04 Dec 2009 20:29
In this untitled, uncredited documentary, images of the post-election crisis play out against the official narrative put forth by state television, dictated at Friday prayers and by Iran's Supreme Leader. To question the legitimacy of a regime that acts in the name of Shia Islam, the film is interspersed with verses from Nahj al-Balaqa, the famed volume of collected hadith attributed to Imam Ali.
"In the Name of God"
[Verses from Nahj al-Balaqa, the famed volume of collected hadith attributed to Imam Ali, considered the second most important book after the Quran for Shia Muslims, 53rd Letter]:
"Never hasten to act if the time is unripe,
Nor delay action if the time is right.
Never fight for a cause whose truth is yet undetermined.
Nor stand idly by if the truth of a cause is apparent!
Always try to do things in the right time and place."
[Newscast on IRIB evening news, June 15, 2009]
"The Interior Ministry has released the details of poll results for the presidential elections from 30 provinces and 366 cities across the country, so people know how many votes each candidate won in each city and province."
"Ahmadinejad won the electorate in 28 provinces and Mir Hossein Mousavi was first in two provinces. The Tehran vote is interesting for two reasons. Mousavi won the city of Tehran with 356,390 votes more than Ahmadinejad. But in the entire province of Tehran, when factoring in smaller cities as well, Ahmadinejad won with 447,972 more votes.
[Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Friday prayers sermon, June 19, 2009]
"The legal structure of the electoral system in Iran does not allow for cheating to occur. Any person involved in or informed about the elections process can confirm this fact."
[Ahmadinejad press conference, June 14, 2009]
"The election is over. Now it's time for friendship, cooperation, and nation-building. If a few people want to continue [disputing the results], such political arguments have always existed in Iran because it's an open country."
[Mass protest in Palestine Square near Tehran University, during Khamenei's Friday prayers, June 19, 2009]
Chanting: "Karroubi [and] Mousavi, take my vote back!"
[Voice of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during his Friday prayers sermon at Tehran University, attended by hundreds of thousands of protesters, July 17, 2009]
"Since before the time that our late Imam [Khomeini] began his struggle for the  Revolution, I was at his side moment by moment. We are speaking of 60 years ago."
"We know what the Imam wanted, what the tenets of his ideology were. Even when some suggested to him during the resistance to take up arms or carry out assassinations or cooperate with certain parties, he always said: 'I want [what's best for] the people. Do what you will, but make sure the people's hearts are informed about the struggle."
[Interior of Prayer Hall at Tehran University during Rafsanjani's sermon]
"If the people are with us, we have everything."
[Ahmadinejad press conference, June 14, 2009]
"[The protesters] are like football fans who think their team must always win. When their team loses, they lash out at whoever they see. Well, your team didn't win, why take it out on others? So there's not much cause for concern."
[Protesters at Azadi Square in Tehran]
Chanting: "Karroubi and Mousavi, take my vote back!"
[Newscast on IRIB evening news]
"At a rally held by Ahmadinejad supporters at Tehran's Valiasr Square, President Ahmadinejad, referring to the actions of rioters, said:
(Voice of Ahmadinejad) 40 million people were the actors who determined [the outcome of] this election. The handful of chaff stirring things up in the corners, know that the nation's clear river leaves no place for them."
[Footage of protests in Vanak Square and Haft-e-Tir Avenue in Tehran]
[Newscast on IRIB evening news]
"A number of Mousavi supporters marched from Haft-e-Tir to Valiasr Square and surrounding streets. This demonstration was similar to yesterday's rally which moved from Vanak Square to Jam-e-Jam [location of IRIB complex]. Today's demonstration was held in silence."
[Footage of silent protests. Demonstrators recording scene on mobile phones. An old lady whose fingers are raised in the V-for -Victory sign is interviewed]:
-- "How old are you grandma?"
-- "Why are you here?"
-- I'm here to march today and get my vote back.
-- Who do you want to take your vote back from?
-- From Khamanei and Ahmadinejad.
[Rafsanjani's Friday prayers sermon at Tehran University, July 17, 2009]:
"The late Imam believed that you cannot have an Islamic state without the backing of the nation. If the people are dissatisfied, such a state will not survive."
[Footage of protesters, dated June 13, 2009]
Chanting: "Mousavi, take my vote back. Police forces, support us."
