Friday, February 18, 2011

We are Scared

The buzzword among my friends today has been "we are 'scared'! "

Mousavi and his wife have gone completely missing. Their guards are dismissed. Anyone who approaches their street is immediately surrounded by the masked-men who are residing in a van that is blocking the entrance of their home. Apparently, even the city-cleaners are from the intelligence ministry. Anyone who accesses the Pastor neighborhood is photographed and 'tagged'. Pastor is a protected zone. that is where a lot of the ruling elite of Iran live. It is not in the Trendy North; it is indeed in the heart of Tehran. It is a kind of neighborhood where there are more ominous warnings about "no photography" than there are cameras! Pastor is where Khamenei lives; where Ahmadinejad's presidential office is. Even my cool brother yelled at me once, when I took out my newly bought digital camera to snap a shot. He had been arrested there often as an art student. He could not risk a Western-dwelling sister in the hands of the huge scary men who had frightened him in the basement of some obscure building, making him promise that he will never make a mistake. (He joked about the letter he was forced to sign, and called himself a saint after having given that guarantee.)

Yes, Mousavi and his wife are missing. Their daughters are worried. They are worried about the food their parents are fed. The IRI torturers are infamous for 'drugging' their prisoners: psychoactive drugs, or blood thinners that lead to little microinfarcts, or maybe even heart attacks. It is somewhat concerning how almost every political prisoner in their jail has had a cardiovascular or psychotic attack.

Men of politics, men who have fought in wars and who have been in the trenches of the IRI battles, men who have led unions and human right groups, and women who have started the 1 million signature campaign are not, as we Persians say, willows that tremble with such winds like prison and persecution. We are all baffled why so many of them are chained to hospital beds after infarcts. Is is extreme psychological stress that is messing up their system, or is it intoxication KGB style?

Mousavi and his wife are missing, totally missing, and no one is accountable: neither the judiciary, nor the security forces, not even the intelligence ministry.

The worry over their detention or death grows, and so does the anger and passion that boils in the hearts of many a young Iranian who no longer have much to lose, who no longer have a leader to taper their anger and advise them to calm. So the critical question is:

Does the anger of these young men and women who are pushed to a corner frighten the IRI?

The answer is yes. And no.

Yesterday, Mehdi Khazali, a conservative son of a conservative cleric, wrote his observation of the savagery of the IRI thugs among the protesters and bystanders. He wrote how people chanted "down with dictator" at him (because he wears a beard); and how Basiji teenagers mistook him for one of their commanders (because of his beard) and ran to him for crack down orders. He also wrote about how people tried to help each other, how the thugs were covering their faces as if frightened by what was to befall them.

What kind of a security force covers their face? Is Iran run by the likes of KKK? The answer is yes.

But then if the anger of the Iranians frightens these masked goons, then would they back off to prevent it?

My answer is no; because they NEED radicalization to crack down harder.

In the past 24 hours, I have been hearing many a rumor about "bombings" in the Friday prayer. thank god the prayer is over without any bombing.

Yesterday, a silly boy that I know was posting messages about "courageous Kurds who have pledged to avenge the death of Jaleh Sane' and are going to bomb the Friday prayer." (You can be sure that I gave him a not so uncertain piece of my mind. The stupid kid is spreading stupid falsehoods from the comfort of his Milan home! But who was behind such rumors? Certainly, the Kurdish militants are not going to announce their battle tactics beforehand.

But today, another interesting piece started circulating the social networks. A warning! That a conspiracy was drafted in the IRGC 'think' rooms; that assassinate several 'mild' Basijis across the country, to make it look like there was an organized terrorist endeavor by the two official armed oppositions: MKO, and Komoleh. The warning, perhaps another rumor, rang of an ominous truth. This will not have been the first time the IRI would have attempted to trigger 'terrorism' in Iran.

Yesterday, they stole Sane' Jaleh's body, announced he was a Basiji martyr, showed 'proof' that he was a spy FOR the IRI, and then arrested his brother who refute the accusations, and then occupied their house in the small Kurdish city of Paveh, holding a mock funeral attended by strange men and women unknown to the locals, men and women carrying "death to Mousavi" signs!!

