Saturday, October 10, 2009

Political Trials under the Shah and in Islamic Republic

The trial shown in the first footage below is that of Khosrow Golesorkhi, during a famous memorable political trial under the Shah which was shown on the state television back then. I think just about anyone of my generation remembers watching the trial on TV. Everyone at my school was talking about it the next day. Golesorkhi was accused of being a member of a Marxist group who had planned to kidnap and assassinate members of the royal family.

In the trial, seen in the first footage below, the accused are allowed to appear in their civilian clothes not in pyjamas and slippers in Islamic Republic 'trials'. Golesorkhi, starts his defence by reciting one of his poems. Reading his poem goes on for the first two minutes before this Marxist-Leninst poet recites a verse from the Koran, and follows by quoting statements from the Shiite saint figures like Imam Hussein and Imam Ali, calling them the great martyrs of the middle east's masses and the first socialists, more than 1400 years ago before capitalism ever existed.

Golesorkhi then quotes Marx and describes how similar Shiite Islam and Marxism are, and that he and his comrades were like Imam Hussein's small army of devotees who became martyrs in an unfair battle against the almighty Khalif, Yazid. Golesorkhi briefly mentions why he was arrested and that he was tortured while in prison before mocking the Shah's land reforms which distributed the land to the peasants from the landowners, saying all it did was made Iran into a consumer society and a super market for selling the overproduction of imperialist goods. The judge finally interrupts him and tells him, 'this is your last defence, you are allowed to defend the charges against yourself'. Golesorkhi refuses to end his TV political broadcast and says he has nothing to say to defend himself, he is there to represent and defend 'his' people only. Then asks the judge if he does not have the freedom to defend himself he will finish and sit down. The judge reminds him again that he is free to say whatever he wants but what Golesorkhi is saying has nothing to do with the charges against him. Golesorkhi had made up his mind and decided to sit down. His other comrade Daneshian is not seen in this footage but I remember his defence clearly too. Daneshian also went on with a political broadcast in which he named other international 'Liberation' movements which met with his approval, including the Basque Liberation Front. Again the same thing happens and he is reminded by the judge and the prosecutor that he is not there to perform a sermon but to defend himself against his charges.

The point I am making is not judging Golesorkhi and his comrades, but to compare the political trials under the Shah with those in the Islamic Republic. It is clear that they were not coerced to read a pre-written text and make confessions.

Below are footages of trials in the Islamic Republic more than three decades since Golesorkhi's trial under the Shah. These are ordinary citizens arrested during post election protests. They have not plotted to kidnap anyone or assassinate anyone, most have taken part in post election protests asking 'where is my vote?'. Some are just journalists and there is even a young French female student amongst them. They are not being tried, they are not given a chance to defend themselves, they are made to read out what they have been told to say. Comparing the political 'trials' in Iran today with that of Golesrokhi's more than 30 years ago, makes the Shah truly a saint compared with this lot in power in Iran now.


Hilda, said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Potkin, a fantastic read and comparison.
would have to share it.


René O'Deay said...

You think they are too brain-washed to get it?

Sohrab said...

I was born after the revolution, but having had a chance now to learn the history of the Pahlavi era, I can't help but view the poor Shah less as a brutal despot (which he was at times) than a tragic, ultimately graceful figure. He had more dignity in a fingernail than the entire IRI apparatus combined.

Namdar said...

It was a very good comparison Potkin. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Potkin,

My suggestion is to protest against all execution in Iran regardless of whomever or whichever entity these individuals belong to.Execution should be removed completely.