Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, human rights activist and granddaughter of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, virtually attended an online conference, marking the first anniversary of the November 2019 uprising. The event hosted by the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) homaged the Iranian people’s sacrifices for a free and democratic Iran.
Hundreds of thousands of outrage protesters came into the streets, showing their complaint against the sudden rise of gasoline prices. However, the regime’s security forces responded to defenseless demonstrators with live ammunition, killing at least 1,500 protesters.
During a few days, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other oppressive forces did whatever they could to stifle protests, according to the supreme leader Ali Khamenei‘s decree. They arbitrarily detained over 12,000 demonstrators, targeted protesters, and bystanders by heavy machineguns, snipers, and helicopters. However, they merely fueled the people’s wrath against the entire regime.
In her remarks at the NCRI virtual event, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela expressed her solidarity with the Iranian people’s desire.
“All Pericles observes. I’m honored to address you today. And thank you for the opportunity to participate in the commemoration of the mass killings, the tragedy occurred in Iran in November 2019.
“Almost a year ago, after two days of nationwide anti-government protest against the tripling of gasoline prices across Iran, security forces responded by opening fire on demonstrators. At least 4,000 people were injured and 1,500 killed, 400 of which were women and 29 children.
“The protesters were unarmed and largely unemployed or low-income youth. These unlawful killings were followed by the arrest, detention, and torture of 12,000 protesters and their families and a cruel continuation of brutality. Even family members that helped memorials for their murdered loved ones were arrested,” Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela said.
“Unfortunately, these merciless acts and systematic repression had and are continuing. Persons are continuing to be subjected to brute force, to be arbitrarily detained, sexually assaulted, and tortured. Disturbingly, disappearances, acts of violence, and the torturing of persons have become an epidemic.
“The social and economic hardships of the most vulnerable in Iran have been further intensified by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many of our lives but has also acted as a magnifying glass, amplifying and exposing countless social issues.
“But what it has also done is demonstrated to the world that we are in fact one, one body of many nations struggling our way out of a global crisis, and towards not only vaccination but towards joint solutions,” Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela added.
“We must not look at what solutions are required to ensure that the people of all nations have equal access to the most basic human rights. The Iranian people are too in need of peace, justice, political freedom, and prosperity.
“Now is the time to act against the many crimes against humanity that have become normalized in Iran. The people of Iran demanded regime change and rejected all forms of dictatorship. The monarchist and the theocratic regime, they demand and deserve a republic based and democratic elections, gender equality, separation of religion and state, freedom of thought and expression, as well as an end to discrimination against religious beliefs.
“The horrifying crisis that the people of Iran have had to endure reminds me of my grandparents’ struggle during the apartheid era in South Africa. My grandparents, Winnie and Nelson Mandela, alongside many other heroes, sacrificed their lives, families and liberties in seeking freedom and justice for all.
“In fighting for democracy and equality, they were labeled terrorists and imprisoned. My grandfather was imprisoned for 27 years, and my grandmother 491 days, most of which she spent in solitary confinement.
“Winnie Mandela and many other anti-apartheid activists were detained under the Terrorism Act, a piece of apartheid legislation designed for the security police to hold and interrogate people for as long as they wanted, and through whatever means necessary. However, the apartheid regime was unable to diminish the dignity and dream of an equal future of millions and millions of South Africans,” Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela told.
“In protest against South Africa’s system of apartheid, disinvestment in South Africa was advocated as well as boycotts and sanctions implemented by the international community aimed at the removal of the apartheid system.
“Similar to South Africans, the people of Iran have turned to the international community to boycott the regime, and to engage in actions that legitimize commercial and political relations with the oppressive regime. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) led by its President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi as the Iranian people’s opposition to the current regime and is the coalition of democratic forces.
“One of the members of this coalition is the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran, which is also known as MEK [Mojahedin-e Khalq]. Over the past 40 years, the current regime has executed 120,000 people for political reasons, most of which are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
“Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has developed a ten-point plan for the future of Iran, a plan that affirms the people’s sovereignty and a republic founded on universal suffrage and tourism, supports social, religious, and political freedoms, and calls for the disbanding of oppressive forces and institutions.
“It seeks justice for those massacred and prohibits torture and demand, the abolishment of the death penalty, ensures gender equality and equal participation and the protection of women, pursue the independence of the judiciary and require the legal system consistent with international standards, includes justice and equal opportunities within a free market economy. Lastly, provides for a non-nuclear Iran as well as the protection and rehabilitation of the environment.
“My grandfather said, ‘Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makeup of history is the ordinary men and women of our country.’ This is our time to demonstrate and spread the African philosophy ‘Ubuntu’ which means ‘I am because you are.’ As a global village, we are each responsible to stand up and stand together with the people of Iran in their fight against oppression,” Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela ended.