Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Love and Hope Cannot Be Extinguished

This morning Sarah sent Shane, Josh and I this video of an interview Drewery Dyke, Amnesty International Iran researcher, conducted with Amir, author of Zahra's Paradise. Zahra's Paradise is a serial webcomic that tells the fictional story of a mother's search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has disappeared after the 2009 fraudulent elections in Iran.

I watched the video and was deeply moved by how effectively Amir expresses so much of what I found so difficult to adequately explain during the 2 years and 2 months of our 'Free the Hikers' trauma.

Amir talks about wanting to represent that "in a situation of crisis, ...Iranian society helps with this odyssey this mother has to go through...It's at that level...that the love flows."

His words capture so well how I felt about all the seemingly small kindnesses of people around the world, the kindnesses of people towards me, during Sarah, Shane and Josh's captivity. One example of such kindness, that I will never forget, is that of Mike, owner of Broadview Espresso, in Toronto. I was living in Ottawa and came to Toronto for a doctor's appointment. I headed straight to my appointment from the train station, with my suitcase in tow. I stopped at Broadview Espresso on the way, to grab a much needed coffee after the long trip. I had never been there as it was newly opened when I left Toronto. I was so preoccupied with the stress of Sarah, Shane and Josh's captivity, that I left my suitcase there, right in front of the counter. I didn't even notice that it was missing until I had been sitting in the waiting room at the clinic for some time. I frantically called Broadview Espresso, hoping it would still be there. Mike picked up the phone, calmly told me that it was there, and asked me to tell him where I was so that he could bring it to me. I was stunned. Toronto is a very large city and I could have been anywhere. I felt that he had felt the stress I was under, the stress that led me to forget my suitcase there, and wanted to do what he could to alleviate it. He brought my suitcase to me at the clinic and I couldn't adequately express how meaningful his gesture was to me.

People doing whatever they could was exactly what we all needed to get through our unimaginable trauma. Such kindnesses would often make me cry and it was so hard to explain to people why. Amir explains it beautifully.

He goes on to express, "Love is ultimately the force that conquers death...that's where the resistance comes from." My belief in that was my guiding light during our fight for FREEDOM for Sarah, Shane and Josh. As I described in my Valentine's Day blog post, whenever my faith in justice, my faith in truth, faltered, I turned to this quote from Gandhi: 
"Truth triumphs over untruth. Love conquers hatred.”
As Amir emphasizes, love and hope cannot be extinguished. When people asked me whether I felt hopeful about FREEDOM for Sarah, Shane and Josh, I could only answer "I have to." When a CBC reporter asked me over and over, "What if Sarah, Shane and Josh are never freed?" I stared at her incredulously, not even being able to absorb what she was suggesting, and replied "We can't even imagine that possibility. They have to be FREED, and we have to do whatever is in our power to ensure that they are."

Love and hope are within our power. As Amir so beautifully encourages, "Amnesty members can light up the candle, the spirit, in all the ways that they wish."

Thank you Amir for your beautiful spirit reflected in your work and words, and Drewery for your beautiful spirit that supported us so strongly in our fight for FREEDOM for Sarah, Shane and Josh.

Thank you both and all Amnesty members and supporters for lighting the candles of love and hope, and keeping them aflame in the darkest times.