Workshop

COMBATING TERRORISM AND PROTECTING DEMOCRACY:

THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY

Madrid, May, 19-20, 2005

Organized by: Peace Research Centre

(Centro de Investigación para la Paz. CIP-FUHEM)

PANEL II.  What are the Conditions that Allow Terrorism to Flourish?

The causes of terrorism. The  basis for radical terrorist ideologies. What mecanisms allow the international terrorist networks to exist?

 

Speakers:

Laurence Thieux. Peace Research Centre

Masoud Banisadr. Independent analyst (Iran)

 

Text of speech by Masoud Banisadr: Cult and extremism / Terrorism

If you ask me: are all cults a terrorist organisation? My answer is no as there are many peaceful cults at present around the world and in the history of mankind. But if you ask me are all terrorist organisations, some sort of cult? my answer is yes. Even if they start as ordinary modern political party or organisation, to prepare and force their members to act without asking any moral question and act selflessly for the cause of the group and ignore all the ethical, cultural, moral or religious code of the society and humanity, those organisations have to change into a cult. Therefore to understand an extremist or a terrorist organisation one has to learn about a Cult.

To understand how one can become a member of a cult and act without any question according to the wishes of the cult, I will present you with my personal story of how I became a member of a cult.

It starts with injustice and ends in tragedy;

It might start with love; love for the people, for God, for Country, or even for culture, customs or tradition; but certainly it ends with Hate.

And then there is a horrible vicious circle as any new hate will generate another kind of hate and it goes full circle!

When I was a Ten or Twelve years old child, my grandmother kindly taught me that life is not a black and white and people are not divided between good and evil. Life is like a rainbow and people are as colourful as life itself.

Later in my life I had to force myself to forget this valuable lesson and learn something completely the opposite of it instead.

I had to teach myself that people are either with you or against you. One has to love those who are with you and hate others.

I had to learn that love and hate are two sides of a single coin and as a coin can not have just one side there is no love for some without hate for others. Was I a good student of this new school of thought? I guess not, as my grandmother’s lesson could not leave my character and that is why I am here and talking about this phenomena which can destroy progress, democracy, freedom and peace of the world.

 

1- It starts with injustice:

I was one of ten thousand students from 200,000 high school graduates who where fortunate and intelligent enough to be accepted to follow our studies in one of the few university of Iran at the time.

At university apart from studying different branches of science, engineering, medicine or art … you learn how to think and how to understand what’s going on in the world and in your own country. Well of course you will also learn how to be and think about yourself and your futures and how to earn more money and become rich. 

Either way, if you just think about yourself and your future, or you sympathize with the people and their misery, the first thing you notice is injustice. Then you are forced to forget existing gaps of wealth between the poorest majority of people and the slim minority, the rich at the top.

You are forced to ignore corruption and discrimination, dictatorship and secret police. It doesn’t stop there as gradually you learn about the news of the world and you will see wider and deeper injustices. Again you are forced not to see and not to think and not to ask. This was a contradiction. We were from a generation that were taught to think and then asked not to think. It was impossible. Those who tried hard to follow this line ended up addicted to drugs, which by the way were made even cheaper and easier to get. The rest of us students tried to find a solution for. 

Please let me repeat that the first step is seeing the injustice and discrimination around you and everywhere you look in the world. Hence you have to fight with this injustice either peacefully or violently.

Governments try to shut your eyes and ears to stop you seeing or hearing and talking about it.

But can they succeed? They couldn’t then, they can’t do it now and certainly it is impossible to do it in the future. The only thing they do is force younger generations towards the opposite of a democratic and peaceful means of opposition, which are violence and armed struggle and terrorism.

 

2- An Irreversible (or one way) path towards changing from an ordinary person into a radical, revolutionary, freedom fighter, Mojahed or, as your enemy might call you, an extremist or even a Terrorist.

You have a problem and you look for a solution? You can look around and find the best organization or party or group that you feel answers your problem best. Of course they are clandestine organization, as real democracy and political parties are banned and everything including elections is superficial and sham, good for fooling foreigners, who want to believe your country is a democratic one. 

