Zahra was the only educated member in her family. Her parents came to Tehran in 1960, from a village in Khuzestan to have more opportunity. Her father got a job as gardener in a couple of houses in the Northern part of Tehran. Their son got a job in a government building as a janitor. Their oldest daughter had married at 13, to a relative ten years older than her, and had two daughters. Later, they were able to get an apartment in the government project in Naziabad, south of Tehran.
Zahra’s mother started to work in one of the houses where her husband was a gardener, as a cleaning lady, for a couple of days a week. She would take Zahra with her to work. They were happy to have a home, and enjoyed modern facilities in Tehran. When Zahra was seven, they enrolled her at a nearby public school, where twelve years later she graduated. Her family was very proud of her. Soon she got a job as a secretary at a doctor’s office in North of Tehran, and later she married to her cousin who was the same age.
When the foreign media started to send messages of (A) Khomeini from France, like many Iranians, Zahra and her family would gather around radio at night, and listened to his messages that he would bring justice, equal opportunity, and better life for all Iranians, would give them water and electricity for free, and many other good promises. They were excited, and felt they may soon have a better life. When Khomeini sent a message to Iranians to go on the rooftop, and shout “Allaho Akbar”, Zahra’s family did all go on the roof, and sang Allaho Akbar, as loud as they could. Later they started to participate in the street demonstrations.
In a few months, shah left the country, and khomeini arrived. After a few days of celebration, changes in the name of a few streets, and change of national anthem to “Ey Iran”, the executions started, hejab became compulsory, and the war with Iraq started. Iranians who could afford, started to leave the country, among them were the doctor where Zahra used to work, and the families in Northern Tehran, where Zahra’s parents worked for, so Zahra and her parents lost their jobs.
Being out of job, her father started to go to local revolutionary committee, and Friday prayers. Zahra’s sister, her husband and two daughters, got paid jobs with IRI. They joined various new security groups like sar-allah, Ansar-allah, Hezbollah. Another of their assignment was to go to Behesht Zahra, join the groups that were carrying their shaheed to bury, and report anybody who may have expressed unhappiness with (A) Khomeini.
As the war continued, people were nervous, and worried about their safety. Once more, Khomeini ordered them to go on the rooftops, and pray “Allaho Akbar”. Zahra and her husband who had lost their jobs and expected a baby, were not happy, and did not join the rest of the family on nightly mission on the rooftop. This made Baba (the father) angry with them. Therefore, when (A) Beheshti and seventy other authorities died in a suicide accident, Baba went to the committee, and reported that his daughter and sun-in-low were responsible for the accident. Zahra and her husband were put in jail. Zahra’s mother and other relatives who knew this was not true, begged Baba to go to the authorities, and release them, but he did not agree.
Finally, after a few months, because Zahra was pregnant, and her mother became ill, Baba agreed to free her from jail. However, he made sure that her husband stays in the jail for a year, and they do not forget who is their boss!