The Imam's speech to a group of students and Iranians residing abroad
Date: December 24, 1978 (AD) / Dey 3, 1357 (AHS) / Muharram 23, 1399 (AH(
Place: Neauphle-le-Chateau, Paris, France
Theme: Unity will bring victory and division defeat for the revolution
Occasion: The increase in the propaganda of some of the parties and personalities for the sake of group interests
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Two things cause me sorrow: one is that even with all this bloodshed which is taking place in Iran, such as that which took place in Mashhad and many other places where people have been killed and a great number injured - indeed only today there were clashes in some cities - even with all this, once again these governments, these exploitative governments, declare their support (for the Shah), and hitherto other governments, such as the Islamic governments, have not announced their support for the Iranian nation. Their people have done so, but up until the present time, none of these governments has expressed support for the people of Iran. It is truly a cause for regret that these governments introduce themselves as Islamic governments, yet throughout the one year or more that Iran has been dragged into bloodshed by the Shah's agents, they have not announced support for the nation, rather some of them have declared support for the government while others have announced support for the Shah! This is a source of great sorrow for us.
Something else which is regrettable, more so than that mentioned above, is that as the Shah and his supporters give many excuses and are willing to resort to anything in order to save themselves, unfortunately we see that some differences are created within the opposition, that is between the secular and the Islamic factions. I must point out that the origin of these parties which have appeared in Iran since the beginning of the constitutional revolution, as one understands it, is that they were, without themselves knowing it, founded by foreigners, and some of them have served the foreigners. I think it probable that in their own countries - and Britain was at that time the dominant power - they created parties in order to trap the backward countries and those countries which they wanted to exploit. The parties there were not two parties that truly opposed one another's views, one of them speaking for the government or the state while the other expressed a different view. But the parties were apparently created so that other countries would follow their example and adopt a similar system.
In our countries, and especially in Iran, from the time that parties came into being, it was the foreigners who turned any grouping of people into a party and made it the enemy of other parties. They created a battlefield between the parties. This they did because they wanted to capitalise on the nation's differences, on the differences which existed amongst the masses, and one of the ways to manifest these differences and stop the people from uniting together on a matter was to create parties. So they created parties, parties such as the `Democratic Party,' the `Masses (Tudeh) Party,' the `Justice (Edalat) Party' and goodness knows what else. Originally, they were known by different names, but gradually they were given European names! The foreigners have created a similar show of party rivalry in their own countries, but this is literally just a show, it has no basis in reality; however, in this way they ensnare other countries, so that when they create parties, they truly are parties which are hostile to one another. This party against that party, each the enemy of the other, their whole lives being wasted in animosity towards one another. When the foreigners see that there are people who are useful (for the country), people who, it is hoped, will be able to reform the country, they use all their energies to set them against each other; consequently, these people quarrel with one another, each one's writings oppose the other's, and they reject one another's ideas. Some of them have done such things knowingly and were the primary agents of the foreigners, while others were not aware of what was happening, were not aware that they were being dragged down a road which went against the interests of their own country.
Essentially, this party affair, from when it first came about, and this fighting and quarrelling with one another, appears to have been started by foreigners who wanted to stop the people from coming together. They are afraid of the masses coming together, and so in order to stop them from uniting and making common cause, they brought about this affair. In their own countries too, the foreigners put on a show of party rivalry so that, upon seeing that in the British parliament there is, for example, the Labour Party and whatever else, people in our countries would come to think it a good idea if they too had such things! However, these people think differently, these people who imitate the foreigners think differently, when they establish two parties, they in fact establish two opposing fronts, two enemy fronts! This one is the enemy of that one, that one of the other, while in the meantime, the foreigners capitalise on the situation! They deceive these countries of ours with the idea that a civilised country should necessarily have parties, so that we think we too should have parties. However, the parties that we create do nothing but spend their whole lives lambasting one another.
In my opinion, this is why parties were brought into being in the first place in Iran. Nowadays, these parties have adopted different forms, yet one sees that they are still hostile towards and oppose one another. I think it probable that a foreign hand is involved in this business. Only last night, a few people, who had come from somewhere to see me, complained that where they are the groupings all oppose one another. This one speaking badly of that one and vice versa. It is regrettable that you who are a community abroad, who are one of our country's sources of wealth abroad which Islam and your country should be able to use to their advantage, are here today quarrelling with one another when tomorrow, on your return to your country, you should be of use to it and make it flourish. Moreover, according to one of these people who came to see me, every person who comes from Iran is met by a group at the airport as soon as he lands, so that they can take him with them and indoctrinate him with their own ideas while turning him against those of other groups. Do you know what you are doing? Do you know what harm this kind of thing is doing to yourselves and your country? Don't you see how today in Iran when unity of purpose has come about it has shaken every throne, crown and superpower, how they are all at a loss as to what they should do? Do you see this? Do you not see how, now that the different groups in Iran have come closer together, now that the universities have come closer to the clerical establishment, the clerical establishment to the universities, and the bazaars have become at one with the universities and the clerical establishment - even though differences in some things still exist, which I will speak about later - now that unity of purpose has come about in Iran, it has shaken America and Russia and has made these ruffians within Iran itself flounce. These killings that this man perpetrates and the recourses that he resorts to all stem from the fact that he sees that the people have come together, and he is at a loss as to how to put an end to this union!
