Today, November 4th 2009, in the few hours that a public demonstration was declared legal by the government of the Islamic Republic, Iranians poured into the streets, crying, "Neither East-leaning, Nor West-leaning, Regimes: A National Democratic State in Iran".Demanding a home-grown democracy is what this recent wave of demonstrations in Iran is all about.
The people of Iran believe that the current government has stolen the last election (June 2009) and that a repeat of the election is in order; this time with trustworthy observers, and with independent oversight to assure a healthy, honest election process, which will yield accurate results.
No Iranian wants a "regime change" imposed by the U.S. and Israel.
Iranians know, full well, the devastating effects of war-- they were forced to endure an 8-year war with Saddam's Iraq, imposed by Saddam's ally, the United States [read commentary below]. At the time, Saddam's regime had full U.S. military and political support, while Iran was just emerging from a popular revolution which had overthrown the Shah's U.S. puppet regime. The Shah's regime, with full support of the U.S. and Israel, had brutalized and tortured the Iranian nation for almost 30 years. The Shah had been installed by a U.S. coup d'etat in 1953 which removed the democratically elected government of Dr. Mossadegh.
To weaken the new revolutionary Iran, the United States encouraged and supported an Iraqi invasion of Iran, and continued to support this so-called "Iran-Iraq war" for years. The U.S. offered Saddam chemical and biological weapons to use against people of the region, Iraqis and Iranians alike. The losers of this war were the Iranian and Iraqi people, who lost over a million lives and are still enduring massive public health problems such as cancers, loss of limbs, and psychological disorders inflicted on them by that U.S.-sponsored war.
The Iranian people are also well aware of the fact that the U.S. (despite Obama's pretending to oppose the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan), and despite his "change you can believe in" rhetoric, is still imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. Furthermore, the U.S. has not made a single move to end the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The people of Iran are encircled by deadly American military power, which has so far claimed millions of lives in the Middle East and made many more millions refugees.
The people of Iran feel that the way to real stability and peace for their country, and for the whole of the region, is peaceful, nonviolent, democratic change that will allow functioning of the civil society without abrupt upheavals that would disrupt life and potentially invite unwanted foreign powers into their land.
So, in answer to President Obama's "We have heard for 30 years what the Iranian government is against; the question, now, is what kind of future it is for"
It must be said that: What the current government in Iran wants, and has been pushing for, is a prolonged verbal cat-fight with the U.S. and Israel, to create an atmosphere of crisis, so that the Iranian public will not protest its illegitimate power grab. This verbal cat-fight is a dangerous game, because the U.S. and Israel keep maneuvering to "obliterate" Iran, a land of 76 million people. After Hillary Clinton threatened to "obliterate" Iran, Obama chose her to be his Secretary of State.
The Iranian people, however, want home-grown democratic rule, a demilitarized Middle East, and an independent Iraq and Afghanistan without U.S. intervention. This will guarantee that the people of the Middle East (Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan, etc.) will have the ability to organize their elected governments and build a future THEY see fit for themselves and their children.
The best way that you, Mr. Obama, can help is by taking your hundreds of thousands of military personnel out of Iraq and Afghanistan, to give people breathing space. You can also help by halting U.S. funding of the violently racist state of Israel. Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons and a history of constantly bombing and invading Middle Eastern nations.
Saying "change you can believe in" is a mockery, when you continue occupying millions of peoples' lands across the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Eyewitness accounts from the streets of Tehran (November 4th 2009)
Translated from Farsi by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani
We dedicate these stories to the growing children of Iran who will never know the blow of a baton because we are standing to the end.
They had caught a young boy. We walked up close to the cops and started booing them. The one who started beating the kid was a plain-clothes cop. The boy wanted to run away. People were booing. The plain-clothes cop threw the boy in the ditch near us. A girl ran to him and held the boy tight. He was not moving. Peoples voices had escalated. He was not moving at all. I was screaming with all my might. I was looking at the cop who threw the boy.
It was a magnificent moment!
The cop was walking back. As peoples voices reached higher, as I trembled and shouted, I saw it! We saw it! We saw the fear on the cops face. I wanted the world to stop in that instant, and for that instance to go on for an eternity. But a baton hit me in the leg and the pain travelled up my spine. I could barely see.
Now, they were beating us. But something in me was happy. I was in control. Even when they drove us into the narrow passages, I was cool. With my free hand I was straightening my maghnaee (official head cover for women and girls in Iran). And as the cops chased me, another one of my dreams came true. They pulled my maghnaee off and as I ran, my hair blew in the wind.
No doubt about it, we have won.
I saw it a lot today; people were chanting, shouting, and running; all the while laughing. It was as if they were at an entertainment event. Maybe it was an instance of collective self confidence; the joy of rulings ones own streets; chanting together, all of us, men, women, young, old, so much happiness and pride.
They cannot crush it. They will not crush it.
But I owe you -- the 1980s generation--an apology. Those of you who pulled off the Revolution are braver than the rest of us. I could see you braving it again today. And the jokes and the laughs help too. But what a day it was today. My head still hurts, and my leg which was already limping, is now worse.
