Atefeh Sebdani was born in 1986 in Isfahan. Her father was a member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), but her mother, without being a political person, was forced to obey her husband. Taking care of her three children, together with her husband she went to Camp Ashraf, Iraq. After Forough Javidan operation, Atefeh’s parents divorced each other under Masoud Rajavi’s order –in fact under the pretext of focusing more on the struggle.
In 1991, Atefeh and her two younger brothers, like other children of the MEK, were separated from their parents under the order of Masoud Rajavi. After being smuggled from Iraq, they finally arrived in Gothenburg, Sweden.
In her autobiography, Atefeh writes about the terrible tragedy of her and her brothers’ separation from their mother: “My youngest brother still was fed with breast milk and clung to the breast of every adult woman we saw on the way… When the boys fell asleep, I cried silently … I had promised to be good, and I was constantly afraid that they would separate us… I did everything for my brothers and became their mother.”
Atefeh waited until their teenage years for their mother to come and take them away, but apart from a five-minute phone conversation once a year, she got nothing else. Although, as she says, these short calls caused more psychological damage to that helpless girl.
She is now 37 years old. She is an engineer and has received many awards and recognitions as a digital strategist and business developer, but her passion for writing her autobiography has made her today a woman who has transformed her childhood tragedy in the Rajavi cult to an inspiring story of resilience.
Swedish publications, newspapers and websites present Atefeh Sebdani as a woman who as a child did not have a dream. Her life at Camp Ashraf, in Sweden and with the families who were supporters of the MEK, was full of catastrophic tragedies, and the only reason he decided to survive every day was the promise he made to her Mujahed mother: to take responsibility for his brothers.
During all her childhood years, she had to defend herself and her brothers alone by enduring the mental, physical and sexual abuses that the Cult of Rajavi imposed on them. The MEK had kept her and her brothers in their orphanage and adoption system with the hope that someday they would return to Camp Ashraf, Iraq as child soldiers, either as fighting soldiers or as “martyrs” for the organization’s propaganda purposes. As Atefeh writes in her book, for a long time she thought that every death was martyrdom!
A significant part of the biography of Atefeh Sebdani focuses on the analysis of the MEK as a cult and the leadership of Maryam Rajavi. Like other children of the MEK, he was used as a tool to participate in rallies and financial-social activities of the group.
Today, Atefeh Sebdani is a fierce critic of the leadership of the MEK. In an interview with the Swedish magazine Femina, she says: “I am angry that today no one accepts responsibility for all the children who were detached from their parents. We, children were never allowed to ask questions, we were exchanged between different aunts and uncles. ”
After her childhood meeting with Maryam Rajavi at the Ouver sur d’Oise, the MEK’s headquarters in the suburb of Paris, she understood the depth of cult-like tyranny. She tells Femina about that experience: “When I saw Maryam in the midst of all that luxury and protection, I felt like the emperor’s new clothes. Why, while my mother stayed in Iraq, became a soldier, lacked food and had to make the worst sacrifice a mother can do, Maryam was so elegant, and she was so honored?”
Today Atefeh lives with the love of her life Max, they have three children.