[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Newspaper:] Akhbar-e Iran
[Date:] 24 Mehr 1359 [16 October 1980]
[Issue No.:] 11
The Miracle at the Saqqakhaneh [Sacred Fountain] of Aa-Shaykh Hadi
The enemy has entered the battlefield in the most Satanic way, namely through religion
From the beginning of the miraculous revolution, the business of religious chanting took off and became more lucrative. Four or five seekers of miracles would pool their money and give it to a clergyman to recite for them and make them cry [mourn], so that they would find “readiness of heart” and His Holiness would have pity on them and prioritize the fulfilment of their heart’s wish. Gradually, religious groups began to march in the street. I remember clearly how they would beat their chests with this chant: “The crossing of Aa-Shaykh Hadi, the crossing of Aa-Shaykh Hadi; the miracles of Abol-Fazl, have blinded the eyes of the Babis!”
The blinding of the eyes of the Babis was another miracle of His Holiness, as if His Holiness had come up short during his miracles of giving eyes to the blind and had started to blind the eyes of the non-believers, so as to kill two birds with one stone—giving an eye to the believer and blinding the eye of a non-believer.
At any rate, curious people and foreign correspondents came to the saqqakhaneh of Aa-Shaykh Hadi to take pictures and films of these unprecedented incidents. Among them was [Major Robert Whitney] Imbrie, the American consul in Tehran. When Imbrie came to the intersection of Shaykh Hadi and pointed his camera at the saqqakhaneh, suddenly a voice said, “This man, who is a Babi, took a picture of the saqakhaneh, and he insulted our sanctities. Oh believers, run/attack and kill him, for his murder is obligatory [for our religion]”.
Imbrie understood what was happening when he saw the threatening and hateful gaze of the people focused on him, and he started to flee, with the people following him. Imbrie, who was about to be caught by the crowd, jumped into the coffee house and as he was trying to close the door, a young local Seyyed, who was known as the “son of cleft-palate Seyyed” threw himself into the coffee house and said, “The reward of sending this Babi to hell is mine, because I am a Seyyed and from the lineage of the Prophet.” After he said this, he went to the samovar and dumped the boiling water on the head of the American consul. Subsequently, martial law was implemented in Tehran to prevent further spread of the riots.
Strangely enough, after that incident, the saqqakhaneh returned to its normal condition and the miracles of Abol-Fazl came to a halt.
This incident was covered in all of the newspapers of the time, and a few years later, on the occasion of the oil crisis in Iran, the newspapers revealed that this entire theatrical performance had been put on at the behest of the British government to benefit the British Petroleum Company, given that the Americans had made a very favourable oil purchase offer at the time to the government of Iran. (At that time, the portion Iran could take from its oil reserves was only 16 percent). This incident has been recorded in the history of oil and is not a made-up story. This was not the first incident of its kind to happen in Iran, and it was perhaps not the last. It may be that the Islamic Revolution is a repetition of the same kind of incident.
I see that the designer of the “miracle problem” had precisely employed a few principles necessary to make the indoctrination and propaganda effective and to motivate the people.
When I think about those days, I realize that, in order to achieve their goals, the designers of the “issue of miracles” had employed those principles necessary for effective indoctrination, influence and propaganda to incite people.
1- In order to create agitation, they made use of religion, or more accurately, religious superstitions.
2- They chose the Babis as the enemies of the people, since at that time the poor people had no idea about any other part of the world. They knew America as “Yengeh Donya” [new world] and all other European countries as “Farang” [a term commonly used during the Qajar dynasty to indicate France, Europe or the West]. The selection of the Babis as the enemies of the people also has some precedence in the beginnings of the constitutional movement. In those days, the clergy and opposition groups would accuse the progressive groups of being Babis. This is reflected in the fact that a political satirical newspaper of the time, by the name of Nasim-e Shomal, portrayed this situation as a dialogue between two people as follows:
- Kable Bagher (Karbala’i Bagher)
- Yes, sir.
