Ali Deilami

Are Iranians guilty?

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It was not uncommon to encounter anti-Semitic people where I grew up. Being a Jew-hater was helpful if you wanted to get a government job or even be hired as a university professor. So, I knew many individuals in my life who wished to see Israel doomed. Surprisingly, some of them had liberal attitudes. They were against the Islamic Republic regime and supported human rights. But they usually forget everything when it comes to Israel! Only and only vanishing Israel of maps would satisfy them.

But yesterday was different. Of course, not different for the rigid supporters of the Islamic Republic. They were as delighted as possible and threw out a party in Tehran’s Felestin (Palestine) Street. They are archetypes of classic antisemitism who still, in 2023, refer to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion! Actually, from their point of view, nobody ever gets killed in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The official Iranian news never uses the term “killed” in its Israel-Palestine reports. They use “Martyred” for the Palestinians and “Slayed” for the Israelis.

The difference yesterday appeared in the behavior of those liberals that I mentioned earlier. These folks are not limited to Iran and the Middle East. I met many of them here in Italy, at the University of Milan, where I study. This university is famous for being pro-Palestinian. They always used to post something or organize a demonstration to support Palestinians anytime a conflict occurred. But today, in the Middle East and Europe, they kept silent and said nothing. Just nothing. How shall we translate their silence?

The crime that Hamas committed in October 2023 is beyond violence. It’s savage, barbaric, and with ultimate brutality. To Support these actions, you need to have a heart of stone. I think that silence indicates they Fortunately, still have a heart made of flesh. The concept of killing and death is so heavy and terrifying that many ordinary people, including me and apparently many of my current and former classmates, feel morbid whenever we think about it. I’m unable to understand how someone might be happy if others mourn.

My city had a poet who believed you don’t deserve to call yourself a human if you are not sad about other people’s grievances! But it’s a bitter fact that some people are so glad today because of the death of the innocents. I faced these inhumans when I was in Iran dozens of times. Their reading of Islam and religion is just crazy! They kill Iranian protesters in the streets and support terrorism far from borders.

Hence, please don’t blame the Iranian society for the attacks; we are also victims of the Islamic Republic regime and its bizarre beliefs. Average Iranians define their faith not according to the sovereign power but based on what another poet of my city once said: do not seek to hurt and do anything you want. In our faith, there is no sin but that.

About the Author
Ali was a journalist in Iran, working for ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) from 2019 to 2021. He now lives in Milan, Italy.
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