channel] Press TV was not allowed to enter the court, let alone the independent media.

The second reason is more obvious than the first, namely your face. I still cannot believe that your appearance could have changed the way it has. Not because I did not suspect that you would be placed under pressure and torture, but because I have always seen that prisoners, especially those who are kept in solitary confinement, no matter how much pressure they suffer, end up gaining weight. The reason is obvious: anyone confined in a small, tight environment, not involved in any activity that would consume energy, would gain weight, even with the small quantity of prison food.

However, you have not only not gained weight, but have lost it, and there are clear signs of illness on your face, as if you have been given injections of powerful tranquilizers or even hallucinogenic drugs.

Even if all of this can be denied –  and the walls of denial have risen to the stars in the past few years – your mere arrest and detention raise questions about all these confessions. What were the evidence and documents on the basis of which you were arrested? Where have you been kept? What about your right to meet your lawyer? How were you informed of the charges against you? When were you able to meet your family? Where was the jury?

In such circumstances, even if you have actually made the confessions that the lying, outrageous and preposterous news agencies have attributed to you, they would not reduce your value in the least. You were not a nameless, opportunist who would join a group for a short while, motivated by greed and ambition, in the run-up to the elections, only to make such confessions after a few hours of interrogation and threats, and add something to them to gain favors. You are a well-known personality and your weblog alone proves that you have been, and still are, one of Iran’s thoughtful and prestigious politicians; one who has withstood several weeks of continuous pressure, so crushing that we may not even be able to imagine it. Your more than twelve years of political activity during the reform period, and your seven or eight years of presence in the blogosphere cannot be undermined by a half-hour interrogation.

Dear Mr Abtahi,

Every day that you have resisted, every note that you have placed on your weblog, most of them about defending freedom and people’s rights, every gram of weight that you have lost, every strand of your hair that has gone white in these past weeks, and every bit of pain that you have suffered or will suffer has made you ever so dearer to us.  

Government positions mean nothing to us, but we shall never forget that you entered the blogosphere at the time when you were a vice president. Rather than using your weblog to impress politicians and statesmen, you created such warmth that you became subjected to plenty of accusations. We shall not forget any of that.

Dear Mr Abtahi,

We open our arms more than ever to embrace you. Please come back early. We’re waiting for you. There’s plenty to do …

One of your thousands of friends and admirers,

Mahmoud Farjami

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