You must realise that these things you are doing you have got from the foreigners, you are being subservient to the foreigners and they are making you do such things so that this unity which has been found in Iran and which is possible between these groups abroad will be put to an end. For these groups abroad boast influential people and unity between them would be to the detriment of the foreigners. So they fell to making the groups based in Iran, and likewise those abroad, oppose one another in some way, and to creating some sort of opposition between those groups within Iran and those abroad. Don't you know that you are working to the advantage of others? Don't you realise this? Do you not know what kind of blow this opposition of yours today delivers to the Islamic movement in Iran, coming as it does when the country is in such a sensitive, life-or-death situation? If you merge these different fronts that you have, where ten of you, a hundred of you have joined together and have given yourself a name, if you put aside these names and come together under one name, being unanimous in your aims, then just as you see that Iran has shaken these superpowers, so too this power of yours will add to that in Iran and you will ruffle them even more.
They want to take advantage of you now, and that means setting you against one another. Who is he? He is from the National Front! Who's he? He's from the Freedom Movement! Who's he? He's from such and such a youth association! Who's he? He's from such and such a group! Different groups, numerous groups. Whoever you go to will refute the others. Each group is the enemy of the other. What is the meaning of such things amongst a people who together share a great, common aim which is to extirpate the roots of this oppression and foreshorten the hands of the superpowers from our land.
This present opposition of yours is getting stronger every day. In these past three months that I have been here, I have not been able to solve this problem, and I have become truly disappointed in you all. Do you not realise what a blow you are dealing Islam, what a blow you are dealing your country, and the service you are doing America, Russia or Britain? You do not have to carry their flags around on your shoulders to serve them, you are serving them by belittling yourselves so, by keeping yourselves from your activities so. All your energy is spent on disagreeing with one another, you are arguing with one another from morning till night. You should unite together against others, there will be plenty of time later on for you to go after your personal goals, if indeed, God forbid, you should have any. Why do you bring your personal goals into this affair? Why, in this an Islamic movement, do you have so many selfish desires which stop you from coming together? Put aside these carnal desires a little. This is something that I find very regrettable about you young people abroad, about all of you, not anyone in particular.
Something else that I find regrettable concerns affairs within the country. For many years now, we have gone to great pains to bring the universities closer to the mullahs, to the schools of the old sciences, and to the students of the old sciences, and to bring the bazaars closer to both of these. Indeed, the bazaars were already close to the clerical establishment in some aspects, but we brought them closer to the universities. We brought these different fronts closer together and always advised them to have unity of purpose so that they could achieve something. For were they each to become factions, one taking one side and the other another, this would first and foremost be of advantage to the foreigners. They see now that a union has come about in Iran and unity of all factions is probable, but the day that all factions become one will be the day the death knell is sounded for Russia, America and any country that hopes to interfere in your affairs, and it will also bring an end to this oppression and tyranny. Once they saw that this was happening, they again set to putting a wedge between these factions and between these fronts. Once again activities were started by the regime, the foreigners and their agents against the akhunds so that some of these groups began to say: "No, we only accept that person, he is the exception! The other `ulama we don't accept." This is the tune that they sometimes play. I have said from the beginning that if you exclude the akhund from your groups, you will not achieve anything, for the masses are with the akhunds, they are the objects in which Islam manifests itself, they are the expositors of the Qur'an, they are the objects in which the Most Noble Prophet manifests himself. This is how the people see them. The people are attached to their religion, they are attached to Islam, and the affection they have for Islam they also have for the `ulama of Islam. If you want to separate yourselves from the clerics and exclude them from your groups, then you will not achieve anything. The first tidal wave will knock you down and sweep you away.
