Let Me Tell You About Joy: The Story of Fariba Kamalabadi

May 14 marks 7 years in prison for the 7 Baha’i leaders in Iran. In honor of these prisoners of conscience, a campaign #7Bahais7years is telling their stories. You can read profiles of the seven leaders here. And you can read the full Twitter story of Fariba Kamalabadi below…

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What is written on the walls of the heart of a prisoner of conscience? Let’s imagine…

My name is Fariba Kamalabadi and I’ve been in jail 7 years for being a Baha’i.

My dear friend, Mavash, has honored me with a poem: “O my companion of the cage! How many cruelties we saw together…”

One of the harshest cruelties was missing my daughter’s wedding: What are they afraid of, to deny a mother this joy?

In prison, I asked one question over and over: “What is this pain I feel and what is this joy?”

I know the pain of separation, and yet “this pain has a pleasant fragrance, because it is filled with the fine perfume of joy…”

I may be behind bars, but I know the joy of a mother “who finds her child to now be a graceful youth, determined and steadfast…”

I may be behind bars, but I know the joy of a child who enriches the pain of separation by taking steps in the path of service…

My children, “you well know that I am with you with every cell of my existence & my prayers fill the atmosphere of your ceremonies”

Be comforted, my dears: “My crime is to worship the One God, and to acknowledge the truth of all God’s religions…”

In prison, I have known a new vision of family. I have many daughters, sisters, sons, all with high ideals for Iran & the world….

“Let me tell you more about joy again, how with its radiance & sparkle it dims all pain and suffering, and even banishes it altogether.”

This story is inspired by a letter attributed to Ms. Kamalabadi, addressed to her daughter.


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