by Ahmad M

Ne’mat Ghasemi was born in Port Gonave, Iran. He was tall, skinny but very athletic. I met him in solitary confinement of a detention center in Shiraz. When they pushed me into the cell it was very dark, and I suddenly saw myself standing before a man that was severely tortured and his legs were wounded up to this knees. He was severely beaten, but his spirits were very high. I was a bit confused and thought that I didn’t belong there. The cell was very small for one person, let alone two. I was still standing when Ne’mat opened up some room for me and asked me to sit. A few minutes later they might come and take you for interrogation, and I might have to give you all the gauzes and dressing pads, he said.

I said they haven’t whipped me.

Ne’mat laughed kindly and said you don’t think that they invited you here for dinner, do you? A few minutes later they will be coming for you, so sit down for now, he suggested.

I was still lost in my own thoughts after the first scene when I entered the cell. I was comparing myself to him. All of a sudden the cell door opened and they asked me to come. On my way back two guards were helping me walk and they brought me to that same cell and threw me inside alongside Ne’mat, saying they will come back for me again.

This time my feelings were different. I was now thinking I am his cellmate and there is no distance between us anymore. I was still feeling the pains of the lashes, but the closeness I felt with Ne’mat had changed everything.

The interrogators said we will come back for you. I told them finish it once and for all. One of the prison guards said he appears to be hungry for more… Ok, we will come for you again and there is no hurry yet…

Ne’mat said sit down for now because you have to be ready all the time. He then asked how many lashes did they give you? I don’t know, I answered, I hardly counted to 25 and after that it was literally impossible to bear.

I felt I had paid the price necessary to sit next to Ne’mat and call him my friend. He was becoming dearer to me with every passing second.

While his thin body was severely tortured, he had established a relationship with one of the prison guards by the name of Omran. The guard was really touched by his spirit, whereas all the guards had always called us the enemy. Ne’mat was always very kind to Omran and this really moved him, reviving his lost humane emotions. I don’t know whatever happened to Omran, but Ne’mat was executed.

This is just one story of many Iranians who said no to the ayatollahs’ dictatorship in Iran. This resistance continues today and the Iranian opposition movement inside the country and abroad is very much alive and active. The Iranian diaspora is planning to hold its annual gathering on June 13 in Paris for the world to see that the Iranian people are truly striving for change.