Mother Moluk Zamani(Mother Sarhaddi)

Mother Sarhadi

Mother Moluk Zamani(Mother Sarhadi)

Mother Moluk Zamani, the mother of late Manuchehr Sarhaddi, was born in 1312 (1933) and passed away in Tehran on 6 Ordibehesht 1392 (26 April 2013). She was buried in Behesht Zahra Cemetery. Mother Sarhaddi, a tireless freedom-fighter, suffered many hardships from her early childhood. At a very young age she submitted to an unwanted marriage with a middle-aged man and raised her four children all alone because of the problems she had with her husband. She completed her high school education in order to earn a livelihood and took up a job. This woman in love with life sent her children to university by working hard and by her perseverance.

After losing her health in 1349 (1970), her problems became two-fold. However, her physical weakness could not hold her down and keep her from looking after and raising her children, and from other social and humanitarian activities. At the age of thirty-seven she suffered from a nervous breakdown due to many pressures of life and concerns she had, and one hand and one leg became motionless. Her other hand and leg also functioned with a great deal of difficulty.

Her son Manuchehr Sarhaddi was a political prisoner in both monarchy and Islamic regimes. Mother Sarhaddi from that time became familiar with a number of mothers and families of political prisoners and established very close friendly ties with them, a tie that was even closer than her family ties, because a common thread of pain and love joined them. This kind and selfless mother, along with other mothers and families of political prisoners was from the time of the Shah at the forefront and acted as a spokesperson of all against the injustices of the Shah, particularly for improvement of the condition of political prisoners and assistance to the families of political prisoners. She actively participated in all the sit-ins staged by the families.

In the hunger strikes of political prisoners that began in late Esfand 1356 (Feb.-Mar. 1977) and Farvardin 1357 (Mar.-Apr. 1978) and lasted 29 days, Mother Sarhaddi together with other mothers had a permanent and effective presence behind the doors of prisons. This hunger strike was wet in the beginning and became dry during its last five days and the demands made by prisoners to have access to radio, newspapers, books, visits and further facilities were met by the authorities and the strikes came to an end successfully. She, like other mothers of political prisoners, participated in the sit-in staged by the families in front of the Justice Administration building in the year 1357 (1978) for the release of political prisoners. Uninterrupted efforts and follow-up made by the families together played a vital role in the release of political prisoners in 1978.

With the movement of peoples’ protests against the regime of the Shah and for the release of political prisoners in 1978 kindled the light of hope in the hearts of these mothers and families. Many of the prisoners released from prison and torture made a common life for themselves. The Islamic Republic arrested Manuchehr in Tir 1362 (June-July 1983) and tortured him. Again the prison and cell and never-ending concerns of Mother Sarhaddi began, with the difference that this time Manuchehr had a wife and children too that increased the concerns and worries of this kind and selfless mother twofold. In spite of all those problems she offered a great deal of help in the keeping and care of her grandchild. When they imprisoned her son, she spent two three days each week at the house of Manuchehr and his wife Saeedeh to help in the care of their daughter.

The arrest of Manuchehr was another shock inflicted on Mother Sarhaddi. Mother was very dependent on her son and likewise the son on her. This loving mother was always present in all visits with Manuchehr. Even when the bone of her foot was broken and she could not put her broken foot on the ground, she climbed the steps to the visitor room of Evin Prison in a sitting position so as to see her son. She never lost hope in following up the case of her son.

Manuchehr, together with a large group of political prisoners, is executed on 7 Shahrivar 1367 (29 Aug. 1988). A small bag containing some of his things is handed over to his family at the Zanjan Committee in Azar (Nov.-Dec.) of the same year, without explaining as to why or how he was executed? What happened to his will? Or where he is buried? At the 40th Day ceremonies of the mass murdered political prisoners held at the Khavaran Cemetery, Mother Sarhaddi together with a large number of mothers and families is arrested and she is taken to the Khavar Shahr Committee. But she is released a few hours later. During these years she and other families are regularly persecuted, summoned, arrested and threatened directly or on the phone by the security police and intelligence agents for visiting the Khavaran Cemetery and holding memorial services. But they never gave up their rights as a human being seeking justice, or forgot the injustice done to them.

