Erfan Fard

The Lion and Sun Still Roar in Persian Patriotism

The ceremony of Majidreza Rahnavard in Iran - Picture: Radio California - Free for all platforms

In the intricate and rich tapestry of Iran’s tumultuous history, the tales of valiant men and women are etched indelibly into the collective memory of the nation. Amidst the darkest hours, when tyranny cast its long and oppressive shadow, these heroes roared like Persian lions, defying oppression and liberating their countrymen from the chains and shackles of injustice. The stories of their courage illuminate the dark corners of oppression’s history with an undying light of bravery and hope. Among these legendary figures stands a contemporary colossus—Majid Reza Rahnavard, a beacon of resilience and unyielding patriotism.

Majidreza Rahnavard (June 16, 1999 – December 12, 2022) stands as a poignant figure in the annals of contemporary Iranian history, becoming the first individual executed in public for his participation in the Mahsa Amini protests. Accused of fatally stabbing two Basij militia guards during the tumultuous demonstrations of November 2022, Rahnavard faced grave charges. These accusations culminated in his conviction and death sentence for moharebeh, a grievous charge translating to “waging war against God.”

In the literature of the mullahs‘ religious despotism, the thugs and criminals of the Islamic Republic, like its unworthy and oppressive leader, are deemed sacred. This corrupt, bloodthirsty, and tyrannical regime regards itself as the divine government on earth, and its satanic terrorist leader, Khamenei, as a god. From 1962 to 1979, the Khomeini regime, with the help of Islamic and Communist terrorists, came to power and killed thousands of innocent people. From 1979 to today, their history in Iran is marked only by repression, murder, crime, and execution.

His execution, a grim spectacle of the regime’s ruthless crackdown, occurred merely four days after the inaugural protest-related execution of Mohsen Shekari. Rahnavard’s death is etched into the collective memory, symbolizing the regime’s brutal efforts to stifle dissent and extinguish the flames of resistance kindled by the protests.

Majid Reza Rahnavard, a proud son of Khorasan, embodied the essence of the Iranian spirit, proudly bearing the ancient emblem of the Lion and Sun tattooed on his hand. His patriotism was not merely inscribed on his skin; it was deeply etched into his heart and reflected in his actions. On the day of his execution, facing the cold, unyielding face of death ordained by tyrants, Rahnavard boldly rejected the recitation of the Quran, instead demanding songs and joyous celebration—a defiant act that the oppressive and savage clerical regime sought to vilify. “Do not recite the Quran for me; instead, sing and celebrate!” he proclaimed. This was not merely an act and voice of defiance; it was a clarion call for joy and freedom over mourning and subjugation.

The mullah’s regime, entrenched in its theocratic autocracy, intended to mar his final moments as a spectacle of shame, portraying him as a pariah in a society clinging to tradition. Yet, they failed spectacularly. Rahnavard’s final act transformed him into a symbol of heroic resistance, immortalizing him as a hero in the hearts of a new generation. His memory kindles the flames of change and ignites a vision of an Iran where the people’s voices can echo freely through its valleys and mountains.

Today, his image and name resonate across Iranian social networks, serving as a beacon of hope for those who yearn for a free and sovereign nation. His bravery is celebrated far beyond the Iranian plateaus, reaching the bustling streets of Los Angeles, where Iranians, connected by their shared heritage and united in their common cause, gather to honor him. This Saturday 6/15/2024 marks not just a moment of remembrance but a renewed commitment to the ideals Rahnavard cherished.

The decision to enshrine Majid Reza Rahnavard’s birthday, May 26th, as the National Day of the Lion and Sun, is a poignant tribute to this fallen hero. It serves as a potent symbol of unity and resistance against the encroachments on our culture and freedoms. As we commemorate this day, let us heed the words of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who implores us to “create a powerful tool for national solidarity” and to raise the Lion and Sun flag—a flag that does not merely flutter in the wind but stands as a defiant symbol of our identity, a bold statement against those who seek to erase our heritage.

In the flickering flames of these memorial candles, we see not only the light of remembrance but also the inextinguishable fire of hope—a hope that one day, the spirit of Majid Reza Rahnavard and countless other patriots will triumph, and Iran will once again stand tall, a beacon of freedom and dignity for all the world to behold. As we honor Rahnavard, let us remember that each flicker of a candle lit in his memory is a spark for change. It is a reminder that tyranny, though it may rule the moment, cannot govern the spirit. In the legacy of Rahnavard, the Lion and Sun still roar, and as long as we carry his courage in our hearts, so too will Iran.

The immortal flame of Persian patriotism continues to burn brightly, fueled by the indomitable spirit of heroes like Majid Reza Rahnavard. Their sacrifice and steadfast resolve remind us that even in the face of overwhelming darkness, the light of freedom and dignity can never be extinguished. The Lion and Sun, symbols of our ancient heritage, still roar with the promise of a brighter future, a testament to the unyielding will of the Iranian people.

The Los Angeles event, spearheaded by Fouad Pashayee of the Constitutionalist Party of Iran (CPI. Party), will take place before the Federal Building. This gathering strives to immortalize his name among the young Iranian-American generation, ensuring that the flame of patriotism, like a steadfast candle in the wind, remains undimmed.

Iranian rally in Los Angeles / Photo by Elham Sataki, Free for all platforms.
About the Author
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, Counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and Ethnic conflicts in MENA. \He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA), and is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. Follow him in this twitter account @EQFARD
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