Iranian People to the U.S.: Recognize Our Existence!
On November 4, the Iranian regime held its national holiday commemorating the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and the taking of hostages in 1979. In a stunning rebuke to those who warn that the U.S. must not confront Iran lest it enable the regime to rally nationalist support, the Iranian people reacted to the holiday by making a firm showing of opposition to the regime. The chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were met with “Death to Russia” and “Death to China,” whom the Iranian people see as the enablers of their oppressors, and “Death to Dictatorship.” The regime knew trouble was brewing and reacted by banning large gatherings and firmly warning against any rallies that weren’t in support of the holiday. The Iranian people, knowing full well the brutality that would come to them, came out in the streets, knowing their blood and lives were a small price to pay for an attempt to change history.
Read the words of one person in Iran who emailed me on November 4. “Today, I can tell you that this is the most unbelievable scene that we have been witnessing since the Qods Day,” he said, referring to the last holiday declared by the regime to show support for its radical agenda that was used by the Iranian people to rally against that same agenda. The person continued, “Everywhere is flooded with suppressive agents and they really beat people and attack them viciously, but there is a strong unity and strong will amongst the people to resist. It seems that everybody knows that to gain our freedom we have to pay the price for it.”
And pay the price they did. YouTube has many videos of women being viciously attacked by the Basiji and other security forces. Cars that honked their horns to express support for the demonstrators were damaged by the batons of the regime’s thugs. It seems from the reports I’ve been receiving that a number of people have been shot, hundreds have been arrested, and probably thousands have been wounded. The security agents fired real bullets as well as plastic bullets with dye so their victims would be marked as they fled. Pepper spray was generously used and Basiji operatives without batons used chains instead. Among those arrested was the mother of Neda Agha Sultan, the young woman whose death was videotaped and put on the Internet, proliferating images that one day will be written as being decisive in ending the regime.
The demonstrations were so large that the security forces broadcasted their radical Islamic speeches on loudspeakers on full volume so as to drown out the noise of the chants. It should also be mentioned that posters of Khamenei were stomped on, that “Death to Khamenei” was spray-painted, and that the chants are becoming more and more aimed at him. This uprising is not about the election or Ahmadinejad per se; it’s about the whole theocratic system of governance.