Just as we have seen, the time when the clerics were not involved in such matters, you (different groups) were isolated from the people, you could not do anything. But when they entered the arena, the people followed them. The merchants in the bazaars are with them, the farmers, the artisans, the workers, all are with them. These people are all Muslims, and as such they love God, they love the Prophet of God, they love the Commander of the Faithful, and they see them as being personified in the clergy, for the clergy are the ones who propagate their words. The clergy spend their whole lives getting the commands of God, as well as the words and precepts of the Prophet of Islam and the Imams, across to the people. The people are going to follow someone who has spent seventy years of his life in this pursuit and whom they recognise for this reason. "We accept Mr. X but not the others" are words which they have put into your mouths. Foreign agents want to alienate you from your `ulama, and if they succeed, you will be one separate brigade and they another, and both will be destroyed. You oppose them, but you are only one group, and you must realise that without the akhunds you will get nowhere. Every city that you go to in the country you see that the person who has it in his hands, the one who can close it down or open it up is a mullah. You can put it to the test by looking at the period of these shutdowns. Could any of these groups close down the bazaar? It was the mullahs who closed it down, this happened on their command, it is on their command that bazaars shut up shop. And the mullah's success lies in the fact that they speak for God, they work for Islam and the people are attached to Islam. Drop this idea that you can exclude the akhunds, you cannot do without them. You want to reform your country, but you will not be able to do this without the help of the akhunds.
By the same token, if you akhunds think that you can reform the country without the help of the universities and the political fronts, then you are mistaken, for reform requires experts and you are Islamic experts, you know the rules of Islam but even you are not able to solve some of the political problems. So you need the other fronts too. You yourselves don't intend to govern, you have another occupation. You need a government, you need office workers, you need offices, a government, an army; all of these will be acquired through these fronts. It is through these universities, through these students at home and abroad that our country should be governed. If you are truly attached to Islam, if those other fronts are truly attached to Islam, then you are not showing it by fighting with one another today! To fight with one another today is the same as committing suicide. At the present time, it is suicidal to disagree. Perhaps you do not agree with what so-and-so is saying, but you should not create differences over it now.
We are all Muslims and we all wish to fight under the banner of Islam, we all want to take part in this struggle. God knows that if this union is created and all of you, along with all the fronts, come together under this banner and stop creating disunity, then after only a few days this affair will be over and done with. The regime and its supporters are presently taking advantage of such talk. On the day that, for example, a demonstration is held and two of their agents, or even two numskulls, come out shouting a different slogan, one which opposes that which twenty-odd million people are saying, this is wrong, this is a deviation, an aberration, it stems from ignorance and constitutes serving the foreigners, serving Carter.
Can't you see this? They want nothing more than for dissent to come between you and a tug-of-war to develop over membership in the different parties, one tugging people one way while the other tugs them the other. Stop this kind of talk. All of you enter the arena under one banner: the banner of Islam. We are nothing without Islam. The words of Islam have brought us together. Gather under the banner of monotheism. When everyone has gathered under the banner of monotheism, everything will be rectified.
It is regrettable that after the long years that we have struggled, that we have spoken out, preached and written on this matter, still a few uninformed people can be found, a few uninformed youths can be found who create misgivings by saying: "We accept that certain akhund, that certain sayyid, but we reject the others!" This is wrong. I accept them all, I am devoted to them, all of us must accept them. Or someone may say we don't accept the universities! Again this is wrong. We accept the universities, we accept the doctors, we accept the physicians, we accept the political factions. We should all come together today beneath one banner, the banner of "La ilaha illa'Llah."
The message that I would like to give you, one which, please God, will reach Iran and the other countries where our young people are, is this: gentlemen, stop this self-worship and this selfishness. "Say I do admonish you to do one thing, to rise up for God." Your uprising should be for God. If it is not, He will not assist you. Your uprising must be for God, not for satisfying your selfish desires by tugging people onto your side. All of you should come together. Come together for God and stop creating differences and distancing yourselves from one another with this idea that I belong to this party, he belongs to that one, or I am with this or that front. If you cannot stop doing this permanently, then for God's sake do it temporarily, for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the country, for the sake of anything that you hold sacred, so that this regime will be uprooted, so that this bullying, murderous regime which tramples all our rights underfoot will be removed, so that this criminal who is massacring the people will be removed. There will be plenty of opportunities later to sit down and argue amongst yourselves, but for today desist from doing this. Not that I am saying it is alright for you to fight amongst yourselves later, of course you should not do this at any time. But now the situation is very sensitive, it is one of life or death for the nation. You are responsible before God the Blessed and Exalted, you are responsible before the nation of Islam.
I ask God the Blessed and Exalted to grant everyone awareness. (The audience says amen). Lord guide all of us. (Amen). Lord guide us onto the straight, divine path. (Amen). May God keep you from harm. (Amen(.