Statement put out by the 8 March Women’s Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan)
In honour of the martyrs of the 1980s we are not going to observe even a single minute of silence! A quarter of a century has gone by since the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in June 1988. But in June 2013, the “responsibility” for the post of Ministry of Justice in the government of “action and hope” is being given to Pour Mohammadi. Mohammadi was the representative of the Ministry of Intelligence in a trio (together with Nayyeri and Eshraghi) in June 1988.
This notorious group was known as the “trio of death”. Mohammadi’s posts were head of the Ministry of Justice in western Iran, then Revolutionary judge in Bandar Abbas in southern Iran with special authority to suppress protests and issue the death penalty against the political prisoners being held in Mashhad. Mohammadi was head of a group who executed women political prisoners for the first time and supervised the execution of virgin women who were raped before their execution in order to “prevent them from going to paradise”. He supervised the execution of pregnant women and women who had just given birth.
He was assistant to Fallahian (President Rafsanjani’s minister of intelligence) and responsible for operations outside Iran. During his reign, numerous political figures were murdered: Dr Ghasemlouv in Vienna; Hossein Naghadi in Rome; Kazem Rajavi in Geneva; Fereidoon Farrokhzad in Bonn; Sadegh Sharafkandi and Nouri Dehkardi in Berlin; and many many more. The reality is that if people such as Rouhani and Pour Mohammadi had not performed their responsibilities successfully, how could the new rulers have resisted and confronted the waves of revolutionary and rebellious masses who were determined to change the world?
With the mass murder, imprisonment and annihilation of a revolutionary generation who were determined to change the existing order, these reactionaries wanted to suppress the revolutionary spirit throughout society in order to thwart any real change. They committed their cowardly massacre of the prisoners because they were frightened of the unity between them and their comrades in the bigger prison – the whole of society – which was preparing the ground for the overthrow of the backward regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The new IRI President Rouhani and their clique think that they can hang or execute the truth. This is impossible.
That’s why, in honour of the martyrs of the 1980s, we cannot halt even for a moment in proclaiming the truth. We will have no minute of silence! For many years, relatives of the martyrs, those who escaped their fate, together with other revolutionary and progressive opponents of the regime, have worked to expose the crimes of the Islamic Republic in the 1980s and to establish the truth. They have talked about the courage of those militants who persisted right to the end, who gave up their lives, but not their secrets. Today the slogan “We neither forgive, nor forget!” emphasises the just struggle of that generation and exposes the crimes of the Islamic Republic. This takes on particular importance at a time when those responsible for such horrific crimes are trying to hide their blood-soaked hands amidst talk of justice and tolerance, while a section of the so-called “opposition” activists are siding with them and actively throwing dust in the eyes of the masses, so as to blind them to the reality of what was, and what is.
For the purpose of a search for the truth is not merely to expose the crimes of the past, but to show how to progress, how to forge the future. Indeed, the struggle in the prisons has a political and a class character, which itself is the continuation and concentrated expression of the class struggle outside prison. The massacre of the revolutionaries in the 1980s did not therefore just represent the murder of a large number of political activists, it was also the concentrated expression of the relationship between revolutionary struggle and the consolidation of the new reactionary regime of the Islamic Republic. One of the distinguishing features of the prisons in the Islamic Republic is that, in addition to conducting medieval physical torture, the IRI also carried out a systematic ideological attack on the thinking and outlook of the prisoners. The purpose of the rulers was not only to destroy a generation of revolutionary people, but through this to attack the most sensitive nerve in the society, with the aim of crippling society as a whole. This kind of torture and destruction took on more complex and broader dimensions.
A government whose most important pillar was the subordination of women was forced to attack those who dared to break through the boundaries of the rotten social order, as they attacked these high-flying eagles and demonstrated that they are ready to break their wings and force them to accept a lower position than in the past. One typical example was rape. Rape as physical, moral and psychological torture was, and is, the norm of the patriarchal class formation of the Islamic regime, at every level. And in addition, in prison this also took on a religious character, as women were forced to submit their will to the rule of god. In Islam, the existence of women amounts to being merely a vagina, who surrender to the will of god and his representatives on Earth, meaning men. Breaking the spirit of these women who took up arms and fought for their liberation and who were ready to lay down their lives for the revolutionary cause was no easy task.
But they had to be tamed and punished, made to obey the will of god and his representatives, as a threat to all women – and this took many forms, from forcing the hejab on communist and secular women, forced prayers, rape and punishment and torture in many different forms. This ideological discipline had to be conveyed into society as a whole. Women political prisoners had to be controlled and humiliated as wives and mothers, to re-affirm the honour and property of men. Today, although the rage we felt at the massacre of a generation of revolutionaries is an invincible motive force driving the search for truth, in order for a new revolutionary wave to rise again, we need a deep scientific summation of the reasons for the defeat of the revolution in Iran and around the world. Our rage and determination to get justice can be a driving force for lifting that wave.
We will never forget the memory of the unconquerable resistance of the political prisoners massacred in the 1980s, and especially in the summer of 1988. They are and will be an important element in our struggle to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is true especially now, when a quarter of a century has gone by since that massacre behind the prison walls, yet the torture and murder within or outside the prison walls goes on – as does the resistance and struggle and the demand for change, for the emancipation of humanity as a whole, for building a world where no one will be imprisoned or executed for having an opposing opinion or ideas!