Friday, April 29, 2011

Death in the Streets of Utrecht

A letter to my beloved father, Siamak Pourzand, whose precious heart stopped beating in Tehran tonight in a torturous solitude imposed on him by the current rulers of Iran.

Your nightmare comes true when you are sitting at a café with your friend, enjoying your drink on a sunny day in Utrecht when your phone rings, you pick up, you hear your sister sobbing and screaming, “Dad is now finally free. He is not in their hands anymore. He died, my love.” You scream, cry, the world spins around your head. Your friend watches you in disbelief. All of a sudden a beautiful country like the Netherlands becomes hell. You die. You close your eyes, hold your head in your hands and wish to die. But you stay alive, because you turn into his "legacy". All of a sudden you gain strength, you open your eyes, look at the world with courage and decide to never let him die. You begin to shake and sob. Your mind begins to race. Years turn into seconds and your life with him begins to march in front of your eyes like a chaotic movie. And this is how it all ends: on a lazy sunny afternoon in Utrecht.

I am filled with hatred, with anger, with the exhausting desire to avenge. But, I know I will not avenge. It is not in our blood to do to them and their families what they do to us. Or, maybe I say that the desire to avenge is not in my blood to comfort my being helpless. I could only watch him suffer. In fact, I was not even granted the right to watch him suffer. I had to imagine him suffer. This was all I was permitted to do in the name of Allah. Oh, Allah, if only you are as cruel as they make you be…

I do not even know where his dead body is lying tonight. Sitting in a forest in the Netherlands, wanting to go to Iran to at least hold his fragile dead body and hearing my family and friends forbid me to go to Iran. They say that I will not get the chance to even hold his dead body. Apparently, holding your father's dead body is also against the Islamic revolutionary values.

And this is how Planet Earth proceeds.This will be the first night without me thinking of him before going to bed. I wish my insomnia could bring life back to his eyes. But he is gone. Forever and ever. I recorded his voice for 20 hours on the phone three years ago. He told me the story of his childhood and youth. I will push the play button, let his words and his voice comfort my disturbed soul and let him put me to bed like he did with his lullabies every single night for years.

I love you dad. You will never die. You are a part of me. They were able to finally kill you. But I will keep your legacy alive in this world. It is the most important promise I have ever made in my life. You will live. I promise. You will live more than ever.

I cannot stop my tears. But I know you will finally fly to me tonight and wipe off my tears with your invisible hands; just like 5 years ago when the Islamic Republic let me come and see you for 10 days. Remember how that first night I put my head on your lap and you patted me all night when I cried away all the years of having had you in their hands and secret prisons? You knew and I knew that this was the last time we were seeing each other. But, we pretended that things will change. They never did. But now things will change. Now you will finally fly to me.

I will never forget what they did to you. I will never forget how they tortured you with their disgusting hands. This is a promise! I will not let the world forget.


At 9:16 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Azadeh,

My thoughts and prayers are with you. The beauty of when you said: "But you stay alive, because you turn into his legacy. All of a sudden you gain strength, you open your eyes, look at the world with courage and decide to never let him die." is truth. May his love and his strength shine through all you do. Always remember you have an army of love around you, and that light will prevail over darkness.

Soldier of love

At 9:20 PM, April 29, 2011, Blogger Azadeh said...

Dear Azadeh,
It was so sad to hear the news today. Just wanted to say, I don't forget him and your mum and all that they did for Iran. Please accept my condolences.

At 9:32 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khanoum-e Pourzand,

Az dast dadan-e azizi chon Pedar gham-e sangeenist, be khosoos dar doori va ghorbat. Tahammol-e in feragh sangeen, jansooz va sakht janfarsaast. Vali, hamangooneh ke oo ghareeb be 10 saal moghavemat kard va maand -- agar che ba sakhti, tanhayee, va bimari -- va be azaar-dahandegan-e dar arezoo ye naboodash, na goft, shoma ham be onvan-e farzand-e khalaf-e oo moghavem va shakiba khahid bood.

