Yesterday, it was July the 9th. On this day in 1999, the first, but certainly not the last, popular movement, in the history of Islamic regime took place. It is known as the Student Uprsing of 18th Tir, which shook the foundations of the 'Mullahtarian' dictatorship in Iran. Students were attacked, killed, and wounded and many of their leaders were arrested. It was the end of the Republic for the Islamic regime, while at the same time, the beginning of the new era Mullahtarianism - whose offspring is the phenomenon of Ahmadinejad. July the 9th 1999 testified for the end of the so called 'Reformist' movement, when Khatami threatened the students to discontinue their uprising or get the stick.
I was present at one incident of clash between the students and Ansar which occured on Enghelab Avenue. It was Monday, July 12. Earlier in the morning Khamenei had addressed Ansar- his fanatic followers- to remain calm, even if protesters had torn of his photos. But in fact he was giving them the 'code': "Do not remain calm! tear them off!". I recall at 5pm, around a thousand people were marching down from east to west of Enghelab Avenue, chanting anti-regime and anti-Khamenei slogans. Then the Ansar came. Bearded men in white shirts, armed with thick sticks, chains, batons and tear gases. Some were on motorbikes. First they warned the people to go away, using offensive language. But demonstrators defied them. Then Ansar attacked, beating people with their sticks and chains. It was a dreadful scene. I still have in mind every moment of that day and all the days between the 18th and 23th of Tir. They remind me of a deeply divided Iranian nation: peacful vs violent, fanatics vs moderates. What I saw in those few days taught me of the huge diversity among the nation I belong to.
The 18th of Tir is remembered since. But every year in a different way. This year I had the opportuinty to be here on its anniversary. I wanted to see if people still remember those unforgettable days. Those who did were reluctant to express it openly. Maybe they asked what is the point in remembering those days when those who perpetuated the atrocities of 18th of Tir are now celebrating their 'victory'? What is the use of remembering the 18th of Tir when the 3rd of Tir (July 24 the day of the second round of the election) is celebrated by the aggressors of that day and the rulers of today, while all this is happening in front of our eyes, the nation's eyes - a nation who has been silenced and drugged to forget its real history as it happened?
There may be enough reasons to forget 18th of Tir. But there are many more reasons to believe, to have hope, to see, to learn, to teach, to celebrate, and to remember. The next '18th of Tir' will not be created by 'us' who went on the streets or used our vote in 1997 to make our voice heard, but by those who will talk to this deaf regime differently. Let the regime be happy for the moment that it has silenced the people. But it is only silence before the storm.