After five years of working for Zamaneh Media in different roles and four years of directorship, I am saying goodbye. I am saying goodbye to a role that has meant so much in my life, I know I will miss it dearly.

It is not a common thing, unfortunately, that a young woman under the age of 30 is given the opportunity to lead. I was generously and confidently given that chance, which says a lot about how extraordinary this organization is.

Rieneke Van Santen

I have never taken this position for granted and I hope I used the opportunity well and to its fullest potential. I hope it brought Zamaneh Media, our team and our audience as much as it has brought to me personally.

I have no doubt that my successor Joris van Duijne, who like myself has spent several years in our management team before taking over the lead today, will guide Zamaneh’s projects and journalism into a future that is bright and successful.

I told my colleagues I have a love relationship with Zamaneh, but a love-hate relationship with the job itself. You will better understand from the poem below, which is dedicated to my colleagues and to you, the Radio Zamaneh audience.

You are the motivation behind everything. You are the driving force of all actions. You are the drivers of change.

Thank you for being there, always.

Rieneke Van Santen,
Executive Director

This job

This job happens behind the scenes
Beyond what you can see

It’s casual hallway meetings and coffee break greetings
Sometimes by chance, but mostly meticulously planned

It’s cycling through the city with ideas rushing through my head
It’s a never-ending rattling machine and factory of thought

It’s not being able to sleep
Not knowing if we can pay

It’s not being able to eat
Not knowing if we will stay

It’s crying in the taxi on the way to the airport after a disappointing fundraising meeting
It’s dancing in the elevator after a successful fundraising meeting

It’s feeling high on success and dreams
It’s being annoyed with someone telling me what “tarof” means

It’s wearing jeans, to an event and being mistaken for the intern
It’s meeting men that comment I’d better go get my nails done

It’s feeling like I always lose
Then, two seconds of fame on the evening news

It’s worrying over bringing too many restrictions for a security threat I’m not sure exists
It’s missing family Christmas brunch due to a security incident

Its confidence in a sadness, knowing I made the right decision
Unpopular, but responsible

It’s feeling high and invincible

It’s wondering if anyone with political power ever hears us
It’s that thrilling moment when I know: they heard us

In fact,
It is knowing, my words have impact

It’s personal conversations with colleagues that intrigue me
Knowing I will never fully understand
But I can listen
I can extend a helping hand

It’s trying to visualize the people behind the stats
The individual behind that click
Who are you? What do you want? What do you think?

It’s knowing that there are a million things that I forgot
A million things I should have done

It’s feeling angry quite a lot

It’s dancing like a Persian, while not feeling the music
It’s pretending to like kebab

It’s feeling discriminated against for being Iranian
while not being Iranian

It’s feeling like home when coming back from traveling
It’s laughing more than actually working

It is a deep, deep gratitude for having a support system that I can call day and night

It’s advocating peace
But for justice, willing to fight

It’s being in charge and loving the decision making power
While I know, it is my own growing ego

Its regrets
Its mistakes
It is learning that nothing is pure evil and nothing is pure good
That everything in this world is grey

It’s feeling so incredibly proud
It is a solid belief in what we do without a doubt.

It’s resisting pushy men telling me to be meaner
It’s witnessing that kindness matters

It is believing with every single fiber in my body that what this world needs
is sensitivity
Sensitive and feminine leadership by men and women
It is the growing realization that words and kindness are our weapons

It’s the conviction that inclusive dialogue is always the only way forward
And we must fight for keeping this dialogue with everything we have

It is finding confidence in what I believe to be the truth
That words will be our savior
And empathy is our strength

It’s feeling the weight of responsibility
It’s knowing that I am not alone

It is a deep relationship like in a family
And your hands are here to carry me

It is knowing that I did the very best that I could do
And I only have one thing left to say: I thank you