Translator’s note: The mass arrests of opposition activists during and after the December 27, 2009 protests, have included police attacks on university campuses in Tehran and Mashhad. In response, students at these universities have boycotted classes. Below are excerpts from a statement issued by the Office for the Consolidation of Unity, Iran’s largest student organization. A detailed article about the students currently in detention or serving prison terms is available in Persian on the website of Amir Kabir University Students(www.autnews.de/node/5688). For background information in English, see Farnaz Fassihi’s “Regime Wages a Quiet War on ‘Star Students’ of Iran” in the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126222013953111071.html)
Murder, Beatings and Detentions Represent the Logic of Dictatorship
Translated by Frieda Afary
December 31, 2009
The university is an innocent land. One day it is attacked in the name of dictatorship. Another day, it is attacked in the name of religion. Revenge is being taken on the university because of its vibrant, consciousness-raising element.
Throughout Iran’s contemporary history, the university has been the most convenient location for military campaigns by representatives of dictatorship. The painful events of January 1961, July 1999, and the recurring attacks on university campuses in the catastrophic aftermath of the election this year, all confirm the tragic tale of the innocence of the university.[In January 1961, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi’s army attacked Tehran University following a student strike. In July 1999, student protesters at Tehran University were brutally attacked by government forces—tr]
The bitter and painful news of brutal attacks on university students in Mashhad [a large city located in Northeastern Iran—tr], the large-scale arrests of university students around the country, and the arrests of journalists and political activists, can only reveal that the establishment is unstable and descending toward death.
In order to defend the powers that be, some are using the name of religion to target university campuses. In the name of Hossein, they are performing Yazid-like acts in Iran’s Karbala. [ Hossein was the grandson of prophet Muhammad. He was killed by the Umayyad Calif, Yazid, in Karbala, Iraq in 680 C.E.—tr] These acts represent the last nails in the coffin of this dictatorship. The statement, “If you are not with us, you are against us,” represents the dictatorial logic of Pharaoh and Yazid.
These are questions which we are putting to the conscience of our nation, a nation which is mourning the brutal murders of its children during the Ashura commemoration [December 27, 2009—tr].
The arrest of Ms. Bahareh Hedayat, the brave and honest spokesperson for the Office for the Consolidation of Unity, the living conscience of an independent and critical university, and the earlier arrest of Mehdi Arabshahi, national organizer for this student organization, mark the continuation of lawlessness and injustice.
Some hold the illusion that continuing the murders, arrests and threats can turn the expose of dictatorship into historical amnesia. The fact is that the element of consciousness-raising has already multiplied among millions of Iranians. Let the dictators know that the struggle for freedom will continue to the end. The story is reaching its end. . .
Office for the Consolidation of Unity
December 31, 2009