Rooz Online | July 3, 2010
By Ebrahim Nabavi
More than a year has passed since the beginning of the Green Movement. Today, I would like to tell you things about the Green Movement that you might be less aware of.
Firstly, the Green Movement is not a religious movement, but it cannot be called a secular movement either, yet it can be called a non-religious movement with religious leaders. This is one of the ways for the growth of democracy in the Islamic world. The Green Movement is occurring in a religious society, not because we are in love with religion, no, we are not at all fond of a religious society, but we live in reality and whoever tells you that Iran’s future will be a secular society, do not take their comment seriously for the next fifty years. Even after fifty years, only Henry Kissinger will be able to predict tomorrow.
Secondly, the Green Movement has a distinct leadership, Mir Hossein Mousavi is the leader of this Movement, but he and other leaders of the Movement such as Khatami and Karroubi have never claimed to be the leaders of the Movement, because the leaders of the Movement have a completely reciprocal relationship with its supporters. Fifty percent of content of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s thoughts, demands, language and words have changed in the past year, not because he lacks a structured thought, but because he has maintained his interaction and dialogue with the supporters and especially the mid-ranked leaders of the Movement.
Thirdly, the Green Movement is a peaceful. If in the past year, thousands of Iranians have been imprisoned, wounded, exiled, tortured and more than a hundred people have been killed on the streets, it is all because of the regime’s fear of the Movement’s expansion and its widespread use of violence against the people. This year on the 12th of June, the people had planned to take to the streets on the anniversary of the coup, but despite article 27 of the constitution, the government did not grant authorisation. The Green Movement’s goal is not to bring a ten-thousand strong crowd to the street and thus bring about tens of casualties and hundreds of prisoners. When three million people take to the streets, even a great army is incapable of controlling them, but when five thousand people take to the streets, they can be controlled using five hundred people.
Fourthly: The regime is currently faced with many conflicts. After the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s death which resulted in a dispute between Khomeini’s grandson and Ahmadinejad, a dramatic loss has been occurring in the pro-government camp. A great number of parliament members will return towards the people and sizeable portion of diplomats will probably not return to Iran. Right now, the regime loses between two to five of the leader’s most important aides and on the other side, the Green Movement is able to find more cohesion and is transforming from a chaotic crowd, to a distinct organisation. For a month now, the atmosphere for activity within Iran has opened up and particularly in the cities; there is a chance for the Green Movement to spread the word, especially using graffiti on walls and distributing fliers. All of this is because of an intense dispute among the conservatives themselves. We pray for their disputes to continue.
Fifthly, I said all this to bring the discussion to the issue of media. In Iran, seven channels, tens of radio stations, hundreds of newspapers and thousands of websites working under the supervision of the government, the conservatives, the leader and Ahmadinejad, tell tens of lies every minute. In addition, thirty Persian speaking television stations in based in Los Angeles obstruct the people’s thinking by repetitively broadcasting old movies. On the other hand, the government attacks the internet via filtering and forming the Internet Cyber Army and prevents TV images and radio waves to be reached to the Iranian people through jamming, while independent newspapers have long been shut down. Our main concern is launching a channel for transferring the breath of freedom into the country. For a while now, the Americans have talking of creating a censorship-free internet environment in Iran, Mr McCain is trying very hard in this regard, each time he mentions this, a few more Iranian journalist are arrested, and of course, nothing important happens.
Sixthly, a great constraint for us in launching independent media outside the country is that we cannot receive funds from outside Iran. Using foreign money here is like releasing gazelle into a field with thousands of hunters, some of whom might use tanks to hunt the gazelle. Receiving financial aid from Europe or the United States is like firing a bullet to the head of our colleagues in Iran. Also, my bitter and personal experiences with BBC Persian, VOA, Radio Zamaaneh and Deutsche Welle show that all Persian-language media take into account considerations with respect to their governments. At times, the damage brought about by a TV station such as the BBC is a thousand times more than its benefits. They have taken away two hundred of our best writers who had hundreds of thousands of readers and turned them into the employees of an organisation which for many years has been viewed with suspicion by those Iranians that believe that the English are responsible for all the evil that occurs in Iran. Besides, the constant intervention of the Europeans in media affairs that are run with European money causes the practical destruction of this media. One those examples are Radio Zamaaneh which has collapsed. After months of efforts, Euronews has still not reached any point and it seems that it has yet to find Persian translators for its employees.
