Excerpts of speech of Ingrid Betancourt, Former Colombian Senator and Presidential Candidate, at the Free Iran 2022, is as follows:
Thank you for that very kind introduction.
I am so happy to be able to see you and to hug many of you at last in person after two years of being virtual. This is a marvelous moment for me. And, you know, when I was coming to Ashraf -3, as much as the horizon in our world seems clouded because, of course, we cannot be here and not think of the Ukrainian. I know there is a delegation of Ukrainian here. Let me salute President Zelensky, our friend, our hero. We love him. And we love him because, in a way, he is one of us. He’s like Maryam. He’s one of those leaders that take up the fight whenever they are and whenever they have to.
Like Maryam, our hero, the leader of this resistance. And so I was saying, as much as the horizon may seem clouded, the truth is that we are here in a place of hope. This is the place of hope. Here is where the change begins.
And I am very happy today, not only because we have very good news. Very, very good news. I was very sad and despaired when I heard that the Belgian parliament had accepted the treaty between Belgium and Iran because we all know what that means impunity for criminals.
But then I was also thinking of all these people taken hostage by this criminal and terrorist state, Iran, that is holding innocent people to be able to trade them for their criminals. And then when I heard that justice in Belgium is standing up and that they’re fighting back, and it gives me hope again and again.
I suppose that they must be very angry over there in Tehran. I suppose that they are very upset with us being here and speaking and rejoicing and speaking the truth, which is that we know that Iranians are ready for the change. Economic crisis, inflation, devaluation, spread of poverty, corruption, always corruption.
And we know also as we speak that the world does not read the signs of time. It is a karma. The world never seems to be reading the signs of time. In 1970 the world didn’t realize, for example, that the Shah was this corrupt and brutal dictator that was hated by its people. They thought, and I’m quoting President Carter, that it was an island of stability. It was seen as the best ally of the United States.
And the CIA, five months before the uprising against the Shah, said that Iran was not in a revolutionary or prerevolutionary mode. That was months before the regime collapsed. Yes, the world didn’t see things coming like he didn’t see the fall of the Berlin Wall, or it didn’t see coming the Second World War.
But today we know that the time for change has come. We know it because what happened in Belgium had the flavor for me of the appeasement of Chamberlain diplomacy that stumbled into tragedy. But you see, in Belgium, justice is waking up and is fighting back in the name of the people. And what we are learning is that by feeding the monster, they are also growing the resistance, our resistance, this Resistance. I am so moved to see that the former President of Poland is here that is sharing with us his fight for freedom.
He is a living example of how David can win over Goliath. And that is what we all know, and that’s history. That’s how history turn events and how history moves on. And I am proud to be here defying the barbarians, the insanity, the cruelty of the dark dictatorship that has abducted women, children, young people, men in Iran.
And I’m proud to be here with one of the most prestigious strongholds of freedom fighters in the world. That’s what you are, the MEK.
We have to be clear on what the MEK represents. And it’s because what the distance means is that it’s a force, an organized force of brave people, of powerful people, bringing hope, but bringing hope, not with words, bringing hope, with action, bringing light to every corner of Iran, in every family of Iran, there is an Iranian joining the resistance and fighting. Fighting for freedom, fighting for justice, fighting for the truth, fighting for love and fighting for good.
And they are following an extraordinary leader, a woman that has become a beacon of the uprising, the symbol of resilience. And the MEK‘s resilience is, in spite of all odds, growing. The Resistance Units are spreading all over Iran. They are organized to fight. These are soldiers, fighters on the ground, putting their lives at stake, ready to die. And this is because they have a purpose, they have a structure, they have a political platform, and, of course, they have a soul.
A soul, the leadership of Maryam that we love, that inspires young people, women, men, kids also all over Iran to work day and night for justice and freedom. And I am proud to be here to join you, to share with you this moment, to be, as I see myself, one of your sisters, a soldier of this cause, for change, for greatness, for respect and for truth.
Time has come and we know it. Time of change has come and we feel it. There is no place for fear, no going back. History is moving forward, and we can see, I can see in your eyes in this horizon in front of me, I can see the new Iran rising up. A democratic Iran based on values, on gender equality, on separating religion and state, on restoring freedom of expression and assembly, of banning nuclear threats.
History has brought us all together because we are the people. We are the people of the world. United with the people of Iran, united with Ashrafians, united with the freedom fighters in the streets of Iran, in the uprising all over Iran. United with President-elect Maryam Rajavi.
And we are all here united to claim that change is unstoppable. And as Joe Lieberman before me, we will say Hazer, Hazer, Hazer (We are ready).