Do Something!,  Iran

My Act of Solidarity With the Iranian People

Today Ahmadinejad – the loser of the Iranian Presidential Elections – took his oath of office.

It goes without saying that the Iranian people did not choose this puppet figurehead of an oppressive theocratic and dangerously messianic regime. He was foisted upon them by fraud, and is now kept in office by a campaign of rape and murder.

Taraneh was very beautiful and very kind; she used to sing with a beautiful warm voice and played the piano with skill. I cannot imagine that all this life and beauty should be buried under dust and dirt, without mercy.’

An unidentified person, probably one of her abductors, called and said Taraneh had a moral problem and that she hadn’t been arrested at all. He said she had been raped and her womb and anus had been torn and she had wanted to kill herself by throwing herself in front of a car. He said she had been brought to Imam Khomeini Hospital in Karaj and that she had also tried to kill herself there with a serum tube.

‘I just want Taraneh’s voice to go on, and our call that our most beautiful friend has been cruelly taken from us, that they have raped her brutally for several days and then burned her lifeless body and tossed her out in the desert.

‘When Taraneh sang, her beautiful voice was always in my ear, but from yesterday until now I have only been hearing her screams. Taraneh’s suffering was over, but our pain and suffering will remain with us as long as we live; she was our Taraneh [song].’

Hundreds of people have been slaughtered in Iran. They have been killed because they had the temerity to ask for that which we take for granted: to choose their leaders, to decide on their own country’s destiny, to live an ordinary life. They have protested with dignity and with nobility.

As I type these words, I can barely keep myself from crying.

What makes this all the worse is that there is, on the “Progressive Left”, there is almost no solidarity at all. They have been defamed by the Stalinist, Seauauauamuas Milne, who dismisses those calling for basic democratic and human rights “Tehran’s gilded youth“. The Stop the War Coalition declares:

It would be wrong for us to take any position on the disputed outcome of the Iranian presidential election

A notable exception has been the TUC, which has at least done something. But to build a proper international solidarity campaign takes a great deal of time, effort and determination. Campaigning for democracy and human rights needs to be a top priority for unions, charities, and other community and political groups. Many have come together in Iran Solidarity. But it isn’t yet nearly enough.

However we should not be despondent.

During the misery of Soviet rule, it was the little acts of solidarity that kept hope alive. My school chaplain, for example, used to visit friends in Russia in school holidays. Human Rights campaigners kept the worst of the abuses in the spotlight. And there were always people on the Left who stood up to the lovers of totalitarian politics and loudly denounced the USSR’s brutal internal suppression of dissent.

And so, I am standing here in Trafalgar Square, for Iran Solidarity, where I have just blogged this article.

Others will be taking my place, every day, for 365 days. Each of those people will have a story to tell to others. And so, step by step, a solidarity movement is born.

The people of Iran will not be forgotten. By little acts of solidarity you can also stand with them. All you need to do is to email Iran Solidarity and let them know when you can spend half an hour, showing that you support the Iranian people.

Come on then!