A collection of the author’s touching letters written over six months to her father, who was imprisoned in Tehran for expressing his political views.
In 2001, when Rafiee’s father, Hossein, a chemistry professor at the University of Tehran, was arrested for the first time by the Iranian Revolutionary Court agents and imprisoned, she gave him a cache of letters upon his release six months later. Her father was deeply moved by the letters, which he had not received in jail, and urged her to publish them. At the time, the author was a 17-year-old about to graduate high school and too shy to pursue the project. However, when Hossein was jailed again in 2015 on similar charges of membership in an illegal organization and “propagating falsehoods in order to agitate the public mind and government officials with the intent of conveying the State as inefficient,” she resolved to confront what she and her father considered a violation of human rights. Seized mysteriously at a meeting of a pro-democracy political coalition on March 11, 2001, the author’s “Baba” was whisked away into solitary confinement, perhaps in the notorious Evin Prison—though the family, consisting of the author, her brother, Mohammad, a university student, and her stalwart though ailing mother, were not apprised of his whereabouts. During the next few months, she and her mother besieged the court, along with other bereft wives, to demand access to their vanished husbands, finding strength in organization and activism. While her mother confronted the newly re-elected president, Mohammad Khatami, the author recognized her role as a historian, documenting what she saw and heard, and she sent a letter to the U.N. Commissioner of Human Rights. She also resolved to pursue a career as an activist doctor. Although her grades suffered and she was single-mindedly anxious about her father’s condition, Rafiee ultimately embraced her political education.
Affecting letters bearing witness to human rights abuses.