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A Song for the Yaran, The Baha’i Prisoners in Iran

KC Porter | May 14, 2013

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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KC Porter | May 14, 2013

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Click to download Yaran by KC Porter

In January of 2009 the government of Iran detained American journalist Roxana Saberi, charged her with espionage and held her for months in Evin Prison. Though she was told and convinced by her interrogators that her friends and colleagues had forgotten her, the opposite actually occurred – Roxana’s case became a cause célèbre around the world, and international pressure helped win her freedom. Roxana’s Iranian jailers released her in May, and soon after she was joyously reunited with her family.

Evin Prison – Secton 209

Roxana has repeatedly said that one of the worst things that can happen to a prisoner is to be forgotten — and that while she was in the harsh conditions of Evin Prison, two women in particular inspired her the most when she thought the worst. These two women — Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet, two of the seven Baha’i leaders known as the “Yaran”(or “friends”) — have been held since May, 2008.

Both Fariba and Mahvash received 20-year sentences for their crimes, which consist of being members of the Baha’i Faith. Criminalized by the Iranian regime, Baha’is are subject to incredibly harsh sentences, torture and even death at the hands of the Iranian government. But these two women, despite their own plight, kept Roxana’s spirits high and strengthened her resolve. When Roxana went on a hunger strike, Fariba and Mahvash would help by washing her clothes and telling her stories to get her mind off of her stomach. To Roxana, their kindness and humility seemed to have no limits – as Baha’is, they strive to serve humanity. Roxana later stated in an interview,

“They showed me what it means to be selfless, to care more about one’s community and beliefs than about oneself.”

I’m a songwriter, a musician and a music producer, and I wanted to do something for all of the Baha’is unjustly imprisoned for their Faith. I could not believe this was to be the fate of these dear friends, unjustly incarcerated simply for their religious beliefs. In Iran, the Baha’is are still systematically persecuted as they have been for over a century, and after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, this persecution intensified. Hundreds of Baha’is and non-Muslim believers of other faiths disappeared, were tortured, hanged, their homes destroyed, their belongings seized. These horrible violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — all because of religious intolerance and complete ignorance of the Baha’i Faith‘s peaceful and all-embracing tenets — must stop.

So I felt a strong need to share this terrible injustice with the world, somehow, in my own way, and I believe it was around the anniversary of the third year of the Yaran’s imprisonment that I decided to finally write a song that would tell their story to the world. At the same time, I wanted to let these brave, suffering souls know that they are not only inspiring all of us into action, but that as the chorus sings,

“You
Are
Remembered
And
Not forgotten.”

[You can listen to, access and download KC Porter’s anthemic song YARAN here: kcporter.com The voice you hear chanting a Baha’i prayer in Persian at the beginning and end of the song is Fariba Kamalabadi’s, one of the imprisoned Baha’is. Her prayer was recorded from a cell phone inside Evin prison.]

Click to download Yaran by KC Porter

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