The Significance of the 13th of Aban (31 October 2009)

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful,

In our modern history, the thirteenth of Aban (7th of November) is reminiscent of three events. The first was when Imam Khomeini was exiled, and the movement went into a thirteen year recession. After being able to silence the movement by sending the Imam into exile, the Shah’s regime marveled at why such a thing was not done sooner. There was one uprising and one Imam, and when he was far from it, there was nothing left of its spirit. Was the Imam truly alone in the movement he had begun? Never. It is never such that one person can create change in society. He had many followers, but they were not like the friends that would surround him years later, when he said: “our leader is that 13 year old child …”

The second thirteenth of Aban is the day of thirteen year old leaders. Students who had gathered at the University of Tehran for a protest and faced a most violent death. It was the regime’s experience with the events of the 40s [the 1960s] that caused such a bloody reaction. They [the regime] thought that if they act as determined as before, they will once again achieve the same incredible results. But that is while the base of society had changed. The monarchist establishment was no loner facing one Imam. This time, people had surrounded the Imam who may not have known him as well as their fathers did, or who had not heard his speeches, but who had as much spirit and strength in their hearts as the Imam himself. Unlike their fathers, they did not need to be repressed or to see as much evil to join this movement

Much has been said about the third thirteenth of Aban. It is unlikely that anything of that event has remained unsaid. Including the fact that in that event, the Imam followed the Muslim students. On the surface, the students called themselves the followers of the Imam, but in reality, it was the Imam who followed what they did. None of the leaders and commanders of the revolution had a role in shaping what came to be that day. Even the students themselves thought that everything would be over in a few days and they will return home. But the Imam followed the events and called it a revolution greater than the first revolution. Only anImam who has experienced the bitter taste of thirteen years of exile knows that a society which has lived under rigid and severe rule does not have spirit and does not have a healthy existence. He preferred to let people lead because he knew simply passing one historic milestone is not enough in the prosperity of a nation. The nation must have such knowledge and insight to be able to tell right from wrong in every day and age, and to be able to walk the right path. Today, our people are the leaders and this is the great wish that the Imam had for them. He invited us to those thing which promise life.

And now, the thirteenth of Aban, this greenest day of the year is approaching. Today, is it conceivable that the flame of the people’s movement may be extinguished, if a fellow countrymen is kept silent? If such a thing happens, we will lose the fruit of 45 years of our history and our struggle. And if it doesn’t happen, this will show the roots of our revolutionary spirit. It is reliance on these roots that have made us green, roots that if we leave neglected, we will have turned to those very things that our opponents wish. It is thus absolutely necessary that we carefully approach any such extreme efforts.

Our movement will not benefit from leaving Islam to the hands of worshipers of superstition, leaving the revolution to the incompetent and the devious, neglecting the fruits of 100 years of struggle and replacing that heritage with misconstrued and twisted images, and alienating ourselves from that heritage. If some foreign governments insist on such tendencies, that may be because they have personal gains in such an effort. If need be, they will sit at the negotiation tables while turning their backs on the current movement of the Iranians, and they will be content with the little freedom and political progress that exists in neighboring countries, and we can not reprimand them for such actions. It is we ourselves who must be reprimanded if we do not tell wisely the interests of our own country.

These days, people are all asking of victory. When will we achieve it? How will we get there faster? And what will add to its perfection? Our entire existence is prayer and inquisition, and we are filled with the lords words who has said that he will grant us some of whatever we may wish [from the Koran: And he granted some of whatever you asked for.] The mere fact that a demand has been created in society means that no one will be able to get in its way and governments can only attempt to influence factors like time, scale and the shape of its realization.

Can we too influence these factors? Yes. [from the Koran] people will only reap rewards to the extent to which they use their intelligence and insight. In the past few months, our people have been blessed with the rewards of their own wisdom.

