Gee whiz, I’m so glad that Dear Leader tried to normalize relations with Iran. Is he still trying? It’s hard to say one way or the other. The recent claim that he’d sent word through the Swiss that he “recognized” Iran’s “nuclear rights” sure doesn’t sound too much as though he’d got his little fingers burnt enough to remember it.
I’m pleased, you see, I’d hate to think that we didn’t have a mutually helpful relation with a regime one of whose first acts on taking power was to arrest thousands upon thousands of its citizens, as young as 16 or 17, torture them, and then during the course of the first wave of arrests (cf. Solzhenitsyn’s descriptions of the “waves” that washed through GULag during the course of the years) in power slaughter between 3-5,000 of them.
This is a survivor’s story, as told in an interview in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She was 17 years old in 1979. She’d been on the streets, protesting against the Shah. Her father, an academic, didn’t like the Shah but didn’t trust the mullahs, either. “They preach democracy,” he said; but wait until they get power, “then they’ll show you.” “You children will see it.” Shoulda listened to daddy, little girl. She was living in a commune with other students when she was arrested one day on her return. The thing they demanded of her was where were the others. She was taken, blind-folded, to prison.
While in prison, they were herded into cells, up to 70 women, some with children, in 20 square meters. There was no room to lie flat (try sitting on the floor with your legs scrunched up; now try sleeping like that. Now try sleeping like that for weeks, months on end. At night time they counted the shots in the execution yard.
This witness was placed in a cell roughly six square meters with five other women, the oldest of whom was 20 or so, the others still schoolgirls. Three were already badly wounded from their torture. The Islamic method is to sling them upside down and beat them on the soles of the feet; so was it with these girls. Some of them had been beaten so severely that the skin was gone from the soles; a doctor in the prison figured out how to remove skin from other locations on their bodies and sew it on to the feet. This witness describes such victims, years later, with oddly-shaped scars on their bodies, in the placed whence the skin was taken.
Islam — that religion of peace — forbids the execution of a virgin. What do you do with a prison full of 17 and 18 year-old girls? Right: You “marry” them to their guards, who then rape them; the next day you shoot them, and the grieving “widower” is then free to “re-marry.” They’d send the bodies to the families, together with the “decencies” due to a deceased married woman. It’s how the families knew what had happened to their daughters.
During this time the Europeans (O! those sophisticated Europeans, not at all like our stoopid cowboy presidents at the time, were they?) came to Iran to celebrate the mullahs in much the same fashion they’d been to Lenin’s and then Stalin’s Soviet Union. Like Walter Duranty (have we mentioned that the New York Times still refuses to disclaim the Pulitzer he won for being Stalin’s willing mouthpiece?), they were shown the Potemkin portions of the prisons, the show-piece prisoners. They reported how wonderful it all was.
And at night they still counted the shots.
At least the Europeans of 1979 could claim some sort of innocence about the nature of the regime the mullahs set up. Just barely could they claim it; the ink on Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus was scarcely dry.
What’s Dear Leader’s excuse for sucking up to these murderous would-be genocidaires?