You don’t need to worry about finding the clandestine organisations, as their members and supporters are close to you and will notice you and will introduce you to their leaders and in the blink of eye, you have found a mother organization to affiliate yourself with. And if there aren’t any, you can create your own group, if you have the will power and a certain amount of intelligence, charisma and are prepared to sacrifice your life and even your family.

I found {Sazaman Mojahedin Khalgh Iran} or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. In short, Mojahedin, or among ourselves the Organization.

I was looking for social justice but could not be attracted to the Marxist or Communist organizations. Mojahedin were talking about Islamic Social justice that had the same goals as Marxism. Instead of talking about Proletariat Dictatorship, they were talking about {Hokumat Mostazafean} or rule of the oppressed. As did other Marxist organizations they believed that Imperialism under the leadership of America is the main enemy and Soviets are our friend. The only way that one can fight against Imperialism is to fight against America through fighting against its puppet regime i.e. the Shah’s Regime in Iran and similar ones throughout Islamic world. Their strategy was ‘armed struggle’; as a translation of {Jihad} or holy war. Appealing, not only because of their Socialist Islam, they were talking as Socialists, but they could talk about Democracy and Freedom like a Liberal European. What more do you want? A package full of what ever you desire. You can have your religion, custom and traditions and at the same time talk about Science and the ‘Scientific’ ideology of the century, i.e. Marxism. You can claim that you are aiming for a true democracy and freedom and not a sham one like those that exist in the west. And above all you can be as revolutionary and heroic, not only as heroes of Islam such as Imam Hussein and his followers, but also as the heroes of Latin America and Palestine. 

When you understand this path and choose it as yours, there is no way back.  Not only it is similar to Marxist guerrilla organizations in that it means betrayal of your comrades, people and country, but as a Moslem it is a sin worse than any other, as it is a choice of evil over good, having seen and known the devil all along. Thus, you have to pay any price to stay in the organization and go forward.

   

3- Does it matter what enemy calls these organisations or labels them with?

From childhood I was a very peaceful and even shy type of person. I was against any kind of violence and would not harm any being, but at the same time I was against any kind of bullying as well. We, Iranians knew United States as a bullying and an arrogant country. A country that could dictate its wants and wishes on other nations when and where it willed. Our complex toward the Americans started with the CIA coup against our national and democratic government of Dr. Mossadeq, (19th July 1953), and was magnified and proved time and time again by American actions in different parts of the world from Vietnam to Palestine, the coup against Dr. Alende of Chile, similar to what they did in Iran.

We saw the CIA and Mossad agents as trainers of secret police of Iran, SAVAK, responsible for the official and unofficial torture and death of many compatriot Iranians.

Hence any action against them in our view was totally justified, including the actions of the Mojahedin against the Americans during Shah’s time. Further, we could not accept the label of Terrorist given to the Mojahedin by the Americans and the Shah’s regime. [By the way, American views towards the Mojahedin changed in the mid 80s when Mojahedin started fighting with the Iranian regime. This view again changed into Terrorism in the mid 90s after the first gulf war.]

After the revolution the Mojahedin pretended that they were changing themselves from a guerrilla organization into a political party, fighting politically against the new regime in Iran. For almost two years many of their members and supporters were beaten and killed in Iranian cities.  They even showed enough patience not to take arms as a reaction towards the loss of their brothers and sisters. As a result, I, along with many thousands, were attracted towards the Mojahedin, and never considered them as a violent or terrorist organization. In our view they were an oppressed group who sacrificed everything including their lives for the people, and were rewarded only by being tortured, jailed and killed in the streets. In our view they were true leaders of the revolution, which had been stolen by the mullahs. As we could not see and accept the truth of the revolution and its leadership, we could not accept the view of the new Iranian government which was calling them {Monafegh}, or hypocrites.

Obviously, at the time, neither the American nor Iranian governments’ view of the Mojahedin could have any effect on our opinion of the Mojahedin. Their views could only be seen as a sign of the Mojahedin’s righteousness. Now of course we can look back and see a totally different picture, but at the time, not only was our view justified, but it was our nationalistic, religious, and humane responsibility to support and join that organisation. And we did.

