November 24th, 2001
My mom whom I call Mimi and whom I adore called me last night to remind me that tomorrow is November 24th. November 24th, 2001. It is now a few years that I have tried to forget this date. I dislike remembering sad things.
I never forget my lovely Aunt Mahin’s voice on the phone.
“ Babato bordan” “They took your dad”.
And boom. My life changed. Mimi’s life changed. Leili’s life changed. And Babayee was kidnapped.
It was only three weeks that I had started school in the US, Maryland. I was in 11th grade. Before this doomed day of November 24th, Babyee used to call me from Iran every single morning to wish me a good day at school, to tell me that I will be fine in this new country, to tell me that he misses me and that he loves me. And on November 24th he stopped calling! My life changed.
I would stay up at nights with Mimi who was extremely distressed and sad to call different police stations throughout Tehran to ask for my dad. The soldiers would pick up the phone and talk to me.
“Salam agha, shoma oonja zendani be name Siamak Pourzand darid?”
“ Hi sir, do you have a detainee there named Siamak Pourzand?”
“Who? No. We don’t”
Laugher, masculine hysterical laughter… And they would hang up.
I don’t want to talk about the rest of it. Though, I will…one day soon!
For now I want to focus on the good part. True, Babyee is still in THEIR hand. He is still grounded in Tehran. True, THEY don’t let him join his family. But THEY couldn’t diminish him. He still exists, he still breathes, and he still loves us. He still tells me stories on the phone, stories about when he was young, when he was my age. He calls my age ‘the golden age’. He wants me to never give up, to never feel powerless, and to never consider myself or him a victim.
November 24th, 2001…
Too many days and months and years have passed. We want him back.
Mimi keeps on telling us that she has tried to convince ‘them’, the government of Iran to let her return to Iran in order to be with Babayee or to let him leave the country and join us in the West. Our attempts in that regard have become like a labyrinth with many hollow dead-ends.
After all, who wants to talk about November 24th, 2001 and who wants to listen?