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Shah or sheikh
Savages do the same job irrespective of who's in power

By Parkhash
June 2, 2004

Fariba Amini's article on the abuse of human rights and particularly the use of torture has a familiar message which is heard from the sources who blame America for all the evil in the world ["They wrote the book"].

While Amini blames the US unequivocally for the horrifying use torture around the globe, past and present, she completely misses to trace the roots of the evil to the periods before the 1960's. I wonder why?

Take a magnifying glass and scan the article from top to bottom and you cannot see a single reference to the state that revived the systematic use of torture in the early decades of the 20th century and turned it into an institution: the Soviet Union. In fact, was it not for the little prayer that appears in the last paragraph of Amini's article, it could well have been written as an opinion piece for the communist Pravda!

One cannot deny the widespread use of torture by the military dictatorships during the cold war era and by other totalitarian states well into the present century. But the condemnation of torture must be universal. Long before the installation of any Western-backed dictatorship, the torture machinery of the USSR and its satellite states was in full gear.

Amini is keen to remind us of the alleged CIA devised torture techniques but she shows no interest in extending similar credits to the torture schools of the KGB whose methods were copied by other communist states such as China. The products of these schools were exported to countries from Cuba to Mozambique and had torture specialists despatched to North Yemen (war in Dhofar), North Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the entire communist-bloc countries of the Eastern Europe.

As a matter of fact, more than two decades before Hitler opened the gates of his concentration to its hapless inmates, Messrs. Lenin and Stalin had established their forced-labour camps (Gulags) in Siberia.

With such appalling records on violation of human rights, sympathisers of these communist states, namely the KGB-funded Tudeh party and their off-shoot, Fedaeyan-e Khalq guerillas, continued with their malicious dissemination of lies and misinformation and in the process poisoned the minds of a nation against the establishment.

What is regrettable is that after passing of 25 years since the installation of the tyranny of turban and sandal which presided over a catastrophic loss of human life and resources in Iran, hardly any thing has changed. Yesterday's Marxists who are today's liberal nationalists, still remain fixated on their old diet of falsehoods and fabrications.

Ironically, in her attempt to implicate the Pahlavis in the wrong doings that were committed in Evin, Amini touches a point that is taboo for any self-respecting nation. She alleges that the guards and torturers of the Islamic Republic were in fact the former regime's employees on an extended contract. Whether true or not, it shows one clear fact: that regardless of who is in power, there are still Iranians who are prepared to inflict pain and injury on their fellow Iranians.

This is not any more a question of shah or sheikh. These ordinary Iranians, some religious fanatics, who are willing to commit the most hideous acts of savagery against their fellow Iranians, would do the same job irrespective of who is in power. The case of Zahra Kazemi is still fresh in our minds.

The trail of horror started with the Islamic slaughter of Shahpour Bakhtiar and his aide Soroush Katibeh in Paris, went on with a similar degree of barbarity carried out on Fereydoun Farrohkzad in Germany, later continued with the savage murder of Forouhars in Tehran and culminated two weeks ago in the public broadcast of Nick Berg's decapitation in Iraq.

All, these murders and many more have the hallmarks of the same zeal that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of our men, women and children behind the closed doors of the Islamic Republics dungeons. Is it not, therefore, so unusually out of balance and proportion to lament the treatment of the Iraqi captives by their captors, be it as abhorrent as it is, while ignoring what is happening in our own back yard?

Fortunately for Amini, she is not alone in her partial position. This is exactly the same stance adopted by no less than our Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. She appears to have forgotten that her prize was not awarded because of her stance against the US war on terror nor for her criticism of the treatment of the inmates in Camp X-ray.

Perhaps more than anyone elase, Ebadi has an ethical obligation to draw the world's attention to the litany of terror committed under the Islamic Republic in the last quarter of a century. Or is it that she and her sisters-in-arms have nothing better to do than repeating the same anti-American chants that they have been singing since the sixties and only find their identity in going against everything for which the US stands?

Time has come for our political activists and commentators to shake-off their past and predominantly left-leaning sympathies and see the world in a new light. There is no more a debate between the capitalism and communism. There is now a new monster to manage, that of Islamic terrorism, and a new outlook is needed to combat its tyranny.

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