The 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran cannot be called anything other than a black mark on the recent history of Iran. Thousands and thousands of people from many different political backgrounds were put to death in a barbaric way.
Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic republic of Iran, promised everybody that the Iranian revolution would bring freedom, equality, and prosperity. But we never even got close. After 8 years of war with his arch foe, Saddam Hussein, he was forced to accept a peace deal with Iraq in 1988. At that time Iran was already a killing zone for so many young and old who did not want anything more than what they had been promised and worked so hard for: a new and free society. The revolution, which was loved by millions who came to street for democracy and better lives, was co-opted with lies and treachery.
Khomeini’s “final solution” was the personal approval of the mass killing of political prisoners. It cost thousands of lives in August and September of 1988 and will and should be remembered by all people. The killing zone of the Iranian regime takes on new dimensions when you realize hundreds of those executed had finished their horrific sentences and were simply waiting for release.
Thousands of new political prisoners were executed just because they did not want renounce their political and personal beliefs. They were asked a couple of simple questions: Do you believe in God and the Islamic republic? and do you renounce your affiliations with other political organizations? Without knowing the consequences of their answers, many were murdered.
It is not just the number of people who ware killed that makse this an unforgivable crime, but the unprecedented violence that was used in those dark summer months. Many of those killed were teenagers when they were arrested. They were from all parts of Iranian of society: students, intellectuals, leftists, young boys, girls, and women. In the summer of 1988, Iran lost its dreams. Those of us in safety should never forget the horrors they went through.
I do not know anybody in Iran who was not affected by the post-revolutionary violence in Iran. Everyone I know had a loved one or friend who was killed because they could not accept the rules of those monsters.
The Islamic Republic totally denies the mass executions. I do not want to look at this from a political point of view or even an historical perspective. I am not a political activist or ether a journalist, I am just still shaken by the loss of so many young people my age who were tortured and killed. The Islamic Republic used every method they could think of to break people in prison and in some cases even turned them into executioners. Those crimes by the IRI should never be forgotten.
I left Iran four years before this horrific event. In the last 20 years I have met many survivors of this mass killing. I know many people who were not as lucky as me to live in safety. They never saw the sun again. Many people who managed to survive are harmed forever. I would always have respect for them no matter which political movement they represented.
I have seen in many of their eyes pain that I have never seen before. People who are responsible for those killings need to be brought to justice. They should know, wherever they are, whoever they are, that there will come a day when they will have to pay for this. They have committed an act that humanity should never forget. Iranians with all political backgrounds should work together to make sure those memories are documented for generations to come.
My lovely human rights activist friend, who is very committed and works non-stop for human rights in Iran, is currently helping with an event in Amsterdam to remember those who were killed. My friend thinks that we Iranians should be open to dialog. My response was please tell me fist what all those international organizations who attempt to create dialog with the IRI have accomplished? Have human rights improved?
From Amnesty international
“International human rights law requires that the Iranian authorities carry out thorough and impartial investigations into violations of the right to life such as those which were committed during the 'prison massacre', which began in 1988 and continued into the following year, and to identify and bring to justice those responsible. The failure to do so to date and the time that has elapsed since the killings do not in any way reduce this responsibility.“