Seventhly, unfortunately, because of using Iranian advisors from previous centuries, many western governments harm the current pro-democracy movement instead of helping it. Three or four years ago, we faced problems for transferring a thousand Euros from France to Belgium because we worked for an opposition website. At the same time, in Europe, millions of Euros of Iranian funds belonging to the regime and the Revolutionary Guards were being used for various purposes that went against legal treaties of the UN. For many years, we have explained that we are not terrorists and in fact oppose terrorism, but the bank’s representative had focused on the word “Iran” which caused us to remove “Iran” from the name of our company. As we speak, thousands of dollars in Canada and the United States are given to individuals in the name of “helping Iranian journalists,” nevertheless, not only do these individuals not do anything for the Freedom Movement in Iran, but the effectively create legal dossiers against journalists inside the country. Some right-wing newspapers in Iran are being fed by money provided by you.
Eighthly, the Iranian state uses three methods for preventing any political activity: censorship, causing a lack of trust and obstructing the formation of organisation. These are the three most important measures taken by the Intelligence Ministry. However, our great chance is the internet. In practice and especially under the right conditions, the internet makes up for our three information and intelligence limitations and works for us like an organisation; it eliminates censorship and paves the way for mutual trust. But the danger of the internet and is our great problem is the penetrating intelligence elements who access our data and are become aware of our plans. This is easier when it come to social networks and more difficult with main inboxes and p websites. Some of the best weapons at the disposal of the Green Movement in Iran are the Balatarin website, Facebook and twitter. Despite the fact that the Balatarin website was also used by radical supporters of the government and the radical supporters of a military strike against Iran, it was a powerful source for quickly spreading information and news across the country. In reality, in the past year, the following websites, Balatarin, Facebook, Rooz Online and Jaras have acted as news websites and have been able to make up for the lack of organisation and to break the atmosphere of censorship. When we took to the streets, we had already spoken our minds on Facebook.
Ninth, despite all the problems that we are facing right now, our work is being followed in Iran because of our use of converting media. Many of our television and internet messages are sent to those lacking access to the internet, via paper fliers and video CDs. Following Ahmadinejad’s 12 June coup, we tried to speak with the media that was close to the people’s ears and through such means; we are currently successful to a certain text.
Tenthly, it might be useful to note that the belief a great number of our friends in the west is based on the belief behind the Islamic Republic’s propaganda. Contrary to the Iranian regime’s propaganda, it is not true that all villagers support Ahmadinejad, half of them are, and nevertheless, our rural areas account for less than twenty percent of the population of Iran. Contrary to the prevalent notion, the Freedom Movement of Iran is not a Movement of middle class, it is a completely widespread Movement. Most of the Movement’s casualties and prisoners are from the poor and most of the Army’s commanders are millionaires and billionaires. Mostly because of the current regime in the country, most of the educated are considered as relatively poor by others and the rich class of the country belong to a class of rulers and military and religious figures. Contrary to the prevalent propaganda, the most important group that fight against the regime and struggle for the separation of religion and politics are the moderate religious and Islamo-democratic groups, while a great segment of the government’s supporters’ ties with the state is based on their dependence on government money and they have no religious tendencies.
Eleventh, based on what has been said, we would like to ask those Europeans who think they wish to help us, “think more about yourselves.” If the bomb that threatens the livelihoods of us as Iranians, explodes, it will place the whole planet under threat. The main problem for Iranians today, is information. We must reflect accurate news inside Iran. In doing so, we might be able to give this news to the entire world too. We do not ask money from you, but try to provide the possibility for breaking free from tyranny. From you as Europeans, we would like to ask you to give us permission to have a television station. We would like you to respond to us a little sooner. We do not want you to have a troubled conscious by asking us “what do you require?” and then abandon us in a cloud of uncertainty. The main requirement for Freedom Movement in Iran is awareness and specifically, a television channel for conveying the news accurately and completely.
You have experienced the bitter taste of fascism during the Second World War. You know what danger is. We are in the same position as you. Within Iran, the sphere of life is more lively, everything is more dynamic and millions of people want to get rid of the Satan. The mere getting rid of the Satan will suffice, and then, they themselves will choose if they want to enter hell or heaven.