October 1, 2005
The Sounds of SilenceBy Amil Imani
Ali was a student at the University of Tehran. He was one of the students who was brutally attacked by the Ansar—i Hezbullah, the militia forces of the Islamic Republic, during an attack storming a dormitory there on July 9th, 1999. The attack sent shock waves around the country, and for six consecutive days brought the Islamic regime to it's knees.
Ali was one of the protesters who was captured the day after the attack and was sent to the notorious Evin prison for interrogation. He was brutally beaten, forced to confess to crimes he never committed and was held there for nearly four years.
The Islamic Republic, closelt resembling Stalin's style of forced confessions, has resorted to "confessions" to pave the way for the prosecution of any open—minded activists in Iran.
Arrests usually occur in the dead of night. Individuals later find themselves held in "detention" for days, weeks, months and even years without any formal charges whatsoever. By obtaining self—incriminating confessions, the Islamic Republic is focusing on destroying individuals'
The Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic often arrested and prosecuted people, not necessarily for what they did, but for who they were and what they were capable of doing. Their targets have been those groups of people who were acclaimed by or familiar with foreign languages, educators, members of pen organizations, writers, poets, intellectuals and of course journalists.
I ran into Ali not long ago and asked him if I could briefly expose his story for the world to hear about it. He agreed on the basis of anonymity, due to the fact that he still has relatives living in Iran. Of course, Ali is a pseudonym to protect him from the wrath of the mullahs.
He recalled how he was interrogated and spent most of his time in solitary confinement for the crime of waging war against Allah, ultimately punishable by death. According to the words of the merciful and compassionate God of the Quran
Ali's escape of such horrific punishment as death from starvation and exhaustion at the claws of the Islamic Republic is both fascinating and compelling.
In the cycle of prison horrors and terrors, Ali gives us just a glimpse of the prison punishment scheme, with its harassment and intimidation of an Iranian youth by the Islamic Republic lackeys. He started off by saying that the Islamic Republic is dreaming of world domination through Islamic wars and conquests, and for this they need the brutalization of the Iranian people to bring them to the will of Allah.
He went on to say that for the Islamic Republic, terror, brutality and violence are necessary tools to achieve their ultimate goal in regional and world domination. At times, he was separately held in a very small cell in solitary confinement. It was too small for one to be able to sit in it, let alone lie down. He was confined in that solitary cell for months. Others faced a more terrible lot. They were subjected to inhuman tortures. Beatings were quite common.
They were subjected to different kinds of tortures. Some even went insane. He paused for a moment, and I noticed his eyes were filled with tears. He deeply sighed and said, "Where were the human rights and humanitarian groups during that time?
He told me, there were four revolutionary guards who took turns beating him up for no apparent reason. These beatings frequently happened in the middle of the night. 'They would strip all my clothing, take me into a small room and put me on my knees with my head down,' Ali said softly. 'A bearded heavy man pushed the edge of his knife down against the back of my neck. He told me, he would slit my throat if I don't confess that I am part of the "monafeghin"
Ali continued, "Suddenly, you hear nothing except silence. There were no more questions, only silence and the weight of a knife at the base of my throat. One wonders how these people live with themselves. Do they have children of their own? How would they like their kids to be treated like animals?"
Ali became quiet for a moment and I kept gazing in his eyes with disbelief.
How hard and horrible it must have been for him and others like him in the Islamic dungeons. He started mumbling as though there were not enough time in his life time to express his story. This is the story of thousands upon thousands of innocent young and old Iranians who are forced to waste their precious lives in the Islamic Republic prisons for simply wanting a better life. They want a better life not only for themselves, but for their fellow countrymen as well. To the Islamic republic, this is called waging a war against Allah.
'Some would sit in solitary confinements, starving and rotting. Many die due to the heavy beating and they remove their bodies quickly in the middle of the night to an unknown area. My cell was very small and impenetrable. The walls were made from heavy cement. There were no windows. The doors were made of thick metal and very strong. On the ceiling almost 6 meters above, there were two ventilation holes from which you could hear the screams of others, repenting and begging the torturers to stop beating them up'.
'The methods of tortures ranging from mechanical devices designed to inflict gross tissue damage, to psychological and physiological techniques, such as solitary confinement and sleep deprivation were commonly used'
Ali had a lot more to say. A lot more than a man can bear to hear. Ali and others like him are prisoners of conscience. They believe in freedom, justice and liberty. These three principles of humanity are forbidden in the Muslim countries. These words equate to waging war against Allah, thus death will be awaiting you.
Iranians must learn that history does not repeat itself. We repeat history!
What is sad is that the world community and, in the case of Ali, overseas Iranian communities do not do enough to expose the Islamic Republic's waging war against all living things. Unfortunately, most Iranians in the West are more interested in making more money than helping people like Ali. Iranian communities have become extremely nonchalant; thus, they have become pseudo—Iranians, merely spectators.
Amil Imani is a poet, writer, literary translator, essayist, novelist, and a political activist who speaks out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran.