(The following document, which has recently been circulated in Iran, was sent to the editors by an Iranian writer with a request that it be published.)
Brave People of Iran!
Two years have passed since the courageous revolution of February 1979. Having suffered years of anguish and torture in the hands of a government established and supported by American imperialism, the oppressed masses of our country rose up and, turning the streets of our cities into trenches, fought valiantly against the despot. The song of freedom and independence was sung by the bleeding throats of our people.
People whose identity and existence had been trampled over by despotism and its institutions of coercion—the SAVAK, the police, and the parasitic army—people who lived under the most dismal conditions of oppression everywhere, from the factory and farm to government ministries, universities, and schools, demonstrated both their consciousness and ability in the struggle against despotism and for independence and freedom. Workers, peasants, civil servants, tradesmen, priests, university professors, school teachers, and students joined together in order to create a new society. The heroic strike of the oil workers squeezed the throats of multinational monopolies. The prisons were destroyed and the political prisoners joined the rising tide of the Iranian masses. The monarchy was shaken to its very foundations. Joining men, our women destroyed the institutions of tyranny and endeavored to find their rightful place in the building of a free, independent, and democratic Iran.
The oppressed nationalities of our country who had been deprived of their basic human rights during the Shah’s reign rose up with their demands for autonomy, beginning a political process aimed at promoting our country to higher levels of cultural consciousness. Our press became a mirror, reflecting the needs of our people. Worker councils in the factories lit the torch of liberation from the bondage of managers. The seeds of a new culture, splendidly dynamic and revolutionary, were planted in our schools by both the teachers and students. Our universities became the strongholds of our people’s unity and their political and social consciousness. It was predicted that very soon the obstacles separating the university from the society would be eliminated and our higher education would aim at solidifying the achievements of the revolution.
The fierce, upsurging wave that had picked out as its arch-enemy world imperialism led by the United States translated itself into an eloquent slogan, reverberating throughout the country and demanding that all reactionary and counterrevolutionary institutions be overthrown. The slogan said: “After the Shah, it’s America’s turn.”
Iran’s deprived masses knew that imperialism meant the sum of all the despotic, reactionary, and exploitationist policies that by their very nature ran contrary to the sovereignty of people. For them, imperialism meant the absence of workers’ and peasants’ councils; it meant the exploitation of workers and the consistent patterns of reproduction of relations of plunder and of alienation; it meant policies of repression at the universities; it meant the nonexistence of a progressive press; it meant the policy of clobbering the oppressed nationalities; it meant the reopening of prisons and torture stations, and the incarceration of activists on the people’s side; it meant historical exploitation and humiliation of women and trampling on their human rights; it meant the silencing of teachers as well as students at school; it meant the dissemination of the culture of lies, hypocrisy, and popular stupefaction; it meant prevention of the free assembly of people in the streets and squares.
On the occasion of the commencement of the third year of the revolution, we the undersigned writers and intellectuals of the country feel that it is our duty to go over the record of the past two years under the present leaders of our society and to explore what has happened.
Not only was full use of all the capacities and capabilities of our people not made in the past two years in the direction of social renovation for the benefit of the downtrodden layers of the society, not only was a consistent struggle against imperialism not waged through the extension of democratic rights and liberties; on the contrary, the rights of our people, the new fabric of democratic institutions, and, in practice, all things achieved through the devotion of thousands of martyrs, victims, and invalids have come under numerous attacks.
Now, the flames of burning books rise from bookstores throughout the country; progressive papers and periodicals have been banned; the publishing industry of the country is facing a calamitous crisis, and nothing can be published freely except publications attached to government institutions; the courageous journalists who led the glorious sixty-three-day strike against censorship and repression in the old regime have been removed from the press; the radio and television have become instruments of censorship, popular stupefaction, falsification, and lies.
Although the blood of the men and women who fought against the Shah can still be seen in the streets, the present rulers of our country are forcing Iran’s nationalities to contribute additional amounts of blood. Our nationalities are victims of new and bloody attacks. The war of fratricide and the savage assault upon the Kurdish, the Turkoman, and the Arab nationalities of Iran (of which the assassination of Turkoman leaders and militants, and the massacre of the peasants of “Qarna,” “Qelatan,” and “Indirgush” are the most crying examples) should be counted among the frightening disgraces of our time. The rights and dignities of women have been put in chains by patriarchal laws and policies. With the aid of thugs and hatchet men, under the pretext of “Cultural Revolution,” Iranian universities, those strongholds of freedom and social consciousness, have been made scenes of bloodshed throughout the country. Under the pretext of “purging” agents of the old regime, revolutionary and progressive elements of our educational, scientific, and cultural centers have been isolated and expelled. The inquisition dominates the entire educational system of the country, from elementary school to the university. Thousands of progressive teachers have been fired because of their convictions.
