A call from prison

By Ali Mahin-Torabi (sentenced to death at 16)                                                            فارسي

Walls, only walls. I am surrounded by walls. I cannot forget any of the terrifying moments of these last few days. I don’t want to think about how time is running out. Only a few more days…From the first day of my arrest, five years ago, until now, the sky is all I can see. During all these unbearable moments, I can only stare at the endless fences of my prison. I can only see its towers and its barbed-wires which pierce my heart. Do you hear the bleeding of my wounded heart? I am sick. I am cold. The essence of my youth has been shattered. Every moment of my tedious life is filled with rancor. I am tired. These repetitious days pull my existence apart. It’s to live or to die – it’s the only thing I can think of. The only thing that slowly destroys whatever is left of me. Every time I remember the pain that I am putting my parents through, I just want to die.

I have already written my will. I have accepted my destiny. But I am going to pray, before they put the noose around my neck. I am going to put my hand on the Koran and I will pledge that I haven’t killed Mazdak, my classmate and my friend. It is true that I had a knife in my hand, but I didn’t kill him. The weakness of my defense and the lack of a complete examination of the evidence have brought me here, into  this hopeless situation. I have heard that Mazdak’s mother has forgiven me, but I don’t know why his father doesn’t want me to live. I am trapped between life and death. During all these years the weight of the sin I haven’t committed has been on my shoulders. I am tired. All days are all the same. I look at the sky and pray.
Yesterday, someone showed me a copy of the Iran Newspaper. It seems that now people are praying with me. I read every line and every word expressing the compassion of these ordinary people, and I cried. I felt relieved, as if I could see an approaching sunrise.
Yes, my instincts tell me that at the end of this black night, a warm sun is going to shine in the sky. At the other side of my prison’s high fences there is a mountain and the mountain watches over me. No, even closer! God has enveloped my heart. God is calling my name. I call him to prove my faith to him. To show him that I still do exist, as long as he is with me. I still believe that God, from behind the bars of my cell, is observing my frozen hands. I am not leaving. I can hear him. I still believe that my sole share of life shouldn’t be living this way; living in a cage. I still believe that God is hearing my prayers. I truly believe it.
It is fall and I have almost forgotten how the trees look now. I miss the free world. I miss the fall and every moment of my life is full of passion. But there is no more time left. I have to go. And I don’t want to. Even my cellmates pity me and pray for me. The nightmare of death doesn’t leave me alone, but for the past few days I just try to hide my agony. If on my day of execution, Mazdak’s father forgives me, I promise I will be like a son to him
My mother brought me a book of Hafez. “My Ali will survive,” she said.  Now I dream of her and what she said every night.
I miss the smell of my home, the smell of my notepads and my books. If you found my computer notepad, please write on it: “I wished I could have become an engineer.” But I didn’t. Today I opened my book of Hafez and made a wish. It said: “I have vowed if one day my sorrow and unhappiness ends, I will sing and I will dance forever”.

If I am forgiven, each cell of my body will celebrate the gift of life. But for now, destiny and the will of Mazdak’s father and mother still own my youth.