Fathers and daughters

“Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.” – Anna Cummins

A few years ago, while waiting at the doctor’s office, my father wrote a poem for me and gave it to me, bringing tears to my eyes. A day before a good friend had passed away. On that small piece of paper he wrote a verse from Roudaki which said, “be brave, and grieve, let not your grief take over but live with fortitude and decency.” I can’t say I have listened to my father’s wise words ever sine he left me. On June 25 th 2009, my father would have been 94 years old. He passed away on April 20 th , 2009. I know this sounds ridiculous and totally illogical, but I never thought my father would die!! I was not ready, not at all. Can anyone ever be ready to lose a dear one? I don’t think so. Everyone says it is amazing for someone to live this long and that I should be grateful to have had him for these many years. I agree. Nevertheless, I think the more you are around your loved ones and the longer, the more difficult it is to lose them and let go of them physically and mentally. But I also think you cannot put a number or a figure on it because it is not the number of years they have lived; it is the fact that they were a big part of your life. My father was a huge part of my life, in every way, in every sense of the word. He taught me, he advised me, he was my mentor and my support; he was also my critic. There is a hole in my heart and a big gap in my life. I wish I could have given five years of my life for him to have stayed with me for only a few more months.

I have heard that in many instances, people realize when they are about to leave this world. This past year, my father gave me two tasbihs (prayer beads) that he treasured to me, and he gave a copy of the Shahnameh to my younger brother, Mehdi. He asked me what he should do with his books in Iran, whether he should donate them to his hometown of Arak and the University there. His handicapped parking pass would have expired end of April 2009. When one of my brothers, Mahmoud, told him of the expiration date, he said, don’t worry I won’t make it past that time! Alas, he was right. I cannot bear to look at a photo of my father and I cannot read anything, all that has written about him.

A friend of mine who was close to me but did not call me when I wanted to hear his words of sympathy said in a message on Facebook that my father was not just a father to me but he was a father to many others. It is true. It was as if many people who knew him or did not know him personally had lost a father figure. When a ceremony in his honor was announced in Tehran, I, for one, did not think it was going to happen. As we know gatherings for people like my father are not appreciated in the Islamic Republic. But he was larger than life. He was respected by everyone. Simin Behbehani read a poem in his honor. Abbas Amirentezam signed the book of condolences. The cleric Mohagheh Damad, Mehdi Haeri Yazdi’s nephew asked the public to attend the ceremony, and Shah Hosseini, a member of the National Front, in his old age gave a speech in my father’s honor and a damning one against the present rulers. Many people, almost 700 people from all walks of life, young and old, attended his memorial service, held just before the terrible events of June 2009. He was loved by everyone. He had touched many lives. He was just one of those rare people who leave a mark on many.

My father was just that person. He wasn’t just respected among the political elite of Iran; he was loved by the common people as well, for upholding what is noble to all of us, integrity and compassion for ordinary people. As I said in my eulogy, he may have been Mosaddeq’s lawyer, but he was the common men’s lawyer including an opium addict whom my mother cared for at our house. He was the lawyer of Gholamreza Takhti, of Shamshiri, of the Soudavars, of the singer Marzieh, and of so many men and women we know of, including Azar Nafisi. He was trusted by everyone who knew him, throughout his life. It is no wonder that Mosaddeq, in a letter dated 8 th Khordad 1344, writes: “In your presence and not just behind your back, I have said so many times that you are one of the most decent human beings that I have ever met in my entire life.” (Letters from Ahmad Abad: Mosaddeq’s letters to Nosratollah Amini, 1335- 1345, compiled and edited by Fariba Amini, Washington, DC, 2003). I am so glad that I published this book while he was alive. He and my mother were the ones who told me of the stories behind each and every one of the letters and helped me to understand them. I am glad that we had a celebration of his life while he was still alive, even though he told my mother that if I organized such an event he would burn the house, with him inside! He never liked lavish ceremonies and he never liked to talk about himself or his achievements in life. But he finally gave in and came and made us all very happy. He thanked us over and over again after the event. Many people spoke, including Mehrangiz Kar, Ehsan Yarshater, Akbar Ganji, Dr. Baradar, Dr. Tahmassebi, Colone Kouhrangi, Timsar Houshang Aryanpour, Abbas Amir Entezam sent him a beautiful message, so did Dr. Iraj Afshar, and a young journalist from Kermanshah, who had only heard about him. It showed the variety of people he knew and who admired him. In short, Nosratollah Amini was a populist in the good sense of the word, as well as a popular man who remained popular until his last day.

