Source: Vancouver Sun, June 22, 2023,

Opinion: On June 18 this year, I didn’t think of dark prison cells as I remembered the ten women executed at Adelabad prison in Iran on that date in 1983, but of free spirits and butterflies, of a vision of a just and tolerant Iran in which all people can live in the light of freedom.

Author of the article:

Sandra Lynn Hutchison

A cutout of a woman in Iranian dress stands in front of a former prison in Shiraz, Iran. PHOTO BY JOHN MOORE /Getty Images

The year was 1983, and I was a graduate student at the University of Toronto, living a life of enormous freedom. My only obligation was to work, at my own pace, on my dissertation — no one ever asked me about my beliefs, and certainly no one would have ever have thought to arrest, let alone execute, me for practising my faith as a Bahá’í.

I could not imagine what these women, who were, like me, in their 20s, had faced. The horror of their execution overwhelmed me — and the boundlessness of their courage amazed me. How had they had the strength to give up everything for the one thing they could not give up: their faith? And I wondered: What impact would their sacrifice have?

Forty years later, as I look out the window at the garden I planted when I moved to Maine, I am astonished at how much has changed. Where there was a mere plot of grass, roses, lilies, and lavender abound. My student days are far behind me. I have spent decades nurturing students the same age I was on that day in 1983 when I heard that terrible news. And when June 18 comes around now, I feel more awe and admiration than I do anger or sorrow. It has taken decades, but over the years my grief and horror have been transformed into a conviction that ordinary people who give all of themselves for the things they believe in, can and do make a difference.

Read full story here: Vancouver Sun