by Mahmoud Hakamian
Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi has urged all Iranians to rush to the aid of the victims of a major deadly earthquake that hit Iran's western Kermanshah Province on November 12.
In a ceremony on November 20 with members of the main Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin (PMOI or MEK) in Tirana, Albania to mark the tragedy, Maryam Rajavi said: "We have gathered to commemorate our fellow countrymen and women who lost their lives in the earthquake that struck Kermanshah Province. We are here to express our sympathies with those injured and wounded in this terrible incident and the tens of thousands of families whose homes were ruined and destroyed."
Maryam Rajavi, who is President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which includes the MEK, further said: "We have gathered to condole those whose loved ones remained under the rubbles and there was no one to help despite their cries and appeals. Our hearts go to those who managed to bring out their children and relatives from under the debris, but no one was there to dress their wounds and save their lives."
Maryam Rajavi added: "On behalf of the Iranian Resistance, I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved and afflicted people of Kermanshah. I repeat, you are in our hearts, and we pray for you. To our sisters and brothers and to our children in Sarpol-e Zahab, Qasr-e Shirin, Salas-e Babajani, Ezgeleh, Kerend, Islamabad, Gilan-e Gharb, Ravansar, Javanrood, Paveh, Sahneh, Dalahou, Tazeh-abad, and Kermanshah, we extend our condolences and share in your grief and sorrow."
Rajavi recited the words of the great poet of Kurdistan, Mowlavi Kurd:
"My heart is again filled with sorrow.
"My soul is restless due to this separation.
"And my eyes are blurred by tears of sadness."
Rajavi further said: "May the injured get well soon upon the mercy of God and with the help of our compatriots from all across the country, especially the people of western Iran who have been deeply moved these days, and with the help of caring nurses and doctors. Everyone is deeply touched because this incident could have had much less casualties and far less damages. And our dear Kermanshah did not have to be drenched in so much blood and destruction. We know that these days, not only in Kermanshah but all over Iran, people are in tears and pain, especially because the cities and villages across the country saw their own insecurity and vulnerability, in the earthquake that hit Kermanshah. Everyone’s economic and social fate was before their eyes. So, we have gathered to once again repeat that in the ruins of repression, corruption, insecurity and poverty where the Velayat-e Faqih has nestled, the way out and the only way out is the overthrow of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship."
Rajavi added: "I would also like to extend my condolences to the sisters and brothers in the PMOI (MEK) and among supporters of the Iranian Resistance who have lost relatives in this earthquake. At this point, I would like to express my gratitude to my countrymen and women who rushed to the aid of the earthquake victims. At this moment, I believe that the majority of the people of Iran share in this gratefulness. They deeply and sincerely appreciate everyone and especially the young men and women who were not indifferent and despite their own need did not waste any time and did not fear the threats and intimidations of the Revolutionary Guards and security forces, and rushed to the aid of the victims amidst the tears, cries and screams, death and destruction."
In a further part of her speech Maryam Rajavi said: "The youths of Kermanshah indeed revived the memory of the national wrestling champion, Gholamreza Takhti, who rushed to the aid of the victims of the 1962 earthquake in Bo’ien Zahra with utmost humanity. You, too, do not spare any efforts to help the quake victims. Being a champion is caring for your destitute countrymen, and being someone on whom they can rely. In contrast to the mullahs’ regime, you can create solidarity among people."
Maryam Rajavi went on to say: "The earthquake in Kermanshah uncovered two very significant but contrasting realities; the extent of corruption and fraud within the ruling regime and the crisis it faces on the one hand, and on the other, the Iranian people’s spirit of unity and solidarity in countering the regime."
Rajavi said: "Every one saw the first thing the mullahs’ supreme leader did was to dispatch the commanders of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and Bassij to the affected areas, and anti-riot forces were deployed in the region at the first possible opportunity because they are convinced that if they do not keep the situation in check, the earthquake region would turn into a hotbed of protests."
