Anoosheh Ashoori & Aryan Ashoori
Last year, on 2 October 2022, my five-year-old dream came true when I ran the London Marathon. From the early days of my ordeal in Evin Prison, I made it my goal to run the London Marathon anytime I was released, even if it meant that I was in my late seventies!
I ran that race in solidarity with all those I had left behind, and with the intention of fundraising and promoting social awareness about two noble charity organisations, namely, Amnesty International and Hostage International. My son, Aryan, trained along with me but only two days before the event, he tested positive for COVID-19 and could not participate in the race.
Despite all the ups and downs that we both experienced, thanks to the British public and supporters of this event, we managed to raise more than £28,000 in total for these two charities. I also dedicated my run to Iran's women-led revolution for the liberty of the Iranian nation; a nation that has been suppressed for 43 years by a barbaric theocracy called the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This year, with even greater energy and enthusiasm than last year, my children Elika and Aryan, will be running the 2023 London Marathon alongside me, in support of Hostage International which discreetly supports families affected by hostage-taking, and Amnesty International in solidarity with the brutalised people of Iran.
Every little bit that you donate to Hostage International will be spent on efforts to support the victims of hostage-taking and to help them and their families deal with the trauma and the multitude of difficulties they face pre and post-release.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, who remind me that despite all the corruption and suffering that we are witnessing on a daily basis all around the world, humanity is not dead and there are millions of good people out there.
I end my message with the sentiment of Saadi's poem in confirmation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights placed at the Entrance of the United Nations Building in NYC:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you've no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain!
بنىآدم اعضای یک پیکرند
که در آفرینش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوى به درد آورَد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نمانَد قرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بیغمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی