Open Letter to the German Forgeign Minister, 19.07.2000

Dear Mr. Joschka Fischer

My own personal fate and political observations over the last few days have prompted me to write this letter to you, Minister.
My name is Parastou Forouhar and I am the daughter of Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar, leading opposition politicians in Iran. My parents were both murdered in their house in Tehran by governmental intelligence forces in November 1998. The appearance of the sequence of events corresponded to an Islamic ritual execution. They were the first victims of a series of political assassinations that provoked uproar in both Iran and also in democratically governed countries abroad. Despite this international outcry that made a lot of potential promises, a political strategy of delay on the part of those in power has ensured that any promises made to the public and the families of the victims have not been followed through upon. 

Two years have now passed since the murder of these two liberal people. This is a period in which I have had to learn to live with my fate, a period in which politics has apparently changed. This transformation represents my tragedy and that of many liberal-thinking citizens of Iran. The opening up on cultural, political and economic levels to external influences and an increasing despotism within the country has distorted the view of foreign onlookers from the reality of those affected. 

The memory of my parents’ murder has faded in the meanwhile, just as the fates of others in Iran do who genuinely stand up or have stood up out of humanitarian principles.
Internal political scenarios, which have been strategically initiated by the power-holding forces over the last few years in Iran, occur so often that the shock of their inhumanity is dulled and have ultimately become the interest of a minority exercising their power. A game where the rules are in the hands of those in charge. A game at which I am the mercy of and leaves me powerless.  

I am scared that these political stagings will find new terrain beyond our country’s borders. Khatami’s visit to Germany is a fresh start for both states. In the context of such political get-togethers, historical quotes are imbued with new significance. They become bridges between cultures. Havis and Goethe, the two most well renowned poets of our cultures, have been quoted as having spiritual kinship and are thus bridging cultures in Iran and Germany. This connection resonates with contentual meaning and its strength has enabled it to survive centuries. Linking political events, just as the exceptional cultural phenomena of Havis and Goethe did, is an obligation. We are obliged to the poets and thereby to the meaning of words. The chance to observe more closely and to take a more active and influential role in internal political conflict in Iran is a part of deepening political, cultural and especially economic relations. Previously brandished words such as liberalism are not allowed to be thrown around and used in advertisements by both parties. Instead, their substantive meaning requires examination. Therein lies the chance for democracy.
Therein lies the chance for people to incorporate injustice into their fate.

Yours sincerely,
Parastou Forouhar