Sattar Beheshti sits underneath a blue painted arch, his hands folded, looking into the camera.
In Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti’s last post before his arrest, he describes security services’ threats against him for his dissident writings. He declares his determination to continue speaking out against the regime’s repression: “I will not keep silent, even if death looms at the horizon.” After his arrest on October 28, 2012, on charges of “actions against national security on social networks and Facebook,” he was taken to Evin prison, where opposition activists say he was interrogated, tortured and killed. In his last post, exclusively translated by Tavaana, he had written, “Don’t threaten us anymore, for fear has no place in our hearts anymore. Neither the whip nor torture can frighten us or prevent us from informing others.”
They Tell Us Not To Talk or They Will Shut Our Mouths
Sattar BeheshtiFor some time now, using all sorts of repressive measures including torture and the threat of execution… the Islamic regime has been putting increased pressure on independent activists and Iranians to prevent them from expressing their views on the country’s current affairs! A regime that, on a daily basis, poses all kinds of problems to independent activists. Threatening emails, filtering online media, and arresting people on the streets are among the least this regime does on a daily basis.
As recently as yesterday, the regime’s agents told me that my mother would soon have to put on her mourning clothes. “You don’t shut your mouth,” they tell me. “I don’t need to,” I reply. “You are being too talkative,” they object. “I am just writing what I see and what I hear,” I keep insisting. “We will do whatever we want! We will act however we please! But you will have to shut it down for good or you will be choked once and for all, namelessly, anonymously! Without anyone even knowing about you or what happened to you!”
They keep telling me and others like me, “The peoples of Palestine and Bahrain are being tormented, and there is no one even saying anything about them, and you, you are a traitor to your country!” But I am not a traitor, those like me are not traitors, we are not betraying our country, we love our country and our people and if there are any traitors, they are you who are betraying our country and our people, not me, not us.
Threatening phone calls keep pouring in, day and night. It is like we really have no choice but to shut our mouth. I am saying this not as a traitor but as an Iranian: “I cannot keep my mouth shut in front of all this tragedy; I am saying that you, sirs, you are the ones who are being too talkative, you are the one who, with your daily bullshit, are dragging the country ever closer to disaster, on a daily basis. I will not keep silent, even if death looms at the horizon. Threats and menaces, no matter where they come from, are no longer effective. I will not keep silent, no matter where I am or where I will be. You, sirs, you will have to shut your mouth. Stop your injustice, so I will be able to stop denouncing it.”
The Islamic regime cries for the tragedy of the peoples of Palestine and Bahrain and other countries, while complaining about the lack of information and support for them. But it doesn’t say a word about all the propaganda its own services and TV channels broadcast, in such a professional manner, films and reports, all focused on the so-called tragedy of the peoples of Palestine and Bahrain, all aimed at the people of Iran, all meant to brainwash our own people. They force-feed the people with such one-sided propaganda material all day long, so that their Islamic TV channels become gushingly disgusting for everyone.
But they don’t say a single word about the disastrous conditions of our own people, nor about the continuous violation of human rights in our own country, Iran! Not a single word about daily arrests, imprisonments, tortures and mass executions. To break their will, they keep our political prisoners in the worst possible conditions, not only without saying a single word to their lawyers, but not even allowing them to have a lawyer. Not only do they keep their families totally uninformed on the whereabouts of their loved ones, but they extend their threats to their families as well. They keep telling them that they have no right whatsoever to say anything about their loved ones. Not satisfied with preventing these families from informing themselves and others, they extend their permanent harassment to threats on the family members of the imprisoned. They say that “they will go ahead and arrest their daughters” if families of political prisoners do not submit to the will of the authorities and keep their mouth shut. “Shut up! Don’t say a word!” they keep shouting at them.
Sirs! Could you please tell me what kind of a law is this? Or where such a law has been established? Tell me where you found such a law before you brought it in as a gift to the people of Iran. Is it possible to find such a law anywhere other than in dictatorships? Trust me, not even in the worst dictatorial countries in the world could you find such a law. And even in such countries, a law like this would have been implemented, not in the name of God or the religion of God, but in the name of the government.
Why should you arrest, torture and execute, all while families should remain silent? Why don’t you leave office and subject yourself to a government like yours so you could have a taste of what it is like to be the subject of such a government? The laws of your regime can’t even be found in the jungle. If you are so sure about what you are doing, then why shy away from it instead of being proud of what you’re doing? Why don’t you allow the free circulation of information about your acts, so other countries around the world can learn from you and your brand of democracy? And if you are yourself fully aware of how despicably mediocre you are and how loudly the world laughs at you, then why do you continue being what you are? Then why you keep doing what you do? How come your reporters and journalists can go anywhere they want around the world, reporting back whatever they want, but no foreign journalist can come to Iran and report back what he or she witnesses in Iran? Staying in power for a few more days – does it really justify the continuation of so much injustice? Does your own law have any value in your own conscience?
Now let me tell you something. If you are so afraid of information, either step down from office, or stop committing injustices. Don’t arrest people, don’t torture them, don’t butcher them, so they don’t have to denounce you. Otherwise, not only will informing and denouncing you go on, but your own injustice will soon end up falling apart on your own head. Informing others of the miseries of any human being is the responsibility of every single one of us, and if anyone fails to do so, he or she has betrayed his or her conscience. Anyone who fails to inform others digs himself into a hole. For you, sirs, intend to silence everyone, one by one, even in privacy, anyone who intends to raise his or her voice. Don’t threaten us anymore, for fear has no place in our hearts anymore. Neither the whip nor torture can frighten us or prevent us from informing others.
“We will arrest you! We will torture you! So stop informing others!” If your slogan is this, ours is this: “We have entered this arena, and we will not step down until we set ourselves free of the chains of existence, or break away from the chains of injustice!”
Long live Iran and Iranians! My life given for Iran!