Do things for your loved ones while they are with you, not when they are gone… because then it will be too late. When they are gone, they are gone forever… For some reason or another I don’t believe in afterlife.

I loved him so much because he was a good father, a caring and loving grandfather, who just two years ago became a great grandfather to the cutest baby ever. He had zest, he loved life, and he loved people. He had a wicked sense of humor until the very end. He was a people’s person in every sense of the word. When he was the mayor of Tehran, he used to be called the mayor of southern Tehran. He brought public plumbing to the impoverished parts of Tehran and built a park. People cried and people read and wrote about him. How he saved Persepolis against Khalkahli and his henchmen, how he stood up to the Shah, to Khomeini, to the injustice of both regimes. He stood his ground and never failed nor compromised on principles. He never said yes to those in power, he always said no to corruption. He did not distinguish between the haves and the have-nots. That is why in his 94 years of life, no one could say anything negative about Nosratollah Amini. He was a people’s man.

I never forget when we were young; my father insisted on taking us, his five kids and my mother with a chauffeur, Mammad Aqa, and we traveled through every town and city of Iran, from Tehran to Kish and Hormuz, from Bandar Abbas to Zahedan and Zabol, from Shiraz to Yazd, from the Persian Gulf to the shores of the Caspian Sea. I never forget his words; he always told us, you must see your own country before you see and appreciate other lands. In every major town, he knew someone. We never stayed in a hotel or Mosaferkhaneh. There were always people he knew from all walks of life.

My father was genuine, a rare phenomenon these days when the adjective seems forgotten. He did not compromise with those who were tyrants, be it religious, monarchist or leftist. He believed in the rule of law. But above everything else, he was a great father to me, a father who always gave me good advice and stood on my side in good and bad times.

Yes, he was almost 94 when he died but it doesn’t matter. I only wished I had him a few more weeks, a few more months just to look at him or talk to him. Maybe it is selfish of me, but I wanted to talk to him more even if talking was becoming difficult for him. He was still full of life even if old age was getting to him. He knew everyone who came to see him. He asked how one of his doctor’s friends’ sister was doing even though he had not seen her for many years. He was sharp and alert until the last moment and he wanted to live a bit longer even if his body was clearly giving up on him. My father was healthy for his age, took only one medicine. He kept taking his vitamins and even asked me a day before he died whether there was Vitamin B- 12 in the nutrition they were giving him! I started laughing and the nurse asked me why I was laughing? I translated for her. Can you imagine someone in such a state to be so amazingly alert? Alas, that a body worn out by antibiotics, ex -rays and wounds from bed sores could not bear the pain or the suffering and gives up at some point.

Nosratollah Amini was part of a special breed of men, a kind and smart human being who is with me every moment of my life. To many who cried for him, he was a caring soul, had an incredible sense of humor, who did not have ta’arof, who loved life, who loved his children, his wife, his grandchildren, and the so- many friends he had. He was liked and respected by everyone, anyone who met him, even once. It is rare to leave this life with few enemies.

My father had no enemies. I go to bed trying to sleep, and think of him as I often do during the day. He is with me all the time. When I buy flowers, the purple that he loved, and the gol-e- Ladan he had planted in our house in Bagh-e Ferdows, I think of him. I think of the many poems he knew by heart, the ones he would ask me to read with him and would correct me, even until just a few months ago before his death. I think of the remarks he would make about my clothing or the fact that he would get upset and scold me for putting make up on while driving! I think of the time I would put on French or Persian music for him while driving him to the doctor’s office and he would thank me and appreciate it. I think of his stubbornness also when he would refuse to do something that he did not like, an Araki trait, I am told. I think of the times especially these last few months that he would always say I am a mozahem (a burden) and would apologize. In the last few days before his death especially, he kept kissing the hands of my mother, his wife of 64 years who shaped his life; he thanked her for making his life pleasant, for sacrificing everything for him, for being the Florence Nightingale that she was, for bringing him and others food while he and members of the National Front were in prison, for standing by him in times of joy and pain. I can never forget nor should I, for my father was everything that a decent human being should be about. He was true to himself and true to others. He was genuine.

Someone in Tajikistan wrote about him, I received emails from Dubai and Uzbekistan, dozens of emails and calls from around the globe. Ettela’at and E`temad Melli wrote about him in these times of censorship of everything in Iran. So did the Washington Post and various other newspapers in the US.

