“Living In the Antechamber of Death” : MOTHER NEMATI


MOTHER NEMATI By: Parvaneh Alizadeh

It was two weeks ago when they brought Mother Nemati to our cell. We called her mother because she was much older than the average prisoner of 25 years old. She had been accused of helping her children escape when the guards suddenly attacked her house to arrest them. The children ran away through the roof.
They tortured her in hope of her confession of where they were about. She was worried that they might have broken their legs jumping from the roof. We gave her solace that it was better to have broken legs than be in this swamp. By the way, it was obvious that they were not arrested yet. She was happy when this was pointed out to her so she wished to stay in prison forever in exchange for her sons’ freedom.
Lunch was supposed to be for 10 people but surely was enough only for five. Sitting around a large round plate, eating together, we noticed that she played with food and ate slowly, wishing to leave more for us, a universal motherly behavior. We really loved her and respected her for her kindness, passion and affection.
One day they called her for interrogation in the morning. They dropped her at the room at dawn with a mutilated body; slashed and broken, the Pasdar was yelling that, her milk, given to her children, was full of sins so her breast needed to be cut off. Seeing us, she leaned against the wall, blood rushing through her body and happiness nested on her face. She stood there until we went to get her. I held her hand. My heart was broken seeing her body bruised all over.
Apparently, after torturing her, they forced her to walk bare foot through small crushed rocks. Blood wail away from her feet. How brave could one be? I broke into tears. I held her arm and with the help of some others, we carried her to a corner. She was shaking, could not walk on her own. How dare they force her to walk on rocks? We laid her on the floor. Everyone was brisk and agitated. Anger toward the régime, we swirled around her. Her eyes shot down and her lips fastened. Not a sound. She was not even crying or moaning. It broke our hearts to see someone as old as our mother lying in front of us humble and submissive.
Finally, she opened her lips, staring at the ceiling: “I only have one sin; I was born and lived poor. Is this a crime? Should I be tortured for it?”
We started crying and kissing her cheeks and feet wiping off the blood with our tears: you are not a criminal. You are our Mother, the mother of Humanity, the Mother of kindness, the mother of Love and Passion.

From: Look at it carefully (p52-54)

Living In the Antechamber of Death”
Compiled short stories of political prisoners in Islamic
Republic of Iran.

All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: on file
ISBN 978-1-4276-2240-2
1st Edition September 2007.
Copyright 2007
Printed in the U.S.A.
Any part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or
introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form, or
by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,
or otherwise) only by the translator’s permission.

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