Petition update

Eine Betroffene schreibt eindringliche Worte für uns - #HeimeOhneHass

Initiative HeimeOhneHass

Aug 15, 2015 — Die iranisch-kanadische Autorin Marina Nemat, die selbst einst Flüchtling und Folteropfer war, hat für uns ein kurzes Essay über ihr Schicksal verfasst. Ihre offenen Worte berühren uns sehr. Danke, Marina!

"In January 1982, when I was sixteen years old, I was arrested in Tehran, Iran. My crime was having been a student activist and a vocal critic of the newly formed Islamic Republic. After my arrest, I was interrogated and tortured. My interrogators, grown men, tied me, a 48-kilogram girl, to a bare wooden bed and lashed the soles of my feet with a length of industrial cable, about an inch tick and made of heavy rubber. With every strike of the lash, it felt like my nervous system would explode. I began to count the strikes, but I soon forgot how to count. Being a Catholic, I began to say the Hail Mary, but I could not string the words together. I drowned in pain. I was given a death sentence, which was later reduced to life in prison. One of my interrogators forced me to become his wife under the threat that if I didn’t, my family would be harmed. I spent 2 years, 2 months, and 12 days in Evin prison and was released after my “husband” was assassinated by a rival fraction of the government. When I went home, I just wanted to put the past behind me and be normal.

About 15 months after my release, I married my boyfriend, who was the organist at my church, and we had a son. We escaped Iran in 1990, shortly after the Iranian regime finally gave me a passport. Through Spain and Hungary, we made it to Canada in 1991. I wrote the memoir of my incarceration, Prisoner of Tehran, and it was first published in 2007, became an international bestseller, and has been translated into 25 languages. Canada took in my family and me when we had nowhere to go. Canadians were good to us, making us feel welcome and safe. I loved Iran, and I would never have left it if my life had not been in danger. It’s not easy leaving one’s home, knowing that returning might be impossible.

Today, for the first time since WWII, the number of refugees worldwide has exceeded 50 million. Most of these refugees have lost everything, including their homes and loved ones. Many have escaped terrible atrocities and need compassion and help. Of course, we can turn our backs on them, we who have safe homes and more than enough food to eat. We can choose to ignore the plight of other human beings, justifying it by dividing the world into “us” and “them”, pretending that because “they” are from a different place and have a different skin colour or religion, they are not like us. But the truth is that in a world that is drowning in war, violence, and cruelty, if we add to the cruelty, if we do not show empathy and lend a helping hand, in the long run, we would be condemning ourselves to living in a cruel world.

Hatred brings hatred. Violence breeds violence. Bloodshed leads to bloodshed. Let’s learn from the past, and be better people. Goodness and generosity bring about good things. We have enough to share. When I came to Canada, I had nothing. Now, as an author, teacher, and speaker, I contribute to the country that was good to me, and I make it proud. Let’s give this opportunity to all those who have nowhere to go.

I encourage the good, generous people of Canada, Germany, and the rest of the world to accept refugees and welcome them. There are bad apples everywhere, but most refugees are good, hardworking people in the search of a peaceful, safe place to live. I have worked with refugees in Canada and have found it tremendously rewarding. I have been disturbed to read and hear about demonstrations, protests, and even violent attacks against refugees in Germany and other places. A society is measured by the way it treats its most vulnerable. Let’s welcome refugees, help them begin new lives, and reap the rewards that will bless our children and us for a long time to come."

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