Anoosheh (& Aryan) Ashoori
To support my family's simultaneous fundraiser for Hostage International, please visit this link: tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/aryan
When you are faced with a minimum 10-year sentence in one of the most notorious prisons in the world, through no fault of your own, the world seems to come to an end for you. I was 63 when I was arrested. The earliest time for my release, on paper at least, was August 2027. However, I received my second indictment, charged with the dissemination of falsehoods in November 2021, after sending phone messages that described the dire conditions at Evin Prison. Therefore, most likely, I would have received another sentence, adding a few more years to the existing one.
During the early days of my life in the infamous Hall 12 of Evin Prison, I joined a group of prisoners who did daily workouts in our small gym. One of our exercises was warm-up running. In the beginning, I was short of breath after running for only a few minutes. I exerted more pressure on myself and gradually but surely, my stamina began to improve appreciably. Later that year, we were allowed to use a bigger gym outside our wing. One day, to my friends’ surprise, I managed to run continuously for two hours. Upon returning to Hall 12, a friend handed me a book entitled “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. That book inspired me very much. I promised myself that whenever I am released, even at the age of 73 or older, I shall run the Marathon.
A few months later, I received another book that played a significant role in my fight against insanity. The name of that book was “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl. Victor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and Holocaust survivor.
After reading his book, I learnt that when you are going through intense pain and suffering, if you manage to find meaning or create a purpose for yourself, then it will no longer be as painful as before.
The determination to run the London Marathon was very helpful in keeping me physically fit but it lacked purpose.
Almost all throughout my ordeal, we received immense help and support from two charity organizations, namely, Amnesty International and Hostage International. Without their help and support, I would still be rotting away in that "Valley of Hell." I could not find any purpose more sacred than promoting social awareness about their activities in fighting injustice and in helping those who have fallen victim to cruelty and tyranny.
And here I am, living proof of the results gained from their efforts and their perseverance.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. There are many other victims, trapped not only in Iran but in other countries across the world, who are in desperate need of help. The beauty of what these two charity organizations do is that their struggle extends beyond any borders. They are “international” in every sense of the word.
So, please join me in this effort by supporting Amnesty International and Hostage International.