Ariel Dorfman Joins Global Outcry for Medical Release of Nahid Taghavi
June 12, 2023
Revcom.us editors’ note: We received this news release from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC).
Ariel Dorfman is a world-renowned Argentine-Chilean-American novelist, playwright, essayist, academic and human rights activist. He is the author of Death and the Maiden and Voices From the Other Side of Death and the forthcoming novel The Suicide Museum.
Ariel Dorfman sent this rapid response to the IEC’s June 5 press release on Nahid Taghavi.
While indicating his “extremely overburdened” schedule, he made time to issue his thoughtful statement (in full below), saying he “could not shake the thought of Nahid’s suffering.” He added, “Let’s hope it helps to open some hearts.”
Exactly sixty years ago, in June of 1963, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was jailed in Qasr Prison in Teheran for having called for mass demonstrations against the Shah who at the time ruled Iran. There were plans to execute Khomeini but he was spared and eventually sent into exile.
Today, Qasr Prison is a Museum, a place of peace and remembrance. But there is no peace in Evin Prison, in the northern hills of Teheran: it is notoriously filled with thousands of patriots whose only crime is to have spoken against the current regime. Among those political prisoners is Nahid Taghavi who has been detained there since October 2020. Despite being critically ill, the authorities have refused to give her medical leave so her life can be saved.
This is a chance for the men who today rule Iran, the successors of the Ayatollah Khomeini, to show they are not like the Shah whom they rebelled against. A first gesture would be to allow Nahid Taghavi to receive the medical aid she desperately needs. But that measure should be followed by the freeing of all political prisoners held in so many prisons in Iran. What better way of commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of their Supreme Leader surviving his imprisonment? And what better way than to show the jailers of Nahid Taghavi understand that mercy and compassion are central to the religion they profess.
Ariel Dorfman also wrote, when the International Emergency Campaign was initiated in early 2021, this powerful statement of support:
Good-hearted people are constantly being bombarded with so many requests to sign petitions about important issues, that it is natural that they should feel overwhelmed, asking themselves what good will it do, wondering how one signature can possibly make a difference. If I have signed on to the Emergency Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, it is because I know that this initiative will effectively call attention to the situation of men and women in that country who, if enough pressure is brought to bear on its leaders, could tomorrow be liberated from terrible conditions and extraordinary injustice. And even if those leaders do not listen, I am convinced – from personal experience – that the prisoners themselves are given strength to survive and persevere, they are listening. They know others, faraway, care what happens to them, and we should not let them down.