I didn’t change into a Mojahed in a single day, like joining a political party by signing a paper and paying your membership fee. It was a gradual, harsh, difficult and painful experience. Step by step we had to cut part of our emotion, feeling, understanding, and beliefs in the pretext of freeing ourselves from within, from the inculcations of the Shah’s capitalist regime.

 

4- A new way of self development. A new path to salvation. Those who join will be saved and the rest of humanity will remain unredeemed.

After the process of seeing, hearing and feeling people’s misery and the atrocities of their enemy, comes the process of choosing the organisation as the only way to freedom, democracy and social justice. It is a gradual process, but one word, one incident or even accident will be the last push, and the next day you find yourself with a new identity: ‘Mojahed’, ‘Revolutionary’, ‘Freedom fighter’, etc. In my case the last push was a scene of beatings: Mojahedin’s beating by supporters of the new regime calling themselves {Heazboolahii} or members of party of God. They were my last advocates towards the Mojahedin. I could not accept their atrocities against peaceful Mojahedin demonstrations, beatings of defenceless women, club wielding against young students and swearing against respectful parents of martyrs. It was very difficult to see those scenes and not to hate them and love their victims.

The next step is a new path of life. It is a new definition for good and bad, right and wrong, new identity. Step by step you will redefine yourself and change yourself from whom you were to the one you will learn to be.

Changing yourself is not an easy job, it is a hard and painful one, perhaps you would rather die than go through this hardship, but after each painful step you feel good about yourself. You work hard, so hard you don’t have the time or energy to think about anything or anybody, not even yourself or who you were? Who you are and who you are going to be? And after a day of hard work, in the night when you want to sleep, you feel light, with free conscience, heavenly happy and proud of what you have done. You are blessed and the rest of humanity, who are not following this path, are doomed. Apart from having clear conscience, you will feel a new sense of power. Somehow you are changing from an ordinary man or woman into some kind of superhuman being.

At this point eastern culture and mysticism will help you greatly, as freeing yourself from within, from all personal wants, desires, ambitions, in a way changes you into a God like person, able to do things that an ordinary person can not have dreamt of. You are able to suffer pain, till you become paralysed, as it almost happened to me. You are courageous and not afraid of anybody or anything. You are not afraid of being poor; of losing your health, youth or beauty. As matter of fact, our slogan was to become infinite, but one has to become zero first. A journey from where you are to zero not only is something to be afraid of but is your goal and objective. At the end of this path you will reach to the point that you feel you are on the top of the evolution of humanity, well above all people. As matter of fact, at that point calling you ordinary is some sort of an insult. You would rather be put to death than be called ordinary.

5- To stay in, you have to change from an ordinary person into a revolutionary, or in my case, a Mojahed.

Choosing this path is not the end of what you have to do, to become a member, but is just the starting point. There are unlimited steps that you have to follow to become a Mojahed and you might never become one till you are a ‘martyr’.

 First you have to realize that your past has not only been a sham and superficial, but one full of sins. You have grown up in the system of Imperialism and capitalist dictatorship, brainwashed by the system and changed into tools of exploitation. All your emotions, values and beliefs, even your logic is the product of that system and not only they have to be washed away, but you have to fight against them for the rest of your life as they might come back and conquer you.

Secondly you have to forget any kind of ownership and prepare yourself for sharing all your wealth with others and living within a community called {khaneh J’ami} social houses or simply {paiagah}, the base.

Third you have to be able to sacrifice your life and your health for the cause.

Finally you have to cut and even forget all your family and friends and loved ones especially if they are not in your path and not agree with yours. In my case we even had to divorce all our spouses irrelevant to their state toward the Mojahedin, as the organization believed any emotion toward anybody except the organisation is a buffer, an obstacle between us and the leadership of the organization who can help us to reach to our people and God. In the final stage we even had to divorce ourselves.