[Footage of rows of riot police in trucks and on motorbikes]
[Ahmadinejad press conference on IRIB evening news, July 27, 2009]
"If they think that people will be influenced by these things, they are very much mistaken. With god's will, this time the nation has come out stronger than them."
[Black-clad riot police attacking passerby; police motorbikes on highway]
[Voice of Khamenei during his Friday Prayers sermon, talking about Mousavi, June 19, 2009]
"Such extremism can damage badly the body of the nation, and can get so out of hand that [those who started it] cannot control it anymore. We have seen examples of it. When extremism enters a society, it fuels extremism on the other side as well. If political elites consider themselves above the law, whether they like it or not, they will be held responsible for the bloodshed and chaos."
[Basij militia going down one-way street. Pedestrian runs away. Basij manhandles a pedestrian. Plainclothes and police forces join in. Man is dragged off. Rows of policemen beat a man. Crowd fleeing from police forces. Crowd hit by tear gas]
[Police Chief speaking on IRIB evening news, July 15, 2009]:
"Unfortunately these riots have harassed the public, vandalized public property, created gridlock traffic, noise and disturbance at night, and an unsafe and chaotic environment. People walking on the streets don't feel safe.
"Therefore the Police announces here and now that whoever wants to hold rallies or anything of this sort, they must obtain a permit. If they don't, the police will retaliate. We are very determined to enforce the law and will act with full force."
[Protesters clash with police]
"Don't hit the old woman!"
"Bastards! Why are you hitting people's sisters and mothers?"
[Police arresting a man in a back alley; people taking footage whisper to each other]
-- "The bastards are arresting the guy."
-- "They have no shame or dignity!"
[Footage of streets with teargas]
[Mother of Sohrab Arabi, 19-year-old slain protester, giving testimony in court]
"I lost my son on Monday, June 25, during the peaceful demonstration held to protest the election. In a crowd of at least three million people, I lost my son."
[Families outside Evin prison in Tehran]
Sohrab's mother shows photo of her son to a prison guard
-- "Have they hurt him?"
Guard tells Sohrab's mother:
-- "They're being transferred to a different ward in the prison. I can't give you names. They're just transferring some of them. We'll call you. Don't worry."
[Father of Mohsen Rooholamini, a protester killed in detention]:
"My son, Mohsen, was 25. In this short quarter-century of his life, he was like a flower. When we look now and he's not there, we feel his absence keenly. As we mourn him, we are reflecting on his characteristics. He was a pure boy; he didn't belong to this world. He was very kind, and never bothered anyone. He always sought the truth, he was curious. He wasn't very easily convinced, just as most of our younger generation today is not easily satisfied [by our answers]. They are far more progressive than we are. We're backwards compared to them. Now that I look at myself before the revolution and during the past thirty years, I see how forward they are."
[IRIB evening news]
"Peaceful demonstrations in protest to election results is a normal thing to do all over the world. But yesterday, supporters of one of the presidential candidates gathered in front of the central campaign building of that candidate, and at first only shouted slogans. But soon a number of opportunists escalated the dimensions of the protests and caused riots on a few streets in Tehran."
[Building in flames. Subtitle: supporters of one of the presidential candidates.]
MISSING QUOTE FROM SOMEONE SAYING IT'S NOT MOUSSAVI VOTERS BREAKING WINDOWS...
[With their cell phone cameras, girls inside a car film a policeman beating the cars.]
[Basijis smash car windows and parked motorbikes. Guard jumps on the roof of a car. Footage is aired on an expatriate satellite channel. Female anchor says: "This footage needs no explanation. As you see, after vandalizing a car, they start writing on the wall with spray-paint."]
[Interview with former Majlis speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel on IRIB Channel 1]
"I don't believe the people who smash cars, set banks on fire, or break windows are those who voted for Mousavi."
[Guards smashing car windows]
Camera person: "Look! The police are smashing the car windows. Oh! They threw a stone at someone's home and broke their window."
[Guards in the yard of a residential building, beating someone up]
[Guards smashing windows of shops and commercial buildings]
[Police chief on IRIB evening news]:
"During the riots of the past few days, 400 police officers were injured, and we have tried to be very patient."