Barayetan sabr, va bara ye ishan aramesh va rahmat-e elahi arezoomandam.

Toronto, Canada

P.S. Lotfan moragheb-e madar bashid, ke dar in sharayet, be tavajjoh va tasalla ye bishtar az janeb-e atrafian niaz ast.

At 9:54 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous cyrus ashayeri said...

I love your dad, I'm speechless. How I enjoyed his company!

At 10:15 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azadeh nazanin

...Marde nekou naam namirad hargez, mordeh aan ast ke naamash be nekouie nabarand.

Tasliat va andoohe ghalbi man ra bepazir. Baraye to aziz, madare nazanin va khaharet salamati, sabr va aramesh arezou mikonam.
Khoda rahmateshoun kone, rooheshoon shad.
midoonam sharayete roohi e sakhty dari amma moraghebe khodetoun va bekhosoos madar bashid.

Doostdare pedar, madare va khanevadeye golet

Bahareh xxx

At 10:15 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Abdel said...

May he rest in Peace! When I read this the saddeness reminds me of one of the french poem I had to learn in elementary school. Just translated it into English for you in his memory! Love Always and be strong. Abdel


Listen more often
To the things of people
The voice of fire can be heard
Hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind
The bush sob:
It is the breath of ancestors.

Those who are dead are never gone:
They are in the shadow which is lighting,
And in the shadow which is thickening.
The dead are not under earth:
They are in the trembling tree,
They are in the groaning wood,
They are in the flowing water,
They are in the sleeping water,
They are in the house, they are in the crowd:
The dead are not dead.

Those who are dead are never gone:
They are in the womb of the woman,
They are in the child who wails
And in the igniting brand.
The dead are never underground:
They are in the dying fire,
They are in the whining rock,
They are in the weeping grasses,
They are in the forest, they are in the house,
The dead are not dead.

Listen more often
To the things of people
The voice of fire can be heard
Hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind
The bush is sobbing:
It is the breath of dead ancestors.
Who are not gone
Who are not underground
Who are not dead
Listen more often
To the things of people,
The voice of fire can be heard
Hear the voice of water
Listen in the wind
The bush is sobbing
It is the breath of ancestors
It repeats every day the pact
The great pact that binds
Linking our fate to the law;
To the acts of stronger breaths,
The fate of our dead who are not dead;
Lord pact that binds us to the acts
Breaths that move.

In the bed and on the banks of the river,
In several breaths that move
In the moaning rock and in the crying grass
Breaths that remain
In the lightening shadow that thickens,
In the trembling tree, in the groaning wood,
In the flowing water and in the sleeping water,
Stronger breaths, which took
The breath of the dead who are not dead
The dead who are not gone
The dead who are no longer underground.
Listen more often
To the things of people ...

Birago DIOP

At 10:37 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azadeh jaan, may your father rest in peace, now that he is finally free.

You and your sister are the true celebration of his valuable life.

Parisa and Khashayar

At 10:53 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Hasan Sarbakhshian said...

Dear Azadeh, It is really sad. may your father rest in peace. I beleive if any person wants to see how is current regime rules in Iran. they need to read your letter.
Hasan Sarbakhshian

At 11:07 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Azadeh,
I feel your pain. I also heard my dad's death news on a warm sunny day while driving to the beach. I turned around to go back home and all I thought about was him and how was no longer in pain. Words can't describe the feelings, but we can keep their memory alive. Brave men and women never die and they will always live in our hearts.

At 11:20 PM, April 29, 2011, Anonymous Baharak said...

I weep. I am sad for you. I am sad for me. I weep.

At 11:38 PM, April 29, 2011, Blogger Ali said...

Azadeh aziz, sorry to hear the loss of your father. He was a great man and lived a life of honor and contribution tor his family, community, and country. We are proud of him and appreciate his struggles against all odds. Please accept my condolences and hope that his wonderful legacy and good memories help you, your mom, and your sisters to get through these difficult times. Much love.

At 12:05 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous pb said...


He is not dead. As you said he is free and will live forever. I can feel him in your words. I see him in you.

