When space is silence…

Words, sounds, and space…

A path to freedom


From left to right: Marina Nemat, Kimberley Motley, and Irwin Cotler. Panel discussion on Women and the Law at the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum. © Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

From left to right: Marina Nemat, Kimberley Motley, and Irwin Cotler. Panel discussion on Women and the Law at the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum.
© Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

It is Ayatollah Khomeini’s early days. Marina Nemat is only 16 when they arrest her, after leading a strike in high school. Sent to prison, she is tortured, and sentenced to death. The sentence is then changed for life imprisonment. The payment is to marry her interrogator, lose her catholic faith (become muslim), lose her name, her body, extend the pain. She has no option, refusing means jail or even death to her family and boyfriend. She endures. Days pass by. She requests solitary confinement. She can not look other prisoners directly into their eyes. She is sleeping with her interrogator! Being raped by her interrogator, to be more precise. She feels guilt of having been saved when her friends were killed. She feels embarrassed. She is sinking, only the goodness of few saves her spirits –there’s a birthday cake one day, for her, made of pieces of bread (saved during several days). Time continuous its path, she endures. The interrogator dies. His family helps her. She is released. Her family rejects her… She mentions the word dishonour, and I can only question the pervasive blindness of so many humans.

Marina tells the story with a calm rhythm that contrasts with the brutality of her experience. Marina’s face shows pain, her eyes project the sadness of telling and reliving memories. She says she gave up saving the world long time ago. She now keeps her expectations real. She is part of the panel discussion Women and the Law, organised by the Oslo Freedom Forum 2016. Janine di Giovanni moderates the panel. Kimberley Motley and Irwin Cotler share their experience advocating for human rights in troubled countries, in a troubled world. Kim mentions the dilemma of releasing a woman from prison to send her to prison –her home or a shelter. Kim, as Marina, tries to be realistic. She brings awareness to her clients, represents their interests, works to meet the goal they want. Irwin questions the red line, the times the world has said “never again” (to genocide, for example), and how that red line transmutes into pink advice. He speaks with reality in his words: “we cannot save all political and conscience prisoners, but we need to let them know that we are trying”. A member of the audience questions how much the ICC is really doing; another asks how to get our “human rights” voice passed the Kardashians and US politics. Kim states that it is not only about fighting for a cause, one has to sell it. “Do not lose faith” says Janine. Marina adds that initiating change does not have to be complex: “If 10 small voices speak up and influence to save one person, I am happy!”. Advocacy is much easier today than 20 years ago: it is one click away through social media and the internet. Marina closes the panel with a poem.

I shake Marina’s hand. I try to convey the overwhelming feeling of admiration her words inspired in me. We talk about poetry and blogs. She says how writing poetry is therapy for her, how the process soothes and recharges her. I echo her words, with a smile. With not even a close comparison to Marina’s life experience, her humanity and her way of freeing her mind make me relate to her in a new way. Writing poetry is what keeps me sane through the worst and best of times.

In awe
the skies of Oslo cry
— words show the path

_____Adriana Citlali

© Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

Janine di Giovanni moderating the panel Women and the Law at the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum
© Adriana Citlali Ramírez 2016

Inspired by the real-life heroes, speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum 2016. In response to Again, what do you do to truly rest and relax? –question asked by Toni Spencer today at Haibun Monday #14 – “Too Many Mind…” | dVerse. A Haibun is a text composed with a combination of relatively short prose and a haiku.

Author: Adriana Citlali Ramírez

A citizen of the world, born in Mexico city... A physicist (working as a geophysicist) and a part-time artist (creative writing, oil/acrylic painting, photography)… All posts, visual art, and poems ©Adriana Citlali Ramírez. All rights reserved.

15 thoughts on “A path to freedom

  1. Poetry is my chosen therapy, too. 😉

  2. This is a very interesting response to the prompt. It’s inspirational how some are able to find such deep reserves of strength and calm when faced with the world’s worst brutalities. And it’s interesting how often forms of spiritual enlightenment are associated with having undergone terrible trials and suffering. This reminded me somewhat of Shusaku Endo’s novel ‘Silence’ — I’d highly recommend it, since these topics interest you

    Thanks for the thought-provoking read!

  3. I can’t even imagine… my heart breaks for her and admires her strength and character. Poetry, reading and writing, is therapy.

  4. Thank you for both telling us about this inspiring woamn and what she did to calm herself. I love that writing is your therapy as well.i think most of us would agree.

  5. An inspiring post. Thanks for sharing. And yes, poetry does lend sanity to a very complex, almost incomprehensible world.

  6. A shared inspiration sparks many voices to be heard. Thank you!

  7. I appreciate where you took the prompt, sharing a story that needs to be heard. It would be and honour to meet her. The power of poetry is universal.

  8. This is such a great way to take the prompt… and yes the words is a great way to funnel our anguish and pain.. in the rhythm of a voice softly spoken lies a calm…

  9. Words are what we have to tell the extremities of the human experience. Grateful to have had the opportunity to hear about this woman and her survival. Well written, told and the haiku sums it up beautifully. A necesarily unique take on the prompt. Well done.

  10. Thank you for sharing yet another story of a woman’s courage and hard work in spite of the horror of her ordeal. Yes, I believe writing saved her.

  11. Thank you for sharing this story.

  12. There are way too many of these stories and way too many who are suffering. Thank you for sharing Marina’s story. I’m glad that writing has been a positive therapy for her.

  13. HI.. Adriana.. haven’t
    caught up with you
    on the dVerse trail
    recently.. nice to hear
    your inspiRational words
    here again.. another story
    of tragedy inspired by bLack
    books of lies.. rapes against
    faith of different religions
    God as evil
    hands with
    Rapists Murders
    evilivedevilived sAMe
    raping little girls to burying
    Lesbians to their chest aLiVe
    to stone them with RocksNow
    so they cannot cover thEiR oWn
    eYes.. Supreme leader of Iran..
    hA!.. supreme dEvil of heLL.. iN
    real human form.. and aLL Ah
    associated with
    the devil realm
    of killing
    other pARts
    of NatUre God
    one sAMe all noW..
    i’m getting reAlly REAL
    tired oF iT.. and serioUsly
    i lEarned how to shape shift
    in so many artFuL ways he HE
    perhapS i’LL beCome ISA
    and settle
    thE dajJaL
    score of
    twice and for
    aLL oNe.. perHaps
    A mYth.. perhapS
    A dreAm pErhaps
    thE anGer of God
    Nature oNE as uS
    mY frIEnd iNoW..

    DEvils SpRinG
    fRom loiN oF peDo
    fiLe HeLL iN Dante bLack…

  14. How heartbreaking…yet courage prevails.

  15. Wow, just wow! Thank you for telling this complex, inspiring story. So there IS a way that poetry can save us! It is my therapy too, yet I sometimes forget the true power it can have.

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