[Police attacking a car. Basij jumping and stomping on a car]
[Ahmadinejad talking to Ayatollah Amoli, after his first speech in UN]:
"When we walked on the streets, all eyes were on the Iranian delegation, as if nobody else existed. On the day when I delivered my speech, an attendee told me that as soon as I'd said 'In the Name of God,' a halo of light surrounded me, and that it lasted to the end of the speech. I actually felt it myself; I sensed the entire atmosphere changed in there. For half an hour or so, not a single one of these world leaders blinked. I'm not exaggerating -- they really didn't blink. They were mesmerized, as if a hand was just holding them there and was keeping their eyes and ears open to receive the message of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
[Footage from VOA mocking Ahmadinejad's remarks]:
"So, Mr. President, what was this 'halo of light' all about?"
[Ahmadinejad in an interview with IRIB]:
"They say Ahmadinejad said he had a halo of light, when did I ever say that? What halo!"
[Khamenei's Friday prayers sermon, June 19, 2009]:
"The president, who is trusted by the nation, is accused of lying -- is this a good thing? They make fake evidence about the government and distribute it everywhere. We are in the system and we know that these are false accusations. They disrespected the president; called him superstitious, a fortune teller; these are shameful remarks."
[Verses from Imam Ali's Nahj al-Balaqa]:
"Saying you heard something is not evidence; saying you saw it with your own eyes is."
"I am responsible for what I say, and do as I preach."
"He who learns from past mistakes and faith and respect will save him from falling into doubt."
"Beware that hardships will come back to you just like the time of Prophet Muhammad."
[Security and Basij forces attacking student dormitories]
Camera person: "Look, just look, what a bunch of savages!"
Female voice: "They're on the rooftop, they're shooting, they're breaking into people's homes..."
Male voice: "Stop breaking people's windows!"
Female voice: "Saeed shut up, he's going to throw a rock at you. Just keep recording."
Female voice, sobbing, "Oh God, they broke into the house."
[Footage of people]
Woman: "They attacked our apartments."
Woman: "We have to go to the police and complain."
Woman: "We should all go complain."
Woman: "We all will."
Cameraman: "Who smashed up the cars?"
Woman: "The riot police."
Cameraman: "Can we go inside and film?"
Woman: "Of course. We can send the video out."
Cameraman: "Who did this to your cars?"
Woman: "The guards."
Cameraman: "Civilians as well?"
Woman: "No, only guards."
Cameraman: "Did they go into your homes?"
Woman: "Apparently, they did enter some apartments."
Cameraman: "Are they allowed to enter homes?"
Woman: "I don't know, they were in the building, on different floors."
[IRIB evening news, June 16, 2009]:
"Last night, as protesters were leaving a demonstration which was held without permission, some vandals attacked residential buildings and destroyed public property. They caused great damage to personal property and belongings. Some among them were armed and trying to attack a military base. Security forces started shooting, and unfortunately seven of our citizens were killed and some sustained injuries."
[Basij sniper shooting from rooftop on Azadi street. Protestor being carried into an ambulance.]
People chanting: "I will kill he who kills my brother."
[Khamenei's Friday prayers sermon, June 19, 2009]:
The behind-the-scene orchestrators [of the protests] will directly pay for the consequences. If necessary they will be publicly exposed.
[Protests in street dated June 21, 2009. Red arrow points to someone getting shot in street. People run from live bullets. Body lying on the ground, shot in the face. People shouting, "Oh God, oh God!" Trail of blood on street crossing]
[IRIB evening news]
"Rioters engaged in unrest today from Engelab St. to Azadi Sq. Some were armed. The rioters destroyed public property and attacked holy places like mosques, as well as residential and commercial buildings. Lolaga Mosque on the corner of Azerbijan and Navab was set on fire.
Camera man: "Tehran is full of smoke today. They are shooting directly at people."
"You can see the Basiji shooting at people from the rooftops there in Tehran. They are also throwing rocks back down towards the protestors."
[Man in a suit shoots at people alongside the police]
Woman: "Bastards, it's just like Palestine."
Camera person: "Be careful, they will shoot [you]."
An armed Basij shooting at protestors. He turns away and people start following him and shouting. Cameraman to people: "Bravo, bravo." The man turns around, shoots, and hits a boy.
