I need to tell you a story today, illustrated with real photographs.
It’s about this woman. Her name is Maryam Hosseinzadeh.
But no. I cannot tell you about her yet. You must first meet Koukab. Here she is.
She is crying because she has just been told that the next day, her son, Balal
Because he killed Abdollah Hosseinzadeh (whose picture I don’t have), stabbed him to death in a street fight (about which I know nothing else). Abdollah was 17. Balal was 19. Abdollah’s parents, Maryam (yes, it’s back to her, now) and Abdulghani Hosseinzadeh
were, understandably, as grief-stricken at their son’s death as Koukab was at the prospect of her son being hanged.
Maryam spoke to the crowd (executions by hanging in Noor, in Iran being public).
Arah Khamooshi of the semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA, who took these pictures, described what happened next (all this according to a CNN report).
She said she's been living a nightmare since she lost her son and couldn't bring herself to forgive the killer
Then she walked toward Balal and asked for a chair to stand on.
She stepped up, slapped Balal and said, "forgiven."
At which point she and Abdulghani
removed the noose from about Balal’s neck.
It’s a fairly regular theme here, this thing about forgiveness.
Because, I marvel at it. Because it’s wondrous. Because the alternative is the hatred that eats you up and leaves you bitter and cold, friendless even in the company of friends, alone even amidst others, the old man or old woman (however young) with pinched face and pinched views, seeing the world as a place only to hate, unloved and unable to love.
And, of course, because it’s so damn hard.
One more picture. Koukab embracing Maryam