Your name will be a sign!
In the crowded subway I was staring at a young girl who was smiling and taking pictures in front of her brother’s camera. When we were to arrive at the next station, a young female voice said, “Next station, Haqqani!”
A flood of people poured out of the train, along with the girl and her brother. I followed them in the fresh evening breeze (it was the last days of summer), outside the metro station, my face caressed by a drop of tears.
The youth and beauty of the girl’s smile did not leave my eyes. Her eyes were everywhere! In front of my tearful eyes, she was walking next to her brother and laughing. In her smile there was a world of life, a world of hope, and in my eyes, a world of regret, a world of hatred for hands that do nothing, a world of anger at the cruelty of fate and destiny.
The voice of the young girl’s brother brought me to my senses. He was holding his sister’s hand and saying, “I beg you, don’t take her, we are travelers here.”
The black-clad woman of the morality police, with a face full of hatred and prejudice, shouted: “Leave her hand! Come to Vozara Street after her. Leave us go, I say.” The woman pushed the young girl into the panic van and stole her. They stole the poor girl from her brother in broad daylight and took her away.
Her brother hurried to a taxi and directed it to the address they’d given him: Vozara Street, Morality Police. Women who do not observe their hijab as the Islamic morality police wanted, were stolen from the city and taken there.
My grandmother was always talking about Vozara Street as a nightmare. She said that “you couldn’t be a woman without the name of this house of horror filling your heart with fear!” Even I, who had never seen it, was afraid.
I took a taxi following the young girl’s brother toward Vozara Street, asking myself how do the stolen women feel now? What has happened to their souls? How scared are they? How many have cried? How many of them are afraid to call their families? How many say to themselves—If my father finds out that the police have taken me, he will kill me?
The driver said in a tired voice, ”ma’am, won’t you get off now? we’ve arrived! This is Vozara street!” Confused, I paid the taxi and got out. The young girl’s brother had arrived before me. Fear, anger and anxiety erupted from his eyes. I stood at a distance from the crowd and stared through tearless eyes at this house of fear. I sat down on the ground. My legs could not bear the weight of my heart, which was heavy with grief.
The whole world was blurry behind my wet eyes. The little girl’s brother asked the guard, ”why is there an ambulance? Is someone hurt?” The guard, clearly hiding something, answered under his breath, ”one of the soldiers is wounded.” A few seconds later, one of the other girls stolen by the morality police came out and told the boy, ”if that one who was in the ambulance was your sister, they hit her on the head several times, and they took her to Kasra hospital.” The boy stared at her in a daze. A few moments later, as if understanding what had happened, he took a taxi to the hospital.
I could not follow him. I sat on the ground and hugged my legs. I cried and cried. I didn’t know how many hours passed, but when I looked around the sky was as black as the girl’s hair and my face was still wet. My only happiness was, that now I could see her smile in the picture I’d taken. I touched the phone screen and will never forget that date.
Three days later…
Today is her funeral. She doesn’t laugh. Her eyes, which were full of hope and desire, are not open anymore! The last thing the world saw was a picture of her in hospital with her ear bleeding. She was killed for wearing clothes that the Islamic regime of Iran did not like. They killed her because of hijab.
In the funeral ceremony a flame burns in everyone’s hearts: killing an innocent girl, killing because of hijab. There was uproar in everyone’s hearts. There was anger. There was shouting. The fires under the ash were still burning. They still didn’t know that this anger would reach the root of the oppression perpetrated by a cruel government. They didn’t know that closing the eyes of this girl would raise the sails and bring us to our freedom after many years!
I had to do my mission. I took the red paint and wrote on her tombstone: ”Gina, you will not die! Your name will be a sign.” I wiped my tears and entered the date 2022 in my watch, then went back to the time when Mahsa Amini became the hero of Iranian history.
Yes, I came from the future to write this on her tombstone! I hoped that I could save her but her destiny was determined by her country and by thousands of lives! She had to die to wake up all of Iran, to take the country back from the devils.
Say her name “Mahsa Amini”
Our revolution is alive, our voice is loud, though we are so tired.
—Your soul sister “Nadiya”.
19 October, 2022