Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bazr No. 49: Difficult Days

Translation of an article from Bazr Student Publication (Bazr #49 / May 22-June 21). The article is from Bazr's last issue, for the month of Khordad (in Iranian calendar), and is a good overview of the current situation.

Difficult Days
by Rahaa Kiaa
Bazr Student Publication #49 / Khordad 1389 (May 22-June 21, 2010)

The Iranian year 1388 (March 21 2009-March 20 2010) was a year filled with ups and downs. Many things happened that will never be wiped from people's memory. And in this year too the question remains in many minds, "Will the people's protests continue?" The year 1389, however, has so far progressed very tumultuously. The regime, which has had time to get itself and its forces together, from the very beginning has showed ferocity and been boasting its sharpened fangs to the people. When the slogan of "Extra effort, extra work!" was proposed, people knew that the meaning of this slogan was nothings but more work and less pay. Meaning, get exploited more and say nothing! In protest to this slogan, people started writing on currency notes, in emails, SMS messages, slogans such as, "Extra protests against the regime and religious guardianship (velaayat-e faqih)", or "Extra tyranny, extra pressure."

The plan for rationalizing the subsidies, which was supposed to take effect from the new year, was in flux between the differences between the majlis (parliament) and the government [of Ahmadinejad]. However, inflation has people worried more than ever and they know that with the plan going into effect, they will be under even more pressure than before, especially in the case of lower classes of society. Eventually, the plan passed the parliament, but the government, which due to its memories of what happened in the aftermath of putting quotas on gasoline, is terrified of operationalizing it and facing people's reaction, and has decided to put it into effect in only three cities on experimental basis. However, in relation to this past year's events, the government continues its ideological campaigns.

The most important move by the regime is the campaign against inadequate head and body cover (bad-hejaabi) [for women]. All the parliament and the government talk about is hejaab (Islamic cover). The television and radio talk [incessantly] about bad hejaab. Reactionary government think-tanks hand out fatwa's (religious edicts) and propose plans for fighting against this phenomenon. They organize demonstrations and shout slogans. In the streets, under the name of 'moral security', in lieu of morality patrols, they arrest girls. They say that the hejaab issue has become political and that it must be dealt with seriously, and that, "Hejaab is the cornerstone of Islam," which of course is true. They stop girls with inadequate hejaab from entering universities. They give orders for national chador (head-to-tow, sheet of covering), national clothing and university uniforms. The regime, which had trembled in fear from the audacious presence of the women on the streets last year, realizing that after thirty years of oppression and ideological work it still had not been able to leash and tame the [Iranian] women or force them into surrendering and staying imprisoned in backwardness, right after the ebbing of the protests, set an attack against women as its first order of priority.

On another front, the regime gave the orders for purging the universities of secular students and professors, and they wrote numerous theses and articles about this subject. Various conditions and restrictions were set for studying for a doctorate. Up until now they have 'starred' [translator's note: as the Nazis did with Jews] students and barred them from further studies, and now they place conditions on studying so that the sons of the rulers, instead of having to get phony degrees, can study without any competitors and at ease in doctoral classes. In order to control people in Tehran, and since they have had this past year's experience, they started saying too many people live in Tehran, and they'll pay money and provide the means for people to move away from Tehran. The farther you go, or if you go to a village, the more they will pay. They even gave the orders for the transfer of universities to outside Tehran, and this [plan] was the most important for them.

In the first [big] event of the new year, which was the May Day, regime did all it could to prevent any ceremonies in different cities from taking place. In Tehran, even the ceremonies at Worker's House, which usually would be organized along regime's policies, were cancelled. Although workers' rights activists and unionists had called for gatherings, all Tehran streets were brimming with security forces and plainclothesmen. Some people, in scattered fashion, did actually walk the route announced, and some of course were arrested. The regime does not want to risk the eventuality of a spark for demonstrations. However, the important point is that this year May Day no longer belonged only to a specific layer of society, and for a large number of people this day became important as a global day and an important day of protest.

