In that system you are superior when you are not yourself anymore, you forget everything and ask everything from the MKO’s leader. So, according the Mojahedin itself, regarding women social and historical restrictions they try less to forget their past and focus on the leader. In other words, they said that women in our society are generally dependent on their fathers or brothers, so they can easily divert this dependence to the leader.
Now, here’s Farangis Habibi’s interview with Massoud Banisadr, former member of the Mojahedin-e khalq organization:
Farangis Habibi: “Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel” in 516 pages, written by Massoud Banisadr and translated by Farhad Mahdavi, has been published by Khavaran Publications in Paris. This book was first published in English in the UK. In his book, Massoud Banisadr relates 20 years of his activities in the MKO, as a supporter, then a soldier and later a high-ranking member; activities that were accompanied by love, faithfulness, doubt, criticism, depression, anxiety and pain and finally led to his separation from the group. The book puts the reader at a crossroad, which is a passage for the history, culture, individual and mass psychology of a part of Iranians. Therefore, it’s a good document for study because it reveals author’s experience of different stages of living in the MKO and at the same time displays internal relations and affairs of the organization. That’s why one can see the details of a mechanism that may be working in many other people, in other places and other times.
Mr. Massoud Banisadr. Your book is full of notes and we have not enough time. Let’s start with one of the most shocking notes if you agree, and that’s the position of the individual in MKO’s internal relations. At one point, you have asserted that the organization said that you had to throw out our own legs and foots and walk with those of Maryam and Massoud Rajavi. What was the meaning of individual human being in the MKO?
Banisadr: what I should say is that how the MKO could turn an eastern mystical thought to a political one and apply it in a political organization. As our mystics believe in forgetting oneself and relying on their leaders, Mojahedin follow the same rule and force the people to cut relations with the outside world and focus their emotions and thoughts on the leader. In other words, they should forget their own foots and walk on those of leader. In the book, I wanted to show how this was done from the beginning of the movement and led to its height in MKO ideological revolutions and everybody were encouraged to forget their own personalities. They had to forget all their past and the final stage of the “ideological revolution” was called “divorcing oneself”. You had to forget everything of your life, even the moments you were proud of. Even, you had to criticize yourself for such moments. Even if one of your relatives was considered a “martyr” in the MKO, you had to have no feelings toward him. In other words, having any kind of relations in the MKO was banned. All relations passed through MKO leadership’s triangle.
Farangis Habibi: the other notable issue in your book, Mr. Massoud Banisadr, is the position of women in the MKO. Women, as you wrote, became superior human beings in a part of ideological revolutions. Are they superior human beings or are they tools?
Massoud Banisadr: this issue should be reviewed with MKO’s system of thought. In that system you are superior when you are not yourself anymore, you forget everything and ask everything from the MKO’s leader. So, according the Mojahedin itself, regarding women social and historical restrictions they try less to forget their past and focus on the leader. In other words, they said that women in our society are generally dependent on their fathers or brothers, so they can easily divert this dependence to the leader.
Farangis Habibi: Mr. Banisadr, in this book, you expressed your story without hatred towards anyone, and this is rare among the people who’ve had political experiences. Why?
Massoud Banisadr: I believe that I would be still in the MKO if I was able to hate. I mean one of the reasons I separated from the organization was this pressure that forced me to learn hatred and move on it. What took me toward the MKO was love; love towards people, country, advancement and people’s welfare. But I gradually understood that the issues are moving on hatred toward the regime in Iran and several other things instead of moving on love. The MKO had created a bipolar world. They were one, and the Iranian regime was the other and everybody had to choose one of these two poles. What caused me to leave the group was that I couldn’t base my evaluations on only love and hatred.
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