The only film clip about 20th of June 1981 demonstration and the censorship of Banisadr


The only film clip about 20th of June 1981 demonstration and the censorship of Banisadr
by mahmood delkhasteh

A few days, ago I saw the only film clip published about the historical June 1981 demonstration. It only shows what was happening on the margins of the demonstration, and not the main body -what looked like a fast-flowing river of around half a million people.

The existence of this clip, from such an angle, suggests that the regime also filmed the demonstration itself. But it would not dare to broadcast it, lest people see the extent of the people's opposition against the coup of a president who had persisted in defending the goals of the revolution and freedom, rather than abandon these in return for greater personal power.


Still, even in this heavily censored clip, the only audible and recognizable slogan can be heard at the end of the clip, when a group of young people shout: 'unity/solidarity, struggle, victory' (etehad, mobarezeh, pirouzi.) This slogan, which was one of the main slogans of Stalinist left organizations like Fedaeen, which had initiated the demonstration together with the Mojaheddin, was only chanted during the early phase of the demonstration when it consisted of no more than a few hundred people. As the public at large joined the demonstration, the only slogans that could be heard were in support of Banisadr, asking him to resist. Yet we don't hear any of these. That suggests that the policy of erasing the president from public consciousness had already begun.

Interestingly enough, the opposition outside the country (mainly monarchists and Stalinists) also came to help the regime that they were struggling against. So, within Iran the regime was portraying Banisadr as someone who had betrayed the country's armed forces in the war, who was in the service of the US government, and who eventually escaped wearing women's clothes. At the same time, the opposition outside the country was accusing him of having shed the blood of the Kurds, ransacked the universities, and discovering sexual 'rays' in women's hair, thereby 'justifying' imposition of hejab on women. The latter lie was initially fabricated by the Monarchists, through London Keyhan and later picked up by the Stalinists.

The claims against the first president were so hysterical that when I mentioned Banisadr's name during a debate at Hyde Park in 1984, after having left Iran for England, those representing political groups were shocked and appalled that I even dared mention his name, and some asked whether I was insane.

This was not confined to Speaker's Corner at Hyde Park. Some years after, one day I was standing in front of the LSE library talking to a student who had been the foreign minister in Bakhtiar's government in the waiting. With a smirk on his face, he said that he had been in the offices of Persian BBC (located just a few minutes' walk from the university) and saw that the staff had put one of Banisadr's statements on the board, while laughing and making jokes about it.

Iranians have paid, and are paying, an extraordinarily high price for this character assassination. Why? Because it has deprived them of hearing a voice that is located entirely outside of the mafia regime, that aims to overthrow it, that does so while remaining fiercely independent of the foreign powers that are trying to set up their puppet alternatives, that advocates a system of government which is based on the principle of Laïcité, in which the state becomes neutral and religious belief plays no role in state affairs.


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