Speech in 20th Anniversary of Women Against Pit Closures

In Solidarity with women against pit closures
Struggle against Islamic regime in Iran

In 1984, I was in an Islamic prison in Iran when I saw on TV miners fighting with police and their horses in the UK. The Islamic regime broadcasted the brutality of Thatcher’s regime in suppressing the miners’ movement so that people would see that it is not only the Islamic regime that crushes working class movements.

During the time that miners were fighting for their rights here in Britain, Iranian people were being attacked by an Islamic regime determined to prevent them battling for the rights that these same people had fought a revolution to achieve. I was arrested in 1982 with many others who refused to give up those rights. During my eight years of imprisonment, my cell mates included children of all ages. The Islamic regime secured its power in the 80s by killing thousands of my generation.

Iranians had felt the regime’s potential for violence six months before the Shah was toppled, when Islamic fundamentalists set a cinema alight and killed four hundred people for watching a film. Yet there was no worldwide media outcry then, nor after the genocides in Kurdistan villages by the Islamic regime of Iran a few months after it took power, nor with the mass killing of people during 1980-81, nor after the massacre of prisoners in 1988, nor during the 25 years of sexual apartheid in Iran, nor for the execution of a 16 year old girl for inappropriate behaviour two weeks ago, nor for raping girls before their execution to prevent them going to heaven, and not for all the brutality that Islamists did to people in Iran or other parts of Middle East. Only after 9/11 did Western governments address the brutality of which Islamists are capable, because now the victims are Westerners too, even though it is still the native people who are the main victims. Now the Western media is concerned with suicide bombers, many of whom are culled from a Islamists who were funded and trained by Western governments during the cold war. Rarely do we see on our TVs what is done to people born under Islamic regimes.

Never are we told of the working class without basic legal rights such as independent unions, or of the workers in Iran who are not paid their wages for a year. We don’t see the workers, women and university students’ movements that are fighting passionately, against Iran’s brutally repressive regime on a day by day, street by street basis. The media here fails to inform us that the most powerful secular movement against Islamist fundamentalism is in Iran. The regime may have defeated my generation, but the generation born and raised under the Islamic regime continue to fight against it, as Iranians have been doing for the last 25 years. It began as soon as the Islamist party took power in Iran, and became stronger with every new brutal law that the regime introduced. The regime was successful in enforcing the veil by throwing acid in the faces of women who would not wear it, and secured the veil with a law that punished with 74 lashes those who would not comply. Iranians experienced scenes that European people witnessed centuries ago: public hangings and amputations, the stoning to death of men and women.

The political theatre we watch here on our TV’s, with images of suicide bombings and the beheadings of Western hostages, is produced and played out by two groups of terrorists. Stage front are the Islamic fundamentalists, although we see only a small part of their brutality; the curtain is not fully open to show the whole scene. Invisible, playing behind the curtain, are the state terrorists of America and the UK.

While those playing behind the curtain have succeeded in frightening the world with the threat of Islamic terrorism, the core structure of Islamic fundamentalism is being shaken by the people’s struggle in Iran. We must recognise here that Muslim terrorists are no more representative of all people in the Middle East than fundamentalist Western governments are of all people in the West. To be effective, those in the West who are fighting state terrorism should recognize the secular movement in Iran that is fighting Islamic terrorism. Two rivers, now divided, these separate working class movements should join together to fight all kinds of terrorism, wherever and however it occurs.

Long live the fight for a better and safer world.