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For Hana and Ronak

We are Proud of Them

By: Farkhondeh Ehtesabian

Tuesday 27 January 2009


Translated by: Salman Zia-Ebrahimi

I want to talk about Hana and Roonak. It’s been a while since they have been imprisoned. I have asked myself many times what these two young women are really guilty of. And is seeking equality a crime?

Roonak is only 21 years old and her resume includes a plethora of social activities as does Hana’s, who at he age of 24 is one of the most talked about personalities among the circles who know her. Roonak and Hana started their social activities around women’s issues when they were 17 years old. At that age, the peak of the fervor of being young could have led them to different paths, but they chose to use this fervor to help their fellow human beings. While they were still vey young themselves, the issues concerning children without anyone to take care of them and disadvantaged rural women were always their main involvement.

Yes, I know very well the important role Roonak and Hana, along with their other friends have played in making rural women aware of their rights and in educating illiterate rural girls. I have read that they, at their own expense, put together celebration ceremonies at the Azar Mehr Society to honor women who had overcome drug addiction. They were always encouraging and supporting women to overcome drug addiction. Is being imprisoned really the way Hana and Roonak should be rewarded for all the burden they have carried on their shoulders? Is this the compassion that is being talked about?

Roonak’s sister talks about how Roonak has been the friend and supporter of the women who have no support system as well as being the companion of the oppressed women, children who have no one to care for them and economically disadvantaged families. And Hana’s brother tells us how Hana lovingly and passionately felt responsible towards oppressed women and girls. Hana has great empathy for women who attempt self-immolation and feels the pain of women who are the victims of violence in the same way that injustices and inequalities make Roonak’s heart ache.

Isn’t all this magnanimity and feeling responsible for fellow human beings really admirable?

Again, I read that Hana and Roonak, without expecting anything in return, teach illiterate rural women and girls to read and write and work with the girls in their hometowns to prepare them for entering universities. Roonak is concerned about working children and when she sees them, she thinks about how they could be helped. Aren’t there other eyes besides those of Roonak, Hana and other activists in this field that see the plight of these children or do those eyes just want to look the other way?

As I review the record of the achievements of these young women again and again, I find nothing other than service, hard work and impeccability. So what dark secrets are these gentlemen looking for in the clear records of these women? I know that they will never find anything. By doing this kind of thing, these gentlemen will only add a dark page to their own record.

I read that these gentlemen have asked the mothers of these young women: “What kind of girls have you brought up for the society?” They should know that young people like Hana, Roonak and others, whose numbers are fortunately not few, are the pride of all the mothers of this land. And their mothers should be proud to have brought up and nurtured such lion-hearted women in their bosom.

In Kurdish, Roonak means light and illumination. Dear Roonak, we hope for the day when the light and illumination of your presence, as well as your friend Hana’s presence, will once again shine in the gatherings of your families and friends.

Read the original in Farsi.

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