Her loving smile was a call of victory piercing through thick walls of Evin
Fariba Dashti had sworn to symbolize the glorious laughter of a conqueror and to only speak of the word “freedom.”
The hot and scorching days of August remind us of the 30,000 massacred in 1988. Those were the turbulent and blood-soaked days of the summer of 1988 when Khomeini ordered 30,000 political prisoners to be sent to the gallows and executed by the firing squads. Those were the days and nights during which no one knew what had happened to the female prisoners who supported the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (PMOI/MEK) across Iran. But history will attest to their loyalty to freedom.
Who was Fariba Dashti?
Fariba Dashti was one of the brave and victorious women who were executed in Evin Prison in the summer of 1988. Fariba, along with many PMOI women, were executed in the wake of Khomeini’s fatwa.
Fariba Dashti was born in Abadan in 1963. She was only 15 years old when the anti-monarchic revolution began, and she started her political activities against the Shah with other passionate students. She took part in writing slogans against the Shah’s dictatorship on school doors and walls and enthusiastically participated in demonstrations.
This young freedom-loving teenager who loved the oppressed and deprived, expanded her activities after a short time. She devoted herself full-time to the PMOI’s Student Section.
After June 20, 1981, at the height of repression and execution in Iran, Fariba went into hiding. Although the regime sought to arrest PMOI members and supporters, she continued her activities without fear or doubt. She wanted to break the silence and tyranny that reigned in society.
A victorious breakthrough from the harsh test of torture and imprisonment
Fariba Dashti was 18 years old when she was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and sent to Evin Prison. She was rebellious and had a fighting spirit. She was subjected to all kinds of torture in prison for defending the PMOI and the Iranian people’s cause for freedom. Time in prison and torture had no effect on this young woman’s determination and motivation; on the contrary, they turned her into a beacon for other prisoners to follow.
The prison walls yearned to hear her sigh. The whip and torture bed felt ashamed by her resistance, but she had sworn to symbolize the glorious laughter of a conqueror and only speak the word “freedom.”
Fariba’s loving smiles were like a call of victory in the face of the thick stone walls of Evin Prison. Even torture could not silence her joyful laughter.
Fariba Dashti spent hours mocking her interrogators to make her cellmates happy. Every time she walked into the ward, she would break the silent atmosphere to give her cellmates hope and vitality. All this rose from Fariba’s invincible faith and will.
A memory of Fariba Dashti by one of her cellmates is as follows: “Fariba Dashti was continuously punished, and before her execution, they took her to a locked ward. She spent 5 months in that ward. The ward contained small rooms, each jam-packed with prisoners. The doors in this ward were only opened and closed three times a day to serve meals. Prisoners were restricted from taking a walk outside and having fresh air.
“Every day, the main door would open, and new prisoners were brought inside. Most of the time, the door would be opened with great difficulty because there were so many prisoners behind it. The ward in which Fariba Dashti and a few others were held captive was a typical apartment with a lounge and two small rooms. It had a bathroom and a toilet and had been used as Evin’s administrative section during the Shah’s time. One of the rooms still had a door sign, ‘Archive,’ on it.
“It was a small, closed space, agonizingly and suffocatingly hot, with prisoners packed into a small room… These matters, however, did not disturb Fariba. She tried her best to make everyone forget they were inside a prison.
“So, every contact with the enemy was grounds for making a story and a joke to ridicule the guards. Fariba did not leave anything out, she had said that everything from the enemy’s side was a joke to her. That is how she was always cheerful and obviously the reason everybody gathered around her and loved her very much. They were motivated by her humor and sometimes their laughter could be heard for hours. But this also caused a lot of trouble for Fariba.”
Fariba Dashti was imprisoned with other heroines such as Susan Salehi, Tahmineh Sotoudeh, Forouzan Abdi, Nahid Tahsili, Roghieh Akbari Monfared, Parvin Haeri, Mahdokht Mohammadizadeh, Azam Attarzadeh, Ashraf Fadaii, Farangis Keyvani, Shekar Mohammadzadeh, Senobar Ghorbani, and many more. They were all symbols of courage and resistance under all circumstances.
They suffered from not having the least means of living and the deprivation of breathing fresh air. They experienced hardships and torture solely for the people of their homeland to be free.
Fariba Dashti, like all the other heroic women, ridiculed the prison, the torturers, and torture itself until the very last days of her life.
After years of torture, with Khomeini’s fatwa, she was sent to the execution chamber in the summer of 1988. Fariba Dashti was taken to the gallows bearing a conqueror’s smile, and she joined the galaxy of martyrs, including her brother Hooman, who had been executed before her.
All those women who died for freedom, those loving souls, stood tall to Khomeini’s fatwa of death so that today the glory of their names would embody the true meaning of life to every Iranian.