Photo by Hasan Sarbakhshian / AP
Wishing upon a star
What about the children of unemployed journalists?
By Najmeh Fakhraie
May 15, 2000
Tehran Times is a new column which will appear periodically. Najmeh
Fakhraie is a 16-year-old student in Tehran.
When I was a kid (well a younger kid) I used to love reading books about
"Ramona", though I don't remeber her adventures very well. I
do remeber that they were pretty funny. I've never forgotten one book though,
"Ramona and her dad" , where he loses his job. I felt really
sorry for her, since she couldn't buy jelly-beans - or whatever else they
were - anymore, and they couldn't afford going to her favorite restaurant.
It was long since I had read the book but a few weeks ago I felt the same
sadness all over again, only it was a lot stronger this time.
As you know a while back, a bunch of newspapers were closed down. Coincidentally
they all belonged to the reformers, as they're called.
I really don't care who the people who lost their jobs were, what they
believed in, what "evil" acts they commited to deserve treatment
like this but I feel so sorry for them and their children. Is there a birthday
party they were looking forward to but now can't go because they can't
afford a present? Are they sad? Are they scared? I bet anything that they
are. And all because of what? So some simple-minded indivisuals could stay
in power a little longer. But is that worth sadenning all those children?
Worrying all those women? dissapointing all those men? Well I know that
in the game of politics it probably is, but it's just not fair to all those
Hadn't this government promised us freedom? Hadn't it promised us a
better life? Hadn't it promised us security? So, where are they all? Who's
responsible for these people's lives? Who's there to answer all these questions?
Is THIS the freedom we were promised? The loss of your job for speaking
out your mind?
The other day when I sat in a taxi, I found out that the guy who was
driving it worked for Asr-e Azadegan, one of the closed newspaper.
At least he was lucky that he owned a car. I know for a fact that most
don't. When I asked him "What are you going to do now?" he replied,
"Just keep on driving until I can be sure that if I stop, I won't
have to go back at it again after a month." He went on to explain
that he'd lost his job twice before because two other newspapers he used
to work for had also been closed down.
When I was a kid and my parents had to go away for a while, my mother
sat me down on her lap the night before she was to leave, pointed to a
star and told me that I shouldn't be so sad , because each of us has a
star up in the sky and that star will always watches over us. . . no matter
what. So I hope and pray with all my heart that their stars are careful
watchers, because it seems that their own kind on earth aren't doing a
very good job of watching.