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Listen to Atefeh, the little girl smuggled to Europe by the MEK

Atefeh Sebdani

“My Hand in Mine” is an autobiography authored by Atefeh Sebdani. She was born to parents who were members of the Mujahedin_e Khalq. Atefeh and her two brothers were residing in the group’s headquarters, Camp Ashraf, Iraq, until the group’s leader Massoud Rajavi ordered to smuggle all children from Iraq to Western countries. Atefeh and her brothers were smuggled to Sweden.

Atefeh Sebdani’s inspiring story was published in Swedish language and by the Swedish publication Albertbonniersforlag. This is the publisher’s description about the book:
A little girl clings to her mother, but grown hands pry her from her mother’s arms.

Later, the girl sits on a worn-out bus driving along dusty roads towards an unknown destination. She has her arms around her little brothers and comforts them with her mother’s last words: We will see each other again soon.

Why do you abandon your children? Atefeh is five years old when she and her brothers are smuggled to Europe. The parents are soldiers in an Iranian resistance movement and remain in the organization’s military camp. In a stroke, the five-year-old is the mother of her brothers.
“Min hand i min” is a story about growing up with no one to hold on to but yourself, about abuses that are skillfully cleaned up and about a society that fails to see the vulnerable child. But it is also a story of a stubborn burning vitality, and of the courage to finally break free.

Atefeh Sebdani

Atefeh and her two brothers

This is a review on the book published by the Swedish newspaper Gothenburg Post:
“Despite all the darkness, the book is pleasant to be in, thanks to the author’s supple language. Atefeh Sebdani … writes matter-of-factly and with a clear forward movement where every sentence is carefully formulated … a very readable autobiography that gives insight into how the is escaping from one country and growing up in another, and what it means to be a woman in an environment where male desire rules.”

The number of children of the MEK members who were smuggled to European and North American countries mounts to 700. Many of these children –about 300– were later sent back to Iraq under the pretext of visiting their parents but they were recruited by the MEK’s army as child soldiers. They were forced to wear military uniform and to receive military trainings.
The stories of MEK child soldiers are distressful. Several of them were killed in the MEK. A number of them could manage to leave the group. A few of them dared to speak out in the news media and social networks, like Amin Golmaryami, Amir Yaghmai, Zhina Hosseinnezhad and Ray Torabi.

Of those who were lucky and were not sent back to Iraq, a few have written their autobiographies. Hanif Aziz, 40, now a Swedish police officer, is the son of Mujahed parents too. He published his tragic autobiography of an orphan who strived in Sweden, in the early 2021, in Swedish language. The book was titled “Suburban snout”.

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