The Huffington Post, Canada, 10/06/2016 – The Canadian House of Commons is one of few parliaments in the world to have formally acknowledged and denounced one of the worst crimes against humanity in recent history.
In the summer of 1988, the still-fledgling Iranian theocracy initiated a crackdown on political dissent, partly to save face at the end of the humiliating eight-year Iran-Iraq War. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict ordering the death of any political prisoner who failed to demonstrate loyalty to the regime.
After a long series of ‘trials,’ some lasting as little as one moment, 30,000 men and women — mostly activists of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) — were executed.
Every Canadian citizen and policymaker can be proud that their country is ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing the emergence of new information about the Islamic Republic.
Over the course of several weeks, the mullahs’ agents hanged thousands of people with ruthless efficiency, killing not only adult men but also pregnant women and minors as young as 15. Active dissidents were hanged alongside people whose only crimes were reading opposition newspapers or expressing vague sympathy for the PMOI. The orgy of death in 1988 established patterns that continue on a smaller scale to the present day as Iran continues to execute people on the flimsiest pretenses, in such numbers that the Islamic Republic consistently ranks as the country with the highest rate of executions per capita.
The international community recognizes those statistics, but appears to attach little emotional weight to them. Knowledge of Tehran’s obsession with the death penalty does not necessarily translate to an understanding of the full extent of the regime’s brutality. Widespread ignorance about the 1988 massacre contributes to that lack of understanding. If more parliaments would adopt resolutions such as Canada’s, which ‘condemns the mass murder of political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988 as constituting crimes against humanity,’ then more populations would understand the severe peril that Iranian democrats and dissenters face daily.
Although it took Canada 25 years to acknowledge formally the #1988massacre and to express ongoing solidarity with Iranian political prisoners, every Canadian citizen and policymaker can be proud that their country is ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing the emergence of new information about the Islamic Republic.