I’d like to write about Mona Mahmudnizhad because she was more than a victim of oppression—she faced hatred with love, hardship with perseverance, and death with astonishing courage. Read her story, ponder her example, and see if she doesn't change your perspective on the possibilities inherent in humanity.
So many times when you think about people being tortured and killed for religious beliefs, it’s hard to picture the person, the young girl behind the story.
It was under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, who had set out to rid their country and their revolution of the Baha’i community, the largest religious minority in Iran.
Mona, a 16 yrs old high school girl, was one of ten Baha’i women who were imprisoned in the fall of 1982.The Charge against them: Teaching Children’s Classes on the Baha’i Faith to Baha’i children – the equivalent of Sunday school in the west.
They endured months of abuse, interrogation and torture as the Islamic judges and their revolutionary guards attempted to force them to deny their religion. In Her last interrogation this is what Mona said to the Judge :
"Although I was born in a Baha'i family, according to Baha'i principles, we have to search for the truth ourselves rather than imitate our family's ideas and that is exactly what I have done. You have many of our Baha'i books here and you could read them and find this out for yourself. They never insisted on my becoming a Baha'i or accepting their ideas. If Your Honor insists that I recant my Faith, I should assure you that I will never do that and that I am ready to be executed."
The Judge was shocked at that point and looked at her angrily, saying, "You are just a child. How could you possibly know the real meaning of the word Faith? " Mona replied, "What more proof do you need than that I was dragged out of school and put in jail and now, for many months, have endured all these interrogations for the sake of my religion. What else but my Faith could give me the strength and power to stand here in front of you and answer your Questions."
Because of her youth and conspicuous innocence she became, in a sense, a symbolof their group in prison. She was lashed on the soles of her feet with a cable and forced to walk on bleeding feet, yet she never wavered in her faith.
On the eve of June 18, 1983, under cover of darkness, they were driven in a bus to a polo field on the outskirts of Shiraz where a gallows had been set up. The bus driver who took them there reported that they seemed to be in good spirits, singing on the way and prepared to meet their fate.
In a final effort to break their wills, the authorities hanged the women one by one as the others were forced to watch. Mona asked to be the final victim executed so that she could pray for the strength of each one who was hanged before her.
When her turn came, she kissed the rope and put the noose around her own necks, and said a prayer for the Happiness and Prosperity of all mankind and bid farewell to this mortal world. Before she died, Mona said, “What makes me happy is that I see that we have been chosen by God to be strong.”
The families of the women learned of the hangings of their loved ones the next morning, June 19. Mona's mother and her sister finally succeeded, after great difficulty, in getting permission to see the bodies. Mrs. Mahmudnizhad (Mona’s mom) who had been their companion until the last few days, kissed each woman on the cheek and then said, "I wish the whole world could see through my eyes how these dead bodies testify to the love of the Blessed Beauty (Baha’u’llah)."
Taraneh (Mona’s sister) later recounted: "It was a bitter day and for the last time, without having a thick glass in between, I kissed the beautiful and tranquil face of my dear sister and said goodbye to her. With all my heart, I was hoping that once more she would open her eyes and smile. But I know that now, forever, she is observing us with an everlasting smile and, if I shed any tears it would only upset her. So, my dear Mona, because of you and the love that you have for Baha'u'llah and for humanity, I laugh to let the people know why you sacrificed your life and why all those dear ones gave their sweet lives in His path."
The names and ages of the other women who were hanged with Mona are:
Mrs. Nusrat Yalda'i, 54 years old,
Mrs. 'Izzat Janami Ishraqi, 50 years old,
Miss Roya Ishraqi, 23 and daughter of 'Izzat,
Mrs. Tahirih Siyavushi, 32 years old,
Miss Zarrin Muqimi, 28 years old,
Miss Shirin Dalvand, 25 years old,
Miss Akhtar Sabit, 19 or early 20's,
Miss Simin Sabiri, early 20's,
Miss Mahshid Nirumand, 28 years old,
Please go to www.monasdream.com to see their pictures and read a short biography.(Click on the pictures, The first one is MONA)
Kiss the Rope ~ a Tribute to Mona
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