NCRI - The Iranian Resistance movement is in my blood, according to one of its members.
Sahar Gholamali was more or less born into the Resistance; both her parents were imprisoned during the Iranian Regime’s extensive crackdown on political opponents (specifically the Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK)) and their supporters, and her mother gave birth to her in the notorious Evin Prison.
In an interview with the Women’s section of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), she said: “The only reason for [my parents’] arrest was their belief in freedom and their opposition to a regime which had come to establish a religious dictatorship in Iran.”
The Regime didn’t provide adequate healthcare for Sahar or her mother or the dozens of other pregnant women, new mothers, or babies wrongfully imprisoned, during the 1980s or those imprisoned today, so it was up to the other prisoners to care for them.
Sahar said: “They helped my mother however they could. Some provided clothes, some gave their share of food, and more importantly, they dressed my mother’s wounds, and pampered me so I could survive and grow.”
Despite not caring if Sahar lived or died, the Regime was more than happy to use her as a tool to try and break her father under interrogation, promising that if he betrayed his fellow political prisoners, he would be allowed to see his daughter.
Sahar said: “This was the greatest test for a young father: to see his newborn daughter in exchange for betrayal and cooperation. My father, however, courageously chose the more difficult option and bravely stood up to his enemies to his last breath. Eventually he was executed in the ‘80s without ever seeing me.”
Shortly after her first birthday, Sahar was taken into the care of relatives until her mother was released three years later. Then they moved to Ashraf, Iraq, in hope of a life without persecution, but this was not to be.
After the US invasion of Iraq, made it too dangerous to stay, the PMOI (MEK) helped arrange safe passage to Canada for Sahar, but in the intervening years she did not forget Iran or the sacrifices made by her parents.
She said: “As I grew older, I began to read about Iran and the Resistance, particularly about the PMOI (MEK). Whatever information available about Iran was about the dictatorship, the arrests, imprisonment, torture, and execution! Suppression of women, imprisonment of youths, and blocking all means of freedom of expression! On the opposite end of the continuum were the Resistance and the PMOI (MEK), a group of women and men who, like my father, had chosen to pay any price it takes to free their country. They had given up their families, children, careers, and all the things we strive for in life.”
She notes that her mind would often drift to her parents during this time and of their sacrifices so that she could live in safety, and that is how she came to dedicate her life to the Resistance, so that all Iranian children could live in safety too.
She said: “Now I am in the Iranian Resistance among one thousand women who have been labelled as the heroines of Iranian history’. Honestly, I have come across many heroes in various books and stories but I never thought that one day I could be part of a group of people who were dubbed heroes. At the same time, one thing has always been very close and conceivable to me: That my father can see me more than any other time and he smiles at me, a smile filled with honour and pride for standing and persevering.”