A choice

By Massoud Azadi

choices
It was spring 1981 and the time of universities’ summer holidays. I spoke to a friend of mine in Aachen University in order to work together for a few months to earn some money for a trip to Iran to visit our families, relatives and friends. We decided to do it and then bought souvenirs and set for Iran on July. To go by plane was expensive so we decided to go to Iran via land through Turkey, which was a good idea.

On the way we discussed many issues about our country Iran and how things were changed during the period we were away from the country, and about friends and families, also about our future and what each one of us planned for the future.

At the Iran-Turkey borders instead of the usual border police, the Pasdaran (Iranian revolutionary guard corps) checked our identifications before we boarded the bus. Their manner of checking us wasn’t friendly. They looked at everybody suspiciously and with skepticism.

On the way to our final destination we were checked several times and it seemed to be a normal routine, because it aroused no one’s curiosity. When we reached Tehran, I got my friend’s address and set for Isfahan. My family was among families in the war zone (it was the Iran-Iraq war era) and had to move to a small city near Isfahan, where they had rented a small house, which of course looked nothing like our previous house.

I was very happy to see them after a long while and all the burden of the long trip was eased off seeing them and after a short while I gave the souvenirs I had bought for them which made them very happy and we kept talking about everything including old memories of recent years until late into the night. Certain family members were never mentioned, and whenever I talked about one of them, my father would quickly change the subject, a fact I didn’t notice at first.

In the evening, when the hot atmosphere of visiting each other subsided, I insisted to ask about certain relatives and finally my father spoke out to explain to me, and of course in a way not to make me annoyed or surprised.

He told me, “Your cousin was executed for being involved in propaganda activities for PMOI. When his father heard the news, since he loved his son very much, he immediately died of heart attack.”

I could not sleep till morning, reviewing the day’s visits and the news. I was about to forget the plan I had set for visiting all friends and relatives.

I did go to visit the loved ones though and after a few days I heard Mohsen (one of our family friends) was arrested under the same charge.

I went to see his parents and I heard that another son and a daughter had been arrested. His father worked for Iran’s oil company and he loved his children and whatever he earned he spent for their welfare. He told me, “I have cried so much that my eyes have sustained cataract.” Despite remaining silent and keeping herself busy with the housework, the mother’s face indicated the chaos that raged inside her. What a dedicated steadfast mother!

I tried to calm them down but wasn’t very successful since I myself wasn’t faring much better after having heard such horrible news and seen those miserable faces.

Wherever I went there was news about arrests and etc., and after a few days I decided I would go to Tehran for a change to visit the friend I had come with from Germany. I reached their house at about noon and after the greetings and the introduction to his family members we had lunch. While talking, I felt a heavy atmosphere in the house and despite the fact that they tried to show everything was normal but their attempt was in vain. I asked the reason. My friend Hamid finally told me what the matter was. One of his brothers had been arrested for supporting PMOI and taking part in the financial activities for PMOI and was on the verge of being executed, and another brother of his had run away to avoid being arrested by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. We went on discussing the reason for such arrests since no more than two years had passed from the anti-monarchial revolution in Iran and all those unusual things were happening.

Their house was under surveillance and Hamid himself was in danger of being arrested too. I went back to Isfahan to my family and had no further motives to see other relatives to renew old memories.

Hamid came to our house after a few days and said he could no longer go back to his father’s house and he was very decisive to return back to Germany but via land and the eastern borders since it was safer.

I myself was mulling over if staying in Iran any further was beneficial in any way. There was news about arrests, street clashes and torturing, executions everywhere. So I decided to cut my trip short and bid my family farewell and returned back to Germany where I could at least make complaints against mullahs’ atrocities and what they were doing to our people in Iran.

I was left to decide on one last thing only, a decision to whether continue my career in the university and if there would be a guaranteed future there for me, or should I choose the struggle against mullahs? The latter though very difficult but was prosperous because you could envision a glorious future in the horizon, the emancipation of our people from the filthy clutches of the mullahs and an end to all this injustice.

It is 33 years since that time and I presently reside in Camp Liberty in Iraq with PMOI paving the path of liberation of Iran. Although we are surrounded by various restrictions but we have covered 33 years of this struggle and certainly the hardships will also pass by.

This a path to final victory.

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