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The only way to get justice is by destroying the oppressive killing machinery of the Islamic Republic of Iran!
The anti-women Islamic regime of Iran has been in power forty years – and throughout that time the regime's oppressive, killing machinery never stopped. Twenty-eight years have passed since the massacre of thousands of political prisoners, but the killing machine still continues to torture and execute.
The Islamic regime is part of the capitalist system and is based on organised and systematic state oppression and murder. But it is only in Iran that massacres and oppression like this are taking place in the framework of a theocratic regime, in an openly medieval and clearly religious form. By looking at the process of how other Islamic states in the region came to power, it becomes even clearer how the Islamic republic has carried out bloody repression and implemented sharia laws, murderously attacking women and political parties, other nationalities and religious minorities. It has crushed the people’s revolutionary movements in blood and massacred a generation of revolutionary youth who were dreaming and fighting for establishing a different world in the 1980s and particularly in the summer of 1988 – all this in order to strengthen its position and temporarily overcome its internal and external contradictions. Today, in order to prolong the system of oppression and exploitation, they are taking part in “ diplomatic” negotiations with the imperialist powers, particularly the US, to prove that they are for safeguarding the interests of capitalism and that they are the most “suitable” regime for enslaving and oppressing the people of Iran.
For this regime of massacre and executions, “flexibility” in the international arena has always been complemented by harsher oppression internally. For example, just after the conclusion of “peace” to end the Iran-Iraq war there were fears that the ideological unity within the government and its supporters would weaken – this was one of the motives for massacring the political prisoners at that time. Today, the necessity for bigger compromises with world and regional powers and for greater political manoeuvring has led the Islamic republic to confront much larger contradictions. It is not coincidental that in the final stages of the “nuclear treaty” with the US, under the leadership of a “liberal government” with a “softer” appearance, the executions in Iran have been rapidly increasing. These increasing waves of executions, on charges of being infidels, political opponents, spies and infiltrators, are taking place in Iran right now. Arrests and the repression of political activists are being intensified, and any protests for economic and legal rights, regardless of how small, are brutally attacked. Workers, reporters, youth and others are severely beaten under various pretexts. Repression, legal threats and violence against women have been intensified in many dimensions and forms. At the same time, the regime is deliberately broadcasting the arrests, torture, beatings, threats, imprisonment and executions throughout the society through multiple media channels.
Within this tumultuous massacre and oppression, the 28th anniversary of the massacre of the political prisoners occupies a particular place. Although, as in previous years, remembrance of the massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1989 boils our blood, fills our eyes with tears and angers our hearts, those generations who stood up and “gave their lives but not their secrets” fill us with pride and with the strength of those who refused to bend before the powers of both “shah and mullah”. And there is the fearlessness of the women who ridiculed the representatives of god on earth by laying down their lives. We will still, as always, repeat the slogan: “we neither forgive nor forget”.
Not because we are furious at walking on the soil of Khavaran (the cemetery where our heroes are buried), not because they cowardly took the lives of our loved ones, not because those who ordered and organised such a crime must be brought to justice in the eyes of the people, not because of those criminals who today are hiding their bloody hands and calling for “revenge”, not because those who backed and advised these criminals now call for justice and have become“ moderates”, not because of those who have tried to use the blood of our sons and daughters as capital for themselves, and not because we have to bear the weight of such crimes against humanity alongside the families of the massacred…. But because we must prevent such a crime from being repeated ever again.
Although our fury is rooted in the blood pouring from history, we don’t just want to settle accounts with the past. We are deeply aware that our aim cannot be reduced to mere revenge for individuals, because the experience of the existence of the Islamic regime of Iran clearly shows that this whole system is based on executions and the oppression of the people. On the other hand, any hope that such a government can be reformed and changed is a hope for change within the framework of a system that has male chauvinism and patriarchy as one of its main pillars; it is a hope for mercy and justice where the whole establishment is based on deep inequality. If this is not open betrayal, it is at best an illusion.
Yes, because of this “we will not forgive” how this regime subjected women who were consciously fighting to change a deeply anti-woman society to harsh and barbaric gender torture and executed them in large numbers, in order to convey a message to other women in the society. “We will not forgive” the brutal treatment of those women who even took up arms to achieve their goals. The Islamic republic knew that they had to push back the women who were threatening the ideological totality and the very existence of the Islamic regime. “We will not forget” that one of the most important aims of the regime was to isolate us from a generation of revolutionary and communist women who lived the dream of building a different world. “We will not forget” that the biggest “crime” of this generation was to persist in defending the interests of the oppressed. “We will not forget” the generation who had dreams of building and establishing a world fundamentally different from the existing one, even with concepts of that on which they differed. For this generation, revolution was not violence, but it was for the destruction of barbarism as well as organised violence by the state.* But the Islamic republic, a newly born state, proved that they possess experts experienced in implementing organised violence and barbarism. Those instructions coming from Khomeini were not just calls by a dogmatic Ayatollah, they also reflected the necessities of a state apparatus in a class society, backed by Sharia law. The opposition of Ayatollah Montazeri was not opposition to the principles of oppression within the state structure, but religious objections that were intended mainly to safeguard the face of Islam and the establishment. Even today there are some who say “don't forget, but forgive”, with the aim of safeguarding the Islamic republic establishment. The worries of these types of people are not calls for justice for past crimes. Their calls are efforts to preserve the existing order by treating all this as partial “mistakes” of the past.
“We will not forgive”, not because the Islamic Republic chained and destroyed a generation of women who were fighting for liberation, but also because through that they laid the foundations of an anti-woman regime where Sharia law became the backbone of their male-chauvinist, patriarchal establishment. A state in which the oppression of women is legalised and has become one of the main pillars of their rule. “We will not forgive”, because the coming to power of the Islamic Republic played a tremendous role in intensifying oppression and violence against women all over the world – a world in which today millions of women suffer the rule of chauvinist, Islamic fundamentalism.
Because of all this, we are even more determined, stronger and angrier, and we loudly cry that “we will not forgive and we will not forget”, although for us women, the anger at the massacre of a generation of revolutionary women is a never-ending motive for seeking the truth and implementing justice, but we know that real justice can come only with the rising up of a new revolutionary wave aimed at the destruction of the state apparatus of the Islamic republic. Any such movement must have the liberation of women at the core of its programme. Such a movement requires a deep scientific understanding and summation, in order to know why, despite the increasing oppression women face, they must still be at the forefront of this struggle, why learning from the defiance and resistance of the political prisoners of the 1980s and the summer of 1989 in an important and inseparable part of our struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Although 28 years have passed from the massacre of the political prisoners behind the closed doors of the Islamic republic's dungeons, the executions, hangings and torture never stopped – nor did the struggle and resistance and fighting for change and for the emancipation of all humanity and for building a world where no-one can be imprisoned or executed for having different ideas or beliefs.
8 March Women's Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan)
* Refer to a quote from Lenin
** “Those prisoners all over Iran, who still continue to persist in their sectarian poisons, are infidels and sentenced to death … any mercy against the infidel is naive… I hope through your revolutionary anger and vengeance against the enemies of Islam that you will receive the satisfaction of almighty god.”
Order of Rouhollah Khomeini to legal and prison authorities.
سازمان زنان 8 مارس ایران - افغانستان