Remarks by Ingrid Betancourt at the Free Iran World Summit 2021 on 12 July 2021

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Ingrid Betancourt, former Senator and Presidential candidate of Columbia

Thank you so much. As I observe you all, especially the attitude for issues to resolve, and I hear your words, I am struck and impressed by the contrast and significance between this woman, a truly exceptional leader, hoisting with courage and determination, the flag of resistance, of democracy, of fair elections, of human rights, of the rule of law, or gender equality. And this other man, Ebrahim Raisi, the officially designated president of Iran rocketed into power after a sham election and ridiculed by the lowest turnout on record. An election conducted under extreme repression, in which women, religious minorities and opponents were barred from running for office, an election where citizens were intimidated and journalists arrested to prevent them from informing about this man, the former head of the Iranian judiciary, known also as the butcher, the butcher for his crimes against humanity: the mass murders since 1988 and until today, the enforced disappearance and the tortures. Ebrahim Raisi’s response to be butchers when asked about his involvement in these killings was that he should be praised for them and then he was proud of his work.

In contrast, Maryam Rajavi claimed this year another impressive victory against impunity with the condemnation of Iranian diplomat, Asadollah Asadi, for trying to bomb the 2018 annual gathering in Villepinte in Paris, where many of us would have been slaughtered. This is the sheer contrast that we are witnessing. This is the reason we admire the Iranian resistance, and this is what moves us year after year to come and join you all and proclaim our resolve to fight the Iranian dictatorship by your side no matter the mask he chooses to wear. Ahmadinejad, Rouhani or Raisi, they are all one and the same. They are all part of this blood thirsty monster sitting in history with contempt for the values we share, thinking that they will be the long-term winners because they can get away with lies and bravado, out players using our divisions, playing with our governments that come and go, and with contradictions of our short-term strategies, sometimes wanting to confront them, and sometimes trying to negotiate with them. They have been right about that, to some extent, but not anymore, because they are already defeated, and they know they will prevail. The end is here, and it has a name and face. The name is the name of every Ashrafian, and the face is the face of you, Maryam Rajavi. It is because of the example of resilience and determination that young people in Iran are daring to defy this homicidal regime, burning images of Khamenei in daylight, chanting death to the tyrants and claiming their right at the risk of their lives. These young girls and boys have never known better. They were born under tyranny and hell have lived all their lives under repression. That was old time normal, but they heard you and you have awakened them and given them a new horizon. You, Ashrafians are the archive of the nation to source from which new generations can learn about their own past, the memories of your lives are narrating to the Iranian youth how they were dispossessed of the future, how after overthrowing the dictatorship of the shah, the mullahs brought the fight of the elders, and brought Iranians into slavery. That memory, your individual and collective life is the truth, the truth that makes people free. You are the custodians of that precious truth, that the rulers have tried to erase and rewrite. And they can meddle with the pages of the history books, they can erase the traces of the mass graves that speak of their crimes, they can even force people on the torture to submit to their lives or by paying them, but they will never, never succeed in taming your hearts. For you are the army of resistance, the freedom fighters of Iran. Your scars, your wants, your pain, and your tears are the shield against wickedness.

As I was rereading Khomeini’s decree to execute any case reported in 1988, I was once again shocked by the sheer madness of it all. I hope he writes to his subordinates, that with your revolutionary rage and vengeance, you will achieve the satisfaction of the Almighty God. He calls not to hesitate, nor show any doubt or be concerned with details. He requires from his executive shinners to be most ferocious. This is the expression of an insane and cruel mind, demanding from his subordinates in the name of God to hate and kill, to be violent, and that, as ferocious animals, ordering to appointed officials to violate their own laws without hesitation, to embrace evil without doubt, and to bear disdain for details, pushing his proxies to dive into the humanizing spiral of terror and sadistic behavior. That is the essence of this regime. To confront dehumanization, you have equipped yourselves with the noblest of all human emotions, with love, and fraternity, with solidarity and compassion, with hope and joy, all of which I have personally witnessed, while staying among you in your camp. You are an army, you wear uniforms, and you live in compounds. But what keeps you together is not the hatred, the fear, or the rage, the vengeance and the ferociousness but the dignified thirst of justice, and truth and the immense transforming power of the love you share for your country. It is because young Iranians know this, that they are following you. It is because there is the face of a woman that has suffered and doesn’t give up that represents the strength and the good in shear countries, to the evil faces of the mullahs that Iranians are envisioning today, the end of that nightmare. It is because if you Ashrafians that people in all the different regions of Iran are organizing themselves. They want to be ready for the transition to democracy Maryam Rajavi has promised them. The sacrifices each of you have made, every drop of blood and sweat, every expression of hope and affection, every single effort you have accomplished to survive, has brought fruits, nothing is lost. Every word is blooming. You are the end of the tyranny. Each one of you is the key to freedom. We are here with you, not thinking that any of us can do anything better or greater or more defining to bringing down the dictatorship than you. But we are here knowing that you are irreplaceable and indispensable for the survival of Iran and his resurgence. With our admiration and our faith in your triumph, we want to magnify your achievements, honor your heroic choice, and stand by you. Because this is the time to march forward at the face of victors until you win. Thank you, Maryam.

Thank you very much.