 In this system of thought you can not have any one and one connection with anybody,  your own country and religion even yourself, you are one of the elements of a triangular relationship, hence for reaching any thing or any body, even God you have to pass from the organization or the leadership of the organization. As a result any kind of emotion and relation, like your love for your wife and children could not be blessed or accepted.  At this point you have entered into the universe of a “revolutionary”; you have left the colourful life of ordinary people behind and have entered the life of black and white. People are either friend or foe. Either agrees with you or is against you. Either you love them and sacrifice yourself for them or hate them and are prepared to kill them.

At this point you might face many questions or have some assumption about a person who has gone through these steps. I guess the main question is how one can change himself or herself so much and what for? Your assumption might be that those who have been attracted to these organizations are naïve, stupid, foolish or even mad and perhaps full of complexes. I am afraid if these assumptions were correct, fighting with the action of these organizations could be much easier and faster.

As one of those who were attracted to the revolutionary organizations I had my BSc. And MSc. In Engineering Mathematics and was finishing writing of my Doctorate thesis in Mathematics in one of the good universities of Britain. I was 23 years old, married, in love with my wife, and had a lovely young daughter. I was from an upper middle class family and had enough wealth to support myself and my family. Hence I can assume that I had a moderate intelligence, awareness and happiness, not to be deceived or brain-washed easily. I was attracted to the organisation because of dictatorship of Shah and the corruption of his system, his obedience toward American governments, following their orders and his selfish goals … But why and how couldn’t I realize that I was changing my self from an intelligent, benevolent, happy and kind person into a dogmatic, one sided, judgmental one? And the last question is, how could an outsider, possible of lesser intelligence, see how wrong some of these organisations were and yet we couldn’t? 

It is a question that I may never be able to answer satisfactorily. Let me try an analogy. As your white blood cells that protect you against disease. You have a degree of intelligence, immunity that defends you against any kind of invasion, physical or mental (or even ideological). You could describe your individuality from birth, with the main objective of survival and later reproduction, as a kind of personal ideology that protects you against a foreign ideology that endangers your existence and your natural goals. But if the defence system is paralysed for some reason, then the protective shield crumbles and you are defenceless against any minor incursion.

If for some reason you loose your white cells, your body is powerless to defend itself against the simplest of diseases, even if you are the strongest man in the world.

While at the same time a body of a child can defend him easily. The same is true for your ideological defence. When your ideological immunity breaks down, your logic, intellect and your education are of no use to you. While a simple person, much less intelligent than you can see the wrong in your path as his or her ideological or individual defence has not been broken, you are unable to see how wrong your path is.  Gradually you are forced to deny your past and see it as wrong and corrupt. Submitting to the slogan of ‘the ugliness of selfishness’, you reject the first objective of existence, the survival of the individual. Step by step, you accept that your logic and principles, your wants and desires, your loves and likes and dislikes, your relationships with everyone and ultimately not only your negative points but even your positive ones are all wrong and have to be discarded. Then the foreign invader has triumphed.

 

6- Doubts, hesitations and uncertainty:

Of course there are times that you will have doubts and contradictions, and you won’t know what is right or wrong? I remember one day I was asked to judge a supporter for stealing about $20,000 of the organisation’s money. My personal logic and feelings were telling me that he was innocent and couldn’t be the thief that we were looking for; he had even called me and asked me to defend him. At this point I told my superior about my thoughts. Obviously she didn’t accept them, and the only thing I could do to save myself was, not to take any part in it. He was shamed in front of other supporters in America and was told that he could not call himself a supporter of the Mojahedin any more. Later it was proved that he was innocent and we tried to apologize but it was too late. I could never pardon myself for not standing up for him. Some time the only way out of uncertainty and doubts, was to stop seeing or hearing, or running away from the situation. One day a supporter asked me about his sister, who was told by the organisation to marry a rich Iranian who instead was going to support us financially? He was asking me how this can be justified.

Obviously I didn’t have any answer for him, so I was waiting for an excuse to run away from the situation. In this kind of situation, you must not doubt the organisation but yourself and your ‘bourgeois’ and ‘manipulated’ logic.

