Alive and kicking
Victim meets torturer
By Fariba Amini
August 3, 2001
The subject of this true story wishes to remain anonymous.
We were going to a dinner party on a summer's day in Paris. We took the
metro and waited at the Trocadero metro station. We came down and waited
for our train. I was holding a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of Irises all
wrapped. As we waited with my companion, suddenly on the other side of the
metro, I saw his face, a face from the past. The bouquet suddenly fell from
my hands, my jaw fell and my face became white as snow. I had seen a ghost!
My companion asked me what had happened. I couldn't answer her. I only
saw him. He was all dressed in a suite. But that face had not changed. He
was my torturer and interrogator for 13 months. I had been jailed for having
some political pamphlets and charged with being affiliated with a leftist
organization. They came to our house. My apolitical family did not know
what was happening. They could not swallow it. SAVAK secret agents were
looking for evidence. There was none. Nevertheless, they arrested me. It
was the year 1971. I spent the next five years in jail.
Rassouli, along with Tehrani, had interrogated me and consequently tortured
me, severely. Floggings, constant beatings, and mental torture was common
in the Komite Shahrbani. They wanted confessions from me. But there was
none. I did not talk. There was nothing to say. My feet were swollen and
there were deep wounds on my feet. My feet were all black. Infections were
taking over and gangrene was imminent. He would cuss to discredit me. I
had come from a prominent family. No one could understand. I could not understand.
I was an avid reader of all kinds of books and yet my torturer couldn't
grasp it. I had done nothing wrong.
Rassouli was there, on that summer day, in the metro, across from me.
He saw me. And then he left abruptly, escaping from his past. We went to
the dinner party but I was bewildered and could only think of prison days;
the constant beatings and the cries of other prisoners. And now he was strolling
in the streets of Paris.
We went to a rally protesting human rights violations by the Islamic
Republic. I was there when again I saw him. He was there alongside some
monarchists. That face could not be forgotten. I told the organizers that
my torturer is among us! Please do something. I could not breathe. He must
leave or else. Nothing was done until I told some of the attendees. Two
started to rush towards Rassouli. And he begun to move quickly. He was running
away from his victims. My torturer had come to a human rights rally! To
announce his opposition against human rights violations! What an awkward
situation. He ran away. And I stayed wondering the events of that day.
I had broken ribs from the tortures. I have a big hole in the back of
my foot. I still limp.
I lived in Paris. So does Rassouli. We came from the same country but
different backgrounds. Yet, we saw each other in the same city. The city
of love and freedom He was my torturer and I his victim. He was free and
I was still living the horror of those days and nights. I am here today
but my memories of the Komite, the cries and the agonies of others will
always be with me. Rassouli is alive and kicking. I only know that our world
is surely unfair and I know that the irises have died.