Be strong!

At 12:15 AM, April 30, 2011, Blogger Isabel said...

Dear Azadeh:

I know you will never let your dad be forgotten. I know he will live forever in your heart and through your art. Much love to you Azadeh.

At 12:21 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azi joon

My heart is with you and your family

be strong darling
be strong


At 1:03 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

برایت از سرزمین پدری ات می نویسم. از همان سرزمینی که می دانم حالا که پدر را از آغوش تو ربود برایت دیگر معنایی ندارد. مطمئن باش که پدر اکنون آرام است. آرام در آغوش امن دوست و رها از تمام عذاب هایی که جلادان بر او روا داشتند. صبوریت افزون خواهرم

At 1:47 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Azadeh,
Azadmardane raahe azadi hargez nemimirand, ghalbe doostdaaraane azadi be eshghe azadegan mitapad.

At 1:58 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart ached as I read your through your words... I don't know you but my thoughts are with you...

At 3:31 AM, April 30, 2011, Blogger Naj said...

Condolences ...
Zullen we ook niet vergeten ...

At 4:10 AM, April 30, 2011, Blogger Naj said...

تو بالای کوهی
از آن عرش سنگین
صدایم کن آوای آزاد
(صدای مرا قرنها دره ها در ربودند و من از سکوت سخن شرم دارم)
تو نزدیک هوری
از آن نور زرین مرا آفتابی کن ای خفته بیدار
مرا دیر بازیست
در چادر شب
به دوری ز خورشید محکوم کردند
بدون ستاره
پر از خواب خرگوش
تو بر بال ابری
از آن اوج آبی مرا قطره ای بخش
که خود را بشویم
و گلبرگهای من از تب نمیرند

Naj (in memory of your father and all who have died for us to have a better future)

At 4:59 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous شاگردک said...

Azadehye Aziz,

You're not alone in this. "We" would not let Siamak die. We would make history remember him and his contributions to this land. We would make history not forget that once upon a time there were heroes who sacrificed their life, their peace and their well-being for the sake of a nation, a land and a dream.
Siamak is alive, more than ever.

هرگز نمیرد آنکه دلش زنده شد به عشق
ثبت است بر جریده ی عالم دوام ما

At 6:00 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Azadeh! your father is alive in our heart.we always keep him in our mind as a brave man.

At 6:05 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I met your dad , was almost a year ago , he was talking about you and how much he missed you .. I am so sorry to hear this news.. and when I read your blog couldn't stop crying .. mano too ghametoon sharik bedoonin.
Iran o Irani marde bozorgio az dast dad

At 6:52 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I imagine a day that Siamak Pourzand is the name of a social research institue ,in Tehran, when I want to take a cab I just say: Khiaboone Poorzand, It becomes and adress, an adress to these days and all past years of solitude of you, your sisters, mother and Him. He is alive. Take care. From Stockholm.

At 7:49 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Farid said...

آه اگر آزادی ....

Condolence! The way iranian regime treated him and many others, always remind me of dark years in South Africa. If you have time, read Mandela book "Long walk to freedom" then you will see how a great man becomes a torch for the next generation. Your dad also will be named in future, History forgets all jailers and admires instead the innocent prisoners, be sure!

At 7:53 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Azadeh,

He continues to live in you.
I can see the features that you have took after him.
They are a proof that his soul is within you.
His soul, his values, his memories, his voice.
Speak with it, for it was meant to wake the world, and bring freedom.

Regards from Egypt.

At 9:05 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Farrokh Fathi said...

You are not alone in your sorrow. My heart, our hearts, share your pain and embrace and nurture and honor you&yourpain&yourgrief.
And you are not alone with your tears. In empathy and in feeling your sadness, they are coming down my own eyes right now - as with many others who know of your experience. I hope you will hold & comfort yourself with that knowing and with your beautiful thoughts and with the strength and resilience that you seem to have inherited from your father. You have the true Iranian blood in you. Defeat them (who gave you this sorrow and pain): enjoy and live and follow the goals of your life, with your head high up - and with the knowing that "roses come, roses go."
Bless you & your heart.

