Mother of teen protester found dead in Tehran denies daughter fell from building
TAMINGA, Tanzania — For the first time since her 16th birthday, Ameneh Hashemi is writing this story.
At home in the sprawling Moshi slum, the story — one of the many that she penned this week as her sister, Mariam, waited on the front porch of their sprawling and crumbling shack — is the story of a 16-year-old girl who grew up in one of the world’s most oppressive places: Iran.
More than one million Iranians are confined to their home country, most under intense pressure from the government. Those at the highest echelons of power are routinely tortured, interrogated, and subject to death threats. Some are locked up in solitary confinement for years, or even decades. For the past year, that has meant living in her family’s two-story, rickety shack.
But Ameneh, who cannot write her name because her mother cannot pronounce the letter, still has hope.
Ameneh, a rising high-school senior, plans to study computer science and engineering. She’s on track to graduate from Moshi Central School this year.
“I want to come back and help,” she explained.
But Ameneh’s goal goes beyond graduation — it’s to change the way she thinks about her life, her country and herself.
In her writings, she expresses her concerns about life under the regime and makes clear where she stands in relation to it. She addresses the Iranian government, calling on world leaders to pressure the regime.
And while she seems to want to live a life without fear, her writings — from writing notes about events she will never be allowed to attend, to her own poems that she published in a local newspaper — suggest she understands the danger she faces.
“The first time I wrote poems,” she said, “I don’t care. I just wanted to express.”
But writing and sharing her views with her family was becoming a challenge. She stopped talking to her siblings.
Her mother, in a desperate attempt to get Ameneh to talk, became obsessed with her daughter’