We have received this letter from Lydia in London.
I thought you might be interested in an incident that happened to me yesterday.
I went to my local dry-cleaner and shoe repair shop with a sandal that needed a few stitches. The shop -- so far as I know -- is owned and run by Kurds and at least two of the assistants in the shop are Iranian Kurds. One of them is a young man who sits in the window working at his sewing machine repairing clothes. He is not always there, so I was very glad on Thursday to see that he was; the weather is hot and I wanted my sandal repaired as quickly as possible.
The repair man speaks only very basic English so we rarely exchange more than a few friendly words of greeting but as I put the sandal on the counter and said how glad I was to see him, I noticed that he really did not look all that well. I asked him if he had lost weight. He said he might have. I then asked if he had been trying to lose weight or if he was ill. He said he had been having some family troubles.
Then he said that three weeks ago his brother, married with five children,had been hanged in Iran.
I could not get much information about the circumstances. I was too shocked and the young man's English was not good enough but he told me that all that had happened was that his brother had got into trouble with his papers.
Apparently his family were then subjected to what I believe is an entirely typical sort of authoritarian sadism -- they were told shortly after the arrest "don't worry, he'll be free by next week". Then a few days later they got the news that he had been hanged.
I suppose the monster who promised the family their son, brother, husband and father's freedom in a few days is still laughing over the joke he had made about the nature of liberty.