When I think of all that’s happened in the past few months, I can't sit still. One can no longer live a normal carefree life, continuously waiting for something to happen. There is a wave of excitement in everyone everywhere. Let me explain the things I’m thinking of. The things we should have done, but haven't, the things we’ve never done all of our lives, but have now, like fighting Basijis, the police and starting up fires in the streets to defend ourselves against the tear gas thrown at us. Of the lessons we learned in school and the ones we learned in the streets - unlike all the years in school, this time we all passed our exams with flying colors. If only for the experiences we gained that no-one knows of, for all the hopes and desires that are achievable, for all the plans that we now carry in our heads, for carving a beautiful future ahead and turning all the impossibles to possibles.
In the past few months, the students engaged in activities that not only the regime officials but the parents of the students and even the students themselves couldn't believe. The Internet was filtered so to show all that was happening they took every illegal alternative. They were given trouble for wearing trendy jeans,female students were given disciplinary warnings in the streets from home to school,... from their families, neighbours and school faculty, hearing vulgar profanities from Basijis. The students who were disgusted by the religion and Islamic theology courses and wished for the time to fly so they could fill it with more informative courses...day and night, both in and out of school, in the streets and alleys, were controlled by Basij.
Throughout the world when a government oppresses with backward medieval laws, security forces, spies and intelligence agents, students play a pivotal role in striking out against such control.With their presence at every protest they have created a crack in the giant repressor and activated other forces. Their voices are sharp and cutting. Their screams are full of rebellion. Wasn't it just a couple of years ago in a protest against rising fuel prices that people took to the streets and gas stations were set on fire by these same students? Wasn't it a few months ago when the workers of the sugar factory, Haft Tappeh, hand in hand with their children and partners, carried out a successful march and strike? Importance should be given to the role of students in these protests. In the past months you could see the male and female students in the thick of events everywhere you turned.
On an international level too, this vital role is apparent. In occupied Palestine these same adolescents and young students
opened al- Intifada fire on the most savage and ferocious regime in the region. Only a year ago that students’ flared up anger illuminated Greece. Many of these radical young people in the streets and alleys were school students in groups with the university students who were going to battle with the police forces. Most recently, in protesting discriminatory laws against immigrants, expensive education fees…and in France, there have been numerous uprisings in which the students were present without exception.
Let’s take another look at Iran. We can see that throughout the history of Iranian people's struggle since schools were standing, students have followed . History does not only consist of the pages in our books. We should pay careful attention to it. Just as in the late 40s and early 50s in many areas of the world, people deeply believed that they could build another world free of oppression and exploitation, destroy power and establish real governments of the people. In Iran too this was the conviction of school and university students and it rapidly grew. The presence of students at the burial of Gholamreza Takhti (the most famous wrestler in Iranian history, to date a symbol of chivalry and sportsmanship, who was found dead in his hotel room in 1968. The government announced a verdict of suicide but claims of murder for his political activities against the Shah endure.) and again in the struggle against the price surge of bus tickets, in Tehran is memorable Without the fierce impact of the students on days such as 13th of Aban 1357 (4 November 1978) the Shah's regime would never have fallen. In the following years of ‘57 to ‘60 (1978-1981), students played an important role in expanding the ranks of revolutionary organizations and spreading revolutionary awareness across the country.
Many were responsible for distributing revolutionary and progressive publications among people, to scatter all the dreams and desires they carried for change in society, to be informed and to inform others. With all the deficiencies present, extensive student organizations and institutions were formed. These organizations were very active in arranging parades and demonstrations.
After the revolution, with the command of a cultural revolution in universities, the struggles of school and university students tangled more than before and there was loss in almost every aspect. It was all about fighting a reactionary order. This order was about the study of Islam, the life of the Imams and clerics that had replaced idiotic courses about kings and their lives.Iranians' fake pride was supposed to turn from worshiping godlike kings to Mecca, the prophet and the 12 Shi’ite Imams. To replace the system's symbol from the Immortal Guard to the Revolutionary Guard. Students also had to decide whether they are with or against the regime.
In those years few students were pro-regime and most were against. During the month of Ordibehesht of 1357 (April-May 1978) when universities were attacked, many students helped the universities’ students and faculties to the point of losing their lives. A few years later, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prisons were full of students whose crimes were supporting certain political organizations or participation in the opposition movement. Many of them were executed in the1360s (1980s). In Kurdestan, after the revolution, schools turned into centers of Kurdish resistance against the central government. Schools became centers for organizing campaigns for people's struggles and protest marches.