And what a day it was today, and how good I feel even though my head still hurts.
I saw my father in the Hafte Tir Square by accident. To stop me from going to the rally, he had promised not to go either. Now, we were standing face to face, and neither of us knew who had broken his promise first.
I did not smoke in front of him even after they threw teargas at us. I burned a piece of a newspaper and held it near our faces instead --the smoke displaces the nasty teargas and protects the eyes. The teargas hit Karroubis turban; he was walking right in front of us.
I wish I had voted for him. How many people get to do the right thing at the right time in one lifetime?
I wish I had voted for him.
I just got back from the protest.
I saw a guy I recognized, but for the life of me I dont remember his name. Today was just like the 20th of June. Horrific!
They were beating to kill. Islamic Guards, cops, Basijis, and plain-clothes cops; they were all beating people and they even have daggers. I saw them grab a boy with my own eyes. They shoved him in the back of a Peugeot and pulled a bag over his head. They grabbed a few more people too. We all shouted let them go, let them go. A cop yelled in my face, YOU shut up! And another one hit me in the back with a cable so hard, I lost my breath.
I had thought it would hurt more, but it turned out to be tolerable. And I was less afraid.
They let the boy in the Peugeot go. But I am worried about my mother. Her cell phone does not answer at all.
You know what hurts the most in huge protests like this? You see them beat to kill and you dont know what to do. If you walk up close to them they will beat people harder. If you say let them go, they will step-up the beatings. All you can do is to say let them go because you have no gun, no dagger, no baton, or even a stick; Just a long green arm that ends in a fist.
Our co-worker has not returned yet. And neither has my friend. I am nervous and distressed. The cell phones are dead. Our co-workers mother calls every five minutes.
You sow hatred and you shall reap wrath. But until that time, we suffer in your hands.
B is a small bony girl. In the office I call her my daughter, and she calls me dear father.
We were losing hope that she will return. We had consoled her mother on the phone but B was still not back. Finally she walked in, beaten and ruined. At the first attack of the cops she had decided to leave the protest and had headed back to the office, but near the office building three guys had grabbed her and beaten her so hard she could have died. In the end they had thrown her on the asphalt and told her: remember these punches before you join another protest again.
She was so hurt. Someone had to take her home.
I am thinking to myself where does the government keep these thugs when they are not set loose on the public? They are liable to turn on each other, or to eat each other alive. Truly, wouldnt they rip each other up?
But, I am afraid for these dogs. The time will come for them to taste a little of what they are dishing out.
Source: the author
Original article published on Nov. 4, updated on Nov.7, 2009
About the author
Mozhgan Savabieasfahani is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This article may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source and author are cited.
URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=9191&lg=en
Who started the Iran-Iraq war?
A commentary by Einar Schlereth, Tlaxcala
You never stop wondering. Everybody certainly remembers that a majority of the people in the Sovjet sphere of influence rarely believed a word of what Eastern Media had to say. But when it came to China then they believed every single word. I remember a discussion I had with a group of Polish students about this mystery. They were flabbergasted. And finally admitted that it was true.
The same happens with Saddam Hussein. A majority in the world doesn't believe a word that comes from the White House because they know that there you can find the only real Hitlers. But when it comes to Saddam then these very same people - even socalled lefties - believe every word which comes from the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House. It means that they in some fields did an admiring job of brainwashing.
Well, Jeff Archer wrote an extraordinary book The Mother of all Battles (available here: http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=17353 ) where he disproved all the big lies on Saddam and Iraq one by one with plenty of documents and research.
Let's take this one lie of Saddam initiating the war with Iran. Have we all forgotton the hate speeches of Khomeini who nearly on a daily basis urged the Shia in Iraq to overthrow the dictator in their country? Who said that it is the duty of every Iranian to fight Saddam and to free the people of Iraq. The Iranians fired regularly rockets onto towns and villages in Iraq. There was a lot of death and destruction in Iraq. And the Iranian army even invaded on several occasions Iraqian territory.
So there was plenty of proof about the Iranian aggressions. Iraq wrote letters to the UN, to the Secretary General, to the leaders of the world. But nobody took note and everybody looked the other way. Saddam invited the Iranian leaders for talks again and again. All these invitations were arrogantly dismissed. When he finally reacted against the aggressions the world was immediatly ready to call him the aggressor.
And Washington started one of the greatest campaigns with lies about Saddam followed by the mainstream media of the whole world. At the same time they let Saddam buy weapons from the USA and other countries. Let's not forget that Iran is much bigger with a threefold population and an army much better equipped by the Americans at the times of the Shah. And let's not forget also that this war was in the interest of the USA and the West. They love it when the black and the brown and the yellow people fight each other and kill as much as possible. But this war was also in the interest of all the Arab Sunni countries. Because Khomeini was looking far beyond Iraq because he saw himself as the given leader of all Moslem.
Therefore all these countries supported Saddam in the frontline were Kuweit and Saudi Arabia.
But after Saddam and his heroic people had smashed Khomeinis dreams they all were of the opinion that Saddam had become too powerful. And the smear campaign went up into full gear.
Einar Schlereth, Nov.6, 2009