Another example was the issue of terrorism: I was writing a book called ‘Human rights betrayed’ to prove that the United Nations reporter on human rights in Iran had a deal with the regime and that his last report had been some sort of white wash of the atrocities of the Iranian government. In the report there were claims of terrorist activities by the Mojahedin in Iran. My objective was to prove otherwise. It was a difficult job as there were facts that ordinary, unarmed people have been killed by the armed operations of Mojahedin. In this case I had to twist my logic, understanding and facts to be able to defend the actions of the organisation. Of course later actions, like putting a bomb in the tomb of Khomeini, where many ordinary people go for pray, didn’t leave us any room for manoeuvre. A clear fact that forced or helped the Americans, and later the British, to name the Mojahedin as a terrorist organisation. But in the American’s eyes Mojahedin were “good” terrorists as their actions were not against the Americans but against their foes. So we were free to do our political and financial activities in the United States without any restriction.

Obviously there are moments of doubts not as a result of logic or understanding, but emotional ones. Love for your family, wife or children, or even simply love for yourself. You might even find that you can not suppress your individualistic and personal needs; in this kind of situation, the organization’s answer is an emotional one. Constantly through news, films, speeches, songs and poems, you will be reminded of the misery and suffering of people, brutality of your enemy toward your comrades, brothers and sisters, and above all courage and self sacrifices of others toward your goal. One of the examples that could move us greatly and help us to forget our own desires, wants and emotions were cases of “suicide martyrs” and their recorded or written wills and last speeches.  For us they were symbols of self sacrifice, our heroes that nobody could doubt. Afterwards, many people were inspired to volunteer to do the same thing, and floods of requests came in from those who wanted to change their names into theirs as a reminder that he or she has not been replaced by one but by tens and hundreds.  

 

7- Gradually you learn to have no personal feeling or emotions, no individuality, no personal ambition but martyrdom. 

I remember days when I saw contradiction between my feeling towards my children and my new Mojahedin logic. How could we see the misery of our people, seeing a father who killed his daughter because he could not see her dying because of hunger, and the selling of children by poor people in the south of Iran, and at the same time think of our own children? Not only was it not blessed but it was a sin. I remember the day that I heard my mother had died and I was afraid to show sorrow or even cry for her, as it was a sign of weakness and attachment towards my relatives and my personal feelings. Then again I remember the day that I was forced to divorce my wife, who I loved more than my life.

I remember the day that I had my operation and after that could not feel anything from my waist down, as though I had been paralysed.  Strangely, I felt no loss, nor when I almost lost my right arm, as these losses were considered by the organisation as a small token to God and our people. I also remember the day that I thought I would be killed, but came back alive and cried for not being honoured as a martyr. I remember the day that I had to destroy the few newspapers that had printed my pictures instead of our leaders, ashamed as any personal achievement was considered as a sin, worthy of repentance in a social gathering.   

 

8- Bound by neither tradition nor rules, everything can be legitimised:

Right and wrong, good and bad don’t have a constant meaning.  They easily change according to the condition and situation and the wants and desires of the organization. One day we were shouting: ‘death to America’ and  accusing the Iranian government of collaborating with the Americans, then a few years later we were lobbying American members of Congress to support our struggle against the Iranian regime. One day we were fighting against aggression of Iraq, then few years latter Iraq became our closest friend by allowing us to base ourselves there.

 I remember in the early days of my support for the Mojahedin, I had a very heated discussion with a fellow supporter, who was claiming that the Mojahedin believed ‘the end justifies means’. At the time I couldn’t accept his claim. However, later not only did I gradually come to agree with his view, but followed it in my actions without remembering how opposed I had been towards this idea. We were Moslems and as a Moslems we were bound to the rules and traditions of Islam, though it was selective and usually those parts of Islam that could legitimise our actions were followed. We were calling our Islam as true and revolutionary Islam and others as reactionary. But even personally, again there was no rule or a limit to what should and could or shouldn’t and couldn’t be done. As their representative in the United States I had to have meetings with members of the congress and other American officials, some of whom were women, as a result I was permitted to shake hands with them and even have a friendly kiss on the cheek. It was at the time that other members were not even allowed to look into women’s eyes and if they did they had to write a long report about it. Even for me it was not a permanent or a final rule as it was changed and changed over and over again with ridiculous consequences.