Rajavi added: "Earthquakes and floods are natural disasters not limited to Iran. Some countries are struck by Tsunamis which cause much more extensive damages. In contrast to Iran where the mullahs are in power, the ruling governments in those countries mobilize all their forces to rescue the victims and not to suppress them. Furthermore, they have plans for dealing with the disaster and attending to the survivors. In Iran, however, as we saw in the earthquakes of northern provinces, Bam (southern Iran), and now, Kermanshah, even people rescued from under the rubbles die in the absence of care, or are abandoned without receiving any relief. So, earthquake is a disaster, but the post-earthquake situation is ten times worse."
Rajavi further said: "Indeed, in the face of such disasters, other countries reach out for help from other countries and international institutes. But why didn’t the mullahs ask for help from abroad? Because they do not want the world learn of their crimes. The mullahs even prevented the people of Kermanshah and neighboring provinces from going to the aid of earthquake victims."
Rajavi pointed out that "In some cities like Sanandaj, the places where people collected aid were demolished. The trucks carrying popular aid were stopped and confiscated to be later distributed in the name of the Revolutionary Guards and of course, large parts of them were stolen."
"In other parts, there were all sorts of discrimination at work against our Sunni compatriots, depriving them of the distributed aid. Indeed, the spirit of Islam, Shiites and their leaders, abhor such malignant manners. As I have repeatedly declared, today, genuine Shiites act in solidarity and brotherhood with Sunnis," Maryam Rajavi said. "Yes, this regime has been programmed for suppressing people not for aiding them."
"On the other hand, the damages and destruction caused by earthquake in Kermanshah could have been much more limited. And this is another example of the calamity the clerical regime brought about in the infrastructure of Iranian cities and villages, at their work and residential quarters, at schools and hospitals and in the technical and aid services. Rarely has any place in Iran remained immune from this catastrophe," Rajavi said. "Newly-built hospitals have crumbled in the quake stricken areas."
Maryam Rajavi pointed out: "It has been reported that a 15-million-dollar hospital built over 8 years totally crumbled in a matter of a few minutes.
The earthquake shook not only Kermanshah, but the whole country. It has created an atmosphere where some experts have expressed their untold stories. They have indicated that the regime builds towers on fault lines, devastates the gardens and destroys the environment."
She further said: As the Iranian Resistance Leader, Massoud Rajavi, once said, “When the country’s oil revenues are entirely plundered under the rule of Khomeini and his heirs, or are spent on wars and repression, it is very natural that the country’s economic and social foundations become feeble while there are no plans to forecast and prevent various natural disasters.”
Maryam Rajavi added: "Criminal plunder, pillage and repression to preserve the rule of an outdated and anti-nationalist regime have brought about a catastrophe which keeps surfacing one day in Bam, another day in the crumbling of the Plasco Building, the other days in the eruption of fire at the oil refinery and the collapse of a coal mine on its workers and engineers, and now in Kermanshah."
"One should ask the mullahs why is the Iranian people’s wealth which needs to be spent on their most basic needs, is squandered in this way? The mullahs spend tens of billions of dollars every year for the war in Syria, and for buttressing the Assad dictatorship. Khamenei pays for all the expenses of the ferocious Hashd-as Sha’abi in Iraq," Rajavi said.
She added: "Really, what happened to the 100 billion dollars unblocked for the regime by western governments after the sanctions were lifted? What did the people of Iran gain from doubling of the oil revenues in the past two years?"
Maryam Rajavi further said: "And why have they sent the Red Crescent to other countries to export fundamentalism instead of deploying it inside the country to serve their own people? According to the regime’s officials, the Iranian Red Crescent runs 26 relief centers in 19 Asian, African and Latin American countries."
"Why is this? Because repression and killing are inherent to the clerical regime and it does not do anything but corruption, crime, and regression," Rajavi said.