How Mother Sarhaddi visited the Evin Prison and Khavaran during those years and came back home is in itself a painful story of love. Her kind daughter-in-law was always with her in all stages of her life, whether for taking her to Evin Prison or to Khavaran. With open heart she took the initiative and took care of Mother as a kind daughter.

This kind Mother was loved and cherished by all members of the family. In the last year of her sickness, when she was basically bed-ridden and could no longer move about, three daughters, sons-in-law and the only daughter-in-law and grandchildren revolved round her like butterfly and took care of her. Perhaps her older daughter Mina and granddaughter Nasrin who lived with her took loving care of her more than others, and after her death cried like crazy for her.  

At the twentieth anniversary of the execution of Manuchehr held in Shahrivar 1387 (Aug.-Sep. 2008), a number of security and intelligence agents raided the apartment of Mother Sarhaddi and after breaking the door open entered her apartment and prevented the holding of ceremonies. Mother bravely stands up against the agents. When they tried to snatch her son’s portrait from the wall she puts a knife on her throat and say: “if you take away the portrait of my son, I’ll kill myself.” That day the agents insulted the family, threatened and persecuted them and removed a lot of things, including the cell phones of all members of the family, computers and photographs in the house and took it all with them.

Recollection of Mother Sarhaddi

Mother Sarhaddi held memorial services for Manuchehr each year on 7th of Shahrivar (29th of August), despite the threats of agents of the Islamic Republic. A large number of families of the executed people always participated in those ceremonies. Due to pressure, suffocation and suppression, the number of those memorial services was limited and families carried the photographs of their loved ones with them to the ceremonies. Each ceremony would turn into a common ceremony for all the executed persons. When Galen Dowell came to Iran, due to suffocation and pressure, families were not allowed to meet him. In those conditions Mother Sarhaddi took a number of papers and documents containing information about political prisoners and how they were executed to the place of residence of Galen Dowell, hoping that due to her physical condition and use of wheelchair she would be able to hand over those documents to him. However, the families were savagely attacked by the mercenaries of the regime. Mother Sarhaddi was severely beaten and assaulted and the documents were taken from her.

Manuchehr Sarhaddi

Manuchehr Sarhaddi was born in Tehran in Dey 1326 (Dec.-Jan. 1947-48). He became familiar with people’s hardships in his family environment. A mother with such patience, courage and resistance as his was his first teacher. In 1347 (1968), following his acquaintance with Faramarz Sharifi, he involved himself in political struggle. In the year of Siahkal and under the charge of two guerrillas named Mehdi Fazilatkalam and Faramarz Sharifi, he joined the Fedayin movement. Faramarz and Mehdi were killed in skirmishes with Savak in 1351 (1972). In 1353 (1974), following the attack resulting in the killing of Behrouz Armoghani and over twenty Fedayin guerrillas, Savak became suspicious of Manuchehr and arrested him. Neither Savak and its torturers, nor the lashes of the Islamic regime, nor the Apollo, or the sleep-deprivation of Azodi and Rasouli, could make Manucher submit and confess. Manuchehr was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment by the Shah’s courts of injustice and remained in Ghasr Prison up to Azar 1357 (1978).

Manuchehr studied Architecture at the University of Fine Arts, Tehran and held a job at the same time. He began his political activism from High School and became more active at the university level and joined the Organisation Iranian People´s Fadai Guerrillas.

Manuchehr married in 1358 (1979) and had a daughter in 1980. Pity that this sweet married life did not last long for him and his wife. In Tir 1362 (June-July 1983) he was identified by a repentant named Yar Ahmadi, who collaborated with the regime, and was arrested and sent to Evin Prison and tortured. The Islamic Republic sentenced Manuchehr on 16 Azar (7 December) to life imprisonment on grounds of his affiliation to Fedaiian Organization Majority faction. However, Manuchehr together with thousands of other political prisoners who were sentenced to death by the Death Commission, was executed by the firing squad on 7 Shahrivar 1367 (29 Aug. 1988). All of them were buried secretly in mass graves in Khavaran.

Texted: 14 June 2014/Translated: February 2021