My Bitter Memories
The 11th anniversary of the July 9th attacks on the student dormitories is upon us and yet our pain remains unhealed. On the eve of this 11th anniversary our candles continue to burn for an era when our freedom was sacrificed in a conspiracy that included serial murders and the banning of all newspapers. As always, students were at the forefront of this struggle against authoritarianism, but alas, the crimes that occurred at the university dormitories only speak of unprecedented atrocities.
The betrayal of our historic desire for freedom and our national struggle to achieve it was an end to democracy and a stalemate for the Republic. The universities became a hotbed for those devoted to violence. Respect was trampled upon and boundaries were violated, culminating in the breaking of the doors to student sanctuaries.
They destroyed and burnt everything they laid their eyes on. Defenseless students became the target of batons and were shot at, all in the name of religion and in support of the Supreme Leader. They pushed our schoolmates out of dormitory windows, leading to even more blood-filled nights and painful days.
They drenched the 9th of July in blood. They burnt and destroyed until there was nothing left behind but ashes. They made sure that the pain inflicted would remain for months, for years. Time stood still on July 9, 1999 and the universities became an everlasting symbol of the struggle of students against authoritarianism and the fight for freedom. However, after ten years, the hatred for tyranny remained in the hearts of those who had witnessed the events of July 9th. The painful story of July 9th continued in 2009 when the ruling powers once again took it upon themselves to use violence, to rape and murder our school mates, turning the torture chambers of Kahrizak prison into an exhibit for the most heinous and bitter crimes that occurred during those years.
Apparently, in every corner of the government, there were individuals more than willing to send innocent people to the torture chambers of Kahrizak prison after they were suppressed and arrested on the 9th of July. They used the most heinous torture techniques on individuals whose only crime was being a student; many of whom were murdered under pressures of rape and torture.
As the 9th of July became eternal, with the passing of the years, this year we witnessed the birth of the Green Movement. The protests, deceit, violence, superstition, sycophancy, treachery, killings, wickedness, and crimes that occurred on the eve of June 15, 2009 at the university dormitories was nothing more than history repeating itself. This time around, bullets had been added to the myriad of other weapons used. If July 9th represented the courage and honesty of the resistance by the university, June 15th, 2009 and the protests that followed became a symbol of courage and escape from violence, tyranny, and scandal.
The Supreme Leader, the decision maker behind all the events that occurred after the 1999 election, made reference to the atrocities at the university dormitories, but alas, much like the crimes that occurred at Kahrizak prison, these remarks were nothing more than meaningless gestures that were made from nervousness of the July 9th events, and as such they were conveniently forgotten.
Emotional speeches and irrational behavior intensified. Responsibilities were forfeited. If any comments were made, they were only to threaten the Green leaders and political activists. Extremism and repression were not supposed to be the response to those who posed questions. By the same token the coup against the ruling government that occurred on July 9, 1999 was also never investigated.
2009 may be behind us, but the years of neglected leadership and lack of responsibility toward the bitter events remain with us. Through it all the dignity of the Iranian people has remained intact. Even thought our people have become more alive and have proven to the world that they deserve a better government, the bitter memories of the events that took place at the university still remain.
The intensified cultural and economic crisis, the deepening of the social and political divisions, the lost legitimacy and dignity of the ruling government, unacceptable behavior and actions of the authorities over the past year, were all desperate attempts to intimidate and repress the hope revived by the Green Movement. The government’s battle against hope and enlightenment led to the creation of fear, with high costs for all freedom seekers. However, because of our courage and hope, this too shall pass.
Today, universities are witnessing a large number of students being banned from continued education. Every day there are more students behind bars. We are experiencing unprecedented exclusions from education and exams, encroachment on student rights, suspensions, professors being fired, and draining of our brain power and exile of our intellectuals. However, despite the desire by the enemies of universities, our universities have not remained silent. In fact Evin prison has turned into a university of sorts, filled with passionate and hopeful youth, the founders of the student movement and the motor behind the Green Movement; proving yet again that regardless of the repression and intimidation, and the high costs associated with this struggle, the students have prevailed and remain victorious.
The student movement, imprisoned students, those deprived of continuing their education, all became a beacon of light and symbol of hope. Today universities are also accused of being the motor for the Green Movement and are under intense attack. The enemies of universities seek the closure and elimination of all independent institutions of education and humanities that are sources of knowledge and awareness. They want universities that have no pulse. They wish to erase the memories of July 9th and December 7th from our collective consciousness. Despite all this, the university remains the ruling government’s biggest nightmare. It will not fall for all this conspiracy and deceit in the name of Islam. The universities will prevail until all enemies succumb to the courage and perseverance that have been instrumental in standing against oppression.
The fact that the memories of July 9th remain vibrant is a testament to our strong will. We are certain that July 9th will stay alive as yet another sign of the victory of the dynamic movement that began long ago.
Today, the student movement is continuing on its path even more determined than before. It is a source of awareness and a symbol of courage. It understands our society and reaches out to intellectuals. Our student movement is a staunch supporter of journalists, and political and social activities. It is against any form of violence and encourages connecting with our culture. The student movement will not abandon the Green leaders during a time of such importance and will take advantage of all opportunities to ensure that students collaborate in a more effective and efficient manner. The student movement has respect for past experiences and is determined to record and share these experiences to further strengthen all activities.
Today the student movement is aware of the tactics designed to oppress and will work hard to protect students. It will ensure that the tactics used are in line with a strategy designed to reach us closer to victory.
We are joyful today that the clear voices of the universities are audible even in prison. We are joyful knowing that our friends have kept our hope alive. The voices of our freedom-seekers have silenced the cries of dictatorship. We are joyful and honored to be alongside our student friends. We encourage all students to join us as we are hopeful and certain that in the near future we will all meet again to celebrate our Green freedom and the arrival of democracy.
Our story is about to be renewed; it is about to change. This time, we may have begun with our bitter memories. However, we survived the hardship. The difficulties and bitterness of the past year have led to an increase in hope. This time our wish is to celebrate a new year. We wish to celebrate, as we are certain of our victory.
July 6, 2010 – Evin Ward 350