"Terrorists carrying explosives and live weapons were present during the riots yesterday in Enghelab and Azadi. In these riots, which led to severe clashes, 10 of our citizens unfortunately were killed and more than a hundred were injured.
Radan, the interim police chief, in a press conference announced that the police were ordered not to use any fire arms to disperse the crowd and added that the presence of terrorists and evildoers in the crowd and their use of live weapons is the main cause of death in these riots."
[Mother of Sohrab Arabi]:
"I want to know why my son is gone. Why? Just because of the vote he gave, the complaint he had? A 19-year-old that was about to take the university entrance exam, who had so many unfulfilled dreams? Who killed him? Who ordered this? For what reason? I'm asking the city council, what did this child want from you? What did he want from the government? From this country?"
[Footage of the Friday Prayers led by Hashemi Rafsanjani, July 17, 2009].
[Voice of Khamenei]:
"The enemy must see the depth of the truth and the true nature of the Islamic Republic. They mustn't think that the Islamic establishment will come to its knees with these worthless acts. The Islamic regime is alive. They mustn't think they can damage the Islamic Republic by creating a caricature of revolt in comparison to the magnificent revolution of 1979. The enemy has learned from this experience. The Islamic Republic will not be defeated."
[Footage shot on cell phones. People running. Someone is shot, people pick his body up and shout "I will kill he who kills my brother."
[Voice of Khamenei over the footage of a young man dying]:
"Power struggles on the streets after an election is not right. It is the very thing which endangers democracy and the rights of people. I want everyone to stop this. This is not right. If they don't stop, then they are responsible for the chaos and consequences."
[Footage of a young man on the street bleeding. Footage of man shot in the face.]
[Phone interview with mother of Ashkan Sohrabi, a protester who died in violence]:
"It was Khordad 30th. I was home, my son was home too because he had university exams. He had to go to Qazvin the next day where he studied Information Technology. He told me he'd go to his friend's house just around the corner. I told him 'Ashkan, for God's sake be careful, the streets are very unsafe these days.'"
Interviewer: "Were there protests around your house?"
Ashkan's mother: "No. Unlike their claim that they do not kill people on empty streets, my son was killed on a quiet street. I got dressed and went on the street, and saw his friend coming toward me with a blood-stained face, looking anxious. I said, Saeed, 'what happened?' He said Ashkan was shot."
[Mobile footage, people carrying the injured into a building.]
[Video of Neda Soltan's death.]
[Ahmad Khatami sermon at Friday Prayers]:
"Illegal protesters are not only illegal, but because the Leader has denounced these gatherings, they are a sin."
"The riots, the burning of mosques, the burning of buses, damaging private property, spreading insecurity and fear, and disturbance of people in our religion and Sharia law are considered acts that deviate from the Islamic state. [Recites verses.] The leader of the Islamic state has the right to fight with these forces until they are completely destroyed. Rioters who fight with firearms commit moharebeh [war against god] and must be killed. Therefore I hereby call on the Judiciary to show no mercy in bringing to justice the leaders of the recent protests who are slaves of the United States and Israel, to punish them harshly so that the rest learn from this example."
[Neda Soltan's mother crying at the daughter's grave at Behesht Zahra cemetery]
[Sohrab Arabi's mother at his grave crying, "They killed my child. For 26 days they told me he was in Evin ...]"
"What they are doing now has never taken place during the past 30 years, except when armed groups were still active in Iran, who would set fire to buses. They were suppressed and we never witnessed anything like it again. But you have now forced people to use such methods, and you ask for their dead to be forgiven? Why don't you apologize to them and ask for their forgiveness. Take responsibility for your sins. Who killed these people?"
[People at Sohrab's grave at Behesht Zahra cemetery]
Man: "Please pray for him, your presence here is the biggest protest."
Chants: "Iranians, today is a day of mourning."
Expatriate satellite channel:
"People gathered to pray for Neda Agha Soltan and others killed in Iran's post-election protests. But even this event was not peaceful. More batons and more teargas and more arrests."
[IRIB evening news]:
The families who were injured or lost a loved one in the post-election events are still waiting for government officials to take action.
[Father of a boy killed in protests]:
"They must convince me for what crime my child was killed. Perhaps then I'll be able to deal with a small part of my grief. If not, my pain is certain to double."
