Choose Laughter. Free Nazanin.
Last week was Nowruz – Persian New Year – when the Iranian authorities traditionally free prisoners.
We hoped that this Nowruz, almost two years since her arrest, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be free.
Sadly – this hasn’t happened.
On the one hand, Nazanin has been told by the head of the prison where she’s kept that her release was approved months ago. On the other, an Iranian judge has made it clear that she’s being held as a bargaining chip to get a favourable interest rate on UK government debt.
Guess what, Iran: human beings are not for haggling. Our fight continues to free Nazanin and end this awful human rights abuse.
Hope in the darkness
It goes without saying that an Iranian prison is a lonely, frightening place.
Nazanin has struggled with intense feelings of anger, regret and frustration. She misses her young daughter Gabriella and husband Richard more than she can bear. Panic attacks often disturb her sleep.
But since leaving solitary confinement she’s found comfort in laughing with her fellow prisoners.
The women sit together some evenings telling each other funny stories, doing impressions of the guards and each other, remembering stories from former cellmates.
It’s a way of surviving – to physically lose themselves in laughter, and relieve the tension. They laugh in the face of their captivity. The Iranian authorities have done what they can to ruin their lives, but they cannot control their happiness.
Send us your jokes
This is why we’re asking you to send us your favourite jokes, or whatever makes you smile.
We’re collecting them for Nazanin’s husband Richard, who will hang the jokes on the One Day Tree in his local park, marking two years of Nazanin’s detention.
365 of your jokes will also be used to make a calendar. Richard will send copies to Nazanin, Gabriella and the prisoners’ families, and it will also be used to fundraise for Amnesty and other organisations who have supported #FreeNazanin.
So please, send us your jokes today.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.