Hanif adds at 8:30 am after hearing the first news of the Iraqi forces attack against Ashraf he realizes a large number of the defenseless and unarmed residents of the camp were shot upon by the attacking soldiers and many were killed and injured, and most of those killed were murdered while their hands and feet were tied.
“I was left shocked. What I had in my hand fell to the ground. I could hear my heartbeat. I remembered my mother and father, and the memories of my childhood passed before my eyes,” Hanif says.
“During the early 1980s when Khomeini’s regime was busy arresting and executing its dissidents, especially supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), my mother and father were forced to exit Iran and leave me behind while I was only a small child, without the love of my parents… I always thought of them. During my teenage years the regime in 1998 began harassing and interrogating me to therefore place pressure on my mother and father and force them to leave the PMOI,” he added.
“In the year 2000 while I was accepted into college, I was forced to leave Iran due to the increasing pressures from the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and their death threats against me. I came to Iraq and after many years I saw my mother and father, and I was along their side during these years of the ups and downs of the struggle against Khomeini’s regime,” Hanif continues.
“I remembered the last time I saw my father. Before coming to Liberty when I was saying goodbye to him, I hugged him and told him it is hard for me to go to Liberty without you. He gave me assurance and said this too is part of our struggle and we must continue on for our cause,” he addd.
“I always wanted to die alongside my father, and even thinking about their death was unbearable for me… I knew that their staying in Ashraf brought many dangers along with it. In the midst of all these thoughts all of a sudden the voice of the TV anchorman announced the names of the September 1 massacre in Ashraf. With each name so many memories rushed to my mind. I was engulfed with pain, as if I was suffocating, and even my body began to tremble. The TV anchorman announced the last name: ‘Abbas Garmabi’. A particular cold rushed through my body. I placed my head between my knees so no one would see my tears. My friends were expressing their condolences, but I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t see anybody. Just the memories of my mother and father, and the heavy weight of this pain passed through my mind. The number of the martyrs increased and finally reached 52. At 5 pm, once again the Resistance TV station aired breaking news and announced the names of seven residents taken hostage by the criminals. Hearing my mother’s name I thought my heart had stopped beating and was going to explode in my chest. I was like a lost ghost… I could no longer walk. I would shout within myself: ‘People, look at those who claim to be Muslims, look at the crimes they are committing in the name of Islam. How they are taking hostage a Muslim woman member of the PMOI, defenseless and unarmed, who had fled the cruelty of the mullahs’ and sought refuge in a neighboring Muslim country. What will be her fate, while her husband has been killed and she herself has been taken hostage?’” Hanif pleaded.
“Seeing the image of my injured father, who had been killed by the agents placing a bullet in his head, ignited a new fire in me… This is by all definitions a true epic; an epic of standing to the end… an epic of saying ‘no’ to ruthless killers,” he added.
“Many of my friends and I here in Liberty from the very first day of September saw no other way than launching an unlimited hunger strike protesting the irresponsible nature of the UN and international community in the face of the security of Ashraf and Liberty residents, due to the US turning its back again and again on its commitments regarding our safety and security. We will continue our hunger strike until all our main demands are met and an impartial delegation is sent to investigate into the grave crime in Ashraf, UN forces are stationed in Camp Liberty and the immediate release of the hostages,” he added.
“For freedom, there is a door that is knocked with bloody hands,” Hanif finalized.