The Mothers of Laleh is an astounding, poignant source of information about how mothers in Iran are coping with the loss and disappearance of their children. The following is a letter from Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi to the mourning mothers of Iran:
Conscientious women of the world:
The tragedy in Iran is much larger than we had imagined. People who took to the streets to express their objection to the election results peacefully were met with bullets and truncheons. Many of those who survived the confrontations were arrested in the days that followed the protests.
Iran’s state radio and television broadcasts initially announced the number killed as eight and later eleven. However, more than twenty-five days after the street demonstrations, there are still many who have disappeared and their names are not on the lists of those who have been killed or arrested.
Many mothers have been anxiously going to any authorities who may give them information about their disappeared loved ones but have received no answers.
Now that families are slowly receiving the bodies of their slain children, it has become clear that the number of fatalities is much higher than what the government of the Islamic Republic has published.
Moreover, the families are being forced to sign legal covenants that they would not disclose how and when their loved ones died. But it is not possible to hide the truth forever, and it is not possible to silence the cries, so the tragedy of the past weeks is showing larger in
the eyes of the Iranian people as days pass.
Many mothers whose children were killed, are still among the disappeared or are in prisons have formed the Committee of Mourning Mothers.
Every Saturday from 7 to 8 PM, the members of this committee and other women who empathize with them dress in black and gather in public parks in their cities and towns to stand vigil and silently express their pain.
I would like to express my deep sorrow and condolences to the mothers who have lost their loved ones for freedom and democracy in Iran, and I stand in solidarity with women who are still searching for their disappeared and the large number of young Iranian women and men who are now in prisons because of their civil activism.
I invite all freedom loving women of the world to dress in black and gather in solidarity with the Committee of Mourning Mothers every Saturday in their own cities and towns every Saturday to help make their voices heard throughout the world.