Saba Vasefi Regains Consciousness after Suspicious Accident
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned that human rights defender and women’s rights activist Saba Vasefi has regained consciousness after she was injured in an accident two weeks ago. Vasefi was in a coma for over 100 hours following the accident. After coming out of her coma, she now suffers from severe neck injuries and has not regained her full vision yet.
In a letter shared with the Campaign, Vasefi’s mother Fereshteh Jafari, said her daughter is not the first victim of tyranny, and she won’t be the last. Jafari implied that this accident was a deliberate act. On the same night that Vasefi suffered her accident, slipping into a coma, security forces entered her house and confiscated some of her personal belongings and said they were seeking to arrest her, while her family was unaware of her fate. In her letter, Jafari addressed Vasefi’s attacker as a compatriot, asking him, “How did your heart permit you to target her and leave her half-dead body on the side of the street, with impunity?”
Saba Vasefi was a professor at Shahid Beheshti University for four years before she was dismissed on 20 January 2009, and banned from teaching at other universities in Iran. Upon returning from a trip to the city of Shahryar, investigating the case of an execution ruling, Vasefi visited the family of one of the people killed during last year’s election protests. According to her close relatives she often visited the families of those wounded and killed in the protests, and reached out to them with help and living arrangements. The same source told the Campaign, “She was supposed to visit with another family when she was struck by a motorcycle while leaving the house. The motorcyclist escaped and Vasefi’s head struck the curb.” Eyewitnesses believe the accident was suspicious and it seemed that the motorcycle was directly heading for her.
Saba Vasefi had produced a documentary about child executions called “Don’t Bury My Heart,” for which a license was not issued, and she was in the process of making another documentary about the Mourning Mothers, which now remains unfinished.
The full text of Fereshteh Jafari’s letter:
(The letter begins with a poem by Mowlana Rumi)
Compatriot! Yes, I am talking to you, Mister Muslim brother! You, who search from one alley to the next, poke your head in every hole and punch, stick your finger in every door, the one who is after Gharamti and Zendigh, heretics and pagans, and the one who has become a vagrant wanderer. The faithful! How did your heart permit you to target her and leave her half-dead body on the side of the street, with impunity? Her mind is a hive of kindness. She carries the cross of her sufferings courageously on her shoulders; because her freedom is in love and by love.
As a mother, I do not sit in judgment; because you are already beyond reason and no judgment will you accept, unless from the divine’s throne, but all needed for you to see was a visit to foster children, children with cancer, AIDS orphans, disabled children, working children of the streets, prisoners without visitors, and children condemned to execution under your made up hand of justice. You should have seen them so they’d bear witness to her endless and honest love.
Bring with care the flower stem that was planted with love and watered with life. Alas! Caressed!
She always talked, read, wrote, and sang about forgiveness. Alas! They placed her picture in front of her eyes and told her, look at yourself; this is the evidence of your desecration! She had seen and knew herself, many years before you who neither know yourself nor the truth. On a white piece of paper that she had affixed on her chest, she had merely written:
I am worthless and swill!
I am the lover of this soil!
And in her clenched fist there was neither a gun, a brass knuckle, nor a baton. Her weapon was kindness and a world of pure nostalgia and dreams!
Tuesday night. Yes, exactly on Tuesday night, at those moments that I was looking for her beautiful body in the medical examiner and the prosecutor’s office, what prayer’s posture were you at? Which one of your Gods were you calling for? Which one of those incendiary fire eaters was admiring you? The number of your medals; how many are there nowadays? Are they even countable? In junk shops, lack of faith is sold for how much nowadays? Although this time you did not succeed, without a doubt my child is not, and will not be, the first and the last victim of tyranny, that the span of this land is made of ruins that tell stories of countless men who don’t live any more.
(The letter ends with a patriotic poem of resistance)