My fear, however,
is of dying in a land
where the wage of the grave-digger
is higher than the price of human freedom.
Ahmad Shamlu, Iranian contemporary poet
After my June 25th interview on BBC regarding my personal observations on Neda Agha Soltan’s brutal murder, I read in the press on July 1st that a warrant had been issued by Iranian government for me to be arrested.
As I mentioned in my interview with BBC, such a desperate move towards concealing the truth regarding this cruel crime was to be expected from an administration that is built on lies and injustice. I predicted in the aforementioned the interview that they were going to denounce what I said; that they were going to put so many things on me. This administration, instead of trying to find the real murderers of this innocent girl and several other victims and accept responsibility for its inefficiency, is trying to blame every other single soul, country or body that has done nothing wrong.
Pressure is being put on my friends and family in Iran who had nothing to do with this incident. My 70 year old father who is a university professor and a distinguished member of the academic society has been questioned without even knowing what he had to do with any of this.
I just did what every decent human being would have done at the same situation. I tried to save a victim, and when the truth about the circumstances of her death was being distorted by the Iranian State media, I testified for what I had witnessed.
I have lived my life in such a way that does not leave regrets for me. As a trained physician, I was one of the first doctors that travelled to Bam after that terrible earthquake, just to be there for those innocent victims who were on the verge of losing their hopes.
This time, I was there for another innocent victim, by mere accident, without having a clue on what I was going into. But this time, this victim was not killed by a natural disaster. It was greed and lust for power that shed her blood.
I am also a writer, and if you read my novels, my articles and my speeches, you will realise that I have always advocated human rights and have always paid a price for it.
I have always tried to live a truthful and honest life and have never betrayed my values.
I believe what I did in trying to save Neda and tell her story was the right thing to do. I believe, as my dear friend Paulo Coelho says, that god is the lord of the valiant. I believe that the truth shall set us free. I did everything according to my conscience and if I have to pay a price for it, so be it. But I have the right to defend my honour and dignity.
I swear by god who is my witness and I swear by my honour, that I told the truth and nothing but the truth about what I saw.
The Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran were founded on what Iranian people still stand for today. People relied on these beliefs when they fought against tyranny and then when they sacrificed so much blood to defend their country against the invasion of another tyrant, ruling Iraq with iron fist.
However, this lie undermines every other statement of this specific administration of Iran; this administration that has distorted the history of WWII, claims that freedom of press and speech is openly practised in Iran, claims that Iranian prisons hold no political prisoners, claims that there are no censorship practised on books, information, media and the press of Iran, and pretends that it respects civil rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom to protest and equal rights for Iranian citizens, regardless of their gender, race and religion.
In the past twenty days, the world has witnessed through the tearful eyes of the brave Iranians that all these claims have been nothing but lies. I am sure the world will not believe this new lie and will understand that a doctor, writer and publisher has done nothing but what his conscience has dictated, in rushing to help those who needed help, and telling the truth.
Neda was not the only person slain in Iran during this turmoil. Have all those people, innocently murdered, been victims of an international conspiracy? Why aren’t the murderers of the other victims being prosecuted? Or perhaps one should blame the recklessness and inefficiency of the uncontrolled armed militia who failed to wisely handle the legitimate protests of Iranian citizens towards injustice.
I am just a witness. Why prosecute a witness instead of prosecuting the murderer? Have not enough blood been already shed? Should I have remained silent against this gruesome crime, out of fear? Is this the message we are preaching for our next generations?
I believe that no decent global citizen will ever fail to support me and thousands of other Iranians who were beaten, imprisoned, prosecuted and slaughtered, only because they wanted to be a free nation and join the world in the path towards prosperity and justice and share their rich culture and their history of bravery.
I am proud to be part of this. I have done what every decent person would have done, and for that I am being threatened; just as all these martyrs did what every free soul would have done, and for that they were murdered; murdered by a dark hatred towards anything they stood for: freedom, truth, and justice.
July 2nd 2009