Source: Agh Bahman:
Friday, October 9, 2009
This letter was written by Ataollah Mohajerani, the minister of culture under former president Khatami. It is unique for a reformist who had an administrative position in the ‘80s speak bluntly about the executions of 1988 and describe regret for his silence.
The Atashiha mosque was a mosque in Shiraz, near Shah Charagh. It was a popular youth center and Ayatollah Dastgheyb was the leader of prayers. For us students he personified honesty and integrity – things we had come to expect of our religion. He had a calm voice and kind eyes. Then, the revolution began with chants for equality and freedom; these were elements we assumed were at the heart of the Islamic Republic.
Many slowly distanced themselves from those promises because of the positions they went on to hold. Moreover, something called the “interest of the system” devoured those promises. Instead of promise, we were given “interest” and in place of religious values, we had “saving the system.” Like all revolutions, its pledges submitted to its realities.
All of us who were silent in the midst of the slaughter of our youth in 1987 – we thought that the pressures of war and the threats of outsiders were justifications for remaining silent; that they were a permit for the slaughter at a rate which has very few examples in our history.
In those days, among all the officials and administrators, only one voice rose up to speak against that slaughter. It was the voice of Ayatollah Montazeri, who protested the killings and was subsequently dismissed from his post. However, the value of his act far exceeded the value of any position he had to renounce.
Ayatollah Montazeri is the epitome of truth for our generation and those that follow; a truth that escalates and reveals that it is possible to rise against evil and look it in the eye.
Today, the voice of Ayatollah Montazeri – who, according to Professor Bashiriyeh, is the spiritual leader of the green movement in Iran – is no longer alone. The voices of other ayatollahs are a reflection of that cry. This is the cry of humanity. What part of our humanity can sit idly by and accept tyranny – or, worse, help it to progress?
I recently saw a letter that some had written to the leader, asking Ayatollah Dastgheyb to repent. Those who signed it – many of whom are Friday prayer leaders – are all employed by the leader. Others are revolutionary guard officials, who got to know of Islam and the revolution in that very Atashin mosque and by way of that very same Ayatollah Dashtgheyb. The third group are government officials …
Faced with such statements, Shirazi youth and students are obligated to once again gather in that same Atashin mosque and to shower it with their fervent warmth and participation. Let’s extend the prayers of the mosque into the streets and avenues so that it is clear to all that the courageous cleric who speaks for freedom, justice and integrity will never be left alone.
Before the revolution, when the Friday prayer leader would lead prayers in Esfahan, he only had four or five followers. But Ayatollah Taheri’s prayers in Hossein Abad mosque would always be flowing with people. And so would Ayatollah Gharavi’s prayers in a wood factory outside the city.
Ayatollah Dastgheyb is a shining example of the movement in Iran. Given all the limitations that the system has created for him and a letter such as this one – which shows traces of intelligence and military services – it is our responsibility to support him. We can do so by attending that very prayer at his mosque. With our presence we loudly declare that the ayatollah is not alone and that the writers of that letter are agents of despots.