December 7th marks the National Student Day in Iran. The student movement is a power to be reckoned with and has been for many years. Students in Iran have been actively and consistently working against the Islamic Regime for many years.
We all remember the pro-democracy student demonstrations in July of 1999, as well as numerous anti Regime protests and demonstrations we have witnessed in the past 10 years. Since the elections students have once again been very active and very involved in asking for a secular/ non religious, free and democratic government. As a result the number of arrests and imprisonment of students has increased in the past few months.
Iranian students have marked the National Student Day with protests and demonstrations every year to show their opposition against the Regime. This year will not be any different.
As the Student Day approaches numerous different groups and organizations including many student organizations have organized protests and gatherings in solidarity with the Iranian students.
A protest was organized today (December 5th) by the students of University of Toronto in front of the Hart House building. This event was extensively advertised on Facebook, which gave me the opportunity to write to the organizers on their discussion board, and openly ask whether this was a Anti-Regime or a pro-reform or another kind of gathering. The answer I received from one of the organizers was that this was NOT an Anti-Regime event and that it was organized in support of the students in Iran.
I truly want to believe that some or most of these students had the best of intentions, however they were either grossly misinformed or are being taken advantage of by Islamic Regime Agents who are amongst them.
The students in Iran are not protesting in a vacuum, and for no particular goal. They are protesting against tyranny and for a secular and democratic Iran. Things that will clearly not be possible until the Islamic Regime in it's entirety is removed from power.
It is difficult to understand how anyone can claim to support the Iranian Students ( who are risking their education, their freedom and ultimately their lives to fight against the Regime) and yet organize an event that is NOT anti-Regime.
If an event is not Anti-Regime then what can it be? Pro Regime? There doesn't seem to be a middle ground. If one is not part of the solution one is part of the problem, as it has happened in the case of these students.
The irony is in the fact that students in Iran cannot fathom how anyone can live in a free country such as Canada and not be openly against the Islamic Regime. However we must keep in mind the fact that many of the Iranian students in Canadian Universities are bursary students, and the Islamic Regime funds their education. This of course does not come easily as the Regime will not give a bursary to anyone until they do extensive research on their backgrounds to make sure they are loyal to the Regime! This explains at least in part why these students would not want to organize anti-Regime demonstrations. Another explanation is the fact that many students have no problem with the Regime, are not politically active and want to be able to go to Iran for their summer vacations, therefore they would never risk that by organizing anything that may even be perceived as anti-Regime. This leaves the other group who probably have the best of intentions and who really want to help and support the students in Iran but are misinformed about what the student movement in Iran wants and what the students are fighting for.
Perhaps these students should first focus on doing some research and speaking to some of the students inside the country and informing themselves about what the students in Iran want, before organizing demonstrations which clearly and openly are NOT against the Regime, to supposedly support students in Iran.
It's interesting that students at Waterloo University have gone even a step further by stating in their advertisement in Facebook that "The Police would not allow for anyone to bring flags to the demonstrations!" It seems that these students do not realize that we live in Canada, where people are entitled to freedom of speech and expression, rights that are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The police are not allowed to take these rights away from the people. Now if the organizers themselves have asked the police to not allow for flags, in fear of having any Lion and Sun flags present, that is a different story.
These very students have promised to provide protesters with green bracelets to wear during the protest. it is very clear that these students have no respect for people's freedom of expression and they have done everything in their power to make sure their demonstration is a pro-reform, pro-Regime event, and not surprisingly they've threatened people with police and arrests to make sure things go exactly as they have planned.
According to a famous saying "The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions." It seems as though students in Toronto and Waterloo at best lack clear perspective and knowledge about the student movement in Iran, what it stands for and what it seeks to achieve. Perhaps they will be in a better position to help their compatriots in Iran (if that is in fact their goal) once they realize the goals of the student movement in Iran. Otherwise they only open themselves up for criticism and harm, instead of hurting the very same people and the movement they are trying to support.
Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran