Paying our debt to the martyrs of 1988 and achieving more goals


Another summer is on its way and reminds us of the massacre of thousands of people who died based the Khomeini's fatwa in the summer of 1988. As these executions took place on different days and months, political and human rights activists have held their commemoration of the massacres separately and on different days. Our essays writing on these massacres, the greatest crimes of the Islamic regime, have also begun! Let us challenge each other to find another way to achieve better results to pay a little of our debt to these martyrs and other victims of the Islamic regime in Iran. As discussed in this note, this will enable us to achieve more goals.

In commemoration of those who have lost their lives, it does not matter to which group they belonged and their ideology and profession. The important thing is that these people died only because of their opposition to the crimes of a brutal regime.

Together and harmoniously, we could and still can create the conditions for these crimes to be one of the determining factors in the non-recognition of the Islamic regime by the global interest-driven powers.

That was why, many years ago, in evaluating these gatherings, our attention in the MEHR group turned to the fact that it is necessary to draw the attention of the world's freedom fighters to these crimes, and finally use it to show more clearly the nature of the criminal regime in Iran. The goal was to designate a specific day as the day of the massacre, a day when all individuals and groups that will not forget these crimes will hold gatherings in their countries of residence.

To achieve this, as far as our resources allowed, we contacted many individuals and groups via e-mails, letters, radio, and television calls. We asked them to share their thoughts and suggestions on this issue with us. We also explained clearly that this does not contradict the days when they usually hold their remembrance. We indicated that what would distinguish this day is that observing it jointly on a specific day would ultimately make it much more visible and effective. Our suggestion was that to cover all the killings, September 1, the end of summer, could be a good day. I am afraid we received no offer!

However, we continued our efforts. To make this day universally recognized, we tried to persuade Amnesty International to declare September 1 as the International Day of Remembrance for Political and Ideological Victims. As a first step, we drafted a resolution on this and presented it at the Amnesty International Conference in Seattle, USA. The resolution was adopted on April 19, 2002 [1].

As a result of many follow-ups with Amnesty International, it finally adopted the proposal under Resolution P5 on April 4, 2003, in Pittsburgh. At the end of the resolution, it is stated that September 1 would be declared a universal day if other human rights organizations agreed with the proposed date [2]

Unfortunately, except for the MEHR group, all other Iranian groups and organizations ignored this day and continued to hold small gatherings here and there among Iranians. Due to this lack of attention, Amnesty stopped pursuing the process, and despite our many protests, we missed this exceptional opportunity.

Fortunately, as stated in other writings, Amnesty International, because of Raisi's leading role in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988, has begun serious and official actions against Ebrahim Raisi to investigate his crimes against humanity [3], [4].

 The amnesty initiation encouraged us to try again for the recognition of September 1 as the International Day for the massacre and human rights violations. The election of the new Board of Directors of Amnesty, which will take place soon on July 9, was an excellent opportunity for me to ask the views of the seven running candidates on this issue and that how willing they are to reactivate the process. So far, two of the candidates have sent me favorable responses:

 1- Prof. Barbara C. Sproul's response

 "I forwarded your inquiry to Amnesty board and staff members expert in Iranian human rights issues, and our chair, Reza Fakhari, pointed out that Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard called Raisi's victory "a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran." AI's attention is certainly on the matter, and I shall inquire why your resolution wasn't acted upon."

2- Mrs. Penelope Halkiadakis' response

"I think this is a great opportunity to host you and the original resolution writers at a Board meeting to discuss this issue further. At this meeting, you would be able to present your specific asks, such as what human rights issues you believe we should focus on, and how these may align with the next national AIUSA strategy. Depending on the outcome and the interest of other Board members, there is an opportunity this could become a working group in which you, Country Specialists, staff, and other relevant stakeholders work together to design a campaign."

The attention of these two candidates made it much easier for whom to vote!

I hope that other people have also taken advantage of this situation, gained the right to vote, and reflect their opinions in conferences and meetings by joining Amnesty International. The Amnesty International Board member election results will be announced at an online discussion via Zoom on July 14. People who are members of the organization can participate in this conference.

 Recognizing September 1 as an international day to commemorate the victims of political violence and our all-encompassing and united reflection can have very positive results. The support of international organizations in recognizing this day and their legal action to investigate Raisi's role in these massacres and other cases will be a very influential factor for us to take advantage of. We can use it to pressure politicians to seek a foreign policy that makes the top of human rights violations in Iran a condition for their relations with the Islamic regime. Releasing all political prisoners would be the first step.

Of course, since the Islamic regime will never accept this condition and applying it would result in ending the relations of the profiteering states with this regime, the possibility of its realization may be slight.

However, what will undoubtedly happen is that our united efforts, together with international organizations and the support of informed people, will minimize making deals and assistance with this regime. Most importantly, this visible universal demand will empower Iranian activists in organizing people for the disobedience movement.

I urge all organizations, groups, and libertarians to pay positive attention to this issue and inform us of their agreement to take action to recognize the International Day for the Massacre of Political Prisoners. We can discuss the details of organized efforts in a meeting through zoom.

This goal is not possible except with our cooperation and unity of action. Even if a day is internationally recognized, it will not work if we do not exploit it in an organized way.

Please share your thoughts with me and involve those you know in this work as much as you can.

We hope for the days when our writings are just reports of our activities and achievements and efforts to utilize new approaches.



1. Request for Commemoration Day for the Political Prisoners Massacred By their

    Governments Sponsored by Pari Emam (MEHR Iran) at AI Southern Region Annual Meeting,

    Group 663, April 19, 2002


2. Request for Commemoration Day for the Political Prisoners Massacred By  their Governments

    Resolution P-5 (Adoption of the resolution proposed by MEHR at AI Southern Region)  April 4,

    2003 Pittsburg

3. Ebrahim Raisi must be investigated for crimes against humanity

 4. Presidency of Ebrahim Raisi a Grim Reminder of the Crisis of Impunity

M. Parvin, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor at the California State University, and Founding Director of the

Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR)

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