End of the beginning
Two years after the student revolt
By Shahriar Zangeneh
July 6, 2001
Two years ago on July 9, student dormitories at Tehran University were
attacked in the middle of the night by a combined force of civilian clothed
Basijis and security agents. Ansar Hezbollah members under the command of
Massoud Dehnamaki, a shell-shocked war veteran who sports a bunker in his
office, were active too.
The uniformed security forces under the command of General Farhad Nazari,
got into the fray later on, to exact their pound of flesh. Published pictures
spoke of total destruction of a number of dormitories and the meager belonging
of students. The official tally has been one dead, one gouged out eye, few
broken bones and one stolen electric shaver.
The subsequent official inquiries and the resulting "judicial hearings",
during which scheduled witnesses were beaten up right in front of the court
house prior to testifying, have produced the following:
1- Total exoneration of Gen. Nazari, for any and all that "might"
have taken place under his command. Commander Nazari, was publicly decorated
for a job well done by his superior. He has since filed many lawsuits claiming
defamation of character by the victims.
2- Conviction of one conscripted nineteen-year-old security soldier for
pilfering the infamous electric shaver.
3- No sentence of any kind for the "civilian clothed" shock
troops, since the government has not been able to "identify" them,
even though they were carrying government issued walky-talkies and side
arms. Damages to personal property caused by this group is to be paid out
of the public coffers.
4- The hearings have also "disproved" the claim by the multitude
of eyewitnesses that at least three students were thrown out of the third
floor balconies as "offerings to Lady Fatima".
5- A sum of 7.1 million tomans ($8,800.00, per prevailing exchange rate)
has been deposited in an escrow for the murdered student's family. The family
has refused, insisting upon public prosecution of the five suspects, who
were identified by the eyewitnesses.
6- A drama student, Ahmad Batebi, was given the death penalty, which
was benevolently commuted by Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to somewhere between
five to fifteen years of imprisonment for holding up his schoolmate's bloodied
under-shirt and for being memorialized on the cover of Economist
7- Death penalty, later commuted to life imprisonment for the two Mohammadi
brothers, for "instigating the disturbance".
8- Enumerable other imprisonment of varying length for other students.
In fact there are now prison wings throughout the country euphemistically
called "University Wing".
9- Expulsions from the learning institutions have been the most lenient
of sentences. Needless to say after a customary session of "ta'zeer",
better known as lashing to a pulp.
In Tabriz, the students got the same plus a personal touch. According
to eyewitnesses, after rounding up the students and treating them to an
on the spot "hospitality treatment" in local mosques, the girls
clothes were torn off their back prior to being set free, naked as a bird.
The explanation being that since they were opposing the current system,
they must be wanting a carefree one, public nudity being the part and parcel
of such governance.
Two years ago was the beginning of the end for unaccountable rule in
Iran. The very "Children of the Revolution" publicly crossed many
"red lines" and said no. No to oppression, no to corruption, no
to nepotism, no to sanctioned villainy, no to the ban on enjoyment of life,
no to segregation, no to be ruled by incompetents, no to egomaniac leaders,
no to religious apartheid and no to the status quo. In short, enough is
The importance of these noes are in that they came and are coming from
people that any revolutionary system banks on to carry on and solidify its
policies. It should also be noted that, to ensure their absolute obedience,
these students have had to go through many multi-tiered vetting processes
before admittance into the universities.
Not long ago, the most reactionary rulers would show up at the universities,
to lecture the cowed students on the merits of their righteous ideology.
The Khamenei used to show up "unannounced" to a "tumultuous
welcome" by the students chanting rehearsed nonsensical slogans in
his praise. He would have a monologue chat with his "children".
He would then go about his business of ruling till the next time around
that he felt an urge to chat again.
Ever since that faithful night, those leaders don't have their regular
student audiance any more. The last time His Velayatness went to Tehran
University, the audience had a peculiar look to it. There is a poignant
picture of this post-uprising visit. It is a wide angle head shot taken
from an elevation. The majority of "students" have turned grey,
balding and have put on a quite a few pounds, they look mostly of gholchomaagh
persuasion. Not a single young robust figure to be seen. All bused-in-rent-a-student,
who are way way passed their scholastic years.
Two years ago the rulers awoke to their worst nightmare. Their trained
chanting machines had come to their own. No amount of empty promises, no
dire warning of severe retribution here or hereafter, no subservient student
organization, nothing could hold this coiled-spring from uncoiling to its
Two years on we are at the end of the beginning. The nation's cream of
the crop has demonstrated its determination to have a brighter, more deserving
future for Iran through peaceful means. Let's hope pushing would suffice
and no need for mass shoving becomes necessary.