Even as Iranian we didn’t have a permanent view about our Iranian symbols and traditions. One day our national flag was a symbol of Shah and kingdom that was to be condemned, the next day we had it in hundreds in our public gatherings. When it was useful for the organization, Iranian singers and artists even those who were admirers of the Shah’s regime and their songs were band in the organization, suddenly could change into the best advocates of the organisation and their songs, favourite daily songs of our bases.

 

9- Generalization, a toll for judging any body and answering any question:

I remember the day that I was reminding a friend about some old Mojahedin’s publications and suddenly he said to me: ‘When do you want to stop referring to your readings and understandings?’ Soon after that I stopped reading and even thinking, as somebody else was doing those jobs for all of us. The leadership gave us a sense of knowledge, knowing everything, we could know anyone with the utter of a single word, at least enough to know if he is friend or foe.  Yes, it gives you a sort of self confidence that you could never achieve through personal experiences, achievements and learning. You feel you don’t need to know anything else as what ever you need to know will come to you through the hierarchy of the organisation. Generalization and paranoia were the key.  By generalising, you are able to judge any person or situation and act accordingly and by default anything less than total agreement is equivalent to hostility and classes them as enemies. In simple words you are not interested in seeing or hearing people as they can not say anything to change your mind or understanding, what is important is your education from the organisation.  Paranoia and insight  that for one reason or another, all politicians and even intellectuals are against you and want your failure and destruction, eases the problem of analysing too deeply; answering their questions and their doubts; and allows them to be judged as the enemy. 

 

10- How can you save somebody who is member of these kinds of organizations?

To answer this question I have to admit, is not simple. Perhaps we can’t.

This type of organizations sooner or later will turn into a cult of personality, and the leader of the organization becomes a God like person or a guru, who has every right, including the right of directing every aspect of his follower’s life, dictating where and how they can live, think, feel and act. He or She is above all logic, emotion, and even religious teachings. They ask for total surrender from their disciples and nothing less. Hence you can’t change them by logic as their first step was to reject their old logic which is similar to yours. You can’t influence them by emotions as in next step of their journey toward being pure advocate of their leader; they have fought and destroyed their personal emotions except the one left for the goal and leader of the organization. You even can’t change them by beating and torturing them as under suffering of pain they see more truth in the teachings of their leader and feel more united with him.

I guess the only chance for anybody to be saved from this type of organization is slightest “impurity” within themselves. An alive emotion in their heart, or  a real desire and want,  remains of a rational thought, some sort of love for oneself, or at least love for a part of their character, might help a person out of the organization. In my case, it struck me when they asked us to destroy not only the bad parts of our personality but even good parts that we liked. I tried but couldn’t, I wasn’t able to change myself any further. Then I could see and feel the beauty in simple kindness and love in ordinary people. What followed, was doubt about everything. In contrast to the slow gradual process up in the organisation, falling from the top of their mountain is simple and fast. Within a single day or even a moment you feel that you can not carry on and have to leave it all behind. So perhaps the only way if there is any, is to face them with their own logic and emotions, needful of understanding them fully and deeply.

Even if you be able to reach to a member and encourage him or her to leave, still they have long way to go. Leaving these organizations is not easy job, especially if you are a high ranking member. You’ll be called a Traitor, a spy of the enemy, worthy of death.

11- So what can be done?

Can you bomb them and kill them all?

 Can you infiltrate the group to destroy its organisation?

Can you assassinate their leader or guru and destroy the heart and brain of the organisation?

The answer to all these questions is yes you can, but they are useless and will probably result in the opposite effect, they even might help them to grow even faster.

You may be able to kill all members; but is it possible by bombing to kill the cause, to kill all their active and passive supporters among ordinary people? Killing members by bombing makes them new martyrs; changes supporters into new members and ordinary people into new sympathizers.