- What is all this sound and fury about?
- It is the sound of the hookah’s long and winding flute. Haji Balal has just come back from Sham [Syria] and Halab [Aleppo] and is talking of the Constitutionalist party.
- Then, I am sure this non-believing dog’s actions are fake [referring to the sound of the saqqakhaneh]. O people take him, too, because he, too, is a Babi.
When we think deeply, we can see that the Islamic Revolution is a repetition of history, whose causes are as follows:
Oil—ignorance and people’s lack of education – abuse of religion – the clergy – greed for oil
- Religion and its influence, especially its superstitions, are the best means of inciting and agitating people and the best way to carry out evil plans and achieve any goal in backward Muslim countries.
- The ignorance and lack of education of the people provides a fertile ground for accepting any propaganda based on religion.
- The mullah is the tool of the designers and the agent for carrying out the intentions of the enemies by spreading superstitions and misleading the people.
The Way to Fight
The Iranians residing in Europe, in order to encourage our countrymen and motivate them to fight, often remind them of the historical upheavals such as the invasion of Alexander and the Moguls and Arabs, and so on, and point to the way in which Iranians stood up and followed such heroes as Abu-Moslim Khorasani and pushed the enemy out of their homeland. These heartbroken countrymen, wandering outside of their homeland, have forgotten a key point. And that is the fact that, in previous times of upheaval, the enemy that was invading us, ruining us, setting everything on fire, slaughtering masses of people, and looting us, came from outside of our homeland. Afterwards, all people of the country would come together in unity with a common mission and singular will and would stand against the foreign enemy. In those times, unifying people and inciting them was easy for one or a few fighters and leaders, because the people’s minds were ready to be persuaded by hearing things against foreign enemies. However, this time, the enemy is within, and it has entered the battlefield in the most evil way, namely from religion. For the current enemy, it is very easy to designate any movement as an anti-Islamic movement, “waging war against God and the representative of the Imam” and to suffocate the embryo of any movement at the hands of its spell-bound followers; and it is still doing so. Therefore, in order to collapse and uproot the present troublemakers and bring down Khomeini from the throne of the Imamate, there are no more than two or three options:
1- One is if a foreign country occupies Iran, or somehow colludes with a neighbouring country, and puts an end to the rule of the clergy and installs a normal and globally acceptable regime in order to calm down the environment and take advantage of the resources and potential of Iran. This is out of the question, since this is not something that can be done by an Iranian; and God forbid that such a thing should happen.
2- A military coup d’etat, through connections with armed Iranians who have been trained outside the borders of Iran. Such a coup is not impossible. However, given that organizing a coup requires secret and underground actions and finding accomplices, such an action is extremely difficult at this time, because with the propaganda being instilled in people every few days based on various excuses to show the Revolution as a revolution in the path of God and Islam, people easily tell on each other and any designs for a coup will not come to fruition.
3- Implementing a well-calculated, vast, and long-term scientific propaganda campaign to raise the public’s consciousness by dissecting superstitions and the reasons for mixing superstition with religious truths, and the ways in which such superstitions are used as a means of controlling people, and revealing the dangers brought upon the Iranian society by those groups of religious clergy who either have not understood the religion or basically do not have any religion and are hypocrites. For us Iranians living outside Iran, there is only one path of resistance, and that is to make use of the third way. We must all endeavour and promise ourselves that, until the day of liberation, we will send articles and news to Iranian and even foreign publications that reveal the truths about the deceptive use of religion. We must promise ourselves that even after the end of this upheaval we will continue to render this service, and by repeating and reminding people of the abuse that is being made of religion, the deceptive religious acts, and the underhandedness of the clergy, bring such light to the minds of the masses and limit the impressionability of their brains and awaken the sense of truth-seeking and independence in their thoughts to such an extent that organizing tumults like Khomeini’s would become impossible in our country forever.