Sunday, August 21, 2016

Does Not an Iranian Patriot’s Blood Run Red? 
Standing Up for the Human Rights of the Residents of Ashraf & Liberty

 by Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker

Speech delivered at Association of Iranian-Americans in New York & New Jersey rally held at Dag Hammarskjold Park in Manhattan (47th St. and First Avenue opposite the UN Plaza) on 19 July 2012.

Codex-Politics, 19 July 2912

Salaam, Sob be kher va Khosh amadid, va Ramazan mubarak! Good morning and welcome! And, a blessed Ramadan to those observant among us. We are gathered here this morning to call the United Nations and the United States government to fulfill their sacred duties not only to protect innocent lives, but to fulfill the mandate of protecting basic human rights, rights granted by the United Nations Charter, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and by the Almighty, the Rahmana d’ ‘Al’ma.

Exactly eight years ago, the US Army’s Major General Geoffrey D. Miller, Deputy Commander of the Multi-National Force—Iraq, sent a letter to the People of Ashraf “to congratulate each individual living in Camp Ashraf on their recognition as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” As long as American troops were in charge of security at Ashraf, the residents’ human rights were protected despite occasional Grad rocket attacks from Iran and acts of sabotage to the Ashraf water, oil, and power supply systems.

With the Separation of Forces Agreement (SOFA) of December 2008, the Government of Iraq assumed responsibility for security on January 1, 2009, pledging in the SOFA treaty to maintain the human rights of the residents as had been done by the American forces.  It was not long before the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki showed its true colors and broke its word.  On July 28, 2009, after a siege that has been going on for some five months, Ashraf was brutally invaded by a heavily armed Iraqi police force joined by Iraqi army units of Prime Minister al-Maliki’s special elite Baghdad Brigade, numbering over 2,000 men. Eleven members of the MEK were slain, 385 injured and 31 leaders arrested and held without charges for over two months until a collective hunger strike and international pressure forced their release.

April 8, 2011 is a date that will be remembered as a day of infamy in the long history of Iraq.  Under the direction of Iranian Qods Force agents the Iraqi army invaded again, slaying 34 unarmed residents—including several women—and wounding another 314. The fields of Ashraf ran red with the blood of our brave brothers and sisters; the “you-tube” videos of this dastardly second attack demonstrated most graphically that the Iraqis were lusting for blood like a pack of ravening wolves. In their mad eyes, none considered the lives of their targets worthy of mercy.

From that point on, attempts have been made to resolve the status of the 3400 Ashrafis.  By this last December plans were put in place to move the residents to the former Camp Liberty to facilitate their resettlement in third countries.  Ambassador Martin Kobler negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Iraq stating the terms for the transfer to Camp Liberty to which the MEK acquiesced.  President-elect Maryam Rajavi sent a good-will letter at the end of the year counseling cooperation.  But as usual, the al-Maliki regime has seen fit to kowtow to the Iranian mullahs and has repeatedly violated its side of the agreement, throwing up road-blocks at every step of the process. Instead of facilitating the transfers, the Iraqis are doing everything possible to torture the residents of both Ashraf and Liberty-Hurriya, which now holds 2000 former Ashraf residents in an area of half a kilometer.

The remaining 1400 residents of Ashraf are currently insisting that their basic human rights be guaranteed. So, just what is it that they are asking for? In this wonderful “resort” of Liberty-Hurriya to which they are supposed to go, the Ashrafis are giving US Special Ambassador Daniel Fried and SGSR Ambassador Martin Kobler a bad time because they’re insisting on the provision of running water, generators for electricity (their own property) and air conditioners (also their own property).  With daily temperatures reaching over 50 degrees Celsius—it’s about 25 Celsius here right now—those good ambassadors must think that the Ashrafis are being just plain contrary! Why do they continue to insist on running water and electricity in such a paradise?

I guess that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his special representative Ambassador Kobler, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her special representative Ambassador Daniel Fried, must all be angels. Why would I say that? Well, angels don’t need to eat or drink, and these four humanitarians apparently don’t think that it’s crucial for the residents of Liberty-Hurriya to eat or drink also. The Iraqis have been dragging their feet on inspections of supplies so that hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of food is spoiling on a regular basis. But, that’s no matter; the Ashrafis should stop delaying the process with their overblown demands! We don’t want either Secretary or their respective ambassadors, or either of their administrations to be embarrassed by these obstinate Iranians!

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary Clinton: I challenge you and your staffers to survive for one day in such conditions! I know what 50 degrees Celsius feels like when there is no shade—the Iraqis are prohibiting any construction of shade porticos or planting of trees at Liberty—I had that “pleasant” experience 40 years ago while working near the Suez canal in the Sinai. If you didn’t drink a half-liter of water every half hour, you’d keel over from heat prostration.  But no matter, they don’t really need water at Liberty! In Yiddish we say: “A nechtige tog” –“A never-day!” Or as we say down south in Tennessee: “T’ain’t necessarily so!”

Mr. Secretary-General and Madame Secretary of State: History will judge you harshly for your lack of compassion and your wishy-washy appeasing of the al-Maliki regime and the Iranian mullahs. You could have stood tall and applied the proper pressure to make a difference—but so far you haven’t roared louder than a mouse.

At the very least, declare Liberty/Hurriya to be an official refugee camp with all the human rights’ guarantees that such entails through the agency of the UNHCR.

And now this is what I have this to say to Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki: You could have made Iraq a shining example of the new Arab nation, an example to be followed by the other 22 Arab states. But no, you only cared about your own power and the chance to be Islamic Tehran’s whore. Shame on you and shame on what you have done to an independent Iraq. Your complicity in the Qods Force’s crimes will buy you a ticket straight to hell, where you’ll enjoy the company of Khomeini, Khamenei, Saddam Hussein, Muamar Gadhafi, and soon enough too, Bashar al-Assad.

To those who are assembled here today, as well as our brothers and sisters in Ashraf and Liberty-Hurriah, I say: take heart, be strong and of good courage.  Hastane Bashid! The day is coming that will see the dawn of freedom rise over the fair lands of Iran. From the snow-covered peak of Damavand down to the sands of the Dasht-e Lut, from the beaches of Rasht to the shores of Chan-Bahar, from Tabriz to Zahedan, from the hills of Meshad to the plain of Ahvaz, the light of liberty is on its way.  Nur azadi mi-ayad!  The day of freedom is approaching. Soon the proud lions of Iran will stride again on the sacred soil of Persia.  I sound now the ancient shofar to call the winds of freedom to rise and take wing.

תקיעה גדולה (Takiy‘ah Gedolah)

Azadi emrooz, azadi emrooz, azadi emrooz, Khoda hafez, azadi emrooz!
(Freedom today, freedom today, freedom today, God Almighty, freedom today!)

Moteshe keram / Thank you.

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