Last Drop

Bucket of sorrow bursting at the seams


Last Drop
by Setareh Sabety

I have become a Facebook and twitter addict. Today I went online to post a tweet/status about how happy I was to be picking up my son at the airport. My maternal glee transformed into sorrow and horror when I saw the news posted by the women’s rights group, The Feminist School on Facebook. The 54 year old daughter of Ezzatollah Sahabi, an esteemed opposition figure who had served prison terms during both the Shah and the Mullah’s reigns. Haleh, herself a women’s rights activist and member of Mother’s for Peace, had been arrested in the protests after the contested 2009 elections. She was given leave from her two year prison term to attend her father’s funeral. According to reports from eyewitnesses as well as oppositions sites, Haleh Sahabi seems to have died of heart attack after a scuffle broke when pro-regime plainclothes thugs tried to take away the corpse. One account claims that she was punched in the abdomen and chest as she refused to put the picture of her father down. All sources tend to agree that it was the violent conduct of pro-government thugs that caused this mourning daughter’s death.

There is no shortage of horrifying and sad news from Iran. An activist and twitter/ fb junkie, like me, who has followed and written about events in Iran most of her adult life, should not be so upset at yet another piece of atrocious news. But, I can’t help it. I had never had the privilege to meet Haleh or her father but today, the day I have been awaiting for almost a year to see my son, the day I’m supposed to be overjoyed with maternal love, I weep.

There is something especially depraved about beating a daughter up or causing a scuffle at her father’s funeral. This kind of behavior is especially shocking coming from so-called Shiites who have made a religion out of mourning! What saddens me about this news though is not the horridness of the act or surprise at the appearance of a ‘new low’ for the Islamic Republic of Iran. What angers me, what I mourn is my own impotence or rather our collective paralysis vis a vis this regime.

Our failure to unite, our failure to accept our differences and rally under one flag, our failure to create a viable leadership for the opposition, our failure to meet the courage of those who have more of it than we do, our failure as an united opposition is responsible for her tragic death. It is this that I mourn. This helplessness that I feel, this paralyzing distance that separates me from the hallowed ground on which Haleh and others have shed their blood is why I weep.

And they tell me but this depraved behavior of the regime thugs will push people to the point where they will revolt once and for all. But I know better. I know that without an organized opposition putting every pressure on this regime from inside and out we will never avenge the blood of our heroes. The only way that this death will lead to any positive change is if we let it become our battle cry to unite and create an effective force of opposition that can shake the Islamic Republics foundations and once and for all rid us of its poisonous presence.

Now more than ever, we need to create an umbrella that covers our many wishes and ideologies with the fabric of the urgent need for democracy and respect for individual rights. We should be ready to shake hands and join voices; we should slow down or speed up in order to walk in unison so that we may be the formidable force that we need to be in order to fight this shameless foe that is the Islamic Republic. We must be willing to forget the outdated dialogue of the past, the ideological bickering that our children do not grasp only serve to slow us down. We have enough in common. We all believe in some form of democratic governance and respect for individual rights. Let us unite under that. Under the wish to have fair elections, fair trials and equal opportunities we can bring together millions. Every leader and member of the opposition to this regime which, now I believe, includes most reformists, should be thinking today of ways of rallying us into a united opposition front. If we don’t mourn by organizing and reaching out to one another we have not really mourned the death of Haleh Sahabi, the last drop in our bursting at the seams bucket of sorrow.


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Ensanam Arezoost

by Mehrban on

Khanoom e Sabety, we either write to calm ourselves down or write to be a part of a mourning procession or we write to make a change.  I for one am tired of being a part of a mourning procession.  I too am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Sahabi and his beloved daughter, I also know that Mr. Sahabi's father (Haleh's grandfather) was active in Iran's Democratization efforts.

It is useless to write a sad article or a poem everyday a new person is murdered.  You want us all to be united but how can we be united when we can't be trusted.  When it is only our own that we look after, I am not a monarchist but the images of the murderes of the ministers of the Shah on a rooftop will never leave my psyche, I am not here to say that why didn't anyone say anything then.  I am here to say that why is it that no one even says it now.  We are not united because we are not to be trusted yet, our values (?) are still self serving and maybe we have not yet grown to the maturity to understand that freedom for all will only guaratee our own freedom and prosperity.   No amount of sentimental poetry and prose will replace the honesty that says what is good for the goose is good for the gander or something like that.  Be well.


Setareh Sabety

thank you all

by Setareh Sabety on

Thank you for reading and commenting. It is good to know that people share my sentiments. It is true,that many wont change and that other atrocities are terrible as well. But something about this one really hit me hard. Maybe it was a cumulating effect a last drop, maybe it was the sanctity of a funeral which was broken but this one hit me hard. I don't care what the ideology of Sahabi was or how it did or did not changed what angers many of us is how this family and this daughter where denied their most basic right to mourn.Even if these two father and daughter were my enemies I would be appaled at the treatment meted to them. Ensanam Arezoost!


A great message in this essay

by Bavafa on

The following sentence captures exactly how I feel and speaks about my anger

"What angers me, what I mourn is my own impotence or rather our collective paralysis vis a vis this regime"

Anahid jaan:

I completely agree with the type of conversation in form of writing/essay that just serves to focus on our division rather then to help uniting us in our common goal. It is a shame


Respectfully, you are WRONG. I believe you fail to see the jungle for its trees. Even if we disagree with the individual, we ought to mourn and be outraged by the injustice that is inflicted here and to this family.



Sorrow aside

by Mehrban on

Why is this any more "depraved" behavior than stoning a woman minister (Ms. Fraokhroo Parsa) and murder of her male colleagues without due process by the direct orders of the leader of the revolution more than 30 years ago.  

Dear Ms. Sabety, I know how hard it must be at this time but is this behavior really new?  Is it not what has gone on for over thirty years in Iran with impunity?   

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

We need to

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


unite against IR. But we do not need to mourn the death of one of its architects. It was people like him who brought IR to power. Sure we need to get together and oppose the IR. But I do not want another Islamic Republic.

I want a Secular Democracy. This does not mean an atheist government. Rather a government that does not impose religion. The Melli Mazhabi missed the point. They wanted to impose Islam on all the people. 

I want to let people decide for themselves. If you want religion then fine. If not then fine. The main point Iranian "an" tellectuals of 60s missed was Islam does not mix with politics. They are still missing it and will remain in their ignorance for good.

Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Setareh but some people never listen

by Anahid Hojjati on

You still see people who keep writing so many pieces against Shah. What is the point of that? I can't figure out. Although I was not pro Shah but right now, it is not time to keep writing about crimes during Shah when we are faced with many more crimes by IRI. This is just an example. Some opposition figures unfortunately are very undemocratic. If you criticize them, they label you with what you believed thirty years ago and then they go on a tangent writing about how wrong that group was thirty years ago. I believe some opposition figures obtain their identities from the dogmatic beliefs that they have and it is this identity that they are more concerned with than what happens in Iran. It sure seems so. Again, thanks for writing.

salman farsi

Bucket of sorrow ...

by salman farsi on

burst many years ago. What you see are the final dribbles.

 For an Islamic democracy



by ComraidsConcubine on