At the early hours of Tuesday, 1st November 2011, while surfing the Internet, I came across a large number of breaking news posts amongst my friends and the online Iranian community.
The news was about the Iraqi battalions and police forces that were making preparations for yet another deadly attack on Camp Ashraf.
Camp Ashraf, which is home to 3400 Iranian dissidents, have previously come under two separate attacks, once in 2009 and more recently in April 2011. On both of these occasions, many lives were lost and hundreds were wounded. It is worth noting that the attacks took place, despite the USA's promise to keep each individual at Camp Ashraf safe and protect them from any potential harm that comes from the Iranian regime. This is because the residents of the camp are recognised as protected persons under the 4th Geneva Convention and voluntarily gave up all their weapons to the US army when Iraq was invaded, and Saddam's regime was overthrown.
The residents of the camp are members of the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), which is the main opposition group to the Iranian regime and have been standing up against the barbaric and inhumane acts of this corrupt government for over three decades. More than 120,000 of PMOI's members and supporters have been executed and thousands of others have spent some of the best years of their lives, inside some of Iran's worst prisons, and have come under serious physical and psychological torture.
It is hard to imagine or comprehend the sacrifice that these brave men and women have made for standing against injustice and fighting for the freedom of their country and its' people. There aren't many individuals that could give away so much of their own personal lives, in order to contribute to a humane and good cause such as the freedom of a nation. Therefore, their efforts are exceptionally applaudable.
Perhaps this is the main reason that despite being completely unarmed and defenceless, the Iranian regime continues to spend time and effort in killing the residents of Camp Ashraf. They know that you may be able to take someone's weapons from them, threaten them, degrade them, torture them, and even kill their loved ones in front of their eyes, but you can never separate them from their goals and determination of reaching those goals.
These men and women are awake and fully aware of the crimes that have taken place under the mullah's regime, and continuously expose this corrupt government by spreading the real news and information of what's happening inside Iran as well as bringing into light the cruel and inhumane acts that take place under the cover of "Islam".
What worries me personally, is the fact that the Iraqi government, that acts against the PMOI members at the behest of the Iranian regime, have given a deadline for the residents to leave Camp Ashraf.
This deadline, which is fast approaching, is at the end of 2011, and it has been stated over and over again, that when the time comes, the Iraqi regime will not hesitate to "remove" the residents of Camp Ashraf "by all means" possible. This deadline is undoubtedly unrealistic when one considers the complications that are involved with re-settling 3400 people. All efforts are being put in, around the clock, in order to receive the maximum help and assistance from responsible bodies such as the UN and the international community for the protection of Camp Ashraf's residents. Nonetheless, it is simply not enough.
The march of the Iraqi Battalions towards and inside the Camp Ashraf, is not merely a threat to the residents' lives. This is an act of intimidation and one, which the Iranian regime is far too familiar with. By creating an atmosphere where the residents are in constant fear of their lives, the Iranian regime psychologically tortures the defenceless residents of Camp Ashraf through the use of Iraqi forces. As if the 300 and more speakers placed around the camp, to blare out abusive and threatening words at the Ashrafians for over 21 months, is not enough to ensure an unsafe environment for the dissidents!
All evidence shows that the Iraqi and Iranian regimes are orchestrating another attack on the camp and its residents. If this does happen who will be held responsible? Will it be the Iranian regime who uses forces of violence and terrorism against anyone who opposes its dictatorship? Will it be the Iraqi regime that are the literal puppets in the hands of the mullahs and therefore have the same standards and values as them? Will it be the USA, which is legally and morally responsible for protecting these residents? Or perhaps the international community that are keeping silent for so long? Has the value of human life become so low that no-one in the position of power is stepping in to stop another massacre from happening?
Fortunately, this is not a situation with limited solutions available. A variety of actions can be taken immediately in order to save thousands of lives, but the key point is to do something now, not tomorrow and not at the end of 2011 when the Iraqi government have pledged to close down the camp!
History will not forget. The silence and ignorance of responsible bodies such as the UN and the USA, as well as the international community, will not go unnoticed and will be held responsible for the death of each individual that takes place in Camp Ashraf from now on. They will be the ones who have to answer "why?!" Why did they not act sooner? Why did they not provide the necessary protection of the residents when they were legally supposed to do so? And why do they stand back, look the other way and turn a blind eye, on a situation that they have the power to change?
The recent fall of yet another dictator in history, Muammar Gaddafi, is a solid proof that sooner or later, justice and freedom is given to those who fight for it. It is a basic human right, which regrettably people have to fight for, in the times that we are living in. I truly believe that Iranians, both inside and outside of Iran, will finally free themselves from the prevarication of the mullah's brutal and barbaric regime. It is inevitable, because freedom and democracy is their right, just like it was the right of the Egyptian and Libyan people to become free from the ruling of their dictators. When the day finally arrives, they will certainly remember who stood aside and let their Iranian patriots get killed, and who helped them in a time of suppression and desperate need.
Camp Ashraf and its residents are a symbol of freedom for many Iranians, young and old; and helping to save an Ashrafi's life, is recognising and respecting the value of a human's life, and understanding and accepting freedom as a god-given right to every man, woman and child on this planet.