THE WIP – By Asefeh Immami September 15, 2011
Secretary Hillary Clinton! Who’s to be held accountable for the death of my brother who was killed by Iraqi forces when they raided Ashraf in July 2009?
Are you aware that we, in Camp Ashraf, are paying the price for the “goodwill gesture” the State Department made to the mullahs in labeling the MeK? We are paying the price with our bodies and souls, with the pierced hearts and blood soaked bodies of our beloved!
Can you even begin to imagine how my heart was scarred when I stood before the dead body of my beloved brother and 46 other friends in Camp Ashraf?
They had all trusted the U.S. government and had relinquished their weapons, as part of an effort to ‘secure’ Iraq, and were hence rendered defenseless before the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq – hoping that in return the U.S. would remain committed to protecting them. Indeed my heart has been scarred; a deep scar, as deep and as painful as the lessons learned in history, to be sadly enough, repeated again when justice is compromised time and again for meager political gains. As the beacon of hope for a nation yearning for freedom, what is the crime of the Iranian people’s resistance and residents of Ashraf? Is it not the simple fact that they have persisted in their struggle for freedom and for having their sacrificed everything?
Ever since the responsibility for our security was handed over by the U.S. government in 2009, we, the 3,400 Iranian dissidents residing in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, including 1000 women, have consistently been subjected to acts of aggression, non-stop psychological torture, a comprehensive and inhumane siege, violence and murder at the hand of the Iraqi government. Iraqi forces have injured more than a third of the residents. Injuries that have yet to heal in light of hindrances by the Iraqi Committee for Suppression of Ashraf in denying the residents access to proper medical treatment. I, myself, was injured twice during the course of these hostilities. During this period, since 2009, and in the course of two deadly attacks perpetrated by Nouri Al Maliki, the Iraqi PM at the behest of the Iranian regime, we have lost 47 of our dearest friends. The henchmen justify their crimes against residents of Ashraf by saying, “you are on the U.S. terror list!”
It goes without saying that this designation is a betrayal of the Iranian people and their just resistance movement which is striving for freedom and democracy and only serves the Iranian regime – the leading state sponsor of terrorism – by conceding to the wishes of the mullahs and it lacks any legal merit.
Almost a year has passed since a Washington district court of appeals ordered the State Department to reevaluate its decision to list the MeK. But unfortunately, and since there are elements within the State Department who are have positioned themselves on the wrong side of history, nothing has changed in the futile policy of appeasing the mullahs. In the meantime, the Iranian people and their resistance continue to pay the price with their blood, each and every day. The bitter fruit of maintaining the MeK on the list is consolidation of the mullah’s grip on power; a gift to the Iranian regime, Iraq, and anyone else who hopes that one day the residents of Ashraf are annihilated and, each day, they are conspiring to realize this dream.
While expressing my deepest discontent at this unjust designation, I ask Secretary Clinton to immediately remove the MeK from the list. The list is the proper place for the terrorist regime ruling Iran not the Iranian resistance. Delisting the MeK, also, guarantees the security and safety of residents of Camp Ashraf and sends a message of solidarity to the Iranian people: the U.S. State Department, as in nations affected by the “Arab Spring”, supports them in their struggle for democracy and freedom.
Delisting the MeK has been delayed long enough and keeping them on the list is no longer acceptable. Each second and each day that passes, and they remain on the list, we suffer another cherished human life.
Having signed an agreement with each and every resident of Ashraf, including my brother Hanif, the United States is specifically responsible for protecting their lives; a responsibility it has, unfortunately, turned its back on when it was needed the most – when the residents were attacked and under a barrage of gun fire and explosion of grenades and when they were rammed by humvees and armored personnel carriers – instead of protecting them, America stood idly by and looked on as the blood of innocent people was spilled in Camp Ashraf. The U.S. government will be held accountable for any foreseeable atrocity that occurs in Ashraf.