The Iranian government tried several times to bomb our bases and kill our members, they didn’t succeed. But the consequence of these attacks were reinforcing our faith in the organisation and destroying any doubt that might existed or grown in our minds. We had more success in answering unanswerable questions of our supporters and, as a result we could recruit even more supporters than ever before. The Shape of the organisation changed to make it less vulnerable.

These groups are based on total obedience of their members, with the purpose of destruction, therefore they are very effective, yet they are very simple. As you know simple organizations can rebuild themselves much faster than complex ones. Still destruction of the organisation as a single unit might spread it and change it into many smaller units, more capable of action, more room to grow, and less vulnerable to the outside attack, hence more difficult to face.

 Assassinating the leader might create some turbulence for the organization in the short term. But as the hierarchy of the organization is well known to all members and whole heartedly respected by them, without any kind of election or competition the next leader will replace the lost one immediately. And as a consequence members will have a stronger will to retaliate and more sympathy toward each other and less doubt about what they are doing.

Why some may think that with the elimination of the leader, they might be able to end the activities of these groups; is based in comparing them with the dictatorships. They ignore or forget the main difference, that these groups are based on an Ideology and way of thinking; while dictatorships are based on self interest of the dictator. Gurus are there because of respect and even love and being vanguard on the cause; while dictators are governing because of fear and self interest of their supporters.

The key in answering negatively to all above questions lies in understanding that you are facing people who are not afraid of death but aiming for it, as “martyrdom” is a goal and objective of their way of life. Hence with any killing or torturing of their fellow comrades they will not be discouraged, disappointed or even depressed but their will to carry on, will grow and their doubts to what they are doing will vanish faster than before. As a result of sympathy created by the execution or murder of their members, they can recruit more sympathizers from ordinary people. In simple words

Loss by the fire of enemy = certainty of the rest and recruit of many. 

After the last operation of the Mojahedin against Iranian regime, the government started killing almost all political prisoners, especially the supporters and members of Mojahedin who were in prison, mostly trailed, sentenced and even repented, and perhaps even changed into an ordinary person.

Montazeri, the designated successor, was a moderate who opposed the executions. He wrote three famous letters, revealing what was going on in the prisons, as a result of which he lost his position and later was put under house arrest. 

In his letter dated 15th August 1988 addressed to the religious judge, the prosecutor, and the intelligence representative in Evin prison, Montazeri wrote that he had more reason than most to pursue revenge against the Mojahedin, who had murdered his son. Nevertheless, He wrote: ‘I take into consideration the judgement that will be passed by posterity and history. Such massacres without trial, especially of prisoners and captives, will certainly benefit them in the long run. The world will condemn us and they will be more encouraged to wage armed struggle.’ ‘In the end,’ he went on, ‘the Mojahedin are not individuals. Theirs is a way of thinking and an interpretation, a type of logic. Wrong logic must be answered with right logic. Murder will not solve it, it will spread it.   

I think Montazeri’s advice to the regime was a wise one as at the time we were on the edge of self annihilation, with no hope or plan for the future. Those executions, though painful, saved the organization from internal destruction. We had lost the battle that we knew well, it was our last. Our morale was at its lowest ever of any time; many of us were injured in need of full support of other members. The Iraqi government as our financier, supporter and sole protector was going to make peace with Iran and it was obvious that they might deal on us.

Many of our supporters, who had lost loved ones in that operation, were angry of our leadership for sending young and old unfit and untrained members and supporters to certain death; for promising that we will be in Tehran in matter of days yet were still in Baghdad. We were loosing sympathizers more than ever. And even we were not able to answer any question of the remainder. That was not all as many politicians from Europe and America who had some sympathy toward us, doubted us and were hesitant to support us any more.

After the start of the executions, the failure of our strategy and operation, our mistakes and the number of our people killed or injured in that operation ceased to be an issue. The only legitimate discussion changed into those executions – to condemn them and to put a stop to them.  Any one, who dared to question or doubt us any more, was silenced ruthlessly by accusing them of cheering for the regime’s executions.  Those executions brought a new wave of support for us. Not only from Iranians abroad but even our old oppositions, European and American politicians, started condemning the executions and soon after that, supporting us. The regime’s actions in simple words saved us from final destruction.

