POINT OF NO RETURN: Russian Revolution's Bloody Sunday and Iran's Black Friday


POINT OF NO RETURN: Russian Revolution's Bloody Sunday and Iran's Black Friday
by Darius Kadivar

Tomorrow and in the days to come, Egypt will befacing pivotal moments in it's struggle for democracy. As the Army pledges not to shoot on the people ( see BBC report). Revolutionary history may serve as a cautious reminder to all concerned not to give in to violent provocation be them those in power as well as those opposing them in the Streets. 




Jaleh Square Massacre (1979):


Black Friday is the name given to September 8, 1978 (17Shahrivar 1357 AP)and the shooting of protestors by security forces in Zhaleh (or Jaleh) Squarein Tehran, Iran. The deaths and the reaction to themhas been described as a pivotal event in the Iranian Revolution whenany "hope for compromise" between the protest movement and the Shah'sregime was extinguished


As protest against the Shah'srule mounted during the spring and summer of 1978, the Iranian Governmentdeclared martial law.On September 8 a huge demonstration was held in Tehran. According to theanti-government sources, the military of Iranused deadly force, including tanksand helicoptergunships, to break up the largely peaceful demonstrators. Oppositionand Western journalists reportedly claimed that the Iranian army massacredprotestors and left between 88 and several hundred killed. [2][3][4] The clerical leadership announced that "thousandshave been massacred by Zionist troops."[5]

The appearance of government brutality alienated much ofthe rest of the Iranian people as well as the Shah's allies abroad. Protestscontinued for another four months. A general strike in Octobershut down the petroleumindustry that was essential to the administration's survival, "sealing the Shah's fate".Support for the Shah, in Iran and abroad,dissolved clearing the way for the Iranian Revolution, led byAyatollah Khomeini, which saw the abolition of the monarchy less than a yearlater.

After the revolution

After the revolution official accounts dealing with the history wrote of "15,000 dead and wounded" on that day and the square's name was changed to the Square ofMartyrs (Maidan-e Shohada). However thenon-Persian-speaking troops were later reported to have been Iranian ethnic Kurds, not Israelis, who had been fired on by snipers. According to Emad al-Din Baghi, a former researcher at the Martyrs Foundation (Bonyad Shahid, which compensates families of victims) hired"to make sense of the data" on those killed fighting the Shah'sregime, 64 killed were killed in Jaleh Square on Black Friday, among them two females – one woman and a young girl. On the same day in other parts of thecapital a total of 24 people died in clashes with martial law forces, amongthem one female. Another source puts the Martyrs Foundationtabulation of dead at 84 during that day.



Atthe beginning of the 20th century the Russian industrial employee worked onaverage an 11 hour day (10 hours on Saturday). Conditions in the factories were extremely harsh and little concern was shown for the workers' health and safety. Attempts by workers to form trade unions were resisted by the factory owners and in 1903, a priest, Father George Gapon, formed the Assembly of Russian Workers. Within a year it had over 9,000 members.

1904 was a bad year for Russian workers. Prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 per cent. When four members of the Assembly of Russian Workers were dismissed at the Putilov Iron Works, Gapon called for industrial action. Over the next few days over 110,000 workers in St.Petersburg went out on strike.

Inan attempt to settle the dispute, George Gapon decided to make a personal appealto Nicholas II. He drew up a petition outlining the workers' sufferings and demands. This included calling for a reduction inthe working day to eight hours, an increase in wages and an improvement in working conditions. Gapon also called for the establishment of universal suffrage and an end to the Russo-Japanese War.

Over150,000 people signed the petition and on 22nd January, 1905, Gapon led a large procession of workers to the Winter Palace in order to present the petition to Nicholas II. When the procession of workers reached theWinter Palace it was attacked by the police and the Cossacks. Over 100 workers were killed and some 300 wounded. The incident, known as Bloody Sunday,signalled the start of the 1905 Revolution.


Russian Revolution’s Bloody Sunday depicted in the Movie Nicholas and Alexandra:
(NOTE: To watch Double Click Here )

Bloody Sunday the Tzar asks Why wasn't I told From the movie Nicholas and Alexandra :

(NOTE: To watch Double Click Here )





InJune, 1905, sailors on the Potemkin battleship, protested against the serving of rotten meat. The captain ordered that the ring leaders to be shot.The firing-squad refused to carry out the order and joined with the rest of thecrew in throwing the officers overboard. The Potemkin Mutiny spread to other units in thearmy and navy.

Odessa Massacre at the Steps of Odessa entered the Revolutionary Iconography in Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin(1925):

Themost celebrated scene in the film is the massacre of civilians on the Odessa Steps (also knownas the Primorsky or Potemkin Stairs).In this scene, the Tsar'sCossacks in their white summer tunics march down a seemingly endless flight of steps in a rhythmic,machine-like fashion firing volleys into a crowd. The victims include thefamily of an old woman wearing Pince-nez,a young boy with his mother, a young ex-Tsarist officer, and a youngschoolgirl. Other victims are a man with curly hair and glasses and a motherwho is pushing a baby in a baby carriage. As she falls to the ground, dying, she leans against the carriage, nudging it away; it rolls down the steps amidstthe fleeing crowd.

The massacre on the steps never took place, presumably inserted by Eisensteinfor dramatic effect and to demonise the Imperial regime. It is, however, basedon the fact that there were widespread demonstrations in the area, sparked offby the arrival of the Potemkin in Odessa Harbour, and both The Times of Londonand the resident British Consul reported that troops fired on the crowds withaccompanying loss of life (the actual number of casualties is unrecorded). Roger Ebert writes,"That there was, in fact, no czarist massacre on the Odessa Steps scarcelydiminishes the power of the scene ... It is ironic that [Eisenstein] didit so well that today, the bloodshed on the Odessa steps is often referred toas if it really happened."

Dr. Zhivago - The Private Life is Dead :

(NOTE: To watch Double Click Here )


Revolution according to Boris Pasternak :


Turning Points in History - Russian Revolution :

Related Blogs:

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: IRI's Reign of Terror Begins (BBC Report 1979)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Man Chased by Anti Shah Protestors During Shah's US Visit (1977) 

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE:Chemical Weapons Attack On Kurds (1988)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: First Assassination Attempt on Shapour Bakhtiar (1980)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE:US Shoots Down Civilian Iran Air Flight 655 (1988)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE:Iraq Chemical Weapons used against Iran (1984)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: MKO Highjack Boeing 747 with 200 hostages (1983)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Vendetta Against Anglican Bishop in Iran (1980)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Man Arrested For Being a SAVAK Agent (1979)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Shah's Generals Executed and Imperial Army Disintegrated (1979)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Manoucher AZEMOUN at Revolutionary court (1979)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Amir Abbas Entezam Chained to Hospital Bed (1990's)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Hadi Ghaffari executioner of Amir Abbas Hoveyda (1979)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Pulitzer Prize Photo of Rebels Executed by Iran's Revolutionaries (1979)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Shah of Iran wounded after Assassination Attempt (1949)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Rafsanjani speaks to Press from Hospital (1980)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Ahmad Kasravi and secretary assassinated (1946)

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Prince Shahryar Shafiq (1945-1979)



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