Reprinted from Akhbar Rooz, March 10, 2022, translated by the IEC
Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to life in prison, wrote a letter on March 8 congratulating all women on International Women's Day and exposing the torture she faced at the Kermanshah Sepah/Army Intelligence Detention Center. The text of the letter is as follows.
“With all my heart, I send March 8 congratulations to my patient mother, to the women who look forward to seeing their loved ones, and to the women of all the world.
When we look at the history, we see that throughout history, freedom-loving women have always fought against dictatorial regimes, and with their own blood, these brave women also wrote into history the 8th of March.
O oppressors, waiting and watching, when will you finally realize that you cannot stop our demand for justice by massacring, torturing and imprisoning us women? When a woman is born with freedom in her very being, no oppression can bring her to her knees.
I came to realize this when I was captured by the oppressors of the Islamic Republic. They tore apart my clothes on my body, shut my eyes, chained my hands and feet to an iron bed, and began torturing me terribly. They whipped me on the bottom of my feet, with a cable til my feet were terribly swollen and bruised. I was tortured so much that I could not feel anything anymore. My whole body was numb, I could no longer control my body, I had soaked my pants wet.
Yes, it is a disgrace, but for whom: me or those who brought these calamities upon me? O awakened consciences, it is for you to judge who is guilty: me, the one with nothing but the desire for human freedom and equality, or those who tortured me so much for their own interests?! Judge for yourself, I am not as healthy as I was ten years ago and prison’s keys have tempered and polished my body. When the torturers were torturing me, all that was left for me was my thoughts and beliefs and my hope for women fighters and the future.
If I tell you that the pen is incapable of writing about my own suffering, I am not exaggerating, because I have only told you a small part of my torture. I hope my words have not saddened you on this precious day.
Sometimes I wonder where in the world I am, or what part of the history I am stuck in, that no matter how hard I try, I cannot find a way out. Is this what I deserve?! To witness the hanging of my compatriots and relatives and stay silent?! It is strangeWar, hatreds, hypocrisy, killing, murder and torture -- all are carried out as though it is ordinary, normal. And the oppressors justify each of their crimes - their justifications are the most painful part for me.
So, bold and determined women – shout what once was unspeakable! I do not wish death for anyone, not even the oppressors. But let us fight together against the oppressors, drive them out of our homeland. Let us not be ashamed tomorrow of remaining silent today, while women are losing their lives fighting for freedom and equality.
I am Zeinab, Zeinab Jalalian; A Kurdish woman who witnessed hundreds of crimes committed by the Islamic Republic in prison and witnessed accusations, insults, torture and, worst of all, the execution of ten of my fellow prisoners. Is there a greater pain than this?! Yet these oppressors want me to express my regrets! How can I express regret, regret for what? Regret that my eyes have seen their oppression and brutality? Believe me, whenever the oppressors increase their oppression and torture, I become bolder and more resilient."