In Kurdistan, however, as always and as done every year, May Day celebrations were held which led to clashes between the people and regime's security forces, and several were arrested. [Also] on this day, Ahmadinejad went to Tehran University without prior notice, for Teachers Day [held on May 2 in Iran], and was confronted with students' fierce protests. Only people brought from outside and Basiji [students] from the university were allowed inside the hall [where Ahmadinejad was speaking]. However, for many hours a large group of students were shouting slogans against him, and many were arrested.

After the passing of one week from the May Day, a piece of news appeared on websites that brought with it shock and the wrath of the people. Five political prisoners were executed. How is it possible to close your eyes on violence and injustice and say nothing? The execution of those five people had widespread repercussions that got the regime panicking. Angry people, the youth and families gathered in assemblies in front of Tehran University and Evin prison. Protests outside the country were also widespread, and [in some cases] led to clashes with police. In Kurdistan, however, everything had a different color. The regime had planned special contingencies for Kurdistan. A stealth martial law was in effect there. Widespread arrests were made. However, the people did not give up on their protests. Four of the executed [on May 9, 2010] were Kurdish, and one was a woman. Alongside the plans to crackdown on women, this execution was added to the atrocities, so as to smother women's potential. On the other hand, the Kurdish region has always been a very sensitive one for the regime. People's fighting background against the regime in that region and the radicalism of their struggle has forced the regime to deploy special forces there to control them. However, all those efforts -- meaning all the executions, arrests, the crackdown and the militarization of the region -- have not only had no effects but, quite the contrary, they have spread and given wings to the people's struggle. With the call of the revolutionary forces in protest against the executions, a general strike took hold in all of Kurdistan, which was very important and successful.

In Kurdistan too, like in most places in the country, there exist numerous and varied injustices such as class, gender and other injustices, but discrimination based on nationality is a particular injustice that has given the struggles of the people of that region a special import.

Kurdistan has always had a special place/position in the struggle against the regime for revolutionary forces and the people. After these executions, even Green leaders -- who themselves in the past have had a hand in oppressing the Kurdish people -- expressed concern regarding the executions. Many were vociferous about the fact that Moussavi too had condemned the executions. However, if they had read things carefully, they would have realized that Moussavi did not condemn the executions. He merely says that, in relation to the executions, no illuminating reasons had been given. And we don't expect him to condemn the executions. [...]

What is clear is that no number of Kahrizak's, no amount of tortures and imprisonments can save the regime from the predicament it is in. From a year ago up to now, a new generation has entered the arena of struggle, and all the show of force by the regime cannot win against the women, the youths and the people in all corners of the country.

Khordad (May 22-June21)
The regime was able to temporarily control the situation by use of force, terror and all its financial and military power; however, it has never been able to compensate for its lack of support among the people, its isolation and its political defeat. We are in the month of Khordad. Everybody is readying themselves for June 12 and the days beyond.