At 9:54 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Parviz Forghani said...

He is free now, he broke the cage, the world will now hear sound of his wings.
او آزاد شد
او قفس را درهم شکست
جهان اکنون صدای بال های اورا خواهد شنید

At 10:26 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

هرگز نمیرد آنکه دلش زنده شد به عشق

At 10:38 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Payman said...

Dear Azadeh, please accept my condolences and may you find solace in his memories and his lifetime achievements influenced his community and his country for better. celebrate his life. The anger is real and I share that with you. when I heard the news my heart filled up with pain and anger. Creating anger and hatred are emotions that his monstrous tormentors desire, deprive them of that. You and your mother are in my thoughts and prayers.

At 11:45 AM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous shokolate talkh said...

Please accept my condolences.

At 12:32 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Farnaz said...

‎" Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a 1,000 winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled light
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there; I did not die."

Azadeh'ye azizam, please accept my most sincere condolences,

At 1:16 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous فاطمه said...

واقعاً نمیدونم چی بگم به هرکسی که عزیزشو از دست میده. ولی اینجوری دیگه خارج از تصوره... امیدوارم بشه صبور بود و با گذشت در برابر این ظلم

At 1:32 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:12 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admire brave people like you and your family... Please accept my deepest condolences...

At 2:26 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous maryam said...

We are all with you in your quest to keeo his legacy alive, keep the world reminded of what they did to him and so many others, and to help the struggle of the Iranian people for a government that's on their side, and not their constant nemesis. May your father rest in heavenly peace.

At 3:20 PM, April 30, 2011, Blogger Pomegranate said...

Dear Azadeh,
We all in my family shed tears this evening when Lily was talkiing on BBC. Her words were as impressive as your text is. Yes he is free now.

And we shall never forget...

At 3:29 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Marjan said...

پس آنگاه زمین به سخن درآمد: آن افسون کار به تو می آموزد که عدالت از عشق والاتر است. دریغا که اگر عشق به کار می بود هرگز ستمی در وجود نمی آمد تا به عدالتی نابه کارانه از آن دست نیازی پدید افتد. انگاه چشمان تو را بر بسته شمشیری در کف ات می گذارد، هم از آهنی که من به تو دادم تا تیغه گاوآهن کنی! اینک گورستانی که آسمان از عدالت ساخته است!دریغا ویران بی حاصلی که من ام ! شاملو

Dear Azadeh, one day, ne plus tard, we will show them how different we were, our mission is based upon love for human beings, we won't let them change our path to the hatred.

At 3:58 PM, April 30, 2011, Blogger Jaso Jashak said...

It's terrible. All friends around me in Tehran felt your family's tragedy as a terrible pain, as a disaster for all of us. I wish we did, we could do something about it. How can we tolerate this situation without reacting?
I wish you strength to endure this hard times.

At 5:56 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

man yek naghash hastam va az in khabar moteaser shodam..... va naghashy kaham keshyd be yad va name an aziz ,va be khanavadeh ishan taslyat arz mykonam ,va omid varam ,moghvem va sabor bashand

-naghashi dar toronto

At 7:12 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Saman said...

Dear Azadeh,

You have a way with words that can move mountains! I'm sure you will use this precious gift to move your father's legacy forward into the future.....

Much love,

Stranger who feels your pain

At 9:21 PM, April 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear Mr. Pourzand,
When our compassion fails us, faith,and training cautions us from Anger,and Revenge, but we should not think ill of them ,
or of ourselves.May they strengthen the will of your arm, and sharpen the sword of justice.

At 4:55 AM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Azadeh Pourzand,

Your father is now in good Hands and well taken care of!
We are all spiritual beings. As such the spirit never disappears while the physical is no longer with us. He will always be with you! May this allow you to let go of that pain and soothe your heart. Do not consume your life with hatred and bitterness.