Once again, the nightmare of torture haunts our society. Once more, the torture rack has been erected, chains and lashes and cable-whips have been prepared, and the political prisoners of Iran have been deprived of their basic human rights. During the revolution, when our people destroyed the torture stations of the SAVAK, burning down the instruments upon which the dried skin and bloodstains of revolutionaries could have been seen, they declared: “Let us put an end to such infernal actions and things.” Now, the loud screaming of young activists arrested for distributing political pamphlets is echoed from the prison wards under the blows of the whip.
In the early days, when our people opened the gates of the despot’s prisons, they said they would rid the country of courts in which the destiny of the accused was subjected to arbitrary and unlawful decisions. But now, there are innumerable courts, acting illegally and sealing the lives of revolutionaries arbitrarily. Many revolutionaries have been shot by the decisions of such courts, and the downtrodden victims of the old regime are among the victims of the new one.
Workers’ and toilers’ councils, which generally play a vital role in the creation of democratic societies, have been suppressed, and the policies of deception and discord, about to be uprooted from our society in the early days of the revolution, are being widely publicized by the ruling institution. The revolutionaries are being called “counterrevolutionary.” In fact, the forces of revolution are being clobbered by all varieties of accusations and their members are delivered to the prison and the firing squad. The borderline between the enemy and friend has been obliterated, to the degree that we are witnessing now manifestations of “objections” to the policies of the government by virtually the same doubledealers who played a most notorious role early in the revolution in the creation of censorship and repression, the suppression of democratic institutions, and the violation of people’s rights and liberties.
The disastrous impact of such policies upon the anti-imperialist struggles of our people has been intensified as a result of the war between Iran and Iraq. Under these new historical conditions, when a section of the country has come under the occupation of the rapacious Iraqi army, and when imperialist conspiracies against the vital interests of our people continue, the rulers of our country are preoccupied with other things. Apprehensive of the arming of our masses, they incarcerate in the battlefront the revolutionary forces, i.e., those men and women who pioneered the struggle against imperialism and for liberation, and deliver them to the firing squad.
More than a million poor and suffering people have been left homeless as a result of the ominous war. Hunger, cold, homelessness, and disease threaten the lives of these people with utter destruction. There exists in the country a highly specialized, dynamic, and devoted human power. However, the enforcement of cramping and impervious policies, the mooting out of such artificial debates as “Expertise or piety,” and the prevention of the refugees from direct participation in resolving their own problems have created a most difficult crisis.
Brave people of Iran!
All these assaults, repressive measures, the suppression of human and democratic rights have taken place at a time when our hardworking masses, after years of captivity, need more than ever the consciousness to tear away the veils of deception which the old governments had kept before their eyes, to get to know their society and the world through the medium of a new thinking, to get to know where they live, where their weaknesses and strengths lie, to get to learn the ways of uniting together, and to end the domination of despotism and imperialism, liberating themselves from years of tyranny and humiliation.
Brave people of Iran!
Consistent and increasing attacks upon democratic rights and liberties have imprinted destructive marks upon the struggle of our people against imperialism. The violation of our people’s sovereign and individual and social liberties is the practical rejection of our people’s revolutionary aims. Therefore, we writers and intellectuals of Iran firmly believe that in order to defend the achievements of the revolution, the following should be implemented:
1) Individual and social rights of our people (freedom of ideas and expression, freedom of parties, of unions, freedom of printing and publication of books, freedom of the press, the equal rights of women, the cultural, political and economic rights of oppressed nationalities of Iran) should be guaranteed;
2) Legal, judicial, and job security of all people should be guaranteed:
3) The enforcement of policies of repression, suppression, and popular stupefaction should come to an end;
4) The policy of censorship of the press and other mass media should be stopped;
5) The inquisition of ideas, which is dominating all walks of Iranian life, should be stopped;
6) The use of torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners should stop;
7) All universities and institutions of higher education should immediately be opened;
8) All anticultural, antiscientific, and anti-artistic policies that have flourished more than ever before, and under various covers, policies which are threatening the culture, science, and art of our society with deterioration and disintegration, should permanently come to an end;
9) All revolutionary political prisoners should unconditionally be released;
10) Free, elected, and independent councils of people should come to existence to safeguard the sovereignty of our people on all levels of the society.
Brave people of Iran!
We, the undersigned, believe that the only guarantee for the implementation of these rightful demands is the constant participation and conscious presence of all of us on the scene of social struggles. By voicing our opposition to repressive measures which seek to weaken and destroy our revolution, by uniting together everywhere and on all levels, and by demonstrating our resistance against all antidemocratic measures, let us hold Iran’s banner of liberation, freedom, and independence, erect and waving, now and forever.
