In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
5th of Azar (November 26) is the anniversary of creation of `Basij of the Oppressed’
by Imam Khomeini. This anniversary is an opportunity to have a second look at this influential institution in the history of the Islamic revolution: What was the Basij? What is it now? and what should it be? What force created the Basij, and gave it a name and recognition? What made it a hero of all the different tastes and inclinations [of different classes] in a period of the modern history of this land? That glorious history and great success known as Basij was not achieved through extensive budgets, and expensive weapons.
It was not excellent institutionalized organization techniques that made the Basij as glorious as a tale of magnificent proportions. It was not military power that formed Basij.
Instead, it was deep and pure intentions that created this high tower and nurtured role models whose names are remembered as if they were loyal friends of the prophet.
In addition, in the history of the revolution, Basij is the symbol and centerpiece of courage and persistence of our nation. 30 years ago, Imam created `Basij of the Oppressed’ to stand against probable military assault of superpowers. This act was the most influential step taken to prevent any such attacks. In the past three three decades, powers great and small carried the most destructive of weapons. The only thing that stopped them from assaulting our soil or made them regret their assault was that they had seen the courage of the people who were not afraid of the strength of the powerful.
They had seen people who did not stop at anything to defend their rights and ideals.
Basij was a window through which this aspect of our nation was displayed.
Basij was a manifestation of the union of [social] layers and different appetites among our people. When our caring father [Imam Khomeini] was planting this tree, he said: “A country that has 20 million youth, must have 20 million Basij members.” How could have this been achieved if Basij belonged to only one mode of thinking, one group or one class? What he meant by the 20 million army was the color and capacity that could represent if not all, at least a big majority of the colors that exist in our society; something like the flags of prince of martyrs, [third Imam of Shiite] that is yearly raised everywhere throughout our country, and all of our social layers even some of the religious minorities gather around it.
If Basij has turned into one of our nation’s greatest achievements it was because of attention to such secrets. Otherwise, a name [Basij] cannot by itself achieve such almost artistic relics of greatness: The art of changing normal people to an army who relies on God, the art of resisting and winning [the war] empty handed and the art of becoming the source and axis for the union and for the pride of a nation.
Today too, it’s the same story. It is not orders of labels and symbols, words and appearances, neither is it types of discourse and accents nor sentences or magic that creates such schools [Basij or purposeful togetherness] of love, and great humans. All the Basijis, whether known or nameless, who are the pride of faith and land, did not become heroes because of their words. They were tested. Of course, there is not one person in this world who is not tested with choosing right from wrong.
“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, `We believe, and that they will not be tested? 
“We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false” 
The time has reached for the inheritors of Bagheris and Bakeris. A new generation who are called Basijis and are in the middle of the darkest suspicions and upheaval .
Is this new generation similar to those who have fought along The Commander of Faithful in the Battle of Camel ? Or such similarities are pointless and those who make such similarities want Basij to be an oppressive machine to hit, capture, hurt and even kill the human beings whom their only sin is asking for justice? Who knows the answer to such questions? What is the real identity of the institution which is currently called “Basij of the Oppressed”? Is this an erratic institution that closes its eyes and breaks the arms and legs of its brothers and sisters when they are ordered to do so? Or is it an institution with the deepest insight that can distinguish the right way from wrong way in the darkest nights of upheaval. The night of upheaval is like a days for those who have doubts in their answers to these questions.
“Whenever you are faced with Fitna (Upheavals) like parts of a dark night, Quran is yours [to get refuge and find your way]”. Hear the response of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to all these doubts that when upheavals gets into you like parts of a dark night you have to look through Quran! Quran is an intercessor that its intercession is always accepted, and if it becomes a witness against anyone its testimony is accepted.
A book that will lead to paradise anyone who considers it as a leader and will drive to hell anyone who goes against it. A book that guides to the best of ways. Quran is a book that clearly and explicitly orders us to be with the truthful. “O you who believe, fear Allah and be with the truthful” However, if the truthful were known, the night of upheaval would have ended. On the other hand it is clear that the truthful never lies. Those who lie in their most important political campaign are certainly not truthful. God-conciseness  is not their companion and faith is not compatible with them. Haven’t you hear any lies in the past months?
“O you who believe, fear Allah and be with the truthful”
What was the Basij, what will be, and what is to be done?
The Basji that the Imam wanted would not stand against the nation, but would stand behind them and with them. [He envisioned] A Basji whose actions would go beyond political factions and its broad shoulders would protect all, a Basij that would enjoy the friendship of the people, a Basij that would be seeking people’s friendship and unity. A Basij that would overlook the differences of opinion and protect the life and liberty of the masses that would see them all as brothers or one in creation. A Basji that would protect the privacy of people. Imam did not want the Basij as a tool of authority, but a place for people to project their own power, a place that would allow them to have a part in their own future. It was supposed to be that the actions and behavior of the Basij would be an example to the people, not to have the power of the Basij crush the people.
