|‘In the terms of the ‘Second Ideological Revolution’, children had to be separated from their families and sent abroad. Rajavi made sure personally that this order was carried out case by case, finding militants or family members living in Europe or the United States who could take the children in.|
Deconstructing the Family
Of course, the PMOI defended itself. The impact of these statements on its internal practices on international public opinion created a very negative impression. The National Resistance Council wrote, in its response to the American accusations:
“Further on, they claim that the Mojahedin had forced couples in Iraq to divorce and send their children to Europe and the United States. Here, it must be taken into account that the individuals who wrote this report were repeating, word for word, the allegations used by the Iranian regime and by the survivors of the Shah regime.
The National Liberation Army of Iran is based in the territory of a country where family life in the camps became impossible during the unprecedented bombardments of the Gulf War and thereafter, because of the international embargo.
During the bombings, families, voluntarily and sometimes in writing, asked the organization for assistance in sending their children to Europe and the United States to live with their parents or our supporters. Despite many obstacles and risks, the movement spent millions of dollars to move these children to safe places. The alternative would have been accepting the possibility of numerous victims among them”. (217)
The facts, however, are stubborn and the eyewitness reports are very precise:
‘In the terms of the ‘Second Ideological Revolution’, children had to be separated from their families and sent abroad. Rajavi made sure personally that this order was carried out case by case, finding militants or family members living in Europe or the United States who could take the children in.
In the absence of family abroad, the children were sent to orphanages or special schools established by the Mojahedin in Germany and the Netherlands. More than 500 children were sent abroad this way: they were handed over to the organization during a special ceremony in which the parents recited a text affirming: ‘I give my child to Massoud and Maryam’.” (218)
Yet the PMOI justified itself by comparison with others:
“Moreover, this policy is not without precedent. During the Second World War, children were separated from their families and sent outside London during the bombings. If this way of doing things is unacceptable, the State Department should have published a declaration criticising Winston Churchill “. (219)
The People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran could have cited two other 20th Century precedents, ones more troubling indeed.
During 1936-37, the evacuation of the children of Spanish Republicans fighting Franco’s Nationalists is one. To protect them from the bombings which struck some cities very hard, especially Madrid, young girls and boys were sent by convoy to the Soviet Union. But once the Popular Front Government was swept aside and taken over by the Communists, these kids stayed in the USSR for an orthodox Marxist-Leninist education.
The same scenario took place a few years later in Greece, during the civil war that immediately followed World War II. There again, children kidnapped for the stated motive of putting them out of harm’s way remained in the USSR.
Kidnapping could also take place at home. The Hitler youth stole the minds and loyalties of children, turning them against their teachers and even their parents. The “Racially pure” S.S. breeding facilities were only a continuation of kidnap, but with the result of bringing thousands of parentless children into post-war Germany.
Uprooted, far from their country and cut off from their culture, these children became wanderers without identity. They only had that given them by the movement or the organisation which took them in hand and led them where they wanted to for their own purposes.
For more than 20 years we know exactly how the PMOI has used these kids: easier to lead, because they are more docile than adults who have developed their critical faculties. This included abandoning them to their fate when times went bad: “In Evin, the model prison of Iran, built by the ex-Shah, one section is completely devoted to the ‘curables’, who undergo a reeducation programm. There, we find a certain number of inmates who discarded their former masters, like Bani Sadr’s ex-bodyguard. But the overwhelming majority are children. They are the ones the Mojahedin threw into the street fighting, without any military or political training at all. These kids (13-15 year olds) cracked, naturally. They turned against themselves”. (220)
217.- “Democracy Betrayed”, op. cit.
218.- Ismail Zayer, op. cit.
219.- “Democracy Betrayed”, op. cit.
220.- Buob and Hoche, op. cit.