Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Leader, swiftly reacted to the trial of 14 suspects linked to the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo. Yet, it took him three days to mention and then defend the downing of the Ukrainian flight PS752 by the IRGC which killed 176 civilians. The persecution of the Uighur Muslims across China does not concern His Holiness, the defender of Ummah of Islam / اُمَّتِ اسلام only on paper. Effectively, off record, he approves the Chinese Communist party’s brutalities.
All of that, just for this
In any country, when free speech takes one to the gallows, the regime is cursed and the silent citizens are accomplices to the murders committed by their leaders.
The Iranians are repelled by free speech, even privately: domestic despotism is not challenged. Often it is part of cultural tradition, something to perpetuate and treasure.
For the regime free expression is a grave and unforgivable sin. Political despotism is the country’s constitution and a pillar of Islamism.
A good citizen, a man of faith, shuts up, kisses the grounds an ayatollah has walked on, and chants any insane slogan that the Shiite hierarchy propagates in the name of their own brand of Islam.
As the trial of suspected accomplices of terrorist gunmen who attacked Charlie Hebdo offices in January 2015 is underway in Paris, the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, issued a statement: Here is the full text as published on his website in English:
In the Name of Him, the Exalted One
The grave and unforgivable sin committed by a French weekly in insulting the luminous and holy personality of the Great Messenger of God (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) revealed, once more, the hostility and malicious grudge harboured by the political and cultural organizations in the west against Islam and the Muslim community. The excuse of ‘freedom of expression’ made by some French politicians in order not to condemn this grave crime is completely unacceptable, wrong and demagogic.
It is the deeply anti-Islamic policies of the Zionists and arrogant powers that are behind these hostile moves which emerge every now and then. This move made at this point in time might also serve another motive: diverting the minds and attention of nations and governments in West Asia away from the evil schemes that the U.S. and the Zionist regime have hatched for the region. While maintaining their vigilance on the issues of this crucial region, Muslim nations – in particular West Asian countries – should never forget the hostilities of western politicians and leaders against Islam and Muslims.
“Allah has full power and control over His affairs;”[The Holy Quran, 12: 21].
Sayyid Ali Khamenei, September 8, 2020
Ali Khamenei’s statement is insane. But, it is a very good example of twisting facts and events to feed a self-serving ideology, the Political Islam and the hatred it sows.
As Iranian citizens, if we were true freedom lovers – which we are not – we should grab the occasion to tell him to Get out / Dégage! as soon as possible.
However, we have missed thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of occasions to do so: every time that justice has been denied to the citizen.
Since 1979, how many have been killed legally by the Judiciary under false accusations?
How many have been assassinated illegally by the regime’s henchmen?
How many had have their lives ruined by delation, lies, false accusations, honour killing and stoning but we have kept silent?
How many times have we ostracized the families of people unfairly languishing in prison?
For every one of them, we should have taken to the streets and shouted so loud as to drown the inanities of the clerics.
Our widespread apathy in our society is a powerful fertiliser to the Political Islam’s ruthlessness. A failed ideology has only violence and tragic episodes to offer.
To my chagrin, Khamenei is the master of the Islamist Iranian society in which vices and cowardice have thrived, and which has been weakened by the revolutionaries whose troops are made up of fools and fanatics, and whose leadership is not guided by a doctrine, but by a willingness to destroy.
The willingness to destroy the Iranian society is encapsulated in Political Islam that we have let grow in our bosoms. The monsters born with it are unfeeling, treacherous beings that wear turbans and utter preposterous anathema that kills hundreds, imprisons and tortures thousands.
The Pharisaic civilians, the puppets fed and groomed by the clerics, are cruel and crafty scoundrels that do their dirty work. There are wheels within wheels that propagate corruption and economically ruin the country since Allah has full power and control over His affairs.
Freedom of Speech in Iran
Using freedom of speech in Iran has the consequences that are realistically illustrated by the Amnesty International report:
- Widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care
- Hundreds subjected to grossly unfair trials on baseless national security charges
- Death sentences issued based on torture-tainted “confessions”
We could list the names of defenders of human rights activists and their families, or individuals softly disapproving of the insane theocratic policies and politics. Many have been hanged or beheaded. All have been ill-treated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The list runs into several pages, even published in small fonts with little margins. None was killed by the agents of anti-Islamic policies of the Zionists and arrogant powers. They were killed and ill-treated by the Iranians, born and bred, all praying or pretending to five times a day. Most are your neighbours with whom you have certainly shared vows and meal (سفره نذر) to the glory of an Imam.
In the eyes of Ali Khamenei, widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care are NOT sins as long as they are carried out in the name of Islam and approved by him. As the past practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran show, they are part of the phallocentric theocracy ideology, and cheered as the basic values and constitutional backbone of the Velayat-e Faqih.
As long as Ali Khamenei and his scoundrels can claim Allah has full power and control over His affairs, we should not look for improvement in the state of affairs in Iran.
In such a despairing context, what are the Iranians to do?
Over decades, I have repeatedly been asking my correspondents in Iran this question. The constant reply has been: God willing, this will also be alright / انشالله اینهم درست میشه. Their response is classic mansplaining peppered with British or US politics and served with the sauce of the latest conspiracy theory.
In forty years, the early amateurish oppression of the clerics has turned out to a professional and systematic persecution. The Velayat-e Faqih has espoused a self-aggrandising populist nationalism that seems subtle to foreign eyes, but is provincial and gross in its nature, and undermines the well-being of the citizens to the benefit of the gang of nepotists.
As long as there is not a collective unambiguous conscience of the nefarious nature of our leadership, and our disastrous lack of vision for our country, we will only sputter God willing, this will also be alright.
In a paper published in 2010, Attack On Civil Society In Iran, by Arseh Sevom, the abstract reads:
Human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran are happening to individuals, but they are targeted at civil society. This is as true of the mistreatment and torture of those detained for protesting after the 2009 presidential elections as it is of the arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders. The abuses are designed to control an increasingly liberal population and to silence opposition and dissent.
In addition, human rights discourse is marginalized and problematic in the IRI. In the past, many intellectuals have agreed in part with the regime that “human rights” has been used as a tool by the West to punish countries like Iran. The regime prefers to respond to the international conventions on human rights with the notion of undefined and unclear “Islamic human rights”.
There is a mound of hypocrisy when we adjust to our derelict society. Dupery, intellectual laziness, conformism, direct interest of a minority of actors, and irresponsibility of the majority of the citizens is a perfect mix to feed the Islamist ideology of Mr Khamenei and co.
Nothing will be alright, nothing will be changed unless we want it as a nation. We have to give birth to a civil society, and let it grow strong and healthy.
“I’d always thought our problems were caused by authoritarian government, and that it should be overthrown. You might expect experience of prison to strengthen this belief but, instead, I realized the real problem was the lack of a strong civil society.” Emad Baghi, 2007.
The Last Word
In the 1467th edition of Charlie Hebdo, September 2, 2020, Riss had this to say:
We will never kowtow. We will never give up. (Nous ne nous coucherons jamais. Nous n’abandonnerons jamais.)
Despite the world changing since 2015, certainly not for the better, we re-publish the below cartoon in memory of the tragedies of January 7-8, 2015. Accepting resilience and carpe diem shall lead us to approve censorship and practise self-censorship in the long term.
Today, the plain sentences of Riss, we keep. The inanities of Khamenei, we throw in the basket. Perhaps one day, the Iranians will find the courage to get rid of him or his successor, and the barbarism they symbolise, for good.