The Basij was not supposed to be on the government payroll and was not
supposed to receive bonuses for arresting people for participating in demonstrations. It is a sad day if the Basij becomes just another political party. This is not what the Imam wanted for the Basjiis. The Basji was not supposed to be an instrument to take away people’s freedom in their votes.
My Basjii brothers! What were the faults or flaws in Imam [Khomeini]’s aspirations for Basij that you have abandoned them? Why should you ruin the image created based on the efforts of those before you? You are from the people and with the people. Why do the concepts that our people favour based on their nature, cause such hatred among our Basiji friends? What is bad about freedom? Why talking about freedom causes so much disgust in the heart of some our Basiji friends as if freedom is a unforgivable sin?
We know that many of our cities’ major crossroads are called freedom. Don’t we say that subjects like human rights, women rights, minorities rights, and as such are exploited by great powers to hypocritically associate themselves with these concepts and demonstrate a good face ?
So why should those who are the main and noble owners of such values and ideals, distance themselves from them? Do they want their school of thought to look detestable? Why do you ban these concepts and consider them as criteria for being non-religious? Religious is like a favorite flower bestowed upon people. Its teachings are moderate and in agreement with people `s nature. Lest! Don’t turn it in to a torn bush, that everyone who touches it gets harmed, like what our youth experiences [nowadays] in the streets.
Thirty years ago Basij came to existence just like a flower and a blast of light. If one desires return to that luminous original era, does that mean he has turned his back on the [Islamic] Revolution and intends to turn over the system? Isn’t it a call to justice if one requests to return to the original version of Islamic evolution? If one demands the pure Islam of Mohammad, the one that Imam [Khomeini] was its mouthpiece and referral; if one expresses distaste toward superstitious and superficiality, which is sold to people in the name of religion; if one follows all the
articles of the constitution; if one asks for the loyalty to the vows made based on belief and humanity? Is it legitimate to smack such people in the streets, to torture them in the jails, to sentence them to long terms in prison? Do Islam and Koran teachings allow killing of the people who peacefully ask their rulers to be just?
“And they kill the people who asked them to be just. So warn them of a severe punishment .”
What was [the essence of] Basij before ? , and what will it turn into if it continues on the road laid for it? The force that once represented the courage of our nation is now used to terrorize Iranians? It is evident that the newest and the latest strategy adopted by the authoritarian minority are to create fear in people. They wear terrifying apparel and gather in military formations in the city streets to frighten their countrymen? They terrorize people because they themselves are terrified? Or they convict the sons of this revolution to 7, 10 and 15 years in prison to console themselves? And they don’t realize how they are jeopardizing the national security with these short-sighted behaviors?
It is sufficient for great powers to see [our] people frightened to harass our nation. To see our people’s courage undermined and their strength and their endurance uncertain to believe their dreams of the last 30 years [against our nation] are coming true.
Look at our two neighboring countries that are occupied by foreign forces. In both
countries they attempted to terrify people and people were terrified. On the surface the [great] powers stepped into these countries with the promise to set them free. But they did not hide their greed in [seeing] horrified faces of people when they established places like Abu Ghraib. They told people of these two countries with outmost clarity that you are the people who were scared of Saddam and Taliban , now it is justified to be more scared of our terrorizing weaponry. Even the radical terrorists still savagely kill these people hoping they can rule them based on their fear as the bloodthirsty [dictators] did before them .
The victims of the brutalities of Saddam and Taliban are still paying for their lack of courage. But our nation owes its security and peace to courage and strength shown in the last thirty years.
Now some people in the country want to take this [social] capital away from us. [Our] people are either not frightened by their shows , which they are not and they will take away this last weapon away from them, or they will be scared. In that case will [only]these war toys [weapons] keep this country intact?
In our contemporary history Basij was not just a name , it was a conduct that we will always need.
[This is true] to the extent that if those responsible for Basij forget their duties and
assignments we need to carry them out ourselves. It is a necessity, even more
important than the goals of our movement , that forces us not to let anyone show greed in our fear.
And we should know, there is no color beyond black. [Creating] fear is their last effort.
Your opponents made a mistake and used what they had as the last resort against your peaceful strength. The true solutions to their [quandaries] are yourselves. The day you ask your opponents: “are the colorful flags you carry in the support of implementing the full constitution?” and they answered yes, welcome them. That day we will all be green.
Mir Hossein Mousavi
Speaker or Agency: Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Title: Mousavi’s statement for 5th of Azar (November 26) the anniversary of creation of `Basij of the Oppressed’ by Imam Khomeini.
Language: English, Persian
Western Date: 25 November 2009
Persian Date: 4 Azar 1388