Reza Fani Yazdi is a human rights activist, writer and former political prisoner but this recounting of his story is remarkable precisely because it is, in many ways, a common-or-garden ‘how I met my wife’ story . There is something wonderfully and touchingly ordinary about him and his story. Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Boy kisses girl for the first time in an interrogation centre…
But there is something very unusual about Reza Fani Yazdi – even more unusual than the backdrop of his love story with his wife, Sohaila Vahdati – and that is his clarity about who he is and what he believes. He has come upon this knowledge in the most difficult way imaginable but he has come upon it nevertheless.
Throughout all his time in prison he never gave in. Never gave up. Torture, imprisonment, terror – nothing worked to make him give up the fight. As he says himself, “Basically, you think, ‘If I break, if I give up, I have lost my dignity. I have lost my existence. Who am I going to be after that?’”
He obviously knew if he lost himself he’d have nothing but it still must have taken enormous courage to make such sacrifices.