Today is known as 16 Azar, the Student Day in Iran since 1953 when three innocent university students were brutally murdered by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s military forces, right after “His Imperial Majesty’s” forced return to the Persian Peacock Throne from Europe and as orchestrated by the U.S. This was a sponsored CIA coupe d’état, which overthrew the first and the only democratically elected government in Iran led by the late Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh the Prime Minister. Student Day has since been commemorated every year as the day of civil disobedience and protest by students and the progressive grassroots movements against western imperialism, despite the U.S. expansion in the region and its support of unpopular puppet regimes at the expense of blatant violations of human and civil rights of the people.
However, this year’s massive demonstrations of university students are not only the capital but also in a dozen major cities, are being joined by the populace, including families, parents, grandparents as well as siblings, and have taken a new direction. The demonstrators are primarily chanting slogans against their own government and its figureheads including the “supreme leader”, and multitude of failing or ill conceived polices. Such dissent has brewing and percolating brewing among the 72 million population for quite some time, has only accelerated in recent months due mainly to the post election improprieties of President Ahmadinejad’s government and the Basiji and Revolutionary guard military forces, and the ever serious economic crises and inequities that have ensued. Repression since the election has resulted in several dozen people killed in the streets and/or jail, as well as thousands arrested to have mysteriously disappeared, been imprisoned and even tortured and raped. Hundreds have been paraded on national TV and forced to confess about their fabricated links to the Anglo-Americans and coerced to ask Ayatollah Khamenei for leniency, all in Stalinist style kangaroo courts! The regime could not even tolerate the weekly peaceful congregations of mothers in the local Park Laleh, who have lost their children, killed in the streets or while jailed, by the government forces. Over twenty such mothers have been arrested so far. Continuous closure of the press and constitutional rights assembly are yet another inevitable tactic of a system frightened of its own shadow. Déjà vu all over again, and having seen the exact circumstances during the Shah’s era, it is rightly said, that history is repeated twice: once as tragedy and then as comedy since the people painfully joke about the recent confessions, lack of free press, and imprisonment.
What’s most striking is that the post-election slogans that primarily addressed the alleged massive vote rigging of Ahmadinjeda’s camp has now evolved into questioning of the very fundamental legitimacy of the political system, its once untouchable “guardian” Ayatollah Khamenei, and the unfulfilled mottos of 1979: independence, freedom, and a republic. Primarily led by women, slogans in today’s demonstrations include direct attacks on the “supreme” leader and the military and Para-military machineries that are, by and large, in place to protect the reign at any cost. Although there is no organized leadership of the political dissent from within or from outside Iran, nonetheless, techno-savvy grassroots have been able to utilize the power of the internet, twitter, instant messaging, and CD and leaflet distributions to communicate with one another and to transmit their pictures and voices to the outside world. Heavy military presence in the streets or the deliberate internet downtimes has not stopped the masses pouring out into the streets in millions, in solidarity with the noble cause of saving the nation from internal miseries inflicted on it by the theoretical dictatorial and now increasingly militaristic establishment. Today’s Student Day is no exception in that the government has desperately struggled to curtail the communications and hamper the use of the internet and mobile phones. The regime has mobilized hundreds of thousands of its armed forces in civilian clothes on motorcycles and/or full military outfits in armored vehicles to intimidate, beat, video-tape, harass and arrest protesters. The use of tear gas, live ammunition, and baton beating is ubiquitous against today’s demonstrations, injuring scores of people. This has continued to back fire as it has enraged the nation as a whole to come out in solidarity each and every time a demonstration is staged especially today on Student Day.
What is most striking is the effective use of the indigenous symbolic color Green that unites the pre-Islamic icons of Iran with its post-Islamic symbolic color of Mohammad and his decedents, the Sayeds. Today the demonstrators use the national flag as its Icon for the first time since 1979. The three colored national flag, Green, White and Red, with no pre-/post-revolutionary emblems on it is once again proudly carried. This tri-colored flag was widely used as a national symbol before 1979 by the merchants and those in the private sector to commemorate national and cultural holidays. Serial demonstrations on various special days conjure up similar sequels that led to the 1979 uprising. The next demonstration day is planned for December 27, the somber Ashoura, the tenth day of Moharram, the day the Shiite believe the Prophet’s grandson Hussein and his 72 apostles, who stood for ethical justice over illogical tyranny, were martyred by the Ferownic Yazidi Omayyad’s forces.
A Consensus has emerged and been reaffirmed by many at the all day Conference on Iran after the Election at Columbia University on December 5, that there is now no return as the Iranians have once again clearly spoken, LOUD and CLEAR. The above notwithstanding, o one expects the west and the U.S. to overtly or covertly interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign Iran. Such actions, militarily or otherwise, would give the radical fundamentalists in power the excuse to repress dissent and delay reforms. The anticipation is that the U.S. administration would go on the record and strongly advocate for the conservation of human and civil rights in Iran.
Iranians are simply following their aspirations, nearly 150 years in the making, to achieve freedom, independence and democracy leading to justice and peace. Iranians long for meritocracy to replace mediocrity in their historical nation. This does not necessarily mean they yearn for yet another bloody revolution or outside intervention, but rather an orderly civilian indigenous transformation and without any interference whatsoever by outsiders.
|نسرین ستوده: زندانی روز||Dec 04|
|Saeed Malekpour: Prisoner of the day||Lawyer says death sentence suspended||Dec 03|
|Majid Tavakoli: Prisoner of the day||Iterview with mother||Dec 02|
|احسان نراقی: جامعه شناس و نویسنده ۱۳۰۵-۱۳۹۱||Dec 02|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Prisoner of the day||46 days on hunger strike||Dec 01|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Graffiti||In Barcelona||Nov 30|
|گوهر عشقی: مادر ستار بهشتی||Nov 30|
|Abdollah Momeni: Prisoner of the day||Activist denied leave and family visits for 1.5 years||Nov 30|
|محمد کلالی: یکی از حمله کنندگان به سفارت ایران در برلین||Nov 29|
|Habibollah Golparipour: Prisoner of the day||Kurdish Activist on Death Row||Nov 28|