At 5:36 AM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

azadeh joon, your dad's death was exactly like his life: it conveyed a message. he even made his death a means for political activism... a brave man resisting the evil... i am so sorry for your (and our country's) loss. peace will be upon him.


At 6:37 AM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stay strong! My sincere condolences.

At 10:38 AM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Azadeh,

I'm very sorry to hear about your grief. Your father is a reminder of the importance of dedicating our lives to peace and dignity. I send you a kiss and tell you this: always stay true to your purpose on this earth, the purpose your father and mother has instilled into your heart.

Love you,

A fellow Iranian Girl

At 12:02 PM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Azadeh and Mehri and Lily,

I have no words to express my grief. This is exactly what I feared after Lily at the end of 2009 wrote that Siamak had given up on life and that he did not want to communicate any longer.

I remember the happy days with your parents and you when you visited our house in Tehran. I was always joking with your dad when he kept saying: "Lucy we love you."

Dearest Azadeh, I wish you SO much strength. You will need it. Hope to meet you soon in Utrecht where hell for you began.

Lots of love,
Lucy (Loes) Bijnen

At 1:57 PM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is truly a sad end for such a prolific film critic and journalist who had contributed so much to the World of Arts and Cinema.

Shame on the Islamic Republic .

Would you please pass my condolences to the whole family especially your mum. Tell her that Nasrin Fani (Enayat's wife) from London is thinking of all you.

At 2:11 PM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im so sorry for your loss. I've never had a chance to know your father, still, the pain is devastating. I Cant even begin to imagine what you and your family are going through.
he was a hero and died a hero's death. he will be remembered, and though he's gone, he will inspire us to stand tall.

At 5:59 PM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

آزاده خانم تسلیت میگم... خدا به شما صبر بده

At 6:55 PM, May 01, 2011, Blogger mas7shah said...

Azadeh jan,

I prayed for your father's release. When I heard about your father, my cry went to heaven. I asked God why. I was crying and my heart was bleeding. Then God showed me this verse:
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." John 12: 24
your father's blood will bring fruit. دانه ی گندم در خاک نیفتد و نمیرد، تنها می ماند: اما اگر بمیرد بار بسیار می آورد."
تو ساکت نخواهی ماند. می دانم. تو، بذر پدر میوه خواهی آورد. خداوند به شما و خانواده صبر بدهد. مسی

At 7:24 PM, May 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azadeh jan,

I couldn't stop crying reading your blog. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this hard time. May your father’s soul rest in peace. He was a great man and will always be remembered.

Be strong

At 4:42 PM, May 04, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

پرواز را به خاطر بسپار ... پرنده مردنیست . پروازه سیامک پورزند همواره در خاطرها خواهد ماند

At 10:56 AM, May 06, 2011, Blogger Tori said...

Azadeh, Your words, your mourning, your sentiment are all so powerful and moving. Allowing us, your readers, to share your grief and strength is so brave, such a gift. You and others I know have impressed me so much by the denial of vengeance, even when it seems so deserved. I wish you strength.

At 12:02 PM, May 07, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My prayers go out to you in this sad time, however Father's memory and final stance against tyranny will not be forgotten.

Boston, MA

At 12:01 PM, May 15, 2011, Blogger Giuseppe said...

Dear Azadeh,
your father is alive, more than many of us, also in the moment that he is just dead.
Thank you to share with us your letter to your father. My hearth is with you, you father and your family. Ciao

Giuseppe N., Torino, Italy

At 3:53 AM, August 16, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

تبر شاخه ها را جدا کرده بود/ تن باغ رخت عزا کرده بود
شکسته بتی ناتوان تر زسنگ/ به جای خدا ادّعا کرده بود
دوباره درآن صبحدم سینه سرخ/ تیمّم به رنگ حنا کرده بود
ستاره زچشم سحر می چکید/ شبی درد دل با خدا کرده بود
اگر چه خدا هم ز اندوه باغ/ تمام سحر را دعا کرده بود
غریبانه بالی به اوج خیال/ برای سفر دست و پا کرده بود
زمانی که خورشید بر می دمید/ پرنده قفس را رها کرده بود


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