What is there in life than to have lived a fruitful and fulfilling life that he did, to leave a good name and a great legacy? My father was all that and more. I hope I can be just a tar–e mu-ye u. I hope I can continue his legacy by being just a good human being.

اوست پایدار

دکتر نصرت الله امینی مرد عرفان و سیاست، قانون و عدالت، مبارز دیر پای نهضت ملی ایران، وکیل شجاع و یار وفادار دکتر محمد مصدق، و شهردار تهران در دوره دولت ملی، جان به جان آفرین تسلیم کرد.

آیین بزرگداشت این رادمرد فرهیخته، آزادیخواه و استقلال طلب روز چهارشنبه 16 اردیبهشت ماه از ساعت18 در تهران مرکز همایشهای بین المللی رایزن (دایره المعارف بزرگ اسلامی) در کاشانک نرسیده به سه راه آجودانیه برگزار می شود.

حضور سروران، اندیشمندان، آزادیخواهان، میهن دوستان و آنان که به سربلندی و سعادت ایران می اندیشند را در این آیین ارج نهاده، گرامی می داریم.

میترا آبتین، مصطفی آجودانی، احمد آريان فرد، محمد آزادی- حمید آصفی – فریدون آقاسی – سامر آقایی – سعید آل آقا- عباس ابوذری- محمد ابوالحسن – مهرداد ارفع زاده – فرزانه اسکندری – جمال اسکویی – عباس ابوذری، عبدالعلي اديب برومند، دکتر مه لقا اردلان، بامداد ارفع زاده، عبدالله ازدوجيني، محمد اسدی، دكتر مرتضي اشرفي، دکتر حسین اعرابی، فرهاد اعرابی، بانو فرشید افشار، علیرضا افشاری، فرهاد اميرابراهيمي، الهه امیرانتظام، عباس امیرانتظام، محمد اويسي، حسن ایزدی، محمود امامی – عباس افخم رضایی – احمد انصاری – مازیار اصلانی – هادی احتظامی – منوچهر احتشامی – مصطفی اخلاقی – طاهر احمدزاده – مهدی امینی زاده – عبدالمجید الهامی – حمید احراری – حسن احمدی – محسن احمدی – حسن افتخار اردبیلی – علی اکرمی – ابراهيم زاده، غلامرضا اربابي، اعظم اکبر زاده – زهرا اکبر زاده – محمود امیر احمدی- نیره انصاری – حجت انصاری – ابوالفضل بازرگان – عبدالعلی بازرگان – فرشته بازرگان- محمد نوید بازرگان – اکبر بدیع زادگان- کمال الدین بازرگانی – عمادالدین باقی – بهروز برومند – پريدخت برومند، عبدالحسين برومند، محمد بسته نگار – پروین بختیار نژاد – مختار باطولی – علی اصغر بهنام – مهدی بهشتی – فرامرز بیانی – محمد حسین بنی اسدی – عماد بهاور- راضیه بوستانکار- مرضیه بوستانکار- صفا بیطرف – رحمت الله برهانی – ایرج باقرزاده – خلیل براتی – ایمان براتیان – ناصر بهبهانی – محمد بهفروزی – محمد بهزادی – داودهرمیداس باوند، علی اکبر بدیع زادگان، مرتضی بدیعی، جهانشاه برومند، تيرداد بنكدار، احمد بهنیا، عليقلي بياني، افشین جعفرزاده، حسین به آور، حاج جواد بهشتی، حسن پارسا – مسعود پدرام – عباس پور اظهری – حبیب الله پیمان – مجید پیمان –عباس تاج الدینی – عبدالرضا تاجیک مسعود توانگر –ناصر تکمیل همایون- نصر الله توکلی نیشابوری – مصطفی تنها – مجید تولایی – غلامعباس توسلی – محمد توسلی- مجید جابری- محمد مهدی جعفری – روح الله جیره بندی، نصرالله جمشیدی، حسین حریری – طه حجازی – حمید حدیثی – علی حدیثی – حمید حسامی – بهزاد حق پناه – آیدین حسنلو – حسينجاني،ابوالفضل حکیمی – عبدالکریم حکیمی – مجید حکیمی –محمد حیدری – عیسی خان حاتمی، اسماعیل