Not Even Silence: The Story of Behrouz Tavakkoli

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 Behrouz Tavakkoli below…

Behrouz and Tahereh - more recent

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

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

I believe you respect someone by looking straight into their eyes, no matter how uncomfortable the truth you may see…

That is why I became a social worker: to see the truth in people’s eyes when they tell me their stories and struggles.

I was fired when my faith was discovered.

It didn’t matter that I’d served in the army, a lieutenant. Even my patriotism was suspect.

Arrests became a part of life. I spent months in solitary confinement, pacing my cell #7Bahais7years

Alone, in prison, I stared into the dark blue oceans within. I could have drowned. But didn’t.

They charged us with espionage and “corruption on earth”…

I looked at the kind faces of my fellow prisoners. I looked at my own life…

I thought about my friends, my clients who thanked me with their eyes, a white rose, a bowl of fruit

Innocence is more than a lack of guilt. Innocence is a state of mind, especially when you’ve been falsely accused.

So every day I wait, read, pray. I listen to the inner ocean. I can weather the storms, but this sadness never leaves.

Jailed friends, comrades in conscience, I salute you…

Your truth burns so bright, no walls, not even silence itself can deny you.


This story is inspired by the life and family memories of Behrouz Tavakkoli.


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