Maryam NY: I think you agree that supporters outside Iran need to unite more for the Iranian people’s movement. How can we be more united? Ahmad Batebi: We Iranians think we are good and everyone else is bad. For example, when you tell someone to come and take part in a demonstration, he or she says, “No, I’m not coming because there will be monarchists there.” Then you ask, “What’s wrong with that?” They respond, “Monarchists stole and robbed the country’s money and left Iran.” Then you say, “Let’s go to another protest.” They say, “No, because there will be Mujahedin there.” You ask, “Why is that bad?” They answer, “They went to Iraq in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war and betrayed the Iranian people.” Then you ask the monarchists, members of the PMOI, and the leftists to come to a [planned] demonstration. They say they are not coming because Mousavi supporters will be there. You ask, “What is the problem with that?” They respond, “Mousavi was the Prime Minister at the time of the 1988 massacres.”* This shows that our mind passes judgment rapidly: “this is good” and “that is bad.” We think that we are right and…
Ahmad Batebi, à la « une » de « The Economist » du 17 juillet 1999. La scène n'a duré que quelques minutes. Une nanoseconde au regard d'une vie d'homme. Mais un photographe l'a saisie, dans son intensité et dans sa fulgurance. Et cela a suffi à la sacraliser et lui donner un caractère d'éternité.A jamais le jeune rebelle iranien au visage christique qui brandit au-dessus de sa tête un tee-shirt plein de sang incarnera la contestation étudiante qui, l'été 1999, ébranla le régime des mollahs.C'est à Washington, où il a trouvé asile, qu'Ahmad Batebi nous raconte, d'une voix très douce, l'instant où, sans qu'il le veuille, sans qu'il le sache, et sans qu'il l'imagine, sa vie a basculé inexorablement. Cet instant où, fiévreux, bouillonnant, à vif, il a choisi de s'exposer et de s'engager. Sa présence au centre de la photo n'avait rien d'un hasard.Nous sommes en juillet 1999, vingt ans exactement après la révolution islamiste ayant abouti au départ du chah. La jeunesse iranienne qui a voté avec enthousiasme pour le candidat réformiste – Mohammad Khatami – à l'élection présidentielle de 1997 voit ses espoirs de changement s'amenuiser de jour en jour.LE PRÉSIDENT EST COURT-CIRCUITÉElu avec 70 %…
Persian2English: To what extent has the Freedom movement in Iran been successful in attracting the Iranian population that supports the government and/or the regime? Ahmad Batebi: In Iran, there are two groups of people with connections to the government: those who ideologically believe in the system and those who receive benefits and monetary compensation. The former group, who is either brainwashed or is a supporter through family ties, would not join the Green Movement even if they were dissatisfied with the government. They would rather opt for political apathy and inaction. The latter group, however, will join the movement, if their funding is cut. Albeit, they join only as a number. Their effect is minimal. P2E: Leading to the 1979 Revolution, Iranians living in remote areas were informed of Ayatollah Khomeini’s speeches and revolutionary ideas, even though Internet and satellite did not exist back then. Clerics visited rural areas and preached similarly to the way we receive information via technology. However, today, a lack of independent media creates a gap that is controlled by the Iranian regime. What are the challenges associated with information-spreading and how do we overcome state censorship? Batebi: The recent political history of other countries demonstrate…