This is not my country
23 Jun 2009 12:50
Near Azadi Square, June 20, 6 p.m., Tehran. Photo/TehranBureau
By HANA H. in Tehran | 23 June 2009
I am an Iranian and I love my country but what has been taking place here in the past few days is so wrong that I can no longer remain silent.
People are scared and want to know the truth about the events happening in their country but it is pointless to look to state media for news as it hardly reflects anything related to the ongoing crisis.
The bits and pieces of information thrown our way all tell the same story 'a group of hooligans are trying to upset peace but the situation is under control', ' elements of foreign countries are attempting to stage a velvet revolution but they have been identified and detained', and "thugs are trashing the city but intelligence forces have identified them and everything is under control'.
Before the revolution in Iran, the state media refused to show street protests and continued broadcasting mundane programs because everything was 'fine and dandy' there was no such thing as protesters being killed on the streets, no such thing as police beating angry rioters. In the world of the state broadcaster, Iran had no protesters, every single Iranian was a loyal subject and protesters were not Iranian.
History has the tendency to repeat itself. Thirty years after the revolution, once again, Iran has no protesters but now every single Iranian is a god-fearing revolutionary. Protesters are still not Iranian.
Better yet some of the protesters are people who have been tricked by foreign countries and terrorist organizations into vandalism and participating in illegal gatherings.
I live in Tehran and I do not have a clue as to what is going on in other cities in my country. I am certain that people living in other parts of Iran are also clueless as to what has been happening in the capital. Courtesy of state media some may even be convinced that a few 'disgruntled kids' are vandalizing the city because no one will listen to them.
It is an insult to our intelligence when everyone knows the country is struggling with a crisis and there is violence on the streets every day but five of the six national channels show movies non-stop and the sixth one shows news from a crisis-free Iran and occasionally a 1-minute clip of hooligans vandalizing the city.
I do not know which Iran they come from but the Iran I come from has angry people out on the streets every night, lighting bonfires to fight the tear gas used by the riot police; the Iran I come from has seen its youth beaten up every day and the Tehran I live in has seen its streets covered with blood once more -- something we were promised 30 years ago would never happen again by the very same revolutionaries who are calling the shots today.
It is ironic that a system that was founded because of the people's anger toward an oppressive monarchy is now making the very same mistakes made by the Shah of Iran.
It is a disgrace to see the system that condemned what the shah of Iran did -- killing people to silence their voices -- is now doing the same.
If the Shah declared martial law to paralyze the people, today, the very same Iranian authorities, who have always talked about the hardships they endured to spare us, the future generations, the pain of oppression, are now paralyzing us and imposing martial law.
However, this is the age of technology and therefore their martial law has been tailored to fit the new age. Instead of directly imposing restrictions on movement, they restrict our contact with the outside world and make contacting one another painfully difficult.
The biggest post revolutionary horror story has always been the one about the Shah's secret service, SAVAK; fast forward to Tehran today: The so-called 'nameless soldiers of the hidden Imam' (intelligence forces) who are exemplary for their 'compassion and vigilance in uncovering terrorist plots' have been unleashed to penetrate the ranks of the people, gather information and make arrests.
My question is, if they are so quick at uncovering "enemy plots" and so great at "controlling borders so that enemy agents cannot infiltrate the country and carry out their evil plots," and if they are so 'competent in protecting the country's stability and security' and if thanks to their efforts there is no problem regarding the possession of illegal firearms in Iran; how does this correspond with the claims that enemy elements have infiltrated the ranks of the people and are carrying out enemy plots, and that enemy elements are using illegal firearms to shoot protesters and frame the Iranian police.
And if the people who have taken to the streets are all enemy agents and we Iranians all know that most of the protesters are university students, how is it that these 'nameless soldiers of the hidden Imam' have not realized until now that all the students in this country are enemy agents?
I want to know, how is it that security forces claim they have not been given permission to shoot protesters and only when worse comes to worse shots to the lower part of the body are permissible, yet every single person shot by the security forces has been hit in the head or heart?
I respect that in all countries riot police are responsible for the restoration of order, but I cannot defend the unlawful actions of the civil force tasked with enforcing the law.
I want to know why Iranian youth must pay the price for the bitter political power struggle escalating between two 'senior revolutionary figures'?
Iranians did not revolt to wake up three-decades later and see everything that they stood up for, every freedom and change they fought for, paid the price for in blood, is no longer.
The hypocrites, who secretly hijacked the popular revolution of Iran and imposed their will on us, have now dropped all pretense and are openly handing us the 'royal treatment' still fresh in the minds of countless Iranians.
How can they sleep at night knowing what they know and doing what they do?
We have reached the point of no return. It is no longer the restoration of order when 'tanks have been brought out' to combat civilians on the streets.
This is a war zone. This is not my country.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau