December 21st 2022 :

I received a message from my Italian friend, who was checking on me and my family’s well-being. It had been a while since we had spoken, and his concern for the situation in Iran touched my heart. In my response, I told him that I wasn’t in the best state of mind, but reassured him that my loved ones in Iran were safe.

As I hesitated before hitting send, I found myself rereading my words:

“My family and friends are all okay.”

These days, the sentiment of being “okay” carries a different meaning.

January 13th 2023:

I found myself sitting on the couch in the Kevin’s living room, scrolling through my phone. My heart sank as I read the news that the Islamic Republic had executed two more individuals on charges of the protest. Everyone knows that they were convicted after grossly unfair trials. I couldn’t imagine how they felt as they approached the gallows. They were innocent.

Kevin noticed my distress and asked, “What’s wrong?”

I replied, “They executed two more people.”

Then, inexplicably, I let out a laugh. It was a bitter, humorless laugh that surprised even myself.

As I sat there, feeling confused by my own reaction, Kevin came over and pulled me into his arms.

January 17th, 2023:

I had a dream that I was in Tehran and all the girls had removed their hijabs. Some were even trying to be naked, but the police were pursuing us. I stood in the street and saw people bravely walking ahead of me without their headscarves. It seemed as though nothing mattered to them, and they weren’t afraid of anything. Then, a girl wearing a red dress came towards me.

Tears filled my eyes, and I began to cry. It was hard to believe that this was my home.

Suddenly, I woke up from the dream, startled.

February 2, 2023:

I called Shima, an old friend of mine who has been living in Iran for several years. What began as a simple greeting and catching up on recent events in our lives turned into tears that gently touched Shima’s cheeks and a lump that stuck in my throat.

I told her about the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and the Gate of Babylon that I saw there. Shima mentioned the cloudy weather in Iran these days, which has left her with no desire to visit museums, watch plays, or engage in artistic activities.

I told her that I follow the news from Iran through a Telegram channel, and she told me about her frustration when someone at home listens to the news.

I shared my plans for the future, expressing my hope to continue my studies at the doctoral level, and she spoke of her disappointment that she has spent the final days of her twenties feeling lost and depressed.

We both come from the same place. Our shared experiences should naturally be more profound than those who don’t share the same things. But how did we end up so far apart?

The county Shima lives in no longer resembles the one I left. My heart ached as I saw her tears flow uncontrollably, and she said, “I have never thought of leaving, but everyone here tells me to go. It’s like I don’t belong in my own home. I have no hope for anything.”

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