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Analysis and background on the people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran
CHAPTER 20/ An Army of Ants There was no way to escape the “sect”. Some, in spite of pressure, managed to keep a distance and they dare now to speak out. They are risking their lives. This is due to the PMOI’s very strong culture of death, which only further proves how aberrant its world has become. Liberation presents it this way: “The leadership of the People’s Mojahedin, the once Marxist organization which has lost its bearing and become a sect, has, also intensified the death wish of its militants. It could do this because the enforced military discipline is total. The rare party dissidents, those who have been able to escape, tell of the separation of husbands from wives, children from parents”. (191) These revelations are hardly helpful to the PMOI. For it to survive, it must constantly recruit new militants. As is their wont, when it is difficult to deny that there have been desertions from its ranks, the Mojahedin put the fault on . . .the dissidents themselves! They state: “The People ‘s Mojahedin Organisation is a living being. New individuals and groups are joining the organization every day while on other days some, for reusons that are unique and understandable given their personal behaviour, are sent away or leave voluntarily. These cases are the result of an inability to tolerate the d,jjIcult conditions of the struggle against the unprecedented religious Fascism, unknown in recent Iranian history “. (192) Let those- who having believed in and given their all for the PMOI, who came to feel that they had been betrayed and manipulated — beware. Their old friends call them supporters of Khomeini, collaborators, sellouts and spies, when they are not seen as compulsive liars and insane. Exiled in Norway, Hassan Khalaj experienced martyrdom before escaping the organization's claws: “The Mojahedin constantly talked about democracy, but in the camp I was in there was none. There were people who did not want to stay there. They were subjected to intense pressure and were even beaten. Morteza Yussefi, could not physically keep up with the training, was exhausted and wanted to stop. While he slept, he was beaten with clubs. There was a terrible atmosphere. 1 asked questions, but they only answered that I had no right to know the answers. This was the beginning of my rethinking of what I was living through. Whoever protested anything was called a spy for the regime. Since I continued to ask questions, they accused me of being an agent provocateur for the Iranian Secret Police. They tortured me and practiced sleep deprivation...” (193) Hassan, like all those who defected from the PMOI were publicly accused of being traitors. Victims of mudslinging, discredited, they were branded as “agents of the mullahs’ regime”. This was the limit, given that we know these targeted individuals having given their best to the organization were now being persecuted by their ex-comrades. The ultra-Left groups know the jargon well. They know how to use it to portray the executioner as the victim and to consign the real victim to infamy. As Francis Guilbert wrote about Cambodia, tragically crucified by the Khmers Rouges: “Through this journey to the heart of the Pol Pot system, we can see better how the Party ensured the docility of its personnel through increasing pressure on them, investigations and self criticism sessions . . . When he [the hero of Guilbert’s story] sees the torturers turn the situation in their own favour by portraying their victims as criminals, he rebels”. (194) In the thought of the People’s Mojahedin, these desertions were even more unacceptable since, according to them, there is no alternative to the PMOI. She or he who did not accept, body and soul, the truths as preached by Rajavi automatically had to be agents of the Teheran regime: “There is no fighting force competing with the Mojahedin on the Iranian political scene today... This has been true for many years. It is therefore clear that anyone in the Mojahedin who does not participate in the war of liberation against the mullahs launched by the Mojahedin must confess their inability to accept armed struggle against the mullahs. The first question such an individual must face is: what strategy is the most effective and what other political organization provides this option?... There is no other strategy and no other organization The armed resistance is the last recourse against the mullahs ‘regime after all the other means proved futile... [F]rom the political point of view, the individual who has left us must have a political alternative along lines which, unfortunately, are nonexistent”. (195) After them, the deluge, or rather the desert that awaits the so- called traitors. They have no present or past. This is, indeed, a very short term approach for an organization which claims that there is no salvation outside of itself. Its opponents — like the Fedais Organisation of the Iranian People - bluntly attack this way of seeing and thinking. This is especially so since they open the Gates of Hell: “Concerning democratic freedoms, the sect has not yet accepted any other current of thought or any other identity but its own. In its small world and its international relations, everything is in place to punish its opponents. Prison, torture, secret executions, and dozens of other violations are common and in regular use by them against their ideological opponents. At this end of the 2O” Century, this is a blot on all humanity”. (196) “The New Men” Before taking power in Teheran, it is necessary to recreate a new “man renewed by the revolution”. This is a mirage that all the most totalitarian regimes have made their main goal. From Hitler’s Nazis to Stalin’s Communists, they all put forward this illusion of the “new man”. For the PMOI, it is essential constantly to stimulate the bravery and fighting spirit of their members. While celebrating the Death Cult, they exult in sacrifice. Yet the People’s Is4ojahed11h used every opportunity to show possibly doubting militants what awaited them if they ever went back to Iran: “In their Baghdad Headquarters, the People’s Mojahedin have a private museum. It is a museum of death and sacrifice. On the walls, colour photographs show tortured bodies, some hanging from gallows or construction cranes. Behind the display windows are photos of hundreds of martyrs. To one side, things that belonged to the dead: a pendant, a pair of binoculars, eyeglasses, a handkerchief, a string of beads, poems, a goodbye letter in which the deceased declared that he never doubted the rightness of his struggle and even a Koran with a bullet hole. Upstairs, there is a Madame Tussaud’s museum of horror, with wax people tied to execution posts, frozen in the moment of terror before they were shot. In one picture, we can see the body of a woman —Ashraf, Massoud Rajavi’s first wife — killed in February 1982 during a siege of her house in Teheran”. (197) On the military front, they faced the Pasdaran, the Guardians of the Revolution. On the internal front, there is always the enemy within: the “coward” who is only waiting for a chance to leave the Rajavi couple. For this particular enemy, it was necessary to hunt him down in the movement’s ranks. Mao showed the way: “After the armed enemies are wiped out, there will still be... enemies; those who will not miss a chance to carry out a fight to the death with us. We must never underestimate them. If we do not see and do not understand the problem in this way by now, we will commit a very serious mistake”. (198) Why then be surprised if other exiled opposition groups, frightened by this form of paranoia, have taken their distance from the PMOI? Above all, they fight against their claim to represent the Iranian people. The Fedais Organisation of the Iranian People is among the most outspoken: “If the creation of this ‘Democratic’ Islamic Republic is based on current needs, namely the changes and developments in society, it should be emphasised that its democratic ‘club’ has been already used to put down its opponents and will be used again. What shall we believe? We think the Democratic’ Islamic Republic has no basis and is only a simple, false advertisement. It is as if someone claimed to be able to control the Earth’s movement around the Sun... Basing the analysis of the activities and the documents public- shed by this sect, and in the view of all supporters of freedom, a ‘Democratic Islamic Republic’ in Iran’s current situation can only make the dictatorship worse and increase the repression and massacre of our people: nothing more. For this sect, the need for liberty, democracy and the right of free assembly make no sense. In other words, the ‘knights’ who are betraying our country have, beginning a long time ago, abandoned the people”. (199) Having lost its way, without achieving its goals, the PMOI ended up becoming “something else”. Even if the initiative appears shocking, it is, in fact, a process of mutation widespread among leftist groups. History especially that of the Second World War, is full of examples of Socialist and Communist leaders who gave up their basic ideals and joined the totalitarian movements. If we only consider Jacques Doriot, one of the most prominent leaders of the French Communist Party during the early Thirties, the record shows that he became one of the most passionate supporters of collaboration with the Italian Fascists and then the Nazi occupiers. In the case of its transformation from a revolutionary combat group on the ultra Left, the People’s Mojahedin have become a sect serving the personality cult of a particular man and woman: “Rajavi, during his ‘cultural revolution’, liked repeating: ‘I will make new men; give me all you own, walk on my legs and speak with my tongue “. That revolution ran into growing resistance, especially after Massoud Rajavi married Maryam in 1985... About 600 militants left the movement in protest of the rule on ‘enforced divorce’. Rajavi had them arrested and many were imprisoned”. (200) A Strange Revolution The wind has shifted and events have gone on inside the PMOI to turn it into something very far from what it pretends to be in its hidden dialectics. Even the original founders would have trouble recognising an undertaking that only serves personal needs. Their old ideological friends need not be surprised since this type of group already contains the seeds of its own unorthodox changes. Even Mao justifies this evolution: “The circumstances are in perpetual change and, if our ideas are to adapt to new conditions, we must learn. Even those who know Marxism well and have a relatively strong proletarian stance must continue learning, taking in what is new and studying new problems”. (201) The Mojahedin went even further and the disciple has overtaken his Chinese Master: “Mani’s disappointment deepened when Rajavi started the ‘second ideological revolution’ in 1986. During this, he imposed a new organisation on the movement and a ‘new culture’ which were heavy burdens for the membership. ‘He dissolved the Central Committee and all its members became simple militants’. Then he started this strange innovation: obligatory divorce for members. He called marriage a ‘form of slavery’. Rapavi thought that family life weakened his people’s devotion to the organisation when they should be completely devoted to the movement and to himself’. (202) This could only set off strong feelings and anger. Yet, the equation is simple: bow your head and accept without discussion or leave! There was no place for the lukewarm. There had to be only the committed and the fanatics. Le Monde’s journalist, Mouna Naim, a major specialist on the issue, wrote: “Their leader, Maryam Rajavi, worshiped in the North Korean style, poses as the Revolutionary Woman and has already been proclaimed as the ‘future President of Iran’. They call themselves democrats, but former members who succeeded in getting out of their grasp, tell of an organisation within which an iron discipline is imposed and all dissent is severely punished”. (203) Everything was in place to demand the supreme sacrifice from everyone, as Jean-Pierre Perrin reported in Liberation: “The Passion, the cult of sacrifice pushed to its paroxysm, goes hand in hand with the god-like status given Maiyam, the Chief Warrior Goddess who commands the armed wing of the Mojahedin and has been named as ‘future President of Iran’. In the movement’s politico-religious gibberish, Massoud Rajavi’s wife is the incarnation of the perfect woman: the absolute role model. She is one who also consoles and comforts. When she appears, the militants shout, ‘Maryam, Sun of the Revolution, you will lead us to Teheran’. Her arrest was seen as sacrilege. That was why the militants made the supreme sacrifice”. (204) The circle is closed. ----------------------------------------------------------- 192.- “Democracy Betrayed”, op. cit. 193.- Hassan Khalaj: “On m’a persécuté parce queje posais trop de questions”, Interview by Author, Le Nouvelliste, 14 April 1999. 194.- “Genocide khmer une voix contre l’oubli”, on Rithy Panh’s film, “The Khmer Rouge Machine” in Alternatives Internationales, May-June 2003. 195.- “Democracy Betrayed”, op. cit. 196.- Kar, op cit. 197.- Jean-Pierre Perrin, Liberation, 19 June 2003. 198.- Mao Tse Tung, Report to the Second Plenum of the Central Committee elected by the VIlIll Party Congress, op. cit., volume IV. 199.- Kar, op cit. 200.- Ismail Zayer, op cit. 201.- “Speech to the National Conference of the Chinese Communist Party on Propaganda Word”, op. cit., 12 march 1957 202.- Ismail Zayer, op cit. 203.- “Une organisation bien structurée et efficace — D’anciens militants font état d’une discipline de fer” by Mouna Naim, Le Monde, 19 June 2003 204.- Jean-Pierre Perrin, op. cit.

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