Nasrin Parvaz – Night

Profile Nasrin Parvaz Live Encounters Poetry & Writing 8th Anniversary December 2017

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Night, poems by Nasrin Parvaz

Nasrin Parvaz became a civil rights activist when the Islamic regime took power in 1979. She was arrested in 1982, tortured and spent eight years in prison. In 1993, she fled to England. Her prison memoir is being crowdfunded by Unbound publisher.  Nasrin’s stories, poems, articles and translations appeared in Exiled Writers Ink; Modern Poetry in Translation series; Write to be Counted, Resistance Anthology 2017; Words And Women 2017; 100 poems for human rights 2009; Hafiz, Goethe and the Gingko 2015; Over Land, Over Sea, Poems for those seeking refuge 2015; A novel, Temptation, based on the true stories of some male prisoners who survived the 1988 massacre of Iranian prisoners was published in Farsi in 2008.            


Time froze
at the call of the first name.
The names always began
being called at noon
when the air was dank
with hundreds of women
breathing each other’s breath
longing for the darkness
for no one was ever called
for execution at night.

Million Moving Pieces

Whenever I board a train
I remember Yavar
he worked in a factory in Arak
making parts for trains.
He used to point with pride and say:
‘You see that train!
I made it.’

He heard the sound of trains
in his sleep
yet when he went anywhere
he went by coach
as he never earned enough money
to take a train to go somewhere,

He left some of himself
in all these million moving pieces.

One Woman’s Struggle In Iran; A Prison Memoir

One woman’s struggle in Iran is the story of my imprisonment for eight years by the Islamic government of Iran.

In 1979, at the age of 20, I returned from England, where I had been studying. I became a member of a socialist party fighting for a non-Islamic state in which women had the same rights as men. In 1982, while waiting to meet a fellow comrade, I was exposed and arrested by the regime’s secret police. In prison, under torture, I refused to reveal my contacts’ names and addresses.

In prison I was brutally and systematically tortured, threatened with execution, starved and forced to live in appalling, horribly overcrowded conditions. Many of my fellow prisoners were executed; some were driven insane by torture and what we had to endure. Others repented their political beliefs only to find they remained in prison for years before their release. I became seriously ill, and was only saved from dying by the help of a fellow prisoner who was a doctor.

Although I was imprisoned and in the hands of my enemies, they could not arrest my resistance, and neither could torture vanquish my struggle. In resisting the Islamic regime, I was not alone, all the other men and women, imprisoned like me, we were all part of the ultimate victory of humanity.

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© Nasrin Parvaz