Every so often we get a glimpse into the wretched lives of most Iranians – not that of the well-fed plump mullahs, not the sinisterly smiling Ayatollah Khamenei with his $250 billion business empire, not the IRGC commander threatening to set the whole Middle East aflame – but ordinary Iranians, who in their rage at all they are suffering from the mad misrule, expensive foreign adventurism, and economic mismanagement, of the mullahs, dare to protest on camera.
In recent years there have been crowds of protesters, demanding an end to all the aid the Islamic Republic gives to Hezbollah and Hamas. Along with “Death to the Ayatollahs,” protesters shouted “Death to Palestine” in July 2018. They also called for “death to the ayatollahs.” It was a way to express their total disaffection from the regime, for hatred of Israel has been a foundational belief of the Islamic Republic; “death to Palestine” turns that belief upside down. The protesters undermine that hatred of Israel by calling not for “death to Israel” but “death to – the worst enemy of Israel – Palestine.” Furthermore, Iranians are furious at the tens of billions being spent by the regime on its foreign adventurism – in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon — which does not interest them, while medicine and food, that are in short supply, do.
A single elderly woman, standing outside a hospital in Shiraz, took a stand against the mighty mullahs, and allowed herself to be recorded and videotaped. Her rage and despair were written on her face; you can see her outburst here.
On October 1, 2019, a video of a woman at the entrance to a hospital in Shiraz, Iran, was uploaded to the Internet. Encouraging others to join her in protest, the woman shouted: “My child is hungry [and] our people are hungry… [Our leaders] are thieves [and] they should leave this country… To hell with them… I have diabetes and I can’t get my medicine… Mr. Khamenei, your expiration date has come and gone. Go meet your Maker.”
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Woman: I’m [just like] Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. What do I care if they are hungry? My child is hungry, too. Our people are hungry.
Man: They are all thieves.
Woman: What do I care if [our leaders] are thieves? They should leave this country. We say to them: Go away!
Man: But they are Iranians too…
Woman: To hell with them. They should go. We should all be united. We must not be hypocrites. America says that it is giving us medicine and food. I have diabetes and I can’t get my medicine. The people are hungry. At least say ‘away with humiliation’ along with me. Don’t be afraid. Say ‘Allah Akbar.’ It will reach their ears. Mr. Khamanei, you look here. Mr. Khamanei, your expiration date has come and gone. Go meet your Maker. We are hungry.
“I’m [just like] Yemen, Syria, Lebanon.” Don’t I deserve government assistance that is now going instead to military adventurism in those three countries? Why should I care, this elderly lady with the anguished face says, about Yemen, where Iran spends billions to support the Houthi rebels? Or about Syria, where Iran has sent men, weapons, and billions of dollars, to help Bashar al-Assad defeat his opposition in the eight-year-long civil war? Or in Lebanon, where Iran has again sent billions to support Hezbollah, a terror group whose conventional military strength is now superior to that of 90% of the world’s armies? What good does it do her, or her hungry child, if Assad stays in power, or the Houthis win or lose, or if Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon sends rockets overhead into the Galilee or smuggles forces underground into that same vulnerable Galilee, through the terror tunnels Hezbollah has been building?
Isn’t she, and the tens of millions of other poor people in Iran like her, the people whom the Tehran regime should take care of, before it spends so many tens of billions of dollars abroad? And how much money has been spent on Iran’s nuclear project? How would engaging in a nuclear exchange with Israel help provide food and medicine to Iranians? Aren’t they, the Iranians, hungry? Aren’t they in need of medicine? And the extraordinary corruption at the top is known everywhere; she is joined by a man who says, laconically, of Iran’s leaders that “they are all thieves.” Possibly they know that the Supreme Leader runs a business empire worth $200 billion. Or that the leader of Hezbollah, the terror group supported by Tehran, has acquired a private fortune of $250 million. “My child is hungry, too,” she says plaintively. “Our people are hungry.” That message, now on the Internet, has been seen all over Iran, where tens of millions are indeed hungry.
She mentions America, too, not to chant mindlessly “Death to the Great Satan,” but to note that America has “said it was sending medicine and food.“ She implies that the mullahs have helped themselves to both, diverting shipments that never reached the people. She is confused here. America never sent medicine and food as aid. What it did do, until recently, is allow medicine and food to be sold to Iran, but the reimposition of sanctions, which Iranian behavior triggered, has made that immensely more difficult. The woman in Shiraz likely means that we in Iran were once able to receive medicine and food from outside, with America’s blessing, but the refusal of the regime to halt its nuclear project has led to the reimposed sanctions on medicine and food. She is attacking the regime for its choice of priorities: billions sent to Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon that should remain at home, and a nuclear project that has led to deep cuts in medicine and food coming from abroad.
A man standing near her says: “They are all thieves.” He is describing Iran’s leaders. No one standing nearby objects. The elderly woman replies.” What do I care if they are thieves?” She is beyond rage at their corruption. Of course they are thieves. It goes without saying. But the woman is tired of it all, tired of all the crooks in the regime. She just wants them out: “What do I care if [our leaders] are thieves? They should leave this country. We say to them: Go away!
Man: But they are Iranians too…
Woman: To hell with them. They should go. We should all be united. We must not be hypocrites.
Then she returns to her main theme: the deep deprivations of Iranian life. She shouts: “I have diabetes and I can’t get my medicine. The people are hungry.” She can’t get her indispensable medicine, the people can’t get enough food. That is what the Iranian regime has done.
She ends, with the bravery born of desperation – she doesn’t care anymore, she’s not going to be silent, they can do what they want to her but she won’t shut up – a direct attack on the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. She asks the others present to say something. Not to be as bold as she has been, but something: “At least say ‘away with humiliation’ along with me. Don’t be afraid. Say ‘Allah Akbar.’ It will reach their ears. Mr. Khamanei, you look here. Mr. Khamanei, your expiration date has come and gone. Go meet your Maker. We are hungry.”
When old ladies are no longer afraid to publicly defy the regime, dare to complain on camera about shortages of medicine and food, dare to rage against the spending of money on military adventures abroad, dare to tell the Supreme Leader to get lost, or even to die (“Go meet your Maker”), then in Tehran they must be concerned. This is not the Great Satan threatening them. It’s someone even more worrisome. It’s a representative, a spokeswoman, for the plain people of Iran, fed up with the mullahs who for the past 40 years have so mistreated them. This old lady, at the end of her tether, feeling she has nothing more to lose, should make them very, very worried. For she is not alone.
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