Once again, Moussavi's issuing of statements has begun. Moussavi and Karroubi said they would get permits [for demonstrations] on June 12, and if permits were not issued, they would act non-confrontationally. After all the shamelessness, all the killings, executions, arrests, tortures and imprisonment and the disappearances of the youth, what is the meaning of non-confrontational? Isn't an invitation to silence a laughable proposal? Wasn't the [regime's] answer to [the people's silent demonstration on June 15, 2009] violence, assaults and executions? Of course, we cannot expect otherwise from Moussavi and Karroubi. The important thing is that the people and the youth should know that the Green leaders want to keep the people away from finally settling their accounts with the Islamic Republic, since they are themselves an inseparable part of the system. They do not want to see the foundations of the system harmed. Contrary to some who say that a revolution is no longer beneficial for the country and that reforms are necessary, it must be said, "No!" That is not the case. There are plenty of events during the recent years, and especially last year, to contradict such statements, and everything shows that there is enough motivation, reasons and potentials for such a great movement, if we arm ourselves with knowledge and awareness. The struggle will not achieve its goals in one month or one year, since we are faced with an enemy that is equipped with the political ruling system or the governmental power. A government whose backbone is comprised of oppression, military force, imprisonment and torture. We must thus break a regime that is outfitted with all those tools. Both the reformists and the principlists are part of this regime. A spontaneous but very important slogans raised by the people is the separation of religion from state. Yet, Moussavi issues statements declaring that the Green movement is rooted in the people's religious beliefs and if people's religious beliefs are ever tarnished, the Green movement will be meaningless. Are there really any [major] differences between the two factions of the regime? Both say the constitution has the final word. Both say religion covers all of life. Both say Islamic Republic is the legacy of Khomeini. [...] We must drive away such illusions that we can turn the country into a beautiful oasis with the departure of this or that character and by bringing in other individuals [from different factions]. Change can only come about by attacking the roots and by destroying the foundations of this regime. And we should not overlook the role of the imperialists in people's struggles. They are also not interested in people's wellbeing, but only look at their own interests and their relations with Iran, and the effects of the people's struggle on those relations. They too consistently emphasize calm and silence and oppose rage and violence from the people. Behind the curtains, they continue their political, economic, security and espionage dealings. They exchange Clotilde Reiss, the French girl imprisoned in Iran, with merchant [Majid] Kakavand and a killer [Ali Vakili-raad].

On another front, the [international] pressures continue to build and to implement additional sanctions against the regime, and bring with them a lot of [political] chatter and reports. Russia's policies, which used to go along with Iran, have changed. Ahmadinejad finally gave in to the plan for uranium enrichment [for use in Iranian reactors] by other countries, and Turkey played the role of the intermediary in this issue. On the one hand, the regime has put as it first priority the preparations for [anniversary of electoral coup] and the continuation of the crackdown in its different forms, and on the other hand, from a position of weakness and in order to keep its rule, it is giving in to imperialistic agreements. However, it is the people who in all this are the sacrificial lambs for the rule of the leaders of the regime and the interests of imperialists.

Since right before the start of [month of] Khordad (May 22-June21), the regime has brought about all kinds of pressures on the university and the students. On the one hand, they set the date for the last day of classes at before June 12 [anniversary of electoral coup], and declared schools closed after that, and on the other they set the date for the final exams before July 9 [18 Tir; another important anniversary]. All these reveal their trepidation and fear of the university students. They pressure and harass men and women students over bad cover/clothing. They send their functionaries to universities to give speeches, and they of course face protests and demonstrations by students. The dormitories of the Free University of Eslam-shahr were attacked by the security forces because the students had protested against Hamid Rasaee [conservative member of parliament, who had given speech at that university]. Students of Tehran's Free University, which in the past year have been very militant, held protest rallies and assemblies recently. Students at the University of Science and Technology [Elm va San'at] in Tehran, on the anniversary of the martyrdom of the very dear Kianoosh Aasaa, remembered [his death] on that day and held ceremonies.

The university is an important point of strength in the people's struggles, and it must play well its important role in the dissemination and spreading of knowledge and awareness, which of course requires that the university students themselves employ this consciousness correctly and in the right direction. In any event, despite the ups and downs that it will surely have, people's struggle will continue. This is so since deep contradictions exist between the people and the ruling system, so it is necessary for the conscious and revolutionary students to carry out their duties in impacting the events and organizing people (even if a minority) who demand fundamental changes, and form their own independent forces, and with reliance on the liberating knowledge of communism and with an assessment of previous experiences and with attention to ongoing events, and to carry out their duties in correct and effective fashion. Do not allow the leaders and elements of the Green trend and the reformists, who are riding the wave of the people's protests only to assure the continuation of the system, albeit with small changes, to tame, silence and neutralize the people's struggles. Thus, the active participation [in the arena] of us the university students with alternative and revolutionary politics, and creating a revolutionary pole in the progressive struggles of the people, is essential. On June 12 and thereafter, as the struggles continue, we must struggle on with this goal.

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