Of all the crimes the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed, the mass executions of 1988 continue to be the most revealing of the regime’s contempt and fear of political dissidents in Iran. Many of the thousands of people who were nightly executed during those short few months in Tehran have been buried in an old non-Muslim cemetery, named Khavaran.
Horrific eyewitness details of the discovery of mass graves at the site brought attention to Khavaran. Victims’ families gather there regularly to remember their lives and savage executions and burials in mass graves. The Iranian government has regularly disrupted gatherings at the site and has attempted to destroy evidence of the mass graves under pretenses of building a park in its place several times, each time unsuccessfully. International human rights organizations have repeatedly asked the Iranian government to allow forensic investigation of the graveyard to determine the number of people buried there. Though of the 5,000 to 10,000 prisoners believed to have been murdered during what is referred to as “Prison Massacre of 1988” as many as 5,000 are believed to have been buried at Khavaran, a former Ministry of Information top official, Reza Malek, has recently provided testimony to the much higher number of 33,700 executions, many of whom are buried in 170 to 190 mass graves at Khavaran.
The recent demolition of any signs and markings left by victims’ families about their loved one’s burial at the site, and its replacement with fresh dirt and planted trees has intensified general concern that IRI is working hard to move and destroy evidence of the graves. Really, if murdering all those people was a good and justified thing, why the insistence on destroying evidence of it? If and when an investigation is launched into the executions, couldn’t the Iranian government provide a convincing case about why all those men and women deserved to die? The answer must be resounding no.
It’s true. They can capture dissidents, imprison and torture them, keep them in detention past their sentences, and execute them en masse, carrying their bodies in trucks to a remote location and bury them together, harass their family members and keep them from memorializing their loved ones, and after 21 years attempt to cover up the cemetery to remove all signs that those people ever existed and this crime ever happened. But what would they do with history?
What would they do with the message that bunch of bones has been sending humanity for the past 21 years and for ever to come? How will they silence the dead?
Photo from here: http://www.khavaran.com/HTMLs/AKsXAVARAN020905.html
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