Leaving Islam



Iran: Bam Earthquake Genocide January 


 by Dariush Shirazi

His eyes struggle to open though they are flooded by darkness. Where am I?

Terror and pain consume the boy as his 4-year-old chest struggles for each breath of air. Layers of crumbled earth and stone wrap the young boy so tightly that his twisted body can only muster a few tears and a whimper so faint that it is impossible to hear. He is confused, scared and cold.  

What has happened? He struggles for each breath, unaware that he isn't alone under the fallen city, unaware that thousands of others are still breathing, still crying, and still waiting... But, waiting for what? 

Another disaster had hit Iran, a country plagued by decades of sadness, despair and dwindling hope. In this moment of Iranian tragedy, the people of the world answered almost immediately and in a most remarkably apolitical manner. Some countries sent tents; others sent food, medical supplies, and water. The United States offered support in the form of tents, medical supplies, medical personnel, food, and a wealth of additional amenities and support. Interestingly, the US and Israel, two countries hated and labeled by the Mullahs as "Satans", made some of the most noble offerings. Their offers transcended politics for the sake of humanity, answering the cry of one human with the hand of another. But, as the world mobilized rescue teams and prepared other offerings to the Iranian people, the regime of clerics in Tehran had already begun to strategize about ways in which they could use this disaster to their own advantage. How would they protect themselves against possible uprisings against their regime? How would they manage this crisis for the sake of their longevity, while neglecting to consider the time-sensitive nature of this disaster and the thousands still alive and buried under the rubble of Bam? Would they accept aid from the United States? Yes, they decided they would have to accept some aid from the "Great Satan". 

The clerics decided it would be in the regime's strategic best interest to accept this offer. Turning away American aid would not only politicize a humanitarian issue, but could also result in increased internal anger and hatred toward the regime by Iranians who are on the verge of overthrowing the unelected clerics. Not to mention that turning down American aid would perhaps result in condemnation from other world governments, who, blinded by the golden oil that flows into their countries on a daily basis, would rather continue aiding and abetting these killers, while the Iranian people suffer. Israel, who almost immediately had rescue teams ready for deployment, and could have had their advanced teams in Bam within hours was refused by the clerical regime, not to mention professional American search and rescue teams based in Los Angeles who were also denied entry. While Bam residents were struggling to hold onto their lives, the Islamic regime was playing the dirtiest and deadliest game of politics by turning away the most important offers of aid... aid that could have saved thousands. 

Earthquakes in this part of the world are by no means anomalies, as there are small tremors in Iran almost daily. In light of Iran's earthquake history, one would think that only a small percentage of the billions upon billions of dollars that continue to flow from the hands of various European nations into the hands of the clerical regime would be sufficient to fund a vast search and rescue infrastructure that could respond to an earthquake disaster within an hour or two of such an incident. One would think that the European foreign ministers who visited Tehran in October of last year, would at least have had some respect for the Iranian people, and could have requested that at least some of the billions of dollars, which Europeans regularly pay to the mullahs in exchange for automobile fuel, would be used to reinforce and strengthen the Iranian infrastructure. Of course, one would only think these things if and only if they were anyone but the Mullahs in Iran and the various world leaders who are employing every last ditch effort to keep their ally from being overthrown by an overwhelmingly popular democratic Iranian movement. Don't be misled, the money is put to use. This blood money is invested by the regime into each and every mechanism of suppression one could possibly imagine. The reaction time of the regime's outsourced vigilantes and mercenaries to Iranian uprisings is never more than a few minutes to an hour, though the response of the regime to thousands upon thousands of suffering Iranians was nonexistent. 

Why, in 1979, did the regime support a racketeering scheme that entailed seizing large chunks of land in Bam that would be used to build poorly designed and badly constructed houses and shops, subsequently issuing fatwas (religious opinions) that canceled government orders that banned such development in the earthquake-prone city? Why did the clerical regime wait several hours and in many cases days before allowing offerings of aid to reach the victims? Why did such "leaders" who profess to speak the word of God prevent highly trained Israeli and American search and rescue teams from saving the lives of countless Iranians? Why did the regime order that tens of thousands of Iranians from various cities who had gathered tents and other amenities for their compatriots in Bam be turned away? Why do many world governments continue to shut their eyes to all the suffering and continue supplying indirect aid to this tyranny? 

This was not simply a disaster caused by a tragic earthquake. This was genocide.

As the days passed, some Iranians were pulled alive from the ruins, not by the rescue teams who had been denied entry, but by the few family members who had survived. They suffered together. The little ones held on the longest, not knowing where they were, what had happened, or why. Soon, the suffocating dust and pressure from all around became too much to withstand. One by one the lights under Bam went out. Now even the youngest of Iranians have experienced the wrath of a regime that has murdered, tortured and raped hundreds of thousands of innocents. 

In the name of all who have suffered, died and currently endure in the struggle for freedom, now is the time to rise and be most vigilant.  

From Tehran, to Paris, to Los Angeles and back, let our voices be heard and let there be little mercy shown to the tyrants who have only known the path of death and destruction. Demand that your government answer the cries of the Iranian people immediately. Not by supporting the so-called "reformers" who are nothing more than a regime-sponsored facade, meant to create the perception of bipolarity and the existence of some option other than regime-change. Demand that the clerical regime hold a free-referendum so that the Iranian people may freely choose the fate of the butchers. The war on terror goes on and will never be won until such regimes are no more. 

Victory is near! If you support the Iranian people in their struggle to be free and demand that the regime in Iran be investigated for crimes against humanity as well as genocide in Bam, then please sign the following petition:


Dariush Shirazi is a pseudonym of an Iranian-American university student and Los Angeles-based freelance journalist.  

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