Damona Ta’avoni: The only prisoner who didn’t have a blindfold was me!

As far as I can remember, there was hardly any time that I could see my father as a free man and not behind the bars.

I can remember the day. It was 4 a.m. and I was only six. Security forces raided our house.

My father was already in prison. My mother asked them to give her some time to take me to my grandparents, but the agents did not accept. Callously, they took us both to the Evin Prison.

During and after being transferred to prison, I was the only one among all prisoners who did not have a blindfold! Everyone else was blindfolded, but not me. And I could witness everything, all the gazes, all the crimes, and everything that happened.

A young, little witness to great pains: The pain of her mother being imprisoned, her mother’s pain under interrogation, the pain of the young man who was sitting in the dark, narrow corridor with bloody, swollen feet, and the pains of many others…

For a child my age, prison was a dark and damp place that replaced my rainbow dreams with sadness, grief, and anguish.

Fortunately, I got released after some time and went to my grandparents while my parents were still languishing in prison.

I was in second grade, when my father was released from prison. Immediately, he came to pick me up. He told me, “We are not going to stay in Iran anymore.” And the next day, we left the country.


One year later, my father returned home and shortly afterwards, we heard that he had been arrested. I was almost sure that I would not see him again, and it was extremely difficult for me to get on with this feeling. Sometime later, my mother told me that he had been executed. I could not believe it. I did not want to believe it.

My father had been executed in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.

When I grew up a little older, one of his cellmates told me about his last day. He said that he had seen my father when they were taking him for the summary trial. A few minutes later, two guards brought him out while holding his hands and dragged him to the Death Corridor which led to the place where the hanging gallows were located!

I will always remember my father’s eyes. They were always filled with love, gazing at me. I will always remember his voice that was filled with determination and faith.

Every year, on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre, I look at my father’s picture over and over again. He seems alive. I have never believed that he is no longer with me. He still smiles at me and closely watches me.