By Glenn A. Torshizi
Mr. Torshizi, is Senior Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer working and living in Washington DC area.
Pain and suffering have been constants in my life. Out of four sons, I am the only surviving one in my family. Three of my brothers were brutally killed during the 1980s by the Iranian regime. I’m not complaining and do not consider myself a hapless victim destined to a life of misery and destitute. On the contrary, what drives me most is meaning and hope for a day when the people of Iran are no longer killed for their political aspirations.
My brother Behrouz was born in March 1961, on the night Iranians celebrated the advent of the Persian New Year. He was endowed with exceptional intelligence, enrolling in first grade at the age of 5. He completed high school by the time he was 15 and entered Iran’s elite university and equivalent of the American MIT, University of Science and Technology, at the age of 15. He aspired to become a mechanical engineer and help improve his country.
He had an indescribable ability to retain knowledge, to the point that his friends had dubbed him “The Encyclopedia.” While in university, his sense of wonder and meaning led him to support Iran’s main political opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). He wanted to help the poor, the oppressed, and the people of Iran who were fed up with dictatorship. This intelligent and down-to-earth young Iranian found the answer in the MEK.
I will never forget September 24, 1981, the day Behrouz disappeared. For over two weeks, our family searched the entire city of Tehran to find him. On October 12, 1981, we saw his name mentioned in the state-run newspaper Kayhan. Among the regime opponents who were killed, I noticed Behrouz’s name on line 48.
He was only 19. The regime robbed our family of the opportunity to even see him one last time before he was killed.
To this day, I cannot understand why the Iranian regime would kill a 19 year old university student, regardless of him being my brother. What was he doing? When my father asked this question from a regime official, he told my father that Behrouz was taking pictures during a peaceful MEK rally for democracy. So, he was killed because he took pictures?
My other brother, Bahman, was also a university student at the Science and Technology University in Tehran. He had a passion for making documentaries. One of his productions concerned child laborers. He spent weeks with child laborers and their families to understand their pain and suffering. But one day in February 1982, Bahman, too, disappeared. Once again, the family started to look everywhere after yet another child. Bahman, only 28, was brutally killed on his birthday on February 16, 1982.
My third brother, Reza, was an architecture student in Iran’s National University, and a national swimming champion. Like my two other brothers, he sympathized with the MEK. He was arrested and transferred to the notorious Evin prison. During a minutes-long “trial” he received a 7-year prison sentence. In the course of these difficult years, my parents made long trips during winter and summer months to speak with him for a mere 10 minutes.
In 1988, although Reza should have been released, the regime hanged him. Reza refused to criticize the MEK at the regime’s behest and was subsequently executed along with 30,000 other MEK supporters during the 1988 massacre. He was executed on August 24, 1988, at the age of 33.
I am not writing this to talk about my own brothers, all of whom were young, bright, and socially conscious, with their whole lives ahead of them. Their only crime was that they wanted democracy for Iran. They wanted to oppose a regime that was bent on warmongering, terrorism, nuclear proliferation and suppression at home.
Every year, I mourn the months of February, August, and October. But I’m hopeful 12 months of the year, when I see young people like my brothers rising up, protesting and laying their lives for democracy in Iran.
To the world community, I say that appeasing this cruel regime is enough. Appeasing the regime is tantamount to participating in the cold murder of my brothers and tens of thousands of other bright and inspiring human beings in my country. It is time to hold the clerical regime officials accountable for their crimes against humanity, starting with the 1988 massacre.
The Iranian people will not rest until the regime is overthrow and a democratic, non-nuclear and secular republic is established in Iran.