Last month I wrote about Sina, an
18-year-old boy in
When I heard Sina’s story for the first time, I wondered about another innocent condemned to death who lacks Sina’s talents in music. Was he going to die? What does it mean if an accused person cannot rely on the justice system, if instead, as lonely as it sounds, his only hope is the extent of his own limited abilities? What if the accused is sixteen years old and doesn’t play Nay?
Ali Mahin Torabi
This is the true story of this man:
Today my friend in
He is still full of life and hope but my friend sounded so desperate.
She asked me to help Ali.
I write this with that task weighing heavily upon my shoulders. Where to begin?
I searched the Internet and was stunned to learn there are at least another 80 children in the same situation as Ali—young people waiting to be executed for crimes they allegedly committed when they were minors. One on this sinister list is a 13-year-old girl.
I stare in horror at the images on the internet of countless public hangings. In the crowds watching this vision of horror, stand children, and all I can think about is what lessons they are learning. They stare at the soulless eyes of an alleged criminal, the one who will, in just one second, become a victim. Then I find another image: a hanged woman in black chador dancing in the air; the figure is imposing and sinister, and isolated. It’s as if this picture belongs to another place, another race, another dimension. It’s as if time has stopped, and all humanity is linked through one hanged woman’s despair.
My mind drifts.
No, I think. I don’t need to look at this image. I don’t need to write this nightmare. Why should I write such a story? This is a vision I don’t want to see. These are words I don’t want to read. There is this crushing silence I don’t want to break.
I think: There is this truth I don’t dare defy.
The weight on my shoulders grows heavier....still more.
Should I contact humanitarian organizations? Should I send letters and emails? Should I make phone calls?
What can I actually achieve?
I am not in
How am I supposed to tell his story?
This story should stab, Kafka wrote.
That means Ali’s story should shock
and awaken. That means I should dream about it, over and over and over again.
That means I should change and change again my wording to hone the piece until
it is pure perfection. That means I should fall asleep every night repeating
this same story, to find the exact place of each word in the flow of my
narration. Each word has to be where it should be. My story must reveal the
randomness of this cruelty, and I must mention hope, and yes, even love. I
know I have to please all those who read it and move those who have never
cared—not for innocents hanged, not for young men and women in
It is how, all of us, we will never leave this moment, this moment of a man’s tangible sorrow.
It is how we will share his futureless existence; we will believe his beliefs and we will sink in the pool of his despair. We are going to belong to that place, to that hanging place, where we will turn into Ali.
But maybe for once, only this time,
we will not shut our mouths out of fright. For once, we will be united - no
matter where we come from, and we will shout and scream: “Stop it. Stop the
execution of Ali. Stop the execution of children in
But? How? How do I begin to tell this story?
How is it going to end?
How will my writing save Ali?
... Payvand News - 10/6/07 ... --