[Father of Mohsen Rooholamini]:
"My child had questions. These youths are not easily persuaded. We should change our approach, and come up with ways to understand people like my son Mohsen. The answer to their questions is not this.
[Phone interview about how Amir Javadifar was killed]:
"On 18 Tir (July 8th) he went out with a friend to see what was going on the streets. He asked me to go too, but I had work and couldn't make it. He went out and in a street in Amirabad district he was badly beaten up by the Basij. About 12 Basijis were beating him, they hurt his eyes, broke his arm, delivered blows to the head, then took him in. When I received Amir's body at Behesht Zahra cemetery, his body was completely crushed. His shaven head was smashed, his eye was almost gauged out, all his toenails were pulled out, his whole body was black and blue, his teeth were all broken, his jaw was broken."
[The grave of a killed protester]
Woman: "Should we also be scared of the dead alongside the police?"
Man: "You have five minutes to pray for his soul and then you have to go."
Woman: "What if i don't leave?"
Man: "They'll kill you, just like they killed Neda."
Man: "Say your prayers and leave, now it's none of my business whether they have given you permission or not and who has given it or has not, you have five minutes to pray and go, five minutes."
[Father of killed protester]:
"Has the Islamic Republic become so weak that we are not even allowed to hold a funeral? I'm sure that we cannot blame every mistake on the Leader and the founder of the revolution. I'm sure there are better ways of solving problems."
[Rafsanjani Friday Prayers sermon]:
"We are all members of one family. We have all sacrificed for the revolution; we have all invested in the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq war]. We all have martyrs buried in cemeteries. Why should others prescribe for us what to do? Can't we do it ourselves; are we not wise after the experience of managing the country for the past thirty years? Why should we hurt the clergy who have been with us every step of the way without expectations. We should keep them in our front, we need their support."
[Relative of a killed protester]:
"They told us to not talk about the case, and even not to mention that Amir was arrested, and to say that he was killed in a car accident. If he died in an accident then why are we banned from giving interviews? If my loved one was killed in an accident, as you say, then I want to have the right to give interviews about him; I want to talk about him."
[Mohsen Rooholamini's father]:
"He hated dishonesty, by those who pretended to be something they weren't. He was not happy with recent events. He was a protestor but not a rioter."
[Relative of a killed protester]:
"In funerals, when they carry the dead to the grave, people cry La Elaha Ellallah (There's no God but the Almighty). But when we were carrying Amir's body, everybody was shouting Allah-o Akbar (God is Great). He was supposed to be buried in the same plot as the great daughter of Iran, Neda Soltan, but this was changed at the last moment, and he was buried in a plot alongside those who died in the plane crash to Armenia.
[Neda's mother sobbing at her grave]:
"Neda! Your death will burn me for the rest of my life! Neda, you burnt for a second but I will burn forever! Neda, my darling Neda."
[Mohsen Rooholamini's father]:
"I have friends in the system, friends who are kind to me. They asked me why I hadn't notified them earlier [about what had happened to Mohsen]. I tell them, 'our Mohsen is gone, why don't you do something about the other Mohsens? Does everybody need to have someone in the system for their voice to be heard? You should care about those who have no connections and who are still searching for loved ones. Rather, most importantly: reform [yourselves]! so incidents like this don't ever happen again."
[Verses from Nahj al-Balaqa]
"Do not shed innocent blood; for this has the highest divine punishment, it destroys all of Gods blessings and brings the State to its knees, and at the Armageddon God will punish those who have spilled innocent blood before all the others. Thus do not try to strengthen your State by slaughtering innocents, because their blood will dry out the roots of your state and your power will transfer to others. You shall have no excuse before me or God for the killing of the innocent, because the punishment for murder is execution and it is inescapable."
[Someone speaking over Sohrab's grave]
"He was killed by stupidity, lies and betrayal. There are many here who have been killed and are martyrs but their names have never come up. I cannot verify all the names which I'm about to read, but most are confirmed. Now that you are here praying for Sohrab, pray for all their souls."
Someone shouts "Call for the blessing of all their souls!"
Neda Agha Soltan
Mohammad Hossein Barzegar
For the blessing of the souls of our martyrs make seven copies of this film and distribute them or send them to seven people who are not aware of the recent events.