حاج قاسمعلی، علی حاج قاسمعلی – محمد حسین ختنی فر – امیر خرم- حسین خشایار دوست- محرم خلیل زادگان- غلامرضا خوش خلق – 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نسرین ستوده – مرتضی سلطانیه –عبدالفتاح سلطانی – سید محمد علی سیف زاده – محمد سر چمی–بیوک سعیدی – بدری سعیدی – علی اشرف سلطانی آذر – عبدالفتاح سلطانی – حاج محمد ساعی، محمود سامی، شاهین سپنتا، خسرو سعیدی، مسعود سفري، حسین سکاکی، فرزاد سلطانی، فرشاد سلطانی، منوچهر سماک، حاج علیقلی سوزنی،حسین شاه اویسی – حسین شاه حسینی، علی شجاع، احمد شجاعی ، منوچهر شجاعیان، عباسقلی شهسواری، یوسفعلی شهسواری، احمد شه ناصری، حسن شهیدی سعيد شمس، جليل شهناز،ابراهیم شاکری – محمودشاددل بصیر – محمد شریف – ناصر شیرازی – علی شاملو محمودی – الله وردی شمبوری – احمد شهامت دار – حسن شهبازی- حسنعلی صارم کلامی – مهوش صالحی – نسرین صدری – سیاوش صحت – محمد صاحب محمدی- هدی صابر – حمید رضا صمدی –– مهدی صراف – مظفر صفری – رضا صفری – کیوان صمیمی – سعید صاحب محمدی – هاشم صباغیان – احمد صدر حاج سید جوادی – رضا صدر – جلیل ضرابی- عباسعلی صحافیان، يوسف صحفي، مسعود صفاریان، اکبر صفویه، محمود صوراسرافيل، مجید ضیايی، علی اشرف ضرغامی – فریدون ضرغامی – اعظم طالقانی – طاهره طالقانی – امیر طیرانی – حسام طالقانی – نرگس طالقانی- یوسف طاهری – اکبر طاهری – محمد طاهری – حسین عزت زاده،– رضا علیجانی – محمد عمرانی – روئین عطوفت – علی علوی – سید جعفر عباس زادگان – باقر علایی – هما عابدی – محمد جعفر عمادی – علی اصغر غروی – علیرضا غروی – ماجد غروی –سعید غروی – علی غفرانی – محمد حسین غفارزاده- اکبر غضنفری، شاهرخ غضنفری، رامین غنچه ای، پرستو فروهر- آرش فروهر – ابوالقاسم فروزان – امیر فتاحیه – اسماعیل فاضل پور- اسماعیل فراهانی – علیرضا فرهادی – رضا فانی – مصطفی فاضلی – حسن فرید اعلم – غفار فرزدی – ارسلان فلاح – حسین فوری زاده – ناصر فربد، خلیل فردوسی، محسن فرشاد یکتا، اصغر فنی پور، محمود فیض پور، علي قادري، بهمني قاجار، مصطفی قاسمی – باقر قدیری اصلی، حسن قدیانی، علي قديري، سید حسن قوام شهیدی، محمود قیصری – نظام الدین قهاری – عباس قائم الصباحی – عبدالحسین قمی زاده – خسرو قشقایی – ماهرو قشقایی – حجت الله قیاسی- منوچهر کیهانی – علی اکبر کاشانی – رحمان کارگشا – مرتضی کاظمیان – هادی کحال زاده – فریدون کشکولی – بهناز کیانی – اسدالله کارشناس – پروین کهزادی – اميربانو كريمي علیرضا کرمانی – مصطفی کتیرایی– خسرو کرد بور- مسعود کرد بور – علی کریمی – ژرژ کریم، ناصر کمیلیان، رضا گلنراقی، محمود گرگین – علی اصغر گلسرخی – فاطمه گوارائی – بیژن گل افرا – حسين گيوي – مسعود لدنی رضا لطفی پور، – سیمین مخبر – فرزین مخبر- حمید رضا مسیبیان – مصطفی ملاز- مهدی محمدی – اسد موسوی – سید هاشم موسوی – رشید مظفری سردشتی – سیاوش مقدم – حسین مجاهد – نرگس محمدی – محمد محمدی اردهالی – محمد جواد مظفر- قدرت منصوری – عبدالله مومنی – احمد معصومی – ضیاء مصباح –وحید میرزاده – نوشین محمدی – سعید مدنی – یاسر معصومی – حسین مدنی – مرتضی مقدم –

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