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Ahmad Batebi, CyberDissidents.org's board member and Former Iranian political prisoner speaks at the Global Summit against Discrimination and Persecution: "Iran: Lessons from the 1979 Revolution" www.ngosummit.org. The transcript speech translated in English is following from the second minute:
... and offered it as a gift to the human civilization. A country whose various ethnicities and tribes Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Baloch, and Gilak are only among the very few of the many, many tribes and ethnicities that create that country. They have one dream, however, that they share, and that is the dream of freedom and justice and the consideration for human rights.
I am 33 years old and I have spent close to ten years in prison, since age 23. I was imprisoned at age 20 and put in prison because of my activities as a student. I spent 24 of those months in solitary confinement and then I was sentenced to execution. In those difficult days I had a dream, but my dream then is different from my dream today. The dark days in prison basically created the only dream which was the dream of death and only to be released from torture and interrogation. The interrogators would injure me and cut me and put salt on my wounds, and I have all the scars on my body still. They would put my head in the toilet. They would flog me and whip me. They would create fake executions. And I had to confess to my interrogators that, in fact, my activities were not in order to reach democracy and freedom. I had to confess that I was a traitor and I was forced to say that I had accepted money from western countries in order to act against the people of Iran. In that condition one's only dream is to die, and day after day, night after night, I dreamed of dying. But my destiny was not to die. And I was able to escape prison after 10 years and bring myself here.
Here, in the United States, I was able to join a human rights organization whose name is the Iranian Activists' Collective in Iran. And today, I work as a journalist and a human rights activist. I do no longer have the dream of death, but the dream of my people and myself, and I would like to share that with you.
Two years ago, before the Arab Spring began, this Spring sprang in Iran. Many of you are aware of the events following the 2009 presidential elections in Iran, and you were witness to scenes such as the landing of a bullet in the heart of a girl by the name of Neda Agha-Soltan in the streets of Tehran. Though the people of Iran joined the elections to vote with a heart full of hope, however, at that point, now, those people who were chosen by the people, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are in prison themselves, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in their place, a few streets over from us as we stand and sit here in New York. Mr. Ahmadinejad is here to supposedly represent the people of Iran in the United Nations. But what Iran? The same Iran that today is the second in the world following China in executions. An Iran where minors under 18 years of age and children are executed and they are number one in the world for that crime.
Iran which is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East. Iran where Muslims of the Sunni sect cannot and are not allowed to build their mosques. Iran where Bahais are thrown out of university for being Bahai and are not allowed to work. Their houses are destroyed by Shia fanatics who support the regime and burn their houses down, and their leaders are thrown in prison because they refuse to renounce their faith as Bahais. An Iran where Jews who for their love and interest of their synagogues and temples in Israel are charged with being traitors and spies and imprisoned. An Iran whose churches are shut down because of the Iranians who convert to Christianity. An Iran where the place of worship of dervishes and Sufis is destroyed by the regime. An Iran where gays are hanged. An Iran who helps and aids the leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, in suppressing and oppressing his people. An Iran that feeds terrorism and threatens the world with a nuclear war. But, dear friends, please know this: this is the Iranian regime, not the people of Iran.
And the Iranian people have absolutely nothing to do with the way the Iranian regime operates and the way they. In the summer of 2009, before the Arab Spring began in the region, the Iranian Green Movement for change began to take action in order to create change, and change its terrible conditions. Unfortunately however, then the Iranian Green movement needed the assistance and the attention of the world at large. We were ignored. When Iranian youths who needed to pass many, many filters in order to reach new technology. When the world media should have been echoing the voices of our people, who wanted justice. When European countries should have been more conscientious of refusing a little bit of their financial and economic advantage and pressured Iran for the issues of its human rights. Unfortunately nobody took this issue seriously and did nothing.
But today, I have all the confidence that the Iranian green movement is absolutely independently alive and moves its progressive aims for human rights, equality of men and women, the consideration and respect for various ethnicities and tribes and religious identities.
I have a dream. I want all the big governments around the world and people around the world to know: no dictatorial regime will change its tune by just talk and discussion and dialogue. No totalitarian regime could be negotiated with for it to change its mind and differ from its own interests. Therefore the establishment of democracy and the consideration for human rights in a country requires the world's commitment and seriousness form the world at large. I can confidently say that if the world community can wisely support the Iranian people, the Syrian people, the Afghan people, the Libyans and Yemenis and other countries who require democracy, the people of those countries themselves can change the attitudes and the behavior of their governments toward human rights, democracy, and progress. And after that, nobody will have to fear terrorism or the nuclear bomb.