Abdulhamid Abulhamd (scholar), Fereydoun Adamiyyat (scholar), Fereydoun Ahmadi (professor), Mohammad Assadian Khorramabadi (poet, scholar), Hadi Esmailzedeh (professor), Hossein Afshar (professor), Ali-Akbar Akbari (writer), Gholam-Reza Arbabi (writer), Mohammad Ayyoubi (writer), Guity E’temad (professor), Gholam-Hossein Baqerzadeh (professor), Sogra Baqeri (poet), Reza Baraheni (poet, professor), Mohammad-Naqi Baraheni (professor, scholar), Youssef Banitorof (translator, scholar), Simin Behbahani (poet), Mihan Bahrami (writer), Farzad Biglari (professor), Daryoush Bayat-Sarmadi, Nasser Pakdaman (scholar, professor), Kiyandokht Psartovi (poet, writer), Baqer Parham (writer, scholar), Bozorg Pourja’far (scholar, writer), Yar-Ali Pour-Moqaddam (playwright), Hossein Jalali (professor), Esma’il Jamshidi (journalist), Mohsen Jamedi (student), Zahra Hajalikhani (professor), Ali-Asghar Hadj-Seyyed-Javadi (writer, scholar), Mohsen Habibi (professor), Hassan Hesam (poet, writer), Siyamak Hassanzadeh (professor), Mehdi Khanbaba Tehrani (translator, writer), Nassim Khaksar (poet, writer).
Azim Khalili (poet), Mahyar Khalili (writer, scholar), Esma’il Kho’ie (poet), Arastoo Khoda’ie (professor), Manouchehr Rad (professor, writer), Hassn Rahimi (professor), Hamid-Reza Rahimi (poet), Aminullah Reza’ie (artist), Mostafa Rafiq (poet), Abdulhossein Roodafshan (professor), Kambiz Roosta (translator, professor), Ebrahim Rahbar (writer), Mohammad-Taqi Rahnama’ie (professor), Nasser Zera’ati (poet, writer), Mahmood Daneshmand (professor), Simin Daneshvar (writer), Haideh Daragahi (professor), Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi (writer), Gholam-Hossein Salemi (poet), Mohammad-Ali Sepanlou (poet, writer), Sa’eed Sultanpour (poet, theater director), Abdulfath Seyyedfathi (professor), Mohammad-Ali Shakeri Yekta (poet), Ahmad Shamlou (poet, writer), Nasser Shahinpar (writer), Fereshteh Shahpar (professor), Shahin Shahid Sales (professor), Asghar Shirazi (professor), Farhad Saheban, Mass’oud Sadrulashrafi (professor), Firouz Sadaqiyani-Avval (professor), Faramarz Telebi (writer, playwright), Shahran Tabari (professor), Shahla Tabataba’ie, Ahmad Tahmasebi (scholar, professor), Morteza Abdullahi (professor), Battol Azizpour (poet), Seeros Alinehad (professor), Mahmoud Enayat (journalist), Hossein Gholamelipour (poet), D. Fattahiyan (lawyer), Esmat Farzan-Manesh (professor), Hooshang Farkhojasteh (professor), Bajlan Farrokhi (writer, translator), Manouchehr Fekri-Ershad (translator, writer), Soosan Fili (professor), Ebrahim Foyoozat (professor), Qodsi Qazi-Nour (writer), Farrokh Qobadi (professor), Karim Qasim, Elahe Karimi (professor), Ahmad Karimi Hakkak (professor, writer), Ahmad Kassila (poet), Manouchehr Kalantari (lawyer), Choka Kondari (poet), Ali Koochenani (poet), Abdullah Kosari (poet, translator), Atefeh Gorgin (poet, writer).
Hooshang Golshiri (writer), Firouz Gooran (journalist, commentator), Janet Lazariyan (journalist), Hassan Massali, Javad Mojabi (writer), Ebrahim Mosh’eri (professor), Mohsen Mohsenin (professor), Mohammad Mohammad-Ali (writer), Mass’oud Mahmoudi, Mohammad Mokhtari (poet, scholar), Gholam-Reza Modarresi (professor), Mohammad-Reza Madihi (poet), Hossein Moqaddam (professor), Ebrahim Malek-Esma’ili (professor), Mass’oud Malekpour (professor), Akbar Malekiyan (scholar), Akbar Mehrabi (professor), Ne’mat Mirzazadeh (poet), Gholam-Hossein Mirza Saleh (professor), Ali Mifatroos (poet), Mohsen Mihandoust (poet, scholar), Mass’oud Minavi (writer), Homa Nateq (writer, translator), Nasser Najafi (poet, director), Gholam-Hossein Nassiripour (poet), Azar Nafisi (professor), Shahin Hava’ie (professor), Mohammad-Reza Nourbaksh (professor), Mohammad Nouri (translator, writer), Manouchehr Norui-Dehkordi (translator), Partoy Nouri-Ala (poet), Ata’ollah Nouriyan (translator, critic), Bahman Nirumand (professor, scholar), Asghar Vaqedi (poet, writer), Shapour Vali (professor), Mostaf Vatankhah (professor), Abulqasem Hashemi (professor), Mansoureh Hashemi (poet), Manchour Hezarkhani (translator, writer), Mohsen Yalfani (playwright).
The Unpalatable October 22, 1981