Our green path is a path of rationality and shows that we are persistent in standing up for our demands. If we were to be extremists, be certain that there would have been nothing left of us. Extreme enthusiasm leads to unenthusiasm. If you need an example of this, look no further than the foreign policy of this government. The same time when they were busy infusing our international relations with propaganda, and refused to utilize moderation and intelligence, it was obvious that they would soon bargain the interests of our people with nothing. Sixteen years ago, neither the media nor statesmen considered developing nuclear fuel for Tehran’s program very important news. Today, it appears that a large proportion of the product of Iran’s nuclear program, which went on to see this much chaos and was to bring a number of sanctions for the people, must be handed to another country, in hopes that they will be kind enough to offer us some fuel later on. Is this a victory? It is an obvious deception when they call this “the greatest of victories”[Ahmadinejad’s speech].

The statesmen neither solved the problems of the world [which Ahmadinejad had claimed he would] or stressed the rights of their own people but rather, were willing to forgo those rights all together. They showed that in surrendering too they are extremists. Even if with the help of friends, losing the achievements of Iran’s nuclear program will be thwarted, we have not seen the last of this extremism and their actions will pave the way for more sanctions and isolation for Iran.

What we can learn from this is to avoid extremism ourselves. Sooner or later – and, with the help of god, sooner – those who stand against the people will leave. On that day, will only a ruined country remain for the nation? What we must be worried about today is the interests of our country and except for its rightful owners, no one else will be occupied with this. Building tomorrow must begin today. We must be so prepared that if tomorrow suddenly presents itself, we will not be taken by surprise. Each of us must feel the great responsibility that rests on our shoulders.

Our constant demand for the constitution to be carried out is a key solution to building the future. With such an approach, we will have a light to guide us in the dark, and we will not be stepping on the struggles of generations past. Whatever remains in our hearts and desires [that is not in the constitution] we will strive for in our life because formal structures do not reflect, for the most part, the greater realities that exist in society. The greater reality is what goes on in our lives. The superficial structures can arrest the children of this revolution and imprison them like criminals and dress them up in degraded clothing, but the people can look at those images and feel pride, and create heroes out of those very images. Who is the winner in this confrontation? The superficial structure can condemn these people in show trials and the people will be the final judge in those trials. Which of these is the true ruler of society? The superficial structure can degrade these families and attempt to shame them with its abusive behavior but while these families suffer, the people will always know them to be courageous and honorable. Which of these two views will win the hearts of these families? Pay attention, up to now, we’ve only been talking about the power that exists in the view of the people, and not about power they have to actually do other things. The superficial structures can sentence these families to isolation and the people can embrace them. Truly, which of these will triumph? The superficial structures can deprive the students of dormitories for the crime of expressing their opinion and deprive them of a livelihood and the social networks can back them with their support. Which of these groups is more powerful? But this is a wrong way to frame the question because in essence, there is no confrontation between these two entities. One is, and the other isn’t. It is our life that gives meaning to any matter in the external order of society. In the past few months we have changed society not by breaking this external order but by changing its meaning. We have no need to break order when it is we who give it direction in every circumstance.

This will be our path from now on as well. When so many parts of our constitution go unnoticed, the truth is that there is no difference between good law and bad law. Even if the political structure of our country were in the best of orders, what difference does it make when our lives do not give it credibility? Does not give it meaning? Does not approve it and does not ask for it? In the same way, if this structure was backward or wrong, we could only attempt to correct it if we could first correct the meaning and we do this through the path we live in our lives.

There are so many nations who do not choose to exercise this power, who choose to leave power in the hands of the powerful. They will not lead their societies, but we will.

The thirteenth of Aban is that pledge which reminds us that among us, it is the people who are the leaders. I send my deepest wishes to the people of Iran for this day, and I ask the lord for freedom, patience and rewards that are worthy of the creators of this day, some of whom are now in prison, and the other hostages of the green movement.

Mir Hossein Mousavi

Oct 31st, 2009

Speaker or Agency: Mir-Hossein Mousavi


Language: English and Persian

Western Date: 31 October 2009

Persian Date: 9 Aban 1388

Physical/Electronic Location:;

Citation or official document code:


Date Translated:

Tags: mousavi

Date Last Updated: 14 February 2010

Size: 168.4K bytes Modified: 12 December 2012, 18:02