(Zahra Rahnavard’s Facebook Page) | February 22, 2010

In the name of God, the companionate and the merciful

Great and noble people of Iran

I deeply appreciate your huge turnout in the 22nd Bahman [February 11, anniversary of the revolution] rally despite all the security pressures and the closed political atmosphere. The ceremonies this year were held while all political fractions, prominent figures and grand Ayatollahs had invited people to participate in hope of moving toward resolving the current crisis and our national dilemmas. Nevertheless, the brutal totalitarian forces are using the state-run television and their official and unofficial media outlets to hijack the rallies and stage them as a show of their supporters while unethically ignoring the brutalities and violence that occurred on the sidelines and the extreme security measures that were in place that day, thus presenting a complete opposite of what had actually happened. These brutal forces want to use these rallies that were not possible without the widespread presence of the supporters of the reformists and conservatives alike, to clean their record of [illegal] arrests, crimes, tortures, and street killings. They want to cover up their crimes, violence and brutality with fallacies and misrepresentations. During the 22 Bahman rally this year, the police and armed forces had turned the streets of Tehran into a military base. They severely attacked and silenced whoever showed the slightest sign of nonconformity with the current situation. Sure interesting enough, not a single scene of the presence of all those forces, their assaults on you with teargas, or their beating you was reflected in the domestic media! It seems like their eyes have been covered with a veil of [their] wrongdoings. How else could they think that they have succeeded in erasing the collective memory of the people and totally confiscating this national, religious, and revolutionary ceremony for their own benefit, so they can continue “depriving people of their most essential rights”. This is while, were it not for the various political groups’ invitations and the people’s participation, the 22 Bahman rallies would have turned out as an unenthusiastic rally of armed and security forces, and they would have had no chance for these political exploitations.

We all know that your attendance in 22nd of Bahman rally was not in support for the repressive policies that have taken so many political prisoners but for your love of Iran, the Islamic Revolution, and Imam Khomeini. You good people of Iran did not attend the Islamic Revolutions anniversary rally to swear allegiance to those who beat people. My pious countrymen, You know better than anyone that spilling the blood of the innocent is against your religion and morals. Did Ali (peace be upon him) fill his prisons to strengthen his government? You who have given Martyrs, are not satisfied with concealment of the crimes committed in Kahrizak, Sobhan Complex, and university dormitories and disrespecting the senior religious figures. Your attendance in 22nd of Bahman rally is not a token of support for such villainy. Regardless, those who have done their uttermost to engineer the 22nd of Bahman rally by utilizing hundreds of buses and trains to bring in support, must explain why the Azadi square was so empty during the speech despite having used so many resources and engaging the police and armed forces. Is it possible to think that intelligent people of Iran would not know the reason behind the presence of tens of thousands of police and armed forces on the streets? Do they think that people have not seen all the pressure being exerted by the police and plain-cloth forces who use daggers, clubs, and pepper sprays on the servants of Iran and Islamic Republic to stop them from joining the crowd. Do they think that people have not noticed their fear and weakness?

Dear nation, your presence in the rallies of the February 11 are beyond analysis, unless it is looked at from the prospective of dichotomy of the two currents organizing against one another. We have two political inclinations in our society. One is an inclination that is afraid of rights to gather in peaceful demonstrations, and rallies according to the Article 27 of the constitution. It is this fear that motivates them to turn Tehran into a military base on the day of national rallies. This stream is the one that only tolerates its own supporters in rallies, and understands the nation as a set of groups who are advocates and supporters of its commands. It sees the rest of the people, even if the rest of the people constitute a majority, as a ‘dirt and dust’. On the other side there is the other inclination which recognizes you regardless of your variety, colorful range of beliefs, and without favoring on one gender, class, culture or race. This is an inclination that calls people not only to attend the rallies in Freedom Sq. but also to sit together around the same table and share their freedom. As such, based on teachings of Imam Khomeini I have two suggestions to take away the veil of ignorance that has blinded the sights of totalitarian currents. My first suggestion is that just like Imam Khomeini had asked: “The government should organize a meeting in Tehran in one of the big squares, and allow us to organize a meeting in the deserts close to Qom.” I want to ask for a permit to organize a rally based on the article 27 of the constitution in one of the squares of Tehran so that we can see the minority and the majority.

We will provide security for the rally ourselves and guarantee that it will be conducted without any slogans directed at the regime. Once and for all, a demonstration free of threats and suppression to show the weight of each group in the society. But the second suggestion: While the authoritarian factions have turned the 22nd Bahman rally into a referendum to endorse their violent and anti-public policies , I propose a referendum based on the article 59 of the constitution to solve this crisis and end the reign of the guardian council. Interfering with the rule of people in the name of approbation supervision that has even surpassed [their own definition of ] approbation supervision . It is these interventions that inhibit holding a free presidential elections and forming an independent Guardian Council and parliament. In what sort of independent parliament are members forced –out of the fear of guardian council – to sign every statement against people who care for this country? The record of 10th presidential election shows that only a referendum can free us from these difficulties. [Only] in presence of an independent parliament will the principles related to interests of people and their fundamental rights such as freedom of press, fair trial and so on be observed. It is such a parliament, free from the rule of Guardian Council, that will clarify the weight of various political forces in the society not spending millions of dollars in government preparations and forcing a [pro-government ] atmosphere as we saw in 22nd of Bahman.

Mehdi Karroubi

Feb. 22 / 2010