"This is the security Khamenei and his accomplice brag about every day as their honor and achievement. In reality, the whole country and the entire society is unsafe in the face of earthquakes, floods, and other environmental disasters. People are unsafe in the face the depravity and corruption fomented by the mullahs. They are unsafe in the face of fraudulent financial institutes who have looted people’s savings. And most importantly, they are defenseless in the face of repression, harassment, persecution by the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and a plethora of government agencies in charge of criminal suppression. Indeed, why has Iran turned into a big prison? Why are streets unsafe for youths and women? Why are all forms of freedom of expression suppressed? Why our people have to sell their kidneys out of impoverishment? Why do destitute mothers have to sell their unborn fetuses? Why are there so many homeless people who sleep in cardboard boxes and in graves? Why so many people are jobless, poor and homeless? Why so many arrests and executions? Why? Why? Why?"
"Nevertheless, in the midst of so much pain, suffering and destruction, all the people of Iran share a common thought and feeling that the rule of this regime and all its destruction will soon come to an end. They describe their feelings with the beautiful words of a poem that says:
I will build you again, my dear motherland, even if it costs my life
I’ll build pillars for your roof, even if I have to do so with my bones
I’ll smell your new flowers as your younger generations wish
And I’ll wash the blood from your face with my running tears"
Rajavi went on to say: "What I just recounted was just a small part of the calamity created in Iran by an ominous earthquake called the mullahs’ religious dictatorship. These days, however, another reality also surfaced and that was the solidarity and sympathy of people all across the society with the suffering people of Kermanshah."
"Even foreign journalists who visited the area, reported on the fact that much of the relief was privately provided by the people," Maryam Rajavi said.
"This sense of solidarity and devotion is truly commendable. The world saw that everyone even children do not spare any effort to help despite their own difficulties and hardships. And in this way, two of our brave Kurdish countrymen from Boukan and Dalahou died during the relief effort. Yes, if people take control of the affairs, they even give their own lives for each other."
"This incident is a reminder of the efforts of young supporters of the PMOI (MEK) and other combatant groups in the earthquake that hit Tabas in September 1978 before the Shah’s overthrow."
"What has taken place in the past week clearly shows the social readiness in Iran, the high spirit among people for resistance and struggle against the regime."
Maryam Rajavi said: "The cold season has already started particularly in western Iran. The victims of earthquake need more support. I would like to hereby urge all my compatriots to rush to the aid of the families who have lost their breadwinners, the children who have become orphaned, the parents who do not know how to provide for their hungry and sick children in the freezing cold. Yes, all of them need your assistance and relief."
"Let us not forget that in the earthquake of Bam, the policies of the clerical regime created a no less catastrophic disaster for the survivors. We should not let this bitter experience be repeated in Kermanshah and this is possible through solidarity shown by the general public."
Rajavi said: "This is something that we need not only for Kermanshah, but for all the country. In contrast to the clerical tyranny that foments discord, distrust, and indifference among people, we can change the society’s spirit by our solidarity."
Rajavi added: "Those who suffer from homelessness and insecurity and are anxious about their future, need their countrymen’s love and support to gain energy. In this way, the bonds among all members of a society are reinforced and a huge force of solidarity and sympathy in the Iranian society will enter the field to challenge the clerical regime."
Rajavi went on to say: "Our country must break the chains of poverty, repression and death. It must be free from destruction, instability and insecurity. Iran’s children must be saved. Iran’s villagers, deprived city dwellers, suppressed women and enchained youths, the country’s economy and commerce, schools, universities and sports, everything and everywhere, need to be saved and emancipated. The way to do it is the overthrow of the entire Velayat-e Faqih regime. Therefore, I urge all my compatriots to rise up and resist in unity and solidarity, to bring down the evil regime of the mullahs."
"God bless the people of Iran. Long live freedom," Maryam Rajavi added, as she summed up the ceremony alongside the MEK members in Tirana, Albania.