I’m still reeling from the effects of an unforgettable party last Saturday night. A party spiked with the blazing heart and soul of fifty Iranian activists and ex-political prisoners in exile world-wide.

They came to Montreal for a conference about the 1980’s massacre of Iranian political prisoners: to re-connect, to strategize, to honor the dead and celebrate life. After surviving years of punishing brutality via the Islamic Revolution, they continue the fight for human rights and peace. Talk about a theme!

Aside from my wedding (and its renowned Arab/Jewish hora), I have never witnessed such an explosion of joy as I did that night. Shirin and Mehrdad (see: The Heart of a Revolution) opened their home to their 1980’s cell-mates, and let the party rip. A live-wire ran through their veins, which, amazingly, included mine. A musical of towering emotional intensity was improvised on the balcony, with outbursts of ecstatic dancing that vibrated the feet, gyrated the hips, and threw heads back, lashing hair in the moonlight. Through the tears, my friends, laughter! Music! Three women singing, then six, then two men, then one woman, then, all together. Aching songs of sadness and joy. Soft voices whispered in my ear, translating the Farsi of Iran. Images of its mountains, sunsets, and the spirit of its people. The woman who lost her husband to the firing squad, and then her baby as she was tortured in jail. Female voices chanting the chorus. I clapped my hands, raw, in time. When Shirin opened her golden throat, I felt her heart fill the night sky with indomitable love.

In the living room, one woman pointed to another- held in a group hug on the couch. She said, we shared a cell for a few years. They beat her terribly every day. For the first time, tonight, I saw her dance.

 

GOOD NEWS FLASH: As we share our stories and break down the walls that divide us, we speak out against tyranny with our humanity and love. There is hope!

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