Monday , 6 July 2020

Standing together against oppression

According to a report from Amnesty at least 200 people have been killed in Iran during the demonstrations that took over the country November 15th 2019. It is believed that the death toll is even higher, something that is referred to as baseless allegations by the Iranian authorities.

Footages and videos taken by protesters’ smartphones show security forces and paramilitary personnel beating and shooting unarmed demonstrators, including women and children.

Protests erupted following increasing unemployment and rising fuel prices (3-fold increase overnight) in Iran. Demonstrations have spread from Beirut to Baghdad; interestingly these are countries where Iran plays a dominant role in governance, which has been made even clearer now following the killing of General Qassem Suleimani. Mistrust is growing in society; people are raising their voices against corruption and mismanagement.

The situation in Iran reached a point where the government decided that the Internet connection in the whole country had to be shut down. The uprising has been described as one of the deadliest in the history of the Islamic Republic; heavily armed police and military personnel have aimed at unarmed protesters and bystanders according to reports.

At least 2000 protesters have been wounded, more than 7000 detained and between 208-366 people killed. These were actions the government executed during the Internet shut down, preventing images and videos spreading around the world avoiding international attention.

Once again the world is watching while the Iranian people risk their lives for fundamental human rights. Numerous videos have emerged showing people standing together, chanting together and defeating the military power without guns, equipped only with courage.

The late spiritual leader of the Gonabadi Dervishes, Dr Nour Ali Tabandeh touched upon this subject not long ago. In one of his speeches he referred to the famous story “Dastane Moosh va Gorbe” (the Mouse and the Cat) by Obaid Zakani, a 14th century Persian poet. This satirical work is in many ways related to the present events. In this story cats have created a society where mice live under constant oppression and fear of the cats and of becoming their next meal. In the story the mice finally decide to make a collective stand against the cats and they succeed in capturing the worst cat of them all. The story illustrates the courage of the mice standing together against the oppressor, but it also illustrates the calculating and cunning ways of the cats. When the late Dr Nour Ali Tabandeh mentioned this story in his speech, he encouraged his followers to read it again and contemplate on it. Ultimately, Dr Tabandeh received a great deal of criticism because it is common knowledge that this story represents everything that is happening in the Iranian society and speaks against the present theocratic dictatorship. (Persian version) (English version)