The Burial of Haleh The Burial of Haleh Sahabi /Narrated by one of the Mothers of Peace, Shahla Forouzanfar - The Feminist School
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The Burial of Haleh The Burial of Haleh Sahabi /Narrated by one of the Mothers of Peace, Shahla Forouzanfar

Translated by:Roja Bandari

Sunday 5 June 2011


Feminist School:There are those instances, when you hear some news, you picture the event in your mind, you even pass on the news, but in the next instant your mind rejects it altogether. Those present at "Behesht Fatemieh" cemetery in Lavasan seemed to be grappling with this contradiction as they were laying Haleh’s pure body to rest in the cold ground. I don’t know how the effects of such contradiction manifest themselves medically, but I was witness to women convulsing and men losing consciousness temporarily.

For a while, every time I missed Haleh Sahabi I would drive past Evin Prison and would shout out: "Hello dear Haleh!" I felt as if my shout shattered like glass in the middle of the busy street.

When she was temporarily released from prison, I had found a way to see her more. In the morning she would read while sitting next to her father’s hospital bed and talked to him in his sleep. Sometimes she would whisper in his ears with such affection that it would break my heart and my tears would join hers in sorrow.

We used to speak often on the way back from the meetings of "Mothers of Peace." I spoke of the pain, cruelties, and immoralities in the society. One time she told me: "Shahla, We have stayed alive too long. By now we should have proudly sacrificed ourselves to defend the rights of all men, women and children to a humane life."

Haleh was a poet, writer, painter, Quran scholar, women and children’s rights advocate; a true social activist.

I once asked her how she came to be so humane, kind, pious, and compassionate. She said she owed it all to those who had passed on, and that she had promised to step in the path of humanity.

Her warmth always brought us joy. Yesterday I saw the green scarf that Mothers of Peace had given her in appreciation of her kindness toward women inmates. It was torn. We did not get a chance to make it up to her.

I am happy that I spent all day with her yesterday. Next to her lifeless, innocent body. God granted me the privilege of saying a long goodbye.

I was at a loss for words in front of her mother, aunts and children. I didn’t know how to express my condolences. Why was I alive and she was dead?

In the dark of her night-time burial there was a chance to speak with her mother. I told her about how I witnessed Haleh whispering in her father’s ears while she sat at his bedside in the hospital. Her mother said with a sigh, "Heleh chose the freedom of flight over the captivity of staying here. But I’m worried for Ameneh and Asieh." She then looked at me with pain and grief in her eyes and continued, "all of my memories with Haleh are happy and filled with life. I think hard but don’t remember my child once ever hurting me. I’m only upset with Ezzat who took Haleh with him and did not allow her to stay with me. "

Source in Persian:

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