From Stephan Kazemi

Inspirant, me donne encore d'avantage envie de faire connaitre Ziba ma mere, elle commme son oeuvre. Il me semble que cette oeuvre meme de Shahrzad etait comme ZIba, et comme son histoire telle que nous la connaissons tous, profonde, penetrante, brave et courageuse, originale et a multi-couches. Et jusqu'a ce jour, les echos de cette piece continuent de m'enrichir.

May 5, 2011

From Nika Khanjani

There are relationships that seem destined. There are friendships that surprise us, sustain us, challenge us, and take us places we never before imagined we would go. It seems to me that to make it possible, we must have an openness and a willingness to let these relationships in to transform us, change us, and tell us what no other relationship could tell us.

Shahrzad Arshadi has had the courage, curiousity and openness to make way for a remarkable relationship, and an incredible personal journey because of it. For nearly a decade, she has championed the case of Zahra (Ziba) Kazemi to raise public awareness and to pursue an unprecedented legal battle. This work and commitment alone has been remarkable. The story of Kazemi has been brought to light because of the work Shahrzad has tirelessly done with Stephan Kazemi. I got to know Shahrzad first at an event she organized for Kazemi nearly seven years ago. I was always impressed that there was a quality of friendship that inspired Shahrzad to pursue justice for her friend. How surprised I was when I found out that the two had never, in fact, even met.

The story behind the Kazemi story---that of Shahrzad Arshadi and her journey these years with a woman who she never actually met---is subtle, complex and extremely story. It is a story that needs time to be told, and the right format of telling. With this recent project, Shahrzad has branched out from her visual practice of photography and documentary film to use sound and space as the media for sharing the textures of this relationship and how it has changed her. We in the audience were asked to listen, to sip our tea and enjoy the delicate cookies whilst reclining on Persian divans, and to simply listen. And without the tyranny of the image, the sound and it's layers transported me into a space that was at once extremely intimate and immediate, as well as open and expansive. By the end, I wept and wept in a way that films often do not provoke in me. I only hoped that she would take this gentle and humane experiment that she so bravely ventured and would do it again, and again, and again.

Nika Khanjani is a Video/Film Director & Producer, Writer and MFA candidate at Concordia University.

From Abby Lippman

Thank you for the wonderful evening; what a special treat it was to be at the performance and hear the memories you've woven together to help us all try to feel some of what you have been feeling and experiencing.  As I told you, I was more than surprised -- and still am -- to have learned that you never actually met Ziba Kazemi;  the intensity and depth of your relationship to and caring for her certainly has suggested otherwise. 

Would that we all could be as devoted and creative a friend to someone as you are to her; how blessed is she, and Stephan, to have YOU as their friend. 

It's THANK YOU.  You do these wonderful things that give us a chance to say how appreciated you and they are.  You open doors to new ways of seeing and hearing that keep us all aware of much that would be otherwise overlooked or forgotten.

Abby Lippman - the words Women’s Health Researcher and Human Rights Activist.

From Edenne Fournier

Congratulations for "It is only sound that remains". I told you -- briefly -- my impressions yesterday, but once again, you truly moved a whole crowd of people lying in the dark. You open your heart to Ziba, and then shared her story with all of us. Each of us now has a part of Ziba in our heart, in our soul. If I can do anything to help you out with Ziba Foundation, let me know. I would be grateful to help.   

Finally, I would like to warmly thank you... for existing.  Thanks for sharing Ziba's story with all of us. Thanks for welcoming me in your projects. Thanks for introducing me to your friends. I truly had an amazing time yesterday night.  It is not given to any 21 years old young Quebecer woman to spend a night, drink and dance with amazing Iranian intellectuals and artists.  Hopefully, we will see one another soon. Take good care of yourself dear Shahrzad.  Peace and light.

Edenne Fournier is a BA Student, International Relations & international law at Quebec University in Montreal.

From Emmanuelle Sonntag

Je voulais vous féliciter, toi et tes complices, pour le théâtre sonore hier soir. J'ai trouvé les voix du petit Stephan et de sa mère profondément touchantes, et quelle expérience impressionnante que cette écoute couchée sur un tapis persan, yeux fermés et oreilles tendues!!! 

Pour moi, cette expérience a été un appel au son. J'enregistre parfois des bouts de ma vie... Je dois l'avouer : j'enregistre mes parents. À 6000 kilomètres de distance, j'ai à chaque conversation téléphonique l'irrépressible besoin de capturer leur voix, de peur que ce ne soit... peut-être...

Aujourd'hui, après cette expérience sensorielle que tu as proposée à mes tympans, je ressens encore d'avantage la nécessité de le faire. Chez moi, dans la rue, avec mon petit appareil. Attraper la voix, accrocher le bruit, capter ce qui peut s'entendre, ce qui s'offre à mon écoute.

Pour que le son demeure, ou peut-être son écho. Merci à tous les artisans (je ne les connais pas tous) de cette performance, bravo, vraiment.

Emmanuelle Sonntag, Projet Histoires de vie Montréal, Groupe éducation