To conclude: my answer to what can be done is, instead of fighting these organizations we have to fight with the cause of their existence.

It starts with injustice and has to end with justice. This solution is a long term one and can not be done in a single day, month, year or even decade. But it has to start from somewhere.

Democratic forces in all countries must reject, condemn, and resist all discrimination, prejudices and injustice in all countries, especially Moslem ones under pro-western governments.

The Palestinian misery and suffering has been, is and will be the main cause of anti-western feelings among younger generation of not only the Arab world but the whole of the Islamic world and it can not be circled and ignored.

Democratic forces can show younger generations and especially supporters of the radical groups, how to resist injustice and above all they have to show that their type of resistance not only is more effective than a violent one but is the only way that might succeed to bring relative justice and peace to the world.  .

Contrary to this, unlawful arrests, harassing the sympathisers, ceasing their bank accounts will only make them more steadfast and certain in their path, more complex in their way of support and less vulnerable.

As I mentioned at the beginning here is a vicious circle that will create more hate. And in every round it will escalate even more. This circle of events has to be broken. And Western governments should be responsible for doing that, it means having to be patient enough to understand the problem correctly and to find the right solution.

Revenge, retaliation and violence, discrimination against immigrant Moslems, imprisoning people without fair trail, only helps these organizations to thrive and recruit more support. Democratic forces have to show that there are other ways of opposing this injustice.

At this point, we face another problem, which is democracy in the Islamic world. As long as our governments fail to be democratic, they can not let a democratic opposition be born, flourish and show the right path. 

We can not force democracy into the Islamic world by occupation or dictating it from above. In order for Democracy and freedom to flourish in a country, it must have its seeds and roots in the masses, to reach to that point and to achieve this we have to understand the  religion and the culture of these masses, we have to find the meaning of their democracy and freedom from within the Islamic teaching, we have to create new kind of democracy on the basis of {Shora}, consultation, {beia’a} Islamic voting, and {Aktiar} freedom of choice conditioned to the  interest of society, in sharp contrast to western freedom which is based on unlimited individuality. 

 

 

 

با تشكر از شما بخاطر ورود به این وب سایت  در معرفی آن باید بگویم که آنرا به تشویق دوستانم با اهداف و ملاحظات زیر طراحی و ایجاد کردم:

  • با توجه به چاپ خلاصه خاطرات زندگیم به انگلیسی  و ترجمه آن به فارسی اینجا محلی است برای مشتافان تا اصل آنرا ملاحظه نمایند.

  • از آنجا که کتاب تنها داستان زندگی من بدون جهت گیری و نتیجه گیری خاص و جامع سیاسی و فلسفی است. اینجا محلی است جهت پاسخ به سئوالات و بیان نقطه نظرات من.

  •  امیدوارم در آینده این سایت محل برخورد آرا و عقاید افرادی شود که انسانها را سیاه و سفید ندیده و طرفدار تحمل پذیری میباشند. همچنین محلی برای ارائه آرا و عقاید دوستداران و کاوشگران فهم آزادی و دموکراسی در ایران و اسلام شود.

  • در این وب سایت و در مقالات نوشته شده بوسیله من، از بکار گیری وذکر القاب، تیتر و عنوان افراد که میتواند بکارگیری آنها حمل بر تأئید و عدم بکارگیریشان حمل بر رد و مخالفت با آنها شود معذورم مگر در مواردی که عنوان بخشی از نام فرد شده مثل "ستار خان" و یا " باقر خان" و یا "ملا صدرا" و..

  • در فاکت آوری از دیگران و در مقالات ارائه شده توسط دیگران کلمات و صفات توهین آمیز حذف میگردد.

  • استفاده از مطالب اين وب سايت با ذکر ماخذ و نام وب سايت بلامانع است.


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Last updated: 04/03/10. x