I hope ‘see you tomorrow’ comes true for Nazanin
It was heartbreaking to watch the news and see Nazanin Zaghari-ratcliffe and her little girl, Gabriella, sing Wind The Bobbin Up. It’s such a normal, happy bonding thing for a toddler and her mummy to perform all the actions, climaxing in that triumphant: “Clap, clap, clap!” It took a moment to remember that Nazanin and Gabriella have been separated since April 2016 when the British-iranian Nazanin was jailed at the end of a family holiday in Iran.
Living in Tehran with her grandparents and unable to see her father, Richard Ratcliffe, who can’t get a visa, Gabriella, now aged three, speaks Farsi and is fast losing her English. The only words she has left are “I love you” and “See you tomorrow”.
Throughout the 19-month ordeal, Mr Ratcliffe has displayed great eloquence and steadiness, although he must want to howl for his wife and lost baby. I admired his refusal this week to join in calls for Boris Johnson’s resignation after the Foreign Secretary blunderingly said that Nazanin has been “training journalists” in Iran, an error that could well extend the poor woman’s horrible prison sentence.
Ironically, since Boris’s mistake the case has started to get the public attention it
always deserved. Boris apologised belatedly, but he had better stretch every sinew from now on to get 38-year-old Nazanin freed.
Unsurprisingly, she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and lumps have been found in her breast. This is a woman with a British home, a British husband and a British child. Her suffering is terrible. The first time Gabriella visited her mummy in jail, Nazanin had a sack over her head.
Boris would show a welcome humanity if he used his power to take Richard Ratcliffe with him to Iran on his forthcoming visit. They may not be able to free Nazanin for some time, but at least Gabriella can use what remains of her English to her daddy. See you tomorrow.
Torn apart: Richard Ratcliffe has not been able to see his wife Nazanin and daughter Gabriella since April last year