A New Thread: The Story of Afif Naeimi

May 14 marks 7 years in prison for the 7 Baha’i leaders in Iran. In honor of these prisoners of conscience, a campaign #7Bahais7years is telling their stories. You can read profiles of the seven leaders here. And you can read the full Twitter story of Afif Naeimi (standing, second from right) below…

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What is written on the walls of the heart of a prisoner of conscience? Let’s imagine…

My name is Afif Naeimi & I’ve been in jail 7 years for being a Baha’i.

I was born in Yazd, known for its silk and pashmak candy, like sheep’s wool.

Then, my father died, and I fell from my safe nest…

Kind relatives took me in, and I went to live in Jordan. Looking back, I know that the pain of death opened my life to serve others.

I wanted to be a doctor but the Iranian authorities did not allow me to attend medical school.

They consider Baha’is “unclean.”

I have two beautiful sons & devoted my life to faith, family, & business. I channeled my healing energies into my community…

But the authorities would not leave us alone. Constantly, we were watched, harassed, arrested, denied the decencies of normal life.

Then came that day in May 2008. Seven of us ended up behind bars, serving 20 year sentences…for belief in our faith.

How can I convince the Iranian government that our faith is not a threat? It is a new thread added to the divine tapestry of this world.

Let me tell you a little about encouragement. It is the most important gift you can give…

I couldn’t have survived in prison without the encouragement of my friends here, and the prayers of God, the source of hope…

Prayers illumine our darkest days and nights, flowing from our hearts like white Yazd silk.

Dear God, I do not pray for myself, or my fellow prisoners.

I pray for a unity that respects and protects each beautiful living being.

 

This story is inspired by the life of Afif Naeimi.

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