By Ahmad Rahbar
We live in a tumultuous world, where unrest is waged in its every corner. In Africa, the radical Islamic group Boko Haram has been the source of much suffering in region it controls, promoting barbarity instead of Islamic values. In the Middle East, the viciousness reaches its peak, where criminals like Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese Hezbollah’s Leader Hassan Nasrallah, and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wreak havoc under the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The chaos they have left in their wake has given birth to a fundamentalist group, which in reality is the Sunni brand of the theocracy ruling Tehran, the terrorist activities of which span over the Middle East and reach out as far as France.
Terrorism and extremism are the direct product of the regime ruling Iran, which entered the regional equation 36 years ago. Every year, the Iranian regime holds conferences under the name of Islamic movements, and spends huge sums to export terrorism and fundamentalism.
These so-called Islamic movements that are backed by the Iranian regime are the source of chaos and instability in their respective countries. One might think that in such a chaotic world, my voice will reach nowhere. What voice? From where?
From Camp Liberty, Iraq.
You might ask what Liberty, where is it located, is and what kind of a place it is? Here, you will be faced with a new form of repression, a repression that is borne of a conspiracy of silence, far from the attention of the media and human rights activists.
Here you hear the impacts of rockets launched by terrorist forces backed by the Iranian regime. You can hear the wails of mothers who have lost their children to brutal attacks staged by al-Maliki’s security forces. You can hear the voices of Iraqi agents in service of the Iranian regime who tighten the noose on the residents by preventing essential material from entering the camp.
This is Camp Liberty, Iraq, far from the eyes of any honest watcher and supporters of human rights and free media. This is a place where the only constant is misery, the feeling of apprehension and anxiety from the imminence of another brutal attack. Camp Liberty is under a total siege, and its residents are even deprived of the right to earn income for their daily lives. They aren’t even allowed to sell their property in order to procure food and other essential needs.
This is a voice that might be stifled, but cannot be silenced forever, for it is the voice of the main force standing against fundamentalism, the anti-thesis of this evil that has desecrated the values of humanity, religion and god.
As these thought twirl through my mind, I hear the voice of a colleague. He holds up a picture toward me. “What is this?” he asks.
“It’s a flatbed loaded with two cars,” I reply.
He laughs and says, “I didn’t ask you to describe what you see. This is our property in Camp Ashraf, being looted by the Badr forces (Iran-backed militia), who are now in control of the camp.”
A feeling of dread washes over me. Three years earlier, under an agreement made between the United Nations and the Iraqi government, we were transferred to Camp Liberty. We were explicitly told that we would leave our belongings behind and would be allowed to put them on sale in order to pay for our expenses in Camp Liberty.
Subsequently, under a quadripartite accord made between the U.S., UN, the government of Iraq, and the residents, 100 of camp’s residents remained in Ashraf to secure the sale of the property. But following our departure, not only did the Iraqi government prevented us from selling our property, but it also staged another bloody massacre against the residents, viciously murdering 52 of the hundred remaining residents and abducting seven others, including six women.
I put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and I am reminded of the words of a friend who told me that the Iraqi agents of the Iranian regime are aiming at killing us far from the attention of the public and the media. This is the injustice that is being made against the main opposition of a regime that is the main sponsor of global terrorism and is the source of fundamentalism and extremism. All of these measures are carried out by persons who are on the payroll of this regime. If the situation is not rectified, a disaster will surely come to pass. This is a camp that semantically relates to freedom, but is in reality a prison for defenseless refugees.
Of course, all of those who have set the stage to achieve the goals of the Iranian regime are erring enormously. We, the residents of Camp Liberty, have decided to resist and persist despite the pressure and constraints that are being imposed against us. He who chooses to sacrifice life itself for the sake of freedom will not yield to the will of his oppressor.
I request that you help in breaking this wave of silence by reciting what you read hear to your friends. We can break this siege.