Today, they confirmed the death penalty of yet another Kurdish activist. I have lost count of how many Kurds they have killed in the past few months. I have asked my Kurdish friends to compile a list for me and when they do I will publish it. But kurd-killing is the cheapest scare-crow they can erect! It is easy to kill people who are charged with "armed secessionism", especially people who do not speak Persian fluently and eloquently, who are tucked away in the Western borders where most Iranians never travel partly because it is 'poor and non-touristic' and partly because it is an unsafe region; and are hardly given any chance to defend themselves.

Sadly for us, Kurds and Baluchis and Bahais were not the central point of attention of the democracy-seekers; sadly for us we neglected their case for too long; sadly for us it may be already too late. This time, just as it has happened in all fascist states, they are coming for the rest of us.

The message that warned of the IRGC conspiracy predicted another 1988-like mass murder, when many innocent kids on bogus charges of "opposition to the regime" (and thus the governance of God!) met their tragic end.

How can you call Iran anything but a fascist state when the ex-prime minister of a country just goes missing when masked people block his house WITHOUT the slightest accountability?

And, what is next?

A world-war like the one that recruited Italy? Or a civil war like the one that engulfed Spain?

I fear the civil war is what we will get. Our civil war is cheaper, considering the state of the global economy and all those other little fires that are burning in the middle east. The world cannot afford a world-war right now.

When a state employs 'civilians', who are not wearing any official badge, to use them against another set of civilians; when a state promotes and supports thugery; when a state steals bodies of oppositions and appropriates them to its own cause; when a state lies without any shame, accountability or fear of repercussion, when the parliament holds "protest' to shout DEATH (not prosecution, not trying for treason, but death, god given, mullah sanctioned DEATH) to the founders of the regime, then that is when the rules of the game have all been thrown out of the window. That is when the Gorilla has smashed the chess board. (We knew it is coming.)

These people, who have prided themselves for asymmetric war against Saddam and who trained their proxies to win wars like this against Israel, are now convinced that the rest of us are "enemies" and as such, they are determined to kill us with the same asymmetric tactics. This is why they imposture in our rallies, dress like us, wear green bracelets, and then strike out touting their guns and batons, shouting profanities, full of fear themselves but acting in scary ways to frighten us.

And the rest of us are left with the option of saving our lives, migrating if we have money or running to hiding and become accomplices; or becoming like them and fighting back asymmetrically. A lose-lose situation.

When we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, when Khatami won ~80% of the votes, and when we saw that he couldn't bring justice to the families of the victims of the chain murders despite undeniable evidence that his intelligence ministry was involved in execution of those hideous acts, we should have know that a train that was coming in our direction.

Some of us, naively thought that the 'ceremonial' position of the 'king' or 'faghih' will bring sense to this madness; that the train will stop at a station and the 'king' will get off to speak sense. But he was heading at our direction. And today, we are 'scared' because we no longer know where to run to. Those of us who are not hit by this train, will have to get on it. We are heading to concentration camps.

Today, my Bahai friend's wet eyes remind me of the day when I was 14, and some IRGC man had warned my family that if I want to go to university, I should have stopped walking with her to school. Shortly after, she, the brightest of us all, was kicked out of school. And I didn't have to suffer the shame of telling her I was afraid to walk with her.

Father, mother, we are culpable.


Pedestrian said...

Naj, it's so weird that I grew up in a very different environment, though it wasn't that many years apart. My aunt had experiences similar to yours, so I'm familiar with how excruciating it must have been. I went to public school, a very conservative religious school (my parents signed me up for that horrid "international" school where I didn't last more than a month. kheyli bacheha gherty boodan, and vicious too. I didn't fit in at all. Into the school year, this religious school was the only one who would take me in. Fekr kon too international school che bar saram ovordan that fresh off the boat i was happy to wear a chador and go to school. My parents warned me against it, but I really didn't mind. I HATED that bloody private school). But even though it was a religious school, everything was so awesome. I LOVED it there. We had sunni classmates and in one particular religious studies class we would openly talk about the divides, about the state's treatment of minorities, etc. Not just that. I mean we would openly talk about so many things.

