Monday, February 11, 2008

The price of freedom in Iran

Sun, 10 Feb 2008 21:01:38
By Hedieh Ghavidel, Press TV, Tehran

February 11 marks the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

This day brings remembrance of the fact that the will of a nation can change the course of history, of a time when one nation stood up for its rights and would not be intimidated into accepting tyranny any longer.

The Iranian people put their trust in their charismatic leader Imam Khomeini, who had guided them through the hardships of a long battle against injustice, to finally take their fate into their own hands.

It is easy to understand why the people would not compromise with the Shah. How could a religious nation continue to turn a blind eye to his obvious anti-religious conduct and disrespect for the peoples' beliefs and the clergy.

How could the nation continue to tolerate seeing the representative of their country be the West's puppet, who instead of listening to the people's legitimate demands, turned his SAVAK (secret service) attack dogs on them?

While many were living in poverty and neglect, the Shah frivolously gambled away national assets.

People carrying the body of a young demonstrator, Tehran, 1978
How could people live under the rule of an illogical despot who demanded that they all be members of a single political party of which he was founder and leader?

If people dared show the slightest hint of dissatisfaction, the Israeli-trained SAVAK would bully them into silence by severing their limbs or taking their lives.

How can a nation maintain its dignity when its people are treated as second-class citizens in the land of their ancestors, while all Americans were granted diplomatic immunity regardless of their vocation and thus were immune from prosecution even when they killed Iranians?

Young man shot in Tehran demonstrations, February 1979
The scores of Iranians who had paid for freedom in blood, where rewarded upon Imam Khomeini's return to Iran on Feb. 1st 1979 after years of exile, as their struggle neared an end.

From Feb. 4th to 11th Iran had two governments, one which had long lost its legitimacy among the people, the other dependent on the chosen leader with his millions of loyal followers.

When the remaining supporters of the old regime realized that there was no way to save the sinking ship of the foreign-influenced absolutism, they secretly agreed on a coup in hopes of taking the reins of the popular revolution into their own hands.

Troops confront angry students at Tehran University gates, 1978
The illegitimate government then announced martial law would be imposed on Feb. 10, but Imam Khomeini who foresaw something was about to happen, told the nation to defy the order.

When word got out that the armed forces were moving toward Tehran in order to put down the revolution by force, young and old, man, woman and child took to the streets and stood in the way of the military.

The clashes which followed made the military realize they could not stand in the way of the nation's will to be free, and when revolutionaries began to take over police stations and military installations, it declared itself neutral in order to prevent further bloodshed.

Clergy and soldiers clasp hands in friendship, Tehran, 1979
The 15-year struggle finally bore fruit when Iranians took part in a national referendum and Iran officially became an independent Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979.

Feb. 11 is not only the anniversary of the revolution, but is also a reminder that the willpower of a united nation can triumph over despotic rule, military force and the illegitimate ambitions of world powers; nothing can stand in the way of a nation determined to regain its freedom.

The Iranian nation which has paid the high price of independence with the blood of its youth, will therefore never cease to safeguard the legacy of the revolution.

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