[First published on December 27, 2004] We have been deluged in the news with pictures, stories, and descriptions of the disastrous lose of life from the earthquake and resulting Tsunami that struck nine nations in South and Southeast Asia. This is truly a disaster with the horrible death toll so far at 24,000 (link here). This deserves all the attention possible, and immediate international aid.
I wish not to lessen this human catastrophe, but I must point out an important and most curious discrimination. One would think that a human disaster of even bigger proportions, such as 30,000 killed would be as, if not more, newsworthy. And if some dictator murdered these 30,000, it is news that is even more important. It is true of our domestic news. Ten people dying in a highway crash is not as newsworthy, nor is it given as much attention, as ten people murdered in a short time by a serial murderer?
Well, then, how does one explain the incredible lack of interest in 30,000 Iranians being murdered by Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran in 10 days of 1988 (survivor’s report here)? Most authoritative on this, we have the memoirs of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. I will quote from Christina Lamb’s report, “Khomeini fatwa ‘led to killing of 30,000 in Iran’” (U.K. Telegraph, February 4, 2001):
CHILDREN as young as 13 were hanged from cranes, six at a time, in a barbaric two-month purge of Iran’s prisons on the direct orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, according to a new book by his former deputy.
More than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in the 1988 massacre – a far larger number than previously suspected. Secret documents smuggled out of Iran reveal that, because of the large numbers of necks to be broken, prisoners were loaded onto forklift trucks in groups of six and hanged from cranes in half-hourly intervals.
Gruesome details are contained in the memoirs of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, The Memoirs of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, one of the founders of the Islamic regime. He was once considered Khomeini’s anointed successor, but was deposed for his outspokenness, and is now under house arrest in the holy city of Qom.
Published privately last month after attempts by the regime to suppress it, the revelations have prompted demands from Iranian exiles for those involved to be tried for crimes against humanity. The most damning of the letters and documents published in the book is Khomeini’s fatwa decree calling for all Mojahedin (as opponents of the Iranian regime are known) to be killed.
Issued shortly after the end of the Iran-Iraq war in July 1988 and an incursion into western Iran by the Iranian resistance, the fatwa reads: “It is decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Monafeqin (Mojahedin) are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”
It goes on to entrust the decision to “death committees” — three-member panels consisting of an Islamic judge, a representative of the Ministry of Intelligence, and a state prosecutor. Prisoners were to be asked if they had changed loyalties and, if not, were to be executed. . . .
According to testimony from prison officials — including Kamal Afkhami Ardekani, who formerly worked at Evin prison — recently given to United Nations human rights rapporteurs: “They would line up prisoners in a 14-by-five-metre hall in the central office building and then ask simply one question, ‘What is your political affiliation?’ Those who said the Mojahedin would be hanged from cranes in position in the car park behind the building.”
He went on to describe how, every half an hour from 7.30am to 5pm, 33 people were lifted on three forklift trucks to six cranes, each of which had five or six ropes. He said: “The process went on and on without interruption.” In two weeks, 8,000 people were hanged. Similar carnage took place across the country.
News about this did get around, and it is available on the internet. But, it was backburner news, and one had to search for it. I doubt that it was reported by the major media, or as any front page or p.2 newspaper report. Now, compare flood of news on the current disaster killing at least 24,000 to that of 30,000 Iranians murdered in 10 days by order of one man — an even greater tidal wave of blood.
True, this awful, terrible, democide lacks the gruesome photos, the riveting video, the heart rending testimony of survivors, the chilling account of the disaster, but . . . isn’t there something that the murder of 30,000 human being had that the current disaster does not – humanitarian outrage over such stealing of human lives by one man — over such evil doing. What would the media have done about one American who strangled 30,000 people, one at a time, one per hour, per an eight-hour day, over 10.5 years it would take? I think it would even beat the Peterson case in the news.
Shame. Shame on the media for their inattention to such a horrible and important democide.