Hello children…I miss you all. I pass my days and nights here singing songs of life while filled with your sweet memories.
Every day I greet the sun instead of greeting you. I get up every morning with you, while behind these tall walls. I laugh and sleep with your memories. Sometimes I am filled with nostalgia. I wish it was possible to forget everything- just like when we used to on our return from a school trip when we washed away the dust of our tiredness with the clear water of a river in a small village.
I wish it was possible… I wish it was possible to lend our ears to the “sound of water” and our body to the caress of flowers, as we set up our class sessions in the midst of nature’s beautiful symphony.
I wish we could leave our math books with all its problems under a rock, because when “father does not have any bread to offer at the table,” what difference does it make if Pi equals 3.14 or 100.14?
We used to set aside the science chapter with all its chemical and physical compounds. We hoped to see a reaction made of “miracles and love” while we said farewell to the clouds in the sky, as we watched them drift away with the breeze. We longed for a change that would prevent your naughty classmate Koroush from ending up a worker who, one day, while struggling to earn a piece of bread, will fall from a tall building and leave us forever.
We longed for a different Norooz (the Persian New Year) that would bring a pair of new shoes, a nice outfit, and a tablecloth full of sweets and candies to us all.
I wish it was possible to revise once again our Kurdish alphabet in secret, away from the furious glance of the school president. I wish it was possible to sing poems and songs for each other in our native language and hold each other’s hands and continuously dance.
I wish I could once again be the goalkeeper of the first year elementary school boys who dream of becoming Ronaldo so they can score a goal to beat their teacher.
It is such a pity that, in our land, our dreams and wishes are covered by the dust of forgetfulness much earlier than a simple portrait would. I wish I could once again become a constant member of Mr. Chain Builder  with the first year elementary school girls; the same girls I know in a few years time will secretly write in their diary, “I wish I was never born a girl.”
I know you have grown up and will get married, but for me you remain the same pure angels who still bear the kiss of Ahura Mazda  on your beautiful eyes. Who knows, perhaps if you angels were not born in such poverty and pain, you could now be collecting signatures for the One Million Signatures campaign. Or, if you were not born in this corner of “God’s forgotten land,” you would not be forced to say farewell to school at 13 years with tearful eyes, under the “white lace of womanhood,” to fully experience the “second gender’s bitter story”.
Girls of the land of Ahura, tomorrow, when you will be picking flowers in the valleys to make crowns for your children, tell them about all the pureness and the happiness of your childhood.
Boys of the land of the sun, I know you cannot sit, sing, and laugh with your classmates anymore, because after the sadness of growing to become men, you have to face the grief of having to “earn bread”. Remember to not turn your backs on your, poems, songs, Leyla’s, and dreams. Teach your children to be children of “poems and rain” of their land; for the present and tomorrow.
I leave you to the wind and to the sun so that, in the near future, you will sing lessons of love and sincerity to our land.
Your childhood friend, playmate, and teacher,
Farzad Kamangar – Rajai Shahr Prison, Karaj February 28, 2008
 “Father provides bread” is the first text taught in Farsi lessons to children at elementary schools in Iran.
 Amoo Zanjir Baaf (Mr. Chain builder) is an old Persian children’s game.
 Ahura Mazda is an ancient Zoroastrian divinity.