In December we, Iranian refugees in Slovenia organized a demonstration to commemorate the victims of the violence during the latest antigovernment protests. We lighted candles on Congress Square and laid out banners, which told of the price for freedom in Iran – death. We have become the voice of our people who fought against the dictatorship regime. The regime that had forced us to flee if we were to stay alive.
Why did people in Iran take to the streets? They are tired of forty years of suffering under this government. There is no freedom in Iran. We must be careful what we say, what we think, how we dress, how we act. All the time there are regime spies, police or army lurking around and every mistake is strictly punished. In our own homeland we feel as if in prison. Politicians use our money to support terrorist organizations in other countries to boost their regional power, while the people live in poverty. The repression is even greater against women, who can not even think of walking the streets without a hijab. Girls who post on Instagram photos with their hair uncovered are sent to jail.
And this is why people went out on the streets. Because they want freedom. Students, workers, women, united against the tyranny of the government. 1500 lost their lives. Thousands are missing. Many are probably in torture chambers of Iranian prisons. Others are being pulled out of lakes and rivers, having been murdered and tossed. For a month the internet was cut across the country. So no one would learn about the horrors happening on the streets of Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz …
The media in the West stayed silent as well. That was why we organized our demonstration. Because no one else spoke out about the deaths of our people. We had to lend a voice to those who had fought on the streets of our cities. However, our demonstration as well went unreported in the media. As if the suffering of the Iranian people does not exist. Or as if no one wants to recognize it. We expected a response from European politicians, taking a stand about the events in Iran but no one uttered a word.
Do you know when the media did wake up? When Trump killed Soleimani. The second man of the Iranian regime. The one who had helped destroy our lives. The one who had been the reason why we are here today. Refugees in Europe. Suddenly Iran was all over the news. This is not fair. Soleimani was a terrorist under whose boot the whole nation had suffered. Why does he deserve attention and we do not? Why not the 1500 dead during the latest protests against him? Why not the countless tortured, imprisoned, humiliated?
Trump did not kill a man who was a symbol of Iran. Iran is us, the people – not our despised leaders.
Do not assume that we want America to fight for us for a democracy. We know this story and we do not believe it. We do not want to be the new Iraq. We alone want to win democracy. Without America. Without a foreign army and set up puppets.
What will happen? We do not know. Just like in America also in Iran there are crazy people with lots of weapons, therefore a real fear of a war. We do not want war. We do want nonetheless, the powers to shift in Iran. But under our terms.