Letter from Iran – Voices of the Revolution

(Wikimedia Commons)

Although media have seldom of late spoke of the violence which has spilled in the streets of Iran over calls for the fall of the regime – a regime which has claimed over the decades tens of thousands of lives to the brutality of its ideology, many have reached out to me, hoping that before the world’s indifference, their voices could be heard.

The following video was provided to this writer exclusively.

The following is an account of a conversation I had with one of Iran’s new revolutionaries. And if Iranians have over the years, spoke fervently against the Ayatollahs, demanding that justice be served to the men and women who have, from their office, oppressed an entire nation, maiming and silencing those who dared offer but a whisper of criticism, it could well be that this time around the Islamic Republic has exhausted whatever patience … and maybe more to the point fear, the people had to give.

“Whether by the guns or the tanks, the regime will fall!” From Ahvaz to Shiraz, Razhavi Khorasan, Fars, Balochistan, Khuzestan, Gilan and the East Azerbaijan province, Iranians have chanted those words, meeting the Leadership’s security apparatus, unarmed, defiant in their calls for a change of the guard.

For the first time in well over a decade, hundreds of thousands of men and women; all faiths, ethnicities and political affiliations compounded, have come together, united in their demands. And though the world media have looked the other way, preoccupied by more pressing agendas, it is rather evident that change is about to sweep Iran, the carrier of a hope for regional normalization.

If I was to assess the situation, I would say that the Islamic Republic is breathing its last. Iran’s Spring is gaining momentum! For every day that protesters are taking to the streets, the fear of reprisals is evaporating … no longer will Iranians tolerate for their lives and their future to be burdened by the brutality of Khameini’s theocratic rule. 

The violent repression of dissent and the export of “revolutionary” principles of Islamic extremism are core features of the clerical regime’s strategy for maintaining power – today Iranians are saying “no more”.

Amongst the many slogans protesters are chanting, one echoes strongest of all: Iranians’ declaration of solidarity and friendship for Israel, a stark contrast to Khameini’s antisemitic stance.

Over the past few days I have personally received hundreds of messages from Iranians, grand declarations of friendship for both the Jews and Israel. Such words matter! They stand testimony of Iranians’ desire for peace with their former ally. 

“We reject the regime’s hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. We love Israel and we will stand with Israel for we understand the venom of the Islamic Republic. For 4 decades we have lived under the guns of Islamic terrorism – institutionalized terrorism, and we know best of all what Israel has to contend with every day to defend its borders and its people. We want all to know that we are Israel; we will rid our land, our state and our institutions of the poison of radicalism and return to a time when both Israel and Iran lived in peace.”

Over my correspondence with Behnam, I have learnt of Iranians’ suffering, their fears that the world has abandoned them, their hopes for a future free of torture and repression.

“I am no longer afraid of being caught by the mullahs, or being imprisoned or killed. Most Iranians no longer care what this revolution may cost us. We are dying already, we have suffered every insult, every infamy, every torture. Our lives are not ours to live under the regime.

Khameini and his butcher [President Ibrahim Raisi] will pay for the crimes they have committed in the name of Power.

We have lived in fear for four long decades. We have been robbed of our democratic dreams by men who do not belong to Iran … they are strangers to our land, they speak foreign agendas, they do not represent our aspirations or our traditions. Their flag is not our flag, their faith is not our faith, their ideology is not our ideology!

We are a people without hope and without joy! Our thoughts have been criminalized, our allegiance commended by force and our children tortured for demanding justice. 

When millions can no longer afford bread to feed their family there is no more ground to concede the mullahs.

I want the world to know that we will fight to the last! We shall no longer be painted to the colors of the Islamic Revolution, we will not allow for their slogans to define our minds or their Terror to spread to other countries under the guise of liberation.

This regime is an insult to Iran’s culture of tolerance and peace. They have robbed us of our pluralism and our culture. Our history has been re-written to fit their fascism and abject worldview.

Israel is not our enemy, the Islamic Revolution is!”

Another theme has run through the many messages I have received, one which I believe we ought to respond to: a grand cry for help.

“We need you to stand with us. We need Israel and the world Jewry to speak in solidarity with us, for them to carry our cries for freedom and liberation so that the world will heed our hunger for justice. Like you we suffer under the language of Terror. Like yours, our lives have been interrupted by violence. We hear your pain, for it is ours …”

About the Author
Catherine Perez-Shakdam - A political analyst, author and commentator for the Middle East, Catherine is a former consultant for the UNSC on Yemen as well an expert on Terror and Islamic radicalisation. A well-known analyst for the BBC Arabic on Iran she is also the Director of Yemen's Unit for the Next Century Foundation. Raised in a secular Jewish family in France, Catherine found herself at the very heart of the Islamic world following her marriage to a Muslim from Yemen. Her experience in the Middle East and subsequent work as a political analyst gave her a very particular, if not a rare viewpoint - especially in how one can lose one' sense of identity when confronted with systemic antisemitism. Determined to share her experience and perspective on those issues which unfortunately plague us -- Islamic radicalism, Terror and Antisemitism Catherine also will speak of a world, which often sits out of our reach for a lack of access.
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