All the above illustrates the active role of the students throughout different courses of time. It represents the zest of youth and energy that they bring to people's struggle. The students' movement has been an important and determining factor in the youth movement.
After the fall of the 1357 (1978) revolution, for a long time a suffocating and oppressed atmosphere lingeredin the country,until around 2nd of Khordad 1376 (June1997) when the desire to change, brought many of the students to the ballot boxes to vote for Khatami. They thought that their votes would bring the change they wanted. However, very soon disappointment ensued and on the 18th of Tir 1378 (18 July 1999) a rupture between students and the regime in the university dormitories prompted Khatami to be nicknamed "the Liar" among students. With this a lot of disappointment and shame as the majority of the votes for "the Liar" had come from students and the younger generation in general. Of course, this was the Islamic regime's new tactic to control and waste the direction of people's energy especially that of the youth.
In the past 10 years, there have been many ups and downs in Iranian society. Students have also changed since the 1388 (2009) election. Many of the voters were youth who thought that by voting, they could get rid of Ahmadinejad. Looking at it from this angle, things are similar to the 2nd of Khordad 1376 election (23 May 1997) but the differences are also evident. This time around, the students were not only active and full of energy as before but they were also fearless, fed up with the situation and now had more experience.
The voting this time was not because they knew Moussavi and Karubi well but purely to stop Ahmadinejad from getting elected again. This time they were again disgusted with the misuse of their votes and took to the streets. In a day of chaos, the first tear gas was dropped and the first bullet fired towards the people and students were among those killed, bloodied, broken and hurt.The Students’ cries were not any louder than others but for the opposition forces, their presence was hard and heavy. Supposedly, the generation that was educated in their system would be obedient and followers of the Islamic authorities and values but the extensive presence of the wilful students in the streets was the biggest defeat to these values and authorities.
Another generation has surfaced, knowing many secrets of the struggle of Khordad and the summer of 1388 (2009). Youth who at a blink, cry out, aim and organize themselves. They are no longer the defeated students of the 2nd of Khordad 1376 (1997 ). The electrical charge shines in their eyes. The chants and songs of change are on their lips. In their tightly closed fists are the cries of a crushed generation. They are waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for a moment. Waiting for a spark in a university, school, street, town square or park, and that is when these youths will turn the spark into a flame that will burn all aspects of oppression, lies and torture.
13th of Aban (4 November 4th) this year holds the key to all of these struggles.13th of Aban in Iran's history has diverse significance and each of the political forces present makes this date exceptional each day.Believers of oppressors Ahmadinejad and Moussavi and their followers want to introduce and attribute this day to the date Imam Khomeini was deported to Turkey in 1342 (1963) and the date pro-Imam students took over the American Embassy in 1358 (1979), and feed us these false values. The importance of the 13th of Aban is not down to their Imam's deportation in 1342, nor the take over of the American Embassy in1358. Our 13th of Aban involves none of these cunning games, the tricks that brought these to a society where our young have no future.
For our generation, what is memorable is 13th of Aban 1357 (4 November 1978). The day when school students in solidarity with other students shut the schools and headed to the universities, dragging their teachers with them in battle with the Shah's regime, until they were gunned down and bombarded with bullets. The red blood of the solidarity of the students on 13 Aban1357 has determined our direction towards13 Aban1388 (4 November 2009). A direction that reveals the hearts of the tyrants of force and deception. A direction that both Ahmadinejad’s camp and Moussavi's camp fear, and strive to block, again through force or deceit.
The color of our real path to liberation is red. The blood color of our solidarity should be the symbol of our determined and uncompromising struggle. We shall travel this path. This year, we will travel the distance. This year, we will scream this trail. This year we will carry a heavy load. We have struggled and fought many days alongside people, chanted slogans with students, cried with our hardworking fathers and mothers, built trenches with our friends, but this year on 13th of Aban, it is for us to host everyone else. We should write our red slogans on the walls. Yell, and invite people to fight back. Distribute our declarations and magazines to inform and elevate people's knowledge of the enemy and his cagey methods and to raise awareness of the true nature of the green wave. We still have no managers, office or organization. We have to build all of these. Once again, we will register our historical role on13th of Aban, but not in the name of the regime, and not in the name of Moussavi and the green wave!