July 6, 2009
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1. rightness n a: accordance with conscience or morality b: appropriate conduct; doing the right thing c: conformity to fact or truth 2. truth n a: the state of being the case b: the body of real things, events, and facts

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We are guilty for being innocent, Tonia Kaboodwand’s letter - Translated by Kay Azadabeen

This is a letter by Tonia Kaboodvand’s to her father, Sedigh Kaboodvand, the imprisoned chair of Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan in Iran.

Dad, my dear, today is the third year that they took you away from us. We are still waiting to have you back. Dad, you were not a citizen of Iran. If you were, the president would have made an effort to free you. I don’t know, maybe it would have been better if you were an American citizen, so you could have been freed a few days after being accused of spying. But you are the citizen of a country where the concept of human rights is meaningless. You are a Kurd, a second class citizen.

For defending humanity, equality, and freedom they gave you such a long prison sentence, and even denied you the rights of other prisoners. Maybe you had forgotten that defending humanity and human rights in Iran is an unforgivable crime, a crime that one of the presidential candidates was accused of too.

Yes, you were a Kurd and like all the Kurds around the world, like all the Kurds who are seen as foreigners in their own homeland, you were a foreigner. Your guilt was for being a member of the Kurdish nation. Maybe if you were not a Kurd, you would not have been sentenced to eleven years, and like other human rights activists who have the advantage of being non-Kurds, you would have been freed by now.

Yes, you were a Kurd. Like all Kurds, including the ethnic Kurds in Turkey, in Iraq, and in Syria, you are guilty for your innocence. Even if you would have avoided any activity, you would still have been guilty for being a Kurd.

Today is the third anniversary of your imprisonment for innocence. However, today you are one of the thousands of people in prison. Maybe they can keep silent about injustice and violation of the rights of the Kurds. Maybe they can ignore us and our rights. Maybe they see themselves as separate from us and therefore have created borders between us. But I don’t think like them. Regardless of being a Kurd or not, I can not just be an observer. Today they are all seeing the reality. Those who three years ago kept silent about your unfair treatment are in prison too. You were not for one faction of the power against the other but for the rights of humans, not that of a nation or anything else. 

Three years have passed. Today I remember not only the sadness of your arrest but also the sorrow of the people in our homeland.

Dad, me and thousands of members of the Human Rights Organization and millions of other Kurds for the first and last time went to voting polls and hoped for change. They had written selection and we read election. We made a mistake and paid for it by being called motes and thorns. Yesterday we were supporting an election and today we are called misguided protestors and rebels against national security. As a thank you for participation in the election, they have brought armed forces from Lebanon and other countries to serve us with tear gas and batons.

They claim Iran functions lawfully because is has laws. The laws allow peaceful gathering and demonstration but consider the demonstrators as trouble makers and agent of foreign forces and so the law does not apply to them. The rights of free press, free thought, and free speech applies only to the conformists and not to the opponents.

They claim freedom in Iran is almost absolute, Yet thousands are arrested, political parties and organizations are banned, civil rights, political rights, and human rights activists as well as journalists, reporters, and artists are incarcerated. Some have even lost their lives, by so called enemies and foreigners. Students and professors are in jail, newspapers are censored, websites are filtered, communication is blocked, the people’s media has become state media, and every right has become wrong. Here every voice and every protest is turned off. The streets do not reflect life and movement. Here is a much larger Evin prison.

By the way, if you hear loud praying at night, they might tell you it is from foreign embassies that are conspiring to make a velvet revolution.

Dear dad, thank god that freedom in Iran is almost absolute. I am wondering how it would have been, if it was absolute. For absolute freedom, free people like you end up in prison. History teaches us lessons. The time when innocent people are in prison and guilty ones are in power is a time that …..

Tonia leaves it open what time it is. I would say it is a time when we need to continuously ask when will be free or in Kurdish kay azadabeen.


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