My mom had Bahai coworkers, who were openly Bahai. They would come and go to our house. No time have the Bahais had it easy in the past 30 years, that's not what I'm implying but I mean all the brutality had subsided at least a little bit.

Yeah, that's how best I can explain it: it's not that the brutality or extremism went away, it was just "Fascism Light" I guess.

And it made us hopeful that it was fading away very slowly, very painfully, but for good. Were we stupid? Did something else happen along the way? Can't understand it at all. What the fuck happened?

Naj said...

first of all,
مصباح يزدي: مردم بترسند از روزي كه روحانيون مجبور شوند از قدرت ماورا الطبيعه خود استفاده كنند

Next, I know that the times I lived were frightening ones. I have younger brothers and sisters, I think they must be your age, they didn't suffer any of what we did. And this is why a generation older than me has been laughing at yours. Mine was a neglected one, a truly neglected one.

In Iran, we have never been brutal citizens. the state has insulted Bahais and Kurds but we have not. But politeness and acceptance is one thing, standing up for the violated rights of another is something else. I have Bahai friends who are still living in Iran, and the fact that so many of them are getting expelled from university indicates that in recent years they have had the chance to at least go to school. Bahais of my generation were KICKED out of school. And, if they 'insisted' on writing their religion on concours application, they could not participate.

So, Bahais had a chance of 'hiding' their religion and be 'free', or announce it and be horribly discriminated against.

As for Sunnis. I never said they were unhappy and segregated from us. Of course we all played and went to the same school. Sunnis were not discriminated against, as far as I can tell.

But, how much did they teach you in school about Kurdistan, about Azerbayjan, about Baluchestan? Oke we learned there were all sorts of ethnicities in Iran and that we were all brothers. I remember that in school books very well. But how much did we TRY to learn? How possible was it for you, as an Iranian n a fancy international school, to learn about Kurdisg or Azeri languages? Didn't our Sattar khan and Bagherkhan speak Azeri? Did we ever learn how to read their stories in their native language?

So when I am talking about culpability, it refers to that; refers to NOT HAVING DEMANDED rights for our minorities. We didn't need to go right into the stomach of Khamenei, we could have started by asking for equal rights for the minorities.

that's what I mean.

Pedestrian said...

sorry that I was vague Naj. I agree with everything you say. I didn't mean to imply that you said anything about Sunnis at all. My aunt who went to high school post-revolution in Khuzestan told me that the sunnis at her school were harassed by the militias sometimes.

I just meant that those of us who grew up and went to school a decade later saw a friendlier version of the IRI. And we - wrongly - assumed that that meant things were getting better. Maybe that's why we never bothered asking for rights for our brothers and sisters. We took things getting a bit lighter for granted, we were comfortable so we didn't bother with the rest. I always compared my school experience with my aunt's and I thought I had it so good.

But it's always hard to put people on alert so long as they're comfortable. it's hard to convince people of what's coming. Look at Canada, one of the best countries on earth (at least i think so ;), and Harper & Co. are very slowly taking things to shit. But it's slow, and people are comfortable so it's hard to convince anyone of what might be coming.
I'm not comparing Canada to Iran, or Harper to ahmadinejad or anything like that.

It all just reminds me of the phrase "it's when you're safe that you're in the greatest danger". So long as people don't have it TERRIBLY bad, it's difficult to warn them of what may be coming if they don't take a stand NOW.

Naj said...

I understood you; I just wanted to clarify myself :)

we are a couple of cross-clarifiers aren't we :)

I don't think you were wrong to believe in the comfort you were afforded during Khatami years. Even I believed it. and I still think a LOT OF GREAT things happened in those years (you are one example :))

History is an organic 'thing'; we are just completing a course; it's a natural course. when I say "pedar madar ma motahamim" I am repeating what a generation before I had said too; so at some point we have to learn.

I think we(at least I) are still hoping for you guys to do something; in some ways you guys have the most to lose; and the stronger attachments.

So, keep going energizer bunny.