By Mickey Mohammadi
A talented writer, artist, and calligraphist Reza, is a man of great sacrifice and pride who was born in 1954 in Broujerd, Iran but now lives in Springfield, VA. He grew up speaking Farsi but speaks English as well. With a degree in metallurgy engineering, he decided to join this field to become an effective person and help build his country. He didn’t get very far though, because of major bumps in his path.
Reza grew up with two brothers and two sisters who both advocated women rights in Iran. As a kid, he enjoyed playing basketball and Ping-Pong with his siblings and neighborhood kids. At age 22, he made his first big purchase, which was a car. After high school, he went on to pursue his studies in college. As he grew up, many things changed in his life. These changes included the Internet, technology boom, human rights in Iran, and transportation methods, which were also affected.
In blink of an eye, his beloved country had also become corrupted by a dictatorship of Ayatollah Khamenei. Upset about what the regime had done, he spoke out against them, for women’s rights and human rights in Iran. As a result, he was thrown into jail for the period of 15 months. During that period, he was tortured everyday. They tried to get him to confess about who else was involved in his protest, but he never gave in. When he got out of jail he, never stopped working against the terrible regime and never stopped working for human rights in Iran. Even though he still encountered trouble here a there. While in Iran, he had moved multiple times to avoid getting thrown in jail again. He moved to Mashhad (north-east Iran). From there, he moved to Iran’s capital, Tehran. By 1982, he made his way to Turkey to join other Iranian dissidents and so he could move to America. He was homesick for a while because he was worried about his family back in Iran and what the regime might do to them. Thousands of miles away from his homeland, Reza still fights for his peoples and Women’s rights in Iran every day.
Despite his troubles, there were happy moments for him. Reza was the first person in his family to go to college. When he found out he was accepted into the college of his choice, he says that it was his happiest life moment. When he was younger, he went on a trip to see caves and hike mountains. He recalls his funniest moment being when the Iranian regime said to the media, “We are the freest country in the world!” Considering how false this information was, it made him laugh. He regards his proudest moment to be that he never gave up to the dictators, not even after 15 months of torture. When he sees people like himself struggling for freedom and human rights in Iran, it lets him know that he is never alone. This inspires him to keep pushing forward and never back down from his cause.
Reza, has one major dream he feels very strong about. He hopes to see Iran rise in Freedom and also wants to continue to serve his people. “Hopefully my dream can become a reality but until then, I will not rest,” says Reza. He has no regrets and is still proud to sacrifice himself for the country he loves. His time in prison has taught him what happens when you fight for your rights against a dictator like Ayatollah Khamenei. Off course, he still continues his campaign against the terrorist regime in Iran. Over the years, he has learned that you will not be able to go far in life without teamwork, sacrifice, and standing by what you believe in. He has dedicated his life to doing the right thing for his country and says that he will not relax until freedom and democracy is seen again in Iran all Iranian dissidents can go back home to visit or live in the country they love.
The person I interviewed has been through a lot in his life. His sometimes-painful story can teach us a lot about love, sacrifice, and dedication. Like many other Iranian dissidents, he paid a significant price for wanting freedom and democracy for the people of his homeland, Iran. For example, what he’s been through his life made me realize that sometimes we can take our freedom for granted. His story tells us that there are people in other countries that struggle. Instead of sitting there, waiting for it to all play out in front of us, we should speak up and help others. Considering what Reza has experienced, it opened my eyes to how bad dictators like Ayatollah Khamenei are still in power and are taking human rights away from innocent people. Sometimes, us just showing support for such a cause makes all the difference because it shows, for instance, that people who are working for human rights in Iran not alone, that we are here to fight for them too. It just shocks me that someone spent basically half their life doing something to help others.
It also inspires me, so that when I’m older, I’m not just going to sit around. If someone needs help, I will do what I can to be there. When you think about it, if you don’t help others, then who will? I’ve also learned that sacrifice is a huge part of life. You can’t always get what you wish for and that’s okay. “It’s in giving that we receive.”
Mickey Mohammadi is an 8th grade student and a member of the Iranian American Community of Virginia